This month, eventing, county shows, polo, festivals and more
Diary dates 23 May – 30 June
Not just portraits
See horses in a different light at the Inspired by Horses exhibition at The Gallery at Parndon Mill, Harlow, Essex. Including paintings, drawings, prints, sculpture and photography, this exhibition gives an insight into how different artists approach equestrian art. www.parndonmill.co.uk
30 May – 2 June
Eventing in Ireland
Touted as a fun, family weekend, the Tattersalls International Horse Trials and Country Fair, Fair Ratoath, Ireland, combines the thrills of eventing with food, bars, shopping and free children’s entertainment. www.tattshorsetrials.ie
Prepare with Parelli
Move up a level at competition with the Parelli Preparation for Performance cour se at Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire. Aimed at stude nts who have already completed the foundation levels one to four of the Parelli programme, this five-day course focuses on level four riding skills. www.parellinatural horsemanship.com
6-9 Returning trials
The Mattingley Horse Trials is making an exciting return to the eventing calendar for 2013. Held near Hook, Hampshire, the event will support a range of classes and a ‘special star section’. www.britisheventing.com/fixtures
Equestrian sport is returning to central London with the Global Champions Tour. To be held in the Olympic Park, the showjumping extravaganza will see our gold-medal winners battle it out for a record total prize pot. www.globalchampionstour.com
● After 45 years,
● Pink rubber matting, anyone? Last year, Davis & Co,
Bransby Home of Rest for Horses has changed its name to Bransby Horses to better reflect the work carried out by the charity. www. bransbyhorses.co.uk
manufacturers of Equimat, produced a limited edition pink stable mat to raise awareness of breast cancer and pledged to donate £1,000 to Cancer Research UK. Recently, they officially handed over the cheque. Haley Vaughan-Riley from Equimat says: “We wanted to raise awareness and help save lives. Each year, more than 48,400 women and 370 men are diagnosed with the disease.” www.equimat.co.uk
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Out &t Abou
from the Get the latedstDerby via Hickstea itter and H&R Tw ok Facebo
Polo in the capital
o in Always hotly anticipated, MINT Pol the to the Park brings the sport of kings London, will play capital. Hurlingham Park in Fulham, international food of ety vari a , host to world-class polo ge. outlets and a luxury shopping villa om n.c ndo www.polointheparklo
Step up, students
The new Equestrian Festival for Students, announced by Student Students Equestrian, is held in conjunction with British Dressage (BD), British Eventing (BE) and British Showjumping (BS) at Hartpury College. Students can compete in BD up to Medium, BE up to Novice and BS up to 1.10m. www.studentequestrian.co.uk
A highlight of every showjumping season, the British Jumping Derby Meeting, Hickstead, is a must-see for showjumping fanatics and adrenalin seekers. We dare you not to hold your breath every time a partnership tackles the infamous Derby Bank. www.hickstead.co.uk
With classes from little to large, the World Horse Welfare Summer Showing Show is fun for everyone. www. worldhorse welfare.org
100 chances to win The largest two-day agricultural show in England, the Royal Norfolk Show, Norwich, has over 100 Show equine classes across a range of breeds. With showjumping, cart and heavy horse classes, there will be something to tickle every equine taste. www. royalnorfolkshow.co.uk
● The Donkey Sanctuary
● Young rider Vika Engel and her pony, Sparkle, are tackling a 100-mile, six-day ride from Borth on the Welsh coast to Hay-on-Wye on the English border. The ride is to raise funds in memory of her brother, Laurie, who died from cancer aged just 13. The fund, set up by his family, has already raised over £1m towards a new teenage cancer unit at Birmingham Children’s Hospital. To donate, visit www.justgiving.com/bchlaurieengelfund H O R S E & R I D E R 11
headquarters in Devon now has a wedding licence, so you can have your wedding or civil ceremony in a formal garden or cosy stable. All profits will go to The Donkey Sanctuary projects worldwide. www.thedonkeysanctuary.org.uk
The British Carriagedriving (formerly British Horse Driving Trials Association) National Driving Trials at the Sandringham estate, Norfolk, offers classes for able-bodied and Para-drivers. It’s hoped the international Para-driving class will lead to the Para-drivers World Championship being held on the site in 2014. www.british carriagedriving.co.uk
Horse&Rider The big debate
To shoe or not to The barefoot trimmer Angela Corner, AANHCP (Association for the Advancement of Natural Horse Care Practices) Certified Practitioner and endurance rider
Barefoot enables the horse to work properly
Hooves are the horse’s shock absorbers – designed to carry him safely at speed over rough terrain and cover distances of up to 20 miles every day. The hoof is designed to flex in all directions. Without this, the hoof cannot fully absorb the body weight of the horse as it moves. If you put metal nails into the hoof wall and a metal ring round the bottom, you put the hoof into a ‘cast’ and compromise this flexibility. Think of it like jumping from a chair and not being able to bend your knees as you land – as opposed to jumping from a chair and landing knees and ankles bent. Compromising fl exibility also reduces circulation in the hoof, just as winding an elastic band around the end of your finger causes the tip to go numb. Reduced circulation weakens the hoof so it’s more prone to disease and injury.
The frog should help bear the weight of the horse, but shoes usually raise it up off the ground placing excessive strain on the hoof wall instead. These factors combine to severely reduce the shock absorption capability of the hoof. If we also expect the horse to carry our weight, trot on roads and jump fences – then it is even more crucial we allow the hoof to absorb as much shock as possible.
He moves better
People often report that their horse moves better barefoot, his stride becomes freer and longer. The weight of shoes alters the flight of the limb plus an unhealthy foot lands differently, affecting the action. Horses prone to stumbling often stop once barefoot. The horse cannot see where all his feet are landing so he relies on ‘feel’ (proprioception). This is compromised by shoes, he moves ‘blind’ which can lead to stumbling.
Have your say!
What do you think about barefoot trimming vs conventional shoeing? Share your thoughts by emailing email@example.com or visit our Facebook page, www.facebook.com/ HorseandRiderMag.
HORSE & R IDER
Healthy hooves = healthy horse
If your barefoot horse can travel over all surfaces – including tarmac, rocks and gravel – comfortably, then it is safe to assume that his general health is also excellent and that his diet is spot on. Barefoot hooves are the indicators to overall health – just like our fingernails – and the perfect early warning system if problems are emerging in your horse.
Barefoot makes horses safer
Shoes can be slippy on tarmac. Barefoot hooves have much better grip, making roadwork safer. Horses will invariably play and fight at times – shod feet
can cause catastrophic injuries. It hurts less if you get kicked or stood on and because of proprioception, you are much less likely to get stood on in the first place.
If you want to save money…
Barefoot means no more shelling out for new shoes every six weeks. As your horse will be healthier and move more naturally, you will have fewer vets’ bills. It also makes you less reliant on a farrier – no more lost shoes the morning of a competition. No more relying on farriers turning up – you can learn to maintain your horse’s trim yourself and if you need extra protection, you can put on hoof boots yourself.
Wayne Upton, Master Farrier and Associate of the Worshipful Company of Farriers
Shoeing benefits most horses and ponies
Horses are shod for two main reasons: to protect against excessive wear and for remedial purposes. In both cases, you trim and balance the foot and limb – which is so important – then put a shoe on to protect your trim. If you don’t put a shoe on then ride the horse up the road, half an hour later the foot will be worn. The hoof capsule works very efficiently to absorb concussion and helps the blood circulate like a pump. When you put shoes on
horses’ feet, obviously you compromise them – that’s why the farrier applies the shoe so it doesn’t interfere with this, placing the nails in the front two thirds of the foot. There’s little movement in this part of the foot, most is in the quarters. If you remove a shoe and look at the underside, you’ll see how worn it is at the heel. The shoe also takes the load off the sole which is not designed to take wear like the wall. The sole can be bruised and compromised, which can cause problems from sore feet to premature pedal arthritis and even laminitis.
In recent years, barefoot trimming has been put forward as an alternative to conventional shoeing. We asked practitioners of both to make the case for shoes and shoeless – what do you think?
Horse&Rider top tip
Shoeing can enhance movement
Shoeing is not natural, that’s absolutely right. But the way we keep horses nowadays is not natural – we ride them, jump them, stable them and so on, so if you want to enjoy horses and the sports they are bred for, you might have to shoe them accordingly. It’s not natural for us humans to wear shoes, but rugby players don’t do the Six Nations barefoot! I shoe the limb, not the foot, to set the horse up for the job he’s doing. We adapt what we put on horses’ feet – very light, aluminium plates for flat racing, shoes that improve grip for driving horses and so on. We wear different shoes for different things, so do horses. Shoeing also allows you to perform remedial work. If, for
example, a horse has an imbalanced foot and has the early stages of navicular, he’ll need proper remedial trimming and shoeing – you are really limited if you are trimming alone.
I’m not against barefoot horses
If I can leave shoes off a horse, I will. I don’t like to shoe young horses too early and it’s also a good idea to take horses’ shoes off if they’re not in work. I have six horses at home – one of them is unshod and one has just front shoes on. You don’t have to shoe horses if their discipline doesn’t demand it. But also, not all horses will adapt to going barefoot. Historically, horses of course were barefoot, then once they were domesticated and their breeding influenced by man, their
Choose a hoof care professional for your horse with great care – remember, no foot, There’s no legislation no horse! controlling barefoot
feet eroded subject to abrasion. As the Romans fought their way north, conditions underfoot got wetter and their horses more prone to be footsore. They used ‘Hipposandals’ with an iron or bronze plate laced onto the limbs. Some of the tribes they encountered were very good smiths, so they started shoeing their horses, preventing wear and giving them an iron rim for grip.
The shod horse is protected by law
Farriers are regulated by the Farriers Registration Council. The Farriers Registration Act is a welfare act to protect horses, and people should remember that. Farriers can be disciplined and struck off if they hurt horses.
trimmers, so if they make a horse lame there is no redress. Farriers train for four years as apprentices and also study shoe making and equine anatomy at college, then take a diploma qualification to become a Registered Farrier. Some barefoot trimmers have done a correspondence course. I’m not saying barefoot trimmers are all bad, but there have been some horses severely compromised by very radical trimming methods and some of the barefoot trimmers are very unscientific with their claims, which is worrying. There are approximately 18 barefoot organisations. If they can’t agree on best practice, what chance has the horse owner?
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A question of
We all want ‘a balanced horse’, but what does this really mean and how do we achieve it? Equally important, are you a really balanced rider? In an exclusive extract from her new book, classical riding trainer Sylvia Loch explains
veryone talks wistfully about a balanced horse, but how many acknowledge that there are several balances? There is the balance of the young horse, newly backed and not very strong behind. There is the balance of the old stager, who has happily carried children and their parents for years. There is the balance of the racehorse, hunter or jumper and there is all the difference in the world between the balance of the young dressage horse and that of the High School horse. Each can be perfect for his particular purpose; each may be woefully imperfect. The latter is generally all to do with the rider. What a responsibility! This begs a stream of questions. How many riders recognise what the
balance should be? How many have sufficient balance themselves? And finally, how many have the ability to change the balance appropriate to what is required of the horse?
Sylvia Loch explains ● How a horse’s weight moves back as he progresses in his training ● How riders can help or hinder this ● That balance is a fragile thing!
Practice makes perfect
The next question is perhaps the most important of all. How many riders appreciate that the ‘perfect balance’ expected of a horse on the aids is actually something most refined? Not only does it take years to achieve but, even when attainable, everything is in a permanent state of flux, requiring Left: My Lusitano stallion Prazer in his first year of training, aged six. This is the typical balance of the novice horse as he takes the bit forward within the framework of our aids, which merely guide but never restrict
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In this feature...
Above: Prazer at 14 in levade. Only after years of bend and stretch exercises will the horse develop the strength and flexibility to sustain the balance of these higher airs
Our trainer Sylvia Loch discovered classical High School riding in Portugal. In 1984 she founded the Lusitano Breed Society of Great Britain and was awarded an Honorary Instructorship by the Portuguese School of Equestrian Art. She trained with Former First Chief Rider of the Spanish Riding School of Vienna and founded The Classical Riding Club in 1995.
Carriage will always vary, and must correspond to the degree of training and conformation of the horse — Müsler, German School
imperfect rider – generally, more so. In other words, the marvellous potential of the horse to display beautiful, pure movement can be marred by
something as simple as the rider’s legs ‘aiding’ in the wrong place, a hand blocking or a seat bone incorrectly weighted. H O R S E & R I D E R 27
minute adjustments at any given moment. Perfect balance is precarious. It is in the moment. The longer I have taught riders on their own or my horses, the more I have realised that a supple, balanced horse depends upon a supple, balanced rider. The most highly trained horse in the world can be unbalanced by an
Look ahead when you’re riding so you and the horse can move as ‘one piece’. Keep the buttons of your jacket aligned with your horse’s mane to correct any ‘slippage’.
From ‘The Balanced Horse – The Aids by Feel, Not Force’ by Sylvia Loch, published by Kenilworth Press. Text copyright: Sylvia Loch. Photos copyright: Nathalie Todd and Kenilworth Press. Artwork copyright: Maggie Raynor. H&R recommends you always wear a correctly-fitted, BSI Kitemarked hat when mounted
In the saddle
Jumping success relies on a stepby-step approach, taming tension and fine-tuning for better ‘feel’, says Tina Sederholm
Our trainer Tina Sederholm has evented to international level, and has been training horses and riders of all levels for over 20 years. She is also author of ‘Words of a Horseman’ and ‘Unlock your Riding Talent’, and is a regular contributor to Horse&Rider magazine.
Photos: Bob Atkins
Annabelle Hasloch rides eight-year-old Irish Sport Horse Harry, a good all-rounder. He has competed to Novice level affiliated dressage and showjumps at British Novice level. Katherine Watters rides her 19-year-old Hanoverian ex-Grade A showjumping mare, Elessa, who is schooled to Advanced Medium level dressage. Together they showjump and do some combined training.
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In the saddle
In this feature...
Tina Sederholm explains ● Riding the approach ● Landing on the correct lead ● Establishing ‘feel’ ● Troubleshooting tension
ou’re probably familiar with the saying, ‘From little acorns, great oaks grow’. Well, this is the philosophy that can also be applied to these simple exercises featured over the past few months. Practising them regularly and learning in easily digestible steps will help you build your skills and equip you with a fail-safe armoury to fall back on if you hit a problem. With the exercises, I’ve started
simply then built them up a stage at a time. This helps give you the best chance of perfecting any positional problems in the saddle, as well as building confidence and minimising the chance of errors. Remember also that I never encourage anyone to jump on their own, in case they have an accident. It helps, therefore, if you have an assistant to lend a hand and be your eyes on the ground.
Lead from the front Look at your assistant as you jump the fence
PROBLEM My horse hardly ever
lands on the correct leading leg after a jump.
Holding your breath makes you tense, which your horse picks up on. A long out-breath the last two strides into a fence keeps your muscles relaxed.
SOLUTION If you assume an active, rather than a passive, role in helping your horse land correctly, it will inspire untold confidence in him. Here’s a fool-proof exercise that will help put you on the right track. Plus, it will put paid to any designs you have on throwing yourself forward and looking down to see if you’ve landed on the correct canter lead, which only unbalances horse and rider. As you canter over the jump, look to the outside at your helper on the ground, who should be standing parallel with the edge of the wing, about 5m after the fence. Alternatively, choose a tree or a gate to the outside of the jump as your focal point. Focus on your assistant as you ride past them and keep looking until it feels slightly uncomfortable. Looking at a point to the outside helps you stay balanced and brings the inside hip forward, which encourages the horse to land on the correct lead. Once over the jump, look forward and ride normally with your seat bones just out of the saddle or lightly brushing it. Staying relaxed and balanced over and after a fence will help keep your horse balanced, so he is easy to control and prepare for the next fence. This exercise also teaches the rider to ‘feel’ for the correct lead – as long as you look down, you’re never going to get used to the feel and, of course, you’ll have no idea where you’re going! Look down and he’ll land on the wrong canter lead…
H O R S E & R I D E R 33
…Look up and he won’t!
Photos: Bob Atkins. Thanks to clinic organiser Fiona Woodford, Mary King, Patchetts Equestrian Centre and all the riders who participated. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for details of upcoming clinics
In this feature...
Mary shows us how to ● Get your horse in front of the leg to improve your security in the saddle and therefore... ● Make a cautious horse brave ● Make an ‘argumentative’ horse willing ● Make an onward-bound horse stay light
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In the saddle
Mary King’s riding secrets Our trainer Mary King MBE has been consistently successful for 30 years in top-level three-day-eventing, training and latterly breeding her own horses. She has won three Olympic medals, two golds and a silver at World Equestrian Games and four team golds at the Europeans. Plus, she has won and been placed at Badminton, Burghley and other elite events on numerous occasions. She was individual and team silver medallist at London 2012 in Greenwich Park with Imperial Cavalier and in 2011, was first and second at Kentucky, scooping $150,000. Stylish and effective, she is also a brilliant trainer as you’ll discover in her new series in Horse&Rider. We can all learn from Mary, whether we hack, do dressage or jump at any level – including Olympic!
Our models Lindsey Lambert has owned 11-year-old Irish Sport Horse mare Kit for six years, backing and producing her from the start. The pair enjoys showing and eventing – rain, snow and three small children permitting. Seven-year-old dappled-grey Irish Sport Horse Dixon is actually Amy Bird’s mum’s dressage horse, pinched for British Eventing and other special occasions, like the chance to ride on a Mary King clinic! In the four years that Emma Cordery has owned Shaliko, the 14-year-old chestnut mare has never let her down – whether it’s showing, eventing, dressage, riding club activities or horsey holidays with friends. But at a big 17hh, sometimes her enthusiasm can be rather overwhelming for Emma.
In front of the leg Learn with Britain’s favourite eventer! First, Mary explains how getting your horse in front of your leg keeps you safe, secure and effective – whatever your discipline. Kelly McCarthy-Maine reports
“Riders can also get into the habit “The position, security and stability of poking their horse with their spur of your lower leg is what keeps you all the time when they’re riding,” in the saddle, on top of your horse, Mary says. “This action dulls your no matter what happens,” explains horse’s sides, and you really want to Mary King. keep their sides fresh and sensitive A secure lower leg is the basis to your aids, so when you apply an for your ‘stick-ability’ – that is, your aid you get an instant response. ability to stay stuck on top of your “This instant reaction from your horse. “With a secure ‘heel down, horse will get you better marks in toe up’ lower leg position, you will dressage, help you adjust for clear not fall off unless your horse falls over,” Mary states. But it takes more rounds when you are showjumping and get you out of sticky than a stylish position to stay situations on the crosson top. Mary believes country course. that the horses also “Your horse has to have to be ‘in front of You might need to be moving forward out the leg’. be strict with yourself in front of your leg, to get your horse in front looking for his next of the leg – but he’ll learn challenge – then your what’s good and bad, leg can be still,” “Horses need to and be happier Mary explains. move, to trot and for it. “Having a horse react canter, out in front of to your leg will make both of you. They tend to be more your lives easier and more fun. Think active and move more freely in of how easily you will be able to canter – we have to do a little work open gates out hacking if your horse to install the same enthusiasm in calmly moves forward and back, side the other paces,” Mary explains. to side when you ask once, politely, “However, simply banging away at with your leg!” Mary chuckles. your horse with your leg and heels “But while every horse is will make you less secure in the different, there are some ‘types’ I saddle, especially if you raise your see often when I teach.” So over heel and tighten your knee to get the page Mary explains how to get a a good poke at his sides. As the cautious horse, an opinionated horse weight comes out of your lower leg and an onward-bound horse out in it unbalances your whole position.” Simply put, something has to happen front of your leg on the flat – and help you stay on top! if you put your leg on your horse.
Why it’s so important
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FREE Likit horse treats and an equine stretches video Horse&Rider’s June issue is out on May 16th – don’t miss it! There's riding and trai...