Competition & Events

    A Beginner’s Guide To Betting On The 2017 Grand National [Infographic]

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    This coming weekend sees the 170th running of the most famous race in the world, the Grand National, at Aintree racecourse in Liverpool, with 40 runners competing for a £1 million prize fund.

    It’s a day where even those of us who have no clue about horse racing like to have a flutter, so rather than picking the horse with a funny name, or the jockey wearing colours you like, read on for our beginner’s guide to betting on the Grand National.

    Fancy sharing our infographic?


    Can You Spot The Horse Hidden Among The Unicorns?

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    Here at Derby House, we like to have a bit of fun and we’ve put together a brainteaser for you to have a go at!

    We’re challenging you … can you spot the horse hidden among the unicorns?

    Fancy sharing our brainteaser?


    A Quick Guide To Buying A Fly Rug

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    Fly rugs are absolutely essential for protecting your horse from insect bites, particularly during the spring and summer months.

    The presence of insects can be extremely uncomfortable for your horse, but there are plenty of options available when it comes to fly protection, such as these fly rugs from our collection.

    If you’re unsure about why your horse needs a fly rug or which one your horse should have, keep reading for our quick guide to buying a fly rug. 

    Why buy a fly rug

    Fly rugs are monumental for keeping your horse safe and happy during the spring and summer, but there are some added bonuses of buying them. 

    To protect your horse from flies and bugs

    The primary use for buying a fly rug is to protect your horse from the bites of flies and insects. Spring and summer see an increase of flies and other insects and this can be particularly distressing for your horse.

    Using a fly rug can provide your horse with all of the necessary protection from bug bites and can keep them from getting agitated.

    UV protection

    As they spend a lot of time outside, it’s monumental that your horse has at least some degree of UV protection. The right fly rug will offer UV protection from the head to tail, depending on which size you invest in.

    Horses who spend too much time in the sun can also be prone to get a bleached coat, so a fly rug with UV protection can prevent this from happening.


    Fly rugs can also be used as a way of keeping your horse clean. Usually made of a durable material, fly rugs offer your horse protection from dirt and dust, both on and off the field.

    Types of fly rug

    Which type of fly rug you choose to buy can depend on your budget and on your horse’s needs. As well as size – you can buy fly rugs which cover your horse’s body, neck, and tummy – fly rugs often come with different features. Here’s a quick outline of some of the features that a fly rug can have.

    Standard fly rugs

    Standard fly rugs are made from a fine mesh material and are the most basic fly rugs you can buy for your horse. Usually, the finer the mesh, the better the fly rug, as the finer materials will prevent midge bites as well as bites from bigger insects. 

    Waterproof fly rugs

    Some fly rugs come with a built-in layer of waterproof material. You can attach this layer of waterproof material to the rest of the fly rug during rainy spells so that your horse is kept both dry and free of bug bites.

    UV protected fly rugs

    Like humans, horses are susceptible to sunburn so it’s always a good move to buy a fly rug with UV protection, especially if your horse is particularly sensitive to the sun or has pink areas on its skin.

    Sweet itch protection

    For the horses who are vulnerable to sweet itch, it could be beneficial to invest in a fly rug which has sweet itch protection. They’re made from a finer mesh and cover the horse from head to tail to prevent any nibbles from midges. 

    Competition season is almost upon us and, if you’re as excited as we are, read our post on eight competitions in 2017 for you to showcase your dressage skills.


    The Importance Of Rider Safety As We Head Into Spring

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    March 25th, 2017 marks the National Equestrian Safety Day and, with the evenings about to become lighter, enticing more riders to go out on the roads and competition season really kicking off, there couldn’t be a better time to talk about safety for both riders and drivers.

    Luckily, there are plenty of things that riders and drivers can to ensure that the roads can be a safe place for all users and, to keep you in the know, we’ve outlined just a few so that you can stay safe in the spirit of Equestrian Safety Day.

    Pass slow and wide

    When on the roads, horses can get spooked by cars. This can easily lead to road accidents and riders being thrown from their horses

    For optimum safety for drivers, riders, and horses alike, as a general rule, drivers should drive slow when passing a horse and give them a wide berth.

    If you’re a rider who needs to signal to a driver to slow down, hold your right arm out straight and lift it up and down.

    Highway Code

    When riding on the roads, you should be aware of the obligations you have in terms of The Highway Code.

    The Highway Code is packed full of information for riders in terms of the rules of the road and safety precautions, so it is essential that riders are aware of the rules and regulations that apply to them.

    If you’re unsure about what The Highway Code means for horse riders, this post from The British Horse Society is extremely useful.

    If an accident happens

    In the event of a road accident involving a horse, it is common for both the horse and the rider to become injured.

    Any accident or near miss should be reported to the police as soon as possible and the emergency services should be contacted immediately if necessary.

    If possible, warn oncoming traffic of the incident as they approach. This will prevent any more accidents from happening.

    First Aid

    Regardless of how much riding experience you have or whether or not your horse frequently spooks, accidents can happen, especially on the road.

    You should try to keep a first aid kit on your person in case of injury, and basic first aid should be carried out on both the horse and the rider if necessary.

    Horse Safety Tips For Riders

    • Have as many riding lessons as you can so that you feel more confident and you’re as experienced as possible.
    • If you fall off your horse, make sure you replace your helmet straight away. You might not be able to see the damage to the helmet, but the fall could have created a weakness.
    • Try to avoid riding on the roads if visibility is impaired, such as by fog or other poor weather conditions. If you absolutely must ride in poor visibility, make sure to wear high-vis clothing.

    Horse Safety Tips For Drivers

    • Never rev your engine or sound your horn around horses as this can spook them.
    • When driving near a horse, be sure to slow right down and be prepared to stop if necessary.
    • Be aware that the rider may signal to you to slow down or they may signal to let you know their next move.

    If you’re interested in dressage, check out our post on eight competitions in 2017 for you to showcase your dressage skills.


    A Quick Guide To Buying A Riding Hat

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    Whilst horse riding is a wonderful activity, there is always a risk involved which is why taking safety precautions is so important. Horse riding hats are absolutely essential for horse riding safety and there are many factors which need to be considered when buying one.

    Although they can make a fashion statement, riding hats are first and foremost for safety and, so you know what to look out for, here’s a quick guide to buying your next riding hat. 

    Be aware of the hat safety standards

    The minimum safety standard for a riding hat is EN1384, but hats of this standard are not accepted by all events and societies and, as of 2016, they are no longer allowed to be Kitemarked.

    Although ridings hats of the EN1384 standard are fine for general riding, they can inhibit the opportunities that you are allowed to take. For this reason, it is recommended that you buy a hat with a BSI Kitemark. 

    Get your riding hat professionally fitted

    Ideally, you should always have your riding had professionally fitted before you purchase it. If your riding hat doesn’t have the right fit, it can be detrimental to your riding safety.

    If fitted properly, your riding hat should feel both comfortable and snug and it should not be able to slip forward. 

    Ensure that your hat is suitable for your discipline

    Different equine disciplines have different riding hat guidelines, so it’s essential that you’re aware of which type of riding hat your discipline requires. 

    For example, skull hats are required for cross country riding and an NOCSAE certificate is required for polo hats. If you’re unsure of which hat you require, check with the authority which oversees your discipline. 


    Some hats have ventilation, while others don’t – whether or not you want a hat with ventilation can vary on factors such as your local climate and your aesthetic preferences.

    Aesthetically, non-ventilated hats tend to be more popular as they provide their owners with a slick and classic look. However, if you live in a warm location, you may want to opt for a ventilated hat to keep you cool in hot weather.

    Quick tips for buying and maintaining a riding hat

    • You should always replace your hat after it sustains an impact. Even if your riding hat doesn’t look damaged, the impact could still have created a weakness, so it’s essential that you replace it!
    • Store your riding hat in a cool and dry environment – ideally, you should store your riding hat in a protective bag that keeps out heat and damp.
    • Even if your riding hat has never been damaged, you should still replace it every 4 – 5 years as a precaution.
    • If you compete in equine events, it is best to buy a riding hat which displays a BSI Kitemark as many events will only allow riders to wear BSI Kitemarked hats.

    Ten Tips for Training Young Horses

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    There’s no denying that younger horses are adorable, and it’s no wonder that lots of people want to train horses up from a younger age.

    However, there is a lot that you need to know about to ensure that you give your young horse the best possible start in life, as getting things wrong at this earlier stage could lead to behavioural problems further down the line.

    Here are ten tips to make things easier for both horse and rider.

    Put safety first

    While younger horses are cute at this young age, you’ve got to remember that they can also be very easily frightened, more so than a fully grown horse.

    Remember to always wear the proper safety clothing and don’t take any risks. If the horse seems particularly skittish, do some groundwork before you actually get going.

    Groundwork comes first

    Speaking of groundwork, always remember how important it is. Groundwork helps to build the foundations of your relationship with the horse, building their confidence in you as a leader, as well as getting them more comfortable in their surroundings.

    Allow them to stretch

    Just like you would stretch before a ride (or before any exercise), your horse also needs to be able to stretch too.

    Make sure to encourage them to take their neck forward and down, stretching out their back muscles so that they’re ready for physical activity.

    Check their tack

    As your horse is going to be growing fairly quickly, it’s important to check that their tack fits at regular intervals, as if it doesn’t it could cause a number of problems, such as pain, discomfort, and lameness.

    If this goes on for too long, your horse may even develop a fear of being tacked up and ridden.

    Don’t rush things

    When training a young horse, it’s important not to get too far ahead of yourself. After all, think how long it takes us humans to learn to walk and talk, never mind run around jumping over fences!

    Make sure to spend lots of time getting the basics nailed down, and you’ll reap the rewards later in their life.

    Give them some freedom

    A common mistake is to hold onto the horse’s mouth with the reins, trying to pre-empt them misbehaving, but all this will do is make them feel restricted, and more likely to act out.

    You might wish to use a neck strap instead, to offer yourself a little more security.

    Be firm but fair

    Make sure that you don’t go easy on your horse, but be sure to reward them and let them known when they’ve done well.

    This being said, never lose your temper, as this will only scare the horse, and make them lose the trust in you that you’ve worked so hard to build.

    Keep lessons short

    Don’t tire your horse out with long, drawn out lessons. Instead, keep things relatively short, as horses will quickly lose focus at this young age.

    Keep things regular and simple, and choose just to work on one or two things at a time.

    Adapt to the horse

    Instead of mounting the horse and thinking you know exactly what you’re going to work on, it’s better to adapt to the horse on that given day.

    For example, if the horse is particularly tense on that day, start off with some groundwork to get them loosened up.

    Don’t force anything

    Never put your young horse into a position they don’t want to be in, as it only sets them up to fail.

    For example, if there’s a certain corner of the school which spooks them, get them used to it gradually, rather than trying to throw them in at the deep end.