Friday, 24 March 2017

Equine breeding Showcase attracts leading stallions

British Breeders travel to Cumbria this weekend – Sunday March 26th
Connemara Stallion Kippure Lancelot, one of three
stallions to be presented by Barrowby Connemaras
As the largest equine breeding event in the North, the fourth annual Northern Stallion Showcase will welcome leading studs from as far afield as Somerset to Newton Rigg College Equestrian Centre in Cumbria this Sunday, March 26th.
Easy access, just off Jcn 40 of the M6!
A wide variety of stallions with exceptional bloodlines will be presented at the high-profile fixture, supported once again by Baileys Horse Feeds. They will include representatives of Britain’s internationally renowned native breeds, in addition to athletic sport horses and ponies with proven performance records and successful progeny.
Breeders of horses and ponies from across a wide region will travel to the event, at which a number of national and international studbooks will also be present to provide information and advice. Many of the stallions are stabled on site, providing a unique opportunity to see and evaluate a large number of different breeds and types on one day.
Pam Harrison from the organising team confirmed; “The enthusiasm and support for the Showcase builds each year and the quality of the stallions this time is exceptional. The weather forecast for the weekend is thankfully much better and everyone involved is looking forward to a very interesting and day.

Information about all of the stallions at the Showcase, together with the running order, can be found online here - and on social media. 

Gates open at 9.30am for visitors and the first stallion will be presented in the Showcase Arena at 11.00am. Admission costs £5, which includes parking and a free Programme within the April issue of Equine magazine, and under 8s will be admitted free. There is all day catering and the formal Showcase Programme concludes at 3.00pm.

Friday, 3 March 2017

The March issue of Equine is now out

The March issue of Equine is now out - read the digital edition from this link ...

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Thursday, 2 March 2017

Cumbria hosts high profile equine breeding event

Northern Stallion Showcase

The largest equine breeding event in the North is set to once again attract over 30 top class breeding stallions to Cumbria for the fourth annual Northern Stallion Showcase on Sunday, March 26th.

Breeders of horses and ponies from across a wide region will travel to Newton Rigg College Equestrian Centre for the 2017 Northern Stallion Showcase, supported once again by Baileys Horse Feeds, at which stallions with exceptional bloodlines will include representatives of Britain’s internationally renowned native breeds, in addition to athletic sport horses and ponies with proven performance records and successful progeny.
Together they offer a unique opportunity for everyone interested in the breeding of horses and ponies to view an impressive variety of potential sires from studs around the country ‘in the flesh’ and to discuss individual breeding plans for the 2017 season with the stallion owners and stud managers. Many of the stallions will be stabled on site and visitors to the Showcase will be able to view them in the stables during the lunchtime and other breaks in the day’s programme.
Confirming ongoing support for the event, Baileys Horse Feeds Marketing Manager Jane Buchan commented: “We’re looking forward to bringing our trade stand to the Northern Stallion Showcase as nothing beats the chance to talk to breeders face-to-face.  We passionately believe in the importance of correct nutrition, from conception onwards, and are pleased to offer practical guidance to first time and experienced breeders alike.”
Advance tickets to the Northern Stallion Showcase cost just £4.00, with under-8s free and include free parking and a programme. There will be trade stands and all-day catering.
Pam Harrison from the organising team confirmed: “There is a lot of enthusiasm and support for what is the biggest stallion showcase in the region, as it allows breeders to see and evaluate a large number of stallions without having to commit time for travelling to all the different studs around the country.

Advance visitor tickets now available

Entry Tickets for the 2017 Northern Stallion Showcase on Sunday, March 26 are individual security wristbands giving access to the indoor Showcase Arena, the stable area and the outdoor warm up arena.
Entry will include car parking and a copy of the April issue of Equine magazine containing the Official Programme. Discounted Advance Tickets (£4.00 per person) are available only until Monday, March 20th, after which the price will be £5.00 person.
Entry Tickets (wristbands) will be available for purchase on the day of the Showcase, costing £5.00 per person. No concessions are available, but children under the age of 8 will be admitted free.
You can order wristbands securely online from, which will be posted to the address you specify in your order.
For more information contact the Northern Stallion Showcase office on 01228 676935 or find the event on facebook and Twitter.

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

9 Essential Skills for Sponsored Riders

(C) Expo Life. All rights reserved                                             
The challenge of competition is important to many riders and at a time of year when reviews of the 2016 season are replaced by planning for 2017, how many of you are once more looking at ways to attract a successful business to pay some, or even all, of your costs in the form of a sponsorship contract?
If you’re a professional rider, sponsorship is likely to be a major consideration within your business plan, but many amateur riders are also actively seeking support to help them pay for what is actually their hobby. Together, they add up to a huge number of sponsorship proposals targeting different business in the equestrian market on a regular basis, so not surprisingly, success is far from assured.

Riders who enjoy ongoing support from their sponsors have learned a number of essential skills, which they use to deliver a return on the sponsorship investment they enjoy. How many of the following NINE key skills have you mastered?

1.      You will need to be a skilled rider, probably with more than one horse or pony to compete and have the time, facilities, resources and commitment to deliver credible competition success on a regular basis.
2.      It is essential to understand the brand and product range or service of your sponsor(s) and be 100% committed to regular use of them. You cannot develop a meaningful relationship with any sponsor if you use any competitor products on your yard.
3.      Decide if you are happy with product and equipment sponsorship, or whether you are looking for cash money. The value of the support will determine what your sponsor(s) expect from you in return. You must be able to deliver what you promise for any sponsorship to succeed.
4.      Evaluate the skills you have out of the saddle and plan support where needed. This might include a secretary or PA to manage your diary and communicate regularly with sponsors, someone to write a blog for you or create attention-grabbing social media posts, a PR professional to create and manage media opportunities, a photographer to ensure a supply of good quality images your sponsors can use, website updates and more...
5.     Understand the power and pitfalls of social media and set ground rules for yourself to ensure your posts always present you in the way you intend.
6.      Plan time to support your sponsors at shows and events where they have trade stands, at product photo and video shoots, retailer open days and more. Agree a commitment and always be smart and enthusiastic, having done your homework about the brands and products you will be working with.
7.      Know the law and the rules relevant to your discipline when it comes to carrying branding on your horsebox and wearing it on your person and on your horses.
8.      Remember that your sponsors like to sell their products, so getting to know their local sales rep and passing on potential leads will be important in delivering a return to your sponsor.
9.      Finally, when you agree a sponsorship deal, ensure you have a written contract, as that way everyone knows what is expected and should there be any difficulties further down the line, meaningful discussions will be much easier.

So now you’re equipped with the skills to deliver a valuable return on the investment you would like a sponsor to make in you, how do you go about approaching potential sponsors?
Before you approach a specific sponsor make sure you do your homework. Find out all there is to know about the company and develop a case as to why you are a good fit with their brand and what you can do to help raise the profile of that brand. Be realistic though, as you will not get everything for free and you will not be handed a wad of cash! Just because you have a horse and would like to compete more does not mean a company should sponsor you. Sponsorship is a two way street and you have to provide value for a company to consider sponsoring you.

It will be easier to approach companies that you genuinely believe in and have already got experience of using their products. Don’t give up, persevere and show your passion. Think about what the sponsor will gain from working with you and pitch to companies that resonate with your ethos and that you believe you can promote.

Most sponsorship proposals fail because they are quite simply unprofessional. So never approach a company via a Facebook message – this is definitely considered extremely unprofessional! Take the time to write, email or ‘phone in the first instance to find out who you need to contact and how.
Don’t write a generic letter and send it out to quite a few companies without mention of specific products. It will not grab the attention of a potential sponsor; you should always demonstrate your knowledge of the product range in your application.

Finally, when you do secure sponsorship, think of it as an integral part of your career and manage it as well as you do every other aspect of your riding and stable management. That way you will earn the respect and confidence of your sponsor and set the scene for long and mutually beneficial relationship.

This article first appeared in the Jan-Feb issue of Equine. Subscribe securely online at

Friday, 27 January 2017

Saddle Research Trust Funding Supports Development of Facial Expression

Saddle Research Trust Funding Supports Development of Facial Expression

Dr. Sue Dyson, world-renowned expert in equine orthopaedics and Honorary Veterinary Advisor to the Saddle Research Trust (SRT), has recently co-authored a study to develop a facial expression ethogram to describe pain-related behaviour in horses.
Partially funded by the SRT, this study aimed to not only develop but also determine whether individuals could interpret and correctly apply the ethogram, with consistency among assessors. It is hoped that once complete, the ethogram will provide an additional tool for assessing lameness in the ridden horse.

The full paper is available to read until February 8th 2017. Please click here to view the link from the Saddle Research Trust website.

Equine stereotypies still dismissed by some owners

Whilst recognition and understanding of equine stereotypic behaviours, including wind sucking, box walking and weaving, has undoubtedly increased, a recent major survey has revealed that not all owners are concerned about the widely understood implications for health and wellbeing.
Over 3000 respondents completed the survey into Equine Stereotypic Behaviours, developed in collaboration between ArcEquine’s Director of Research & Development Jack Thirkell and Megan Boden, a 3rd year undergraduate at Bishop Burton College and amongst the comments relating to perception of stereotypic behaviour, some views revealed a surprising and perhaps shocking lack of compassion:
“No horse is perfect and most behaviours are manageable”
“Unfortunate, but after everything possible has been done to make life great for the horse to try to alleviate the stress behind the stereotypical behaviour, and it continues, then I don't worry about it. It is so sad when it interferes with the reason the horse is being kept - so my perception is - as long as the horse is able to do what I require of it (jump, dressage, race or whatever) then what it does in its own time is its affair.”
“It would mean extra vet fees”
When it comes to taking responsibility for what are now understood to be ‘man-made’ issues resulting from unnatural management practices, including feeding, stabling and workload, there were more dismissive responses:
“Usually brought about by the wrong management/environment in its previous home”
 “Behaviours that are normal and found in most horses”
The detailed information from this unique survey has been analysed and a synopsis is available on the ArcEquine blog here ...
Jack Thirkell commented: “It’s clear from the data that the majority of respondents do understand the range of behaviours categorised as equine stereotypies are undesirable and potentially damaging stress responses, which invariably result from a horse’s environment and management.
“Most people try to identify the underlying issues and resolve them with understanding and compassion, but the number of comments dismissing the issue confirms that more education is still required, with all owners ideally taking responsibility for where and how their horses are living.”

For a £60 discount off a full ArcEquine kit, enter discount code AE5012 at the online checkout.

Friday, 30 December 2016

Avoid winter hacking hazards

Fewer daylight hours and often unpleasant weather can make hacking more of a chore than a pleasure at this time of year, but one those lovely bright winter days, both you and your horse will benefit from time out of the arena and the chance to relax on a favourite, but still safe, ride.

It's important to choose a  route that you and your horse both know well, as that way you won't suddenly find yourselves having to negotiate a flooded dip, or very boggy footing that you didn't know would be there.
Snow doesn't mean you can't ride out, but makes it even more imperative that you know the terrain you are riding over, as potholes, slopes and small obstacles can be easily hidden and cause your horse to stumble or even fall, perhaps with an associated injury.

Winter Tip
Using a generous layer of grease - vaseline works well - inside your horse's hooves will help to prevent snow sticking to his feet like 'stilts'.

If there is a good snow cover, why not think of riding around your own fields, as it offers a quick and fun way to exercise without risking black ice on the road. If the snow is deep, don't be tempted to do too much, as hacking through snow is very hard work for your horse!
Ice is always dangerous, so check the weather forecast and if it's going to freeze and there is a risk of ice forming, that's a clear signal not to ride. High winds aren't fun either and even sensible horses can be seriously unnerved on a windy day, especially if the light conditions are poor. If your horse is worried in the wind, stay at  home!
When conditions on the roads are frost free though, hacking can offer the opportunity to not only keep your horse in work when your arena might be too wet, or you are both bored of going round in circles, but you can even keep up some of his schooling. Lateral work in walk, like leg-yielding and shoulder-in are all useful and you can even practise halts! 

Winter Tip
Always, always use high-visibility gear for both you and your horse – the more easily you can be seen by drivers, the safer you will be.

Hacking out in winter, especially if your horse is clipped, can be cold, so both of you need to wrap up warm, as a cold horse will inevitably be more 'skittish' to ride.
Thermal under layers, thick socks and good gloves are must for you and a snood will make all the difference to keeping your neck warm! For your horse, especially if it is raining and even more so if he’s clipped, an exercise rug that is windproof will be much appreciated; if it's hi-viz, even better!
Knee boots are always a good idea on the road and asking your farrier to fit road nails will help provide grip and reduce the risk of slipping on tarmac. Make sure you time your ride so that you aren't out in poor light at either end of the day and tell someone your planned route so that if you have a problem, help will know where to look.

Fun roll in the snow
When you get back from your ride, if there is lying snow then remember that most horses LOVE a roll in fresh snow, so even if your horse is clipped, turning out briefly will give him the opportunity to enjoy a good 'wriggle' in the snow, helping to 'clean' his coat at the same time! You'll have a really content horse to bring in, ready for you to rug up him up warmly and leave him to enjoy tucking into his hay or haylage.

So whilst winter can be a difficult time in many ways, with a little planning and preparation, you can look forward to some lovely seasonal hacks in the company of your horse and friends and make the most of our beautiful countryside.