Posted by: rstor | August 5, 2015

All about Consequences; Equine Behaviour…

to go with behaviour blog generic pic

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…

Natural horsemanship advocates use positive reinforcement (e.g. pleasant consequences rewarding good behaviour) where possible, to teach desired equine behaviours.

The ‘consequences’ concept can be applied to most areas of horse ownership, whether positive or negative – e.g. an imbalanced rider mounting from the ground may lead to back discomfort for the horse, which may turn into anticipatory behaviours such as shying away from mounting blocks.

When riding, it is easy to influence certain equine behaviours – if we tense up and hold our breath past a ‘scary’ farm entrance, the horse learns that the rider becomes apprehensive and short tempered at this point, which may lead the horse to jog or become more spooky.

It can be hard to prevent such anticipatory behaviours, but one thing we can do as part of our own behavioural training is to develop REAL rider confidence. (This is not the same as just ‘visualising a good outcome’). The horse knows the difference between a calm, authoritative leader on its back, as opposed to a nervous rider ‘faking’ positivity.

Real rider confidence can be achieved by using a riding safety aid that genuinely helps prevent a fall, and also helps the rider and horse develop mutual trust. A rider using such an aid transfers confidence in their ability to stay seated to the horse. The animal therefore realises the rider is not such an easy target, and is less likely to use undesirable behaviour.

The RS-tor Riding Safety Aid attaches to the saddle and features a strap that is comfortably held like a riding crop; those riders that already use a neck strap for security will find the RS-tor an ideal alternative, as the rider’s hands do not become ‘fixed’. Sizes Childs, S, and M/L.

Visit the website to find out more at www.rstor.co.uk

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

michaela and zena codham park

 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.”

Find out more about the RS-tor, recommended by Michaela Huntington, by visiting www.rstor.co.uk

Posted by: rstor | July 22, 2015

A Safety Show Stopper!

hacking and showing highly popular in the region.

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.

Available at www.rstor.co.uk

Posted by: rstor | July 17, 2015

International Helmet Awareness Day 2015

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!

Posted by: rstor | July 12, 2015

Optimising your Safety whilst Horse Riding

easy-rider-1539686

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 

medi k

Here at RS-tor we are spreading the good work of Medi-K Training, a company which offers first aid training for equestrians.

The business prides themselves on offering a service provided by horse riders especially for horse riders!

Medi-K Training are the leading provider of nationally recognised qualifications for rider first aid training and is a high quality, dynamic training organisation with an outstanding reputation. Asking riders the compelling questions such as “If your farrier had a heart attack- would you have the skills to help? or “If a rider was thrown out hacking- could you help? Here at RS-tor it really made us think about how important it is to have basic first aid skills.

During their courses they cover helmet removal, casualty movement and a what it takes to actually save a life! Medi-K training is tailored to the types of injuries likely to be encountered working around horses, delivered in a way that fits with the busy routine of a working stables, by health care professionals that deal with these injuries on a daily basis.

Why not find out more about their courses today by visiting the website www.medi-k.co.uk and stay safe with riding and at the yard.

RS-tor recommend riders use the RS-tor Riding Safety Aid whilst riding, providing riders a ‘handle on any situation’ if the horse bucks, spooks, trips or rears whilst hacking.

Visit the website at www.rstor.co.uk to find out more.

As recently reported by Horse & Hound Magazine horse rider Stacey Stephenson has set up a campaign to improve the safety of horses and riders on the road.

After “one too many near misses” Stacey Stephenson wants a national advert, which would be similar to the well-known “Think Bike campaign”— to run on national television themed around the concept of “Think Horse and Rider” encouraging other road users to consider the impact of their speed on horse riders and their equines.

Stacey said  she believes some drivers simply aren’t aware that horses aren’t machines. She said “Drivers need to be advised on how to pass riders when we are on the roads. The roads are big enough for all road users to share and I hope this campaign might improve education and safety.

Stacey’s initiative has seen her set up a petition to present to the government. So far more than 2,000 people have signed up in support. She has also written to the transport secretary.

“Drivers need to be advised on how to pass us when we are out on the roads,” she said. “The roads are big enough for us all to share and I hope this might educate people.

Stacey has contacted some of the nation’s top riders and has so fair received support and further publicity from Sharon Hunt, Oliver Townend, Alex Hua Tian, Matt Ryan and Emiliy Llewellyn.

The petition was disabled throughout the general election but will soon be back online and here at RS-tor we encourage you all to sign and promote rider safety on the roads.

The British Horse Society also campaign for road safety for horse and rider and have stated that they will resume campaigning for horse and rider safety with a renewed vigour as the new term begins post election. The BHS collect data at www.horseaccidents.org.uk and say that this information proves that there is more work to do to keep our horses and riders safe on the roads. They say “It is vital that people report accidents and near misses to the website as it provides the hard data we need to make a difference at government level.

RS-tor’s Top Tips for Road Safety

1.) Reassure your horse with your voice if your horse is nervous; this is a powerful way to give your horse confidence and help calm your nerves too.

2.) If you have to ride past someone operating machinery try to catch the operator’s attention and if possible ask him to turn off any loud machines whilst you ride past.

3.) If your horse won’t go forward and you are in company, ask for a lead from another horse. If you are by yourself and your horse is really objecting to moving towards the hazard, it is probably safer to take an alternative route if possible.

4.) Treat any roadworks as a stationary vehicle. Keep to the left, look behind in good time and check for oncoming traffic when moving your horse past an obstacle.

5.) Remember if safe, signal right and retake the reins before passing the hazard. Give a ‘life-saver’ look behind before moving out around the obstacle – allowing sufficient clearance.

RS-tor recommend riders use the RS-tor Riding Safety Aid whilst hacking, providing riders a ‘handle on any situation’ if the horse bucks, spooks, trips or rears whilst hacking. Visit the website at www.rstor.co.uk to find out more.

Michaela Absolute Horse Mag Pic

Michaela Huntington is a show jumper, trainer and livery yard owner from Braintree in Essex. Michaela is an ambasssor rider for the RS-tor Rider Safety Aid so we were thrilled to hear the news that Michaela has been crowned the Winter Amateur Champion on her lovely chestnut mare Zena.

Absolute Horse Magazine, the local regional magazine to Michaeala reported the story. Absolute Horse Magazine says…

Michaela Huntington (29)  from Braintree, Essex with her own 7 year-old chestnut mare, Alegro Z  were victorious in the final of the Winter Amateur Championship held at Arena UK in Grantham, Lincolnshire on Sunday 31st May. Combinations qualified for the final between October 2014 and March 2015.

Out of the starting field, nine combinations produced a first round clear to progress through to the final jump off, all but one of the combinations jumped double clear meaning that the placings came down to the all-important clock

Producing the fastest double clear of the class was 29 year-old Michaela Huntington from Braintree, Essex and she was riding her own 7 year-old chestnut mare, Alegro Z. Drawn second to go in the jump off, they produced their double clear in 35.68 seconds a time that no – one else was able to beat.”

Michaela is a big fan of the RS-tor and thinks it is ideal for jumping and riding young or spooky horses.  Michaela says “The RS-tor strap has a ‘bungee’ element that helps prevents rider falls by ‘absorbing’ the velocity of being unseated. The RS-tor’s is easy to hold and the fall prevention aspect comes into effect when the horse spooks, bucks, rears, cat-leaps or stumbles, although its confidence-boosting benefits are always experienced!”

For more information about the RS-tor riding safety aid promoting rider safety and confidence visit the website at http://www.rstor.co.uk.

Emma Douglas is one of RS-tor’s  fabulous sponsored riders. Emma competes in para Dressage with her horses Apart; know as Solly, and Murphy, dubbed Cartoon Top Cat in the arena. In Para Dressage there are five grades or degrees of impairments allowing riders to compete fairly against each other. Grade 1A described those riders the most impaired whereas Grade 5 the most able. RS-tor rider Emma rides under Grade 2 as a result of L1 spinal injury resulting in incomplete paraplegia.

Emma is a big fan of the RS-tor Riding Safety Aid. She says “I am an advocate of the RS-tor rider safety aid, which helps riders gain confidence in the saddle, boosts stability when riding, and helps prevent a rider being unseated. I use it all the time when training, as I believe it gives me the confidence to ride better, which helps me get the most from my training sessions, and in turn improve my competition scores! It is a great product for all riders who value their safety.”

Emma is a truly inspirational figure who has recently been recognised as true potential for the GB Team in the future as she has been invited to join the World Class Programme. In our latest blog we take a look at Emma’s recent news!

Emma says…

“Solly and I are well on our way into the spring season having had a relatively successful winter season, qualifying and competing at the winter regionals held at Patchetts Equestrian Centre in February. We then came 3rd at the Para Open Winter Championships held at Vale View in March!

We have been training hard since then, and have gained all the qualifying points required for the British Open Para Dressage Championships to be held at Hickstead Premier League at the end of June!

We were recently selected to represent the central region as part of the Central Red Kites at the Para Home International at the end of May – Hopefully we will be the dream team 🙂

I am feeling extremely lucky to be a part of the incredible World Class Programme with support and input from world class professionals who work along side the top athletes in Para Dressage! Solly and I have already started improving with hopes we will both reach our full potential in performance.

Another side of this amazing programme is the funding that is available through the National Lottery and UK sport and I have been very fortunate to have been able to start specialist neuro physio with Prime Physio in Cambridgeshire, which is allowing me to use standing frames and work on strengthening my bone density in my legs and build up my core strength!

I have been lucky to accepted onto the athlete inspire programme and so in turn I will be volunteering with the Youth Sport Trust which will be very exciting and rewarding to be able to inspire the next generation of athletes :)”

Emma and Solly

Posted by: rstor | May 20, 2015

Fabulous Testimonial for the RS-tor!

Donna Sharman using the RSTor

Here at RS-tor we love to receive positive feedback and for our product to truly help riders. So we were thrilled to receive the below testimonial from Donna Sharman.

She says….

I use the RS-tor for hacking and its been a huge help when pheasants decide to spring out in front of us, or calves suddenly appear from behind hedges! The ultimate save however was at a one day event with a new loan horse; just as I cleared the biggest fence on the XC course beautifully, she suddenly spied the photographer kneeling in the grass and shot off sideways on landing! Thankfully due to my RS-tor we didn’t part company (just as well – she’s difficult to catch!) I bought my RS-tor a few years ago after smashing my pelvis, I didn’t want to take any chances again. It’s a godsend.

To purchase your RS-tor Riding Safety Aid or to find out more visit the website www.rstor.co.uk or Tel: 01842 752020

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