Top Tips!

Many of our users have kindly been sending in their Top Tip's so we thought we would start sharing them with you.
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Does your horse have a pair-bond? If your horse is regularly turned out with the same group of animals, it is more than   likely he has a pair bond. To find out who it is, look for the following signs. Horses that have pair bonded will graze and drink in close proximity and alert each other to danger. There will be different distances between pairs grazing in the field. Mutual grooming is a favourite activity, although your horse may groom other horses as well, he will groom his pair – bond more often. Pair-bonded horses are likely to initiate   each others behaviour. Read more horse behaviour articles 
Practice your jumping position on a circle in trot or canter to help improve your balance. Stand in your stirrups, keep your hands above the withers and drop your weight down into your heel. You can do this at home or when you’re out cantering, and it really puts the focus on our lower leg. Don’t forget when you’re going cross country, its your legs that push your horse forward, not your seat, It will also help to imagine a 6in nail poking out of your saddle.Read more great riding advice and tips
Horse sweat is one of leather’s worst enemies. Whenever it comes in contact with a saddle, reins, or other tack, sweat absorbs some of that leather’s natural oils. Over time, that can cause the leather to dry out and crack. Fortunately, Horseman’s One Step® offers a convenient way to clean and condition leather in a single easy step, keeping your saddles and tack soft and lustrous. For more information visit GET YOUR HANDS ON A FREE TUB OF HORSEMAN'S ONE STEP LEATHER CLEANER AND CONDTIONER
To help your jumping position, visualize the letter W on its side. This represents the rider with the arms of the letter being made up as follows: Shoulder to seat, seat to knee, knee to heel and finally heel to toe. To achieve a good jumping position think of squashing this W as much as possible.  Read more jumping articles including Practicing Jump Offs and Understanding Distances 
Leather boots are subjected to much more mud, water and even horse urine than a bridle would ever be, but most people clean their tack more than their boots!  Quality leather footwear - such as Mountain Horse's - is made to last but boots will last even longer if you look after them. Leather is a natural product and will inevitably crack with lots of abuse and no care! Follow these simple rules:  Wipe dirty boots with a damp clothor a quality leather cleaner. Household detergents may damage the leather permanently. If boots get soaking wet, don't use them again until they're properly dry. Dry wet boots away from direct heat such as radiators, boilers or fires. Use scrunched-up newspaper inside and replace it regularly until they're dry. Once dry and clean, treat them with a decent leather balsam or conditioner to keep the leather soft and supple.    Visit for the full Autumn/Winter 2015 range of footwear  
Prevention is always better than cure, the importance of regular thorough inspection of the horses legs and heels is vital to detect any scabs at the earliest phase.  > Wash the infected area with an antibacterial wash. > Work it in to a lather and leave for a few minutes.  > Rinse off with tepid water removing any tufty hair and scabs.  > Dry the area thoroughly with a clean soft towel, do not over rub as this may damage the skin. > Liberally apply sulphur powder, this will dry the area and act as an antiseptic.  > In severe cases the veterinarian may suggest an antibiotic course.  There are many antibacterial creams and ointments available however the most important treatment is the cleaning and more importantly the drying of the legs.  Understanding Mud Fever Read more
Assessing your potential purchase's personality and behaviour is something you should do as well as having him vetted, not instead of.   Have you really carried out all the checks necessary to make sure he is the best horse for you and your discipline?   You may have decided that you want a show jumper, an eventer or simply a horse that you can enjoy hacking out on. No matter what your aspirations are, it is essential that you do more than just ensure the horse is up to doing the physical job required of him. Regardless of how talented a horse is physically, if he has behavioural issues, such as bullying or is difficult to be handled whether that be by you, a farrier or even the dentist - the relationship can turn sour very quickly. You may even find that your colleagues at the yard start too resent him being around - and instead of having a horse you can enjoy, you find yourself having to deal with problems on a daily basis.  Behavioural problems can manifest, becoming so severe that to solve them you have to get the assistance of a qualified behaviourist.   Be prepared to assess the horses' behaviour prior to purchasing with these quick tips  > Ask the current owner probing questions > Visit the horse at his existing home at least five times - going only once or twice will not give you the time to gain a complete picture and insight into his personality and behaviour. > Divide the horses behaviour into 5 clear areas   1. Behaviour around other horses 2. Behaviour when interacting with you and other people 3. Behaviour when in his stable, yard, paddock and strange environment 4. Behaviour when loading 5. Behaviour when mounting and when being ridden   In each of these areas prepare a further list of questions, the answers of which can only be found with a combination of your own observations and the inside knowledge of the current owner - If you do not believe you are confident enough in assessing the behaviour or the answers you are getting take somebody who has better knowledge, but get a second opinion. If the owner is not forth right or even refuses help, walk away. Such a refusal could be an attempt to hide any behavioural problems and the owner obviously does not have the horse's best interest at heart.For more horse related behavioural problems-  read more   
There is no such word as can't Before you say a negative comment say 2 positive Believe and achieve  Read all about a Becci's Top day out with Tim - great advice and lesson Read more
Does your horse always seem to be less co-operative when you are in a hurry? Do you sometimes think he is being difficult on purpose just to annoy you?   Firstly it is unlikely that your horse is being deliberately difficult - Every horse has his own personal space and you must take this into account when catching him. When you are in a rush, you probably march up to your horse brandishing his head collar in front of you, calling his name loudly - He will interpret this as aggressive behaviour and the action of a predator, you need the permission of your horse to enter his personal space.   You stand a much better chance of catching your horse if you allow him to invite you in to his personal space. Take your time and walk gently and quietly towards your horse, giving him time to notice you and be aware of your intentions. Try and keep your body and mannerisms relaxed and allow him to sniff you and make the initial contact before you try and put his head collar on.  Catching your horse should be a relaxed and forth coming exercise - after all he is a flight animal and will run from something he is not comfortable with.   Try and catch your horse every day even if you don't plan to ride him. Bringing him out of the field to groom or feed him, both of which are activities he enjoys, will help him associate his head collar with a pleasurable experience.   More great articles on helping you understand your horses' behaviour including Soopk Busting Tips Read more
Discipline is the key to training your horse for mounting.    Do you have a horse that is a problem to mount, will he only let you get on if someone holds him, does he dance around and refuse to stand still and spook at every little thing once you're on?.   Horse's that won't stand to be mounted are annoying and can be dangerous. The good news is that your horse can be re-trained by the way you handle him. Start by making him stand in-hand in all sorts of different places and situations. When you have established this, pretend to begin to mount but don't put your foot in the stirrup, eventually he will become more and more confident about having you near his side without the fear of you climbing on him. Try using a mounting block when ever possible - walk him to the block and get him to stand still and parallel with it. Praise him for standing still and move off without getting on. Repeat this until he stands calmly at the block. Only once you have established a calmer horse, try getting on. Hopefully he will be confident about having you mount and will be relaxed enough to stand. If he starts to dance around again - simply keep repeating the exercise - be patient - your horse will eventually get the message and become confident and relaxed when you mount. Read our Spook Busting Tips - you and your horse will have some fun and they are great for building a trusted partnership. Teaching your horse to stand stillRead more 100's of great Top Tips that will help you and your horse 
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