Know How

Which is the most difficult Derby course in the world?

The Hamburg Derby is considered the most difficult in the world, and the original course was designed by Eduard Pulvermann, a hunt rider. He was never able to jump the dyke without incurring faults, hence its name, ‘Pulvermann’s Grave’. The course is reminiscent of old military tests, when cavalry horses were required to negotiate all types of obstacles as they ...

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Which was the first racehorse stud in South Africa and who started it?

The first Thoroughbreds were imported into South Africa in 1792 and informal races were held at Green Point, Cape Town from September 1797. The British governor of the colony, Lord Charles Somerset, imported a number of English stallions and mares in 1814 and encouraged other wealthy settlers to do the same. A government stud was established at that time. By ...

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Do horses really not have feeling in their mane?

It’s long been thought that horses don’t have nerve follicles at the roots of their manes, but a recent study has demonstrated an increase in the heart rate of horses having their manes pulled – a clear sign of stress. That said, some horses stand willingly while others show obvious signs of discomfort, such as tossing their heads and swishing ...

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How do I know when it’s time for my horse to retire?

Many horses retire due to an injury that dictates a poor or impossible working life post diagnosis. Leg injuries, back injuries and disease are the leading cause for working and competitive horses being retired. However, some horses tick on well into their golden years with no obvious signs of trouble – so how do we know when it’s time to ...

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How often do horses have twins?

Nature does not favour the birth of equine twins, and many mares will abort within the first 40 days of pregnancy. Of the mares who carry twins longer than six weeks, 80% will abort during the eighth month of pregnancy. Aborting so late in the pregnancy can cause all sorts of complications for the mare, such as trauma, illness, infection ...

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9 tips to choosing the right coach

All instructors have their own personal style of teaching, which will work for some but not for others. As a rider, you will likely change instructors a few times as you grow up, become more or less competitive, or change disciplines or yards. There are several factors we consider when choosing a coach, and we take a closer look at ...

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Creating connections: what true contact should feel like

Riding can sometimes be an overwhelming minefield of both terminology and analogy, leaving the rider not entirely sure of what they are meant to be striving for. Here we demystify one of the most basic and yet complex concepts: the contact. We discuss what it means, what it should feel like, and how you can achieve a good hand-holding with your ...

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Holiday help: peace of mind while you’re away

Whenever we get to this time of year, it’s time to start thinking about putting your horses and yard in safe hands while you’re away. Whether you’re on a smallholding with two or three horses on your property, or run a full-time livery yard, you want someone you can trust to care for your horses as if they were their ...

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From groom to rider

There are many good reasons to invest in expanding your groom’s skill set. For a start, he is the one spending the most time with your horse, some 10 (or more) hours a day. This intensive care can add to marginal gains in competition horses, adding a few percent to your marks or leaving more poles up, or can quite ...

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10 signs it’s time to move yards

Horse owners and riders settle on a yard for a variety of reasons, whether it’s for a particular coach, the yard’s facilities and care, its location, or most importantly, its price. All too often, there comes a time when riders feel it’s time to move on for any number of reasons. Horses thrive on routine, so it’s not a simple ...

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