Thursday, 14 December 2017

Do you want to perfect your position? Derriere Equestrian sponsored rider Erin Orford offers her tips...

Do you want to perfect your position? 

Derriere Equestrian sponsored rider Erin Orford offers her tips...
Derriere Equestrian Underwear Sports Padded Pants Riding

Concentrating on the upper part of the body, shoulders have a huge influence on your whole riding position and ability. Most people have right side dominance, and therefore tend to ride automatically more strongly with that arm, hand and leg, which can often create a horse which leans in that direction. Subconsciously, we may tend to ride for longer on our favorite rein, as this feels more comfortable, and in general gives us an easier ride! It is very important to be aware of this and set our exercises equally on each rein.

Correct posture
Correct posture in your riding is essential for consistency, as well as well-balanced and obedient work from the horse. Your shoulders are key, so aim to keep them square and upright. Dropped shoulders either side or hunched shoulders are commonly seen in rider’s work, often causing elbows to stick out, resulting in poor rein contact and loss of balance.

This can all be corrected with careful thought and the right position. 

Imagine pinching your two shoulder blades together behind you, and pushing your chest forward and upward. Be sure to keep your head centrally balanced, and always focus on where you are going, as opposed to the horse’s head or neck. You should be able to draw a straight line from the horse’s bit to your hand and elbow, and ideally there should also be an imaginary line from your ear, shoulder, hip and heel, although this latter ‘ideal’ does vary according to the rider’s physiology, the saddle you ride in, etc.

None of this ideal body position will be possible if your shoulders and core are not in the correct position, which is the foundation for maintaining good rein and leg contact, and will result in the horse moving evenly. 
None of us are completely symmetrical; we all have an element of asymmetry (to different degrees), so it’s important to keep going back to trying to achieve symmetry in the saddle. It doesn’t take much to throw you off balance – I have one arm slightly longer than the other, so I ride with my reins slightly shorter on one side to ensure my shoulders and core remain straight, which helps to ensure an even contact on the horses’ mouth. 

We are often quick to criticise the horse if things are not quite right, but we should always first check that we are giving them the best opportunity to get it right.

Conversely to our own ‘right handedness’, because we do so many things from the left hand side of the horse (as this is easier for us), we create in the horse a preference for his left rein. Horses are always easier on one rein than the other, and it is always predominantly left, as we are predominantly right! This is another reason for ensuring all exercises are performed equally on both reins and include regular changes of rein to create suppleness on each rein for both parties. A really interesting challenge is to learn to mount and dis-mount equally easily from either side of the horse, which is gymnastically difficult, but can be learned with a little time and patience.

Small chunk training
It may prove helpful to break your goals up into bite size chunks, and focus on perfecting a certain area of your riding position (such as your shoulders) for a time; and in another session, consider your seat or legs. When possible, ask your trainer or a friend to video some of your schooling sessions, so that you can analyse the complete picture; it is surprising how often what you feel doesn’t match how you look. This is great for checking symmetry and straightness as when you have a stiffness or stronger side, what you perceive to be straight is often slightly crooked and this becomes your ‘norm’ or your ‘centre.’ If you’re not lucky enough to have support on the ground, mirrors can be particularly useful both on and off the horse, to train your muscle memory to recognise true straightness.

Naturally, a good sports bra aids shoulder position when riding, as it allows you to relax and ‘free up’ the area, rather than ‘hunching’ subconsciously to avoid breast ‘bounce’. 

The Derriere Equestrian Sportief sportsbra is a fusion of encapsulation and compression; it is designed to lift, separate, shape and support a woman's breasts, without the use of under-wires, and is a key part of your riding and training wardrobe.




Monday, 11 December 2017

It’s beginning to look a lot like winter - by Derriere Equestrian Rider Avril Clinton-Forde

It’s beginning to look a lot like winter

by Avril Clinton-Forde


Since the clocks changed, it is sooo tempting to hibernate indoors. And with limited daylight, cold days and the hustle and bustle of Christmas just around the corner, it can become more challenging to maintain regular riding and schooling, especially if a deep freeze sets in! Brrrr. There are still plenty of riding opportunities to be utilised however, if we focus on what can be done in the circumstances available to us. Whenever possible, prioritise your riding to the brightest part of the day, most especially if you have no arena, or one without lights!

If you are limited mainly to hacking, it is still possible to keep up your flatwork training. Most bridleways lend themselves to lateral work such as leg-yielding, shoulder in and bending right and left, as well as transitional work. This will keep your horse supple, obedient, between hand and leg and collected. Lengthening and shortening at any pace is also an easy task on safe straight tracks with good going underfoot. It can be more fun to work in tandem with a friend!



Quality time

Of course, there will be days when the weather or lack of time will defeat you, but you may still be able to spend some quality time on a good grooming session including some suppleness exercises with your horse, for example getting him to bend round either side to reach a carrot, but not moving his feet or body. Your local sports massage therapist or veterinary physio can show you a few simple massage techniques and/or some leg stretching exercises – these will also be particularly useful on any days that turn-out is limited. This non riding work also reinforces the bond between you and your horse!



If your arena does become frozen (“Let it gooooooo”......Sorry....mum-mode) or semi-frozen (“Do you want to build a snowwwwwwmannnnnn?”) you may still be able to exercise your horse at walk! Practise your free work on a long rein, encouraging the horse to take his nose to his toes, then back to a medium walk, without him anticipating trot. A square halt can be performed at various places, plus leg yield, shoulder in and turn on the forehand. 


Although this sounds simple, and perhaps not very interesting, if you can do it well, it will really help you when you return to your trot work, having established such good work at walk.


Remember also that there is also the possibility of a bit of hunting to keep you both fresh, from November until March, if you and your horse are fit enough! 




Don’t forget your Derriere Equestrian Performance Padded Panties, to make sure your foofoo is unscathed, following a tiring day in the saddle! Another great bonus is that they keep your bum warm!

Avril Clinton-Forde is a brand ambassador for Derriere Equestrian with her mare Grand Duchess; she’s based in the stunning surroundings of Dollanstown Stud, Co Meath, in Ireland. Avril rides at Medium level, and is ultimately aiming for Grand Prix. Visit http://duchessdiaries.ie/



Sunday, 26 November 2017

Black Friday ~ Cyber Monday Rush At Derriere Equestrian!

Derriere Equestrian 


Incredible 
Black Friday 
Cyber Monday 
Week Offers 2017

24th - 30th November

Here at Derriere Equestrian we work to produce the highest quality garments, with innovation, performance and style at the core. Our products are known for their exceptional quality and durability for equestrians and sports athletes in many disciplines all over the world. 

To produce garments to such a high standard, takes precision and excellence from our design teams here in the UK, in Italy and in Tunisia. As avid brand supporters, you will understand that our garments are priced to reflect this and that you never see Derrieres on a reduced special offer with us. We price our products as keenly as possible to ensure we deliver to you garments of style, with fabric selection at the highest quality for sports tech, performance and durability.

As we have done for the past 2 years, we once again are running a "Black Friday Promotion  ~ Cyber Monday Week Promotion to thank all of our loyal customers all over the world and to give back to you.

For our full underwear range both male and female, we are offering 15% off all purchases when using the code: DEBF15

For our breeches and skins range we will be offering an incredible 50% off these products, with limited stock numbers allocated for the Black Friday Offer. Order early so you don't miss this opportunity. Offer code: DEBF50


We have had such a fantastic feedback on our Black Friday offer and many happy buyers, that we will run the offer through until 30th November. Allocated Black Friday Stock is selling fast, we have added stock to the offer so customers can continue through Black Friday, Cyber Monday through until November ends. However do place your orders fast, to ensure you can take advantage of this offer before the allocated offer stock is processed.


WWW.DERRIEREEQUESTRIAN.COM  



Friday, 3 November 2017

How fun, childhood activities can improve our adult riding expertise! By Bex Mason, showjumper

How fun, childhood activities can improve our adult riding expertise!


Going back to ‘the good old days’ of riding as a child brings us such lovely memories! How did you learn to ride? Were you a Pony Club member or did you attend a Riding School? Were you lucky enough to have your own pony, or did you beg, borrow or steal rides? All of the experiences and the fun and games we had were such good grounding for the adult rider!

For example, do you remember...
Round the World - an initial challenge providing the first steps to balance. Removing your feet from the stirrups, you’d move one leg over the saddle, sitting sideways, then continue to the back of the saddle, now facing backwards, and then to the other side, while someone held the pony!
You’d then maybe move on to sliding off down the pony’s tail, if you were brave enough. Then you may have performed full scissors, when you’d remove your stirrups, flip both legs backwards and up into the air and cross them, returning to a sitting position facing backwards... and also the less scary half scissors, whereby you’d remove your stirrups, take the outside leg over the pommel, and ‘thread’ it under your inside leg, lying on your tummy, before putting the outside leg back over the cantle.

You probably also tried mounting from either side, vaulting onto your pony, maybe even in walk, trot or canter – all done with the long-suffering pony being a willing helper by your side. All of this was all about feeling comfortable with whatever can happen on horses, e.g. if they spook, shy, or run off... these exercises gave us the confidence and ability to cope and regain our seat and the status quo!



As you became more advanced with your riding, you would have moved on to riding without stirrups and reins, trying bareback riding, and swapping mounts with your friends. Ah, such nostalgia!

However there is no reason why we cannot continue these fun challenges as adults, and have a get-together with friends, play some silly games and put a few laughs back into training. Sometimes it is easy to become obsessed with how the horse is going, and forget about ourselves.


Try and get out of a monotonous rut whereby you always do the same thing and the same hacks; why not find time to be a kid again, and have a go at some of these suggestions:





  1. Put a five pound note (or more if you are confident!) between your bottom and saddle, cross your stirrups and set tasks such as trotting a serpentine or cantering a circle - last one to keep the cash intact wins!
  2. Knot your reins and see if you can steer your horse just using your seat and legs; move on to trot and canter if you feel brave!
  3. Try a bending race and later add a cup of water to carry (something stronger if you prefer!). Variants such as no stirrups can be added, to increase the fun.
  4. A group can try swapping horses, which can prove an interesting interlude, as if you are not used to anything but your own, a different equine can be quite a challenge to adjust to, let alone play games with! You can learn a little from having to deal with different animals, and it will broaden your experience.
  5. Part of our childhood memories will all be about the social side of riding, and this can be brought back into our lives in so many ways. Get the maps out and find some interesting rides and pile into a lorry and go a little further afield. Beach rides are great; just check with the coastguard for the times you are allowed to go, and the state of the tides, so that you are safe. Join up to go on some long-distance sponsored rides, take picnics and flasks and enjoy your days! Happy riding, everyone.

About Bex

Producer Bex Mason has worked for many years breaking in horses and competing at an international level with elite riders such as Tina and Graham Fletcher (GB), Ludo Philleaperts (BEL), Steve Cohan (NZ) and Viki Roycroft (AUS). Bex specialises in producing competition horses.

“I find myself expressing love for my Derrieres daily,” Bex says of the DE underwear range. “I openly discuss the results and versatility of the products, whether it’s to customers at my yard, or fellow competitors at shows; I don’t even realise I’m doing it - these pants change riders’ lives!”


www.derriereequestrian.com 

Saturday, 28 October 2017

VIVE LA DIFFERENCE! British Equestrian Federation Elite Recreational Coach and Consultant, Andrew Stennett

VIVE LA DIFFERENCE!


We asked British Equestrian Federation Elite Recreational Coach and Consultant, Andrew Stennett, BHSM Cert Ed FE UKCC Level 4, to share his thoughts on the differences in training men and women.

Let’s look firstly at our physiological differences in the saddle. Men have narrower seat-bones than their female counterparts, as well as a narrower pelvic girdle and hip sockets. The ‘classical’ lengthened riding position in the dressage phase is actually physiologically easier for men, as they can flatten their backs more when tilting their pelvis. However, the female pelvis is usually broader than men’s, and there’s more range of motion in women’s pelvic joints than their male counterparts.

Every rider regardless of sex will ride differently, but men and women in general will not ride in identical ways. Males can more easily achieve a deeper driving seat and apply stronger leg aids with less effort. Ladies have the advantage of lighter weight and usually cultivate a more tactful way of riding their horses in compensation.


At any Pony or youth riding club lessons, a usual ratio of some 20% males to 80% females will be seen. From a coach's viewpoint, male child riders typically enjoy the speed aspect in particular, jumping as much and as high as possible, and sometimes having less regard for actual learning! To generalise, they will be bold and brave, and pay less heed to any possible danger. The girls tend to be more thoughtful in warming up their ponies, and listening to instruction!

Looking back through recent history in today’s popular equestrian events, there can be differences in the rankings between men and women. Nearly every other sport is divided to separate the sexes for the sake of fair play, however in all equestrian disciplines, there is no such segregation, and we compete on a level par. At the top end of eventing and showjumping disciplines, more men compete at this level than women, so it is no surprise that there will be differences in the results, with more men taking higher placings than women. In elite dressage, the ‘male / female’ split is currently very even. But at the lower end of all of the competitive equestrian disciplines, females do outnumber males considerably.

The anatomical differences in men and women are completely opposite to each other, explaining why men and women physically have to ride differently, as they move into adulthood. The straight hips, and heavier, more muscular frames that men possess will generally enable a male rider more easily to handle a bigger, sharper equine athlete. The wider pelvis of a lady will be more comfortable wrapping around the saddle and the horse’s barrel than the deeper, sometimes more ‘driving’ seat of a man.
The more leg that can be applied will usually result in a bigger movement and jump from the horse. It is essential to be able to hold the horse between hand and leg, and the stronger the core muscles are, the more effective you will be. Teaching techniques have to be adaptable, not only between men and women, but tailored to each individual person, as no two riders are the same. Regardless of the sex of the rider, the horse must be produced to perform at its best in its chosen discipline, which is why equine sports are judged without division of rider gender!

Obviously, good riding underwear supports your anatomy, so Derriere’s range of padded and non-padded undergarments is a boon for any rider, with several unparalleled designs in both male and female versions.


Andrew Stennett is a registered instructor, NVQ/UKCC Assessor & Verifier. He is a Qualified Teacher of further Education specialising in Equestrian Learning and Development, and is a British Equestrian Federation Elite Recreational Coach. 



Andrew is a fan of Derriere Equestrian products, telling us they make a big difference to his riding. “I personally recently started competing again after a break. Derrieres have enabled me to get back riding in comfort, and they are helping me compete at the same level as in my youth,” he says.

Andrew runs riding clinics from his base at Grove House Stables in Misterton, Nottinghamshire. Click HERE for info. Visit the main page at www.grovehousestables.co.uk or the online shop at http://shop.grovehousestables.co.uk/ or find Andrew and the team on Facebook



Sunday, 24 September 2017

Tally Ho!

Tally Ho!

Hunting enthusiasts are now preparing for their most exciting time of the year, and looking forward to the opening meets in November. After a summer of relaxation and indulgence, horses and riders need to become fit and muscled and able to withstand long days, inclement weather and hard riding! So now’s the time to get both horse and rider fit, and maybe try your hand at some Autumn hunting in late September and October.

Rider fitness

Riders will need to tone everything up and can start with some gentle walks and swims, building up to longer episodes of training until not much causes a shortness of breath. Even a brisk ten minute walk a day will do the trick, and the heart-rate will improve.

Equine fitness

If you have access to a horse-walker, ten minutes, building up to twenty minutes once or twice a day will be an ideal start when getting your horses ‘up’ from any recent downtime. Now’s also the time to do some gentle hacking daily, to build up muscle, fitness and ‘wind’, or respiratory health.

Avril Clinton-Forde contests Medium dressage with her mare Grand Duchess at level, and says hacking and road work is brilliant for fitness. “You could build up to a gentle jog trot all the way round the block, and after a few weeks introduce short, and then longer canters, using some good uphill stretches whenever you can. Around the beginning of October is a good time to clip for the first time, maybe a trace clip whilst still in the fittening process, and moving on to a full clip for when hunting proper starts at the beginning of November,” she suggests.

Working together

If you have the time available, why not try Autumn hunting? It’s the ideal introduction to hunting if it is all a new experience for you or your horse. The stubble fields will provide good going and there is plenty of slow work and only some gentle cantering. You can stay out as long as the hunt does, or you can leave early. Plan your presentation for the big day well in advance, with clean tack and boots, and a well turned out horse. (Clothes-wise: during autumn hunting, wear a tweed jacket and shirt and tie or coloured stock, pale breeches - e.g. buff, light brown, cream or yellow - clean boots and gaiters/half-chaps or long boots, dark gloves and a hat with a dark cover. In full hunting season, you can wear a black or navy coat, although tweed is sometimes seen too. Plait for the full hunting season; check out H&H’s guide HERE, and also The Field’s guide HERE - it contains the sage and amusing advice: “Bum freezer jackets are rarely flattering, and are best avoided.”)

Comfort in the saddle


Once you’re out hunting, you will be ‘in the saddle’ for potentially many hours at a time, although with Autumn hunting especially, there are more breaks. We asked Avril Clinton-Forde for tips on staying comfortable in the saddle. “Without question, the right underwear is key,” she says. “Personally I’d recommend the Derriere Equestrian Performance Padded Shorty - no ‘vpl’ through your breeches, so no rubbing, chaffing or abrasions due to stitched seams, especially if you get wet. Importantly, the Shorties protect the area just behind ladies’ foofoos [the perineal area!] from friction, and that agonising feeling that you have dropped a farrier’s rasp down there!” Avril laughs. “They also give good bum coverage for warmth on those cold mornings. It would be great to wear Derriere’s white Cannes Competition Breeches, however it is only ‘members of the Field’ who should wear white breeches out hunting, together with their red coats. ‘Seat-savers’ tend to be frowned upon in formal hunting circles, however you can get some excellent, discreet seat-savers a with matte surface, which to be honest, few people will even notice - great for derriere comfort!”


www.derriereequestrian.com

Friday, 22 September 2017

Are you sitting comfortably?

Are you sitting comfortably?

Here at Derriere Equestrian, we know that sitting trot is a fantastic way to enhance your seat, balance and coordination. Riders often avoid using this technique in day to day training, as it is harder to achieve than regular rising trot, however if we can discipline ourselves to include it into our flatwork routine, it will strengthen our inner core muscles!

Feeling effortless

Belgian Dressage rider Laura Luyton says the perfect sitting trot should look and feel effortless. “The lower leg should stay in the correct position with the heels well down; the rider should be connected to the saddle at all times, never bouncing and with no unnecessary movement. The hands should remain very still, the movement being absorbed through the shoulders and elbows and backs and heads must be straight; chins up and never, never look down,” Laura advises.

“It is easier to achieve your perfect sitting trot either with longer stirrups, or none at all, to encourage a good loose length of leg. Be sure to relax into the movement, keeping very upright. Imagine your hips being attached to either side of the saddle and your spine being perfectly central. Allow your body to go with the flow of the movement of the horse so that the two are moving as one,” she suggests.


Lovely lungeing

According to French Dressage rider Antoine Nowakowski, a good way to begin is with a friend or trainer lunging you, leaving you free to concentrate. “Tie your reins into a knot and hook both hands under the pommel of the saddle, pulling it up to you with the movement and rhythm of the horse,” he recommends. “Once you are confident, take your hands to the correct position and with a slight bend in the elbow and the thumbs on top, without taking up the reins – this will concentrate your mind on keeping your hands still. This technique can be practised in walk, trot and canter and will give you a real feel for the depth of seat required. If you have a horse with big movement, start in a jog trot and ease yourself into opening up his pace and if you feel you start to lose connection, re-collect him and start again,” Antoine says.

Why not add some competitiveness in sitting trot – with a friend when you’re both schooling, do some exercises such as circles, serpentines and figures of eight, setting some goals. ‘Up the ante’ by placing paper money notes on your saddle then repeating the shapes, to see who can retain their money for the longest time!


An off the horse exercise


Stretching exercises such as those found in yoga and pilates classes will benefit your body’s ability to increase flexibility, as will any good regular exercise, i.e. walking, swimming and cycling. Simple exercises at home such as planking and wall squats take little time, and will pay dividends. The big rubber balls found at gyms are a useful addition to practise correct posture. Get in the habit of walking tall throughout your day! 



Remember to equip yourself with some comfy, supportive riding underwear - the Derriere Equestrian range is designed for both men and women. “It’s hard to find great riding underwear for men, but the DE Performance Padded Shorty and the Performance Seamless Shorty both excel at their job - exceptional comfort and performance,” Antoine says.



www.derriereequestrian.com