Wednesday, 5 September 2018

Sitting to the trot By Derriere Equestrian sponsored eventer Daisy Berkeley


Sitting to the trot

By Derriere Equestrian sponsored eventer Daisy Berkeley

It was plain to see at the eventing dressage element of the Olympic Games this year that some riders are able to ‘sit’ to their horse’s trot better than others. Obviously there would have been many factors influencing this fact, such as the rider’s level of experience and the horse’s breeding, but it is clear that a soft, connected riding position in sitting trot does little to hinder the gait and performance of the horse, while a braced back and less flexible pelvis leads to a stilted movement.

A recent British study conducted by Hartpury College using a riding simulator looked at rider asymmetry during sitting trot, at fast and slow speeds. “Asymmetry is perceived to limit performance within equestrian sports,” the researchers proposed.

They sought to determine whether the speed of the trot influenced the degree of rider asymmetry, and used young women in their study, who all rode a minimum of five times per week, and held a competitive record.

Results showed that the riders’ left shoulders were positioned lower than the right during slow sitting trot, and that in both fast and slow sitting trot, the right ankle joints were positioned lower than the left. The slower trot speed produced greater asymmetry within this population.

“If a rider is asymmetrical, then in addition to hindering the horse’s balance and straightness, instructional signals could be misinterpreted by the horse. Training problems deemed as behavioural problems could be the result of rider postural asymmetry, while rider injury and back pain may also occur as a result of postural asymmetry,” researchers concluded.

Significantly in this study, all riders were right handed, as are around ninety percent of the population. Are many of us subconsciously dropping our left shoulder and right ankle when attempting sitting trot?

If we are subconsciously leaning into the right stirrup and lifting our right shoulder when taking sitting trot, this sounds very much as if our left hip is collapsing. All of these subtle asymmetries will affect the horse to a degree, and could well be influencing our dressage marks!

My suggestion is to work with your riding instructor to identify any asymmetries in your riding, and perhaps have some lessons on a riding simulator. Invest in some comfortable breeches and riding underwear, to be sure you are not offsetting your position due to personal discomfort. Remember, when the rider is comfortable within the saddle, there is less likelihood of compensatory misalignment of the spine and pelvis, e.g. altering the body position to avoid pain to the sensitive areas. Bear in mind also that a good sports bra is essential.
The media recently reported that female horse riders who fail to wear a sports bra could be causing distress to their animals, according to Portsmouth University researchers, as riding without a sports bra can lead to poor posture that’s sensed by the horse. If you are particularly dominant in one hand, using your right hand to lift water buckets and hay bales for example, you could try a programme of strength building and exercise, to strengthen your left side.

Key words

Eventing, dressage, riding position, sitting trot, gait, rider asymmetry, equestrian sports, rider, rider back pain, riding instructor, dressage marks, riding simulator, breeches, riding underwear, sports bra


Saturday, 1 September 2018

The Benefits of Layering

Lots of layers

When shopping for outdoor or equestrian clothing, most people will have heard a lot about utilising a layering system. Layering your clothing can help you to keep warm, dry and comfortable through varying conditions, allowing you to add or remove layers, depending on how you feel and the conditions you’re in.

As you’d expect, layered clothing is a term which describes dressing using many garments that are worn on top of each other; these layers have different functions. The concept of layering is that two thin layers can be warmer yet lighter than one thick layer, because of the air trapped between layers, creating thermal insulation. Thermal insulation involves the principles of three different kinds of heat transfer; conduction (exchange of heat through contact), convection (movement of air), and radiation.

Air has a low thermal conductivity, but is very mobile. There are thus two elements that are important in protecting from the cold:

1.) Stopping the wind from penetrating and replacing the layer of warm air close to the body.

2.) Setting up a layer of still air which serves as insulation, by the use of fibres found in clothing.

By using a layering system, clothing layers are able to transfer moisture, provide warmth, and protection from the wind and rain.

At the most basic level, the layering system will consist of three layers:

1) A Base layer - worn next to the skin to help to regulate your body temperature and wick away moisture from your skin.

2) Mid-layer - used to trap the warmth your body generates. Depending on the weather, this can be a Fleece or a Softshell jacket.

3) Outer Layer - usually this is your protective layer. For example, a waterproof jacket to create a barrier from the wind and rain, or a high visibility or fluorescent jacket to ensure you are safe on the roads during winter.

Breeches
When choosing your training breeches in winter, less can be more! Look out for a product that offers optimal warmth and comfort as well as performance, so you don’t need to wear bulky layers beneath your breeches. The Derriere Equestrian Treviso Training breeches are designed to promote work in harmony with the Derriere undergarments, ensuring all fabric surfaces come together in a symbiosis that completely eliminates chaffing, abrasions and discomfort. They are made from a blend of Cotton, Microfibre and Elasthane that regulates body temperature beautifully.


Warming up
We all warm up our horses, but should we ‘warm up’ ourselves? Usually we can gain benefit from ‘warming up’ our own muscles as the horse warms up - lots of arm circles backwards to release the shoulders, as well as gentle head rolls to loosen the neck muscles. Let your legs hang loose from the stirrups in walk, and rotate the ankles inwards, to loosen everything up!

DE PocketSkin

The DE POCKET SKIN provides all round upper body support, comfort and climate control technology to enhance performance. An essential item for everyday riding and competition. The DE moisture wicking, all-way stretch fabric provides UV protection, keeps you cool in the heat and warm in the cold, ensuring thermoregulation is maintained during exercise without compromising on fit, support or moisture management.

All DE fabrics are high end wicking sporting fabrics, which let the skin breathe preventing discomfort caused by overheating. DE moisture wicking fabric draws sweat away from the body to the surface of the garment where it evaporates to keep you dry.

Moist skin can easily become irritated, which is why the ability to transport moisture to the outside is such an important characteristic in our fabric choice. The fabric finish combines high pulling and abrasion resistance with excellent breathability and a soft feel against your skin.

The DE POCKET SKIN provides a long sleeve, round neck comfort design. The style featuring a discrete mobile phone pocket, with earphone wire slot and a discrete POCKET closure, providing the wearer with a comfortable, stylish fit and finish. Seam technology focus, ensures our flat locked seam presentation for ultimate comfort. 

Couture, professional sports design together with Derriere Equestrian branding finish. The DE POCKET SKIN features the Derriere Equestrian wrap around equestrian design for the stylish, dynamic equestrian.
  • Upper body support, comfort & climate control technology
  • Moisture Wicking
  • All way stretch fabric
  • UV protection
  • Thermoregulation
  • Flat locked seams
  • Discrete mobile phone pocket, earphone wire slot & discrete POCKET closure
  • High round neck
  • Long sleeves
  • Wrap around equestrian design
  • Derriere Equestrian brand style
  • Unisex design
  • Small, Medium, Large & X.Large
  • Colours: White, Turquoise, Coral


DE ZipSkin

The DE ZIP SKIN provides all round upper body support, comfort and climate control technology to enhance performance. An essential item for everyday riding and competition. The DE moisture wicking, all-way stretch fabric provides UV protection, keeps you cool in the heat and warm in the cold, ensuring thermoregulation is maintained during exercise without compromising on fit, support or moisture management.

All DE fabrics are high end wicking sporting fabrics, which let the skin breathe preventing discomfort caused by overheating. DE moisture wicking fabric draws sweat away from the body to the surface of the garment where it evaporates to keep you dry.

Moist skin can easily become irritated, which is why the ability to transport moisture to the outside is such an important characteristic in our fabric choice. The fabric finish combines high pulling and abrasion resistance with excellent breathability and a soft feel against your skin.

The DE ZIP SKIN provides a long sleeve, round neck comfort design. The style featuring a discrete mobile phone pocket, with earphone wire slot and a discrete zip closure, providing the wearer with a comfortable, stylish fit and finish. Seam technology focus, ensures our flat locked seam presentation for ultimate comfort. 

Couture, professional sports design together with Derriere Equestrian branding finish. The DE ZIP SKIN features the Derriere Equestrian wrap around equestrian design for the stylish, dynamic equestrian.
  • Upper body support, comfort & climate control technology
  • Moisture Wicking
  • All way stretch fabric
  • UV protection
  • Thermoregulation
  • Flat locked seams
  • Discrete mobile phone pocket, earphone wire slot & discrete zip closure
  • High round neck
  • Long sleeves
  • Wrap around equestrian design
  • Derriere Equestrian brand style
  • Unisex design
  • Small, Medium, Large & X.Large
  • Colours: White, Turquoise, Coral

For all your riding needs, visit:
www.derriereequestrian.com

Wednesday, 29 August 2018

Are you’re sitting comfortably? Then let’s begin, with a tale of supremely comfy riding underwear

Are you’re sitting comfortably? Then let’s begin, with a tale of supremely comfy riding underwear


Derriere Equestrian works with leading padding manufacturers, pioneers of the Elastic Interface; regarded as a world-wide leader in designing and developing pads for cycling shorts, to reduce compression in the gluteal, perineal and genital-urinary area zone. Thanks to its association with Derriere Equestrian, the brand is now also a world-wide leader in designing pads for equestrian garments, too!

Engineering, research and development


Our padding performance and testing manufacturers have been established for eighteen-years, leading manufacturer of technology for cyling-wear, and co-developed the first innovative cycling shorts with seat pads that stretched in all directions. If you’re wondering why Derriere’s performance riding underwear has a higher price-point than inferior copies, then it’s worth considering the engineering, research and development that went into our padded seat designs. Italy’s University of Padua’s sports science department was consulted regularly along the journey to develop the padding technology for the ladies’ DE Performance Padded Panties and DE Performance Padded Shorties, and the men’s DE Performance Padded Shorties. The padded elements are bonded using heat presses and ‘baked’ at around 200°C in a factory, bonding the parts together in a homogenous piece; this means no chaffing or rubbing in one’s most personal areas!


A stable and effective riding seat



Studies into seat-based sports showed that athletes seemingly believed pain and discomfort was to be expected. Chronic discomfort affecting the gluteal, perineal and genital-urinary areas actually creates genital numbness and other dysfunctions, due to compression of the pubic nerve. Yet researchers have proved that by being more comfortable, we use oxygen more efficiently, so have more stamina; because if we’re uncomfortable, we’re continually moving about to get comfy, wasting energy. In terms of a horse rider, this un-necessary movement can be detrimental to a stable and effective riding seat.

If you’ve checked out the padding in a pair of DerriereEquestrian padded underwear garments, you will see that a dynamic foam insert is used, contoured to very specific shapes. Our biomechanical consultant, Dr Paoli MD, Anatomy and Physiology specialist at the University of Padua, carried out extensive perineal pressure testing in various sporting situations, and has been able to demonstrate reduced compression in the gluteal, perineal and genital-urinary areas (as well as maintenance of blood flow to the perineal tissues), when using the  foam utilised in our padded underwear garments. Reduced compression; increased blood flow - surely this is a no-brainer for any horse rider looking to enhance their riding effectiveness and long-term comfort in the saddle?!

Contoured pads for posterior perfection


Dr Paoli and his team helped create a pad that targeted specific pressure points, noting how one’s body rotates, and where the padding should be sited; in some areas it is more supportive, and elsewhere, bulk is reduced. Of course, it goes without saying that not only do the men’s and women’s padded undies from Derriere Equestrian differ, but extensive research and design went into the contours! Without getting too detailed, lady riders benefit from a greater area of padding in the central area of the garment to provide increased comfort and tip-top protection, whereas the male padding is predominantly sited further forward. In both Derriere Equestrian garment designs (male and female), the rider’s seat bones and associated pressure points are protected, to enhance our riding performance, while the outside edges of the inner pads are contoured with extra-soft fabric, to further eliminate any chaffing.

No Fall Down Pants or Wedgies


The underwear itself (that the pads, in the case of our padded versions) are bonded to, are made from a breathable, micro-fibre fabric created from a Polyamide and Elasthanne blend. It boasts amazing multi-directional stretch. (No Fall Down Pants or Wedgies!)

We are talking bonded, seamless technology with no abrasive edges and reduced stitched seam-lines, for supreme comfort when riding your horse or pony. The range of Derriere Equestrian products go through more than 50 controls during their transformation in production, so you can be sure of a high-quality piece of sporting apparel that has breathable, anti-bac fabric. (And if you prefer non-padded undies, check out our full range, which boasts naked, bonded seams without full-stitching, for comfort and ‘Zero-VPL’!)



We hope we have outlined just why Derriere Equestrian is leading the field in riding underwear production; and do let us know why you love your Derrieres!

www.derriereequestrian.com 




PRESS RELEASE ~ Alexandra Phillips Appointed As Derriere Equestrian Brand Manager


PRESS RELEASE DERRIERE EQUESTRIAN LTD

Derriere Equestrian are delighted to announce Alexandra Phillips BSc (Hons), AMTRA, PGCE, has been appointed as the new Brand Manager. Alex has worked closely with the team since launch in 2014 and is perfectly placed to take Derriere Equestrian forward, with the continued successful growth of the Brand.


   
With a wealth of business experience in the Veterinary and Animal Health Industries, and an in-depth knowledge of the workings of the Equestrian World, Alex will be an invaluable member of the team. Driving forward continued growth in sales, marketing and being an excellent support to all Trade B2B clients.

Born and brought up in Hong Kong, her passion for all things equestrian started at the Royal Hong Kong Jockey Club Riding School in Pokfulham aged 7, when learning to ride on ex racehorses and Icelandic ponies.


This interest progressed to gaining the dressage scholarship at Hartpury College in 1994 and gaining her degree in 1997. While at Hartpury, Alex founded a strong friendship with Derriere Equestrian founder Claire Galer and they have enjoyed working closely together through various points in their careers ever since.

Following graduation with a BSc(Hons) Degree in Equine Science, Alex progressed into an outstanding career in the pharmaceutical industry spanning 15 years. With positions held at Pfizer (Zoetis), Ceva and MSD in both equine and companion animal divisions as a Senior Sales Manager.

In 2004 she gained a PGCE in secondary science and taught in a comprehensive school from 2004-2007 before returning to industry from 2008-2013. Following a successful career in industry she returned to teaching becoming head of department and head of KS5 in 2017.

All through this time Alex has pursued her love of Dressage, both riding, competing and now breeding her own Dressage ponies. Alex started as a teenager training with Franz Rochowansky, and then trained with Pammy Hutton, Tessa Thorne, and Isobel Wessels and is currently training with Sally Thorndale, aiming for medium level on her own ID rescue horse and at Elementary on her own Welsh Section C pony this year.


Alex has had a keen interest in Derriere Equestrian from its inception by Claire Galer to the huge success that it is today.

“I’m excited to be joining a company that has been close to me since it first launched in 2014. I have watched DE grow from strength to strength to become the most innovative equestrian underwear manufacturer in the industry, and I am looking forward to being a part of it’s progression as it grows in success worldwide” Alexandra Phillips BSc (Hons), AMTRA, PGCE


We are delighted to welcome Alex on-board and wish her every success in her new role.


Contact Details

Alexandra Phillips BSc (Hons), AMTRA, PGCE
Brand ManagerDerriere Equestrian LtdEmail: hq@derriereequestrian.com

www.derriereequestrian.com




Sunday, 26 August 2018

Concentrate on the process, not the outcome – Top competition preparation with elite rider Erin Orford

Concentrate on the process, not the outcome – Top competition preparation with elite rider Erin Orford


Dressage rider and Derriere Equestrian ambassador Erin Orford has been selected for the British para dressage team at the 2018 World Equestrian Games, with Annabel Whittet’s Dior – so ahead of this important event in the equestrian calendar, we asked Erin to share her pre-competition preparations with us…


Firstly a HUGE Congratulations to Erin, such well deserved selection. Erin Won the 2014 Derriere Equestrian Stars of the Future Sponsorship and we have been behind Erin every step of the way with this magical journey.  

As a top-level rider, mental preparation must be key – so how does Erin prepare for a big contest? “The bigger competitions are often the most important; so of course I put myself under more pressure for these, as I want to do well and show the horse off to the best of its ability,” Erin explains. “I often feel more nervous in the build up directly before getting on, when I have time to think about the event or occasion, and my mind has time to build it up and go over it in my head! I've been working a lot this year on concentrating on the process and not the outcome, however – so for example if you're trotting around thinking, ‘I need to get 75%’, the chances are you're not concentrating on your horse, or riding the movements; this makes the desired outcome less likely to be achieved,” Erin tells us.

Here are her five top tips for making maximising the chances of achieving a personal best at a competition of any riding discipline:


- Leave sufficient time: I like to make sure I leave myself plenty of time at a competition; I get ready early, put my earphones in and run through my test by the arena, so that I can familiarise myself with the layout, and the surroundings. Little things can throw you when you're under pressure, so you want to minimise the likelihood of this happening where possible.

- Control the controllables: You can't change the weather, who's on the judging panel in a dressage test, or who else is in your class; you can only do the best that you can do on the day, so focus on what you're doing.

- Have the right people around you where possible: whether that's something to give you a kick up the ‘derriere’ in the warm up, or to build your confidence just before you go in; learn what works best for you.

- Use targeted warm-up exercises: If you're nervous or get distracted, give yourself specific exercises to work on in the warm up; this way, you have less time to be overwhelmed by the big occasion.

- Invest in your Derriere! Derriere Equestrian underwear will provide you with discrete comfort, ensuring you are able to achieve a deeper, more effective, symmetrical seat. The Performance Padded Panty and the Bonded Padded Shorty Styles provide the best in selective, technical padded underwear.

We went on to ask Erin about equine anxiety or tension, and how she deals with this. “An anxious or tense horse can be like sitting on a ticking time bomb, which can make the rider anxious, and it becomes a cycle of nervous energy between the horse and rider,” she advises.

“Tension can show in many different ways; some horses ‘go in’ on themselves, while some are outward in their response, with spooking, running off, etc. You can often feel it in their back, in terms of their lack of attention or responsiveness to your aids, making you feel even more out of control. In this situation, you want to try to relax the horse with easy exercises that encourage them to bring their attention back to the rider. It is your job as a rider to give the horse confidence, use your voice to settle them, or to give them an aid when their bodies are too tense to listen to the rein or your leg. Large circles and easy transitions help to bring their attention from outside the arena back to you; you want to ride positively but in control, helping their balance and building their confidence as you go. Leg yield can also help to encourage them to use their body, as well as encouraging them to accept the leg; but make sure the exercise is easy for them, and then you can increase the difficulty when they are able to maintain the relaxation. Patting them gently on the neck can also help to encourage them to relax, as well as making sure that you're not holding them too much with the rein, so that they don't feel ‘trapped’.”

Many of us experience physical tension when riding; Erin says that common issues are becoming ‘fixed’ in one’s body and position, so the shoulders ‘hunch’. “You might for example grip with your hands and / or legs, and this will affect your ability to use your seat effectively. In the trot, you might struggle to do sitting trot, as it will feel as if you're being bounced out the saddle, “ she explains. “It might help to take your feet out of the stirrups for a stretch before putting them back in again; if you have a tendency to grip the reins, keep giving little pats to the horse, so that you can release the pressure, and mix up the sitting trot with rising, so that you can allow your back to warm up a bit more. Doing exercises in walk and canter can also help with your pelvis - and don't forget to breathe!” she concludes.

Erin rides at para grade three, as she is missing the radius bone in both arms, meaning she has shortened lower arms and only four fingers on each hand; the leading dressage rider also rides with prosthetic legs during competitions, as she’s a bi-lateral through-knee amputee. 

“As I have no lower legs, my seat is extra important - my Derriere undies are therefore invaluable!” she adds.

For a detailed Bio on Erin Orford, visit our sponsored riders page on the website.

http://www.derriereequestrian.com/sponsored_riders.html

Monday, 23 July 2018

Improve your jumping position With showjumper Bex Mason

Improve your jumping position
With showjumper Bex Mason


Do you need to hone your jumping position? As Derriere’s showjumping ambassador, I have some tips! It can be tricky to find that perfect leg position, and many of us have our stirrups a little too short - you will need to have quite short stirrups, especially as the fences rise in height, in order to give you the required shock absorption through the ankle joint. Your stirrups need to be short enough so that you can comfortably get your seat out of the saddle, allowing your horse to bascule through your legs. Your heels must stay down, and you need to have a bend in the knee, keeping your lower leg position ‘anchored’.

Practise your position

Because we use our jumping position for only a few seconds at a time, it can be difficult to master. Familiarise yourself by taking your jumping position when schooling on the flat, without jumps. A common mistake is to allow your lower leg to swing too far back, inadvertently encouraging your horse to speed up. Keeping the weight into your stirrups with your heels well down should prevent this happening. Over a fence, really focus on keeping the weight down into your heels, and do consider your upper body - if it is too far forward, e.g. if you lean forward too early, you may get catapulted forward, and your heels will rise. It is usually better from a safety perspective to be behind the movement that in front of it!

When training, I like to use bounce fences, where the horse will not put any strides between each jump, maintaining the jumping position throughout a grid. Start by setting out canter poles and if the distance is correct for you, it will be about the same for bounce jumps. One non-jumping stride is approx 7.5m, and two non-jumping strides approx 10.7m, but this is totally variable! Ask a friend to assist by moving the poles and adjusting them for you, and putting back any knocked poles, or work with your instructor. Try to keep the lower leg still, and think of the hips as acting like a ‘hinge’.

The show jumping position needs to be quite versatile - riders jumping higher showjumping fences are often seen in unusual positions when they ride against the clock, for example leaning to one side of the saddle, or pushing off from the ball of their foot to gain balance if the horse cat leaps. This means they need to have optimum foot stability, as the ankle acts like a spring for the rider’s limb, and must not collapse. Although all riders are different, the predominant style for event riders’ positions over XC fences currently seems to be more ‘chair’ shaped than when tackling arena fences, with the lower leg quite far forward, and the rider’s body weight further back with the heels well down as an ‘anchor’.

Either way, e.g. whatever your discipline, we can all improve our strength and stability through lunge lessons, which helps to mobilise and open the hips. Remember your comfy riding underwear too!


About Bex
Bex has worked for many years breaking in horses and competing at an international level with elite riders such as Tina and Graham Fletcher (GB), Ludo Philleaperts (BEL), Steve Cohan (NZ) and Viki Roycroft (AUS). Bex specialises in producing competition horses. “I find myself expressing love for my Derrieres daily,” Bex says of the underwear range. “I openly discuss the results and versatility of the products, whether it’s to customers at my yard, or fellow competitors at shows; I don’t even realise I’m doing it - these pants change riders’ lives!”



Friday, 20 July 2018

Positional points from Derriere Equestrian

Positional points

Derriere Equestrian offers some advice on how your torso affects your riding position.



For any rider working to achieve a consistent rhythm and outline with their flatwork, the torso is key. It can influence all aspects of your riding, in both positive and negative ways.

From a dressage point of view, judges are looking for a horse that goes forward with a good level of self carriage, rather than one with a false outline, whatever the level of competition. It is common to see people ‘hanging on’ to the rein contact, with a rigid hand. However, the hand simply connects the seat to the horse’s mouth, ideally in an elastic way. The seat and the elbow are the ‘anchors’ of the rider’s position – not the hand!


Self carriage

Equine self carriage is achieved through a soft, yet consistent rein contact, and targeted flatwork training to get the horse working forwards into the contact. The rider should aim to carry the hands and keep them level, without trying to interfere with the horse’s head carriage too much; it is also important to ensure the rider’s arms don’t straighten, which is an indicator of tense shoulders. Tense shoulders usually lead to a fixed hand, meaning the rein contact isn’t elastic!

‘Carrying the hands’ really starts at the shoulders – when you are schooling, try to think about establishing a good rhythm with sufficient self carriage, without ‘holding’ the horse – the hands can actually be quite light. For a good rein contact and a correct torso position, drop the elbow comfortably and relax it. This is the key to having a good rein contact; not a fixed hand!

A common fault for many riders is to collapse their hip – they usually drop their hip to the outside, which imbalances the horse. Remember, your body weight needs to be in the direction of movement. To correct or avoid a collapsed hip, sit up tall and make sure your back isn’t slumped. Relax your shoulders and check your arms – do they have a bend at the elbow? Carry the hands!

Remember also the importance of ‘personal comfort’ in the saddle - if you are working to improve your flatwork, good riding underwear is a boon. Consider padded underwear like the Derriere range; remember - when the rider is comfortable within the saddle, there is less likelihood of compensatory misalignment of the spine and pelvis, e.g. altering the body position to avoid pain to the sensitive crotch areas. And a comfy ‘personal area’ means a more effective partnership with the horse!



www.derriereequestrian.com