Category Archives: Uncategorized

The best stocking fillers any rider could wish for

With Christmas just around the corner, now’s the time to start stocking up on gifts for friends and family, or pick some items to add to your own wishlist!

Base layers keep your skin comfortable under layers by wicking moisture away. Bridleway’s Lawley base layer comes in two colours, rosy red is perfect for winter mornings.

Gloves are perfect for keeping your hands warm, especially in winter, and Bridleway has a pair for every occasion. The Aachen competition gloves are smart and lightweight, with silicone print for improved grip. The Hickstead everyday gloves are ideal for riding at home, with suede grip and four-way stretch nylon backs for comfort. Both pairs of gloves have a touchscreen-sensitive index and thumb, so you can check your phone without the risk of chilly fingers.

Long socks are perfect for keeping your legs warm inside your boots and make a really funky fashion statement. Bridleway has two styles to choose from – Daydreamer and Twinkle Toes – which come in packs with three different designs. They’re all cotton-rich and feature a cushion loop terry foot for comfort.


High-vis is a hacking essential and there are lots of different options to help you stay safe and be seen. The Visibility bum bag is a must-have – made from bright orange fabric and featuring reflective prints, it’s got two zipped pockets for storing your valuables while you’re riding. Team it with the Visibility hat band or hat cover for some super-safe co-ordination.


Bridleway has two types of spur available, made from stainless steel to ensure a long life. The ball pein spur has a rounded, blunt end for a softer feel, the while plastic ball spur has a rubber ball at the end of the shank to roll along your horse’s sides, reducing the risk of rubbing. Choose between black and havana spur straps to match your boots.

Whatever your discipline, a whip can be a handy way to back up your aids. Bridleway offers a wide range for you to choose from. For those who like to strut their stuff between the white boards, there’s the dressage whip, featuring a thread-covered fibreglass stem, leather handle and silver-coloured mushroom top. If you’re more into jumping or hacking, then the leather GP whip will be more your thing. It has a leather handle for a super-smart finish.

Whatever’s on your Christmas list this year, Bridleway is the place to find it. Visit to check out the range.




How to feed your horse in winter

As the grass starts to lose its nutritional value and many horses spend more time inside, it’s important to adapt your feeding plan to suit the demands of winter.

Plenty of forage

Horses have evolved to have fibre moving through their digestive system almost constantly. This means that if he’s stabled more during winter, it’s important to feed your horse forage, such as hay or haylage. Studies have shown that horses left without forage for more than six hours are significantly more at risk of developing conditions such as gastric ulcers. If he’s turned out, you may need to supplement the grass with hay. To avoid squabbling, put out more piles than there are horses in the field and try to place them in a different area each day to avoid poaching.

Everything in balance

A key consideration is offering a balanced diet, which will provide your horse with all the vitamins and minerals he needs. This can be achieved with the recommended daily quantity of a complete feed. However, if he isn’t fed this or your feed doesn’t have added vitamins and minerals, then a balancer or broad-spectrum supplement can top up what’s missing. There are lots of different types available, including those with tailored benefits for veterans, good-doers or competition horses.

Winter weight loss

If your horse is carrying any extra weight, winter is the perfect time to help him shed it. In the wild, horses naturally put on weight during the spring and summer, then lose it over winter. Try not to over-rug, instead encouraging him to burn the extra fat to keep warm. Most good-doers can survive well with ad lib forage and feeds made up of a low-calorie chopped fibre and a balancer. However, if he needs to watch his calorie intake, find ways to make his forage ration go further. These could include…

  • soaking to remove nutrients
  • double-netting or using a small-holed haynet
  • adding a few handfuls of good-quality oat straw

Feeding for condition

For horses who need help maintaining their weight, opt for conditioning feeds containing oil and highly digestible fibres, such as alfalfa, soya and sugar beet, rather than cereal-rich mixes or cubes. Oil is very energy-dense, containing over twice the calories as the same quantity of cereals, but in a slow-release format that will help to reduce the risk of any fizzy behaviour. As with any dietary changes, introduce it gradually over a period of at least 10 days to allow his digestive system to adjust.

A little extra help

Veterans or those with poor teeth can struggle with hay or haylage. Instead, choose a chopped fibre that’s suitable as a hay replacer, as the shorter fibres are easier to manage. If these still prove a problem, you could try softening grass pellets or high-fibre cubes with water, or a soaked fibre feed. Using warm water can make a meal more tempting if he’s reluctant to eat.

Bridleway bucket covers help keep food fresh and organised each day.


Outside the box – coping with stabled horses in winter

There’s a lovely feeling about leaving the yard on a winter evening, knowing your horse is tucked up, warm and cosy, in his stable. Many of us stable our horses in the winter because of the inhospitable weather or because previously green fields have turned into quagmires. However, being continuously stabled can be stressful for your horse, especially if he’s used to living out during the summer months.

Missing his herd

In the field, horses spend all their time with their friends, mutual grooming, grazing and taking it in turns to watch for potential threats. When your horse is stabled, he’s alone and can easily become stressed. A good solution is to stable him somewhere where he can see his friends. Stable mirrors can also replicate the comfort of being around other horses.

Appropriate feeding

Out in a field, your horse will graze for most of the day. Horses have small stomachs, which means they must eat little and often throughout the day. When he’s stabled, you can mimic his natural diet by regularly feeding him ad-lib forage, such as hay or haylage. This keeps his digestive system functioning naturally, reducing the risk of colic or gastric ulcers. If he needs to watch his weight, try small-holed nets or double netting his forage. Hanging several small nets around the stable will encourage him to move around, improving blood circulation. Adding a broad spectrum vitamin and mineral supplement to your horse’s bucket feed will ensure that he’s receiving a balanced diet, including any nutrients that he may be missing from not being able to eat fresh grass.

Keep his mind busy

Stabling for long periods of time can be boring for your horse. You can help by providing stable toys to keep him occupied. Hanging licks are a popular solution, as they can keep your horse busy for long periods of time. Monitor your horse’s consumption rate to avoid weight gain, particularly with the lick is first introduced. Rolling balls filled with fibre treats will encourage him to move around in the stable.

Build your bond

Another great way to fight boredom in the stable is to spend more time with your horse. You may want to take him out for a long hack on some days, instead of spending a shorter amount of time schooling. Tying him up on the yard for a groom not only gives him a change of scenery, but is also helps to strengthen your bond. Grazing your horse in-hand for short periods of time, which again is a great bonding experience for you both, is also good because he’ll be outside and having access to some fresh grass.

Whatever gear you need to keep your horse happy this winter, visit

Mud Fever

All wrapped up – a winter survival guide

Wetter weather

If your horse spends time in the field, a good-quality turnout rug is essential. This needs to be breathable, waterproof and secure enough to stay put when he rolls. A rug with a fixed or detachable neck is a good option, as this will provide extra protection against the cold and save you time when it comes to grooming by keeping his neck clean. Bridleway has a range of styles and weights to choose from at

Keep him cosy

If your horse is coming into his stable at night, he may need a different weight rug to the one he wears in the field. Keep in mind that, while his stable may be more sheltered, he can’t move around as much to keep warm when he’s in. Changing his rug will also give your turnout rug a chance to air and means you can check him over for any places where it might have slipped or be rubbing him. Bridleway has a great selection of stable rugs and fleeces to suit your horse’s needs at

Fitting your rug

To decide what size to buy, measure him from the centre of his chest to his point of buttock in both feet and inches and centimetres. Your horse should have free range of movement in his rug, without it gaping anywhere. A rug that’s too big may slip, while it will rub and be uncomfortable if it’s too small. Choose one with adjustable straps to accommodate changes in his weight throughout the year and to obtain a better fit. Take into account that, if you clip your horse in the winter, this will affect his ability to maintain his body temperature, so you may need a range of rugs to suit all weather conditions.

Rug care

To keep your rugs in good condition for as long as possible, keep them clean and store them in a dry, rodent-proof environment. Regularly check them for rips and broken straps, as these can pose a danger to your horse and it is easier to repair them while the damage is minor than let it get worse. If your turnout rug begins to lose its waterproof properties, talk to a reputable rug was company for advice. Watch our rug care video for more tips here

Keep yourself wrapped up

When you are working hard to keep your horse comfortable in the cold, don’t forget yourself! Little things such as thermal socks can make the world of difference when your feet are freezing. Layer up in thin, warm layers such as thermals rather than several thick layers, which can restrict your movement when riding or doing yard chores. Above all, have a waterproof jacket and trousers, as staying dry is essential to your enjoyment of yard activities.

Whatever you decide to kit yourself and your horse out with this winter, Bridleway is bound to have it! To find your local Bridleway stockist click here

Considerate bitting – Choosing the right bit for your horse

For most of us, the bit is integral to how we communicate with our horse when we’re riding. But, while many riders spend a lot of time and money selecting a perfectly fitting saddle, how many of us give equal consideration to the bit we put into our horse’s mouth? Take time to study your horse’s face and mouth, both when he is wearing a bit and when he isn’t. A well-fitting bit should sit comfortably in his mouth, allowing enough room for his tongue and teeth.

Common mouth types

Spacious, long mouths with slim tongues – often seen in Thoroughbred types, this mouth type will have plenty of room and can be happily fitted with a thicker mouth piece.

Long mouth – these need extra care when fitting a curb chain to ensure that, when the bit is at the correct height for the mouth, the curb chain is still fitting snugly in the chin groove and not lifting up behind it.

Short mouths and lips typically found in cobs and natives, there will be often be limited space to accommodate a bit if it is bulky, or a double bridle is used. In showing, you will sometimes see a Pelham used instead of a double bridle in horses with this type of mouth.

Large tongues – a large, fleshy tongue will often seem almost too big for the mouth. It tends to overlap the bars, therefore saving them from direct pressure to some extent.


Fitting a bit

A correctly fitted bit should slightly wrinkle the corners of your horse’s mouth – too low and it may knock against his incisor teeth, too high will cause discomfort. Aim for a finger’s width between the rings and his lips. If it’s too wide, it will slide across the mouth and put uneven pressure on his tongue, bars and lips. However, if it sits too close to his lips, they may get pinched or rubbed. All bits fit slightly differently, so your horse may be a different size in a straight mouthpiece than a jointed one. Straight bars sit directly across the mouth and sit slightly lower, without wrinkling the lips, but shouldn’t hang in his mouth. Jointed bits fold around the mouth and therefore sits slightly higher.

Top tip

To measure a bit, place it on a flat surface and measure along the mouthpiece, from corner to corner. For loose ring bits, measure from just inside the end of the mouthpiece, by the ring.

While considering the type of bit, don’t forget to take time to regularly examine the bridle and reins you are using for wear and tear. Attention should be given to leather, stitching and buckles. A comprehensive range of bridles can be found at

Create the perfect bond with your horse

Create the perfect bond with your horse

Building a solid partnership is the foundation for a successful relationship with your horse. With many riders heading out to summer competitions, there’s no better time to strengthen your bond and Bridleway has got some great tips to help you.

The best place to start is to make sure he’s happy and healthy. Are your horse’s physical, mental, social and emotional needs being met, both when you are around and when you aren’t? He should have access to forage and fresh water at all times and, ideally, equine companions who he gets along well with, too. Regularly turning him out in the field will be beneficial, but if prolonged periods in the stable are unavoidable, consider stable toys or licks to provide mental stimulation.


Do things he enjoys

All work and no play makes for an unhappy partnership. Take time to do things that your horse considers fun – you may love dressage, but, if your horse likes jumping, he’ll really appreciate it if you get the poles out every once in a while or maybe take him cross-country schooling. This principle doesn’t just apply when you’re in the saddle. Spend time doing things that can’t be called work, such as grooming or taking him for in-hand walks. Summer is the perfect time to do this, when long, light evenings mean you can spend more time at the yard with your horse.


Focus on the positives

It can be very easy to notice things that your horse does wrong, but how often do you praise him for doing something right? It doesn’t have to be a big achievement – even something that you might take for granted, such as him standing still while you mount, is worthy of praise. When you’re around your horse, make an effort to think ‘yes’ to yourself whenever he does something good, and reward him for it. You’ll probably be surprised how frequently you do it. If small, positive actions have a pleasurable result, he’ll be more likely to want to please you when it comes to the big stuff.


Calm down

Be a person who your horse wants to spend time with. In the same way that your human friends don’t want to be around you when you’re bad-tempered and abrupt, this sort of attitude is unlikely to encourage a closer bond with your horse. Even if you’ve had a bad day, make an effort not to get frustrated or lose your temper when you’re at the yard, as it will only make him nervous and undermine his confidence in you. Instead, aim to be somebody he can rely on.


Bridleway is the place to go for all your horsey needs. See our great range of products at

Resolving a confidence crisis

Having fun

Horse ownership should be enjoyable – especially in the summer, when the long, bright evenings mean lots of extra time to enjoy your horse. However, if your confidence has taken a knock, then it’s easy to find yourself dreading what should be a pleasurable experience. Here at Bridleway we have put together some tips to banish your nerves, and help you feel confident handling and riding your horse.


Be decisive

Horses thrive on clear boundaries, so take the time to decide what is acceptable and what isn’t acceptable behaviour, then stick rigorously to these decisions. Be black and white, not grey, in your commands and expectations of your horse, and make sure that you use consistent commands to help your horse understand exactly what you want. It’s important not to let your horse do something one day that you reprimand him for the next, because this is confusing for him. When a horse feels frustrated, he’s more likely to exhibit unwanted behaviour, whereas if you’re clear and fair with him, he’s much more likely to comply with your requests.

If he’s developed unwanted habits, these will take time to correct, but keep persevering and soon your horse will understand what you’re asking and you’ll see your relationship – and confidence – bloom. While you’re developing your handling skills, make sure you’re properly protected – always wear sensible footwear, a hat and gloves when handling your horse. Why not ask an experienced friend to support you by coming to the yard to help you feel more confident in your authority and expectations of your horse? You’ll be surprised the difference it makes to have a supportive voice rather than struggling on alone.


It’s show time

For many of us, summer = shows. While you might be full of enthusiasm as you put your entry in, as the show day approaches, nerves can begin to creep in. From feeling rusty to worrying about riding in front of other people, not to mention whether your horse will find it all over-exciting, it can feel pretty overwhelming. The best way to tackle these worries is to break each task down into small chunks. Write down each of your worries, then list the evidence you have that supports that worry. For example, ‘I’m worried about riding in front of other people’. The evidence might be ‘other competitors will be watching me as I do my personal show’. Now think about what evidence you have to dispute that worry – for example, ‘most people are more concerned about their own performance than picking holes in mine’. You’ll soon see that most worries are irrational and while they might still exist, it will be easier to stop them spoiling your fun.


Change your route to your goal, not your goal itself

Even top riders sometimes have a crisis of confidence. But don’t let it put your off your goals. Just change the route you’re using to get there. Break down tasks into small steps, write them down and tick them off as you achieve them. It can be really helpful to enlist the services of a good instructor who understands your worries and can help support you to in your aims, building your confidence by challenging, but not over-facing you.

Whatever your goals this season, Bridleway has all the kit you need for you and your horse to look the part and enjoy yourselves

Safe hacking

Safe hacking

One of the greatest pleasures of horse ownership has to be exploring the beautiful countryside from the saddle. However, for some riders it can prove to be a nightmare. Here at Bridleway we have put together some tips to help you deal with some of the hacking issues you might encounter and keep you safe.


A fear of spooking

Spooky horses are generally very sensitive to their surroundings and can often be fearful of the environment once they leave the security of the yard. They have a strong flight instinct. So if a spooky horse becomes scared of something, he may react by leaping, refusing to go forward, spinning, or even rearing or running away.

With a spooky horse, it’s important to do as little as possible to increase your horse’s adrenaline and make him more afraid. If he tries to spin round, keep his head facing the object but then if he stands quietly looking at it then leave him alone. Some horses just need time to do a risk assessment.

When your horse lowers his head towards the object, encourage him to take a step forward. Use your legs to give him confidence, but don’t force him when he is scared. One single step forward should be rewarded and the pressure taken off. Allowing him to relax after a step in the right direction will build his trust in you.


Naughty napping

Horses nap for several reasons, most commonly because they are worried about where they’re going or they simply want to return to their friends. Both situations indicate a lack of respect and trust for the rider and it’s important to nip this in the bud before it becomes ingrained. The key is to be able to move his hindquarters from side to side to stop him planting or whipping around and for him to be respectful of your forward aids – even if it means trotting rather than walking to get him thinking forward.

Getting off a horse who is spinning in the road is not giving in to him, it’s often the safe, sensible thing to do. If you have to lead him to get him to think forward, then do so until you feel it is safe to get back on. Nappy horses often fare better when ridden out with bolder horses or repeating the same route until they are comfortable doing that route. Avoid hacking nappy horses together, though, as they rub off on one another!


Have fun

Make hacking as enjoyable as you can for your horse. Vary the routes, jump him over logs, trot and canter when the ground is good and don’t take him on roads with fast traffic that might frighten him. Remember to wear reflective gear at all times whether on or off the roads as you can be spotted by other horse riders, cyclists and dog walkers more easily.

And above all, enjoy it. Hacking should be a pleasure so team up with other riders and go for pub hacks, or picnic rides and make the most of the summer months ahead.


Ride Out UK Week

Bridleway Equestrian is a proud supporter of Ride Out UK Week and we recently joined forces with The British Horse Society for the nationwide campaign.

Ride Out UK Week aims to encourage riders to celebrate all the wonderful off-road riding tracks across the UK and to record routes and keep them open for future generations.

With the aim of raising funds for the BHS’s Paths for Communities Fund, which supports projects throughout the UK to create, repair or restore bridleways, byways and multi-user routes, we have created maps in all our stockist’s local areas. The maps, which are free to download here, show local bridleways which are perfect for hacking out – so why not download a map and try out a new route today?

We’ll also be announcing our fundraising total for the Paths for Communities Fund on Facebook and Twitter soon!

A fly-free summer

A fly-free summer

Horses are often plagued by flies and other biting insects through the summer months. Not only are these bugs a constant irritation, but they can be the cause of allergic reactions, infections and can even spread diseases. And it’s not just your horse at risk – riders can get bitten, too, and if you’ve ever been nipped by a horsefly you will know just how painful it can be!

In the UK, the biggest threat comes from bot and stable flies, and from midges for equines who suffer sweet itch. Sweet itch occurs when a horse or pony is allergic to the bite of the Culicoides midges, which causes intense itching at the sites where the midges have been feeding. Once the habit of scratching the site begins, it is hard to break and usually results in the horse rubbing until bald patches appear. Most commonly affected are the mane and tail, and it can look unsightly when they become rubbed. Prevention is the best way to protect against sweet itch so early preventative measures, including covering your horse with a fly rug from early spring, is the key.

Bot flies, which are often referred to as warbles, are large, unsightly flies that have the appearance of a large wasp or bee. They hover around the horse laying their eggs on the horse’s coat during the height of the summer. The eggs appear as small white or yellow dots, most commonly seen on the inside of the horse’s legs. If they’re not removed, the eggs hatch, causing the horse to scratch the affected area and consume the larvae. The larvae can also bore through the skin and on entering the body cause lumps and bumps to appear.

Essential protection

At Bridleway we know the importance of keeping flies and other biting insects at bay, which is why we have developed a range of fly rugs and veils to suit all your needs

But there are other measures you can take as a horse owner to help protect your equine friend.

Fly repellents come in gels and sprays, wipes and creams and some will offer a full day’s protection. Many horses don’t like the sound of a spray, so you can apply this by using a sponge and spraying the fly repellent onto the sponge first. Wipes are really useful for the face and head where you wouldn’t use a spray, and these are also great to take in your grooming kits on show days.

Many horse owners prefer to keep their horses stabled during the day and turn them out at night in summer, which is an effective way of keeping him out of the heat when the flies are at their worst. Make sure stabled horses come into clean beds as flies thrive in warm, moist areas, so dirty and wet bedding provide a perfect breeding ground.

Dusk and dawn are the danger times for midges and so horses who are sweet itch sufferers and turned out at these times need to be covered up with a fly rug that has a belly cover and blocks the entry to even the smallest of insects. Keeping water troughs and buckets clean will stop them becoming stagnant and a breeding ground too. When hacking out on a hot summer’s day, remember to apply plenty of fly repellent and a bonnet with ears or fly veil will stop your horse constantly shaking his head to get rid of the flies. Fly tags that you can plait into the forelock that are impregnated with fly repellent have proven beneficial in helping keep flies at bay.

Protect him daily and we hope you will have a pest-free summer.

Fit for the season

As we head into spring, now is the time to start thinking about whether you and your horse are fit enough for any competing, sponsored rides or longer hacks that you want to do over the summer months. We all know that the fitter your horse is, the more likely he is to be happy and sound and be able to perform at his best for competition work. But what is the best way to get him fit?

The first thing to consider is that any fittening work needs to be done gradually. If you’ve ever been to the gym or taken part in a fitness class and done a workout that has left you feeling sore and stiff, even lame, you will know the effects of overdoing it. Horses are no different and if you push him before he’s ready then he is likely to suffer soreness, and possible injuries in the same way as you.

Here at Bridleway, we believe variety is important for your horse so try and do a range of activities. If you have good hacking, then fitness work can be a fun way to start.

Fitness foundations

Begin your programme by walking out for 30 minutes a day on roads and tracks, building up over two weeks to 45 minutes. In week three, start introducing some trot work and build up to an hour of riding with short spells of trot work. If you have hills you can add into your rides then begin to introduce these by week four as they are great for building strength and fitness.

Slowly build up the periods of trot so that you are constantly adjusting the programme and increasing his workload. Keeping his legs protected from injury is a must and Bridleway have a fabulous range of boots in stock including a therapy boot to help bring down any heat or swelling after exercise,

Back to school

By week five you can introduce short schooling periods twice a week, keeping them to no more than 30 minutes. Your horse’s first few weeks in the school should be very basic work. Use a lot of stretching exercises and large circles to begin with and build in plenty of transitions to help make him stronger over his back and hind quarters. A good rule is once you are warmed up to never ride more than a 20m circle without a transition. Then start to bring in some lateral work, such as leg yields and shoulder-in and counter-canter depending on the horse’s level of experience. Lengthened strides should not be incorporate until your horse is much fitter as they are very strenuous.

A jump start

By week eight, you can add in pole-work and jumping sessions again keeping these to short sessions initially before later building in grid-work. Small stand-alone fences are the way to begin so that your horse builds his confidence. Then start to introduce doubles, and then related distances and courses. Employ the help of a knowledgeable rider or instructor to help with putting up poles and walking out the distances. It is important to get the distances right for each horse so that you don’t knock his confidence.

Hiring a cross-country course is also a good way to improve his cardiovascular fitness. Horses tend to be more forward into fences across country and you have open spells in between fences to gallop him and build his workload.

The whole process should take about three months if you are starting fitness training from scratch with a horse that is coming back from a rest period. This is the same no matter what disciplines you want to compete in or what you want to do with your horse. It will of course take less time for a horse that is ticking over.

Work ethic

Skimping on fitness work is a common mistake, and if you are working full-time, it can be hard to put the amount of time needed into the job. However be realistic. If you can’t ride five or six days a week, then it will take you longer to get him to the same level of fitness. Keeping him turned out in the field as often as possible will help keep the joints and muscles supple and moving and he will lost less fitness as a result. It is also important to remember that while regular work is good for horses and helps to keep them healthy as well as fit, it is also important to give them time to relax. Horses should have at least one, if not two days off in the week. Whatever level you are riding at and whatever discipline, you owe it to your horse to make sure he is fit enough to do the job and that way you will get the best out of your riding this season.