Tuesday, 12 January 2021

Catching up with customers

We recently caught up with one of our amazing customers, Kevin Stoddart. We asked him to tell us how his riding career started and how he handled a global pandemic.

“I first started learning to ride in February 2016, two of my daughters paid for some initial lessons, they had ponies and horses but until this point I was chief groom and lorry driver, cleaner etc! I soon realised lessons once a week were not enough for me and over a three-month period I was having three lessons per week, and by July/August 2016 venturing off the yard with trainers and enjoying rides on the beach, I had caught the riding bug!


Not long after, my eldest daughter, her trainer Penny Cruttwell and Emily Renouf asked me to ride a beautiful horse, Lisco, a Selle Francais, Dark Bay, 16.3hh ex jumping horse who belonged to Emily. I have had him since January 2017 and we have built up a brilliant bond, hacking over 2,500 miles together. Just over a year later we started to work in the school and focus on dressage.


In January 2018, I also started riding Ryker, an Irish Draught horse owned by a friend of my daughter’s. He was a naughty horse, but I persevered and increased my dressage scores by 10% over less than five months. Everything was going well until late June 2018 when he threw me off in the yard, something I still don’t remember to this day.  It has subsequently been ascertained that I got caught in the stirrups on the way out, smashed my head on the hard standing several times, dragged 50 metres, left unconscious, found two hours later by the owner's father. It was all recorded on my phone tracker and monitor, my heartbeat and blood pressure marginally spiking when I became unconscious. My Gatehouse helmet, internal strength and fitness saved my life.


I was taken to hospital and remained there for 14 days in HDU. I couldn't see, speak or walk for most of this time. I sustained a brain injury in my cerebellum affecting vision and stability and had an extremely swollen right shoulder, arm and hand which I could not use. I have no recollection of the incident or being in hospital, a void of 3 weeks.


The result was very traumatic and my whole life changed. After leaving hospital with no pathway, when I started to come round and see again (mostly in quadruplicate vision and gross distortion) I made it my goal to get better and back to some normality. I missed my horse Lisco terribly, not able to see him my life felt on hold. After a further three weeks, I managed to get back to the yard to see Lisco and from that moment on I was very determined to get back on board.


I found the key was to remain totally positive. My specialist told me I was lucky to be alive, he helped me to recover, well ahead of schedule. I have had a wonderful group of people around me, supporting me and great people coaching me back in the saddle. I completed my first dressage test after the accident in April 2019, just 10 months after. Dressage has always appealed to me; it suits my brain with the dimensions and shapes!  


horse riding, dressage rider, dressage, equestrian underwear, padded pants

In July 2019 after Lisco sustained a hoof injury I started hacking a horse called Billy (Unique), a 19 year-old Dutch Warmblood, Gelderlander, then in October that year we started flatwork together and have progressed immensely in dressage and even started doing some pole work including raised poles.


horse riding, dressage rider, dressage, equestrian underwear, padded pants 
Although 2020 saw a global pandemic I have remained positive, I love to ride, it is my passion and keeps me motivated, this did not stop me! Like many people I made the most of lockdown by riding, hacking to the beach and generally having fun with Billy. I missed my lessons greatly but started dressage to music and in September with my team, we won the Dressage to music championships, after only 3 months of training! I also won the Home Farm Equestrian Club Hack Off Challenge, riding 275 miles between June and October and in October we took the Jersey Dressage Novice Prelim Rider Champion title! It’s been quite a year!




I am now looking forward to continuing my dressage and pole work hoping to increase my skills further, and my scores by 3/5% and of course still enjoying my hacking.”

 

We asked Kevin when he first came across the Derriere Equestrian range. He responded “After my first year of riding, I started looking for padded pants and that’s when I found Derriere Equestrian. I purchased two pairs of padded pants and a riding skin and I loved them, that’s when my passion for them started and I haven’t looked back since, purchasing more quite regularly, now wearing the Cannes and Treviso breeches too.”

 

We wish Kevin all the best for the future with Billy and are looking forward to keeping up to date with his equestrian journey!   


Shop the Derriere Equestrian range today, visit:

www.derriereequestrian.com 

Tuesday, 5 January 2021

Getting to know Andrew Stennett

Getting to know you…

We asked trainer Andrew Stennett to share his news and views.

What did you do during the first lockdown of 2020 – and how did you keep the horses ticking over?

Lockdown gave us the chance to reflect and revaluate our goals; for me, the most important thing was keeping humans and horses safe and happy, both mentally and physically.

Now your stables are open again, what do you have in store for clients?

We are delighted to be open again at Grove House Stables Equestrian centre. Our riders have taken part in online competitions and events, including a win at The British Horse Society Riding School Championship. Next year the centre we shall be celebrating 30 years since I started the equestrian centre, and plans are ongoing to celebrate this achievement! We’re also busy coordinating our not-for-profit organisation www.ipegasus.co.uk, which is playing our role in our equestrian community (both onsite and virtually), and reaching out to the wider community. It’s also collaborating with the British Horse Society’s Changing Lives Through Horses programme, which helps individuals make positive changes to their lives.

Have you had much opportunity for riding in recent times?

Sadly 2020 did not involve much opportunity for riding with the challenge of Covid, and developing the new opportunities for the business. However, we have some super young horses which I hope to be involved with in 2021, our anniversary year!

What’s your top tip for improving horse and rider performance?

For me, a great exercise is to video your horse, both ridden and without a rider. It’s a great opportunity to reflect on your combined strengths and weakness before you book a review session with your coach. If you don’t have an assistant to film your riding session, or even a tripod (flexible ones are great, as they can wrap around wings and fences), you can just prop your smart phone in a safe place, as long as it is off the ground (around 4-5 feet), and has a good viewpoint of where you’re riding. (A position at ‘A’ or ‘C’ in the arena is useful – you can then ride a 20m circle at X and can also ride down the centre line towards the camera). Motion track cameras are useful if you’re doing this regularly. Film yourself in all gaits and ride normally, as if the camera wasn’t there. Try to film your horse without a rider too, either loose schooled or lunged, to study his movement and self carriage.

What to look out for when you review your film

·       Firstly, focus on your position. Check out your symmetry coming straight towards the camera – are your hands carried equally, and is the weight balanced in both stirrups? Are both knees relaxed? Remember, this is a dressage judge’s first impression of you.

·       Notice positional issues like slumped shoulders, unstable lower legs or inconsistent rein contact. Also note good elements that you’re pleased with!

·       Compare your riding on both reins, especially before, during and after transitions. Are there any inconsistencies? Any unconscious habits you can spot?

·       Check your ‘housekeeping’ – do you allow sufficient warm up, spend equal time on both reins, reward and pat the horse regularly, and allow him a stretch and a rest periodically? Could you make improvements?

·       Focus on watching the horse now – are there any clues to his comfort and willingness that you didn’t spot when riding; a flick of the head on a certain rein, or a flattening of the ears when he’s asked to perform a lateral movement? Is he equally sound, and can you spot any differences on each rein?

·       Use the results of what you see to help you formulate a training plan and work on any obvious issues. Keep the footage to refer back to, and share with your instructor if you’re brave enough!

 

grove house stables, andrew stennett, riding instructor, BEF coach,Andrew Stennett is a registered instructor, NVQ/UKCC Assessor & Verifier. He is a Qualified Teacher of further Education specialising in Equestrian Learning and Development, and is a British Equestrian Federation Elite Recreational Coach. Andrew is a fan of Derriere Equestrian products, telling us they make a big difference to his riding. “Derrieres enabled me to get back riding in comfort after a break, and they are helping me compete at the same level as in my youth,” he says.

Andrew offers group and private lessons from his base at Grove House Stables in Misterton, Nottinghamshire, as well as clinics when guidelines allow, and competitive events. Visit www.grovehousestables.co.uk or find Andrew and the team on Facebook.


“In 2021 we are launching a series of 'boot camps' to develop horse and rider performance as well as enjoyment of your horse – watch this space!” he says.


Join the millions of riders trusting Derriere Equestrian to provide them with the perfect seat, shop the range today

www.derriereequestrian.com

 

Tuesday, 22 December 2020

Getting to know Showjumper Bex Mason

 

Getting to know you…

 

We asked showjumper Bex Mason to share a favourite flatwork exercise, and also asked her ten burning questions, from advice to training goals. 

 

showjumping, showjumper, Bex Mason, horse rider, showjumper rider 
A favourite flatwork exercise – honing balance

Recovery on landing from a fence is usually to do with rider balance and proprioception. 

I do non-mounted balancing exercises daily. A simple one is to balance in your jumping position on a showjumping pole (placed on a hard surface) – try to use your core to maintain perfect balance. Once you’re adept at this, you can then throw a ball from that position, to make it more difficult!

 




Ten burning questions

 

1.     What’s your most memorable horse and why?

 

Miserden Imprezza - she is nothing I would’ve chosen in a horse, but she chose me, and we won over 180 classes together. Pretzel is a broodmare now and is as quirky as they come; she’s quick and careful as a cat, so hopefully will pass her brave, gutsy traits onto her offspring. She’s the ultimate ‘diesel horse’ and will stay with me now for all her days!

 

2.     What’s your best piece of advice?

 

You can do and be whatever and whoever you want - you just have to want it enough!

 

3.     Who’s the person you look up to today in equestrianism, and why?

 

Liz Launder (osteopath and senior lecturer on Equine Science at the UK’s Hartpury College). She specialises in equine reproduction and equine therapy, and her knowledge goes so deep. Liz’s perspective on every aspect of the horse and rider is what constitutes the small differences which help us to be better in every day. She is a wizard!

 

4.     What’s your ultimate riding or training goal?

 

To jump a world ranking class in the next year.

 

5.     Can you share your biggest regret?

 

This would definitely be not checking my own tack at the talent seekers final! I had been drawn last to go (a prime spot) riding Vancurtis – she’d been on flying form, and I was confident this was her class of the year. I cantered to the first fence, and realised she couldn't get her head up; her martingale had been swapped when the tack was taken apart to clean. It was far too short. She was fighting for her head and eventually she ground to a halt at fence six. (Bearing in mind I started Kimmy as a three year old and she had never stopped, not even once in her whole career!) I knew what was wrong, so just retired. I was very grateful that I knew why, and certainly learnt my lesson about checking my tack. it was just a little frustrating that I couldn't have learnt that lesson in a less prestigious class!

 

6.     What would you tell your younger/teenage self?

 

Keep going, enjoy the interactions with people as well as all the small wins; and live in each moment.


7.     What’s the horse you would like to have ridden, or to ride?

 

Of course I’d have to say Stroller; Marion Coakes’ amazing little gelding, and the only pony to compete at the Olympics in show jumping. He competed in the 1968 Olympics in Mexico; he was the ultimate little horse with a big heart.  I think he would suit me, being only 14.2hh.

 

8.     Which three dinner party guests would you choose?

 

Showjumpers Edwina Tops-Alexandra and Rowan Willis (both top class riders who come across so positively in the sport). And David Attenborough; who wouldn’t want him at the dinner table?

 

9.     What would you like to see implemented in your discipline?

 

Prize-givings— it’s so sad now that at the smaller local shows, the owners don’t get to see their horses go in the ring to collect their prize. Obviously not currently because of Covid, but even before the pandemic, this had stopped. The owners put so much into the horses, and this was always a little piece of joy that they got back.

 

10.  What will you be doing in 20 years’ time?

 

I will be riding Vancurtis’ babies, and coaching, as well as spending time between sunnier climates and the UK.

 

All about Bex Mason

Bex has worked for many years breaking in horses and competing at an international level and 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!”

Visit her website - www.bexmasonshowjumping.co.uk

Bex Mason, Showjumper, Derriere Equestrian, showjumping, horse rider, riding underwear

Shop the Derriere Equestrian range today 
www.derriereequestrian.com

Monday, 14 December 2020

Lost in France

 

Lost in France – Derriere Equestrian ambassador Amanda Renouard has had a busy equestrian year, despite lockdown

Breeder and dressage enthusiast Amanda Renouard is based in France at the Haras du Ritz stud in Deux-Sevres, close to Parthenay in the beautiful Nouvelle Aquitaine region. Amanda produces elite sport horses for an international client-base. We asked her to share her news and views from 2020.

Haras du Ritz is a small, private stud; we breed dressage horses, but a few have gone on to be eventers or show jumpers,” Amanda explains. “2020 has been a different year, hasn’t it! For us, the breed season this year was complicated, as due to the COVID-9 lockdown limitations, our vet was not allowed to perform echographs (ultrasound scans), and was only allowed to visit us for emergencies,” Amanda explains. “So our breed season started late.”

A team effort

Amanda, also a PR consultant to elite riders, journalist and former High Performance Director for Dressage/Para Dressage Ireland, had four mares in foal this spring, so her son Hugo was enlisted to help with all of the late night checks. “It was handy Hugo wasn’t at school, as he was present for the foalings with me, and was able to sleep during the day,” Amanda remembers.

“In addition to looking after the mares and their new arrivals, I had two horses to ride and two to back over the spring and summer. I didn’t get on the three year olds until  'confinement', however!” she continues. “The two six year olds had an easy spring, and we actually decided at that time that one of them did not love going round in circles, so we have since sent her off show jumping. The other six year old, Jura du Ritz, who is by Voice, competed in two young horse competitions, and had qualifying scores for national championships in Fontainebleau, but I opted to save her for another year, as she is still 'green',” Amanda explains.

dressage horse, horse riding, equestrian, amanda renouard, flat work, schooling, canter

Selling horses in a digital age

“Selling the foals in lockdown was interesting!” she continues. “I did lots of videos and Whatsapp live videos to prospective customers. I do still have two for sale, but am happy if they stay and aren’t sold, as both are really nice.” 

Many people have emerged from the earlier, full lockdown with a new perspective on life, and Amanda is no exception. “Not being allowed to hack out made me realise how important it is for the horses and ourselves!” she tells us. “And not being able to get a saddle fitter out made me realise how quickly the horses change shape. It’s also been good to reflect that I may think I have a horse good enough to go all the way; but they don't have those ambitions, and are quite happy eating grass! Life for us didn’t really change much, except we were home-schooling Hugo, and my husband Stephen stopped travelling for work. It was certainly a challenging time, and it is good to have some normality back again,” Amanda adds. (Although France does currently have a raft of curfews in place, as well as business closures and banned gatherings).

dressage horse, horse riding, equestrian, amanda renouard, flat work, schooling


Working smarter

One of Amanda’s life mottos is ‘Work smarter not harder'’, and she explains that it is important to her to do professionally what you love in life. “For me, that would be writing about the things I respect and admire. I also work with the people I want to be around.

I work long, crazy hours, but it is never hard work; if it is hard, or I don’t like doing it, I question what am I doing wrong, or how I can improve,” she wisely explains. “Public relations is about making it happen for other people; working as a PR agent for some of the best equestrian athletes is about making their lives easier.  Breeding horses professionally and producing horses on a small scale gives me an insight into how the elite athlete ticks.  I always try to utilise that information to keep sponsors and media happy,” she adds. 

VIP Equestrian, Amanda renouard, derriere equestrian

Finally, we asked Amanda what her favourite Derriere Equestrian item is, and why; but it proved to be a difficult question, due to the wide range of hard-working items. “That is such a hard question!” she ponders. “I love that you put on all the Derriere products, and just forget about them, and get on and do your job.  The underwear is amazing, the Cannes competition breeches are a must, so comfy, and the Treviso are hard wearing and always look smart. I am not sure I can choose a favourite!”

You can shop the Derriere Equestrian range at www.derriereequestrian.com

We wish Amanda and her team well with the lovely group of youngsters and equine future stars that are coming up through the ranks at Haras du Ritz.

 

Tuesday, 1 December 2020

The Male Equestrian Rider

Lumber flexion and lowering the pubic bone – and how padded riding pants can help!

horse riding, dressage, male riders, padded underwear, padded equestrian underwear

It’s important when considering the ability to absorb the horse’s movement that we think about anatomy. To celebrate the fantastically popular Derriere Equestrian Male Performance Padded Shorty, let’s look a little at why a male rider would want extra comfort down below.

We’re all taught to follow the movement of the horse, but in order to execute this, one needs a mobile lower back, being able to both extend and flex the lumbar region without restriction. (And flexing can be more difficult for male riders).



Benefits to the male anatomy

The male’s hip sockets are always further in front of the spine than his female counterparts’, meaning the male rider is usually more able to ‘tuck’ the tailbone (this extends the lumbar area). In men, the sacrum, which connects the lumbar vertebrae to the pelvis and legs, is longer and narrower than in women. The male pelvis is taller, with a higher ‘iliac crest’ (this is the arched bone at the top of the pelvis – the two crests would look a little like angel wings if you were to draw them, or observe an anatomy drawing, and are attached to the oblique muscles. These are the outermost abdominal muscles that keep our middle section elevated, and our core ‘switched on’ for sitting trot.)

There are some benefits to the male anatomy for riding - the hip sockets face further forward than in women (and are closer together) – so the thigh can more easily rest against the saddle. It’s also easier for men to lower the tailbone, as we have discussed. For novice riders, it is intuitive to not mobilise the pelvis too much – it’s the backwards and forwards tipping motion, as opposed to a more upright motion, that absorbs the movement, and avoids that terrible ‘banging’ sensation on sensitive areas that novice riders may experience. However, this motion takes time to achieve, and initially it’s common to ‘brace’. 


Derriere Equestrian Performance Padded Shorty, male underwear, equestrian underwear, horse riding underwearDerriere Equestrian Performance Padded Shorty, male underwear, equestrian underwear, horse riding underwear Derriere Equestrian Performance Padded Shorty, male underwear, equestrian underwear, horse riding underwear

Derriere Equestrian Performance Padded Shorty, male underwear, equestrian underwear, horse riding underwear 
The Derriere Equestrian Performance Bonded Padded Shorty can help elevate the discomfort associated with 'bracing' making for a more enjoyable and comfortable ride. 





More difficult to lower the pubic bone

If a seated male rider allows gravity to act on the pelvis, his pelvis will rock backward, so his pubic bone rises – if a male rider completely relaxes in the saddle, e.g. at halt, this is commonly what happens. This does mean conversely that it’s harder for male riders to lower the pubic bone.

Because the male rider has the benefit of automatically rocking the pelvis backward, the supporting muscles will likely not be so ‘used to’ supporting the pelvis when the pubic bone is lowered, e.g. in an anterior pelvic tilt. (Plus, men would typically avoid this tipping position anyway, to maintain comfort).

(Remember, we need to flex the lumbar region effectively without restriction in order to be truly mobile and flexible – this helps improve communication with the horse. As skillsets advance, we can be subtle with our movements, and also our aids.)

Stilted motion

This issue (that the supporting muscles may not be ‘used to’ supporting the pelvis when the back is flexed) does mean that a sudden imbalance can tip the rider forward uncomfortably. (If in this position, the supporting back muscles are weaker, there’s also the risk of strain, e.g. if the horse spooks). Because men may also actively avoid the tipping forward motion to avoid discomfort, the full range of movement of the pelvis can become stilted – this is where padded underwear can help.

carl hester, dressage rider, riding underwear, male riders, male riding underwear, horse ridingThe Derriere Equestrian Performance Padded Shorty (DEPPP) is designed to protect the perineal area (the bit between the pubic arch and the tail bone), from discomfort, and also prevent rubbing, due to innovative stitched seams. Our male customers tell us that having extra padding improves their intuitive riding, as they may not ‘brace’ to protect themselves. Many male riders around the globe rely on Derriere Equestrian underwear, including top international dressage rider Carl Hester MBE, who was quoted saying "Every rider should be wearing them" 


Derriere Equestrian are world leaders in horse riding underwear and experts in their field. The range of Derriere Equestrian undergarments have been scientifically developed and researched in the UK and abroad with advanced technology and only the best fabrics used, customers can be confident they are receiving high end luxury performance wear. Shop the Derriere range at www.derriereequestrian.com 


To improve one’s pelvic mobility and range of motion (and strengthen the supporting muscles in the anterior tilt stage), there are plenty of standing exercises we can do such as switching between posterior and anterior pelvis tilts. YouTube has many examples, like
this one.


Dr. Deb Bennett speaks eloquently about male and female anatomical rider differences in her paper ‘Who’s Built Best To Ride’, for anyone who is interested in reading further.

Friday, 13 November 2020

The Perfect Pelvic Tilt

 

Derriere Equestrian ambassador and UKCC Level 2 Dressage coach, Erin Orford, explains how achieving the perfect pelvic tilt can improve rider effectiveness.

Perfecting your position

We asked Erin to share some wisdom on the subject of getting the correct pelvic position when you’re schooling: “When I am working with my flatwork clients, one of the key issues that does crop up is how we use our pelvis, and how this translates to effectively sitting to a trot,” Erin explains. “Most elite dressage riders have very 'mobile' and intuitive seats; for example, when riding effectively, most of the time you will have a very relaxed and mobile spine, quite neutrally positioned at the base.”

“The significance of the neutral position is that it allows movement of the pelvis so that you don't block the horse in their body, whilst being able to maintain the strength through your core,” Erin explains. “Within this, you can then adjust your weight accordingly, in order to encourage the horse to come back a little or move forward.”

Neutral Spine, rider position, dressage, erin orford


Practicing with a chair

Erin says that sitting on the edge of a chair with your feet flat on the floor can help you to establish this. “If you’re tilting forwards, your back will arch more, and if you're tilting back, you'll feel like you're slouching a bit,” she adds. “Both tilting forwards and tilting backwards for too long will lead to your back aching. But in the correct position, you should feel it more in your stomach muscles. Playing with the realms of this movement whilst looking in the mirror can help you to see where the 'correct' position is, and learn to associate how it looks with the feeling of it, to help you to translate that onto a moving horse. The correct position means you can be effective whilst being comfortable,” Erin explains.

dressage, rider training, rider position, pelvic tilt


Straightness and being equal

“For me as a rider and trainer, a good seat is often about straightness and being equal. Your body should match the line of your horse, whether you’re on a straight line, a circle or a movement like a half pass; your body will influence how the horse uses theirs,” Erin adds. “A lot of the time, daily activities in our lives can teach us to be slightly crooked or one sided (mucking out, driving etc). Our muscle memory will make us think we are sitting straight, but often we aren’t; so using mirrors, watching videos back of our riding, and getting immediate feedback from the ground can help us to teach our brain what ‘straight’ really is!”

“To be able to effectively sit to a trot, you need a strong core, but also suppleness in your lower back and pelvis; so it can be a difficult combination to achieve! I try to keep a neutral position, as this allows the most movement,” Erin tells us. “I can then take my weight forward or back within this, to encourage the horse to go more forwards, or come back a little. If the horse is using it’s back correctly and pushing nicely from behind, they are always easier to sit to - so the better you can achieve this, the easier you’re making it for yourself.”

Getting the horse on your seat

Erin says that the horse will also want to move under your weight. “Think how difficult it is to carry a bag of feed that moves around, compared to something more stable,” she suggests. “So, when you’re walking your horse on a long rein, either at the start of the session, or at the end if it’s safer, try adjusting your weight to move the horse around the arena, rather than using your leg or the rein. You often see riders putting their weight in the direction they think the horse will go (i.e. to the inside, if they think the horse will fall in,) rather than using their weight on the line they actually want the horse to take, which encourages them to ‘step under’ it. They should stay in the same rhythm and balance when you give the rein - that’s when you know they’re really ‘on your seat!’” Erin concludes.

For ultimate comfort in the saddle, so you’re not thinking about discomfort when trying to hone your sitting trot, try the Derriere Equestrian Performance Padded Panty, which is designed to eradicate seamlines visible through breeches and ensure no rubbing, chaffing or abrasions are created. Incorporating the Derriere Equestrian Padded Support System (DEPSS), the garments protect the perineal area from friction and discomfort.

Erin Orford rides for Britain in Para-dressage, and has also competed up to Advanced Medium at Regional level. Erin was a Gold and Bronze medallist at the 2017 FEI European Championships. as well as a silver medallist the following year at the World Equestrian Games, both with Dior. She now has her sights set on the Tokyo 2021 Paralympics and beyond.

 

erin orford, dressage horse, dressage cometition, dressage, derriere equestrian dressage horse, erin orford, dressage competition, bury farm,


 


Wednesday, 4 November 2020

Catching up with Erin Orford

 

Derriere Equestrian ambassador and UKCC Level 2 Dressage coach, Erin Orford, is one of Britain’s most determined and inspirational dressage riders. Here, she shares her experiences of 2020:

“It’s been such a strange year for so many of us!” Erin explains, with a nod to the COVID pandemic and its effects on equestrian enthusiasts. “An Olympic Games has never been postponed before, but it is right that the decision was made for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics to happen in the summer of 2021 instead. It was arguably the only decision that could have been made, as health always comes first; but if you had told me in February that that's what would happen, I’d never have believed it. It just reminds you that nothing is guaranteed, and emphasises how important it is to enjoy what you are doing on a day to day basis, because the goal-posts can be moved without any warning!” she continues.

Erin started 2020 with every week planned out until the end of the year; so to go from that feeling of organisation to having nothing in the diary during lockdown was definitely a bizarre feeling for her. “Particularly as summer is usually the busiest period, as we build up to selection for whatever championship is happening,” Erin muses. “For myself and the team at home, after a successful start to the season, it did feel galling that our year was effectively cancelled. However, in the great scheme of things, we had a lot to be grateful for, so we just had to adapt, adjust and make the best of the situation, like everyone!”


Erin Orford, Para rider, Para dressage, hacking, LJT Diamond Crusador, dressage horse


Appreciating the simpler things

Erin says she has been able to work remotely from home in her day job, but that with the sudden reduction of riding opportunities in the earlier months of 2020, and the absence of a swimming pool at that time, she had to work hard to maintain her fitness levels! “The situation with COVID-19 has however provided me with the opportunity to step back, appreciate the smaller things, and enjoy being ‘present’,” she continues.

“I think lockdown forced us to all slow down, to take everything day by day, and to appreciate the simpler things that we often take for granted. I personally enjoyed having the time to work on the basics with my horses, and enjoy riding them without the pressure of having things perfect, in time for competitions,” Erin adds.

“It has been nice to get back in the arena, and back doing some teaching; we’ve had our Para Championships at Solihull, and the recent Keysoe International, so it’s given us the chance to get some arena time before the winter. I am now looking forward to continuing my training with an eye on Tokyo 2021, continuing to help my lovely clients with their riding, and enjoying my horses over winter,” Erin states.

Erin Orford, Dressage, Para Dressage, Para Rider, Dressage Training


For ultimate comfort in the saddle, so you’re not thinking about discomfort when trying to hone your sitting trot, try the Derriere Equestrian Performance Padded Panty, which is designed to eradicate seamlines visible through breeches and ensure no rubbing, chaffing or abrasions are created. Incorporating the Derriere Equestrian Padded Support System (DEPSS), the garments protect the perineal area from friction and discomfort. Shop the Derriere Equestrian collection today. 

Erin Orford rides for Britain in Para-dressage, and has also competed up to Advanced Medium at Regional level. Erin was a Gold and Bronze medallist at the 2017 FEI European Championships. as well as a silver medallist the following year at the World Equestrian Games, both with Dior. She now has her sights set on the Tokyo 2021 Paralympics and beyond.

To find out more about Erin and her team visit her website, Erin Orford Dressage