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Your Horse 356 february 2012

“You’ve got to want No.1 to win” TINA FLETCHER EQUINE

MONTHLY MAGAZINE

on her passion for show jumping

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B e a b e t t e r r i d e r , g e t t h e b e s t f r o m yo u r h o r s e

SHAPE up

Forget winter get fit and reach your 2012 goals

special

Tips

from the

top

get into his head

Mind games to keep him happy

Olympic stars’ secrets for a year to remember featuring: ● Charlotte Dujardin

John Whitaker ● Laura Kraut ● Richard Davison ●

FLYING CHANGES

Teach him the easy way with

Emile Faurie

35 RIDING 17 GEAR PAGES

Perfect your position, pirouettes, schooling patterns and jumping

PAGES

Buy the best cooler rugs, casual boots and yard essentials for all budgets

£3.80

INDOOR eventing All the thrills - no mud!

20 CARE PAGES

Bond with a new horse, calm a lively character plus ear care vet advice

February 2012

• tips from the top • indoor eventing • emile on flYing changes • keep him happy • shape up for 2012 • tina fletcher Interview

o 4 page


The yard

Tina Fletcher

You’ve got to want to win Words Katy Islip Photography Nico Morgan

W

ith more than 30 years of competition experience under her belt, Tina Fletcher is an established star in the firmament of British and international show jumping. From the outset, Tina has enjoyed great success both at home and abroad – she’s been on the British Nations Cup team no less than 17 times and has lifted the prestigious Queen Elizabeth II Cup on three occasions. This year she achieved her lifetime ambition by winning the

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coveted Hickstead Derby after coming second in both 1991 and 2010, and now has a spot on the Olympic team in her sights. Married to former international show jumper Graham, and mother to William, 12, and Oliver, eight, time off is a luxury for Tina. We snatched a few hours with her on a rare quiet afternoon, arriving at her home in the shadow of Oxfordshire’s famous White Horse chalk carving, to find out more about her life in the saddle and her indomitable desire to win.


Turn over for xxxx’s Tina’s answers to your questions

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Riding

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s e to Keep him on his Words: Imogen Johnson Photography: Matthew Roberts

If your horse likes to get ahead of the game, try dressage star Steph Croxford’s top exercises to keep him guessing

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iding shapes and patterns that encompass different and changeable movements is a great way to maintain your horse’s attention while adding variety to your schooling especially if he’s spooky, clever or sharp. Here Steph Croxford gives you great ways to ensure your horse’s brain is always working. “You need your horse to be listening and between your hand and leg all the time, so working off the track at home, on shapes

like the ones featured here, takes away the comfort blanket provided by the rails of your school, and gets your horse thinking,” she says. “Quite often I’ll start riding a shape or movement and change it at the very last minute to keep my horses guessing. In essence I try to ‘de-programme’ them so they learn to always wait for my aids rather than negatively anticipating what they think I’m going to ask for.”

Over the page Read on to see what exercises Steph rides at home to ensure her horses stay focused, interested and, most importantly, remember who’s boss!

Meet the expert Steph Croxford In 2006, top dressage rider Steph and her famous horse Mr President won the Best Brit award at Fry’s CDI plus the Heather Harrison trophy for the most accomplished northern rider. They then went on

to score more than 70% in their first World Cup qualifier at Olympia. She’s passionate about keeping her horses’ training interesting while ensuring they don’t get ahead of themselves.

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Riding

3 2 1

change! Flying changes not only look visually striking, they come in handy for every riding discipline. Carry them out with flying colours using our teaching guide from dressage star Emile Faurie

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Meet the expert

Meet OUR MODEL

Emile is one of the UK’s top dressage riders and trainers and has represented Britain at World, European and Olympic level. He’s riding five-year-old Dream of Joy, a 16.2hh Hanoverian gelding he’s training to Prix St Georges level for owner Nicola Mahoney.

Tom, 28, is a working rider at Emile’s Oxfordshire yard. He’s riding his own eight-year-old horse Winston, a 16.2hh Dutch Warmblood who’s working towards competing at Advanced level. Tom’s eventual aim is to compete at Grand Prix.

Emile Faurie

B

eing able to get your horse to switch canter leads is an important skill, and although horses can change legs naturally, getting them to do it under saddle takes preparation and patience. In a flying change, the horse swaps the canter lead at the moment of suspension, striking out with the opposite foreleg as he lands, and

Tom Goode

although it can be challenging to teach your horse to do this, with the right preparation you’ll soon have it cracked. To help you get started, we’ve enlisted the help of dressage rider Emile Faurie, who was part of the historic gold medal-winning British team at the 2011 European Championships. Emile’s career spans more than 20 years, and he’s taught hundreds of horses the ropes.

Flying changes checklist

Before you start teaching your horse flying changes, check he’s responsive enough to cope with what you’re asking by making sure the following statements all apply:

✔ ✔

You can do the perfect walk to canter transition

You can ride the perfect simple change

 ou can go from working Y canter to collected canter without any resistance

If you can’t tick all three boxes, spend more time on the preparation exercises (see ‘Get the basics right' on the next page) to avoid confusing your horse. When you start teaching flying changes, remember the quality of your canter is key to the success of the exercise.

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Riding

Eventing - minus the mud!

Whether you’re an out-of-season eventer wanting to keep your horse fit and sharp over winter, or keen to boost your confidence over tricky fences, arena eventing has something to offer riders of all levels and disciplines. Here’s how to get to grips with the sport – with expert advice to ensure you’re a success Words Helen Milbank

Confidence

Practising your crosscountry technique over simulated, often knock-down fences is a great confidence booster and a good way to brush up your technique over any ‘problem’ fences you may have at an outdoor event

Mix of fences

In arena (or indoor) eventing you jump a mix of show jumping and simulated cross-country fences, including corners, skinnies and water jumps. The exact format of each class varies depending on the facilities available, but most courses start with a show jumping section, followed by a timed ‘cross-country’ phase. Some events are held indoors; other courses utilise both indoor and outdoor arenas

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Why you should have a go… ✔ Arena eventing helps maintain a horse’s fitness over the winter months ahead of the outdoor season (some courses run over 1,000-1,500m and incorporate around 30 fences) ✔ It boosts the confidence and technique of horses (and riders) who aren’t quite confident, experienced or scopey enough to event fully ✔ It exposes a horse to the sights and sounds of an indoor competition ✔ A s most competitions don’t include a dressage phase it plays on the abilities of those horses who have the jumping talent but don’t find dressage easy ✔ It caters for riders who want a challenge but can’t afford to event fully ✔ Courses are designed to challenge the rider’s accuracy, confidence, judgement and planning. The horse will be challenged in his balance, obedience, bravery and ability ✔ Most arena events are run on good quality surfaces – providing great footing for the horses and less stress on their legs ✔ A lot of events will have some solid fences, like steps or water, so it gives you a real feel that you’re going cross-country

How to succeed

Success lies in a responsive horse who’s flexible enough to cope with the tight turns, and well-schooled enough to handle a technical, varied course

Mind and body

Beat the spooks

The switch from outdoor to indoor eventing can be tough on a sensitive horse. Indoor arenas are often noisy, spooky, cluttered places, so it pays to help your horse acclimatise by exposing him to indoor clinics, training sessions and dressage competitions before you ask him to tackle a lengthy course

Arena eventing helps keep your horse fit and mentally on the ball over the winter months ahead of the eventing season, and helps improve his technique over tricky fences such as skinnies

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Riding

privaTe lesson with international dressage rider Charlotte Dujardin

Getting to grips with your lateral work and ensuring you’re in the correct position is crucial for a dressage rider and will help your horse to be supple and balanced a full time position after Charlotte Dujardin is fast Fact file just a handful of lessons becoming something of a Name Charlotte Dujardin and 10 days working legend on the dressage Experience Charlotte had great success from at his yard. circuit and is tipped to be an early age in the After a flying start, the next big thing. showing world, including Charlotte’s now looking At just 25, she’s achieved winning the Horse of the to the future and has great things in a very short Year Show four times and Hickstead three her sights set on the space of time. This times. As a dressage 2012 Olympics. includes winning on her rider she was selected to Today, she’s helping Grand Prix debut at the join the World Class Performance Squad on Your Horse reader Gareth 2011 Grand Prix at Carl Hester’s Valegro Pritchard and his horse Addington Manor with whom she has Popcorn. A fall at a fence Equestrian Centre with a enjoyed more success. She achieved scores of left Popcorn injured, score of 74% and three 10s, over 70% on her own ending Gareth’s eventing as well as being on the horse Fernandez, when hopes, but Gareth was 2011 gold medal she competed him internationally for the determined not to part winning first time at Grand Prix. with Popcorn. “We have team at the such a strong bond, I Europeans. couldn’t imagine being It’s fair to without him. Rather than sell him say she’s an inspiration to many on, I decided to change our goals,” he says. And so their dressage dreams budding young were born. dressage riders Gareth is keen to get 16-year-old out there. Popcorn well established in the Charlotte trains dressage arena and move from with worldNovice to Elementary. renowned A change of discipline can be dressage rider Carl challenging for horse and rider, Hester and has the but with help from Charlotte, ride on one of his Gareth’s confident he and Popcorn top horses, Valegro. can make it. Carl offered her

Rather than sell him on, I decided to change our goals you r hor se


For more riding advice go to www.yourhorse.co.uk

Fo about rCmore and he harlotte for 201 r hopes 2 intervi, see our e page 14w on 0

Meet the pupil

Find out how Charlotte helps Gareth and Popcorn improve their lateral work and become more balanced

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Riding

4 exercises to

perfect your

pirouettes Four straightforward exercises to prepare for and execute a “whirl about” At first glance, pirouettes can appear to be the preserve of top riders, but if your horse is able to work laterally in collection and engage his hindquarters properly, there’s nothing to stop you making pirouettes part of your schooling routine. Pirouettes are two-track lateral movements where your horse’s forehand draws a circle around the hindquarters, with the outside hind stepping around the inside, which marches almost in place. Whether performed in walk or canter, pirouettes require your horse to be on the bit, maintaining a light contact and showing slight flexion in the direction of the turn. Here dressage rider and trainer Alice Peternell explains how to work up to performing a walk pirouette, plus tips for trying it in canter when you’re ready.

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TOP TIP

The quality of a pirouett e is judged ac cording to it s suppleness , lig regularity, an htness and d the precis and smooth ion ness of the entrance and exit. Th is is a difficu lt movement in a high st ate of collection so keep your sessions sh ort and sweet

Meet the expert Alice Peternell

Alice is a British Dressage national trainer offering tuition from Novice to Advanced level. She competed internationally at Young Rider level before moving on to Grand Prix level as a senior. Based in Wiltshire, Alice regularly competes in everything from Young Horse classes to Advanced. To contact her call 0117 937 2913 or 07966 504834, or email info@apequestrian.com

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Rider fitness

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Shape up!

s Fitnceisal Spe

We’re going to find out if upping your exercise and honing your diet can really improve your riding as two of the Your Horse team dust off their trainers and ditch the junk food to get fighting fit for 2012 Words: Imogen Johnson Photography: Matthew Roberts

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s Fitnceisal Spe

The mucking out effect

Feeling tense, stiff or lop-sided in the saddle? If so, the way you muck out could be to blame. So here’s how to wield a fork and broom correctly and ensure you’re sitting pretty… Words Helen Milbank

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Any postural problems in the saddle may relate back to your mucking out technique

Meet the expert Jo Greenfield

Jo is a therapeutic bodywork practitioner who treats both horses and humans. She’s worked with horses since the age of 14 and developed an interest in ways to eradicate the pain of yard work after years of mucking out led to aches and tension that were having an adverse effect on her riding. She now helps riders improve their body awareness. Find out more at www.equestrianbodyworx.co.uk

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Care

Is your horse happy? Your horse may appear to love his life of luxury – but is he really happy to be ridden, stabled and generally pampered? Time to tap into his mind and find out Words: Andrea Oakes

I

f he’s lucky enough to have the basics of food, shelter and companionship – plus a few extra home comforts on the side – you’d think the average horse would be feeling pretty good about life. Some owners will even sacrifice their own needs to provide their horses with luxuries such as top quality rugs, transport and tuition. But are our horses really satisfied with the lifestyle we’ve chosen for them? Is it possible for stabled horses to be happy, even though this seems to go against everything nature

intended? And do they actually enjoy being ridden, especially when we step up the training and start to compete? While we can all recognise the tail-swishing, ears-flattened signs of anger or irritation, horses don’t always make it so obvious when trying to tell us how they really feel. So we’ve asked some top equine behaviourists and scientists to help us read the sometimes very subtle clues our horses are giving us, and suggest ways in which we can create the best possible environment for horse happiness.

Meet the behaviour experts

Dr Debbie Marsden

is an equine behaviour consultant – find out more at www. debbiemarsden.co.uk

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Ben Hart

is a horse behaviour expert and trainer – visit his website at www.harts horsemanship.com

Dr Carol Hall is principle lecturer at the School of Animal, Rural and Environmental Sciences at Nottingham Trent University


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Care

Pinna (outer ear)

Ear canal Ear drum

Skull

Meet the expert Richard Sutcliffe

Richard Sutcliffe BVM&S, MRCVS specialises in equine care at Bishopton Veterinary Group in Ripon, North Yorkshire – part of the XLVets group. For more information visit www.bishoptonvets.co.uk or www.xlvets.co.uk

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Inner ear Middle ear


VETADVICE

Ears pricked!

The inside story They hear, they move, they express emotion – your horse’s ears are an amazing feature, and here we answer your questions and explain how to ensure they stay in tip top condition

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ost of us know a great deal about our horse’s hooves, eyes, teeth, back and legs, but what do we The equine ear is split into three main areas, the outer ear, the middle ear and the inner ear.

The middle ear

ear canal

The outer ear

Just as in humans, the horse’s eardrum is a membrane, on which the soundwaves bounce creating vibrations. It’s connected to three small bones, the hammer, anvil and stirrup. These bones create a bridge between the eardrum and inner ear through which the vibrations are carried. stirrup anvil hammer

discuss everything from aural plaques to clipping the ears with expert advice from vet Richard Sutcliffe.

The inner ear The horse’s inner ear contains the cochlea and three separate tubes that create the semicircular canals. In this part of the ear, the soundwaves are collected in the tubes of the cochlea, picked up by nerve cells and converted into nerve impulses. Once received by the brain these nerve impulses are interpreted as audible sounds. This part of the ear is also responsible for maintaining the auditory horse’s balance. nerve leading to brain

eardrum

eustachian tube

cochlea

semicircular canals

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Illustrations: Samantha J Elmhurst BA Hons, www.livingart.org.uk

The main outer structure of the horse’s ear, the part we’re all familiar with, is called the pinna. The pinna moves to collect sound which travels through the air in soundwaves. The pinna creates a funnel down into the horse’s head. Inside the head, the end of this funnel bends on an angle to meet the eardrum.

really know about our horse’s ears? If your answer is very little, don’t worry – we’re here to answer your questions and


Care

Fit for purpose Words: Katy Islip

Bringing your horse back into work is a labour of love, but once you’ve got him to a decent level of base fitness it’s time for the real work to start. Follow our experts’ tips for keeping him safe and healthy as he gets fit for 2012

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hether you just enjoy a longer hack from time to time or have your sights set on competition success, making sure your horse is fit for the work you ask him to do will make a big difference to his performance. However, increasing your horse’s workload comes with its own risks and challenges, from tendon injuries to tying up. Here, our experts give you the information you need to keep your horse healthy and safe as you get him hot to trot in 2012.

sure your aims are achievable and realistic. Vet Gil Riley says: “Injuries can often occur when you increase exercise, so you must have a disciplined fittening programme that’s been planned in advance and makes sense, it can’t be higgledy piggledy.” Having a plan and sticking to it will mean your progress will be steady and your horse will be able to cope with the changes you’re making.

FIRST THINGS FIRST – PLANNING

The most important thing to remember when preparing to increase your horse’s work is that all changes should be gradual and consistent to give him time to build his strength and stamina safely. Take the time to form a plan of action with your instructor or trainer – write it down and make

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Form a plan and get it written down


Meet the experts Gil is a vet who specialises in equine care. A regular Your Horse expert, he works at the Pool House Veterinary Group and Equine Clinic.

Ali Howe

Ali is the equine consultant for LitoVet, a 100% natural joint supplement. She’s a keen rider and has worked in the equine industry for nearly 15 years.

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Photo: Bob Langrish

Gil Riley


Improve your position

Get ahead Tilting the head down or to the side will affect your riding position

Pelvic control Positional faults nearly always stem from the pelvis

Crooked in the saddle Many riders sit to one side without realising it

Meet the expertS Andy Thomas

Andy is Equestrian Team GBR’s physiotherapist and co-ordinates all aspects of rider performance. He looks after all the disciplines – eventing, dressage, para dressage and show jumping – and works closely with the whole support team, including coaches, vets, doctors, equine physios and farriers.

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Russell Guire

Russell, of Centaur Biomechanics, specialises in horse and rider performance analysis. This uses the latest software and techniques to help improve performance and maintain soundness of both the horse and rider. Since 2007, Russell has been working with riders on both the World Class Programme and Team GBR and provides video and biomechanical analysis to riders in all disciplines.


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Straighten up It’s all too easy to let bad habits creep into our riding, often without realising – but these niggling faults can have a huge effect on our horse’s way of going. To discover more, and find out how to correct them, we joined the experts on a special testing day Words: Allison Lowther

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s riders, we’re all looking for ways to improve our performance in the saddle. It doesn’t matter whether we simply hack out or aim to compete at the highest level, we’re constantly learning and wanting to get better. However, as we juggle busy lives and office jobs, it’s all too easy to slip into bad postural habits which then alter our position in the saddle. Even if we make every effort to keep our posture in check, a bad fall or injury may leave us unbalanced – often without us even realising. The good news is that making a few minor

High-tech approach To help carry out and record the results from each rider, as well as visually assess them, a Pliance system was used. This is a sensor mat with over 200 sensors that’s placed under the saddle directly on the horse’s back then sends readings to a computer via Bluetooth. As each test is being carried out, the readings are analysed and displayed as three moving graphs and colour images on the computer.

adjustments and corrections to our own position, and strengthening our ‘core’, can transform the way our horses go, too. The key is understanding what we’re doing wrong and taking steps to correct this – both in and out of the saddle. To understand what we should be doing – and why – we joined the experts from the Society of Master Saddlers as they spent a day putting seven riders through a series of exercises. Their mission? To see if simple exercises can iron out imbalances in their bodies and positively affect symmetry and balance in the saddle.

‘Hot’ red or pink areas indicate harmful pressure points. The Pliance system can gather data at all paces and when the horse is jumping, too. A number of saddle manufacturers use the system when designing new saddles. The Pliance system shows pressure points

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Gear

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For more gear reviews go to www.yourhorse.co.uk

BigTest

Cooler rugs We tested 13 cooler rugs – find out how well they performed and which ones you should consider buying

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cooler rug can be a versatile item to have as part of your horse’s wardrobe. They come in a number of different materials designed to help regulate his temperature or help cool him down without him catching cold. YH gear editor Allison Lowther has tested 13 different coolers on her two horses Wish and Jester to see which ones performed best. She used the following criteria to score the rugs:

Hy Waffle rug £28.99 Fit 0

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6

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10

Performance 0

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4

6

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10

Value for money 0

2

4

6

8

10

18

24

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Total 19/30 0

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This lightweight cotton waffle rug was easy to handle. It was generous around the neck which meant the chest area sat quite low and the rug slipped back. The material is quite stretchy and started to lose its shape after a few uses. It kept my two horses warm but it wasn’t the most effective at cooling and drying. Both were still quite damp after 20 minutes wearing the rug. Not my favourite, but it’s reasonably priced.

Lightweight rug at a reasonable price Colours Navy/light blue, navy/pink Sizes 4ft 6in to 7ft Contact www.battles.co.uk/hy

been wicked to the outside of the rug and if the rug was damp on the inside. Allison took into account the fact that Jester has a full clip and Wish has a chaser clip as she has a relatively thin winter coat. Value for money Finally, considering her comments on fit and performance Allison decided whether each cooler rug was good value for money and if she would recommend you to buy it for your horse.

Fit She assessed how well each cooler fitted and whether it was easy to handle and use. She also commented on whether the rug slipped or rubbed. Performance Allison washed Wish and Jester down with warm water, then removed any excess water with a sweat scraper before putting the cooler rugs on. The rugs were left on for approximately 20 minutes. She noted how dry each horse was after the rug was removed, whether moisture had

Bridleway checked fleece rug Set £34.95 Fit 0

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10

8

10

Performance 0

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Value for money 0

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Total 22/30 0

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A classic fleece rug which fitted nicely and didn’t slip or move very much. It’s lightweight and easy to use but I didn’t find it was as good a cooler rug as some of the others in this test. It’d be nice to have as a travel rug but I’d choose others in this test to use as a cooler rug. It comes with four fleece bandages and a tail guard.

Classic fleece rug that would make a good travel rug Colour Olive check Sizes 5ft to 7ft Contact 0845 241 9970 or www.bridlewayequestrian.com

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Gear

BUYERS’GUIDE

Long casual boots A pair of long casual boots are almost a necessity these days, whether you wear them with jeans or use them as yard boots. Pick your favourites from this great selection

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For more gear reviews go to www.yourhorse.co.uk

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pLUs

stallion alth he ensure he’s at

al tack speci three of advice from rs the best top ride

his best for the covering season

o.uk www.horsedeals.c

.co.UK horsedeaLs

to Last chance

win a £28,700

horsebox

HORSE D FIRST FOR BUYING

Sell your horse the fast and easy way from only £15.99

Selling your horse? We have over 80,000* potential buyers! Selling success

*Web & print – source publisher’s statement

Fiona Bowery advertised her horse on Horse Deals and sold it to the first caller, at the full asking price. She paid £49.99 for the top package, which included unlimited online listing and a large print ad.

SOLD

“The buyer was within one hour of my location – the magazine is not even out yet, and I’ve sold my horse! I would definitely use Horse Deals again!” Fiona Bowery Lancashire

Get your advert uploaded today and placed in the only buying and selling focused equine magazine Visitwww.horsedeals.co.ukorcallourexpertteamon01733395007 Like Horse Deals on facebook

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E DEALS

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Horse Deals is the sister publication to Your Horse Magazine


On Sale 26 JAN

NEXT MONTH IN Your Horse Join the youth club!

Expert help and advice to give your youngster the best start, including… • The real cost of owning a young horse • Feeding for good health and success • Your bitting problems solved • How to develop his balance • What your youngster’s really thinking

PLUS...

● Exclusive interview with

dressage star Roland Tong ● Jumping advice from eventer Alex Peternell ● How to guarantee troublefree loading, hacking & more ● Buyers’ guide to stirrups & bridles on test

a new kind of hacking 1 you r

hor se

How hacking can help your dressage usingg the scales of trainin

PLUS

Find out ho place in t w his he herd affects yo ur ho performa rse’s nce

Your Horse 356  

This month we’re looking ahead to 2012 and thinking about how we can all prepare to get the best from the coming New Year. So, in this issue...

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