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Blog News, Pictures and Reports 2014

Dogs Inside Out
Sunday 20th July saw the Horses Inside Out team making an early start to a very different type of “paint job”; still four legs, but no mane or hooves....this time they were painting a dog!

Dog AnatomyDIOPresley, the 18 month old Great Dane, was the Star of the show at this year’s Festival of Grooming event where Gillian was asked to present a Canine anatomy demonstration, which included never-seen-before canine body paintings. With the help of James Bailey, a fourth year RVC student, and Julie Holmes, Canine grooming expert, Gillian gave the audience lots to think about and consider when grooming and handling their client’s dogs.

Dog AnatomyArriving into the auditorium to flashing lights and dance music, at the end of a long weekend for the delegates, Presley showcased his skeleton on one side and muscles on the other much to the excitement of the crowd (it didn’t quite take as DOg anatomylong as painting a horse, but it certainly had more difficulties as Presley kept wanting to sit and lay down as he got tired!). The atmosphere was electric as everyone was amazed and spell bound by the surprise performance...they had been told Gillian was coming to talk to them about anatomy, but they had no idea they would be seeing a live painted model!

Gillian, James and Julie presented a fascinating talk to end the weekend’s event, with lots of useful hints and tips for everyone to consider when handling, manipulating and caring for their dogs. From tips on massage when bathing to the correct way to lift and restrain difficult “clients”, they also explained how useful it could be to remember how each breed of dog needs slightly different methods of handling due to their specific breed characteristics.

Dog MusclesDog Muscles
It’s safe to say the demonstration was a great success, with everyone clambering to take a closer look at Presley as he did his “lap of honour” around the room to the claps and cheers of the audience.


A video of the event is now available on the Horses Inside Out YouTube channel – make sure you check it out and share with all your friends (remember this has never been done before!!)

Will you see more dog painting??? Never say this space!!!

World Equestrian Games, Caen, Normandy 2014

Travelling abroad is always exciting. More so when the journey begins on a ferry, and even more so in anticipation of presenting several demonstrations at the FEI Alltech Equestrian Games (WEG). We were very pleasantly surprised at the décor on the ferry with bronze sculptures in the foyer and horsey pictures adorning the walls.

We were determined to get a real flavour of France as well so were delighted when the first night was spent in a traditional Logis complete with winding stone stairs and quaint nooks and crannies. Breakfast in the local tabac opposite then off to The Games!

A morning of preparation was followed by an afternoon of show jumping courtesy of Alltech in their hospitality box overlooking the main arena. A wonderful opportunity for David to hone his photographic skills and Gillian to study the biomechanics of professional show jumping horses.

Horses Inside Out at WEGFor the first talk, dynamic digestion was in Horses Inside Out at WEGthe menu. The digestive system was depicted on the side of 2 lovely grey horses. The audience was very mixed, as you would expect at such a large eventso the focus of the taljk was to deliver 5 top tips for healthy digestive system!

1. Feed off the floor.
2. Feed a handful of chaff before exercise to lessen the risk of ulcers. (This stops the stomach acid splashing up onto the unprotected section of the stomach.
3. Look after your horse’s posture as it’s the spine that supports the weight of the digestive system.
4. Feed a broad based supplement to look after the friendly bacteria in the hind gut. They’re responsible for digesting cellulose – something we humans can’t do.
5.  Feed a high fibre diet.

Horses Inside Out at WEGDressage dissected was the next topic. After a morning of painting in the enormous barn which housed horses of all sizes, donkeys mules and a Zorse, our 2 magnificent models danced their way through a series of beautifully executed moves.

Horses Inside Out at WEGIn both the dressage and jumping demonstrations the aim was to show progression and illustrate how to train horses anatomically from a basic to to advanced level. The dressage horses showed all gaits, transitions, bend, flying changes passage and pirouettes. They ended with a wonderfully executed pas de deux to music.

The gymnastic jumping demonstration was a fitting finale to an excellent few days with the horses and riders showing how to progress from pole work, bounces, upright and spread fences, short and long distances,  through to a whole course.

Horses Inside Out at WEGHorses Inside Out at WEG 2014Horses Inside Out at WEG

Our few days at the games ended with the show jumping final in the main arena. This exciting competition was deservedly won by the Dutch rider Jeroen Dubbeldam. This competition involved each riding their own and those of the 3 other4 finalists.Horses Inside Out at WEG 2014


As the Games drew to a close FEI President HRH Princess Haya,
presented the official flag to Pauline Quinlan, Mayor of Bromont
in anticipation of the 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games.
I hope we are there!

Gillian HiggsinPeter Fenton Veterinary Practice Client Evening

Date: Thursday 31st July
Venue: Croft End Equestrian Centre Accrington Lancashire.

Horses Inside OutAfter a typically early Horses Inside Out Start, and a beautiful drive over the Pennines via the highest motorway in England we arrived at Croft End Equestrian. Waiting for us were two lovely horses. Paplo, a gorgeous retired 19 year old black dressage horse owned and ridden by Alex Topham and Terry, an 11 year old chestnut show jumper owned and ridden by Christine Bowdler.

Gillian HigginsAfter a brief rehearsal in the morning we got down to work, painting.

We had the most wonderful enthusiastic team of helpers who acted as assistant painters during the afternoon and the arena party during the evening performance.




The first part of the demonstration looked at the musculo skeletal system and its relevance to movement, posture and suppleness. After the break where the audience had the opportunity to look at the specimens and ask the vets questions about their horses, it was time to look at the movement. The horses behaved impeccably. HIO

We looked at pole work – a must for everyone whether you jump or not - it’s a fantastic way to keep the horse’s backs supple! Terry jumped both on the lunge and ridden. You can see from the photographs how efficient aGillian Higginsnd proficient he was.

The aim if these demonstrations are to show people how the horse uses himself  and how by being ridden from the anatomical perspective and cared for with back health in mind, he can be happy, healthy, straight  and supple.

HIOPablo then demonstrated how to collect and extend and the importance of various school movements.

Gillian HigginsAlex wore our skeleton body suit. Very brave as it really does emphasise every move and highlights the rider’s symmetry and position.

The evening ended with a wonderful dressage to music exhibition, beautifully choreographed and accurately executed. It incorporated changes in rhythm and tempo,  lateral work and a series of 2 time changes. The audience were riveted and you could have heard a pin drop!

Horses Inside OutIf you would like to read any comments do havea look at the Horses Inside Out facebook page. Thank you to everyone involved -  the venue owners, riders,  students, helpers, Diane and Peter Fenton, the other vets from the practice and most of all the audience.

Horses Inside Out



It certainly was a ‘night to remember’.

And Now for Something Completely Different... Bare Hare Inside Out!

Hare Inside OutHareThere was strange goings on in Bunny towards the end of January!  A very large fibre glass hare arrived in the back of a white van and was unloaded into a, conservatory at the back of a bungalow in Bunny, Nottingham! Said hare, was one of many to be painted and take part in the Cirencester March Hare Festival launched on March 29th, - the idea being to raise money for the Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust.  So, why in Nottingham,  for a Festival in Cirencester? And , why into the Horses Inside Out Headquarters conservatory? Well, Gillian Higgins, founder, artist and creative director of Horses inside Out lives in Bunny, was a student at the Royal hare inside outAgricultural University, is now an Alumni, and has maintained very close links with the college. We actually still run a lot of our courses and conferences there!


But, back to the hare! The idea behind the Festival is for the hares, sponsored by local businesses to be painted  by local artists displayed around the town then auctioned off in September to raise money for the Trust. (Because of her connections with the University Gillian is still Hare Inside Outclassed as local!) Anyway, the hare arrived and the conservatory was quickly converted to a ‘hare studio’ and painting began. In true Horses inside Out style Gillian decided to paint the hare with his insides out! 

Hare Inside OutNo drawings! No sketches! No plans! Just away we go! Problem number one! January – no heating! Problem with paint drying – or rather not! Studio moved to lounge and fire lit! Painting continues! Skeleton, muscles, lungs, digestive system veins and arteries, diaphragm and furry face – they’re all there and slowly Bare Hare took shape.

A few weeks later after a somewhat traumatic journey in the back of the white van, the hare was delivered to the college. On March 29th he was unveiled at the mad Hatter’s Tea Party and now sits resplendent on the croquet Lawn just out side the Bathurst Wing. (The other 30 or so have colonised the town centre!) If anyone happens to be in the vicinity between now and September do go along and take a look. You can pick up a map of the Hare Trail from various shops in the town. 

Hare Inside Out


Just one more thing! Bare Hare has now been immortalised in the form of a canvas painting. If anyone would like one just take a look at our online shop. 

Stephanie Martin

22nd and 23rd February 2014

7th Annual Horses Inside Out Conference
The Back and Beyond


14th February 2014

International Dressage Rider Matt Frost and AMD Don Rosso III Perform a spectacular advanced dressage to music - Skeleton Style! The finale to the lecture demonstration, Reasons vs Excuses, with Adam Kemp and Gillian Higgins.

January 2014 Blog

As 2014 gets underway, we have already had some fantastic events and what’s more even better feedback.

The CPD for professional therapists courses introduced last year have gone from strength to strength and are proving ever popular. These small courses, designed for between 1 and 6 people give therapists a chance to bush up their knowledge, learn and share techniques and have the opportunity to discuss any challenges they are facing. They are not designed for any one branch of therapy but rather for everyone to look at things from a different angle. Assessing movement seems to be a particularly popular aspect.

This feed back from AlexJacob Witworth, a therapist who travelled from Cumbria says it all.
Firstly, thank you so much for such an interesting, informative and inspiring course! I learnt so much in such a short time, and have returned invigorated and have already started to "play" with the techniques, to good effect. The interplay of the musco-skeletal system with what we ask of horses, fascinates me...along with the "psychological space" between humans and horses, and how this affects our dealings with them.
I appreciated the small group, the level of discussion and the opportunity to ask questions. Being an equine therapist, as you say, is a bit of a lonely job, and I welcomed the opportunity for the exchange of ideas in a welcoming (and non-competitive!) environment.
I'll definitely be booking myself onto another :-)
With many thanks again!

Regarding the dissection series, moving to Hartpury has proved a great success.

Dissection at Hartpury

Once again, this feed back says it all!

Thanks to Gillian Higgins, Horses Inside Out and Hartpury College for another professionally lead and informative dissection day yesterday. We had great specimens and a fabulous time exploring the wonders of the musculature and skeleton of the head and neck including a guided tour of the brain. I believe these days are a must for all therapists, it is so important to get up close and personal to the structures we are working with- text books are good but don’t give a true impression of the ‘interconnectedness’ of everything!
All the Best,

As time marches on,  now looking forward to and are well and truly immersed in preparations for the Back and Beyond Conference in Cirencester.




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