25th June 2015 - The Biomechanics of Jumping Explored - Film shoot at Brooksby Equestrian Centre
Although the musculoskeletal system comes under enormous strain when jumping, jumping is also good for mobility, suppleness, agility, coordination and developing reaction, power and strength.
The size, type and arrangement of jumps and poles all affect the way the horse uses himself over a fence.
The more we can learn about jumping the better we will be able to reduce the risk of injury and improve jumping technique.
The forces through the limbs at take off and landing are many times the horses body weight.
The tendons and ligaments painted on the lower limb really helps to illustrate which structures come under most strain in these moments.
Stretch and recoil of connective tissue structures contributes to the ability of the horse to jump and land effectively.
The slow motion, high-definition, close-up videos of this will be used at Gillian's courses and events particularly the Biomechanics Courses.
With the addition of a rider the horse must cope with increased forces
through his limbs. More power is required to jump
and his balance is challenged.
It is vitally important to continually work on our
own posture and position.
Studying rider's in the skeleton bodysuits helps us to appreciate how we
move our own bodies to best help the horse. Slow-motion,
high-definition, and close-up footage
will be available
future Horses Inside Out events and coures.
Many Thanks to event riders Fiona Davidson with Smokey (as seen on TV BBC Countryfile on 14th June) and Hannah Lorrimer with Marley for making this day possible.
To learn more about this exploration day please
do not hesitate to
JUNE 2015 - HORSES INSIDE OUT ON BBC Countryfile TV .
And now for something completely different – and fascinating!
We have just returned after a day spent a day filming with the country file team for their programme featuring Nottinghamshire to be aired on June 14th.
After a very early start we arrived at Brackenhurst Equine College to begin preparations. (Incidentally we were so impressed with the stables and school at Brackenhurst!) Sadly Freddie, now retired, was not able to take part but two friends very kindly allowed us to paint their horses. The first, Forest Man (Darby), a beautiful 15hh Connemara owned by Mandy Ellis and the second Galwaybay Smokie (Smokie) a beautiful 17.2hh event horse destined for Badminton owned and ridden by Fiona Davison were both impeccably behaved all day.
The team arrived with all their equipment and we met Ellie Harrison and the production team. The fly in the ointment was definitely the weather. It rained and blew all day so we had to film indoors which was rather a shame as Counrtyfile does like to be outside. – Just not possible when water based paint is involved! First shots were of Ellie helping to paint. Everything has to be repeated several times to get the shots from different angles.
Eventually painting was complete (It was great having such a fantastic team to help get the horse ready and look after them when they were not centre stage!) and we moved to the indoor school. Derby was lunged and jumped. Both horses performed Pilates exercises and Smokie showed off his lateral work and jumped his socks off!! Both Ellie and Fiona rode in lycra skeleton body suits- no mean feat as the lycra is extremely slippy. It was fantastic and such fun working with such a professional team. It was a challenge to presenting to a prospective audience of both knowledgeable horse people and those that know nothing about horses. The main themes of the interviews were: posture – one of my ‘high horse’ topics and particularly applicable in the case of Smokie! how important it is for us to be responsible for their well being – we can think of ourselves as being personal trainers to our horses and how much we owe to our horses both historically and in the present day.
The day ended with both horses being treated to a warm shower in the custom made spa box. Once bathed, pampered and slightly pink around the edges, they were then wrapped up warm and taken home for a well earned rest.
***WATCH HORSES INSIDE OUT ON COUNTRYFILE its on iPlayer till 6th July!***
*** Click here and go to 43mins thorough the programme
APRIL 2015 - ANATOMICAL ART WORK
Gillian paints a life-size model horse commissioned by Equissage.
Testimonial from Vicky Archer, Marketing Director, Equissage Ltd.
"Gillian, what can I say??I said I wantedwow on our trade stand
and I got it! Over 350 painting hours all superbly done.Thank you. When we came up with this idea, I underestimated the impact it would have on the people visiting the stand. People actually come onto the stand tovisit the 'Harry anatomically painted horse'.
A brilliant masterpiece and so amazing. Thank you."
In addition to live horses Gillian Higgins has recently completed several pieces of anatomical artwork.
These pieces are suitable for advertising, marketing, attracting attention or simply to enjoy.
For more information or a comission quote contact Gillian directly on:+44(0)1159212648 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
HORSES INSIDE OUT CONFRENCE 2015
Training, Therapy and Performance
28th February and 1st March 2015
Ettington Chase Hotel and Moreton Morrell, Warwickshire
Report by Francis McKim and Photos by Helen Richmond
At this, the ninth Horses Inside Out conference, the team was delighted to welcome over 150 delegates to this now well established two-day annual conference. This year the format was one day of world-class presentations relating on this topic held at the Ettington Chase hotel, followed by a practical day where the horses, accompanied by renowned international trainers, were the stars at Morton Morrell College, Warwickshire.
Delegates came from far and wide, with over 10% from overseas, coming from as far away as Australia, Porto Rico, Norway and Dubai. Just as the geographic spread was wide, so were the occupations of those attending. With the majority of delegates being equine therapists, there was also a good mix of vets, trainers, saddlers, farriers and horse owners.
Opening the conference, Gillian Higgins, the founder of Horses Inside Out, warmly welcomed all the delegates and said: “The theme of this year’s event is training and how therapy relates to performance. Our horses are athletes and if we manage to get their training correct we end up with happy and healthy horses. We need to take responsibility of our horses and regard ourselves as our horse’s personal trainers.”
Having set the scene Dr Colin Roberts from the University of Cambridge discussed the anatomy of a horse’s cardiovascular and respiratory systems stressing that these were two key parts of their make-up. He highlighted that the horse was an impressive machine, in effect a top class athlete, and will respond to appropriate training. But as anyone who has ever trained a horse knows, it can all go wrong, so Kathryn Nankervis from the Equine Therapy Centre at Hartbury College addressed the topic of rehabilitation.
From a more scientific point of view, Dr David Marlin of Science Supplements Ltd explored training issues. He pointed out that horses were very biddable animals, keen to please – a characteristic that can often work to their disadvantage. As humans, we are very competitive and can, if not careful, push horses beyond either their mental or physical abilities which all too often leads to equine injury.
Whilst we train our horses, this is only one part of the equation and the rider himself must also be trained. David Newbound of Backinaction discussed ways of improving the rider’s performance, in particular a rider’s back.
The second day was spent listening and watching the training techniques employed by two world class equestrians.
The first, Christopher Bartle, having himself competed at the highest level in both dressage and eventing, and now coach to the German national eventing team, explained his beliefs that when training a performance horse, all aspects of ridden work should be built into the training regime. He stressed: “Don’t compartmentalise dressage and show jumping. When you jump a fence, you need to ride your approach to the next as if you were performing dressage.” He stressed the importance of balance. “Balance is a very precious thing. Even a very slight change in the rider’s balance, changes that of the horse too.”
To graphically illustrate the effect of any change in balance, Christopher placed a cavaletti pole horizontal across two others. Once in balance, even a few grains of sand taken from the arena and placed on one end can totally destroy the equilibrium. A message every aspiring rider, of any discipline, should certainly heed.
With a selection of inexperienced and advanced horses expertly ridden by Matt Frost and Justine Sole, Adam Kemp of AM Dressage stressed two equally basic theories when training any horse - simplicity and reward. Adam said: “Keep the message simple. Your horse has always got to feel he has won. Make sure he benefits from doing what you ask him to do.” He went on to detail how every hose must be treated as an individual and stressed one point in particular: “Don’t make a horse try to do more than it is capable of achieving. It will break.”
The formal conference sessions are only one facet of such events. Meeting fellow professionals from around the country, chatting and exchanging ideas is as equally rewarding. The organisers certainly made allowance for this with generous coffee breaks, excellent lunches and a conference dinner. Here delegates were delighted to hear how well-known classical rider, Sylvia Loch, developed her theories over her lifetime. Another significant part of the weekend was a small but targeted exhibition which delegates could explore in the breaks.
All in all an inspirational weekend. Delegates have the 2016 conference to look forward to, the tenth in this series, on 20 & 21 February 2016 to be held at the Royal Agricultural University, Cirencester.
Photographs by Helen Richmond