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Equestrian Entries for the New Zealand Horse Rider

Whilst learning about the Equidays event in New Zealand recently I found myself then guided to the Equestrian Entries website.  I had no idea that there was an online resource for horse riders in New Zealand!  Equestrian Entries provides details on horse competitions around New Zealand.

Equestrian Entries is a Great Online Resource for NZ Riders | Equus Education

Equestrian Entries is a Great Online Resource for NZ Riders | Equus Education

You can register to be able to make use of this online resource that allows you to look at events in New Zealand.  You can also view your entries into said competitions and the results.  Wonderful!  To register you’ll need an ESNZ Registration number.

Equestrian Entries for Horse Riders

I love the concept of this site.  Now I may be ignorant and perhaps there are such sites for Australia, the UK and US, too!  But I love that there is one place you can go to find out about national horse competitions, register in these events and in time, see the results.  For each event, you can see:

  • start and closing dates of the event
  • the discipline/s covered
  • the location of the show

You can even view location details on GoogleMaps, check out the schedule and enter yourself into the event.  Wonderful!  So if you’re a rider in New Zealand, be sure to make use of this incredible resource!  And if you’re located elsewhere, why not do a search to see if there’s something similar you can utilise?  And if there isn’t… maybe this is an area for someone to step in and create one 😉

“There is a lot of folklore about equestrian statues, especially the ones with riders on them. There is said to be a code in the number and placement of the horse’s hooves: …four legs in the air means that the sculptor was very, very clever. Five legs in the air means that there’s probably at least one other horse standing behind the horse you’re looking at; and the rider lying on the ground with his horse lying on top of him with all four legs in the air means that the rider was either a very incompetent horseman or owned a very bad-tempered horse.” ― Terry Pratchett


The Schleese AdapTree

I am currently reading Suffering in Silence by Jochen Schleese. I am learning a lot more about saddle fit and the implications for horse and rider if things aren’t correctly fitted! Nearly halfway through the book, there have been a few references to the AdapTree for saddles.

As it says on the Schleese website:

Caring from the inside out, the Schleese AdapTree® is the first tree which adapts to the horse’s bio-mechanical movements. Through the calculation and implication of the rider’s weight, the AdapTree® is fitted and infinitely adjustable at any time by one of our authorized Certified Saddle Fit Technicians or Saddle Ergonomists.

Do you have an AdapTree in Your Saddle? | Equus Education

Do you have an AdapTree in Your Saddle? | Equus Education

The AdapTree

The gullet plate within the tree of the saddle is adjustable. This means as your horse puts on muscle or loses tone around the withers, it can be adjusted to fit its shape.  This will also improve saddle fit, decreasing the chance of discomfort to the horse. The tree is made out of polyurethane which is flexible.  Schleese indicate on their site that this “provides complete freedom of motion and comfort, flexing with your horse’s lateral movement to improve connection and communication.”

Now this particular idea is new to me, but I believe an important concept in a saddle. The tree points tend to be forward facing in saddles. They often sit just above the shoulder blades, but if incorrectly fitted can restrict shoulder movement. In the AdapTree, the tree points are rear-facing, so that this doesn’t impact the shoulder blades in a negative way.

Another new idea to me highlighted in Suffering in Silence was that saddles are made by men, for men. Anatomically, they’re not correct for females and limit their chance to achieve the best position and centre of gravity whilst in the saddle. The middle of the AdapTree has a padded cut-out area that removes pressure from the front pelvic area. This means women can sit correctly without having associated issues that can arise from too much pressure in this area. Apparently it’s not uncommon for women to gain back pain and even health issues because of too much pressure whilst in the saddle or poor positioning.

I love when horse related products are created out of a need or a desire to make something even better. I believe the Schleese AdapTree® is one such product!

Profile On: Alex Brown, Former Exercise Rider

Alex Brown recently released a novel relating to the horse racing industry.  As someone who was a professional exercise rider, he has fit a lot of his knowledge into his book Missionville.  He also kindly took the time to answer some questions about exercise riding as a career.

Former Exercise Rider, Alex Brown with a Fan | Equus Education

Former Exercise Rider, Alex Brown with a Fan | Equus Education

How much of your day/week is related to horses?
For now, very little, unfortunately, unless you count writing about them, and my new book, Missionville!

What was it exactly that you did?
I worked in horse racing, in the United States, on and off for more than 25 years. During this time, I mostly exercised horses as a salaried or freelance exercise rider. A typical morning would mean galloping about 7-8 horses, starting around 6, and finishing around 10 in the morning.

This gave me plenty of time to do some other stuff. During the latter years, a lot of my additional time was devoted to horse welfare issues, horse slaughter and the retirement of racehorses.

In this field of work, is it possible to be a full time professional and earning a liveable income?
Yes, an exercise rider can do quite well. My last salaried job, which was for Steve Asmussen, I was earning around about $30k salary. Because of the short working hours, I could do a little extra work, if I wanted. That might have been breaking young horses, freelancing a few extra horses at the track, or working in a role at the races (which I never did).

Missionville by Alex Brown | Equus Education

Missionville by Alex Brown | Equus Education

What are the general steps taken to be employed in such a role?
I was lucky. I’ve ridden all my life, and went to the US to ride for a racehorse trainer who had recently moved to the US too. Basically, you need some decent riding experience before heading to a racetrack, and then you need a trainer who will spend some time helping you get started. You don’t want to be thrown in the deep-end straightaway.

Riding on a track is quite different to equestrian riding. You need to learn how to ride off a neckstrap, bridge your reins, ride with shorter stirrups, and so forth. Strangely, you learn to ride longer, with more experience, but it’s important to get the balance of riding short.

Favourite horse memory?
That’s a tough one, after twenty five or so years. But it will be about a horse winning a race. It’s just a great feeling, after galloping a horse for awhile, to see it do well at the races.

Most recently, probably when Maple Time won a little race at Penn National. When I worked for Asmussen, any time Salty Langfuhn won a race.

Future goals?
Now I’m back in the UK, and retired from horse racing, who knows. I really enjoyed writing Missionville, which is in part based on my experiences at the race tracks in the US. But I’m not sure writing full-time will ever be my calling. I am fortunate to have another career in the sphere of MBA admissions, so that keeps me busy too.

Best thing about your sport/profession?
I just love horses. We owe so much to them.

7 Horse Riding Careers to Consider

So you want to make a career out of riding horses, ey? Well here are 7 horse riding careers to consider. Some offer consistent work and wages. Others will be successful only if the horse in question being ridden is successful in its given discipline.

    1. Exercise rider for racing
      This is a person who rides horses in their morning workouts. Often this will be for thoroughbreds galloping on the track in flat racing, or jumps racing. Riders are generally paid per horse that is ridden and can get work 6 – 7 mornings a week.
    2. Jockey
      You need to be qualified to ride in race work and your earnings will be based on the performance of your mount – as well as the class of race. Rides may be over weekends or during the week, depending on race meetings.
    3. Eventer
      Many of these riders need to be sponsored and the performance money is a lot less than in race riding. Still, it is possible to ride competition horses for a living. An eventer focuses on dressage, show jumping and cross country riding.
    4. Catch rider
      For the owners who have a horse that needs to be ridden, a catch rider can come in handy. They ride the horse in its competition event for a fee – and hopefully the horse receives points/ribbons in the classes it is entered.

      7 Horse Riding Careers to Consider | Equus Education

      7 Horse Riding Careers to Consider | Equus Education

    5. Educational rider/trainer
      Some horses have issues with regards to their education or the way they’ve been ridden. They may be acting up because they are in pain or fearful. Some trainers manage ‘difficult’ horses beautifully, getting to the root of the problem and enabling owners to move forward with their riding goals.
    6. Trail ride guide
      Perhaps you’re the sort of person who loves getting out and about, seeing beautiful places on horseback. You also love interacting with people and can teach beginners a thing or two.  And maybe you enjoy riding with more experienced horse people, too. Taking people out for trail rides may be a job worth considering! It will often involve matching strangers to appropriate horses, tacking up horses and taking groups out for a ride.  Then you will be dealing with the horses and putting them away again. Many trail places do 2-3 rides in a day or some overnight rides for the more experienced clients.
    7. Mounted police
      It is worth noting that if you want to get into this area, it can’t be solely because you want to ride! Mounted police officers have to serve as a police officer for a few years before they are in a position to consider the mounted department. It can also be quite competitive. Love of the law needs to be your focus, with getting to ride a bonus 😉

    The 7 horse riding careers to consider listed above touch on different disciplines and different working hours. Have you considered another? I’d love to read in the comments about other riding careers you’re interested in!

Horse Riding Camps

I have been reading a children’s horse book – Izzy’s Chance by Doreen Bairstow.  In it there was a reference to Scripture Union. Being a horsey book, I thought perhaps it was a horse riding camp with a Christian focus. Although horse riding is available, the focus isn’t on horse riding camps.

But this got me to thinking. Why not horse riding camps as a horse related career?

When I was teaching horse studies at Box Hill TAFE, once a year we had an intensive practical camp.  This was held over a couple of days for the Certificate II in Horse Studies students. They got to ride twice a day and other sessions involved practical classes relating to horses.

Horse Riding Camps - Would you set one up?

Horse Riding Camps – Would you set one up?

Horse Riding Camps

Having a property set up with the specific focus on horse riding and care I believe could be a great niche. It could cater to educational facilities that offer horse courses. If they’re looking for a place where their students can ride and do practical sessions, I am sure a camp would appeal!

For the parent with a horse crazy son or daughter, knowing they can book them in for a riding camp over the holidays would also be appealing. Offering weekend camps could be of benefit too. It would just be a question of marketing the property so that people know what it could be used for. There may be certain times of the year that are more in demand – school holidays, weekends for example.

However, if other times of the year are marketed correctly, horse riding camps could bring in income all year round. For example, they could be marketed to equestrian teams with professional equestrian riders holding workshops and making use of the property and its horses. Horse riding camps – why not?

Poudre Wilderness Volunteers

I am learning about so many different pony related tasks in Jenifer Morrissey’s book, the Partnered Pony! The most recent reference that I just had to look up was to the Poudre Wilderness Horse Patrol. A search online lead me to the Poudre Wilderness Volunteers website.

Poudre Wilderness Volunteers - Would you mix your Love of Trail Riding with Volunteer Work?

Poudre Wilderness Volunteers – Would you mix your Love of Trail Riding with Volunteer Work?

If you’re trying to build up your resume – why not consider a volunteer position that affords you the chance to do something with horses, too?

This particular opportunity is for those who can get to an area in the Northern Colorado Wilderness. If you’re a fan of hiking (or horse riding!) the trails, then it is possible to become a Poudre Wilderness Volunteer. Potential members are recruited throughout the year, with the application process closing at the end of March. Mandatory training for new members is carried out in May. Many members actively patrol the trails, but volunteers are also sought in the areas of fundraising, committee work, website development and maintenance, and office support.

Poudre Wilderness Volunteers

Of course, if you want to be able to do something that relates to the trail and horses, then patrolling of trails would be the way to go. Poudre Wilderness Volunteers range from 18 – 80, according to the PWV website. They boast a broad spectrum of professions, knowledge and skills. It states on their site:

“What we have in common is our love for the wilderness and a dedication to learning and teaching Leave-No-Trace principles. We make a commitment to “hike and ride with a purpose” at least six days during the summer months. We wear a uniform shirt and name badge and serve by assisting and educating the public and protecting and conserving the resource. Other tasks that we perform while hiking: keep records and report observations and violations to the USFS; report sign and other trail-safety issues; deal with illegal/improper campsites, fire rings, and trash; report downed trees blocking trails (if can’t remove by ourselves) and noxious weed infestations; perform minor trail maintenance; and make new friends, get some exercise, and visit beautiful places.”

Alongside the positions being volunteer-based, those participating also cover the cost of their own travel, supply their own equipment and horses. There are those volunteers who go out for a day at a time, whilst others do extended stock packing patrols in the high country. If this type of volunteer work appeals to you, check out their website!



Free Riding with Alycia Burton

The joys of the internet means that you can become known for your horse passion – without even meaning to! This was the case for free rider, Alycia Burton. She promotes riding horses without saddles or bridles – free riding – and even jumps her horse Goldrush like this.

Free Riding

Free Riding - would you Ride without a Saddle and Bridle?

Free Riding – would you Ride without a Saddle and Bridle?

Do you dream of riding your horse capably without a saddle and bridle? Alycia’s claim to fame came from a photo and then video shown online of her free riding her gelding. Now she has DVDs and does riding tours, promoting her way of riding.

Although she does use tack judging by some photos on her site, her passion is promoting riding without the aids of a saddle and bridle. And it seems that with her horse she is able to soar over some decent sized jumps.  All of this she does on her pinto gelding Goldrush – without the help of a saddle or bridle!

There is a shop on her website to sell related resources.  It seems that sponsors also help to get her message around. This shows that if you have skills and a passion for a particular area of the horse industry, you can promote this.  And you can even have it support you financially.

Products in her store include ‘tack’ that she uses to ride with, clothing, training DVDs in hard copy and online streaming, and tickets to her shows. In fact, she is doing an Australian tour, soon! For this 28 year old New Zealand woman, it looks like she’s doing a great job of getting to follow her passion and promote it as a possibility to others.

“Yet when books have been read and reread, it boils down to the horse, his human companion, and what goes on between them.” ― Walter Farley

Garrocha – a Horse Discipline

There are a number of different disciplines related to horses that are known to many around the world. Consider the likes of dressage, show jumping, cross country, racing, western disciplines and polo and polocrosse. I recently stumbled across one that I hadn’t heard of before – garrocha.

It was whilst reading the Outback Equines website, that I discovered they offered lessons in garrocha. I was intrigued!

As it turns out:

The Garrocha is a lance or pole, it comes in different lengths depending on what it is being used for. Centuries ago it was used as a weapon during the wars. In Spain it is used by the vaquero (cowboys) on farms to move cattle around rather than roping and to help bring stock in. It is used to keep the bulls off the horses while riding around the pastures stock checks.

It is also a competition where two men on horseback chase a bull and the rider with the Garrocha needs to get the bull with a single clean knock-over, as marks will be lost if more than one attempt is made.

You can read more about it here.

Garrocha as a Career

What Discipline do you Love on Horseback?  Garrocha is one!

What Discipline do you Love on Horseback? Garrocha is one!

There are two common ways to earn money relating to a particular horse riding discipline if you’re keen to turn it into a career. The first is to go professional. Often this requires a deep commitment of time and money. Many horse riding sports require one or more mounts as well as entry fees and special riding gear.

The second option is to teach. Once you’ve experienced a sport – and even found success with it – then you are in a position to enlighten others. You can charge a fee as you teach them about the riding discipline, it’s rules and how to do it effectively.

If you want a horse riding career, then consider the varying disciplines that are out there. You may first gain a career through riding and competing in that particular discipline. This can be followed up by teaching others to do the same thing in future years. Garrocha is one such possibility!

“There is no better place to heal a broken heart than on the back of a horse.” ― Missy Lyons

Equine Stunt Trick Rider

I am currently reading Love, Sweat and Tears by Zelie Bullen.  This woman has had an incredible life as an animal trainer, horse rider, stunt rider and fill in, in many movies.  She often found work as an equine stunt trick rider.

I hadn’t considered the possibility as a horse rider, to be someone who doubles in films and helps out with trick riding.  But it is indeed possible!  Perhaps you have a passion for horse riding and want to consider avenues in which you can earn income.

Have you considered stunt riding or trick riding of horses?  It may be worth looking into!  It seems to be a job that would have you consistently travelling and learning new things.  But best of all, you would be riding many different horses, doing many different things!

Equine Stunt Trick Rider: can you Ride with or Without a Saddle?

Equine Stunt Trick Rider: can you Ride with or Without a Saddle?

Zelie’s book details her trips to Africa, France, around Australia and in the United States.  Her skill as a rider had her in demand around the world but as a casual job, she indicated that she didn’t know where her next lot of work (or pay) was going to come from.  It sounds incredible, but not reliable as a financial source.

If you plan to make a career horse riding, be mindful of the possible need to:

  • travel
  • accept many different employers
  • be able to ride many different breeds and types of horses
  • learn a different language
  • ride in different types of gear, or without any saddle on a horse

Have you considered a career riding horses?  You may also like to think about event riding or track riding.  There are many opportunities to ride horses and earn a living.

“A good rider can hear his horse speak to him. A great rider can hear his horse whisper.” – Author Unknown

Profile On: Brandon Phillips, Polo Player

Professional polo player Brandon Phillips has kindly taken the time to answer some questions about his career.  Thinking of a horse riding career?  Perhaps polo is worth considering!

How much of your day/week is related to horses?
Pretty much every day is related to the horses. Some days are a little “lighter” then others, but it is safe to say that every day of every year is related to the horses somehow. It’s a complete lifestyle…

What is it exactly that you do?
Days can consist of riding, practicing, games, or just being at the barn organizing the next day’s activities, talking with the grooms, going over plans for each horse.  Also a big part of our job is the buying and selling of horses.  So I’m constantly looking for horses for certain clients as well as looking for myself. Always trying to find that “diamond in the rough”.

Brandon Phillips, Professional Polo Player.

Brandon Phillips, Professional Polo Player.

In this field of work, is it possible to be a full time professional and earning a liveable income?
I have been a full time professional polo player for 21 years. So yes, its very possible to make a livable income.

What are the general steps taken to be employed in such a role?
Simple, to be a successful polo professional you need to be very good. You need to be in the top 1% in each handicap level to be successful . There is no written rule, but like anything, the better you are the more success you will have.

Favourite horse memory?
The best memories are when any of my horses win a best playing pony award for a tournament. For any of them to be recognized as being the best preforming horse is a great accomplishment for both myself and my grooms.

Future goals?
My future goals are simple. Keep improving. The sport gets tougher every year with regards to stronger competition, better horses, faster pace.  The sport is advancing rapidly; if you don’t keep improving and growing with the sport then you will get left behind.

Best thing about your sport/profession?
Easy question! Best thing about this sport is being with horses every day!

“A stubborn horse walks behind you, an impatient horse walks in front of you, but a noble companion walks beside you.” – Author Unknown

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