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IN 0
W 40


O I C S, L




April 2010







The relaxing exercise

that really works



Correct canter leads


Their pet hates revealed

The pros and cons explained

Real life "Horses saved
me from a life of crime "
- next stop the Olympics

The essential guide

to perfect paces with
Anna Ross-Davies






Sue Chinery is back in the saddle after

a break from riding and looking for
some help with her position. Can
biomechanics coach Sarah Overington
get her back on track?
Words Imogen Johnson

The pupils
Sue Chinery and Lochie
My horse Lochie is a 15-year-old,
15.3hh Thoroughbred. In the past
weve competed at affiliated
dressage but, after having had
a three-year break from riding,
were now getting back into it.
Were both a bit rusty and
encountering a few problems.
Lochie is often on the forehand,
lacking engagement, and tends
to drag his toes and set his jaw.
Id really like to get him using
his hindquarters properly and
I know I need some help with my
position too. I definitely need to
relax and hopefully Sarah will be
able to get Lochie and me
working well together again.

Getting to know you

The expert
Sarah Overington
Sarah is a BHS Intermediate
instructor based in South East
England. After finding out about
On March
Mary Wanless and her Ride
with an acc -29 Sarah, along
With Your Mind approach,
is running ited colleague,
she became an accredited
flatwork cl a biomechanics
inic at a ve
biomechanics coach for
rrey borde e on the
riders of all abilities in 2005,
rs of West
Surrey. For
and shes never looked back.
Sarah on 0 information call
When teaching, Sarah focuses
07765 548 3 272049 or
on the riders position and
sarahoveri or email
precision by building on their
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core strength and stability.
Along with her teaching, Sarah
enjoys competing in BSJ.

Diary dat


During a lengthy introduction over

a cuppa, while a shower of good old
British rain takes its time to stop,
Sarah and Sue discuss exactly what
it is Sue hopes to get from her Your
Horse clinic.
Sue tells Sarah all about Lochie
and what shes been struggling
with, such as his lack of
engagement and dragging his
toes, so Sarah can provide a lesson
thats right for them.
As soon as the rain starts to ease
they head out to the school and Sue
begins to warm Lochie up.
Now that I know what it is youd
like to work on I simply want to

observe as you warm up. Just do

this as you would normally, so that
I can see how you both work
though the gaits, instructs Sarah.
As you work round the school
Ill ask you questions, considering
your aims and what weve already
discussed, before we have a chat
about what I can see.
Sue warms Lochie up before
bringing him to a halt in the centre
of the school.
OK, Ive spotted a few things so
well go through them now before
we start working on the parts and
positions of your body we need to
change, says Sarah.

Riding Your Horse clinic

Did you
know? the

Neutral spine is n
e ca
best position w r
spine is
in balance

To begin with its all

out of balance

Getting Sue into position

First off, Sarah tells Sue that her
position isnt too bad, but there are
a few changes they need to make.
The first things I see are that you
need to take more responsibility for
your own bodyweight, so that
youre part of the solution and not
part of the problem, and at the
moment youre also hollow through
your back. Therefore youre behind
the vertical, not over your centre of
gravity, so we need to get you
working in whats referred to as
neutral spine, explains Sarah.
When youre not in neutral
spine and your back is hollow you

cant be responsible for your own

weight. In rising trot, for example,
this will mean youll land heavily
on Lochies back.
Sarah also explains to Sue that
she brings her hands a little too far
back, leaving Lochie no space to
lengthen through his topline, and
that her leg position needs a bit
of tweaking.
What Im going to do is help
you get into the correct position
before you start working in it. It
will all feel quite strange but thats
because your muscles are used to
working in a certain way.

Achieving neutral spine

To get Sues torso into the correct
position, Sarah helps to physically
straighten Sue out!
I want you to bring your belly
button back towards the waistband
of your breeches and at the same
time you should be able to feel your
seat bones.
Sue says that she can and that
they feel even.
Thats great. You should be able
to feel your seat bones pointing
straight down as you pull your belly
button back. Then, to get your
shoulders into position and to
straighten out your back, bring your

collar bone forward over your

sternum. This will bring you
forward from behind the vertical.
Sarah helps Sue
straighten up



Sarah watches
as Sue works
on her position

If youd like to take part in the Your Horse clinic, email imogen.johnson@
bauermedia.co.uk with Schooling or Jumping in the subject line. Tell us
where its all going wrong for you, where youre based and provide a
contact telephone number. A solution could be just around the corner



Calming exercise

Sp k-buster!
A hot, tense and spooky horse can be a nightmare to handle and ride
calm him down with our simple but effective exercise

s your horse too hot to handle?

Does he spook at every opportunity?
If so he needs to calm down and
relax. Heres an exercise that can
help him do just that.
This exercise is a form of join-up, which
puts the horse into a state of submission
and obedience. Once understood by you
and your horse, you can use it before
riding to settle him before work. Its also
useful for a horse whos uncertain about
going into a school or arena, has his eyes
out on stalks, and spooks at anything
and everything.

Making a start

You can do this exercise anywhere in

a school, arena, or a corner of your field.
Tack up as usual but dont mount. Take
the reins over your horses head and lead
him into your arena or work space, using
the reins like a pair of leadropes. The
reason for this is to give the horse
maximum freedom and so he doesnt
feel held down or controlled.
All you do now is start walking
randomly around your space. At the
beginning, your horse will be a little
tense and nervous as he wont know what
to expect. Hell need some direction and
control, so the reins should be held quite
close to the bit.
To guide him, simply do what you want
him to do, showing the way and leading
by example. To walk on, start walking.
You may need a light tug on the reins
to get him going. In a state of complete
relaxation, horses prefer to follow
a leader, so put yourself in front.


Our expert
Ruth Mazet
Ruth has been working with
problem horses for 35 years
and has experienced just
about everything they can
throw at us. By treating
every horse as an individual, she uses his
desire to co-operate to win him round to her
way of thinking, building trust and confidence
along the way. Her methods are simple and
anyone, whatever discipline they ride in,
can use them.
If he does try to surge past you, hold
him back politely but firmly on the reins.
Keep the pressure on the bit to a
minimum. The last thing you want is
a fight. If hes pulling quite hard, give
regular tugs on the reins, rather than
a hard, prolonged pull. These can be
quite sharp but should diminish as
he understands whats wanted.
When you want to make a
turn, simply turn and walk that
way yourself. At this point, the
hold on the reins should still be
quite short.

Ring the changes

The essence of this exercise is to keep on

changing direction. Put in lots of circles,
large and small, change the rein across
both the centre line and diagonals, and
in both directions. Add in any other
figures you can think of. The purpose
of all this is to bring your horses focus

of attention onto you. If the track stays

the same (either round the outside, or a
never-ending circle), your horse will get
bored and his mind will wander. This is
when he starts resisting or playing up.
I think of it as scribbling. Like a small
child with a pen who cant draw yet, you
simply wander around in a random way.
Dont do more than half a side (long or
short) without making a change of some
sort. The horse mustnt be given the time
or space to think about anything else.

Getting there
You should find that, after a while, your
hand starts sliding down the reins almost
by itself. Whats happening is that you
and your horse are starting to feel
comfortable with each other. Your horse
is beginning to understand this game and
finding it easy. Theres nothing for him to
worry about.
You, on the other hand, are thinking
about the next move and where youre
going, and are no longer worrying about
your horse. This is the best way for you to
be with, and work with, your horse.
How long it takes for you
to get to this state depends
entirely on your horse and his
level of nervousness or anxiety. You
may come to it within a few minutes,
or it may take longer, but sliding your
hand down the rein is part of the goal.
However long it takes, stay with it until
you feel that your horse is starting to relax
and follow you about. You should be
neither pulling him along, nor holding
him back. Hes simply there, behind you.


lthough less than a mile from

the capitals financial district
and just one tube stop from
Buckingham Palace, Sam
Martins childhood home, Vauxhall, is
characterised by tired social housing. But
turn left at the fast food chicken restaurant
on the corner of Kennington Lane and
youll find Vauxhall City Farm. This
colourful oasis is home to rabbits, guinea
pigs, sheep, goats, cockerels and even


ponies. The farm sits right on the street

alongside blocks of flats, and the sound of
cockerels crowing and ponies whinnying
can be heard alongside the wail of sirens
and building site machinery. Anyone and
everyone is welcome to walk in away from
the hustle and bustle to meet the animals.
Across the road from the animal pens
and stable block, the ponies have three
small turnout paddocks, which back
directly onto the public parkland of Spring

Gardens. The farms mange is also located

in the park and its here that the BHS
approved centre offers heavily subsidised
riding lessons to the citys underprivileged
kids. To one side of the school is a busy
building site, on the other a group are
exercising and relay running, and less
than 200 yards away there's the rumble of
the Victoria tube line.
Sam grew up in a block of flats just
behind the farm. At 11, bored of having


Real life story Sam Martin

Sam Martin was born into a

working class family and grew
up in a deprived area of South
East London. Against all the
odds, he left behind a life of
gang culture and crime, and
now plans to compete at the
2012 Olympics as Nigerias first
dressage competitor

An unlikely
dressage star
Words Rebecca Gibson

nothing to do outside school but wander

the streets, he started visiting the farm
with a group of mates.
At first it was just a cool place to hang
out. It was like a youth club, a really social
place to be, says Sam. Then I met Jacko
the donkey and took a real shine to him.
I started leading him out on weekdays
after school in exchange for riding lessons
on Saturdays.
One by one, Sams friends lost interest


in the farm, but he remained hooked on

horses. I remember it took me ages to get
the hang of rising trot, but once I got it
there was no stopping me. My mates used
to take the mickey out of me all the time,
for years theyd whinny at me every time
I walked past, but Im a strong character
and it didnt put me off.
But soon after Sams 15th birthday his
home life started to disintegrate. He was
taken into care, became embroiled in the

South London gang culture and was

frequently in trouble with the police.
I was placed into foster care but I didnt
want to know, he says. I ran away and
spent the next two years sleeping on
friends sofas. I was stuck in a rut and felt
very trapped. I didnt like my life but there
seemed to be no way out.
When I turned 17, I decided I needed
to take control of my life before it was too
late. I knew horse riding was something


Riding All about paces with Anna Ross-Davies

The basic foundations what to look for
Look for a V shape
the stronger
the better


The walk should have

a really regular four-beat rhythm and
footfall, and you want to be able to see a
strong V shape when the outside hind and
inside fore come together. I would avoid a
very lateral walk, where it looks like two
legs on the same side move together.

Look for some bend in the hock


When looking to buy a

horse, trot is, without a doubt, the least
important pace. People always want to
see a really good trot. Personally, I would
be looking for a more workman-like trot
with lots of gears, and some good bend
in the hindleg as it comes forward and
up towards the horses belly. You want
to be able to see a bit of knee action but
you dont want a floaty trot. I would
always advise people to look for a fairly
ordinary trot that you can make into
something brilliant.
Look for some jump in the air


The canter needs to

have a very regular three-beat tempo and,
even when the horse slows down, you must
still be able to see a bit of jump in the air.
You dont want to see the canter going flat
across the ground.

Get guidance on how to make the most
of your horse from our monthly lessons
online. Go to Videos & Advice and then
click on Schooling



Improving the paces


is generally all about relaxation and

problems in the walk are most commonly associated with
tension through the horses back. I find that hacking is a good
way to help this and especially hacking up hills. Try taking
your horse for a hack with another horse who really strides
out. This will encourage him to stretch out and keep up,
which is great for the walk.
Pole work is also a good way to help your horse improve his
walk. To start with, just lead him over three or four poles, but
double the distance between them to begin with sometimes
horses can see poles as a block and think the easy option is to
jump them, so by doubling the distance, what theyre being
asked to do is made a little clearer. I also think its best to lead
the horse over the poles first, before riding, because this way
you can be there to guide him over. When you move on and
start riding him over the poles, make sure you take a light
seat so that when he lifts his back its free to move.
Release tension hacking uphill

Pole work helps

produce an active trot

Upward transitions
improve air time



is the easiest to
develop a lot can be improved
but the key is not to rush it. If the
trot doesnt come naturally to your
horse, dont push for it. Your job is
to help enhance the pace. You need
to work towards an active trot by
encouraging your horse to spend
more time in the air without
causing him to be too expressive.
A great way to do this is by using
loads of transitions because riding
through lots of gears helps to get
that activity youre looking for. For
the same reason, lateral work can
also be helpful because it makes
the hindlegs work quicker, and
trotting poles can be used to get
a little more air time.


transitions is a great way to get the
horse working quicker in front of
the leg. But, again, dont be tempted
to let him get too fast over the
ground you want more time in
the air but not to get him running.
So, when youre working in canter,
always check that the hindleg is
coming through and that hes
holding his regular three-beat
tempo. If it starts to feel untidy you
need to get him moving forward.

His hind hoof should

land into his front print

In walk, trot and canter, when
the horse is working forward
and coming through from behind,
the hind foot should tread into
the print of the front foot. This is
In walk, and particularly in free
walk, you would want to see the
horses hindlegs really coming
through from behind and
sometimes they can over-track
by up to 12 inches (30.5 cm). In
medium walk the step is shorter
but you should still expect to see
some over-track.
The mechanics of the horses
hindlegs mean that they should
come up and forwards toward the
horses belly. Therefore, overtracking indicates that the horse is
using his hindquarters correctly and
not dragging himself along.
Its important particularly in
the working, medium and extended
paces but there is, however, lots
of debate on whether horses
should over-track in collected work.



Why should you

use tendon boots or
fetlock boots?
Tendon boots are used only for
the front legs and designed for
use when show jumping.
They protect the tendons
down the back of the foreleg
if its struck by the horses
hindleg when hes jumping.
Most tendon boots will have
some form of strike pad down
the back of the boots to provide
additional protection.
Fetlock boots provide
protection to the fragile fetlock
area, which is more prone to

being knocked when the horse is

jumping. Theyre smaller and
less bulky than full length boots.
Tendon and fetlock
boots are made from a
variety of different
Leather looks smart but
does take quite a lot of looking
after, needing regular cleaning
to keep the boots looking good.
Man-made materials are
often machine washable,
making them much quicker
and easier to keep clean.
Ease of fastenings
is an important consideration.

Buckle fastenings provide

good security but can be fiddly to
do up.
Double Velcro straps are also a
good option and will hold the boots
securely in place you just need to
remember to store them fastened
so you dont get dirt and muck in
them, which stops the fastening
being so secure.
Wider straps offer greater
security and are more comfortable
for your horse than narrow straps.
Some fastenings may be
elasticated to give a close fit but
you need to be careful you dont
fasten them too tight.



John Whitaker International Tendon Boots 35 Fetlock Boots 25


Tendon Boots Moulded breathable shell and

shock absorbing lining.
Colour Grey Size Full
Fetlock Boots Moulded breathable shell and
shock absorbing lining. Also has John Whitaker
signature flag insert and a Union Jack insert.
Colour Grey Size Full

OUR TESTER SAYS These boots fit all my

horses well. Theyre easy to use and lightweight.
The only thing I didnt like were the slightly
narrower elasticated Velcro straps on the tendon
boots I dont feel these are as effective and
comfortable for the horse as the 2in straps. They
didnt move but would look more in balance with a
wider strap.

The hind boots fitted very well and offer good

all-round protection.
The signature flag in the hind boot will
attract buyers, but theres no doubt that these
boots are the best value and protection available
for the money.
We also found them very easy to clean and
hard wearing.

VERDICT 912/10



TEST tendon and fetlock boots

KM Elite Fetlock and Tendon Boots 34.99 for the set

SAYS Used by professional show

jumpers. Double Velcro closure

protection boots.
Sizes Full and pony
Colours Black, brown and white
have a hard-wearing outer and look
nice and workman-like. My first
impression was that they looked quite
big and not as sleek as some of the
other boots I tested. However, these
boots did look much better once they
were on the horse, and the wide
Velcro straps held the boots securely
in place. They also felt slightly heavier
than some of the others.
The fetlock boots stayed in place
well with an easy-to-fasten double
Velcro strap. Theyre easy to clean,
which is important to us, and can be
put in the washing machine.
I was surprised to see the price of
these boots less than 35 for a full
set. Very good value for money for
a boot that should still look in good
condition after some heavy use.





Equilibrium Tri-Zone Tendon Boots

54.95 Fetlock Lite Boots 24.95
SAYS Tendon Boots Vented



boots to reduce overheating.

Tough outer shell with impactabsorbing inner lining.
Sizes Medium or large
Colours Black, brown or white
Fetlock Boots Designed for BSJ
Young Horse classes, so as not to
affect a horses natural action.
Sizes Medium/large
Colours Brown, black or white
tendon boots offer maximum
protection and fit very well but
appear to look bulky compared to
some of the other boots. I think this
is because the vents appear to be
added on to the boots instead of
incorporated into them. However,
the vents in the tendon boots do

work the horses dont sweat so

much in them.
Because both the Velcro and
elastic are top quality, you have
make sure the elastic is stretched, or
its easy to leave them too loose
when new. When theyre correctly
fitted they do not move. Weve also
found them very easy to clean.
I liked the look of these boots and
feel theyre good value for money.
The Fetlock Lite boots are useful
brushing boots. They fit well, offer
full protection and dont move.
These boots are encouraged in BSJ
Young Horse classes as theres no
elastic and they promote the horses
natural movement behind.
Again, theyre very easy to clean
and extremely good value for high
quality, full protection boots.

VERDICT 812/10


The expert
Lilley competes

regularly from Novice level

to Grand Prix on horses
that shes backed and
trained herself. Shes been
passing on her knowledge
to riders of all levels for the past 30 years,
both in the UK and abroad, and currently
runs her own training centre in Wiltshire.

ressage is the dance of

the equestrian world.
The aim is to float and
glide across the arena
like a couple of ballroom dancers
from the 1920s. And just as dancers
have a leading leg to help maintain
their balance, horses do, too.
Canter is a one-sided gait. Its
either led by the right leg or by the
left leg, depending on what rein
youre riding on, Claire explains.
If youre on the right rein, on the
correct or right canter lead, your
horses right foreleg will be leading.
If youre on the left rein, the left fore
leg should be leading. Basically,
your horses inside fore leg should
always be leading, when riding in
true canter.
Its important to be able to control
which canter lead your horse is on,
as being on the wrong lead will
affect his balance and make it
impossible for him to perform
dressage movements correctly,
says Claire. Its also important
if you jump. Being on the correct
lead when going round a course
can make all the difference when
producing a winning round.

When checking your

horses canter lead
visually, make sure
you dont lean forward
over the inside shoulder,
otherwise your shift
in weight may cause
him to change onto
the wrong leg

Breaking down the beats

To understand canter leads its crucial
that you have a clear picture of what your
horses legs are doing when hes cantering.
Canter has three beats with at least one
foot touching the ground, explains Claire.
These three footfalls are evenly spaced
and are followed by a period of suspension

where all four legs are off the ground. The

three beats and suspension are considered
to be one stride.
When a horse strikes off with his
outside hind, his inside fore will be the
last leg on the ground before the period
of suspension, and will therefore be the
leading leg.
The movement for one stride is as follows:

Top Tipside

s in
Your horse uld
g in
when ri


The outside hindleg hits the ground, the other three legs are off the ground


The inside hindleg and outside foreleg hit the ground. The inside foreleg is still off the ground.
The outside hindleg is still touching the ground, but is about to be lifted


The inside foreleg hits the ground. The outside hindleg is off the ground. As the inside hindleg and outside
foreleg are lifted off the ground, the inside foreleg is the only foot supporting the horses weight and is
visibly reaching forwards furthest



Riding Canter leads cracked

Suspension the horse has all four legs off the ground

Getting a feel for it

Now you can picture what your

horses legs are doing in your
minds eye, you need to learn
to feel what theyre doing.
Imagine your body has four
columns running through it
two at the front and two at
the back, says Claire. These
columns run side by side and
each moves independently.
Youll be able to feel your horses
movement through these
columns and, in time, youll learn
to read what the feeling says
about your horses movement.
You can practise developing
feel in any pace. Start with walk
and see if you can tell which
hindleg is moving when. At first
its helpful to have someone on
the ground to call out right, left, right, left,
says Claire. Then have a go at calling out
the movement yourself.
When you have the hang of this, try
doing the same thing in trot. Youll need
to be able to sit softly to the trot in order
to feel the movement, says Claire. It can
take a while to get in tune with your horses
strides, but it will ultimately help you to
improve all aspects of your riding.


you dont lean to the

inside. You want
a little more
ant to rid
weight in your
Its import
r the
trot in prep tion. Itll be
inside stirrup,
canter tran ficult to pick
but you dont
k for
oment to as
want to
the right m ure rising,
canter if yo e able to
overload the
as youll no hindlegs inside of your
feel what th ing
horses back as this
are do
will block his hindleg
from coming through and
may well cause him to strike off
on the wrong leg.
Once you have your horse
on a circle, go into sitting trot
and put your feel into practice.
The idea is to ask your horse to
move his outside hindleg first.
If youre able to do this, youll
find yourself on the correct
lead every time.
Your hips and legs will move outside,
inside at the same time as your horses
Canter transitions are all about preparation
hindlegs go outside, inside, says Claire.
and asking at the right moment, not
As you feel his outside hind come up
shooting off on a wing and a prayer.
underneath you, ask for canter and youll
In order to encourage the correct strike
get the correct strike off. Although its the
off, your horse needs to be flexed slightly
inside fore that leads, it is the outside hind
to the inside. Riding on a 20m circle will
that strikes off.
help you to establish the required bend,
Practise riding canter, trot, canter
advises Claire. As you turn, make sure
transitions on your circle. Ask for upwards

Riding sitting trot will

help you feel what your
horses legs are doing

Top Tip

When and where to ask?


Deal or
no deal?
Well mannered,
good to box,
shoe and clip



Buying from a dealer

prospect, will
be a champion

loves jumping

Hunter, never
pulls, soars
over hedges

Finding your perfect horse will always

include a touch of lady luck but could
going to a dealer give you greater
protection and offer you your best buy?
Anna Bruce investigates

ed up spending hours on the

phone and trudging across the
country to find the right horse?
Making an appointment at
a dealing yard could be the answer a
chance to view a selection of horses who
fit into the age, sex, height, experience
and price parameters youve set, in an
environment designed to help you achieve
your aims.
In a professional yard you should be able
to have a cup of tea or coffee and use a loo
on arrival, see the horses in the stable,
trotting up in-hand, and demonstrated as
per your requirements on the flat and over
fences. Depending on the experience of the
horses youre viewing, you can watch them
loose jumping or cross-country schooling
If they seem suitable, you can then have a
go yourself, including hacking out alone
or in company as you wish.
There is little more you could reasonably
expect to experience before buying, so the


dealer, who relies on fast turnover for his

profits, will encourage you to make your
intentions known. Often a cash deposit is
expected on the spot.
Buying from a dealer saves time, and
there are the acilities to give the horse a fair
trial as discussed above but you need to
consider some words of caution.
Firstly its not always wise to reveal
your budget. If you do so, you could
find many horses magically reaching
it and several other strong
contenders temptingly just
exceeding it!
Secondly remember
that selling is the
dealers livelihood.
They employ good
riders who are masters
at showing these horses
for case studies
off to the best of their
and legal advice
ability. In the
comparatively short time



Buying tack is an investment

that with the correct care will
last for years but it needs
the right products to keep
it performing as you want

f you dont care for your leather

tack correctly it will eventually
become stiff and brittle. It could
then break when youre using it
not a nice thought.
The range of products available to
help you keep your tack looking and
feeling great has grown over the years.
Theres no need to spit on your bar
of saddle soap anymore as there are
products that make cleaning your
tack quick and easy, leaving you
with soft, conditioned leather.
When youre choosing which
products you want to use, take some
time to read the labels. Theyre all
designed to do different things,
whether its conditioning, nourishing
or softening, and youll want different
products at different times, depending
on what your leather needs.

New leather

New leather may be a little stiff to

begin with but the application of
something like neatsfoot oil will
help nourish it and make
it supple.
Be careful not to apply too much
and allow time for the oil to soak

leather so theres no need to use any

Some also help stop mould growth.
Apply a leather cream to nourish
the leather. Be careful not to apply
too much as it may make it sticky.
Get into the daily routine of caring
for your tack. It will be worth it in the
long run as it will save you time,
energy and money.

Weekly care

Nows the time to take your bridle

apart and give it a really good clean.
Using warm water and a damp cloth,
give all your leather a good wipe over,
paying particular attention to the side
that sits against your horse removing
all dirt and grease.
Check it over thoroughly for signs
of cracking and look at any stitching.
Allow the leather to dry naturally
before applying tack conditioner,
which will condition and protect
your bridle.

New leather may

benefit from the
application of oil

Storing tack

into the leather before you use it.

Always keep a close eye on any
new tack to make sure it isnt rubbing
your horse areas prone to rubbing
include around the headpiece,
browband and noseband.

Daily care
Keep your tack
clean and it will
last for years


A quick wipe over with

a damp cloth to remove
any dirt and sweat
should suffice, or you
can use a tack cleaning
spray. These lift built up
grease and dirt off the

Look for a product that will prevent

mould growth. Apply a good layer
to both sides of the leather to help
it stay supple and protected. Its
important to make sure any tack
is clean and dry before you put
it away.
Where you keep your tack is also
an important consideration many
tack rooms can be cold and damp.
This environment isnt ideal and can
lead to mould forming on the leather
if its not properly cared for.
Ideally your tack room should be
warm and dry, but be careful it isnt
too warm, otherwise your tack will
dry out.


tack care

Check stitching reg

A warm, dry tack

room is ideal


Nicola Slater,
technical advisor
for Carr & Day &
Martin, knows a thing or
two about leather and
caring for it!
Saddle soap This doesnt clean tack!
Soaps are essentially made up of fats and
so are conditioners for the leather. Weve
changed the name of our Belvoir Saddle
Soap to Belvoir Tack Conditioner to avoid
the confusion. All tack must be clean
before applying a saddle soap.
Water This is damaging towards leather.
Water draws out moisture from tack and
so huge amounts should be avoided.
People still put tack in water to soak which,
once dry, will leave leather dry and brittle,
and will then need intensive conditioning.
Water and washing up liquid
Leather in normal terms is skin and so
should be treated in the same way.
Washing up liquid is designed to strip
grease but using it on leather will also strip
the finishes that have been skillfully
applied to give it its durability and quality.
Oils There are many variations of how
people think oils should be used. Oil should
be applied little and not too often. Ive
heard many a person say they apply oil
until it doesnt soak in any more or they
leave it in a bucket to soak for 24 hours.


Enter at A

graze at X!

Silly mistakes can spoil your chances of dressage

success. Here judges tell us their pet hates so
you can avoid them
Words Helen Milbank
Cartoons Patrick Latham

f theres something guaranteed

to see your dressage scores take
a tumble, its stupid mistakes
that annoy the judges and throw
away marks. Sloppy riding, lack of
preparation, poor turnout, failing to
ride your corners correctly these will
all knock you down the order faster
than you can say shoulder-in.
The good news is that such faults


are easily avoided, provided you train

correctly, plan ahead and gain a little
insider knowledge into what makes
dressage judges tick.
To help you on your way to dressage
success, weve asked judges to share
their pet hates. Read on and make
a mental note never to repeat the same
mistakes that get them grumbling and
that they see again and again.