Archive for May, 2010

Caring for your pony – Grooming

May 30th, 2010

Grooming your pony

Grooming your pony

Besides water, food and sufficient exercise, another important aspect in horse care is grooming. Whether you own or loan a pony, or simply help out at a friends house, grooming is an important skill you need to learn beside riding.

As well as keeping a ponies coat clean, grooming promotes blood flow, stimulates breathing, strengthens the bond between you and him /her and it removes dead skin cells and dead hair.

If you think of grooming as flicking a random brush over your pony, then you are mistaken. That certainly is NOT the way to groom a pony. When you groom a pony you should do it methodically so that you do not flick dirt back on to a part of the pony that you have already brushed. Start by picking out the hooves but remember to pick them out from heel to toe as otherwise you may hurt the frog(!) (the sensitive middle part of the bottom of the hoof) if your hand slips.

Check for signs of thrush (smelly feet, black discharge) and carefully put the ponies hoof down. Next, start grooming the mane and use a body brush or your fingers to comb the mane till you can go through it without trouble. A de-tangler spray would really help.

Remove mud from the coat with a dandy brush and and then use a body brush to remove grease and scurf. After a few strokes with the body brush use a metal curry comb to remove the hair from the body brush. Note: the metal curry comb is only used for cleaning the body brush, and should NEVER be used on a pony.

Now set to work with the tail, but stand to the side to avoid getting kicked and pull the tail to the side. Use a body brush or your fingers because, however tempting it may seem to use a plastic curry comb, this is not advised as it breaks the hair and can give your pony split ends.

Now as a finishing touch, why not add some hoof shine?
Otherwise you can use effol or another well known hoof strengthening cream or paste.

Horses , , , ,

Western-Style Horse Riding – Cowboy style riding, not as bad as you think

May 24th, 2010

Western-Style Horse Riding – Cowboy style riding, not as bad as you think
Cowboy riding compared with English style riding

Riding a horse (or doing anything else for that matter) cowboy-style tends to be a byword for not doing it correctly or properly hence the expression such as cowboy builders, cowboy plumbers etc. When the author of this article was learning to ride a horse at a riding centre in Herefordshire, one of the instructor’s way of rebuking his student for not holding the reins correctly or doing things incorrectly was to say “we do not want to ride cowboy style”.

An article in The Guardian of the 15th of August 2010 where a rider describes how she learn to ride a horse Western-Style seem to contradicts what the instructors at the ridding centre in Herefords seem to consider cowboy style ridding to be.

Describing Western Style riding, the rider describes how she was asked to slacken off the reins so that the horse has control of its own head and can see where its feet are going, this if very interesting and directly contradicts what English riding instructors tends to say which is to maintain rein contact .

One the whole the article on Western style riding seem to suggest a much more human and laid back way or riding which probably helps the rider enjoy riding more and the horse more freedom. Comparing English style riding and Western style riding Katherine Blocksdorf said ”

Western riding developed according to the needs of ‘cowboys’. The Western saddle is made to distribute weight more evenly over the horse’s back so horse and rider can counterbalance the weight of a roped cow. English riding takes many of its traditions and equipment from European mounted military styles”. If indeed most of our our riding schools in England takes their riding tradition from the Military, no wonder we are so strict about so many riding postures and position.

There are many western style riding centres in the UK, if you want to learn to chill out and learn to ride like a cowboy, you may want to visit some of them, list of some Western-Style riding centres in UK follows:

Western – Style Riding Centres

  • Sycamore Ranch Western Riding Centre –
  • Unicorn Trails Western Riding Holidays –
  • Rocky’s Western Riding Adventures –
  • burlea Villa –
  • Rock’s Western Ridding Adventures –
  • The Mendip Stud –
  • Valley Farm –
  • Fairfield Stables –

Countryside Blog , ,

South West Christmas Equine Fair Westpoint Devon

May 18th, 2010

South West Christmas Horse Show
Given that this post was made in May 2010, you would thing its a bit too early to start promoting a Christmas event, for just any Christmas event yes, its a bit too early but for South West Christmas Equine Fair at Westpoint in Devon no, its not too early at all. It is a huge event that you will not want to miss to you may want to book you place early to ensure you and your family are able to secure a place. Details of the event follows:

South West Christmas Equine Fair Details

Event title: South West Christmas Equine Fair
Venue: Westpoint Arena, Clyst St Mary, Exeter, Devon, EX5 1DJ
Date: Saturday 4th & Sunday 5th December 2010
08:00 – 20:00 Saturday
08:00 – 17:00 Sunday


Two days of fabulous equestrian shopping, exciting and informative demonstrations and exhibitors offering advice and information.

Oliver Townend, International three day Eventer
Oliver is firmly established as Britain’s number one three-day event rider and was winner at last year’s Badminton and Burghley

Geoff Billington, International show jumper
Geoff Billington has been a leading figure on the show jumping circuit for over 30 years. He boasts both European and World Championship team bronze medals and has won numerous grands prix

Geoff and Oliver will be conducting two 45 minute demonstrations each on both the Saturday and the Sunday.


* The return of the ever popular Pony Club horse & hound challenge
* Strictly Showing competition
* A magnificent Sport horse & competition stallion parade (Saturday only)
* A beautiful Native breed Stallion parade (Sunday only)
* Breed Society Area
* Over 150 trade stands offering special show offers on 1000’s of equestrian products for both horse and rider. A shop and drop facility will be available in the Westpoint foyer
* Explore the annexe area- packed with yet more fantastic trade stands
* Please note: No dogs allowed

Ticket information: Advance ticket line 01749 813899
In advance
Adult £8
Child (5-16) £6
OAP £7
Family (2 Adults + 2 Children) £23

On the gate
Adult £10
Child (5-16) £7
OAP £9
Family (2 Adults + 2 Children) £26

Contour Exhibitions & Events

Equine Events , , , ,

Hereford Carriage Driving Spring Show at Hampton Court

May 9th, 2010

Hereford Carriage Driving Spring Show at Hampton Court

Carriage Driving Show
On Sunday, the 9th of March 2010 the annual Carriage Driving Spring Show organised by the Hereford District Driving Group (HDDG) took place at Hampton Court in Hope under Dinmore in Herefordshire.
Set against a scenic backdrop of lush countryside and beautiful rolling hills about 20 turnouts were competing in the show ring in various different classes.
Gleaming horses and Ponies, meticulously scrubbed and painted carriages and immaculately dressed whips and grooms as well as the spectators enjoyed a sunny day. Cows and their calves were grazing in the adjoining field, curiously observing the spectacle which was a test of nerves for some of the more flighty horses.
The judges had a hard job awarding Rosettes and cups, as all the turnouts were stunning in their own right. Two of the participants brought their Dalmation dogs along into the show ring to run next to or under the carriage at the back of the vehicle. This breed of dogs was traditionally used to accompany carriages for their protection, especially at night.

Show Schedule

The show schedule was made up of the following classes:

1. Novice and disabled whips
2. Veteran classes
3. Ride and drive (part one)
4. Pure bred registered Welsh
5. Ride and drive (part two)
6. Concour d’Elegance
7. Junior driver
8. Exercise vehicle up to 13.2hh
9. Exercises vehicle over 13.2hh
10.Coloured horses and ponies
11.Private driving

For those spectators wishing to have a break from watching horses and ponies there was the option of strolling over to Hampton Court Castle or visiting the magnificent gardens surrounding the castle.
Overall the event was a very enjoyable day out for all the family and certainly something I will look forward to doing again next year.

Country Sports , ,

War Horse – Story of a boy and his horse in First World War

May 6th, 2010

War Horse to be made into a Film
Several big screen films has been made about horses in various context including black beauty which traces the journey of a horse from the countryside field he was born to a big city. War Horse a novel by Michael Morpurgo which was successfully adapted for theatre has been a success at the West End for quite a while now, recently acclaimed file maker Steven Spielberg bought the film right to War Horse recently and he has just announced that he will be directing the film adaptation of War Horse.

War Horse is a touching story about a boy’s love for his horse and their mutual suffering amid the carnage of the First World War, the story not only explore the horrors of war from both the boys viewpoint and his horse’s viewpoint and how it affected them both.

In previous films, Spielberg has explored the relationship between children and other creatures, bringing out sides of children and seemingly dumb creature that actually have a lot to offer, his extra terrestrial film (ET) did just that; communication and understanding between ET an alien and child formed the core of the story. Spielberg also directed another film exploring the survival of a boy in the Japanese occupation of Shanghai which was based on J G Ballard’s autobiography; Empire of the Sun.

Theatre purist argue that no amount of magic Spielberg and his DreamWorks studio can apply to War Horse to make it a memorable as the stage version which is still going very strong at New London Theatre and it due to open in New York in 2011.

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