Equerry Horsefeed

Christmas with Alanna Clarke

Alanna Clarker Christmas graphic

When do you hang your Christmas decorations?

About a week before Christmas normally. My Gran comes to stay and we do them together.

When do you do your Christmas shopping?

Everything gets done in a panic a week before Christmas.

Do you do anything on Christmas Eve or have any family traditions?

We leave out Reindeer food and Father Christmas always has a Brandy left out for him, apparently its not that well known but that’s his favourite my Mum says!

What is your favourite part of Christmas dinner?

All of it!  Except the Brussel sprouts, yuk! It’s the only time of year I’m made to eat them and the worst thing about Christmas!

Do you have any Christmas traditions?

Opening presents before breakfast, I can never wait.

What is your horse expecting this Christmas?

Katrina my horse will be having some Equerry Minty Treats for Christmas. She never ate treats before we found these, and she can’t get enough of them.

Is there anything you have asked for this Christmas?

I would love a beautiful orange browband to match my orange matching set.

What is your horsey routine on Christmas Day?

It’s a normal day for the horses really, I think they like routine.

How do you spend Christmas Day?

Presents, breakfast, go to the yard, home to help cook dinner and watch some television, then back to settle the horses for the night and spend time with family.

Do you spend Christmas Day with family, how many people sit round the table?

Yes, I normally spend Christmas at home with Mum and Gran comes to stay, then I go to Dad’s for New Year.

Do you treat yourself to a Christmas jumper?

Haha, I don’t but last year Gran got me one with a cat wearing a Christmas hat!


Do you go for a Christmas hack?

No, we all have a day off.

What do you do on Boxing Day?

I like to check out if the Bloodhounds are out and go along.

Do your pets get Christmas presents?

No, they get spoilt all the time.

How will you spend New Year’s Eve?

I will be having a second Christmas with my Dad.

What is your New Year’s Resolution?

To get a six pack, I really need to work on my core.

Quick Fire Questions

Real or Fake Christmas tree? Fake.

Christmas Pudding or another dessert? Chocolate cake.

Favourite Christmas Carol? Ding Dong Merrily on High.

Colour Coordinated baubles or not? Whatever takes my fancy.

Tinsel or no tinsel? Tinsel.

What part did you play in the school nativity? The Angel Gabriel.

If you could kiss anyone under the mistletoe, who would it be? Jensen Ackles or Matthew Daddario.

Favourite Christmas film? Home Alone.

Are you on the naughty or the nice list? Ooohhhh I don’t know!

Turkey, goose or vegetarian option? Turkey!

Training for Leg Yield

When training on the flat, suppleness is a key element which should be carefully attended to and developed.  A useful exercise which can significantly help to improve suppleness is leg yield. It is the first lateral exercise that is introduced to a horse and involves working on two tracks.

Leg yield is the most basic of lateral movements and encourages looseness and flexibility across the whole of the horse’s body whilst ensuring that the rider uses the correct aids and leg positioning to influence the horse.

During leg yield, the horse steps sideways and forwards at the same time. This means that the inside hind leg steps into the tracks of the opposite front leg. The inside legs step in front of and across the outside feet and the steps should be equal and in positive forward momentum.

When training for leg yield it is important that the horse moves off the leg and learns the aid to step sideways. It is crucial that the rider positions the horse correctly to set up the leg yield. To start with turn the horse down the centre or quarter line and be sure to ride a few straight steps before turning your horses shoulders onto a diagonal line in the direction that you wish to travel.

The half halt should then be used to make the horse’s shoulders wait and the outside leg can be applied for support. Simultaneously, the inside leg should be applied slightly further back, just behind the girth and should be used to ask the horse to step sideways. The rider should sit with a heavier inside seat bone, which the horse should learn to move away from. To clarify, the inside leg drives the sideways motion whilst the outside leg ‘guards’ and encourages forwardness.

When leg-yielding, the horse should be straight through the body and give a slight flexion to the inside at the poll, which is encouraged by a gentle inside rein.

To finish the leg yield, the horse should be straightened, so that his hind legs and forelegs use the same track. It is important that the movement is started and finished properly so that the horse learns to be obedient and not fall sideways until he reaches the track for support.

There are different forms of leg yield which can be utilised as training progresses. These include leg yield on a circle, off a diagonal line and from line to line. Leg yield can be performed in walk, trot and canter, but should be introduced in walk to establish the correct positioning and teach the horse to accept the aids.

Leg yield is very useful for developing lateral suppleness, which will improve the horse’s way of going as well as teaching the rider to ride lateral movements correctly. When the leg yield is established, other lateral work can be introduced such as shoulder in which should be smooth as the horse has learnt to accept the aids involved.

Simple Schooling Exercises with Georgie Bennett

Here dressage rider and Equerry-sponsored Georgie Bennett talks us through a few simple flatwork exercises.  Georgie explains how to ride half 10 metre circles and turns up the centre line.

Half 10 Metre Circles

By the time you work on 10 metre circles or half circles your horse should be working in a rhythm and balance on 20 metre circles.  The movements must be done without resistance or loss of balance or rhythm before the horse is ready to work on a small circle.

The smaller the circle, the greater the demand for the horse to carry himself on his hind legs and engage the hindquarters.  For this reason it is always better to work on 10 metre half circles before attempting a full circle.

It is important that the horse does not lose his rhythm, shape or show resistance; better that the circle is a little larger until the horse is physically able to work correctly on a small circle.

This is a good movement to practice to help improve your entry on to the centre line.

10 metre half circles can be performed anywhere in the school, but working from the centre line to the track ensures that the circle is not too big.

However if you work from the boards to the centre line you have the option to then ride straight down the centre line or ride diagonally across back to the boards.

When you have practiced several half circles on their own you can progress to two half circles.

This is best done at ‘E’ or ‘B’ making sure that you do several strides down the centre line over ‘X’, changing the diagonal and balancing the horse before the change of rein.

The aids and the principle of riding the half circle will be exactly the same as for a 20 metre circle.  However you will need to be more engaged with this slightly more complex movement.

After completing several of these movements you can than progress to full 10 metre circles.

Turns up the Centre Line

Turns up the centre are not only an integral part of the dressage test but they also play a part in the schooling and warm up of the horse.

Initially the turns on to the centre line can be incorporated with your 10 metre half circles.  Make the turn smooth, and look to where you will be going to make sure that you are accurate.

It is important to be exact about the turn so not to over shoot the centre line.  The horse must then go absolutely straight up the centre line without wandering.

If the horse is pushed forwards between the rider’s hand and leg, he will be easier to steer and keep straight.

When entering the centre line off the bend, the rider has to execute a half-halt to sit the horse on his hocks prior to the turn and so balance him, and then ride strongly forward with an even contact on reaching the centre line.  In doing this, the rider creates enough push from behind to ensure straightness.

This exercise encourages the horse to work more from behind, which is the ultimate aim when schooling.

These turns onto a straight line can also be practiced by turning right or left at ‘E’ or ‘B’.  With these turns there is not so much time to ensure that the horse is absolutely straight so the rider must be clear and positive with the aids.

When changing direction by this method, change the flexion at the poll over the centre line and do not allow the horse to swing his shoulders or hindquarters.

When you have practiced this several times you can add halts to your exercise.  It is often a good idea not to halt every time you proceed up the centre line as the horse will begin to anticipate the movement.

Jumping into the Future with Scarlett Cox-Lomas

Young Scarlett Cox-Lomas has the drive and ambition to be a future star.  Here we catch up with the Equerry Horse Feeds sponsored rider to find out more about her determination to succeed.

Without doubt, producing ponies is Scarlett Cox-Lomas’ first love!

To say she lives and breathes riding is an understatement and the more hours spent in the saddle the better for the 12-year-old from Cheshire.

With six ponies to ride and produce Scarlett’s down time out of school is fast and furious and she is probably most well-known for riding the palomino mare, Lillibet.

Now 10, the 128cm pony arrived as a poor and untouched three-year-old and the partnership has developed together, hitting winning form this season.

At The Equerry Bolesworth International Horse Show in June, Scarlett and Lillibet took second in the Mini Major Relay while just six weeks later they went on to win the same class at CarFest North, also held at Bolesworth Castle.

Scarlett takes up the story:

“When Lillibet arrived she struggled with her weight and had so much growing and maturing to do.

She is half Arab, half New Forest and was very slow to learn so it did mean I had to be patient and understand that producing and training ponies takes time and can’t be rushed.

When she arrived the biggest thing we noticed was that she really lacked personality and didn’t really seem to enjoy life a great deal.

Lillibet was actually quite ugly and not very flexible but my mum Emma set to working on her and after months of patience and time she started to improve and turn the corner.

As her confidence grew so did her love of life and in the last few years she has just been a star and we now have a fantastic bond whether training, competing or just spending time together.

Winning at CarFest North was just fantastic and we now compete in 133cm Working Hunter Pony classes as well as show jumping, eventing and dressage.

Our dressage has really taken shape and I am busy working towards competing at affiliated level.

Thanks to her Equerry feed regime of Conditioning Mash and High Fibre Cubes, Lillibet is now a picture of health and we get so many great comments about how well she looks and how happy she is.”

Scarlett’s latest ride is the 138cm show jumping pony, Spider’s Dance, owned by Amanda and Amy Cornforth.

A former HOYS contender, the Irish cob had started to stop when show jumping, following an incident which dented his confidence.

But thanks first to Amy, improving their bond and relationship and more recently to Scarlett taking her time to get to know and understand the 19-year-old, bay gelding their partnership is going from strength to strength.

Said Scarlett: “We have been out competing eight times and he is just the best and is a great character and addition to the team who will give me great experience at a higher level.”

When not out competing Scarlett enjoys her role as an Equerry Horse Feeds ambassador and also schools and produces other ponies to assist with the costs of competing on the pony circuit.

“I wouldn’t want to do anything else, riding is my life and I feel very lucky to have brilliant support from my family and sponsors,” she added.

Equerry Horse Feeds Under 25 Championship at Liverpool International Horse Show

THIS year’s Liverpool International Horse Show will see the country’s leading young riders competing in the prestigious Equerry Horse Feeds Under 25 Championship.

The action gets underway as part of the Friday Evening Performance, December 29 when competitors will tackle a course up to 1.45m.

Last year’s winner Millie Allen set the class alight when winning what proved to be one of the show highlights.

Liverpool International Horse Show President, Nina Barbour, said: “We are looking forward to a fantastic first night Evening Performance with the Equerry Horse Feeds Under 25 Championship.

“This will be followed by the Arenacross Freestyle Motocross Crew, our fabulous and first time seen in the UK fire, pyrotechnic and trick riding display Luminoso, the ever-popular Shetland Pony Grand National, new Dressage to Music Inter 1 Freestyle and to round off the evening Rick Parfitt Junior and the RPJ Band.”

The Equerry range of top-quality horse feeds contains something for every horse or pony, whether feeding a leisure horse or a competition horse, there is a product to meet their nutritional requirements.

The range provides everything from High Fibre Cubes for horses and ponies at rest or in very light work to more conditioning options including Conditioning Cubes and Mix, a low starch ‘Non-Heating’ Conditioning Mash and a very palatable Veteran Mix.

Liverpool International Horse Show takes place from December 29 to 31, at The Echo Arena on Liverpool’s iconic waterfront.

For further information visit www.liverpoolhorseshow.com

Georgie Wins Equerry Sponsorship Search

Dressage rider Georgie Bennett is the delighted winner of the Equerry Horse Feeds search for a new sponsored rider.

Georgie runs a small dressage and livery yard in Lincolnshire and is also a freelance rider and trainer.

She has evented at advanced level and also competes in advanced level dressage and was one of hundreds of riders to enter the national competition which proved massively popular.

Working with many different horses, Georgie recognises the importance of using a feed which gives them the condition they need, but also in her words “keeps their brain on her side.”

Georgie soon realised that once she began feeding horses on the Equerry range, their coats very quickly took on an amazing shine that simply got better and better, whether at home training or out competing.

Said Georgie: “Running a yard can be very expensive, competing makes it even more so, any help towards lowering costs is always hugely appreciated and it is fantastic to win the sponsorship support from Equerry.”

Added Katy Mickle of Equerry Horse Feeds: “We are delighted to welcome Georgie as our new sponsored rider and are very much looking forward to working with her.”

As the successful winner, Georgie was lucky enough to experience fantastic VIP hospitality at the Equerry sponsored Bolesworth International Horse Show for the exciting Equerry Grand Prix, together with winning a year’s supply of Equerry Horse Feed, an Equerry jacket, polo shirt and saddlecloth.

Feeding the Riding Club Horse or Pony

Many factors can influence your horse’s ability when competing, including his genetic potential and fitness. However, the correct diet is very important in order to meet his nutrient requirements for the Riding Club activities he is doing.

One of the most difficult challenges in feeding horses is balancing the need for sufficient fibre whilst also providing enough energy for his workload. Fibre is fermented in the hindgut by microbes to produce a continual supply of energy. All forage (i.e. hay, haylage and/or grazing) fed should be of good quality, both in terms of its nutritional value and hygiene. Most horses should receive between 1.5- 2% of their bodyweight in fibre. A diet of ad-lib forage and little and often feeding of a low sugar and starch feed are recommended in most cases.

If your horse is a good-doer, then feeding a high fibre, low-calorie feed such as Equerry High Fibre Cubes is advisable. Equerry High Fibre Cubes are ‘Non-Heating’, cereal-grain-free, low in sugar and starch and will provide all his basic vitamins and minerals for light to medium work.

If your horse is in medium to hard work, he will probably need more calories to support his condition and provide more energy. There will also be an increased demand for protein. Equerry Conditioning Mash or Equerry Conditioning Cubes are the ideal choice for him.

Protein is a very important nutrient required in the horse’s diet. It is essential for muscle development and damage repair along with promoting topline and for losses in body fluids. Protein is made up of chains of amino acids, of which ten are essential for the horse and about ten are non-essential. The essential amino acids must be provided in the diet as the horse can only synthesise the non-essential himself. Equerry Conditioning Mash/Equerry Conditioning Cubes have been formulated to provide good levels of essential amino acids, including lysine and methionine. These amino acids, plus the added oil and linseed provided in Equerry Conditioning Mash/Equerry Conditioning Cubes, also help to promote a glossy, shiny skin and coat.

The increased need for macro-nutrients (protein and energy) is accompanied by a higher demand for micronutrients (vitamins and minerals). Vitamins and minerals are responsible for energy metabolism, good bone strength and hoof quality. Equerry Conditioning Mash/Equerry Conditioning Cubes contain raised levels of Vitamin E and Selenium which are important antioxidants that play a large role in the muscle metabolism of horses with strenuous workloads. They help to neutralise the increased free radical production which is associated with higher levels of exercise.

Equerry Conditioning Mash/Equerry Conditioning Cubes also contain added yeast. This helps to promote overall digestive health and therefore, will enable your horse to digest his hard feed and forage more efficiently. The demands placed on your horse can cause stress in his work and travel and there is now a great deal of evidence to show that yeast can benefit stressed horses.

Equerry Conditioning Mash and Equerry Conditioning Cubes are complete feeds and when fed at the recommended rate will provide your horse with the correct levels of vitamins, minerals and trace-elements.As a guide, a horse weighing 500kg would need 2.5-3kg Equerry Conditioning Mash/Equerry Conditioning Cubes daily. This should be divided into at least 2 small meals, fed at least 4 hours apart.

For more information on feeding your horse contact the Equerry Nutrition Team on 01845 565640 for an individually tailored feeding plan.


Top Tips for Riding a Cross-Country Course

In this issue event rider Bonnie Fishburn provides advice on riding a cross-country course.

Whilst fences are the obvious obstacle in cross-country riding, it is very much an all-round endurance test too and preparation is key.

Explains Bonnie:

Whilst you get the chance to see the fences in advance and plot your route, don’t forget your horse will be new to it all. To give you the greatest opportunity of going clear, think through the points mentioned below.

Try and walk the course on two different occasions, and if possible, watch a few riders tackling it. Don’t be afraid to jot down some notes as you walk and if possible, walk it on your own, or with your trainer, or with someone else you respect, so you can perfectly concentrate on it.

When you walk the course, be alert for anything that might spook your horse. Remember you could be riding it in different weather, so for example things that blow in the breeze could startle your horse. Hopefully you will have prepared for this eventuality already by having practised on fences where you have specifically set up spooky objects nearby.

The sun and time of day can make a course feel very different too. You need to consider where the sun will cast shadows at the time you are competing. In spring and autumn, low sun can also affect both your own and your horse’s vision.

You should also be aware of those things you know are likely to distract your horse and potentially take his attention away from the fence. In this case, you may decide to ride a fence slightly off centre, if the distraction is to one side.

When walking the course, look behind you as well as in front, to help you judge whether you have chosen the most economical route to a fence.

However, you should always have an alternative plan, in case something happens at the last minute that means you need to change your route.

It is useful to watch how top riders approach fences as this will help you improve your technique.

It’s also a really good idea to hire some local courses so you can practise jumping direct and alternative routes before an event.

There really is no substitute for practising good lines on your horse. You should set out a course on a flat area, and include a combination of poles in straight lines, circles and on bends.

If you concentrate on this, you will focus on riding the best line to each pole, rather than worrying about tackling the actual fences.

You should also incorporate hillwork into your training, to build muscle, stamina and strength. You should get your horse used to tackling fences on the brow of a hill; these are very different as your horse won’t see them until the last minute, so you need to ride a little steadier into the fence, giving your horse extra time to take in what he’s being asked to do.

A final tip from Bonnie concerns the weather. With heavy rain, the course is likely to ride deeper as the day goes on. Conversely, a hot, dry spell may make the ground hard and slippery.

Deep, wet ground is obviously more tiring for your horse so when you walk the course, you should look out for areas that will get more churned up, and see if you can take a different line to those fences to avoid the difficult ground.

On dry, slippery ground you will need to ride cautiously, especially on downhill sections.

Georgie Secures Equerry Sponsorship

After reading hundreds of super entries we are delighted to announce the lucky winner of the search for a new sponsored rider is dressage rider Georgie Bennett.

Georgie runs a small dressage and livery yard in Lincolnshire and is also a freelance rider and trainer.

She has evented at advanced level and also competes in advanced level dressage.

Working with many different horses, Georgie recognises the importance of using a feed which gives them the condition they need, but also in her words “keeps their brain on her side.”

Georgie soon realised that once she began feeding horses on the Equerry range, their coats very quickly took on an amazing shine that simply got better and better, whether at home training or out competing.

Said Georgie: “Running a yard can be very expensive, competing makes it even more so, any help towards lowering costs is always hugely appreciated and it is fantastic to win the sponsorship support from Equerry.”

Added Katy Mickle of Equerry Horse Feeds: “We are delighted to welcome Georgie as our new sponsored rider and are very much looking forward to working with her.”

As the successful winner, Georgie was lucky enough to experience fantastic VIP hospitality at the Equerry sponsored Bolesworth International Horse Show for the exciting Equerry Grand Prix, together with winning a year’s supply of Equerry Horse Feed, an Equerry jacket, polo shirt and saddlecloth.

The Equerry sponsored rider team enjoyed a fantastic day out at Bolesworth International.

Pictured left to right are: Bonnie Fishburn, Alanna Clarke, Georgie Bennett, Amber Major and Nikee Hudson.

Anthony Condon and Balzac Take Dramatic Equerry Bolesworth International Grand Prix

Anthony Condon became the first Irish rider to take the Equerry Bolesworth International Grand Prix title on a day of sun-drenched show-jumping action in the International Arena.

Forty three combinations representing ten nations came forward for the feature class and visiting course designer from Ireland, Alan Wade had set a track where clear rounds would prove hard to come by.

Anthony Condon gave the Irish their first confirmed contender for the Grand Prix title after a faultless performance with Balzac.

As the competition progressed, it was looking unlikely that a full quota of clear rounds would be met, meaning that the fastest of those with penalties were in with a chance of qualifying. Robert Whitaker and Catwalk IV opted to go for a steady clear and despite ending up just over a second outside the time allowed, they went forward to the Jump-Off carrying a single penalty.

Last in to the arena for Round One, Spain’s Eduardo Alvarez Aznar and Rokfeller de Pleville Bois Margot ensured that six nations would be represented in the deciding round where each would be aiming to take home the lion’s share of the €100,000 prize fund on offer.

Coming into the second round in reverse order of their penalties and time from Round One, the stage was set for a truly dramatic conclusion, with three past winners amongst the eleven to face a Jump-Off course where they would have to twist and turn before getting a chance to open their horses up and gallop to the last.

William Whitaker was the first of the Jump-Off challengers with a chance of posting a zero score but two fences down saw him move out of contention. Then it was the turn of local rider Keith Shore who rode a tactical clear round to move up to the top of the leader board with Mystic Hurricane, completing in 53.53 seconds.

Anthony Condon was the final Irish challenger and he knocked over three and a half seconds off Keith’s time to take over the lead with Balzac (49.86 seconds). With just two more to come forward, the competition was far from over but fences down for Eduardo Alvarez Aznar and Michel Hendrix ensured a first International Grand Prix win at Bolesworth for Condon, who is based at Harthill Stud, just five minutes away from the venue.

‘I won the Grand Prix when Bolesworth was a national show and have competed here every year since it started. It’s my local show and it’s absolutely fantastic with amazing facilities.’