Exclusive Update from Taurus Rider Jemima Gray; Part 1 of 2

jemima purston

Taurus Footwear supports event rider Jemima Gray who competes her two horses Foxy and Murphy in British Eventing. Taurus provides Jemima functional footwear for riding at home, walking the courses at events and of course, for looking smart at competitions!

In our latest blog, which is part 1 of 2  Jemima updates us on her recent equestrian adventures which is proving busy now the summer holidays have begun!

Jemima says…

“My Summer Holidays have begun, and I’m having an absolutely amazing time!
After Farley Hall, Murphy and I went to Tweseldown Novice and he started out with lovely test leaving us in the top few combinations after Dressage. The Show Jumping was quite technical and up to height, but Murph flew round, just having a couple of really unlucky poles (jockey error!) Cross Country was causing lots of problems, with a difficult water and coffin combination.
Just before my round there was a twenty minute hold on the course as a rider had fallen at the rail and the frangible pins had broken, stewards tried their best to repair the fence but in the end that element was removed so riders only had to jump the ditch and hedge. Murphy jumped everything beautifully, without a problem and we finished with 3 time penalties, leaving us in 15th place.
​Between Tweseldown and my next event, I went on a family holiday to Italy, while the ponies went to stay with Murphy’s old owner, who looked after them brilliantly and was a huge help.
After we came back from holiday, I went to Charlotte Agnew’s yard with Murphy as a working pupil for a week. As usual I learnt lots, rode some lovely horses and I really felt that Murph and I moved a big step forward, however it was very hard work (but rewarding!)
At the end of the week we headed to Purston Manor with Murphy in the Novice. Although he was very overly excited and difficult in the Dressage, he went on to do a faultless double clear, one of the very few he’s ever done at Novice level so needless to say, I was completely thrilled!
I have been competing in my Taurus Lancer boots and training in my short Kentucky Boots. I cannot recommend these boots highly enough, it is the perfect combination!
For more information about the fabulous range of equestrian leather footwear from Taurus Footwear including the pairs eventer Jemima Gray wears visit the website www.taurusfootwear.co.uk and to keep up to date with Jemima’s progress don’t miss our next blog!

Top Tips for Horse Trials with Taurus Rider Michaela Huntington!

Eq Life July 2014 (2)


Eq Life July 2014 (2)

Local riding instructor Michaela Huntington offers some advice for improving your standings within the three eventing disciplines.

Essex-based Michaela Huntington is sponsored by Taurus Footwear, who produce competitively-priced, high-quality leather equestrian footwear for all ages, sizes and disciplines.

Michaela’s Top Tips for Success at Horse Trials

Michaela says…

” Many competition mistakes can be avoided with planning and forethought:


According to British Eventing (BE), horse trials dressage comprises a set sequence of compulsory movements in an arena. The test is judged by one or more judges who are looking for balance, rhythm and suppleness and most importantly, obedience of the horse and its harmony with the rider.  Each movement is scored out of ten with the total being added up and converted to a penalty score (and percentage). Dressage shows how trainable the horse is and its basic paces in walk, trot and canter.

  • Regardless of whether you are allowed a caller, the test must be firmly committed to memory as it is common for nerves to affect riders on the day, causing a complete blank during your performance.
  • Your initial centre line entry is vital, being the first impression given to the judges. A straight line down the centre line is one of the hardest parts as nearly all horses tend to drift left or right.
  • Transitions must happen exactly at the place required, and can commonly cause the loss of your working outline. A good technique is to think well ahead and prepare your horse for the change of pace to avoid any resistance.


According to BE, the show-jumping phase is one round of jumping with a maximum time allowed and the objective is to jump all the fences clear inside the time. The fences are not as high as top level show-jumping but are quite substantial for horses which are not specialists at show-jumping. Fences knocked down and refusals incur penalties as does exceeding the time allowed. The show jumping shows athleticism, control and accuracy.

  • It is common to see eventers adopt the more forward cross country style of riding when showjumping. Remember that this phase should be ridden with a slightly slower, more collected canter, so keep your position a little more upright.
  • As showjumps are so much closer together and often related to each other with distances and doubles, avoid taking off too far away from the fence, as horses can flatten and knock a pole down.
  • Know your striding between a distance – the aim is to get even strides, with no half strides ruining the rhythm.


The third phase is ‘XC’, where a course of natural obstacles has to be jumped, according to BE. Again, this is inside an optimum time. Being over the time incurs penalties, and being well under it is of no benefit, and unnecessarily tires the horse. XC tests stamina, speed, jumping technique and bravery.

  • You must know your route well, walking the course as many times as you need to. Flags must be negotiated correctly.
  • Know the time required and choose where to save seconds. Ensure you have a good quality eventing watch and know where you should be at various points of time.
  • Many horses will have problems at the water complex – practise over as many different ditches and water obstacles as you can.
  • Fitness is key and tired horses are more likely to make mistakes. Build up to your event, aiming to have the horse at peak fitness on the day.

So good luck everyone- and happy riding”

Michaela rides in the Kentucky Short Jodhpur Boots at home and loves her smart Lancer Long Riding Boots for competition. She often teaches and walks the course country course in the functional country boot; The Holkham available in a country or a riding sole. To find out more about the Taurus Footwear collection, including Michaela’s favourite pairs visit the website at www.taurusfootwear.co.uk.

Taurus Footwear Gear Worn at European Endurance Championships 2014!

Exciting news! Taurus Footwear are sponsoring two young riders; Alice Loten and Brett Corcoran who will be representing Great Britain at the European Championships in Verona on 12th  July 2014.

The boots and gaiters will be worn during the opening and closing ceremonies. Alice and Brett will be wearing Black Pegasus Boots and Black Leather Gaiters.







Look out for our pictures of the riders in their Taurus kit to follow soon!

If you would like to follow the rider’s journey why not keep up with their own blog for all the latest news and information?

To see the range of top quality, equestrian leather footwear available from Taurus Footwear visit the website at: www.taurusfootwear.co.uk 

Saddling up for Show Jumping with Taurus Rider Michaela Huntington

EQ Life May 2014.jpeg

EQ Life Magazine recently featured a fabulous article from Taurus Footwear sponsored rider Michaela Huntington taking a look at what type of saddle you require for show jumping. In our latest blog we take a look at highlights from the article; but remember to read a full copy of the article; pick up a copy of EQ Life Magazine today!

So what saddle do you need to jump in? Show jumper, trainer and instructor Michaela Huntington helps you decide…

Michaela says…

“Whatever discipline you prefer, it is advisable to wear the correct tack for the task in hand, and just as you need the right saddle for dressage, so you do for showjumping.

When starting out, a GP (General Purpose) saddle will see you right for your day to day riding, and enable you to practice various riding pursuits; but as you develop your own preferences, there will come a time when you may need to upgrade and acquire a specific saddle suited exactly to your own, and your horse’s needs. Showjumping saddles are very specifically designed, and are one more of the many facets you may need to help you gain the success of clear rounds and fast times to climb the ladder of your chosen sport.

In general, showjumping saddles come with front and/or back blocks to help maintain correct leg position, and they will also provide support when jumping fences. Blocks vary tremendously; large, small, even removable ones attached by Velcro; these are all down to personal preference, which can only be decided by trial and error.

REMEMBER: It is important to have your saddle specifically fitted by a professional saddle fitter, and always ensure you test your possible purchase over jumps for comfort and the minimum movement of the saddle on the horse’s back.

Modern Trends

Many saddles nowadays are lightweight and ‘close contact’, which are relatively new concepts but find favour with almost all professionals. The close contact saddle gives the rider the maximum ability to blend into the horse’s movement, giving the closest feel possible. Showjumping saddles are more forward cut at the knee roll, thus suited to the slightly shorter stirrup length of the rider, helping you achieve the right jumping position. All makes vary slightly, and time and effort must be taken to ensure the right one for you. Second-hand saddles are often excellent buys, already ‘broken in’, and likely to mould more quickly to horse and rider.


The correct girth is an essential part of your kit; a stud girth is recommended, as even without studs it is easy for the horse to catch himself with his fore feet if he is very neat in front. Often a cut-away variety of girth is the one to choose, to free up shoulders in his action over a fence.

Consider the new aero-dynamic stirrups, often with a cheesegrater grip, which provide better balance and keep your foot in the right place. The trend today is all about being lightweight and with less leather between you and the horse.

To Conclude…

The right saddle should be like your favourite pair of shoes, it is a very personal choice and the initial high cost will stand you in good stead for many years. Ensure correct maintenance and store in a warm safe area.

Remember that a new saddle will take some weeks to wear in and be at its best, and the leather will require ample applications of soaps or creams, usually provided by the manufacturer.

Taurus Footwear are proud to supply Michaela Huntington with the equestrianyard andcountry footwear that she needs. Here at Taurus we offer high quality, leather footwear for adults and children alike. Our family run company provides a wide range of footwear ranging from muckers to long competition boots.

For more information visit the website today www.taurusfootwear.co.uk  or Tel: 01328 851 432.

Ditches without Hitches; with Taurus rider Michaela Huntington

June EQ Life KH column


Taurus Footwear sponsor Michaela Huntington a show jumper, trainer and producer and Micheala offers some advice for tackling ditches ready for the eventing and hunter trial season.

Michaela says…

Almost every Cross County course, even at the lowest level, will offer a ditch of some sort. As you progress, ditches will become wider and deeper and with variations such as appearing in front or behind other jumps or as trakehner or as part of combinations such as coffins and dykes and it is vitally important to have no issues right from the start, to ensure a trouble free future.

Whether you are starting out, or are already competing and you feel you may have a hitch with a ditch, one of the best ways to introduce this kind of obstacle is with two plain rustic poles.

Whether in an arena or on grass, place them next to each other to be trotted and cantered over and slowly widen them apart, encouraging the horse to then jump over the pair.

Fill the gap in the middle with a black or dark water tray or some flat plastic to encourage a proper jump and prevent him stepping between the poles.

Search for all kinds of safe ditches when you are hacking and encourage him to follow another horse over the different types, being sure to start with the easiest available until well learned, and then moving on to other questions as and when you are both confident and then allow him to be the lead horse with others following him.

Move on to hiring cross country courses, ideally with another horse and rider and a trainer or helper on the ground, and be sure that the horse enjoys the day training over a ditch; incorporate it into a group of a few fences at a time.

Three Top Tips from Michaela for Tackling Ditches! 

1.) Let your horse become accustomed to a ditch by letting him walk up to it, sniff it, assess it and walk around it, then approach in a positive forward trot over it, before moving on to cantering over it.

2.) Be sure to look ahead and don’t fall into the common trap of looking down into the ditch as this will encourage you to put your hands forward, losing rein contact; your shoulders will then tip forwards, balance will become top-heavy and inevitably your lower leg will drift back resulting in the loss of a proper connection with the horse. He will then also look down into the ditch and with a lack of help from the rider become confused with the situation resulting in a stop or a frightened cat leap. This could all cause you to be unseated and possibly fall but if you are able to keep the correct position and not look down and go with him you are far more likely to give your horse the confidence he needs to complete his task.

3.) Some horses will accept ditches more easily if they are introduced to them with a cross pole or very small upright either in front or over the ditch to give them the right idea of jumping over it. This can be used from the very beginning of your training and later as and when required over different types of ditch.

Essex-based Michaela Huntington is sponsored by Norfolk-based Taurus Footwear, who produce competitively-priced, high-quality leather equestrian footwear for all ages, sizes and disciplines.  Michaela is a big fan of Taurus Footwear wearing the stylish Lancer Long Boot to compete and the smart short Kentucky Jodhpur Boots for everyday riding.


Taurus Ambassador Rider Jemima Gray Updates us on her Adventures!

jemima gray 8th Farley Hall

Taurus Footwear supports young event rider Jemima Gray who competes her two horses Foxy and Murphy in British Eventing. Despite being only 16 years old this talented young rider is making an impression on the Event circuit!

In our latest blog Jemima updates us on her recent equestrian adventures; including taking Foxy out to compete for the first time since an injury, coming 8th at Farley Hall Novice with Murphy and her fabulous Taurus Footwear Boots! 

Jemima says “It’s been a busy month trying to balance my GCSEs and eventing, thank goodness I only have three more exams left after my two week break – I love study leave! The horses have been on really good form and have been a great stress reliever, I’m incredibly excited for my three month summer holidays so I can fully focus on training and competing.

We took Foxy to his first proper outing since April 2013, it was a local combined training just down the road, perfect for his comeback – although I was quite worried about getting bucked off! He did a lovely dressage test for a score of 25 to lead the class, and then popped round the show jumping to win. It felt like he had never had any time off, I was thrilled by how well he performed and by his calm attitude! We’ve started to take him cross country schooling and I had forgotten about what a school master he is and how amazingly scopey a little 14.2hh pony can be!

Last weekend we travelled down to the new BE event, Farley Hall Horse Trials, with Murphy in the Novice class. I was quite apprehensive about the ground as it has been raining non stop and a couple of events had cancelled, so my Mother and I went down the day before to walk the course.

Farley had done an amazing job with the ground and the going was absolutely perfect, nothing to worry about! I thought the course was very big and bold with lots of rider frighteners but not too technical. There were a couple of fences that made my blood run cold though, number 5 was an enormous ditch (see picture below) and hedge which was taller than me and incredibly wide, there was an alternative so I was planning to see how he felt over the first few jumps as to whether I would risk it or not!

The next day, Murphy started out by being very tense and excited in the dressage warm up so I ended up walking him round on a long rein before my test in an attempt to relax him. I picked him up and trotted straight in to the arena, Murphy did a beautiful calm test for a mark of 31.5 which put us in to second place in our section, clever boy! The show jumping was up to height and very technical, including two related distances, a double, a treble, a hugely wide triple bar and a set of planks running downhill. Brilliant… I was very anxious going into the ring as it is our weakest phase and a very tricky course. Murphy pinged round the track, he unfortunately tapped the last pole on the triple and we had a really silly stop in one of the related distances. We jumped the first part on a really long stride and I let him run downhill into a big upright on the wrong stride, he really didn’t have any choice and popped it the second time. Although it doesn’t look good on paper, I was really pleased by how easy he made the big jumps feel and it was a huge improvement on our last event.

As I was early on I didn’t know how much trouble the cross country was causing (probably a good thing!) Murph was very excited warming up and shot out of the start box, jumping everything brilliantly so I decided to go for the straight route at fence 5. I had nothing to worry about and he flew that and all of the other fences to go clear with 3.2 time penalties as I wasn’t pushing him and the ground was very energy sapping. What a machine!

After washing him off and stuffing polos into his mouth we went home because only a few scores were up and with my show jumping I didn’t think we would get placed. That evening I heard that Murphy had come 8th out of over 35 other combinations, very happy with my pony! The cross country and show jumping had caused absolute carnage with many riders retiring in both phases and only two people were inside the time cross country, so I was thrilled with Murphy’s performance!

I have been competing in my Taurus Lancer Boots and I have been using my Taurus Kentucky short boots for training. My Taurus Holkham Country boots are brilliant for walking courses, being very comfortable and light. Thank you Taurus for providing me with your wonderful boots!”

For more information about the fabulous range of Taurus Footwear Boots available including the pairs Jemima Gray wears visit the website www.taurusfootwear.co.uk 

Jemima showing us why she was daunted by Fence Five at Farley Hall Novice!

jemima Farley Hall Ditch


Show Boots and Ringside Fashion!

Whether you are competing at shows this season or going along to support or watch a friend Taurus Footwear offers a range of equestrian footwear which looks fabulous in the saddle and at the ringside.

Let’s take a look at two of the options available from Taurus


In the Saddle

The Hampton boots from Taurus Footwear feature a fine ribbed rubber sole and an almond shaped, tapered toe – perfect for the show ring. They also boast a scuff-resistant leather upper and a calf leather lining, for a beautifully soft and tactile boot. They’re easy to take on and off thanks to the Honeycomb elastic sides, and come in either Oxblood, Black or Brown.

Children’s sizes 5-2, adults 3-7. From £29.95.



Ringside fashion

Or if you are spectating or assisting you can strike a stylish ringside pose with the Holkham Country or Holkham Rider, a long brown riding boot by Taurus Footwear. This 100% waterproof country boot with a waxy leather upper with a drawstring top, contrast stitching and leatherwork. It also boasts a breathable Perlon lining. The sturdy riding sole or regular sole is non slip.

Sizes: Adults’ standard fit 4-8. Adults’ wide fit 5-8. RRP £189.95.



To view and purchase the Hampton Boot or the Holkham Rider or Holkham Country or discover the huge range of equestrian and country life footwear from Taurus Footwear visit the website: www.taurusfootwear.co.uk 

Pace Adjustments for Cross Country with Taurus Rider Michaela Huntington

Michaela 33 (2)

Taurus Footwear is proud to sponsor Show Jumper, Jump Cross and riding instructor Michaela Huntington. Michaela is a big fan of Taurus Footwear wearing the stylish Lancer Long Boot to compete and the smart short Kentucky Jodhpur Boots for everyday riding.

In our latest blog we pick Michaela’s brains about adjusting the horse’s pace for cross country riding and how to prepare for it in the sandschool.

Michaela says…

“Basic pace adjustment must first be established in the manege. In any XC situation, you are likely to encounter obstacles that should be approached in walk or trot if you have a relatively novice horse; meanwhile, you may need to take a slow and steady canter down a hill without ‘fighting’ your horse’s speed.

The horse should be responsive in both upward and downward transitions in an enclosed area, before competing.

There’s no rush to compete! Work on establishing your upward and downward transitions in the manege – e.g. going up and down the gears, both from one gait to another – from walk to trot, and trot to canter – and also within each pace that you will use across country.

An example of this is going from a slow, contained, bouncy showjumping-style canter along your arena short side at A, to a faster canter along the long side, and then back again at C to a slower pace.

Use circles, school movements and ground poles to help you slow down and then safely accelerate. Ask an instructor for assistance. Eventually, you can utilise these exercises on an open grass area, or XC course.”

So happy riding everyone! And don’t forget your Taurus Footwear boots. To visit the website to see the wide range of equestrian and country lifestyle boots available go to; www.taurusfootwear.co.uk 


Seeing a Stride with Taurus Footwear Rider Michaela Huntington

EQ Life April 2014


Taurus Footwear sponsor Michaela Huntington a show jumper, trainer and producer and Micheala shared her fantastic show jumping advice in the latest edition of EQ Life Magazine. 

In this week’s blog we take a look at Michaela’s advice on seeing a stride and improving your techniques whilst jumping.


Michaela says…

“Reaching your perfect take off point is about being able to adjust your horse’s canter stride, should it be needed. There is a difference between seeing a stride and making a stride, and this exercise will help you understand both. If you are approaching a fence and can see that the take off point is going to be awkward, you need to be able to make adjustments and your horse needs to accept and trust your instructions to him.

Before attempting these exercises, it is necessary that you are comfortable with lengthening and shortening your canter strides on the flat, and your horse is relaxed and happy, even if there is a relatively slight change of pace.

Getting started

You will need two poles set along the three-quarter line of the long side of your arena, ideally five normal canter strides apart. If the available space is too short, it is possible to work with a four canter stride distance, which will be a little more difficult, but less space than that is not viable.

Begin by trotting over the poles to accustom your horse to the obstacles and, when ready, start with a medium canter; stay straight and central and try to put an even five strides between the poles. An assistant on the ground is helpful to be able to slightly adjust the poles so that you have the perfect five strides for your combination.

Always try to remain on the correct canter lead throughout – returning to trot and starting again if needed.

Once you are doing this very well on both reins, try to collect the canter and shorten his stride so that you are able to put an even six strides.

It is important that all strides are the same and not five and a half, and practise should make it perfect. Because you are shortening his canter, you are going to get a little closer to the poles making a ‘deeper’ take-off point and engaging his hindquarters and making him wait for your commands. If you have a horse who tends to rush his fences, this is an excellent training exercise to improve him.

When your horse is used to shortening his canter, try to return to your original five stride distance and alternate the two options at will on both reins.

The next stage is to be able to lengthen your horse’s canter stride and put an even four strides in the distance – for this you may need to go a little too quickly at first but you should remain in control at all times. Because you are lengthening his stride, you will take off further from the poles, known as a ‘longer’ take-off point, which encourages your horse to be bold and to be responsive to your leg-aid.

Once you are able to lengthen his canter stride evenly return back to the five strides and alternate the two as desired, you should also be able to change all three options on both reins at will.

The reason for using this exercise with poles is to give you a point to focus on and ride towards, and improve your control. If it does go wrong, they are just poles and you are unlikely to cause any problems. If you can master these exercises, you will become a better judge of striding and should you approach a jump on a long stride you will have the skills to shorten your horse and reach a better take off point.”

Essex-based Michaela Huntington is sponsored by Norfolk-based Taurus Footwear, who produce competitively-priced, high-quality leather equestrian footwear for all ages, sizes and disciplines.

For more information about the range of equestrian and country footwear available from Taurus Footwear including the boots worn by show jumper Michaela Huntington visit the website http://www.taurusfootwear.co.uk

Top Tips for Choosing Riding Boots from Taurus Footwear

Horse & Countryside May 2014


Taurus Footwear’s very own Jonathan Groome was recently featured in Horse & Countryside Magazine in a guide to excellent footwear, which also featured the fabulous Lancer Long Boot.

Top Tips from Taurus Footwear for Choosing Riding Boots

  1. It is ideal to have closely-fitting riding boots that enhance your leg aids and ‘feel’ with the horse; they should also be a snug fit around your calf to prevent them from catching on the saddle.
  2. Pull-on jodhpur-style boots are suited to pleasure riders, and are often worn with half chaps. These don’t give as much ankle support as a long boot – so if you are riding with a longer length stirrup and are looking to keep a very still lower leg, they may not be ideal.
  3. If you do prefer the simplicity of a short boot, why not consider a paddock boot – these have more ankle support as they tend to have laces and / or a zip, for a closer fit. These look very smart with leather gaiters.
  4. Laced field boots, like the Lancer from Taurus Footwear (now available in a narrow width size as well as regular) have a snug fit at the ankle. This ankle flexibility allows for the shorter stirrup length seen in jumping, but offers protection in terms of ankle support – show jumpers are often seen in unusual positions, for example leaning to one side of the saddle, or pushing off from the ball of their foot to gain balance if the horse cat-leaps. They need to have optimum foot stability, as the ankle acts like a spring for the rider’s limb, and must not collapse.
  5. Plain tall boots are favoured by dressage enthusiasts and a have stiffened side panels to aid a still leg position, and accommodate a longer stirrup length.
  6. Field boots with elastic inserts are very popular for all kinds of schooling and also cross country riding. The elastic inserts on the outside help the boot stretch at the calf; ideal for riders that are out of the saddle in an XC position with the heels down as an ‘anchor’.

To see the full feature in the flesh, why not pick up a copy of Horse & Countryside Magazine today?

Or to find out more about the range of equestrian and country footwear available from Taurus Footwear including long competition boots, short jodphur styles and country life footwear visit the website www.taurusfootwear.co.uk 


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