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Your Horse 374 june 2013


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Targeted schooling for every temperament

Is your horse fat?

The UK's equine obesity crisis uncovered

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• free training dvd! • perfect your position • half-halts made easy • enhance your bond • wound care

strong, hot or lazy

Enhance your bond ✦

✦ Test your friendship Learn his language ✦ Maximise your time together

Discover how to make the most of every second with your horse – and strengthen the bond between you in the process

Enhance your partnership



to bond

Ben Hart helps owners transform their relationships with their horses using the science of equine behaviour. Find out more at www.harts

Make the most of every moment with your horse – and find time to develop and deepen your rapport – with expert advice from Ben Hart and Kelly Marks Words Andrea Oakes


ew of us have the luxury of being able to spend limitless time with our horses – for most of us it’s precious hours squeezed between work and family commitments in a non-stop juggling act. Weekday yard visits all too often

consist of ticking off a demanding to-do list of mixing feeds, filling haynets and poo-picking the field. It’s a wonder sometimes that our horses even know who we are! Here, our experts, Ben and Kelly, examine how important one-to-one time with our horses really is and

how much of our undivided attention they need to feel happy in our company. Over the next pages you’ll discover how to maximise your time together and learn your horse’s language. It could revolutionise your relationship.

Kelly Marks is the founder of Intelligent Horsemanship, after working with Monty Roberts. Find out more at www.intelligent

How much does he need you? We can’t deny that horses manage fine without us in the wild. So while we’re busy fretting because commitments keep us away from the yard, do they even notice we’re not there – let alone miss us? Top equine trainer Ben Hart believes the degree to which our horses need us depends on the kind of lifestyle we create for them. “If we provide an enriched environment in which our horse has access to others and is free from pain and hunger, his need for us is less,” explains Ben. “But if he’s stabled 23 hours a day and has a boring, unstimulating life, he’ll need us more. “This is partly why stabling makes a horse dependent on us – when he’s

deprived of his natural needs, we become the mental stimulation.”

What you mean to him

The true test of friendship is whether a horse still wants to be with us when we’ve met his requirements and he’s happy with his lot. “To a grazing horse we’re an interesting distraction, but he doesn’t need us,” says Ben. “If a horse chooses to leave the herd to come over and see us, however, that’s different.” This willingness to seek out our company, seemingly without an ulterior motive, surely signals that a horse recognises and enjoys being with his owner. Yet is this bond necessary? After all, some professional riders can jump on horses they barely know and

get a good tune out of them. “Getting a horse to perform a movement can be quite mechanical – there’s not much one-to-one time needed there,” says Ben. “If the professional goes into the field, however, the same horse is unlikely to want to walk over and see them.” For owners looking for more than the mechanical, it’s good to hear that we can become the kind of owner our horse would choose to spend time with. After all, a good partnership makes life more enjoyable for both parties. The challenge is to make the most of each moment we do have together. For Ben that means offering some of our unhurried attention, however rushed we are.

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Jock suggests trying half-halts to help calm a hot horse

your horse JUNE 2013

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Transform Your Horse

Better Riding

Month 1

Handling hot heads! Welcome to our brand new series, Transform Your Horse. Over the next three months, top eventer Jock Paget will be here to help you deal with your horse’s temperament issues MEET OUR EXPERT

Jock Paget is an event rider from New Zealand who won team bronze at the 2012 London Olympic Games. He has many years’ experience riding and bringing on a variety of horses, all with their own unique quirks and challenges.


CLASSIK LADY Adam Trew has been riding six-year-old Classik Lady since she was four. The pair have completed four events so far and are currently working at Pre-Novice level. Classik is a classic example (pardon the pun) of a hot horse and Jock and Adam have been working on channelling that hot energy into something positive. Today Classik will model Jock’s hot horse techniques.


ot, strong and lazy are three common temperaments horse owners are often faced with. We’re here to show you that whatever his issues, with some simple and targeted schooling, you can channel his hot headed, lazy or

strong ways into something great! This month we’re focusing on the hot heads, the speed freaks, the horses who are always in a hurry to get the job done. The ones who leave blisters on your hands from clinging desperately onto the reins and who leave you

Create a balanced, improved pace When Adam and I first started working on Classik, balance was her biggest issue. As is the case with a lot of hot horses, they always tend to be ‘running’ in their minds, which can cause them to be unbalanced and tense. The hardest thing to do is control your horse’s mind when you don’t have control of his body, so this is the first step. What you need to do is get your hot horse to start thinking slower and to get him to physically slow down - simply putting an object in front of him can help with this. The best way to do this is using pole work and you can set your poles out in a variety of ways. Firstly, place two poles together to create a 90-degree angle as shown right and practise riding over them in all directions and varying the

Walking over the poles quickly slows Classik’s thinking and pace

paces. For example, you should approach the first pole in trot then ask him to walk as he gets to it. You can then turn left or right and come back around to approach the pole again in trot, but ask him to walk when he reaches it. This technique means he’ll soon begin to associate poles with thinking quieter and slower, which will hopefully in turn, stop him rushing When introducing two poles close together, your horse, like Classik, may try to jump them - with practice he’ll get it

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with your heart in your mouth as you career towards a fence. Our expert, Jock, has plenty of simple, effective and speedy exercises and techniques to cool him down and get you working well, so read on and be inspired!

and make him naturally think quieter when it comes to tackling fences. You can also practise setting your poles out in a line and varying the distance between them. For example, move them closer together to get him to collect, then spread them out to ask him to extend. All of these exercises will get your horse thinking and hopefully channel all that hot energy into something much more positive.

June 2013 your horse

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Riding position

Better Riding

Perfect your position Be safe and boost your effectiveness in the saddle using our expert advice to spotting and fixing common positional faults


e all aspire to have the perfect riding position so we can ride in harmony with our horses, but it’s all too easy to slip into bad habits, especially if you regularly ride alone or don’t

have regular training. But don’t despair. Russell Guire, from Centaur Biomechanics, is here to help you identify where your position could be going wrong and how you can easily put it right.

OUR EXPERT Russell Guire is an expert in performance analysis and regularly works with leading riders and organisations, including Team GB. Find out more at www.centaur biomechanics.

Looking down creates problems for both you and your horse

Your head

Your head is the heaviest part of your body, so if you look down while riding, you put extra weight onto your horse’s withers, making it difficult for him to lift his shoulders. This habit also creates a poor upper body position (tipping forward and tightness in the neck) as well as making it difficult to see where you’re going! Looking down is often a symptom of riding on your own

– we focus on our horsey sat nav (his ears) rather than looking up and forwards. To correct this problem, imagine there’s a piece of fishing wire from the top of your hat to your horse’s tail, encouraging you to lift your head and chin. Riding in company and chatting as you go can really help you lift your head up into the correct position, as you tend to look up when you talk.

Looking up helps you maintain your position and be lighter on your horse’s back

Follow our expert guide and you can perfect your position in no time

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june 2013 your horse

Time spent alone can be hard for horses - naturally herd animals - so try our simple techniques to help him cope

your horse june 2013

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Separation anxiety

Horse Care

‘Please don’t go!’ Give your horse the confidence to be his own man and cope on his own, as our experts help you get inside his mind and solve his separation anxiety Words Carolyn Henderson OUR EXPERTS

Rowena Cook runs Equine Management and Training with her husband, Fred, and the couple also run the Retraining of Racehorses helpline. Find out more at www. equine-training.

Joanna Day is a British Dressage and British Eventing Accredited Coach who works with riders to build a successful partnership with their horse and improve their leadership and control skills. Find out more at www. fearlesshorse.


our horse may be a herd animal, but he still has to learn to go it alone every now and then – and if separation anxiety is proving a major issue, the good news is there are simple strategies to help.

Successful trainers differ in their approaches, but all agree your horse must be able to trust you. As Joanna Day, author of The Fearless Horse, puts it: “All a horse wants to do is survive. If you keep working with him and prove that you’re a good rider and a good leader, he

will adopt you as his leader and his separation issues will fade away.” So read on to find out how to strengthen your bond with your horse, and teach him that going solo is nothing to worry about.

Building a bond Separation anxiety is not uncommon, and has a variety of causes, which we’ll look at over the following pages, but one trigger can be a change of home, as Rowena Cook explains. “There are instances when horses are taken out of their comfort zone, become anxious and want reassurance from their own kind,” she explains. “You often see it with ex-racehorses who happily work on their own when in their familiar racing environment, but when they are taken out of it, problems manifest purely because the new life is so strange.” Rowena says a nervous handler or rider intensifies any problems. “A stressed horse can’t have confidence in a nervous handler,” she says. “Shouting or being aggressive is never the way; firm, positive but sympathetic handling is.” She finds that it’s good to begin with groundwork. “Ground training exercises are a great way to form a better bond with your horse as well as teaching him to be polite and co-operative,” she says. “Lungeing and long-reining

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Make your time together a pleasurable, positive experience, from grooming to walks in-hand

work also help to develop your partnership. “A horse will be less anxious away from others if he has a strong bond with his owner, someone in whom he can put his trust. So

make your time together a pleasurable, positive experience with interaction from grooming, feeding and so on, rather than letting him just associate you with exercise.”

june 2013 your horse

Research shows that more than half the UK’s equine population is overweight or obese

your horse june 2013

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The weight debate

Horse Care

Tipping the scales As equine obesity grips the UK the need to recognise if your horse is too fat, too thin or just right becomes crucial Words Carolyn Henderson OUR EXPERTs

Clare Barfoot is research and development manager at Spillers.

Dr Teresa Hollands is senior nutrition manager at Dodson & Horrell.

Roly Owers Is the chief executive of World Horse Welfare.

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e all know horses – and riders – should be fit, not fat. But as research by the UK’s top nutritionists shows that more than half the UK’s equine population is overweight or obese, it’s hugely important to be aware of the facts and appreciate

just how damaging being on the ‘cuddly’ side can be to your horse’s health. Laminitis and equine metabolic syndrome (similar to diabetes in humans) are just two of the dangers that have been linked to fat horses – so to make sure your horse’s weight (and your own) is just right, read on.

Is your horse at risk? Vets and equine nutritionists are united in the belief that key to combating the current weight crisis is a mindset-change among owners. It’s a reverse of the supermodel syndrome: women are urged to recognise it isn’t healthy to resemble a stick insect, and horse owners need to accept that the health of a ‘well-covered’ horse is at risk. In a nutshell, too much weight equals too much strain on heart, lungs and limbs. The consensus among vets and equine charities is that 80% of leisure horses are overweight and, as Roly Owers, chief executive of World Horse Welfare explains, the hardest aspect is convincing owners who love their horses and genuinely want to do the best for them that they’re actually being cruel. Three years ago, the charity started its Right Weight campaign and Roly says it’s now

more important than ever. “Wherever you look, there are overweight horses,” he says. “If anything, it’s getting worse.” “People expect natives and cobs to have rounded bodies and, when they don’t, think they need more weight,” adds equine nutritionist Clare Barfoot. “However, as a general rule, you should be able to feel the ribs and, when your horse turns, see the last rib.” A horse’s type and job can be taken into consideration, For more on but shouldn’t be used as controlling your an excuse. “You’re not horse’s weight, going to have a cob see our ‘Spillers who naturally carries know-how’ the same amount panel on of condition as a Thoroughbred, especially page 88 a Thoroughbred who point-to-points,” says Clare. “But both can be healthy and not carrying excess fat.”

june 2013 your horse

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Meet my

canine groom! Paraplegic Susi Rogers-Hartley battled back from a devastating injury to compete as a para show jumper, all thanks to help from assistance dogs Lex and Major Words Helen Milbank Photography John Alevroyiannis


hen horse lover Susi Rogers-Hartley was paralysed from the waist down 16 years ago she thought it was the end of her riding career. Racked with pain, she was plunged into despair. The future looked bleak without horses and the busy Royal Navy job she loved, until a chance meeting in a park introduced her to an inspirational charity who helped turn her life around. Now, thanks to her canine assistance dogs, first Lex and now Major, she’s not only back in the saddle but taking part in cross-country, show jumping and dressage. “I was injured in an accident on an assault course and in just a few seconds my life changed forever,” says Susi, who lives in Oxford. “Before the accident I hoped to represent the Navy in equestrian sports, and used to spend up to four hours a day in the gym. I lived for riding

and physical activity. Then, suddenly, I was immobile and it was a very dark time. My riding dreams were shattered. I became a recluse, lost all my confidence and I felt there was no point in living. “The turning point came when I made a rare trip to the local park and bumped into a guy in a wheelchair who had a black Labrador. It turned out he was a Canine Partner – a specially trained assistance dog who’d given his owner back his independence.”

Susi’s enjo ying her para sh jumping su ow ccess

Real life

Assistance dog Major – seen here with Susi and horse Seamus – has been trained to act as a stable hand






Train with our experts for free


The boys

Next month sees the launch of our 2013 Your Horse Training Academy as we welcome back our hugely popular instructors, dressage rider Spencer Wilton and show jumper and eventer Jay Halim.

Spencer Wilton Top dressage rider Spencer Wilton has represented Britain in the Nations Cup team, been crowned National Champion and has umpteen National titles to his name. You’ll spot his top horses Zamboucca, Doogie and Super Nova in our photo shoots throughout this year’s Training Academy series as Spencer helps you become a better, more effective rider. “I’m really looking forward to this year’s series,” he says. “Last year we focused on getting you to your first competition, and this year we’ll be building on those skills. At the same time, all the shoulder-ins in the world won’t help you if your horse is uncomfortable in his tack or his teeth need checking. So as well as focusing on your riding and your horse’s way of going, Jay and I will be offering practical advice to help you achieve your goals.”

Get your FREE* Training Academy DVD with over 1 hour of footage plus an exclusive lesson with Spencer! Turn to page 117 for details

Over the next 6 months enjoy:

✦ Expert riding advice ✦ Free training videos ✦ Top mangement tips

* £1.49 p&p applies

are back! jay halim He’s a familiar face on both the show jumping and eventing circuits – you may have spotted Jay Halim riding to victory at Hickstead on VIP (the handsome gelding posing here), or eventing on his string of up-and-coming horses. Jay’s here to help you develop your confidence and ability over every kind of fence, from a 5ft high hedge out drag hunting or a rather more modest cross-pole in the field. “I’m chuffed to be back!” says Jay. “I can’t wait to get started and share my tips and ideas to help you develop your relationship with your horse and become a better, more confident rider. Whatever your level, if I can help you to develop the skills you need to tackle a course of fences and enjoy it, I’ll have done my job!”

Proudly sponsored by Albion Saddlemakers

your horse june 2013

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Put to the test

Buyers’ Guide

Competition breeches Find out what happened when top show jumper Mia Korenika put six pairs of breeches through their paces


ost of us have that special pair of breeches we save just for competitions, and because we bring them out specially for that big day, it’s essential we feel comfortable in them, leaving us free to concentrate on our riding. They also need to look smart, so we’re confident we look the part too! There’s a big choice and many

different styles available – full seat, self-strapping knees and high-waisted are just a few of the terms you might hear when you’re looking for a special pair of competition breeches to give you that winning edge. To help you make the right choice we put six pairs of breeches to the test. They’re all smart enough for competition, but how did they fare for comfort and style? Read on to find out.

How we tested them Show jumping trainer and rider Mia Korenika wore all six pairs of breeches in a ‘live’ test. She rode in each pair of breeches on the flat and over some show jumps while we watched and took notes.

Mia gave her thoughts on each pair as she rode in them, saying what they felt like to ride in on the flat and over fences, how comfortable they were and what she felt they looked like when she was wearing them.

What to look for SEAT For extra grip some breeches offer a full seat - these will usually be made from synthetic leather CUFFs Cuffs at the bottom of the breeches can be fastened with touch-and-close material or there are some new styles which use a different, close-fitting material giving a more comfortable fit

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material Materials that combine a mix of Lycra, elastane or similar material will allow some stretch giving a better fit and ease of movement KNEES Self-strapping knees use the same material as the rest of the breeches to prevent chaffing but may not offer any additional grip like some types of knee e.g. suede

june 2013 your horse

A well-fitting fly rug will help to keep your horse comfortable and fly-free

your horse june 2013

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Fly rugs

Buyers’ Guide

No flies on him!

Our guide to fly rugs will help you choose the one that will keep your horse bug-free all summer


fly rug provides protection from biting midges and flies, while keeping your horse cool and comfortable in the summer sun. These lightweight rugs are usually made from a close-knitted polyester weave, creating a mesh protective barrier to stop flies biting and can be used both in the stable or field.

Key features to look for

Look for a fly rug that provides full body protection, ensuring your horse’s neck, belly and tail are

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covered. This is hugely important, especially if your horse is sensitive to biting insects or prone to sweet itch. Additional features can include quick clip chest closures, an extra large tail flap, gussets to allow free leg movement and lining at the shoulders and over the mane to help prevent rubbing. For the rug to do its job well, it’s important it fits properly. An ill-fitting rug can cause shoulder and wither rubs, and a one that’s too big will not only let the flies in, but could slip, with the risk your horse could get tangled in it or get it caught.

june 2013 your horse

Total protection Confused about which protective boots are best for your horse – or even if he needs them at all? Don’t worry, we’re here to help you decide

your horse June 2013

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Leg protection

Buyers’ Guide

Does your horse need boots?


he delicate structures of your horse’s leg are vulnerable to stress, strain or injury, particularly when he’s working. As a result, manufacturers have produced a wide range of protective boots – brushing, tendon, knee, overreach, the list is long. However it’s not always easy to work out which ones you need, or if you need boots at all. Read on to find out what to look for, so you’ll be able to make the right choice for your horse.

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Before you think about buying a pair of boots for your horse, take a moment to think about whether he actually needs them. If you mainly hack or school, they might not be necessary. Take a few minutes to watch how he moves – his hindlegs should follow his front legs in a straight line without overreaching. If he doesn’t move as straight as you’d like, then using brushing boots is a good idea to avoid injury. If your horse is prone to injuring himself, or you compete at show jumping or cross-country, protective boots are a good idea. Repeated bouts of low-grade trauma, from hitting fences, or from slight interference injuries, can lead to an inflammatory response within the tendon, joint and bone. Over time this can build up, leaving your horse lame.

june 2013 your horse

Deborah Meaden

The shrewd and stern businesswoman from the Dragons’ Den reveals her softer side as she waxes lyrical about her love for horses and her work with equine charity, The Brooke

Words Larissa Chapman


commitments this was to be a phone interview. With the cutthroat businesswoman image cemented firmly in my brain, I can only admit to feeling more than a little bit nervous as the clock ticked. But after just seconds on the phone, I realised my nerves were completely unfounded. Deborah’s sheer passion and commitment to her animals and horses comes across so strongly, she will go down as one of my favourite interviewees to date! I caught her on her way in from the yard where her horses were having their weekly physio session. With the conversation flowing, I quizzed her on her love of horses, her tear-jerking experience with equine charity, The Brooke, and obviously, her favourite cheese. So read on to find out more.

PHOTO: © The Brooke/Richard Dunwoody

ention Deborah Meaden and most people conjure an image of a sharply dressed lady, poised in her leather chair on TV’s Dragons’ Den, with a pile of bank notes strategically placed at her side and a serious demeanour surrounding her – but there is another side to this successful businesswoman. When she’s not in the city, Deborah loves nothing more than spending time in the middle of a field in a pair of jodhpurs with a pooper scoop in hand. Usually I meet up with interviewees in person, but because of Deborah’s

How did you first develop your love for horses?

I’m not from a horsey background at all, but my sister and I were really into horses as children and we’re still avid riders. My earliest memory of horses was seeing them on the seafront giving rides to children. I would often loiter around, hoping I might get a chance to lead one. For long enough I could only admire them from afar and dream that one day I would have one of my own.

Can you remember your first horse or pony?

I can, I was 11 years old and my parents told me that if I wanted a horse I would have to see to it and pay for it myself, so I did. I bought my first pony for £60 and paid £2.50 a week to keep him in a field. I used to work at my local yard and help out with rides at Longleat in order to pay for his keep. He was a fantastic little pony now I think about it, though he did have a habit of bolting with me. He was a hairy cobby type – a perfect first pony and I learnt a lot from him.

About The Brooke

Deborah visited India to see The Brooke’s work at first hand

The Brooke is an international animal welfare organisation dedicated to improving the lives of working horses, donkeys and mules in some of the world’s poorest communities. It provides treatment, training and programmes around animal health and wellbeing, in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Its work currently benefits 1,100,000 animals a year, as well as helping their owners to continue to make a living, support their families, and above all, keep their horses, donkeys and mules fit and healthy. To find out more about the work of The Brooke, visit

Turn over for Deborah’s answers to your questions

Deborah Meaden gets up close and personal with a working horse in India

PHOTO: Š The Brooke/Richard Dunwoody

The Big Interview

Next month in

On sale

13 June

In Better Riding

✦ Revitalise your riding – in just one week ✦ Get your horse working on the bit ✦ Improve your jumping technique In Horse Care

✦ How to cope with a cast horse ✦ Stop him stressing ✦ Catch him every time! In Buyers’ Guide

The Your Horse Training Academy is back! Join our star instructors Spencer Wilton and Jay Halim as they help you become a better, more effective rider on the flat and over jumps

✦ Fly repellents on test ✦ Transport and travelling advice ✦ Essential rug care New in horse care!

the your Horse open clinic

Check out our brand new care clinic and meet your new vet, mind and management experts!

Your Horse June Issue  

Take a look at what is inside the June issue of Your Horse