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5 money can buy keys to equestrian success

jonty evans badminton 2017

The equestrian industry is viewed as having deep pockets and that any problem you have can be solved by throwing enough money at it. Fortunately and unfortunately this is not the case.

It doesn’t how much money you have to spend, some injuries a horse will never come back from, no matter what treatment you can pay for. But it also means that hard work and determination can pay off even if you don’t have the same bank balance as your competitors.

Despite money not being able to buy you success in the equine industry, there are things money can buy to help you achieve your dreams. So these are my top 5 money can buy things to bring you success.

1 – A well fitting saddle

It doesn’t matter whether your saddle costs £100 or £5,000. What matters is that your saddle fits your horse and is checked regularly by a saddler. While a badly fitting saddle can cause your horse pain, discomfort and potentially long term damage. Whereas a well fitting saddle can help your horse perform better. They could have more movement in their shoulders for more impressive movement in extended strides, or with more freedom through their back could enable them to jump better.

It also doesn’t matter what your budget is, you should be able to find a well fitting saddle within your price range, even if it means buying second hand.

2 – A great instructor

Trainers vary in experience, price and style of teaching. Typically the most expensive trainers have the most experience so it can be tempting to go for one of them. But they might not meet your needs. If you have a young horse you have hoping to do some low level dressage tests on, maybe the odd show jumping round, you don’t need an international eventer. A local BHS instructor should be able to help you just as much and will be a fraction of the price.

You also have to think about how you learn. Do you respond better to having someone be strict, possibly shouting at you? Or would someone being patient be better?

While it’s tempting to book the most expensive trainer you can afford, most expensive doesn’t mean best for you.

3 – Horse & rider physio

Horses can get stiff or injured without us being able to tell. Not only can this reduce their performance, but it can get worse and worse if you keep working them through it. A good physio can keep your horse in tip top condition and performing at their best.

But as riders we quite often forget to look after ourselves. If we are stiff or sore, we can block our horses from performing at their best. Some people even find that once they start getting themselves treated, their horses need less treating.

I’m really lucky that Scottie’s physio is also qualified to work on people. So she treats us both as well as other horses and riders at the yard.

4 – An arena

Whether you own your own land or keep your horses on a form of livery, having access to some form of arena will be important to helping you reach your goals. It doesn’t have to be a fenced sand arena with letters and mirrors. But a safe space suitable for your needs.

You don’t need to build the highest end you can afford or pay over the odds to be on a yard with the best facilities. But you should have an idea of what it is you need at the bare minimum and should consider this when you look at new yards etc.

But bare in mind, you don’t have to be stabled at the yard with the best facilities. Lot’s of larger yards hire out their arenas for lessons, clinics and private use. So while it can be tempting to pay more for the yard with the 20x60m arena with mirrors, could you achieve just as much in a smaller arena most days and hire a bigger arena when you need it?

5 – A holiday

Owning horses is hard, especially if you keep them on DIY. It is physically hard work and the early starts can interrupt your sleep. It is important to give yourself a break. This could be anything from two weeks abroad in the sun, to a weekend away from the yard, paying someone else to look after your horse. While we love our horses and miss them when we do go away, I’m sure we all also feel better for having a few days off.

But the holiday shouldn’t just be for you! Our horses also deserve a holiday, especially if they are competing regularly. While competitions happen all year round now, most of us have a season, usually the summer, when we compete more. Because of this, the Autumn/Winter can be a great time to give our horses a break. This break could be anything from turning them out 24/7 for a month or two, to simply giving them a few weeks off work but otherwise in their normal routine. You could even tie this into your own holiday from the yard.

However you decide to do it, you should find away to give both you and your horse a break at least once a year.

Last Updated on 26/07/2023

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