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Getting Out There!

Updated: Jul 4, 2023

During the pandemic we made the decision not to do any foreign HIO trips until 2023. We'd been so busy focussing on working from home, producing books, courses and filming lectures for the Horses Inside Out Academy, that Spring 2023 was a shock to the system! So many wonderful things have happened in the last 6 weeks from full on lecture demonstrations and visiting incredible centres in Sweden, Holland and Wales, to under-water filming of swimming horses and seeing how WOW saddles are made to stepping into the future of equine dental care at EDC. I have learnt so much I wanted to share it with you in this blog article.

Horses Inside Out in Holland

The first international trip of the year was to Holland and on the first day over there we went to visit Katinka at Media Book Service. Katinka has sold the Dutch (and english) versions of my books for many years now so it was fascinating to visit her book shop. I had no idea she had such a comprehensive and extensive collection of equestrian titles. I was flattered to see mine in prime position and to learn that they are amongst her best sellers due to their clarity, beautiful illustrations and quality of content.

Icelandic Horses Inside Out

We were welcomed and looked after Armet Tuijn who arranged a seminar for Icelandic horse coaches and judges as well as a posture and pilates course for horse owners at the Icelandic Horse Centre Álfsengi ijslanders in Loenen, Holland. On the first day, which focussed on anatomy, biomechanics and the movement of Icelandic horses, we surprised coaches and judges by announcing they were to do the painting too! They all rose to and thoroughly enjoyed the challenge so by the end of the morning we had 8 horses all painted with the a skeleton on one side ready to study their movement.

"It's not about painting horses, rather that the paint is proof that you have correctly located the anatomical bony landmarks!"

In the afternoon we studied the 5 gaits of the Icelandic horse (walk, tolt, trot, canter, pace and gallop) both on the lunge and with a rider on the oval track. It's fascinating to see how moving the limbs even slightly differently has a profound effect on spinal movement.

Aberystwyth University

Wow what a fantastic demonstration. It is always fun to travel somewhere different and this trip was no different. On a bright sunny Tuesday the Horses Inside Out team headed to Aberystwyth University on the gorgeous Welsh coast. Our trip started with a visit to the new Veterinary Medicine centre where we had the chance to see the new veterinary training facilities. Our guide was Dr Sebastian McBride who will be speaking at our conference in 2024.

Following on from our visit we headed to the Lluest Equine centre. Here we met our wonderful team who would be supporting the demonstration led by lecturers Jen Lawrence and Caryl Thomas. We also had the chance to meet the beautiful demonstration horses Carlow and Flash. It is always fun to meet new horses and these two were no different. Both were Welsh Cobs and they took to painting easily and they were keen and ready to demonstrate their fantastic movement.

The demonstration focussed on movement of the horse both on the lunge and ridden. We had a fantastic range of students attend from across all the different university courses from animal care to veterinary biomedical science. Its always wonderful to share our knowledge with students who will be taking the equine industry forwards.

As we left to say goodbye it was fantastic to see a group of students immediately practicing what they had learnt in the Equine Gym session. A real pleasure to see the theory being put in to practice immediately.

Publishing Massage for Horses

The beginning of May was an exciting time as Gillian published Massage for Horses. This book and online course has been 2 years in the making and it was great to celebrate the launch of it's publication at Badminton Horse Trials. Thank you so much to everyone who came to say hi and get a copy of the first edition!

Massage has so many benefits for horses, but as many of our course participants are finding out, performing massage with your horse is also great for humans too! It helps to induce a feeling of calm and wellbeing to both as well as helping to improve the bond between horse and handler.

Flyinge Sweden

For our second international trip of the year Gillian and Jessica flew out to the Flyinge National Riding Hall in Sweden. Flyinge is one of the three main Equestrian Colleges in Sweden and is steeped in History. We arrived to wonderful sunshine and world class facilities including a huge indoor arena with grand stand seating. The lecture demonstration had a record breaking crowd with around 600 people attending and Gillian walked in to the beats of "Danger zone" from Top Gun as the entrance music and then introduced the evening in Swedish! The atmosphere was electric and the audience loved it!

We already have plans to return to Sweden next year so watch out for future announcements!

Swimming - Underwater Filming

Here at Horses Inside Out we pride ourselves on developing new and interesting learning material. This means that we get out of the office and we go and do some really fun things that you would not normally get to see every day. This day in mid- May was no different. We went to visit Clare Ellam at Lostford Equine Rehabilitation to film some of her horses using the Equine Swimming Pool.

Our focus for the day was to capture new material on aqua training and swimming and the benefits for fitness, conditioning and rehabilitation. Filming horses can be a surprising at times as you never know what they will do and how they will react to cameras. Throw in a 3 metre deep swimming pool and you have a whole new range of challenges. We work with Matthew Roberts an excellent photographer who loves a challenge. We traded in our normal cameras for our go pros and managed to capture some amazing footage of horses that you would not normally get to see. Filming in water can be quite a challenge as you have to contend with the turbulence from the horse moving through the water and also the water clarity decreasing after each swim. The good news is that we had three fantastic horses that loved to swim and they all had very different movement in the water.

Gillian will be using this footage along with the aquatreadmill footage taken at Brooksby College to present an Aqua-training seminar - so watch out for news on this!

Pumpernickle Goes XC

Pumpernickel had his first outing to a xc course at Field Farm Cross Country and he loved it and took everything in his stride! Thank you and well done to Harriet Hess who started and has been training Pumpernickle once a week for the last 2 years. After a difficult start in life what a long way this talented adopted pony has come! Blue Cross Rolleston Rehoming Centre.

Assessing Posture and Movement

Our first course of the year at Horses Inside Out HQ for 2023 was Assessing Posture and Movement.

This was a very special course as it was the first one with our famous Freddie Fox skeleton present in the classroom. As many of you know Freddie Fox passed away during the pandemic. Having helped so many people in learn about anatomy during his lifetime it is so fitting that his skeleton continues to do so. Being able to see an older horse’s skeleton is an invaluable learning tool, it shows the changes that a horse goes through during their life and gives a fabulous insight in to how the skeleton can change.

We had a fabulous two days with a wonderful group, great weather and a range of fantastic horses all able to demonstrate different features from young horses to older horses it gives a great spectrum for learning. We spent time working with the horses both within their stable, and in our classroom here at HIO. We also spent time assessing the horses on the lunge as well as ridden to understand the different features that make each horse an individual. We had such a range of horses from Gillians own Toby who is a 17.2hh event horse to HIO Pumpernickel who is a 12.2hh Cob. Being able to assess a range of horses is key for equine professionals as no two horses are the same.

We do have more courses at HIO HQ planned including:

Wow Saddle Factory

Wow ok so where did May go? We have had a hectic few weeks with teaching, filming and to close the month a trip to one of great friends Wow Saddles. Gillian has ridden in Wow saddles for 20 years. Over this time we have spent a lot of time with David and Maggie Kempsall but we have never actually visited the factory. So right at the end of May we made the trip to Kent to visit the factory and well all we can say is what an experience. David and Maggie took time out of their busy diaries to spend some time with us and the day started with a factory tour. Wow pride themselves on pushing the boundaries of saddle making with the onus being on equine comfort and welfare as well as being able to support the rider. David’s belief that just because it has always been done a certain way before does not mean it has to be done this way forever is core to his design process. Saddle fit is imperative and David impresses upon everyone the need to have your saddles regularly checked and fitted.

It was fascinating to see saddles being built and the process that they go through using some of the most cutting edge of machinery. We were privileged to see the whole process and we have come away with a fantastic insight in to how Wow saddles are made and the research, design and craftsmanship that goes in to every saddle that is made by the team.

Here's a short video to show you round - fascinating!

I hope you enjoy reading all about what we have been up to over the last 6 weeks. It would be lovely to hear from you so please do comment below or send an email if you have any comments, questions or requests!

To find out where we are going next visit our What's On Page

We hope to see you at an event soon!

Best wishes

Gillian and the HIO Team


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