Equestrian Life – August 2013

Words by:
Felix Bartlett
Featured in:
August 2013

The best platform for equestrian events, news and services.
The UK Masters Mounted Games Championships took place on 29th and 30th June at the Lincolnshire Showground and was an entertaining showcase of equestrian skill.

The games are a series of relay and obstacle type races performed at high speed by very athletic riders and their ponies, which makes for a breathtaking display of agility and skill.

Sunday saw the highlight of the event with the Open Home International 2013 and the seven teams competing for the Mike Ansell Cup, which was duly won by England North (which included Lincolnshire).

The Mounted Games Association of Great Britain (MGAGB) has over 1,500 members who compete regularly both in this country and abroad throughout the season. Formed in 1984, the Mounted Games Association of Great Britain now has over ninety county teams and eighteen nations affiliated with the association.


Since the start of the New Year, I have been looking at different areas of the rider’s body and how any lack of movement, or tension, can have an effect on both the rider and the horse. Are you now noticing a difference in how you feel when you ride and how your horse feels underneath you?

Before you even get on your horse, take a look at what has happened during that day so far. If you have had a stressful day at work or your time available for today’s riding session is limited, already you are preparing for an unproductive ride. Stop and take a deep breath. Do you absolutely need to ride today? Will it have a calming effect on you or will it add to the existing stress of the day?

Take time out to give yourself every opportunity to be feeling relaxed and prepared for riding your horse. Think back to the last time you were feeling hassled and think about the ride you had; with hindsight maybe it would have been better to have not bothered riding and spent the time giving your horse an extra thorough groom?

If the answer is ‘yes’, then you probably are. Any time that you sense your efforts are greater than your horse’s, stop and take another deep breath. Try and evaluate which part is not getting the response you want and try again with a less strong aid, or take a different approach. Change the subject for your horse and return to the original plan in a few minutes. The more you want a response, the harder you will try, and the tighter your body will become. Try and be aware of reducing your effort and play with altering your timing of the signal and see if you can produce a better response. Never worry if one approach doesn’t work, try something else. Keep your focus on your body moving with your horse and avoid sitting against him if you are pushing for more response in an effort to encourage him to give you more of a positive reaction. Remember, keep that breath flowing because as soon as you start trying too hard, you will be holding your breath and all of the tension that goes with it. Good luck!

Please feel free to contact me to let me know how you are getting on: sarah@pilatesboston.co.uk

The autumn programme of Equipilates at Sheepgate Equestrian will be listed online soon; it can offer simple and effective techniques to increase the freedom and awareness of the rider’s body. www.pilatesboston.co.uk

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