The news and views from Performance Rider

Posts tagged “hacking

Fit for purpose

Back pain in horses can be a serious problem, causing poor and reduced performance, grumpiness and bad behaviour, not to mention unnecessary discomfort for the horse. It is no secret that one of the most common causes of back pain is an ill-fitting saddle and whilst regular visits from the saddler should alleviate most major issues, horses in work are constantly changing shape, so maintaining a “perfect fit” in between visits can be tricky.

In reality, getting a saddle checked every few weeks is not an option, and particularly with ever-changing young horses, and those who are gaining or losing muscular tone as a result of lifestyle and workload, their body shapes are continuously altering. This is why we have introduced EquiFit’s extensive range of Therapeutic Saddle Pads to our growing portfolio.

The flagship product within the range is the EquiFit Double Thick Non-Slip Contour Pad which has been designed to ease saddle fitting difficulties and help minimise the chance of performance-zapping back pain in horses and, because it has been created using innovative T-Foam, the Pad conforms to the exact contours of both your horse’s back and your saddle shape each time it is used, and returns to shape after.

T-Foam is used in the EquiFit Double Thick Non-Slip Contour Pad because of its superb shock absorption properties and because of its unique construction, which reduces the chance of uncomfortable pressure points. By minimising vibrations from the horse up to the rider, and from the rider down to the horse, a more harmonious feel is achieved leading to greater comfort for both horse and rider. The double thickened material also provides a soft, yet bulk-free layer to support and protect the back and with an open cell structure, it can disperse heat quickly and efficiently to prevent overheating issues caused by many other pads on the market.

The EquiFit Double Thick Non-Slip Contour Pad also helps ensure that no pain or discomfort is caused by the slipping or movement of the saddle with a non slip outer material providing unrivalled saddle stability without the use of untidy straps and fastenings.

The EquiFit Double Thick Non-Slip Contour Pad does not alter the shape of a well-fitting saddle and can be used simply as an extra layer of protection against concussion on the vulnerable back area, or to help bridge the gap between saddle fitting visits. Prevention is better than cure when it comes to maintaining fitness, muscle tone and performance levels, and by purchasing an EquiFit Double Thick Non-Slip Saddle Pad you can help reduce the risk of unplanned interruptions in your competition campaign.

Available in one size only, in black, the EquiFit Double Thick Non-Slip Contour Pad is part of the comprehensive collection of Therapeutic Saddle Pads from EquiFit and costs £170 and is available exclusively in the UK from Performance Rider. View and buy online at www.performancerider.co.uk or tel: 01483 346011 for more information.

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The importance of tack checks… learned the hard way!

I guess we’re all more than a little fed up with the rain and the Noah’s Arks jokes so a little bit of sunshine yesterday was a welcome relief and I remembered I promised you a ‘Laugh at Myself’ story from earlier in the spring when the sun was shining for a couple of days……..

The semi retired horse loves to feel spring sun on his back, I think it reminds him of getting ready for the event season despite being out of it for 5 years! Looking at the cheeky glint in his eye and feeling pretty good myself I grabbed an old pair of reins I’d found hanging up in the lorry when I was doing a bit of spring cleaning (well they’d already got rubber stops on for the martingale and I was in a bit of a hurry) and headed off to do a spot of canter work on the sand tracks on the common. Just for some fun and to blow the cobwebs away!

Oh what a laugh we had, ha ha! He was feeling very well and, I think you’ll find this is a completely acceptable technical description for what happened, he pissed off. Well, I’d half expected it, we’ve been together 12 years and know each other pretty well. So I stood up in the stirrups to do a sharp half halt with a bit of body weight behind it and found myself hanging on to just the one rein as the other had broken at the billet!

What fun… galloping with just the one rein! It was about now I remembered why the reins had been hanging up in the lorry in the first place! Anyway, I thought positively, how fit could a 19 year old semi retired horse be? I found out, he was feeling pretty fit, his adrenalin was up and he had no intention of slowing down!

We left the sand tracks at full gallop and headed up into the woods at some speed with me ducking branches and trees. ‘Woah’ and ‘steady’ seemed to have no effect. We came out of the woods, missed running over a dog and did a strong hand canter along the lane. My attempts at steadying were now becoming more urgent. I thought about jumping off but was worried I might lose him. Was it safer with him or without him? Fortunately he knew his highway code and stopped at the T Junction. I jumped off before he could look left and right and head off again! I tied the broken rein to the bit and headed home.

Fortunately neither of us were hurt. But the point of the story, check your tack and if there is something wrong with it fix it or throw it away, don’t store it just in case! The upside for me is I have now awarded myself some of our lovely ThinLine reins and am enjoying the very soft feel they give me. The boy is very pleased with himself too, particularly the attention his legs got post his work out!


Put a plug in it!

When things are getting ‘too much’ many humans turn to ‘blocking it all out’ with the help of earplugs and now, thanks to EquiFit and Performance Rider, you can help your horse in the very same way.

Is your horse nervous when hacking? Does he go to pieces in prize givings? Can loud noises such as clipping or fireworks send him into orbit? There are many stressful situations that can be eased with the help of earplugs, however for years the equine variations of these handy products have been a far cry from their human equivalents, with ‘make-shift’ concepts often lending to uncomfortable, bulky, untidy and unhygienic solutions.

A simple revolution from EquiFit could be the solution. Produced using the same technologies as human ear plugs, the brand new EquiFit T-Foam EarPlugs have been manufactured from heat reactive T-Foam, which softens with body temperature and allows the EarPlug to conform to the horse’s ear canal. The result is an EarPlug that creates a strong seal and eliminates virtually all noise, replicating the same benefits that their human counterparts would offer. The unique T-Foam retains shape use after use, ensuring EquiFit EarPlugs provide a custom fit every time.

EquiFit T-Foam Equine EarPlugs are a tack-room-essential and can be used for a multitude of occasions when a soothing influence is needed. Whether riding in the ring when regulations allow it, or during the line-up of a prize giving, EarPlugs can help dull background noise and lead to a calmer, less anxious horse.

Other uses include clipping, bathing, during fireworks or shooting season and even to help horses that suffer from nerves during travelling. In addition some highly-strung horses on busy yards can benefit from a more peaceful environment, particularly if they are already uptight due to box rest. EarPlugs can also be used when hacking to help build confidence in horses that have had a fright from loud traffic, or simply in day to day riding during spooky conditions, such as high winds.

Not just a show ring accessory, the EquiFit T-Foam Equine EarPlugs can be trimmed to fit the ear canal if necessary and provide a soft, subtle and unobtrusive solution to anxiety caused by noises. The EquiFit T-Foam Equine EarPlugs are simple and easy to use; the unique foam gently expands within the ear canal to provide an ergonomic fit, without the risk of pressure points or discomfort.

Earplugs are permitted during British Show Jumping competitions, in the jumping and cross country phases of British Eventing horse trials and during prize givings at British Dressage shows, however Performance Rider recommends that competitors always check that Earplugs are permitted in their chosen discipline.

Priced at just £7 per pair, EquiFit T-Foam Equine EarPlugs are available in black or brown, exclusively in the UK from Performance Rider. View and buy online at www.performancerider.co.uk or tel: 01483 346011 for more information.