Monday, 27 April 2020

Core strength for horse riders By Derriere Equestrian

Core strength for horse riders
By Derriere Equestrian

We need to be comfortable in the saddle in order to improve our own balance when horse riding. For example, riding without stirrups and absorbing the horse’s movement in the more extravagant gaits certainly requires a good level of personal comfort, so we highly recommend comfortable underwear and ridingbreeches!

When schooling, we usually focus on exercises to improve the horse or pony, but it is very good practice to turn our attention around, and work on our own seat and balance in the saddle, as essentially if we are ‘as one’ with the horse, the resulting partnership will show a great improvement.

For both novice and experienced horse riders, work without stirrups is fantastic for balance and improvement of the seat. It encourages us to be loose in the body, going with the horse’s movement within the saddle, and not bracing against the movement or becoming stiff - especially through the rider’s back which causes ‘hanging’ on the horse’s mouth to support incorrect posture. A bit of self-discipline will be needed with this riding exercise, as initially it can be somewhat daunting! Whether you are a fan of showjumping, eventing, dressage, hacking or another equestrian discipline, you will find it useful!

Start at walk, with your stirrups crossed in front of the saddle, remembering to keep your legs long and low, dropping the weight into your heels. Keep an upright posture, but remember to keep your shoulders down and relaxed. Correct breathing and relaxation is essential; it is so easy to try too hard, causing tension throughout the body, which will result in stiffening and being against the horse or pony’s movement, rather than with it. Practise twenty metre circles, serpentines, figures of eight on both reins, the aim being to get a forward elastic walk on the horse, and for your body to relax into the movement within the saddle, and create the correct bends and straightening when needed. 

We then need to be able to progress with the same exercises at trot. If you are nervous or a novice, start with ‘little and often’ – perform, say, the twenty metre circle, then back to walk, then move on to another movement, then back to walk, etc. Sit deeply through the transitions and breathe normally. Use your dressage letter markers to help you’ and increase the trot work as you improve. It is better for a horse rider to perform a small task very well, than a more difficult one badly.

When comfortable in trot, move on to canter, but use the simpler exercises of circles, then going large in the riding arena. Inevitably the most difficult task will be the downward transition from canter to trot – be aware of the need to absorb the extra movement through your body in the change of the horse or pony’s gait. Once you are established in all three paces, you can do some more advanced transitional work without stirrups; don’t be afraid to try walk to canter and trot to halt, as this will really strengthen your position and riding posture.

If your horse or pony is not over-sensitive, you can also try these exercises with your stirrups hanging down in the normal position, and you can then occasionally practise regaining your stirrups, ideally without looking down to find them, and without changing your riding position or rhythm. 

This is an excellent-confidence building skill to learn for any scenario whilst riding your horse or pony. As you become more experienced without stirrups and your balance improves, you will also be able to do pole work and small jumps as a matter of course.

If you are able to incorporate regular sessions of work without stirrups into your riding regime, you will establish a very secure seat and position in the saddle, together with increased core strength in your body. You may eventually feel happier in the saddle with your stirrups a hole or two lower in your everyday horse riding activities, as you will be less dependent on them for balance.

Most importantly ..... Don't forget to do all of the above in your #Derrieres

Key words
Eventer, riding underwear, saddle, riding, stirrups, riding breeches, horse, pony, riders, showjumping, eventing, dressage, hacking, equestrian, trot, canter, saddle, horse riding, horse rider

Friday, 14 February 2020

Gymnastic jumping - the ideal training for both horse & rider!

Gymnastic jumping - the ideal training for both horse & rider!

British sports horse producer Bex Mason has worked for many years breaking in horses and competing at an international level - here, she shares some tips for honing your position, when tackling gymnastic jumping exercises

The first question to answer here is: ‘What is gymnastic jumping’? I use this term to describe a range of activities (mainly ridden, however you can of course do pole work and cavaletti work on the lunge) aiming to improve a horse or pony’s balance, athleticism and flexibility. Gymnastic jumping commonly means grid work, e.g. a row of fences in the riding arena; it helps develop a quick-thinking horse, and is very useful to develop rhythm and calmness in a horse or pony that rushes.

One of the best uses of grid-work is helping the horse and rider learn how to adapt their stride in a given space; for example, you may have two fences laid out at five (canter) strides apart, that can also be ridden ‘longer’ for four strides, or ‘shorter’ for six. For four strides, you’re ‘riding on’, and for six, you’re collecting the horse, but still with good impulsion. That exercise described here is a good example of using the grid to aid the horse’s capabilities and performance - but grids are also useful for the rider, helping them to improve their balance, style and position, get their ‘jumping eye’ optimised, and help promote confidence, as well as the ability to ‘see a stride’.

You can liaise with your instructor regarding what gymnastic exercises would suit you and your horse’s needs (you should ideally always perform grid-work with a helper or trainer); but what I’d like to describe here is what you can be focusing on, regarding your position. Grid-work is a great way to focus on your own riding and ‘go back to basics’, to make sure your position is optimised for your horse. (Likewise, I’d also recommend occasional sessions on a mechanical horse, if you have the time and money!)


Since being fortunate enough to be personally involved with a groundbreaking rider analysis project at Hartpury college’s Equine Therapy Centre, run by Liz Launder and Kathryn Nankervis, I am even more aware of our bodies’ ‘patterns’, limitations and habits, as riders. Seemingly minor points with regards to a rider’s balance and posture can play a huge role in their development as a rider! Here are some common issues that may be flagged up when you’re undertaking gymnastic jumping:

Tipping forwards

Many riders naturally tip forwards as the horse continues down the line of fences; your hands may then move forwards and your lower legs may tip back; this results in vulnerability in the security of your position. (And if the horse runs out at a fence or spooks, you have a higher likelihood of being unseated). 

TOP TIP: Squeeze your shoulder blades up, back and together as you approach the grid, which will draw your body to an upright position and ensure your shoulders are square. Look up - the higher your head (and eye-line), the more balanced you’re likely to be, and the less likely to tip forwards.

Unstable lower leg

If your leg drifts too far back, this may result in your toes coming down and your heels coming up, and the likelihood of losing your stirrups. Make sure your stirrups are the correct and comfortable length for you to ride with to begin, with of course! Chances are, you may need to put them up, as many of us ride a little too long when jumping. 

TOP TIP: Keep a slight bend in the knees and push your heels down as you approach the grid, to stabilise your body.

Flappy hands or elbows

I will admit it, my elbows are sometimes known to flap (especially my right elbow), if I am ‘riding on’. In my case, this results in my right shoulder and my left hip dropping, and my middle section being unstable, or less strong. If this happens to you too, you are not using your core strength enough, and are probably being reliant upon your upper body as a substitute. (I pondered whether mucking out one way - e.g. I am right handed - has contributed to this slight upper body rotation that I’ve developed). Your hands are there to guide the horse after all, and you must have hands that are independent to your seat. Your hands should ideally remain still as you go over the fence, with your elbows absorbing the natural movements, and both reins should be the same length.

TOP TIP: Can you try riding without your reins, with your trainer’s approval, during your grid-work session? You can knot them on the horse or pony’s neck and put your arms out to the side, as you jump - keep retaining your jumping position over the fences, and sitting up in between.

Producer Bex Mason 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 DE horse riding 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 horse riding pants change riders’ lives!”

Another top tip! Author Alison Gregory has published two excellent gymnastic jumping books titled “A Manual of Pole and Gridwork Exercises (Book 1)” and “From Gridwork to the Show-Jumping Ring (Book 2)”, available HERE.

Thursday, 30 January 2020

How to get the perfect bottom!

Now into my forties the thought of the effect on how natural gravity will affect my body is fast approaching reality at an  unfairly rapid pace! Having gone from being blessed with being able to eat pretty much what I want and not worry and stay a size 8-10 is not something I have ever taken for granted but now, it's clearly becoming a slow starting battle with my metabolism and yes I'm starting to struggle!!!! I do need to keep fit and although I am a busy,active person perhaps, I'm hoping writing this blog may inspire me to do something about it (or at least by behind anyway!!) So I'm searching to find the answer to the perfect bottom. As they say, a little each day can make a difference.

What options are there?

So there is the instant bottom lift!!! Surgical and in my opinion looks absolutely unnatural and wrong! Gluteoplasty lifts and tightens the buttocks, excess skin is removed and surrounding skin is re positioned to create that ultimate in bum lift appearance! The surgery costs thousands and can be horrific if it goes wrong.
In my mind squats are the way forward!!Fitness lover and Instagram extrodinaire Jen Selter says there is no need for gym membership, all you need is yourself and commitment.Her exercises for getting the best bum ever are pictured below. I have to say, they clearly must work looking at Jen so they have to be worth a try?
Wikihow suggests firstly that slimming down may be a good option along with exercise. I have to say, these exercises do look relatively simple and I should probably do them to stop my joints seizing up anyway!!
It then goes on to discuss diet and I am not onto a good start, ease off sugar it says!! I could probably just about manage the exercises but surely I'll need  something sugary to get my energy back? after all, I am a sugar queen! How can I live without it?!! 

 Then there is the fine tuning! Once you have exercised your little bottom every day for as long as possible it's time to focus on appearance. Remove unwanted hair, exfoliate twice a week, this not only sloughs off unwanted, unsightly dead skin cells but boosts the circulation in the body helping to reduce cellulite. Dry body brushing is also hugely effective on the circulation, the brushes can be bought from chemists and are designed to be used on dry skin repeatedly brushing strokes towards the heart over the whole body. Moisturising every day is a huge benefit keeping the skin hydrated and feeling soft and silky. Tan, yes it's true, everyone looks great with a tan and long gone are the liquids that turned you orange! instead the lotions and potions contain DHA which will change the colour of your skin and not just wash off in a rain shower!! 

If none of that works then love yourself the way you are, your body is trying to tell you that you don't need to change so don't worry trying.

Jens tips

Friday, 10 January 2020


By Lucy Fletcher for Derriere Equestrian

What do your pants say about you?

We all know that the variety of pants on the market is absolutely vast! Some for the safe, some for the more than daring but what does your choice of under garment actually say about you? I've been researching this topic to bring you all the answers that let you know what type of person you really are!! So have a sneaky grab at the top of your jeans and re check which pair you pulled on this morning then read on!

It has been proved that making the correct choice of colour can actually affect your mood!

Anjel O'Bryant is Australia’s leading colour-response analyst, who specialises in ‘scientifically based colour response technology claims that this is very much the case.
‘Every colour vibrates, all at different levels. It doesn’t matter if you can see them or not, it goes through your skin, over your whole body and into your brain,’ she told Australia’s Daily Telegraph.  ‘Picking the right colours, particularly when it comes to your underwear, can enhance and even change your life,’ 

So who is up for the challenge? I certainly am!! Anything for extra positivity to the day!! 
I'm afraid it's not great for those of you who chose grey, this colour transmit negative energy or they just don't hit the vibe one bit!! White  Innocent and portray safety and cleanliness, open to suggestion and willing learners Black Power, elegance and mystery it suggests deep passion Red will truly give you the fire in your soul needed to power through tough days so this really does need to be your key colour! Pink - I'm compassionate, hug me!!!!! Blue  I'm executive, trustworthy, self reliant, Green  I'm secure and care about others.Orange I'm a great communicator and action orientated. I'm guru and I'm loyal. Maroon I'm sociable and sensuous Yellow I'm a sociable animal and intelligent Metallic I'm expensive and noble. 

So now you know exactly which smalls to chuck out and which to invite into your drawer! But, I couldn't just leave it there! It then got me thinking that if colour has that much of an impact on us then what about style?

Boy Shorts You're a sporty person with a great butt!! You're a go getter and hard worker, one who can lead a group with ease. You put comfort first so that you can totally be on your game.

Thong You are the staple of the alpha female! You take no messing from anyone. You hold your own in a relationship and are never afraid to speak your mind.

Bikini You're into clean lines but want to stay comfy throughout your busy working day You want to be dancing at festivals rather than around heavy office gossip and you certainly don't have time for other peoples rubbish! You were made for island life not to be chained to a desk.

Granny Panties To be quite frank, you like to be comfortable and actually you really don't care what people think about it! You're probably not one for skinny jeans or mini skirts and would probably prefer a date with Netflix than a man and the only person you've got to answer to is yourself.

G String Woah there mama!!!! You are a lady who jumps out of bed to the beat of her own drum!! You are more at ease in the company of a man than a woman. You are the life and soul of the party and have problems setting limits because you never want to stop having fun!

Boxer Briefs You're laid back with everything on your mind apart from settling down. You're quiet and shy and loyal to a T. You keep your close friends close and your BFF is always there for you when you need her.

I'm really hoping that this blog will absolutely change the nation into a positive bunch of brightly coloured knicker wearing powerful, wonderful people but, at least I can make a start with our readers!!!!!! Pass the message on and change peoples lives for the better!!!!!

Thursday, 2 January 2020

Core blimey! Flexibility tips, ready for the season

Core blimey!
We asked British Equestrian Federation Elite recreational coach and consultant, Andrew Stennett, BHSM Cert Ed FE UKCC Level 4, to share some flexibility tips, ready for the season

So, the competition season is beckoning, and we're all busy getting our four legged partners fit and ready… but how many riders pay enough attention to their own fitness? And I don’t just mean cardio; but also, and probably more importantly, our flexibility and core strength.
Flexibility and core strength
But why is our core so important? Well, as a rider, how flexible you are through your back can make a huge difference to your horse’s way of going. Therefore we must aim to be as mobile yet strong as we can through our lower backs, to ensure the horse can soften too, to help gain throughness. If you are stiff and rigid in the back while you ride, your horse will likely brace against you, and stiffen up themselves. And by being strong in our core, we also promote strength in our back (which helps reduce back pain), as well as helping to prevent collapsing or twisting, and enhancing stability in the saddle. This combination in turn will improve communication with the horse, and make your seat more effective and independent. (I would add that honing the core and maintaining flexibility is key, as we age – I am now in my late forties!)
Every little helps!
There are many ways to get on top of your core strength and flexibility, including things to do around the yard. Simple things such as bending your knees and keeping your back straight when bending to pick out feet will not only engage and work your core, but also stop you straining your back. Keep your back straight and look up and ahead when carrying buckets of water, and you'll have to use those tummy muscles! Focus on using your core muscles when sweeping the yard, throwing manure up the muck heap, or pushing a heavy wheel barrow. Every little helps!
Perfect pilates
If you have time to attend a class, or even for home-exercise, pilates is a perfect strengthening exercise, whether you need to get back in shape after being 'wintered off', or just want to protect your back long term, and improve your core!  Many riders swear by it to help with flexibility, and if you don't fancy joining a class in a gym, there are also some really helpful videos and tutorials online, to do in your living room! There are even Pilates instructors who specialise in riding fitness, and can teach you all the exercises that will benefit you in the saddle. Perhaps you could organise a yard trip or team training with such a person?
Furthermore, just by doing some simple stretches before you ride, you can help prepare your body for riding; it does help you to begin your ride feeling more supple, ready and engaged. Try reaching down to touch your toes (or as close as you can get), and then gently reaching up towards the sky; when repeated, thus will help to stretch and stimulate the muscles in your core and back. Sitting down with one leg outstretched, and placing the ankle of the other leg above the knee of the other, can also help mobilise your pelvic and hip area muscles. Lean into the stretch to suit your mobility, and repeat with the opposite leg.
Don’t forget, to enhance your riding, you need good riding-wear that fits well, like the wonderful riding underwear provided by Derriere Equestrian, as well as their fabulous training breeches!
Andrew Stennett runs riding clinics from his base at Grove House Stables in Misterton, Nottinghamshire. Click HERE for info. Visit the main page at or the online shop at or find Andrew and the team on Facebook;

Friday, 20 December 2019

It’s beginning to look a lot like winter - by Derriere Equestrian Rider Avril Clinton-Forde

It’s beginning to look a lot like winter

by Avril Clinton-Forde

Since the clocks changed, it is sooo tempting to hibernate indoors. And with limited daylight, cold days and the hustle and bustle of Christmas just around the corner, it can become more challenging to maintain regular riding and schooling, especially if a deep freeze sets in! Brrrr. There are still plenty of riding opportunities to be utilised however, if we focus on what can be done in the circumstances available to us. Whenever possible, prioritise your riding to the brightest part of the day, most especially if you have no arena, or one without lights!

If you are limited mainly to hacking, it is still possible to keep up your flatwork training. Most bridleways lend themselves to lateral work such as leg-yielding, shoulder in and bending right and left, as well as transitional work. This will keep your horse supple, obedient, between hand and leg and collected. Lengthening and shortening at any pace is also an easy task on safe straight tracks with good going underfoot. It can be more fun to work in tandem with a friend!

Quality time

Of course, there will be days when the weather or lack of time will defeat you, but you may still be able to spend some quality time on a good grooming session including some suppleness exercises with your horse, for example getting him to bend round either side to reach a carrot, but not moving his feet or body. Your local sports massage therapist or veterinary physio can show you a few simple massage techniques and/or some leg stretching exercises – these will also be particularly useful on any days that turn-out is limited. This non riding work also reinforces the bond between you and your horse!

If your arena does become frozen (“Let it gooooooo”......Sorry....mum-mode) or semi-frozen (“Do you want to build a snowwwwwwmannnnnn?”) you may still be able to exercise your horse at walk! Practise your free work on a long rein, encouraging the horse to take his nose to his toes, then back to a medium walk, without him anticipating trot. A square halt can be performed at various places, plus leg yield, shoulder in and turn on the forehand. 

Although this sounds simple, and perhaps not very interesting, if you can do it well, it will really help you when you return to your trot work, having established such good work at walk.

Remember also that there is also the possibility of a bit of hunting to keep you both fresh, from November until March, if you and your horse are fit enough! 

Don’t forget your Derriere Equestrian Performance Padded Panties, to make sure your foofoo is unscathed, following a tiring day in the saddle! Another great bonus is that they keep your bum warm!

Avril Clinton-Forde is a brand ambassador for Derriere Equestrian with her mare Grand Duchess; she’s based in the stunning surroundings of Dollanstown Stud, Co Meath, in Ireland. Avril rides at Medium level, and is ultimately aiming for Grand Prix. Visit

All change! Retailers - are your store changing rooms holding you back?

All change! Retailers - are your store changing rooms holding you back?

By Claire Galer of Derriere Equestrian

Nearly half of shoppers say they ‘hate’ fitting rooms, according to Body Labs, which analyses retail experiences.

Changing rooms are an important part of all retail outlets, but are often one of the most under-serviced parts of an equestrian ‘bricks and mortar’ outlet. According to Envision Retail, a London-based consultancy, customers who use a fitting room are 71 percent more likely to buy — and buy twice as much — than those simply browsing the sales floor.

Riding wear and undies for horse riders

Our business is riding-wear, breeches and of course underwear for horse riders; and all of these items need to be tried on in a changing room – as opposed to something like a coat, which can be slipped on by a mirror, on the shop floor.

Many non-horsey retailers spend a huge amount of time researching how best to service their changing rooms. They create elaborate strategies such as specific lighting in order to increase sales. Not all retailers have to make such dramatic changes, however. Simple methods such as making people feel more comfortable stripping off their trousers can help! (As of course underwear can only be tried on over one’s own briefs). If your changing rooms are in need of an update, boast a curtain that doesn’t preserve dignity, or are slightly dingy, people will be less likely to try items like breeches on. As previously mentioned, you need those buyers in your changing rooms!

The best retail experience possible

However, a few slight changes to your sales technique could help. Accompanying a potential buyer to the changing room or having a sales assistant outside can dramatically increase the chances of a sale; a customer who has to go back and forth to change clothes and get different sizes can quickly find themselves fed-up. A choice of breeches being bought to the customer will enhance their shopping experience, and will not inconvenience them.

Enthusiastic and approachable assistants

But remember, you need great service in order to get your customers into those dressing rooms in the first place! Having enthusiastic, approachable store assistants (who ideally LOOK like the ideal customer!) will help to ensure the best retail experience possible. It will elevate your brand and keep customers coming back. Derriere Equestrian is a prestige brand, so anyone stocking our range already knows about the marketplace for prestige brands; but small incremental gains in terms of the shop assistants’ service can really help to consolidate a shop’s appearance and ambience. Could staff members wear Derriere breeches as their uniform, perhaps?

The ideal changing room

Women in particular can be a little fussy when it comes to changing rooms. If they’re on their way to work for example, and have popped in for horse feed or essentials, they would probably prefer a clean place to try clothes on. Hooks and hangers would be a great addition to a changing room, as stripping off and putting their work clothes in a pile isn’t ideal. A bit of space always helps, as small changing rooms can quickly become annoying.

In summary, attention to detail and the visual appeal of changing rooms can only be a good thing - for the customer and also the store. Here are my top changing room tips for horsey retailers!

1. Every changing room needs the basics. A sense of privacy is essential; e.g. a functional curtain or door that closes. A chair or stool is required too!

2. Hanging hooks are a great idea, for handbags and clothes. Why not splash out on horse themed hooks?

3. Flooring is also something to think about. People are taking their shoes off; and although carpet feels nice, it isn’t the most hygienic. Cleanable, replaceable mats may work!

4. Could you add a second mirror? People like to see the back of their breeches too! And to check for VPL.

5. Why not include pictures of some of your store ranges in the changing room? Manufacturers like Derriere Equestrian can supply marketing images which show how an outfit may look, and will brighten up the room. This is also an ideal way to introduce a further product in the range, e.g. the Sportief Sports Bra.