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Posted by on in News

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The main cornerstone of behavioural training is ‘learning theory’; the premise that everything we do is shaped by consequences. We take a look in our latest blog...

 

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Michaela Huntington, RS-tor advocate, answer’s a customer’s question…

 

 

Question

 

‘’I am a novice rider and recently purchased a young cob; she’s brilliant, except in the arena at times, when she can be quite cheeky. I’ve fallen off twice in one month, and though I put this down more to my balance as a rider, I was wondering if there were any devices out there that could help me to stay in the saddle? Short of putting super glue on the saddle, I am currently reliant on the neck strap and mane, which obviously isn’t helping! Any advice would be much appreciated.’

 

Answer

 

Congratulations on buying your new horse – what an exciting time! As you have realised, balance is a key challenge for novice riders, and it is commonplace for smart horses to take advantage of an imbalanced rider. This is when things like run-outs at fences, or little bucks as you go into canter start becoming undesirable equine behaviours! There are two simple things you can do to help your stability in the saddle, which will in turn help with both your confidence, and the calm authority you exert when training your cob.

The first one is to really focus on your own balance – even if this means lunge lessons on a more experienced horse. To ‘sit’ through ‘cheeky’ equine behaviours, you must have good core strength, and very reactive abdominal muscles. You don’t need a washboard stomach, but the abdominal muscles of well-balanced riders contract automatically to balance and maintain posture – this is the body’s quickest neuro-muscular response, and happens in a split second, for example as a horse shies at something, or bucks. You can work on this skill by having lessons on the lunge without your stirrups on a safe horse.

Secondly, you could use the RS-tor riding security aid whenever you ride – it is easily transferred from one saddle to another. The product was designed as a safety aid to help prevent falls, or allow the rider to fall in a more controlled manner. Being reliant on a neck strap or piece of mane is probably causing you to tip forward, which is detrimental to your balance. With the RS-tor, your seat and position is not affected. Many riders of young or spooky horses rely on neck straps, however, these can be dangerous. There is lots of anecdotal evidence concerning riders grabbing a neck strap, only for it to swing around the horse’s neck, causing a fall.

The RS-tor attaches simply to the saddle, allowing the rider to hold the strap handle comfortably, like a crop handle – the rein contact is not affected and there’s no ‘fixing’ of the hands. It also facilitates riding through spooks, shies and bucks, with less chance of the rider losing their reins and their balance. Once you begin riding with one, your confidence in your ‘saddle stickability’ will increase, as will your horse’s trust in your leadership.”

 

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Posted by on in News

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For young showing enthusiasts, have you considered using an RS-tor riding safety aid?

 

It was designed as a safety aid to help prevent falls, or allow the rider to fall in a more controlled manner, but is invaluable for aiding confidence. It allows the rider to comfortably hold the end of the strap like a riding crop, while maintaining independent hands.

 

Showing enthusiasts should check with their organising society to see whether the RS-tor may be used in the showring, but broadly speaking, entrants in Tiny Tots and BSPS Heritage classes may use handle-type accessories. It is widely used for home-schooling and working-in at events, being ideal for riding and training spooky or green horses, or to aid stability when riding a ‘stumbly’ horse.

 

The RS-tor has a British Equestrian Trade Association (BETA) Safety and Security Innovation Award, and is ideal for younger riders developing their balance and confidence. The RS-tor is very unobtrusive!

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Some RS-tor fans may be aware of the organisation Riders 4 Helmets. Their ethos is simple 'Ride Smart, Always Wear a Helmet' and the goal of the campaign is to educate equestrians about the benefits of wearing a properly fitted, secured and certified riding hat. 

Supported by a number of high profile riders including most notably Dressage rider Courtney King-Dye who suffered life changing consequences after a fall from her horse whilst schooling, not wearing a helmet, resulting in a traumatic brain injury. 

In addition Riders 4 Helmets in responsible for the organisation of the world-wide event International Helmet Awareness Day which sees over 700 retailers in 8 different countries reduce the prices of their riding hats as a pledge of their support. 

The date of the event is not yet publicised but registration for retailers is open so it will be coming soon! Why not ask in your local saddlery if they are taking part or visit the website or Facebook page of Riders 4 Helmets to be 'in the know' when the important day is announced for 2015! Visit www.riders4helmets.com to find out more. 

Take a stand for safety and enjoy discounts on top quality, safe riding hats! 

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Posted by on in News

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All sports involve a certain amount of risk and horse riding though rewarding, great exercise and fun for all can sometimes be dangerous. It is important to remember that our equines have minds of their own and sometimes despite training they can and will act of their own accord!

Horses for Courses!

It might sound simple but it is important to choose the right horse. Your pairing of personalities, size, and experience on both sides must be compatible for a good relationship with your equine.

Understand horse behaviour

Knowing how a horse thinks is vital when horse riding as this will allow you to adjust your own behaviour when training.

The equine is a flight animal so loud noises and sudden movements can easily scare a horse, especially if these movements and noises occur outside their field of vision.

When riding, always do your best to avoid entering a situation where there is a lot of commotion or the risk of unexpected movements and noise levels are high.

Watch out for the Warning Signs

If a horse or pony is scared or aggravated it may lash out. It is vital to recognise warning signs such as pinned back ears, head shaking, a swishing tail or rolling eyes could be signs that a horse could bite or kick. Likewise when you are riding if it important to identify things which may cause your horse to spook or even rear or actions which may provoke a buck!

 

Invest in the right equipment

Correctly fitting tack is a must for your horse’s welfare and both of your safety. Choosing the right horse riding equipment for yourself is a must as it will offer you protection if you are unlucky enough to ‘part company’. Every rider should invest in a top quality riding helmet which meets the required safety standards.

In addition to a riding hat or helmet you may also benefit from the following items:

  • A Body protector is a foam filled vest which is designed to give protection to the back and chest area of the rider should the rider fall or be kicked. Injuries cannot be entirely prevented by wearing a body protector but a body protector can reduce the severity of any impact on the body and prospective injury.
  • Some riders may also choose to wear an air jacket when riding. Air jackets are a relatively new addition to the market- proving very popular on the Eventing field and also for avid hacking riders. The air jacket attaches via a cord to your saddle and should you fall the air jacket is stimulated to inflate to minimise impact from the fall.
  • Riding gloves offering a solid grip of the reins and also to shield your hands from any damage.
  • Fluorescent clothes for hacking are important. Hi Vis clothing increases visibility and safety on the road particularly in difficult weather conditions.
  • An RS-tor. The RS-tor The RS-tor Riding Safety Aid provides riders a beneficial, safety tool. The RS-tor has a ‘bungee’ element that helps prevents rider falls by ‘absorbing’ the velocity of being unseated. The RS-tor’s is easy to hold, simply held in the hand like a riding crop but offering riders a square stopper to stop or slow a fall when the fall prevention aspect comes into effect if the horse spooks, bucks, rears, cat-leaps or stumbles.  In addition its confidence-boosting benefits are always experienced allowing riders to compete with confidence!

To find out more about the RS-tor Rider Safety Aid visit the website at www.rstor.co.uk 

 

 

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