Top tips for dressage turnout with Holly & Jo Bates

November 5, 2010 10:02 am by
Posted in General

Time for some top-tips from our sponsored rider, Jo Bates. As well as her amazing showing acheivements, Jo has a proven track record in the dressage arena having first been attracted to the sport when, at thirteen-years-old, she saw Domini Laurence ride San Fernando in a dressage demonstration at HOYS.

Inspired by the performance, Jo acquired Scotch Royale from the Countess of March and at fourteen and fifteen-years-old was considered one of the top young riders in GB. She was a member of the Young Rider dressage team in 1977 and in 1978 and Junior Dressage Champion in 1978.

Jo has passed on her talent for producing horses to her daughter, Holly, who rides beautifully and has already seen success in dressage, finishing 4th in Elementary National Dressage Championships riding Silver Lining and becoming the 2006 Search For A Star Dressage Champion.

With their combined expertise in the show ring and the dressage arena, the Bates’ turnout is always immaculate. Read on as Jo and Holly share tips and advice on dressage turnout and comment on the latest trends.

“Turnout in dressage is much the same as showing, but fashions and trends change and, in some ways, the look is more exaggerated for dressage. The current trend in dressage is for plaits that stick up on the neck – which are known as Anky-Plaits. As in showing, these will help to accentuate the front end and perhaps give the impression of a more uphill way of going – but it depends on the shape of the horse,” she explains.

The fashion for masses of tiny plaits, wrapped in white tape is certainly old-hat, with today’s look requiring fewer, large plaits. “This is the opposite of what we are now seeing in showing, where people are putting in more plaits, which are a lot smaller than they used to be,” Jo explains.

Tails are now left fuller and longer in dressage and it isn’t unusual to see them almost to the ground. Jo says, “You will often see that professional riders pull the top two-three inches of the tail to keep them neat, but leave the rest of the tail full, unlike showing where the tail is pulled much lower to give a ‘waisted’ look.

“Longer, fuller tails are easy enough to maintain – you just need a detangler gel like ShowSheen Moisturising Detangler. Just a tiny amount is easy enough to keep the whole tail tangle free.”

Jo also uses the detangler gel around the eyes and muzzle to add the finishing touch. To black the dressage horses’ feet, Jo uses SuperShine Hoof Polish ,”the shiny finish looks great”, she says.

When it comes to the most noticeable dressage trends – bling is in. And, while it may be frowned upon in the showing ring, it certainly adds a bit of pizzazz in the dressage arena. Holly explains, “We use diamante brow bands and you can get some beautiful rolled leather bridles. Patent leather nosebands are also stunning. White numnhas, often together with a 3/4 fluffy numnah, and black leather tack is the preference of most riders and does look stunning.”
“You want your horse to gleam, and Absorbine SuperPoo and ShowSheen do a fantastic job of keeping their coat clean and shiny and their tails tangle free. It’s all about that first impression you give the judge. If they see a nice, shiny horse, beautifully turned out, and the rider with a well fitted jacket – looking clean and smart, they will have this in mind as they give their first mark,” explains Jo.