Jumping for non-jumpers!

Here at Flying Horse, we have clients from a variety of backgrounds.  Some have been riding for years and wish to up-skill, some would like to further develop the relationship with their horse, some are just getting into riding, and some are building up their confidence, often after a fall. Many of our clients jumped as children, and we have others who haven't jumped at all.  So today, we arranged for a low-key jumping day primarily for our non-jumpers, or those wanting to build their confidence around jumping. We started off with poles on the ground.  Some started off leading their horses, others rode in walk and trot over the poles.  We progressed during the day to some of our 'dressage' and 'western' riders jumping over crosspoles. We had an awesome time, with many of our clients achieving their goals for the day; some photos are shown below: (for future jumping days, keep an eye out on our events page!)

Who said mounted games are just for children?!

by Eirlys Beverley-Stone At the riding stables where I rode regularly for a number of years (and where I fell in love with the haflinger breed) we participated at games in every ‘lesson’ – even as adults.  The horses enjoyed it and we also enjoyed it.  A win-win situation! A few months ago we had an adults games night session at Flying Horse and everyone had an absolute ball, there was so much laughing and I realised how much I missed games!  We’re going to be running another session soon and will do so every month or so during the summer season – keep an eye on the events page for details on when they will be running. If you’re not sure about participating – here’s 10 reasons why it would be a great idea to give it a try!  And the best thing is – you don’t even have to be on horseback as you can participate in most of the games by leading your horse – a lovely way to build up your relationship on the ground. 1)      Endorphins – when you laugh it releases endorphins – so, as we can guarantee you WILL laugh, you will get some of those lovely endorphins that make you feel so great – simple! 2)      Social – we can’t help but natter in between games! 3)      Dressage moves!  Yes that’s correct; you may be surprised when your horse shows his/her natural ability to do flying changes in the bending race and an extended trot in the trotting race! 4)      Reduces spookiness – we use a variety of objects in the games and the exposure to these will helps them cope when they are unsure about similar [...]

Overcoming Confidence Issues

Everyone, no matter how good a rider, has at some time experienced confidence issues. Sometimes it’s a little blip that is easily overcome with supportive friends and/or your trainer. But sometimes it is a nasty wee monster that grows out of control and takes over, not only our riding, but our whole life. The thing about losing your confidence is that it also makes your comfort zone a whole heap smaller; and that makes you lose more confidence! The first thing we do when people come to us with a confidence issue is to assess both rider and horse. We check that the horse is not sore anywhere. If it is then we bring Karen Burrows in to work her Equine Touch magic. We check the horses emotional state and if that needs attention we do energy and crystal therapy to promote emotional balance and wellness. Then it’s the rider’s turn. If the confidence issue has resulted from a fall we use our Therapy horses (Maxi and Ben) to help the rider regain confidence and relaxation. Our horses are healers in their own right and are used to nervous riders. They are especially useful when the riders fall occurred when mounting. This is a very vulnerable time and if you fall off when you’re only halfway on it can causes major confidence issues. Once the rider is happy on our horses we can then start them back on their own horse. It is so rewarding watching them become a team again. A trainer told me long ago that: confidence is like a bucket of water. You can kick it over and its empty in a flash but you can only fill it back up one [...]

Rein pressure and balance

When you ride your horse how much rein pressure do you have? I was discussing this with a client the other day while out trailriding at Sandy Point. I had Maxi in his bitless bridle on a loose rein. He was in a lovely soft outline and walking out with long swinging strides. My client had her horse in a very round outline with obviously a lot of rein pressure; she was working hard with her legs but the horse was slow, not relaxed and its steps were short. Now I guess some of you are thinking “ well she obviously has a dressage horse and that’s the way they go”. Maxi is a “dressage horse” and Dave was riding with us on Storm who is definitely a dressage horse! Storm was in a bitted bridle but was also on a loose rein and walking out confidently in beautiful self carriage. The difference was the rein pressure and the balance of the rider. If you hold on really tightly to your horse all the time you are obliterating your stop aid and sabotaging not only your balance but the balance (self carriage) of your horse. It should be every riders aim to have their horse accepting a light contact and balancing themselves. If you give the rein forward your horse should stay at the same speed. If you go from walk to trot you should not need to balance yourself with your horses delicate mouth. So back to our client: she was effectively saying “stop” with the reins and “go” with her legs and her horse was confused and resentful. As we continued our ride we talked her into letting go a little and relaxing [...]