Wednesday, 30 December 2009

The Right Rug Fitting

It is necessary when buying and using your outdoor rugs to bear the following points in mind. Fit is all-important. Rugs are usually sized in three-inch increments.

The measurement refers to the centre of the chest of the horse along the body to the rear of the quarters where you expect the rug to finish. As horses of any given size vary so much in girth and build, it is essential to take these measurements before purchasing your rug.

A rug will not stay in place unless it fits properly. A badly fitted rug will slip and be strained to breaking point.

Horses come in a variety of shapes and sizes. If a horse is exceptionally broad in the back it may be necessary to buy the next size up in relation to its height. Alternatively, it may be necessary to look at several different styles.

It is essential that a rug should fit well on the withers and shoulders so that the horse can move freely underneath the fabric without the rug slipping back. If this happens the rug is put under strain and can cause sore areas.

Once you have ascertained that the rug fits well around the neck, pull the rug into position along the horse's back so that the coat lies flat.

With rugs using leg straps, take the left leg strap, pass between the hind legs and fasten it on the left-hand side. Take the right leg strap. pass it between the hind legs and through the loop made by the first strap and fasten to the right hand side.

Adjust the leg straps equally until there is room for the width of one hand (4-5") between the leg straps and the horse's thigh. This is to allow freedom of movement.

The leg straps are linked to prevent rubbing and act with each other to pull the rug into place. When the horse is grazing, the leg straps should be close to its thighs to keep the rug in position. If the rug is fitted as described it will have very little through movement and rolling. If the leg straps are too loose, the rug will slip.

When fitting a rug with cross surcingles,  care should be taken to ensure the straps of the cross surcingle cross in the centre of the horse's belly well forward of the horse's stifle. i.e. so that the crossed straps are on the roundest part of his body. Again there should be a hand's breadth between the straps and the horse.

photographs by kind permission of Shires

Friday, 18 December 2009


The first recorded and now legendary match, took place in Ireland from Buttevant Church to St. Marys Church, Doneraile, in Cork in 1752.

The riders raced from the steeple in one church to the steeple in the second church, hence the name steeple chasing was born.

During the 19th Century, steeple chasing became more sophisticated with enclosed courses and professionally trained horses and the traditional amateur was not able to compete at this level.

Therefore attempts were made to stage races for amateurs, from which professionals were excluded. Local Hunts undertook to organise amateur races and the Atherstone Hunt was the first hunt to organise a meeting annually from 1870. This hunt still has a meeting today usually at the end of each April.

There were no accepted rules for these races until 1913, when the Master of Hounds Point to Point Association formulated a list.

In 1935, Point to Point racing was brought under the umbrella of the National Hunt Committee which runs professional jump racing, who brought in a new set of regulations which generally still stand today.

Point to pointing has often led the way for National Hunt racing to follow. Ladies were allowed to race against men in all races except Mens’ Opens in 1974.

Sunday racing with betting started with point to points.

As point to point fences are six inches lower than National Hunt fences, many of the top horses like ‘Best Mate’ and ‘Denman’ began their careers in point to points. It is an invaluable training ground for young horses and riders.

Each year there is a limited number of races at National Hunt courses between February and May that are confined to point to pointers.

They differ from normal races as the horses are not handicapped by weight in order to equalize their abilities - so the best horses tend to win.

These are good betting opportunities but you have to know a lot about point to point form.  One effective method is to click on to where The Colonel will show you a way to win money on these races.

Content submitted by The Colonel.

Friday, 11 December 2009

The pros and cons of Haylage feed for your Horse.

Haylage is growing in popularity as the way of feeding roughage during the winter. This growth in popularity is partially due to the difficulty of finding dust free hay.

WHAT IS HAYLAGE? Like hay, Haylage is preserved grass. The grass is ensiled, or pickled, to create Haylage rather than dried to produce hay. The process does in many ways produce a product closer to natural grass. This is considered more beneficial than dry hay. It does however have some drawbacks.

Haylage tends to be richer than hay. Gut issues such as recurrent loose droppings can occur when Haylage is fed to the horse and it is felt this may be partly due to an increased acid nature of Haylage when compared with hay. The lower dry matter may also be a factor. Recent awareness of gastric upsets such as ulcers coincidently seems to tie in with the increased usage of Haylage.

Whilst there seems to be no confirmation of this as yet, it is strongly felt there is a need to balance the Haylage rich diet fed to your horse.

Some of the Feed Suppliers and manufacturers are producing natural balancing formulas to add to the Haylage to help overcome these problems. These balancers contain key active ingredients including: Antacids, Live probiotic yeast, Herbs including such items as ginger, liquorice and mint plus Vitamins and Minerals.

Ask your local feed supplier for advice. It is highly recommended that your local feed supplier be consulted on appropriate products to keep your horse healthy and happy.

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Riding-wear for Dressage

Equestrian sports are steeped in tradition. Hunting groups are resplendant and Dressage riders no less so.

As a strictly governed sport, Dressage riders have a number of rules to follow regarding how they dress and behave. Dressage is judged subjectively, therefore correct turnout conveying the right impression are important.

For Dressage competitions, riders will wear white breeches, never jodhpurs. The breeches often feature slip-resistant leather 'seats' which creates friction with the saddle to keep the rider in place. Breeches are worn with a belt and are complemented with a white shirt and a stock tie with a small pin, worn under the Dressage Coat.

Dressage Coats are similar to Hunting Coats, usually solid black or occasionally navy, with metal buttons. The traditional Dressage Coat takes the form of a long jacket. In upper-levels of Dressage, riders wear a shadbelly or tailcoat with a colour vest or vest points at the front of the waist where the coat is cut short.

Gloves should be white or a light colour, enabling judges to see subtle hand movements.

Tall boots or field boots are acceptable although upper-level Dressage riders will choose tall dress boots. Spurs are required at the upper levels and a whip may be carried in some competitions but are not permitted in Eventing Dressage.

Long hair is usually secured with a hair net or show bow. A hair net will generally be chosen to blend with the hair colour of the Dressage rider, whereas a show bow is generally black.

Lower-level riders will be required to wear an approved riding helmet. At the upper levels, a top hat to match the Dressage tailcoat is more traditional when show rules allow.

Dressage tailcoats photographs are courtesy of Equetech and Shires.

Friday, 27 November 2009

The London International Horse Show, December 2009

Press Release from Olympia:

Dressage takes centre stage as the BBC confirms LIVE coverage from Olympia, The London International Horse Show.

In its second year of a four year deal to broadcast Olympia, The London International Horse Show, the BBC for the first time has extended its coverage to provide LIVE broadcast of Dressage.

The FEI World CupTM Grand Prix Freestyle to Music will be available LIVE through the BBC's red button and internet services on Wednesday evening, 16th December.

This major decision in support of Dressage was taken after the BBC recorded outstanding viewing figures of its coverage from the Dressage finals of the recent Alltech FEI European Jumping & Dressage Championships at Windsor in August.

Olympia Show Director, Simon Brooks-Ward said: "It is certainly a sign of the times that the BBC have committed to support this discipline. Dressage is on a meteoric rise in terms of public interest and we're delighted the BBC has decided to include it in its Olympia coverage."

Michael Cole, Deputy Editor BBC Sport, said: "Olympia is a great entertainment spectacle and also a hugely important sporting event on the build up to the 2012 Olympics in London. With the popularity of Dressage increasing - highlighted at the recent European Championships - it was a natural decision for us to include Dressage within our Olympia package. We're looking forward to giving viewers such extensive coverage of a fantastic show."

As well as the Dressage on Wednesday, the BBC will broadcast the Accenture Christmas Puissance on Friday 18th December, also through its red button service. Highlights of the Accenture Christmas Puissance will then be shown on BBC2 on the afternoon of Saturday 19th December. On Sunday 20th, the FEI World CupTM Show Jumping Qualifier will broadcast LIVE on BBC2. Then on the evening of Monday 21st, the entire evening performance will be shown on the Red Button Service, LIVE.

Exact details of how to access the coverage on the red button service will be available ahead of Olympia. Please check for more detail a week ahead of the show.

Tickets for Olympia, The London International Horse Show are priced between £25 and £51 (£25, £35, £45, £51) with various discounts available for groups, seniors and children. Tickets include entrance to the Shopping Village but these can also be purchased separately without a show ticket for only £9. For further information and confirmed programme of events please visit For tickets, call the box office on 0871 230 5580

Book a special Dressage competition package including two evenings at the FEI World CupTM Dressage and overnight accommodation. Your accommodation is on the night of 15th December with the option to book an additional night on the 16th. Prices start from £112pp at the three-star Ibis Hotel Earls Court and £172pp to include two nights accommodation and breakfast. To get a 10% discount on these prices call 0871 221 3700 and quote OLYMPIA (lines open 8am-11pm)

For more details on going digital visit or telephone Digital UK on 08456 50 50 50. Other informative websites include:,
There are sponsorship opportunities available for this exciting evening of Dressage. Please call Desi Dillingham on 07785 292103 for more information.

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Wednesday, 25 November 2009

The Most Important Item in Your Equestrian Wardrobe

Protective Headwear - Why You Need it For Horse Riding
By Bee Primrose

horse-riding with helmetEquestrian helmets are an essential part of horse riding, whether you are under tuition, eventing, racing or just cantering across open fields. The range of accessories to brighten up and personalise headwear enables young people to create their own fashion statement, too.

A well-fitted helmet can provide essential protection in the event of a fall. Wearing good quality riding clothing will help to cushion a fall and a high performance helmet is the most critical if your head meets a hard surface. Horse riding helmet typically have layers of air bubbles that help lessen an impact and keep the brain from rebounding inside the skull.

When you choose your helmet, safety and comfort are key factors. Although price is an issue, a few extra pounds is a price worth paying for higher protection. Obviously, the risk when trotting around a menage on a small pony is less than the risk when galloping or jumping.

Ensure that you purchase a helmet that is specifically designed for horse riding. Unless you are familiar with helmet brands and sizes, be sure to try the helmet before buying. An experienced, trained salesperson at a specialist suppliers will be able to advise.

When trying the helmet, it should easily settle to the top of your head and cover the entire skull and back of your head with the front about 3.5 cms (1.5 ins) above your eyebrows. The helmet should not move or swivel if you shake or nod your head. When the helmet strap is properly fastened, ensure that you can move your jaw and use your mouth as normal. If needed, special padding is available to line a slightly larger helmet for comfort. Remember that a helmet must fit properly to protect your brain from damage.

One final tip: a helmet that has been impacted in a fall should not be used again and should be replaced. For this reason, do not buy a second hand horse riding helmet unless you are 100% certain that it has never been involved in a fall.

Sherwood Equestrian supplies good quality clothing and accessories for riders and their horses. Their information blog can be found at

Article Source: Ezine Articles / photograph courtesy of Equetech

Thursday, 19 November 2009

The British Horse Society

The British Horse Society, the UK's largest equestrian charity, has uploaded three videos to

Talking Horses - a short introductory video (34 seconds).

In Safe Hands - a video about BHS, safety training and riding instructor qualifications (9 minutes).

Riding and Road Safety - advice for motorists (95 seconds).

Trec - a BBC sports news item about BHS Trec (under 3 minutes).

Visit the British Horse Society web site to find out more about them.

For good quality equestrian clothing and accessories, visit

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Tuesday, 17 November 2009

How Dangerous is Horse Riding?

Unbelievably, there are no official figures specifically related to horse-riding accidents. Unlike safety belts for cars or crash helmets for motor bikes, there is no law for cyclists or horse-riders to wear safety helmets.

Whilst some would welcome legislation, most would prefer to have freedom of choice. For those who opt for safety, however, there are different qualities of safety equipment. The more challenging tasks demand better protection - a brief glance at Formula 1 Racing will extinguish any doubts about that!

Statistics are useful but knowledge is better. Thousands of people ride horses every day in Britain, without mis-hap. A good instructor will teach new horse-riders how to ride safely and there are high quality helmets, body protectors, riding boots and accessories.

Sherwood Equestrian will be pleased to offer advice on their product range. Please contact us by email or telephone 01707 663551.

Meanwhile, here is a link to a recent article from the BBC: The sacked drugs adviser Prof David Nutt famously compared its risks with those of ecstasy. But just how dangerous is horse riding?

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Welcome to Sherwood Equestrian.

For Equestrians looking for quality, value and a friendly, efficient, personal service, Sherwood Equestrian supplies branded equestrian products for Showing, Show Jumping and other Arena activities.

A family run company established in 2000, Sherwood Equestrian has a growing reputation for speedy service and excellent quality products from highly regarded manufacturers.

Sherwood Equestrian provides a personal service from their Hertfordshire base, with care and attention given to every order.

Our on-line shop meets the specific needs of Riders involved in Show and Event activities and offers top quality products Designed By Riders for Riders. This means that the extra features are included as a result of practical experience.

We are constantly adding to the range and endeavour to keep our prices competitive at all times.

You can order or purchase the products you need online or by telephone; visit our web site or call 01707 663551.
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