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Frequently Asked Questions

An Interview with Gillian Higgins

What is Horses Inside Out?

Why use paint?

When did you start Horses Inside Out?

What made you think of the idea?

How has Horses Inside Out Developed?

Who benefits most from Horses Inside Out?

Who comes to the live painted horse demonstrations?

Where do you hold the live painted horse demonstrations?

Why Come to a Horses Inside Out live painted horse demonstrations?

Does Horses Inside Out arrange other types of functions?

Do you have horses of your own?

Does Freddie always travel with you?

Do you do anything for children?

Do you ride yourself?

What Qualifications do you hold?

What skills do you need to deliver a Horses inside Out lecture demonstration?

When did you decide to write a book and make a DVD?

What paint do you use and how long does it take?

How do you arrange a demonstration?

How can you find out about events where you are?


What is HORSES INSIDE OUT?

HORSES INSIDE OUT is an educational service delivered in a fascinating and fun way. Its purpose is to show riders, trainers and therapists how, by understanding the anatomy, biomechanics and physiology of the horse, they can improve performance, maintain top physiological condition, manage horses for optimum muscular reduce the risk of injury.

Why use paint?

By painting the bones, muscles, tendons, and other anatomical systems on the side of a live horse and watch it moves, really brings the subject to life, is more memorable and enables riders to appreciate in more depth ‘How their Horse Moves.’ A picture says a thousand words!

When did you start HORSES INSIDE OUT?

I held my first clinic in 2006.

What made you think of the idea?

As a Sports and Remedial Therapist, I realised that many of my clients were asking the same questions about their horses, particularly in relation to their backs. I decided to hold a workshop outlining the areas most prone to problems and showing them how, by understanding their anatomy, they could improve performance and reduce the risk of injury. I was then asked to give a presentation to the Event Horse Owners Association and the British Horse Society. The organisation grew from there.

How has HORSES INSIDE OUT developed?

After the first few demonstrations I was contacted to write an article for a local magazine. Things then began to snowball. I entered and won the Knowledge West Enterprise award for innovation. I am now asked to give demonstrations to organisations such as British Dressage, British Eventing, the Society of Master Saddlers as well as Riding Clubs, Equestrian Centres, Livery Yards, Colleges and Universities. Since having been on television and in national newspapers, I have had requests to lecture all over the world. I have given talks, seminars and conferences as far afield as Brazil, Qatar, South Africa, North America, as well as in Europe and all over Great Britain.

Who benefits most from HORSES INSIDE OUT?

The Horse. When riders understand the anatomy, they can manage their horses more sympathetically and train more effectively and sensitively.

Who comes to the live painted horse demonstrations?

That depends on who has booked the demonstration and for what purpose. It can be riding club members, clients from equestrian centres, university or vet students, or members of specialist organisations such as the World Class development Squad, Judges, Officials and Equine Dentists. I have even lectured to artists and sculptors interested in anatomy in order to bring ‘movement’ to their creations. Basically HORSES INSIDE OUT is for anyone who is thirsty for knowledge and has the best interest of the horse at heart.

Where do you hold the live painted horse demonstrations?

Anywhere that has an indoor facility. HORSES INSIDE OUT has travelled from Inverness in the North to Cornwall in the South and from Norfolk in the East to Ireland in the west.

Why Come to a HORSES INSIDE OUT live painted horse demonstrations?

Whether you are a professional or amateur rider, coach or therapist, coming to a HORSES INSIDE OUT event has many advantages.
Before exercise, human athletes prepare their bodies with suppling and stretching exercises. This minimises the risk of pulled muscles and ligaments. It is the same with the horse and at most demonstrations, seeing how to perform effective stretches forms a very useful part of the programme. If performed regularly these are also useful in assessing any musculoskeletal problems or changes that can be the root cause of schooling difficulties.

Keeping the horses' muscular skeletal system in tip top condition and understanding how it functions leads to a supple, comfortable horse able to maximise his range of movement and perform at his best. It also carries the added advantage of a reduction in the risk of injury. For the rider this translates into less frustration and greater satisfaction as the horse is happier and moves more freely. It means fewer days off and although in no way a substitute for vet call out it can in some cases mean fewer expensive call outs when your horse is stiff.

Understanding the logic behind anatomical training makes sense and helps riders train more effectively and sympathetically. For those with little or no anatomical knowledge, the demonstrations are divided into easy to understand bite sized ‘chunks’ peppered with lots of useful advice and tips on schooling and management. For the more serious exam student or competition rider, explanations are detailed and suggestions allow the horse to maximise his potential in whatever the chosen sphere.

Does HORSES INSIDE OUT arrange other types of functions?

HORSES INSIDE OUT runs an annual two day conference with world leading high profile speakers, biomechanics courses, dissections and slow motion video talks. In the winter when it’s too cold to paint I arrange indoor winter series lectures. I also run a variety of day courses for horse owners and therapists relating to massage, manipulation and pilates and stretching for horses. To find out more about these visit the 'What we Do' page.

Do you have horses of your own?

I have two!
Freddie Fox is the main model for HORSES INSIDE OUT lectures, the books and  DVD’s. He is a grey gelding who loves to be the centre of attention. He has a very kind, patient nature. He has been featured on TV and in National newspapers, riding and pony magazines. You can see some of the videos on this website or the HORSES INSIDE OUT Youtube channel.
Arty is a beautiful grey Irish Sports Horse being groomed to follow in Freddie’s footsteps.

Does Freddie always travel with you?

No. HORSES INSIDE OUT is based just outside Nottingham and now as we are asked to do more demonstrations and go further afield, we generally ask for a suitable horse to be provided. The profile of an ideal model is grey, safe, patient, moves well and if appropriate jumps on the lunge. Freddie still makes guest appearances at some lectures!

Do you do anything for children?

Ponies Inside Out has been developed specifically for children from 8 years old upwards. I arrange ‘paint a pony’ sessions where the children paint the skeleton on their ponies. The main idea is to encourage an interest in anatomy and impart knowledge relevant to their age and stage. Paint a Pony days are popular with Pony Clubs. I also use the same technique with students and where requested with adults. It’s a great way to learn.

Do you ride yourself?

I most certainly do! I ride and train everyday unless I am away on tour. Freddie has evented up to intermediate level. The pinnacle of his career was winning at Gatcombe!  Although retired from eventing now he is a lively horse who loves to be in work. He especially loves to jump.  I evented my previous horse Quake - now retired to advanced level. I also represented Britain in he students Nations Cup where I won a gold medal in Canada. Arty is the "new kid on the block" and is making real progress in his training.

What Qualifications do you hold?

I trained in Nottingham as a Human Sports and Remedial Therapist then, along side my Equine Science and Business Degree at the Royal Agricultural University in Cirencester I trained in Equine Sports Massage for a year - then for a year as a McTimoney Corley Therapist at Oxford. I have also attended numerous short courses relating to anatomy, biomechanics and physiotherapy. I follow an aggressive course of Continual Professional Development. I endeavour to meet world leaders in anatomy and biomechanics, read avidly and study both historical and new texts in a quest for more knowledge.

What skills do you need to deliver a HORSES INSIDE OUT lecture demonstration?

You need an in depth knowledge of anatomy and biomechanics, how horses are ridden and trained, good artistic skills, patience, an eye for detail, perseverance, tenacity, stamina, the ability to get the subject over in a lively, enthusiastic and easy to understand manner and a fantastic support team.

When did you decide to write a book and make a DVD?

I was approached by David and Charles to write the HORSES INSIDE OUT book- ‘How your Horse Moves in December 2007. The book was published in March 2009 and has proved an enormous success. It is used in universities and colleges throughout the world and is in 9 languages. ‘Horses Inside Out- the DVD’ was released 2 years later. This has been followed up by a HORSES INSIDE OUT Publication ‘Pilates for Horses- An Exercise Index for Horse Owners’ and ‘Horse Anatomy for Performance’, published again by David and Charles, now a branch of the international publishing house FW Media was published in March 2012 and our second DVD ‘Pilates for Horses’ was also released in 2012 as were and our ‘Anatomy Poster Books Volume 1 and 2’ in both English and German. All publications are available from our online shop.

What paint do you use and how long does it take?

I use a safe paint, hypo-allergenic, non-toxic and water-based which washes off easily. This does mean horses cannot go out in the rain!

How do you arrange a demonstration?

HORSES INSIDE OUT is a small family organisation and everything we do is tailor made. To arrange a demonstration you need to contact Shirley Higgins email: Shirley@HorsesInsideOut.com telephone: +44 (0)1159 212648 who will talk you though everything and ensure you get the most from your demonstration.

How can you find out about events where you are?

Go to the ‘What’s On’ Page on this website, look at the HORSES INSIDE OUT YouTube channel and like us on Facebook. There is a lot of information, reports, videos, pictures at any of those locations.

If you wish to be notified of new demonstrations in your area please
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