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Your Horse 369 february 2013

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Be a Better rider, get the Best est from your horse • Coping with viCes • total ConfidenCe • new and improved Buying seCtion • gridwork • Bonding tips • real life

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- the golden rules



Expert advice to help you become a braver rider, feel safe and enjoy every ride

Your goal is to feel safe and secure every time you ride

your horse february 2013

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Confidence skills for you and your horse this month

Ride on a loose rein

Keep him moving

Tackle turning

Ditch your saddle

Feel in control

gain his respect

Be at one with your horse It’s time to start loving every single ride as Natural Horsewoman Emma Massingale helps you confront your confidence demons


ast month we launched our brand new series and so began your journey to Total Confidence. Using special techniques your coach, Debbie Percy, gave you the tools you need to manipulate your mind from the ground and now it’s time to conquer your confidence when on board. Emma, your coach this month, has a wealth of knowledge and methods to help you and your horse gain confidence in each other and ultimately become the happy partnership you want to be. “I hope I can improve the lives of both horses and riders out there and ensure every horse owner has a good bond with their horse,” says Emma. “I can’t wait to get started and share my ideas and techniques with you and I hope you can get something from it to help you to feel more confident.”

This month, with Emma’s help and guidance you’ll learn: ●●How to develop a secure and independent seat with ease ●●Ways to encourage your horse to want to be with you ●●How to feel confident throughout the paces, even without a saddle and very little rein contact! ●●Ways to get your horse listening to your aids and obediently moving off your leg ●●How to feel confident when riding in open spaces ●●The key to being relaxed and confident in a competition environment Get ready to develop that all-important trusting partnership with your horse – it’s time to leave your riding demons behind and be at one with him, so you can both succeed at whatever you want to do together!

ouR EXpERT EMMa MassingalE is a Natural Horsewoman who’s spent many years travelling the world, developing her skills working with horses. She knows just how to build that crucial, strong relationship with our fourlegged friends. To find out more visit www.emma

Learn more online • Watch exclusive videos online Throughout the series you can watch videos from your coaches online. Visit www. and click on the name of the expert whose

video you’d like to see. This month Emma shows you what she does best with some entertaining videos of her and her horses.

• Chat to your coaches live! Join Emma for a live Total Confidence web chat on 28 January 2013 where you can ask her your questions direct – log on to uk/emmachat and find out how you can take part. Can’t wait

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until then? Email your questions to getinvolved@yourhorse. today, put ‘confidence’ in the subject box and you could see your questions answered by our experts in next month’s Total Confidence.

Coming up Turn to page 24 where Jason Webb will help you confidently conquer canter and Richard Maxwell will help you to get respect from your horse.

february 2013 your horse

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Easy-to-follow expert advice for beginners to advanced riders

your horse february 2013

page 40


page 46

Warming up

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page 49

start afresh

page 54


This month in Better Riding 32

private lesson Top advice for fear-free show jumping 39 essential know-how Benefits of serpentines 40 enjoy gridwork Golden rules for success

46 essential know-how Two top warm-up exercises 49 new year, new start Build a positive foundation with these simple exercises 54 essential know-how Crack counter-canter

Private Lesson Trainer John Adams takes the fear factor out of show jumping with advice to improve your control, straightness and turns

Becoming a stronger partnership

Meet the trainer John AdAms has ridden since childhood and spent several years in Germany training and working with show jumpers. Upon returning to the UK he spent 12 years riding and producing young jumpers. He’s been teaching riders of all levels for almost 20 years, specialising in show jumping.

Lisa and Tinkerbell have been together for just over a year, and it’s clear Tinkerbell’s an educated and athletic horse. Lisa tells me she competed up to BE100 with a previous rider so we know she’s experienced and knows her job. They’ve already enjoyed going cross-country together but, like many riders still getting to know a new horse, Lisa feels a lack of confidence at times, especially when it comes to controlling Tinkerbell’s speed. For this reason she’s avoided show jumping because she’s scared of jumping in a small area. It’s common to feel you lack brakes when you’re jumping in an arena, but working in an enclosed space can help hone everything from your steering to your control. If you can ride your horse well in a small area and have him square to fences, outside jumping becomes easier too – in open spaces concentration can be harder and there’s more space for horses to Like a lot of riders, Lisa needs to work on her confidence

Meet the rider

At the start of the lesson Lisa lacks control after every fence

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LisA mAncuso has had 11-yearold, 15.1hh Tinkerbell for a year. Although they both love cross-country, Lisa worries about her control when it comes to show jumping. She’d also like help with her approaches to fences so she can achieve a more uniform jump each time.

get quicker, longer and flatter. To help Lisa feel more in control, we’re going to work on her ability to bring Tinkerbell to fences on a straight line in a level canter. If you’re balanced, can ride quality turns and have your horse equal between both reins you’ll feel far more confident and in control straight away, without having to even focus on the jumps. Lisa’s also feeling out of control moving away from fences, so we’ll work on how she can ride Tinkerbell forward into a positive canter, rather than worrying about slowing her down. For most riders, the fences aren’t the problem – it’s usually 5% the jump, and 95% the flatwork. Marrying the two is the hard bit, mastering your corners and maintaining your concentration. But the simple exercises we’re going to run through will really help you improve your riding over fences, so you’ll be show jumping confidently in no time.

The lesson focus To improve Lisa’s confidence and control ● To set up and ride balanced turns ● To achieve a straight and level approach to fences – and work on her style as she rides away ●

february 2013 your horse

your horse february 2013

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Better Riding

Golden rules of gridwork

Enjoy gridwork and make every session count with advice from our experts in eventing, show jumping and course designing

Words Larissa Chapman OUR EXPERTS

Nick TuRNeR began life as a show jumper before switching to eventing in the 1990s. He’s since competed at Badminton, Burghley, Bramham and Blenheim and internationally. Nick now enjoys training riders of all levels.


orking your horse over a grid of fences will help to improve his balance, suppleness and confidence – all crucial elements for a successful clear round, plus it’s a nice way to vary his jump work. But before you start, it’s important to get your distances correct and build your horse’s confidence with a structured gridwork plan. Our experts are here to help you do just that, so read on for their tips and advice and discover how to: ● Build an effective grid, set at the right distances for your horse ● Introduce small fences, from cross-poles to uprights ● Vary your grid to simulate the angles and scenarios you’re likely to face over a course

feel The BeNefiTs

Mia koReNika is a British Showjumping (BS) accredited coach who provides jumping tuition for all levels of horse and rider. You might have been lucky enough to see her demo at Your Horse Live in November.

do it right and gridwork can be great fun!

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Mike BeNfield is a BS course designer, who builds courses from 60cm to national classes at 1.40m. He’s also well-known on the Pony Club circuit, building courses for numerous clubs.

Gridwork has many benefits for you and your horse. Eventer Nick Turner outlines its benefits: ● It encourages your horse to be more reactive off your aids and make a better shape over fences ● It improves his rhythm over fences ● It helps you both to improve your balance ● Different fences and distances between fences teach him to

lengthen and shorten his strides It enables you to be more aware of your position ● You’ll also become more aware of your horse’s straightness ● It helps you to ride fences more accurately ● It increases your confidence when jumping ● It also improves the suppleness of you and your horse ● It improves his bascule over fences However, to get the best from every session you need to set your poles and fences at the correct distances. “You should measure a distance between fences of about 11-12ft,” explains British Showjumping (BS) course designer Mike Benfield. “These distances are variable depending on your horse’s stride and the level of horse and rider riding through the grid. If your horse is struggling to make the distance, you can shorten it. “Start with a mixture of poles on the ground and cross fences set at a distance of 11-12ft. Once he’s mastered this, you can remove fences in the grid to create a new distance of 22-24ft between fences, which is a really nice distance to train at. “Do it properly and gridwork is a great training exercise to get your horse thinking forward and concentrating on the job in hand.” ●

learn how to build a grid properly before you start

february 2013 your horse

Winter warm-ups We’ve enlisted the help of riding instructor Anne Ratcliffe to bring you two perfect warm-ups for both schooling and hacking


inter days can be cold and windy, both conditions that can put your horse on his toes and make him a little sharper than usual, so it’s important to warm him up well before you ride, whatever your discipline. Read on for our expert Anne Ratcliffe’s top warm-ups for hacking and schooling. your horse february 2013

The perfect warm-up for hacking OUR EXPERT Anne RATcliffe is a BHS II and BHS Stable Manager with an MSc. in Equine Studies. To contact Anne, email her on: carolineratcliffe@

Your hacking warm-up will be determined by the area you’re in, be it on the roads or in open countryside. On a hack, your main aim should be to keep your horse moving forwards, without sacrificing your control. Leg-yield is a great way to keep your horse listening to your aids while at the same time moving forwards. If the

area permits, such as a quiet lane or track, leg-yield from one side of the track to the other. This can be done in walk or trot. Aim for a set number of strides in each direction or use landmarks to aim for such as from one fencepost or tree to the next. Then try riding a set number of strides in walk followed by a set w w r hor se .co.u k

Essential Know-how

Better Riding

spend the first 10 minutes in walk, but keep your horse thinking

The perfect warm-up for schooling The first 10 minutes of your warm-up should be spent in walk. Try to keep your horse thinking, so he doesn’t become distracted and mess about. Riding plenty of turns and small circles and changing direction frequently will help with this. Riding figures of eight is great for suppleness and keeping your horse’s mind on the job. Aim to make the circles about 10m to 15m in size. Once warmed up in walk you can then progress to trot and continue with the figure of eight theme, but now make the circles a little larger, aim for 15m to 20m circles if you can.

It’s important to keep your horse responsive to both the upward and downward transition aids. With this in mind, try working between paces. Start with walk-trot-walk transitions, keeping the periods of each pace short, for example 15 strides of trot followed by seven to 10 strides of walk. You can then use trot to canter transitions, with about 20 strides of each pace. If you find your horse is a little resistant to the downward transition, then instead of just going from canter to trot, continue the downward transition from trot through to walk and even through to halt if the brakes aren’t working.

WaRm UP safEly Whether you’re a happy hacker or a schooling demon, make sure you warm yourself and your horse up properly to avoid injury.

anne’s top tips

Your hacking warm-up will be determined by the area you’re in

number in trot, for example 20 walk strides followed by 40 trot strides. Pay particular attention to changing your diagonal about every 20 strides, this way you’ll ensure your horse works evenly on both sides. Finally, when cantering on a hack it’s easy to get carried away with the excitement, but try to be aware of which canter lead your horse is on, and work him equally on both. w w r hor se .co.u k

Give him A GRoom While getting your horse ready for ridden work in winter, to ensure he doesn’t get cold, keep a rug over him when grooming and tacking up. The effort of grooming (if done correctly) should warm you up too. However it’s also beneficial to do some stretching exercises so your body is ready to deal effectively with your horse.

Use An exeRcise sheeT An exercise sheet for your horse can be a very useful item – a horse who feels warm and comfortable in his back and hindquarters will be less volatile to ride. Sheets that can be removed while mounted once your horse is warmed up are particularly useful when schooling, while the high visibility ones are great for hacking.

TRY some lUnGe WoRK If you have access to an arena or enclosed area with good ground, working your horse on the lunge for 10 to 15 minutes prior to riding can sometimes be beneficial. This is a great way to warm his muscles, get rid of excess energy and lets you judge how he’s feeling on that day. Lunge work can be done with your horse fully tacked up and ready to go – get straight on board and he won’t get chilled.

february 2013 your horse


our Horse has teamed up with the Castle Leslie Estate and In The Saddle to offer one lucky reader an incredible three-night riding holiday for two people in Ireland. This fantastic prize includes accommodation for two people (sharing a room) at the stunning Castle Leslie Estate in Co. Monaghan, nine hours riding and half-board. Plus the riding programme you’ll receive will be catered to your own ability so you can simply enjoy this wonderful rural escape at your own pace. There are 1,000 acres of private estate

to ride over with 21 miles of bridleways and a mile-long all-weather gallop. The estate also boasts 300 cross-country jumps ranging from knee-high to knee tremblingly high! For rainy days there’s even a 50m x 30m indoor arena with indoor cross-country fences. Castle Leslie Estate is a stunningly beautiful estate where riders of all ability and experience are welcome to stay and enjoy tuition in dressage, show jumping and cross-country or simply to experience some gentle hacks across gorgeous countryside. And with around 25 horses and ponies to choose from


One reader will win an incredible riding holiday worth £1,154

there’s a steed to suit every rider. The Lodge is next to the Equestrian Centre where it’s perfectly located for those who wish to explore the countryside and parkland on horseback. It tends to be the social hub of the estate and brings locals and guests together to enjoy the restaurant and bar. The 29 rooms and the stable courtyard have been lovingly restored and reflect many period features and original character. ● For more information on riding

holidays from In The Saddle visit

To enter visit and answer this question How many cross-country jumps does the Castle Leslie Estate boast? a. 250 b. 300 c. 350 Closing date: 24 January 2013 Terms & conditions: Please note accommodation may be at the Lodge or the Castle (depending on the season) and flights are not included in this prize. Please read the full terms and conditions at when you enter this competition. w w r hor se .co.u k

February 2013 your horse

Revive your riding

Better Riding

Whatever your aims, getting the basics right will help you look and feel the part

Wipe the slate clean

If you don’t feel you’ve reached your potential with your horse, start 2013 by stripping back your training to build strong foundations for future success Words Katy Islip Photography Matthew Roberts


Vikki Hayton is a BHSI, a British Dressage trainer and judge, and a British Eventing trainer who’s trained horses to Grand Prix level. Find out more at www.collegefarm. com or call 07860 276578.


hen things aren’t going so well with your horse it can be natural to feel you don’t know where to start to turn things around, but there’s no need to feel overwhelmed. We all go through it and there’s a solution. By stripping your training back and working on key principles including straightness, quality paces and suppleness, you and your horse will build a stronger

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bond, enjoy clearer communication and be well prepared for achieving your 2013 aims. We’ve recruited expert trainer and rider Vikki Hayton to guide you through some simple but hugely effective exercises that will help you build a positive foundation for the future – read on for her advice and get started today. She’ll help you: ● Discover the benefits of working long and low

Reset your rhythm with transitions within canter ● Help your horse work in selfcarriage through using crystalclear aids ● Develop your discipline so you can achieve straightness ● Harness the power of positive transitions to build his strength ● Improve his trot to enhance your communication and balance ● Learn how shoulder-in will help him be supple and engaged ●

february 2013 your horse

Christopher Bartle The top rider and trainer talks frankly about training the German team, his Olympic memories and why he has Katy Perry on the brain Words Larissa Chapman Photography Matthew Roberts


s we thaw out in the Yorkshire Riding Centre office, Christopher greets us with a huge, infectious smile and escorts us upstairs to an old lecture room where we get settled for our interview. It’s the day after the USA presidential elections, so after discussing all manner of things from the weather to our journey up to Yorkshire, talk turns to who is occupying The White House for the next four years. After airing our opinions on Barack Obama, we turn our thoughts to the job in hand and topics more equine based. Christopher is a world-renowned rider who’s ridden at the highest level in not one, but two main disciplines, dressage and eventing. He’s taken dressage all the way to the Olympics and reached the dizzy heights of four-star eventing, even winning Badminton Horse Trials in 1998. With all this success under his belt, he’s now a well-respected trainer, coaching the German three-day event team. Sitting next to such a high profile rider and trainer is a real privilege, and I cannot wait to find out more about the person behind the name.

What’s it like teaching the German three-day event team?

I’ve been teaching the German team for 12 years now. I was quite intimidated by them at first, but they’ve been very receptive to my teaching and on the whole, a real pleasure to teach. Don’t get your horse february 2013

me wrong, some are easier than others, but I do really enjoy it. The great thing about the Germans as a group is that they’ve all been brought up with a solid basis in their riding. From the word go they’ve learnt to ride in a very systematic way – just look at the German scales of training – which has given them a good, solid foundation. I’ve then been able to build on this with some of my own personal experience and some techniques from the French school of equitation to achieve some good results.

‘I did a bit of everything as a child, from hunting to dressage’

We have to ask, where do your allegiances lie – UK or Germany?

I don’t see the team in a nationalistic way, I see them as my guys and my team. I have a very personal relationship with them so naturally, as their coach, I want them to succeed.

You started out as a jockey – is this originally what you wanted to do?

I actually started out riding at a riding school – my mother founded the Yorkshire Riding Centre (YRC) in 1963. I did a bit of everything when I was a child, from hunting to dressage, but after I finished university I became interested in racing and did two seasons at a National Hunt yard. I rode as an amateur in some professional races and I absolutely loved it. There were two reasons why I stopped, one was my height and weight which were very much against me. The second was that I probably wasn’t the most w w r hor se .co.u k

Celebrity Interview

Turn over for Christopher’s answers to your questions w w r hor se .co.u k

february 2013 your horse

Let’s build these boys a home! Little and large Horse Trust residents Teddy and Klyde urgently need new stables and with your help we want to raise the £5,000 that will pay for them – are you in?


he moment we heard The Horse Trust was appealing for help to re-build its famous Home of Rest for Horses in Buckinghamshire we knew we had to take action. This incredible charity has been hard at work since 1886, and to this day its Home of Rest continues to provide specialist retirement and respite for up to 100 horses, ponies and donkeys at a time. Inevitably, over the years time’s taken its toll on stables and buildings. Leaking roofs and rotten walls have been patched up to best effect, but temporary fixes are simply no longer sustainable or cost effective, leaving the charity in desperate need of help to fund an essential re-build. That’s where we come in. There are thousands of Your Horse readers out there and we on the Your Horse team are confident that together we could be a fundraising force to be reckoned with – imagine what we could raise if we all donated just £1! So if you’re feeling inspired we’d love your help to raise enough money to build two of the stables the Trust so desperately needs – one for Teddy and one for Klyde. Let’s meet the boys who need your help.

Little Theodore, fondly known as Teddy, had a tough start in life when he was abandoned on a roadside in Buckinghamshire at just eight weeks old. He was discovered starving and alone with no sign of his mum, extremely underweight and riddled with worms. The odds were against this little chap but with round-the-clock care from staff at The Horse Trust, Teddy won the hearts of everyone he met as he slowly recovered from his ordeal. He loves cuddles and whinnies whenever he hears footsteps near his stable. Now he’s happy and well but in need of a smart, dinky stable to suit his size and style so he can live his life as the happy chappy he’s shown he can be.


Donate at: www.horsetru £1 will do but if you’re feeling generous please dig deep

your horse february 2013

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Helping The Horse Trust

Affectionately known as ‘Klydascope’ or ‘Stranton’, Klyde came to The Horse Trust in July 2012 from the Cleveland Police Mounted Section. At 19hh he was thought to be the largest police horse in the country and is now the largest member of The Horse Trust herd! In his policing days he was ridden at hundreds of football matches, led numerous parades and even appeared on the TV programme ‘Flog It’ where the host was allowed to ride him! Now Klyde is bursting out of his current stable and needs a new one that’s big enough to keep him in comfort!

Why should you help?



Asking you lovely lot to dig deep and donate is a big ask we know, we’re all pinching pennies – especially at this time of year, but this really is a fantastic cause and we’d love all of your support (pretty please with a cherry on top!). Just think, by working together we could help to build something that will offer a lifetime of security to some amazing horses and ponies like Teddy and Klyde. There are loads of ways you can help us raise funds. Perhaps you fancy running a yard sale, you could hold a fun bake-off at work or (if you’re feeling energetic) perhaps you could embark on a sponsored walk or run? However you fancy raising money, your support means everything to The Horse Trust. To share ideas online and find out who else is supporting our campaign head to and get chatting to your fellow readers – happy fundraising!

Help us spread the word As well as donating and fundraising, you can spread the word and urge your friends and family to help our campaign too – along with word of mouth, Facebook and Twitter are powerful fundraising tools, so see who you can inspire by the power of social networking. Tell them what we’re up to and how they can help, or send them to for all the info. – each month we’ll show you how much we’ve raised w w r hor se .co.u k

february 2013 your horse

‘We owe him eve Horses touch our lives in many ways, but for some they make a life-changing difference. Here we meet three people who’ve experienced just that


or some of us, our horses are more than just a pet or a hobby, they’re a lifeline, a soul mate and a rock. Take Katie Lewis for example, whose horse helped her battle leukaemia, and Rian Pogson, whose horse has helped him to reconnect with a

your horse february 2013

life affected by autism. Plus we chat to former young offender and prison inmate, Jim, whose life has been transformed thanks to his work with these amazing creatures. You can read all of their heart-warming stories over the next few pages.

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Real Life

Rian Pogson, his mum Diane and dad Andy with Storm

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february 2013 your horse

Charities fear more than 6,000 horses could be at risk this winter as the equine population faces its biggest crisis for decades

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Horses in need

Help stop the welfare crisis

With thousands of equines at risk of becoming rescue cases this winter, we discover what we can do to halt the looming crisis facing our horses


s winter kicks in, the recession bites harder and cashstrapped charities struggle to cope with a mounting equine welfare crisis, the future looks bleak for the thousands of horses who are teetering on the brink of becoming welfare concerns over the coming weeks – either because their owners are struggling to look after them or their ownership’s unclear. Such is the scale of the problem, six of the biggest equine charities in the UK have united to highlight the issue and appeal for help from horse lovers. “The organisations are at breaking point,” says Roly Owers, chief executive of World Horse Welfare. And with more than 2,800 horses already in the care of rescue centres, Roly admits there’s a severe shortage of available places for horses in need

of urgent help. “We’re aware of an additional 6,000 horses that could be at risk this winter – but we couldn’t cope if even a fraction of this number needed to be rescued,” he adds. It’s one of the biggest crises ever to hit the UK’s horse population – the ongoing problems of overbreeding and overstocked rescue homes exacerbated by tough economic times. So what can we do to help, and how can we ease the burden for over-stretched welfare charities? Here we explore the problems and chat to the experts at the ‘coalface’ whose working lives are spent dealing with at-risk horses. Read on to discover: ● The extent of the problem, as well as its main causes ● The pressures faced by the UK’s biggest equine charities ● What we can do to help – both as individuals and as a nation

The problem in numbers 1,000,000 – the estimated equine population in the UK ● 50% – the rise in the number of horses equine charity World Horse Welfare has taken into its centres since 2006 ● 304 – the number of horses taken in by the RSPCA between April 2011 and March 2012 (more than twice the number rescued over the same period in the year before) ● £5 – the amount ponies often go for at sales as overbreeding has saturated the market ● 3% – the capacity left in rescue centres, which are virtually full and can only offer homes to extreme welfare cases ●

Rescuing horses who’ve been abandoned is just one of the problems faced by charities

PHoto: RedWingS

MAin PHoto: BRitiSH HoRSe SoCiety

THe big six United in trying to avert a crisis for Britain’s 6,000-plus horses labeled ‘at risk’ are the UK’s six biggest equine charities – World Horse Welfare, Redwings, the RSPCA, The Blue Cross, the British Horse Society and Horse World.

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Buyers’ Guide

How hi-vis could save your life Hi-vis gear could be the difference between life and death for you and your horse. Buyers’ Guide Editor Allison Lowther asks why we’re not all wearing it


ost of us have to ride on the roads these days where traffic is a risk to our safety. Surely, therefore, it’s common sense to make sure you and your horse are clearly visible to other road users. How can you expect cars and other traffic to slow down to pass you if they can’t see you until the last second? Research has shown that drivers can

spot a rider in hi-vis gear several seconds earlier than a less visible one – yet many riders still don’t wear it. I’m amazed at the number of riders I see out hacking who don’t wear any form of hi-vis. But what I really don’t understand is why, when it’s foggy or generally dull, some riders think it’s a good idea to hack out wearing dark clothing and expect cars and other vehicles to see them and slow down!

There’s no law that riders must wear hi-vis clothing, but it’s in your best interests to do so whatever the weather. Not only will drivers see you sooner, but it also means you can be seen when you’re riding off-road too. Low flying helicopter pilots will be able to spot you sooner and take avoiding action where possible. And if you fall off in the open countryside, the police helicopter or air ambulance will see you much sooner.

Wearing hi-vis gear can give motorists an extra three seconds to see you and take appropriate action – in the photos above the riders on the right are at greater risk

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february 2013 your horse

If applied correctly thermography can be used as part of a veterinary investigation

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Buyers’ Guide

Thermography uncovered

Thermography is being used more and more across the UK, but how useful is it? We find out more about this new diagnostic tool and the role it has to play in the horse world


hermography has primarily been used in veterinary medicine to assist lameness investigation, but more recently it's being used for other applications where the results are more inconclusive. The process is 100% safe and simply involves taking a series of images of your horse and can normally be done at your own yard. There are two types of thermographic testing, industrial and medical grade. For an accurate diagnosis it’s crucial the correct type is selected. Industrial technology was originally developed for military/domestic applications, however this is now sometimes used on horses without any veterinary interpretation. Medical grade technology is registered and approved for use in human medicine. Results with this grade of technology are provided by veterinary specialists and it’s this technology that’s now available from many veterinary practices. It’s important to remember that thermography is not a stand-alone diagnostic. Where X-ray and ultrasound are tests of structure, thermography is a test of physiology and measures the body’s response to a condition. When

applied correctly as part of a veterinary investigation, thermography has been recognised as a useful tool in the early identification of musculoskeletal and neurological injuries, especially in cases of non-specific (and difficult to diagnose) lameness. Vets have also found it beneficial when monitoring response to treatment and recovery. Thermography is one of the most difficult diagnostic tests to interpret accurately and a trained vet is needed to provide results which your own vet can work from. Despite images being so visual, heat doesn’t always equal dysfunction – very often it’s the subtle changes which indicate a problem. It’s essential that thermography images are read by trained vets – they’re no different from X-rays or an MRI which need interpreting by your vet. Catriona Shaw, BVM&s DBR OV MRCVS from Hillcrest Animal Hospital, says: “I can't stress enough the importance of the scans being viewed for results by a qualified veterinary surgeon. This method of diagnostics needs to be used the same as you would X-rays, to ensure you gain correct treatment and maximum benefit from the procedure."

When using thermography, remember: ●●Thermography cannot see structure and won't replace anatomical tests like X-ray, ultrasound and MRI ●●Thermography isn't a stand-alone diagnostic, and your vet will need to take the investigation further to confirm scan results, just as they would with other diagnostics ●●Interpretation is key – all results must be reported on by a vet who is trained to


SyncThermology is currently the only company in the UK and Ireland using medical grade technology. It has a team of veterinary thermographer technicians who collect the scans and data, before sending it to their team of vets who are trained to read this type of technology. A full veterinary report is produced and w w r hor se .co.u k

read this technology, and for clinical work medical grade imaging should be used ●●Saddle testing isn't a strong application for this technology. You should always call a saddler first. More research needs to be done on this as we've confirmed that Pliance testing and thermography don't correlate at this time (see following pages)

sent to your practice so your vet can work with you on the best course of treatment. Screen prices start from £80 for region scans to £480 for full body assessments. Insurance companies can cover the cost if it’s referred by your vet. For more information, visit www.

When to use thermography 1. To aSSeSS non SpecIfIc lameneSS

Non specific and difficult-to-diagnose lameness is one of thermography’s main contributions to veterinary medicine. DITI (digital infrared thermal imaging) can help isolate the primary dysfunction as well as detecting secondary conditions which may go unnoticed. Both soft tissue and bone related conditions can be highlighted.

2. for prevenTaTIve care

Thermography can detect abnormality within tendons and ligaments two to four weeks before structural lesions are present. Its ability to measure inflammatory processes helps to localise the initial stages of breakdown and provides a method of preventative detection. It’s also helpful when reviewing early joint changes.

3. To quanTIfy paIn

Thermography is one of the only tests that lets you quantify your horse's subjective feeling of pain. This can be helpful when evaluating complaints that may be related to behaviour.

4. To monITor recovery

Many vets use thermography to monitor the response to treatment during rehabilitation. Thermography can measure the site of injury while keeping an eye on any secondary issues that may be developing due to uneven gait.

over The page find out what happened when thermography was put to the test in a recent study

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Put to the test

Down filled coats We’re confident these four down-filled jackets are sure to keep the heat in and the cold out this coming winter

How we tested them A good quality down-filled jacket has become essential for the last few winters. Most of us are at the yard first thing in the morning and again in the evening when the temperature is dropping. Quite often it can be well below zero and let’s face it, there’s nothing worse than getting cold!

We picked four down-filled jackets to test just how warm they’ll keep you in those low temperatures. Our test started just as temperatures dropped to around 3C to 5C during the day. Some days, the temperature was hovering around zero – perfect conditions to see whether our

jackets kept the cold out. Our testers (YH Buyers’ Guide editor Allison Lowther, YH writer Larissa Chapman and YH readers Georgiaa Kirkman and Harriet Reed) assessed each jacket for its fit and suitability for wearing at the yard and riding – and, of course, warmth.

Features to look for COLLARS Deep collars will help to keep the wind out

HOODS Hoods with extra padding will prevent heat loss from your head

CUFFS Fleece linings at the cuffs and neck will prevent heat from escaping

POCKETS Zipped hand warmer pockets add extra comfort

Buyers’ Guide

How they work

By trapping warm air around your body to create a layer of insulation, down is probably nature’s best insulator. All the jackets in our test are filled with a combination of down – the small, soft and fluffy feather close to the bird’s skin – and feather – exactly what you’d expect, the longer, thicker feathers. For best insulation, look for jackets with a high proportion of down – the more down the warmer the jacket. The mixture is usually expressed in a ratio: ●● 50/50 – usually found in fashion wear designed for cool, not extremely cold, conditions. Most outdoor jackets have a higher ratio than this ●● 80/20 – usually warm enough for even the worst UK cold ●● 90/10 – provides amazing warmth and can be found in more expensive items ●● 95/5 – occasionally used in top-end products for high-altitude, or Arctic/ Antarctic conditions. This ratio is very expensive and hard to get hold of ●● 100/0 – down can’t be sorted that effectively so you’ll never find this ratio!

Down jacket care

Down’s only weakness is that it doesn’t like getting wet and once saturated it clumps together, losing most of its ability to insulate. To get it working properly again, your jacket will need some TLC: ●● Dry with care – pop a tennis ball into a gentle tumble dry cycle with your jacket to help to break up any clumps ●● Protect it – if it’s not waterproof (most are water resistant) and you plan to wear it in damp conditions wear a lightweight waterproof jacket over the top w w r hor se .co.u k

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Hay steamers

Buyers’ Guide

Hay steamers Steaming hay helps keep your horse happy and healthy – we talk to the experts to find out why it’s the way forward


e all know that hay quality fluctuates, especially under the influence of the UK’s random weather, but it’s important to remember that harmful dust and mould spores in hay can cause irritation and affect our horse’s performance. There are, of course, ways of improving this through soaking, or feeding haylage as an alternative, but while hay steaming is a relatively new concept in the horseworld, it’s already proving popular. As well as saving you time and effort hay steaming brings about a bounty of benefits for your horse.

We spoke to the teams at HayGain hay steamers and Happy Horse hay steamers to find out more. Haygain says: “The importance of feeding forage to the stabled horse is well-established. However, all fibre feeds are inherently dusty, which contributes to a poor stable environment, which can have serious consequences on the respiratory health of our horses. “Dust particles from hay can cause Recurrent Airways Obstruction (RAO) in horses and Farmer’s Lung in humans. “One in six horses in the UK are diagnosed with RAO, and 80% of horses stabled for part of the day

suffer some degree of airway inflammation. This just highlights that a dusty stable environment can have serious health and financial implications for all horseowners.” The team at Happy Horse Products says: “We’ve all been told that if you steam your vegetables you retain all the goodness. When we soak hay we lose much of the nutritional value as essential vitamins and minerals are leached out into the soaking water. In comparison, steaming hay ensures all the nutritional goodness is retained in the hay, helping you give your horse a well-balanced, natural diet.”

We asked the experts at HayGain and Happy Horse hay steamers for advice on the process

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february 2013 your horse

Winter breeches are a wise investment

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Put to the test

Buyers’ Guide

Winter breeches

We love the idea of snuggly, water-resistant winter breeches so Buyers’ Guide Editor Allison Lowther tested seven pairs

How we tested them Breeches designed specifically for winter are a relatively new addition to the world of horses – if you haven’t discovered them yet, I’d highly recommend you invest in a pair. We all spend loads of hours outside with our horses in all weathers, whether riding or just caring for them. Without good quality clothing

to help keep us warm and dry, it means we’re all going to be pretty miserable! But now more and more manufacturers have been making the most of advances in modern technical materials to create clothing that will keep us dry and warm in frost, freezing rain or snow.

I’ve worn all seven pairs of breeches to carry out daily tasks at the yard including mucking out and riding. I’ve even worn some of them when I’ve been out competing. November’s particularly cold and wet weather proved to be a real test of the manufacturers’ claims – read on to see how they fared.

Features to look for Outer materIaL A smooth technical fabric which is water resistant so it will keep you dry in a light rain shower

FuLL seat A popular choice which is usually made from a synthetic suede material. It’s designed to give you a bit more security and grip in the saddle

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InsIde A soft fleece lining to help keep you warm and snug

Leg FastenIngs Touch-and-close fastenings are still the usual finish – make sure you can do them up easily otherwise it may irritate your skin. Some manufacturers use a Lycra finish at the bottom which gives a close, comfortable finish

february 2013 your horse


Keep your horse healthy and happy


page 124


page 126

Going barefoot


FOREGUT Pelvic flexure of Colon

Duodenum Right Kidney


Scapula (Shoulder)

Rib Cage

us er m Hu

Body of Caecum

Small Intestine

IllustratIon: samantha J Elmhurst Ba hons

Colon HINDGUT Liver Stomach

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page 130

page 132

Filled legs


This month in Horse Care 118 from mouth to muck Find out what happens to your horse’s food 124 EssEntial know-how Improve your bond 126 going shoElEss Expert advice on how to go

down the barefoot route 130 EssEntial know-how Dealing with filled legs 132 tacklE vicEs we look a the latest research into some of the most common vices

Eat like a horse Your horse’s food goes on quite a journey from mouth to muck heap – we delve into his digestive system to see how it works

Words katy Islip


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ut simply, your horse’s digestive system is responsible for turning food into the energy he needs to function. Also called the alimentary canal or the gastrointestinal tract, this system starts at your horse’s mouth, where he takes his food in through grazing, masticating (chewing) it with his teeth before it’s passed into his oesophagus and swallowed into his stomach. From there, the food’s gradually digested and broken down into one of five basic nutrients – proteins, fats, carbohydrates, water, and vitamins and minerals. As it passes through your horse’s system, specialised areas deal with the different processes involved in absorbing nutrients into the bloodstream, before waste matter is passed out at the far end, so we can enjoy a spot of mucking out or poo picking! Your horse’s digestive system is divided into the foregut and hindgut, with the majority of digestion taking place in the hindgut. That enables him to digest both concentrate feeds and turn cellulose, the hard fibrous structure that gives plants their rigidity, into energy for movement, tissue growth and repair and for maintaining body heat – the very business of life itself. Read on to follow the passage of food through your horse’s complex digestive system, find out what the nutrients he needs actually do, learn more about some common digestive problems and discover how you can support his digestive health so you can make sure your horse stays healthy and happy.

The anatomy of digestion Join us for a journey through your horse’s digestive system as vet Andrea Kilduff guides you through what’s what, from the way in to the way out.


Your horse’s mouth is the start of his digestive system. He uses his lips to gather blades of grass (or other kind of food) together before his front incisor teeth cut it and take it into his mouth, where his tongue moves it around. The back teeth (both premolars and molars) grind the food up and it’s formed into a ball, called a bolus, which is then propelled into the oesophagus.


our EXPErt ANDREA kILDUFF works in equine veterinary practice at 608 Equine and Farm vets in warwick (a member of the Xlvets group). she particularly enjoys internal medicine and ophthamology. For more information visit www .608vetpractice. and www.

The process of chewing triggers the production of saliva in the mandibular, parotid and sublingual glands within your horse’s head. Horses produce around 10-12 litres of saliva every day, which lubricates food and begins the digestion process.

Digestion begins with every mouthful

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Barefoot advice

Horse Care

Going barefoot

Embrace the shoeless approach with help from our guide as we answer key questions and talk to a reader who’s done it

Words Andrea Oakes


OUR EXPERT NIc Barker originally trained in barefoot hoofcare in the US. She is based on Exmoor, where she runs Rockley Farm, an equine rehabilitation centre specialising in hoof problems. Find out more at www.rockleyfarm.

he idea of going shoeless is beginning to gain a foothold in the horse community, thanks to experts like Nic Barker who has a yardful of barefoot hunters and eventers. Although the horses she takes in for rehabilitation at her centre, Rockley Farm, may be

Is barefoot better?

“It can result in a healthier hoof for the horse but it often means more work for the owner,” says Nic. “But let’s start with the term ‘barefoot’, which can be misunderstood. To me, it means a horse who’s working consistently and soundly without shoes, not simply an unbacked youngster or a broodmare. A barefoot horse will thrive on hard work – and miles of it – and this is always a sign of healthy, wellbalanced hooves. Hooves are a mirror for overall health, so a horse who struggles to be comfortable out of shoes often turns out to have an underlying nutritional or metabolic issue.

switching to barefoot because of long-term lameness problems, it’s becoming increasingly common for owners of sound horses to manage them without shoes. If you’re pondering the pros and cons of going barefoot, read on for some sound advice as Nic answers your frequently asked questions.

“Our experience is that shoeing is not essential for performance, as is commonly believed,” she adds. “In fact we find horses performing without shoes suffer fewer injuries, less concussion on the joints and more efficient locomotion. “Shoes do have a use – in some cases they’re a practical way of helping less-than-perfect feet still perform. But most of the horses who come to Rockley Farm for rehab have long-term lameness which has not improved despite remedial farriery. Taking a horse barefoot is not a quick fix but it does focus on strengthening hooves from the inside out.”

How easy is it to go barefoot?

There’s more to going barefoot than just pulling off his shoes

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The farrier is responsible for a shod horse’s feet

“It’s not just a case of pulling off the shoes and hoping for the best, especially if the horse has been shod for a long time,” explains Nic. “There are three important cornerstones – diet, exercise and correct biomechanics (in other words, a limb that’s landing heel first with good medio-lateral balance within the hoof). The hoof is a dynamic part of the body and, like any structure, needs nutrition, stimulus and correct exercise to be healthy and perform at its best. “The responsibility for a shod horse’s feet lies primarily with the farrier, but for a barefoot horse success is mostly down to the owner who has much more responsibility. Any problems in key management areas will become apparent if a horse is worked without shoes. Having a shod horse is probably easier!” february 2013 your horse

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Coping with vices

Horse Care

Tackle vices

Worried horses develop vices to help them cope with life’s demands – so should we interfere or leave them to their stress-busting ways? We explore the latest research to find out

Words Andrea Oakes


OUR EXPERT Dr Debbie MarsDen is an equine behaviour expert who runs courses and clinics for horse owners. Find out more at www. debbiemarsden.

In sTEREO Vices have now been more fairly labelled ‘stereotypies’ – or behavioural sequences that are repetitive and consistent, with no obvious function – and are generally thought to indicate unsuitable management.

hat does a horse have to worry about? Not too much, you’d imagine, as he stands rugged up and warm in his stable awaiting his evening meal. But while he may not be fretting about paying the bills or his next career move, your stabled horse could well be feeling strain of a different sort. Unable to exercise his freedom or indulge his natural urges, he might seek to relieve the stress caused by confinement or isolation by developing his own coping mechanisms. Some horses become more anxious in the stable than others. An inability to cope with restricted movement, food or social contact can lead to undesirable behaviours such as crib-biting, weaving, windsucking and box walking – with these ‘vices’ often regarded as a fault or misbehaviour on the part of the horse, rather than a result of the unnatural environment he’s kept in. In the past, most treatments have used physical intervention to prevent the horse carrying out the activity, such as foul-tasting pastes to deter the crib-biter from latching onto parts of his stable, and stabled horses can feel the strain of everyday life

crib-biting sometimes accompanies windsucking, as seen here

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tight-fitting neck collars that make it harder for the windsucker to gulp down air. However, instead of merely addressing their symptoms, modern thinking seeks to better understand the cause of these behaviours in an attempt to create more effective methods of relief. Here, equine behaviour expert Dr Debbie Marsden helps us understand vices and what they mean to the horse’s psyche, so read on to find out: ● How to identify vices and understand their causes ● Manage everything from crib-biting to weaving ● Know when to intervene – and when to leave well alone


Most horses have their quirks and funny habits, but how do we distinguish between a true stereotypy (or vice) and the kind of learned behaviour problems so commonly seen on the yard? According to Debbie, one of the chief identifying factors is whether or not there is an apparent goal for the horse’s actions. “Stereotypic behaviour is traditionally defined by a lack of obvious motivation or function,” she explains. “So while kicking the stable door at feed time in an attempt to hurry up the arrival of a meal would indicate learned behaviour, relentless box-walking would be classed as a stereotypy – even though the calming effect a stressed horse might experience by pacing around the stable could be considered some sort of goal.” Stereotypic behaviour can also be identified by its strictly repetitive nature, she explains, and sudden arousal such as a yell or the crack of a whip can worsen the problem. Even threats or punishment make little difference. “As the goal of the behaviour is its actual performance, subsequent pain or adverse consequences don’t affect it,” says Debbie, who adds that horses performing a february 2013 your horse

Next month in

On sale Jan 24

In Better Riding

Get cross-country schooling tips from William Fox-Pitt, discover what you can learn from polo, try some simple stretches for your horse, find out how to cope with a horse who rears plus lots of Essential Know-how

In Horse Care

We bring you a jam-packed first-aid special, tell you how to cope with a head-shy horse and give you the information you need to prevent your horse colicking in winter

In Buyers’ Guide

Check out our guide to lungeing gadgets, see our pick of the best fleeces around, find out how to buy the right girth and read our review of some fantastic audio schooling aids

!redible S U L P c in terview the

We in thing nes on every his lu C n ti r a M to rse Chester from his ho e! Plus you can ees favourite ch me incredible so read about elp s, and we h blind horse r 2013 you set you ! riding goals


In month three of Total Confidence, dressage rider Steph Croxford will help you to remain calm and confident when your horse spooks at a competition or at home

Your Horse February Issue  

Take a sneaky look at what is inside the February issue of Your Horse magazine

Your Horse February Issue  

Take a sneaky look at what is inside the February issue of Your Horse magazine