Absolute Horse - June 2020/July 2020

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Though every attempt is made to ensure accuracy, PCD Media Ltd cannot be held responsible for the opinions expressed in the magazine. The opinions and technical information in the articles are those of the authors.

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the last month of lockdown Careers, Education & Training - including details of a new veterinary degree; the Pony Podcast team talk us through their career journey so far; equine illustrator Emily Cole discusses going selfemployed and following her dream NEW: Ashley Rossiter column - How to write a press release for your equestrian business or service that drives results


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Health & Welfare including deterring flies Samantha Hardingham Riding and your menstrual cycle Rhea Freeman Asks - So you fancy a challenge? Buyer’s Guide - supporting country and equestrian brands Nutrition - including practical advice for feeding the stressy or excitable horse Donna Case Equine Nutritionist - feeding advice for the spooky horse Training & Development with Louisa Milne Home and Harriet Morris-Baumber Saddlery & Tack Classifieds




FEATURES INCLUDE 6 Life During Lockdown including current advice regarding the Coronavirus Pandemic from the BEF and British Dressage; acts of Corona kindness celebrated; fundraising product launches; how to do your bit to support equine charities; setting new goals with Jenni WinterLeach; returning your horse to work with Krista Jones; plus we catch up with the Masterminders to discover what they have leant during



GIVEAWAYS & OFFERS 4 Ariat Saddle Snaps 26 Hawkins Organic discount code 28 Hawkins Organic 43 Holland Cooper / Carl Hester

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April Edition Competition Winners: Mollichaff Jane Medcalf, Cambs; Jane Parkinson, Suffolk; Janice Cousins, Suffolk; Linda Flavell, Cambs; Roger Smith, Essex. Speedi-Beet Chelsea Carley, Suffolk; Donna Wibberley, Suffolk; Francis Bedding, Norfolk; Lesley Gillman, Essex; Shelley Farthing, Essex. The Golden Paste Co Emily Lawrence, Norfolk; Jayne Flynn, Suffolk; Jodie Miller, Suffolk; Kristina Biggs, Essex; Lesley Broom, Suffolk; Louise Fuller, Essex.



- Kate Baker

Friends come in many shapes and sizes...

- Leena Ghosal

“No, you let go first!”

- Livvy Rudd

“Hellooo, anyone going to give us some attention? We’re pretty cute!”

- Vicki Gilbey “You found the invisible salt lick too!”

- Jade Blanchflower

George is not amused.

- Samantha Warren

“Keep calm and let’s pout!” - Alyson Govett “I’m not sure this is quite 2 metres!”

- Alun Williams

- Jodie Sillett

“Look Dad, I don’t have a polo!”

“There is no ‘we’ in food!” - Georgie Mai

“Oh look, it’s a human!”


r - Ambe


“It’s my Birthday!!!!!!”

- Lyn Howlett

“Eenie, meenie...”




- Emma Reedman

- Pauline Whitley “My god I look good in this!”

“Stay back human! I’ve heard about this Coronavirus”

- Jodie Teather Is it a horse or a seal?!


Sponsored by

- Gemma Shanks “Gone with the wind.....literally!” Arg was blown away by the 95th consecutive storm to hit the UK!

- Charlotte Mitchell

- Lucy Bush A face only a horse owner would love!

Just chilling...1 spotty and his chick!


snaps@ ahmagazine.com

- Tegan White

They don’t seem understand social distancing!

- Kelly Jess

“If you can’t say anything nice, just stick out your tongue!”

- Samantha Douglas







ollowing the UK Prime Minister’s broadcast on Sunday 10th May, the Board of British Equestrian (BEF) has convened to discuss their position on riding and training in the current Coronavirus pandemic. Although the crisis remains at stage four, according to the Government’s Covid Alert Levels, the spread of the virus is under control and the peak has now passed. While there has been no major relaxation of lockdown restrictions, the government did announce some changes that enable us to review our advice for the equestrian sector. The recommendation to only ride/drive where strictly necessary was in place to negate any extra burden on the medical and emergency


services. However, with the NHS now operating within capacity, the equestrian public can exercise their own horses, or those in their care, as they require, including hacking. This must be within any UK Government guidelines, including the restrictions on travel that remain in place in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Social distancing must be observed at all times, as should public health, hygiene and biosecurity requirements. BEF continue to request that riders/drivers/vaulters consider the risk of their activity and ride/exercise where it is safe to do so and within their capabilities and fitness levels for them and their horse. Those residing in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland should remain within the boundaries of the

premises where the horses are kept, where at all possible. In addition, for riders in England only, the Government’s relaxation on travel for exercise and call to return to work where you cannot do so from home, means that one-to-one training is also now permitted. Coaches can travel to yards for individual face-to-face training in controlled outdoor environments, while riders can also travel to have one-to-one lessons, as long as social distancing is adhered to throughout. Coaches, for both face-to-face and online training, must ensure that the necessary measures, risk assessments and safeguarding provisions are put in place, including checking insurance cover with their providers. They should only ride a client’s horse where any shared clothing, tack or equipment has been appropriately disinfected and social distancing of two metres can be maintained at all times. Riders are now permitted to transport horses to a venue for an individual lesson or facility hire outdoors. They may meet with one other from outside their household which may be a coach or other participant, all with the proviso that the appropriate social distancing and hygiene practices are in

place. Those involved in travelling to or from a venue must all be from the same household. Venues should conduct full risk assessments and ensure that the required public health, hygiene and social distancing measures are implemented effectively. The BEF Board and Chief Executive will continue to monitor the situation closely, based on direction from the UK Government to strengthen lockdown or tighten travel restrictions, which could lead to a revision in the position on riding and training in England. We will also review any specific requirements across the devolved nations and work with regional bodies to provide specific advice, as the respective governments in each country may continue to enforce different restrictions. BEF Chairman Malcolm Wharton commented; “Right across the country most people have upheld their societal responsibility to help with the management of the pandemic and the equestrian community has certainly risen to the challenge. These have been testing weeks with many riders separated from their horses, coaches and grooms, often without income, and riding schools without their clients – whatever our situation, none of us have been unaffected.

“Many have followed our advice to the letter and some have continued to ride, but as safely as is possible and I thank you all for your support. “Conditions are right that we can soften our message, as we all know the proven health benefits, both in terms of physical and mental wellbeing, that exercising with horses brings. We need to remain vigilant, stay alert and not take any undue risks, so that we can continue to ease towards the full resumption of activity, when the time is right.” British Equestrian will issue a further update on equestrian premises (riding schools, livery yards, training establishments and therapy centres) in due course. A number of the BEF member bodies are releasing their own operational plans, detailing the stages towards a resumption of organised training and competition activity, when it is safe to do so. The BEF is finalising an umbrella plan to complement those plans and act as guidance for the equestrian sector and all of its stakeholders. The BEF believe that wider equestrian activity and some horse sports can adapt well to any social distancing requirements and should be in a position to get underway quickly, once conditions permit and Government gives the go ahead.


OPERATIONAL PLAN STATUS UPDATE urther to the Prime Minister’s announcement, British Dressage (BD) is now in a position to update members on what this means for our sport. Jason Brautigam, BD CEO, commented; “For our members in England, this is positive news and our Operational Plan can now move to the ‘amber’ section of the ‘Response’ phase, to return to riding and training, as we take the first steps towards the full resumption of activity. I’m sure everyone will feel the benefit of being able to enjoy your horses more, both mentally and physically, as we prepare for a return to action over the coming weeks. “This will be on an individual basis initially, rather than organised competition, training and participation activity, as sport itself will not be able to resume until 1st June at the earliest. Based on the Government’s outline roadmap, we would hope to restart training, including test riding days, with the competition calendar recommencing from 4th July onwards. This is a move forwards in the right direction and there is finally some light at the end of the tunnel.”


What does amber status for England mean?

Riders • You can ride on your own, with other members of your household, or with one other person from outside your household, providing you stay two metres apart at all times. • Your coach can travel to you for individual one-to-one lessons in an outdoor setting. • You can transport your horse for a lesson, venue hire or exercise in another location. Anyone who travels with you must be from your household only. Coaches • You can travel to a yard or venue for individual one-to-one lessons in an outdoor setting.

• Clients can travel to you for individual oneto-one lessons in an outdoor setting. • You can train clients online if you wish to continue to self-isolate or shield yourself. • All social distancing, public health and hygiene regulations must be followed at all times. As part of this first phase in the resumption of activity, remote or virtual training and competition activity using BD tests will be allowed to resume for authorised online providers. Prior approval must be obtained by online providers in order to be granted permission to use BD tests. Application forms and criteria sheets are available on request from BD Sport Operations Manager, Lou Jones. Health, Safety and Hygiene Advice 4 Please maintain vigilance and respect these social distancing, personal health and hygiene measures: 4 Do not leave the house if you’re feeling unwell; self-isolate if necessary 4 Those who fall into the ‘at risk’ categories should remain shielded at home 4 Maintain social distancing and keep two metres apart from others at all times 4 Wash your hands regularly with soap or use hand sanitiser / wipes as an alternative 4 Use your own tack and equipment and avoid sharing with others if at all possible 4 Any shared equipment should be rigorously cleaned with antibacterial spray/wipes 4 Clean/wipe any common touchpoint surfaces regularly, such as gates, door handles etc. 4 Use online booking and payment methods to minimise unnecessary contact with others 4 Conduct risk assessments, check insurance cover and maintain first aid provision, where applicable. Toolkits and advice will be made available online for BD coaches and officials.



. Celebrating acts of..




taff and grooms at World Horse Welfare’s Hall Farm Rescue and Rehoming Centre, Norfolk, were delighted to be met by a new addition to the team recently! Mare Winona had given birth overnight to a gorgeous colt foal who was bright and healthy and immediately captured the hearts of everyone at Hall Farm. A social media competition to name the foal was won by the name Captain Tom after Captain Tom Moore, a 100-year old World War 2 veteran who recently raised over £32million for the NHS after walking 100 laps of his garden, aided by his walking frame. Sue Hodgkins, Manager of Hall Farm Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre said: “We decided to pick Captain Tom to name the foal after the inspiring Captain Tom


owestoft Riding for the Disabled (RDA) Group has been awarded £5,000 in emergency funding by Wooden Spoon, the children’s charity for rugby. The Wooden Spoon Emergency Funding Project will ensure that the RDA horses and ponies can be fed. Due to Covid-19 Moore because he shares some in foal or with foals at foot – lockdown restrictions, Pakefield of the qualities we feel our and forgiving. welfares also have to possess in “As Captain Tom grows, his name Riding School had to close to the public on 23rd March and order to survive the ordeals they will also help to remind us of stop all Riding for the Disabled go through before coming into how we all adapted and coped activities. Under normal World Horse Welfare. They have during this lockdown and that to be resilient, stoic, Winona produced this bundle of circumstances, fifty riders a week would benefit from riding and determined, positive, selfless – joy at such a strange time.” which certainly applies to our www.worldhorsewelfare.org/ stable management sessions. Tess Hardy MBE, owner of the mares who come into the farm rehoming riding school for over seventy years, said, “We have ten horses SPILLERS DONATES £2,000 and ponies that are used for RDA activities. It costs in excess of £50 per horse, per week for feed including hay. pillers have kindly donated £2,000 worth of feed to “This is the first time in our long Redwings Horse Sanctuary to help support the charity history we have had to close and through the Coronavirus outbreak. we cannot wait to see smiling Due to the outbreak, the charity has had to close its visitor centres, faces coming through our gates cafes and gift shops which has impacted its ability to raise funds again.” towards the care of its rescued residents. If you think your company could also help call 01508 481000.








he Petplan Charitable Trust (PPCT) has joined together with World Horse Welfare and the National Equine Welfare Council (NEWC) to create a Covid-19 Equine Rescues Emergency Fund. The purpose of the fund is to help smaller equine welfare organisations across the UK who are being significantly impacted by the current crisis. All equine welfare organisations have experienced unprecedented financial and operational challenges as a result of the Coronavirus crisis. On top of looking after the animals in their care with very limited rehoming possible, they have had to close their centres to visitors, cancel fundraising events and see donations dry up during the ongoing crisis. This can be especially devastating for smaller charities. Support for the Fund, which was set up with a commitment of £50,000 from PPCT has already raised a further £80,000 from the RSPCA, The Donkey Sanctuary, Redwings, World Horse

Rainbow bright!


Welfare and the British Horse Society (BHS). The maximum grant will be £5,000 with the expectation that the average grant will be around £2,500. Grants will be decided by a Committee comprising representatives from NEWC, the supporting charities and an independent member, with PPCT administering the fund. David Simpson, Chair of PPCT, stated, “The Petplan Charitable Trust has always supported the tremendous work horse rescues perform and we are delighted to work alongside others to help in these difficult times.” Roly Owers, MRCVS, Chief Executive of World Horse Welfare said, “We are hugely grateful to our sister charities, including the RSPCA, The Donkey Sanctuary, Redwings and the BHS for supporting the Covid-19 Equine Rescues Emergency Fund and to the PPCT for agreeing to administer this vital safety net to smaller, but no less important, equine welfare organisations during this extraordinary time.” The rainbow symbol has become synonymous with showing support for the NHS and the new collection from It’s All a Bit Horse will certainly brighten up tack rooms and stables! The headcollar and fly mask are both decorated with rainbow pride ribbon and the combo fly rug features a unique rainbow design. RRP: £39.99. £5 from the sale of every Rainbow Collection will be donated to the NHS to say ‘thank you’. www.itsallabithorse.com

Vitality Hero Bracelet is crafted from plaited Napa leather and is available in either mulberry, navy blue or black. RRP: £35. £5 from every sale will go the NHS. www.pegasusjewellery.net


ince launching their #harryhallheroes campaign, the team has been inundated with stories about amazing people on the frontline. “It’s so humbling to read the nominations - you don’t need a cape to be a hero,” said Managing Director Liz Hopper. Every nomination will receive a complimentary Bronze membership of the Harry Hall One Club, worth £10. Each week, the two most compelling Hero nominations will also receive a special recognition gift valued between £27 and £162. Alongside the nominations, Harry Hall is also donating 10% of sales to ‘NHS Charities Together’. www.harryhall.com/ harryhall-hero-winners





hroughout April, Fairfax & Favor donated 10% of all online sales to the NHS Charities Covid-19 Urgent Appeal, to support the NHS during the Coronavirus outbreak in the UK. The brand has raised a staggering £61,000 for the charity, and the donation will go towards funding well-being packs and gifts for staff and volunteers on wards, covering the cost of travel, parking, expenses and accommodation for NHS staff and volunteers, along with funding other items as requested by NHS Charities that enhance the wellbeing of staff caring for Covid-19 patients. Fairfax & Favor will be continuing their charitable initiatives, and co-founders Marcus Fairfax Fountaine and Felix Favor Parker have designed a special limited-edition navy and white NHS suede tassel. The NHS tassel was on sale throughout May and priced at £25, with 100% of profits being donated to the NHS Charities Together Campaign. For this latest initiative, Fairfax & Favor hope to raise a further £40,000 for the charity. Marcus and Felix said of the campaign; “We would like to thank our fantastic customers for supporting Fairfax & Favor and the NHS Charities Covid-19 Urgent Appeal trust during this unprecedented time. By working together and supporting those in need we will not only create hope but create a more certain future for everyone affected.” www.fairfaxandfavor.com

Cotswold-based equestrian embroidering and clothing business Stitched Equestrian bring a little light-hearted humour to lockdown living with the launch of their Socially Distant Collection of slogan tops. Perfect for people who love to find the humour in everyday situations, or perhaps as a gift for someone who made antisocial living look easy! RRP: Sweaters £30, hoodies £35 and t-shirts £15. www.stitchedequestrian.co.uk


amily-business, Abbey England, is making the most of its familial ties to ensure that orders are reaching their destination. This is proving invaluable for companies making essential garments for the emergency services. Fourteen family members are involved in the business, and the warehouse is currently being staffed by nine of them.




OW Saddles is a small, familyrun business that produces innovative and bespoke saddles using beautiful leathers and materials. During the Covid-19 pandemic, the need for personal protective equipment such as face coverings has become a necessity for the general public when in enclosed public spaces such as shops and using public transport. David Kempsell, MD of WOW Saddles says, “We felt we could produce fashionable and attractive barrier face masks using our existing manufacturing equipment and materials. With saddle sales slowed and a sudden demand for face masks, we saw an opportunity to pivot; keeping our team of highly-trained craftsmen employed whilst fulfilling a market need. Hence the idea for our innovative and fashionable face mask with reusable, washable filters was conceived.” Handmade face masks are crafted from natural leathers and technical fabrics to create a stylish, fashionable and comfortable, unisex face mask. RRP: from £9.50 - £54.95. www.wowmasks.co.uk




From your sofa!


hile supporters are not able to visit Redwings Horse Sanctuary’s visitor centres at present, there are still plenty of ways you can get involved and support the charity at this challenging time. Whether it’s joining in with one of the Sanctuary’s fun online fundraisers, sponsoring an Adoption Star or donating preloved household items, there’s plenty of ways you can help! Make a new friend! Did you know that when you Adoption Star Zippy in a donated rug

Redwings Adoption Star Fox

Join in an online fundraiser Redwings has organised a number of fun online challenges and fundraisers to help keep the whole family entertained at home and raise funds towards the care of its horses. If lockdown has left you with quite the unmanageable hairstyle, why not have a go at the Redwings Mane Event? Simply donate the cost of your usual hair appointment, send Redwings a photo of your current ‘look’ and the charity will match you with your lookie-likie pony or donkey at the Sanctuary! You’ll even be sent a personalised photo of the two of you together to share with your friends and family on social media. Visit www.redwings.org.uk/news-and-views/the-mane-event to join in!


sponsor a Redwings Adoption Star horse or donkey, you receive a year’s access to their online diary? So even if you can’t meet them in person, you’ll still be able to keep in touch with all their antics at the Sanctuary, with lots of extra photos and stories exclusively for you. A year’s adoption costs from just £15 and makes an ideal gift for a friend or loved one, especially as it’s difficult to get to the shops right now. Every adopter receives a beautiful pack with their new friend’s story and photograph, plus a certificate and friendship card to treasure. And every penny of sponsorship will go towards the care of their Adoption Star and their friends at the Sanctuary. Head to www.redwings.org.uk/adoption to find out more. Time for a spring clean Having a sort out at home and donating your unwanted items is another great way to support Redwings. If you’re a horse owner, the charity would be particularly grateful to receive

donations of clean, good quality tack and rugs. What Redwings is not able to use in the care of its rescued residents will be sold to raise vital funds. To avoid unnecessary travel at this time, please hold on to your items until it is safe to post or drop them off at one of Redwings’ visitor centres. In the meantime, if you think you can make a donation, please email fundraising@redwings.co.uk with the details. Treat yourself! Head over to Redwings’ online shop to purchase some beautiful treats for yourself, from tasty food gifts to luxury soap – all proceeds go towards the charity’s work. Browse the virtual shelves at

www.redwings.org.uk/shop. And if you’re shopping more online recently, why not join the Give As You Live scheme for free and raise money for Redwings at the same time? Every time you shop from a number of major brands, a percentage of your purchase is donated to Redwings at no extra cost to you. Not bad from your armchair!

Enjoy some #HoovesOfHappiness While you cannot enjoy a cuddle with your favourite Redwings residents right now, make sure to visit the charity’s social media pages which are filled daily with photos and videos from across the Sanctuary to help you still get your horsey fix and raise a smile at the same time!


e’ve all heard the jokes about an impending lockdown baby boom, but Redwings Horse Sanctuary is already in the middle of one! Seven adorable foals have been born at the charity’s Norfolk sites since the outbreak began, helping to raise the spirits of equine carers as they work hard to ensure the charity’s 1,500 rescued horses and donkeys remain well cared for at this challenging time. Six of the new arrivals were born to one group of rescued horses, who were brought into the safety of the Sanctuary last year while


pregnant. In true Redwings tradition, the horses were named after distinct themes – in this case, money or currency and famous artists – and so the names of their foals have also followed suit. Now, little Lira, Rupee, Peseta, Ruble, Wonga and Warhol are happily taking their first tentative steps into the world together, but their arrivals have not been without drama! Nicola Berryman, Redwings’ Welfare Veterinary Surgeon, said: “We always keep a close eye on any foals born at the Sanctuary, especially as their mums have often lived through some tough ordeals and their offspring sometimes need extra support. This group of horses posed the additional challenge of being completely unhandled so we had to keep our interventions to a minimum to avoid causing any unnecessary distress, but luckily most of them have been absolutely fine.”


SPECIAL FEATURE: LIFE DURING LOCKDOWN cheduling in a global pandemic wasn’t something a lot of us had in our diaries when it came to planning our 2020 equestrian calendar, but no matter who we are it has without doubt impacted our goals and aims for the season. Now the venues are starting to open up and training has recommenced, it is the perfect time to complete a skills analysis to truly work out where we are and what we need to improve on before the competition season re-opens. The sum of our smaller actions has a much greater impact than picking one large goal and hoping that we will achieve it. Having those smaller steps in place not only makes us more likely to achieve our goal, but it also



Here are some of muscles, trot is better for Krista’s favourite fitness.” exercises to use: • Long reining • In-hand work “This is a great tool to get you “This is a brilliant tool in horse (and you!) back to which you can incorporate fitness. It can replicate the the lateral work and rein back ridden work without the added too. From the ground you can weight of a rider and adds less really ask your horse to bend “As shows are slowly starting strain to the horse when and move its body, helping to to reappear on the horizon compared with lunging. It does improve core strength and and lockdown lifts, our horses take some practice though, so lateral suppleness. It is also are now being brought back if you have never done it really great for getting a very into work,” said Krista Jones of before I would recommend straight rein back, which you From The Ground Up Rehab. getting some help.” can practice between two “The key ingredient of poles. Adding this onto a hill returning your horse to work is • Hill work is even better,” commented to give them plenty of time – “Any slope, however steep or Krista. it is a rare privilege we have long (even a few metres is “If you would like to know any plenty of right now so please enough) is invaluable in more about fitness plans, or do use it wisely. The longer developing the right muscles would like a tailored one then you give yourself and your and is great at encouraging please visit our website.” horse, the lower the risk of your horse to activate them. www.fromtheground injury.” Walk and canter uphill is best uprehab.com for developing the hind


or many of us, the last few weeks have meant we have seen a lot less of our lovely horses, some have had a forced break whilst for others we have chosen to give them a little time off.


artpury University international student Patrick Duncan has launched an exciting new venture that uses algorithms to predict which racehorses could be champions of the future. Patrick’s enterprise, Bio-Cal Thoroughbreds, produces a Biomechanical Analysis Report to provide bloodstock agents, trainers and owners with a scientific and mathematicallybased assessment of the potential ability of racehorses. “Having time during lockdown afforded me the opportunity to develop my website and finally launch my venture, which I have


gives us little wins on route. So what is a ‘skills analysis’ and how do we use it to improve our riding? Skills analysis is understanding where we truly are right now – what we are good at and what we are not so good at, and there are very simple ways in which we can complete this work. It doesn’t take long and will really help you set clear goals for your training. For example: • If you compete in dressage, round up your last few months dressage sheets and have a look through them – which movements did you score consistently well on? Which one’s did you consistently score low on? Are there regular comments cropping up at the bottom of your sheet e.g. ‘lacks suppleness’? • If you jump/event – have you

any videos of your last few rounds? Is there consistently a type of fence that you struggle with or is there anything you particularly notice – are you riding in a good rhythm all the time? Are you able to adjust the paces when you need to? When you have identified these areas, you can start to formulate new goals for your training. The best way to keep these goals and to the plan is to integrate it into what you already do. So for example, perhaps you have noticed your horse needs more suppleness and know that some carrot stretches would help aid your horses mobility. To make sure you don’t forget to do them, place the carrots in your grooming kit so when you open it up you have an instant reminder. Identify just one improvement area to start with and


implement it into your day-today riding, you will be surprised how quickly you will see a

ACHIEVED DURING LOCKDOWN: HOW TO IDENTIFY FUTURE CHAMPION RACEHORSES been working on for the last few years.” Patrick, who is studying the BSc (Hons) Racehorse Performance and Rehabilitation degree at Hartpury University, says these reports will bring major benefits to the international bloodstock industry, in which well-bred horses can change hands for millions of pounds. He explained: “Having had the interest in assessing confirmation of horses at the

yearling sales, and having spent many hours walking the lots with different breeders and trainers, I soon realised that there could be more to just the art of ‘eye-viewing’, and that there could be more of a scientific and mathematical approach to identify the elite thoroughbred. “I started playing with measurements of proven horses and slowly over the last few years have perfected my

change! www.flyingchanges coaching.co.uk

Patrick Duncan inspecting a future racing prospect

algorithm, before launching BioCal Thoroughbreds.” He added: “I don’t want to give away too much about how the algorithms work, but in short, it

enables the accurate prediction from yearling age, of a thoroughbred’s potential racing ability and optimum racing distance.”



ASK A Masterminder... Small & Supercharged Mastermind is an online group supporting small equestrian and rural businesses and, as such, is bursting with amazingly knowledgeable people with lots to share. Each month we’ll be asking them a question and members will be sharing their top tips. This month we’re focusing on the Coronavirus situation…

WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNT THIS MONTH? Catherine Milne, See Change Now “This month I learnt to make a wonderful chocolate mouse using the residue water from a tin of chick peas! I find this quite remarkable and it demonstrated to me that there is always another way to do something and often discovering that comes from working with what you have available. “So much has changed in recent weeks as a result of the pandemic and ways of doing things have had to change too. Accepting, adapting and finding a different way will be key to success. Being prepared to change is a founding principle of my company and whilst now might not be the best time to launch a new brand I remain encouraged that now more than ever we need to embrace and seek out a way to change. And there are always more ways to do that than we realise, we just have to remain positive to find them.” www.seechangenow.com Victoria Bodey, Equiboodle: “I’ve spent the last few weeks reorganising my warehouse, shop and office. It’s given me a time to quietly sort, organise and rehome products. It’s been very therapeutic! I’m feeling ready to reopen when the time is right, knowing the customers will appreciate the changes I’ve implemented whilst on lockdown. It’s kept me focused and attentive to the future rather than dwelling on the present.” www.equiboodle.co.uk


Amanda Marshall, 3 Donkeys Clothing: “I have learnt to ‘take a step back’ and breathe. It is very easy to feel overwhelmed, with keeping going with business and for me personally having to homeschool two small boys (I have a new found admiration for teachers). So I now make sure that I find a quiet place to sit with a cup of tea and perhaps a magazine and just forget about everything for a moment or two and just breathe, and to be there for others who may be feeling the same. Now is the time to take care of ourselves and we will be stronger especially if we all support each other.” www.3donkeys.co.uk Jessie Lee, Jessie Lee Photography “I have learnt that there is no point worrying over the negative impact Coronavirus has had on my business and started investing this time into my business. I realised the importance of learning, and fell in love with learning again! I have spent hours listening to podcasts, doing online courses, learning new Photoshop skills and conversing with our lovely online Small and Supercharged community. You really can learn a lot from other small businesses! “On a personal level, I have learnt to enjoy the little things more. My daily lockdown walk became the highlight of my day. I have also realised that my horses and my dog, Nellie, have kept me from cabin-fever and going a bit insane!” www.jessieleephotography.co.uk

Martha Lily Thompson, Martha Lily Photography

“This month I have learnt even more so than normal that it’s ok to feel not normal. It’s ok to take the pressure off. We have been blessed with this time and we can work on our business and we can also rest. Nothing is a waste of time if we enjoy it and are grateful for it. Being negative won’t change it. We may as well enjoy it. “This great pause has given us so much. We can really sit down

Nicola KinnardComedie, NKC Equestrian Training: “Online learning is so much fun! During the Covid-19 outbreak I have run a Live Horse First Aid Course, via video link with one of our lovely vets delivering the training. It was the same content as our one day course, owners could still ask questions and we all had so much fun. “We were then very lucky to be able to offer an Online Training session with Dr Sue Dyson as well, and it was fantastic to be joined from owners and equine professionals around the world.” www.nkcequestrian.com Ruth Chappell, Dressage Anywhere: “I’ve learned that when things don’t go to plan you should come up with another plan! We closed our online dressage competitions early April but rather than spend the time turning our dwelling into a show home or the garden into something to give Chelsea Flower Show a run for its money, we turned our hand to Hobby Horse dressage! We developed an idea to use the platform we already have to run a special competition with all profits going to the NHS Charities Together Urgent Appeal. It was absolutely fantastic and we raised nearly £4000; the videos of people prancing and piaffing round their gardens and living rooms will be keeping us amused for a long time to come.” www.dressageanywhere.com and reflect on what is working for us now we are not *in* our business we can work *on* our business, and how amazing is that?! “I feel like I’m making better plans and better relationships with people. Clients, friends and family.” www.marthalilyphotography.co.uk

Donna Case, The Horse Feed Guru, “I’ve learnt that if I think I am busy I can always be even busier!! Having to add children and homeschooling into the mix whilst running a business has been a great challenge but actually something that I think will go on to have long term benefits. My patience is even stronger, as is my empathy and I have learnt to park certain things that actually add little value. “I certainly have not been one of those people with the time to clear their house from top to bottom and have a yard sort out, but I have been writing a ta-dah list with small daily wins and actually have surprised myself with what I have actually accomplished! Keep a record of the little things; they stack up!” www.thehorsefeedguru.com Teresa Lewis, Teresa Lewis Art “In the last month I’ve learnt it’s ok to not be ok. I’ve learnt that you have to listen to your mind and your body. You have good days and bad days and that’s ok. “Being in self isolation has meant too many hours on my own - but particularly this month, more than ever, those of us in the small business equestrian retail community have been such an amazing bunch of supportive, kind people. We should, even after we get back to ‘normality’, show kindness and support to everyone. It’s far better to get through this together than it is on your own.“ www.teresalewisart.co.uk Amy Pridige, Muddy Mare Clothing “If Plan A doesn’t work out, always have a Plan B. It keeps you pushing forwards and keeps your head above water. People won’t know what was plan A or B, they just see you going from strength to strength.” www.muddymare.co.uk To find out more about the Small & Supercharged Mastermind group, see www.rheafreemanpr.co.uk




An equine veterinary nursing degree student at Hartpury University

veterinary nursing team. “Our students could also gain experience with more than seventy different animal species on campus, volunteering outside their studies with our animal collection, or as part of our equine and canine therapy centre teams. “We’re preparing our students to practice as RCVS-qualified artpury University has launched a new connections for their careers. veterinary nurses, with the veterinary nursing degree equipping Unique to Hartpury, final-year students will be graduates with high-level expertise to able to further enhance their knowledge in an area clinical and professional skills they need to provide highdrive change in the sector in line with the VN of equine veterinary nursing that particularly Futures Project. interests them, which will help them to stand out quality nursing care, and to help drive forward a vibrant, The four-year BSc (Hons) Equine Veterinary from the crowd when they graduate. rewarding and sustainable Nursing degree at Hartpury – fully accredited by Students will also benefit from access to profession, now and for the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) – is Hartpury’s outstanding facilities, including a future. designed to produce a higher calibre of veterinary Veterinary Nursing Clinical Skills Centre and a nurse than foundation degrees, top-up courses commercial Equine Therapy Centre, an Equestrian “Our close-knit support network, the experience of our and apprenticeships alike. Centre with livery for 230 horses, and an teaching staff, the quality of our The new degree further enhances Hartpury’s experienced teaching team who are all RCVS support for the VN Futures Project – a joint Registered Veterinary Nurses or registered equine degrees, and our excellent relationships with training initiative led by the RCVS and the British veterinary nurses with clinical experience. Veterinary Nursing Association (BVNA) – aimed at Catherine Phillips, Head of the Veterinary Nursing practices across the UK, will help to prepare our students to make ensuring a vibrant, rewarding and sustainable Department at Hartpury University, said: “Our profession. new BSc (Hons) Equine Veterinary Nursing degree, a real difference.” Hartpury University, home to It is a sister qualification to the BSc (Hons) accredited by the Royal College of Veterinary more than 1,800 students, Veterinary Nursing degree at Hartpury, which is Surgeons, will add so much value to the offers undergraduate and also accredited by the RCVS, and will provide profession as well as to graduate outcomes. postgraduate degrees in Sport, graduates with eligibility to join the RCVS “It has been developed by equine veterinary Veterinary Nursing Register, meaning they can nursing experts to provide our graduates with the Equine, Animal, Agriculture and Veterinary Nursing, as well as practice as a veterinary nurse with specialism in vital clinical skills and knowledge to enjoy a equine veterinary nursing. successful and rewarding career in a highly valued postgraduate research and PhD qualifications. The new course features teaching modules across profession. The RCVS, the regulatory body a range of areas, including clinical anatomy, “One of the major benefits of our links with for veterinary surgeons and professional veterinary nursing practice, surgical equine veterinary practices and hospitals is that veterinary nurses in the UK, is nursing, diagnostics and pharmacy management, we’re able to provide students with access to a responsible for monitoring the providing students with flexibility when choosing clinical placement at an approved RCVS equine educational, ethical and clinical their future career path. veterinary nursing training practice. standards of the veterinary It will include a placement at an approved RCVS “Undertaken in one continuous block, this will profession. equine veterinary nursing training practice, which allow our students to develop equine-specific www.hartpury.ac.uk helps students gain valuable experience and clinical skills and become a valuable part of the




The Pony Podcast



aving been through university (Tess a BSc in Animal Biology and Conservation, and Alex an undergrad in Geology and Masters in Petroleum Geoscience) they were presented with a not wholly unique problem. Neither of them wanted to use their degrees. £54k well spent. They initially met at Pony Club AH test training and, when they wound up working on the same yard some five years later, thought it would be a good idea if someone tried to make the learning process for the tests easier. It stayed a pipe dream until Tess was on holiday with her family three months later and in a definitely-not-anattempt-to-escape-them moment, googled ‘how to start a podcast’ and sent Alex a battle plan for when she was back in the country. The rest rather wrote itself. Now in its second year, The Pony Podcast covers interviews with equestrian industry professionals across all disciplines and areas,

highlighting that a career working with horses is not limited to ‘rider, groom or vet’ as they were led to believe in their career counselling sessions at school. It also covers horse and pony care topics to at least Pony Club AH/BHS Stage 4 standard, frequently partnering with a vet to cover more in-depth questions. These episodes also include any relevant recent research, so you can be sure that the information coming out is up-to-date best practice. Despite the podcast’s youth, it’s already packed some serious weight behind its topics. Harry Meade talks through fitness, executive director of the British Equestrian Trade Association (BETA) Claire Williams explains the BETA Naturally Occurring Prohibited Substances (NOPS) Scheme and how to avoid prohibited substances, while Caroline Moore covers training and team tactics at the World Equestrian Games 2018 and Heather Hyde – founder of Neue Schule, talks about bits and bit design. It also features

bridle makers, paramedics, presenters, journalists, physios, rehoming charities, with features on horseball, endurance, mounted games, pentathlon, rider fitness and influencers. Alex and Tess love to involve their listeners so all suggestions for guests and topics are welcome and seriously considered. The podcast has recently expanded into blogs and videos, covering everything from pole exercises to Pilates, with lots of ideas in the pipeline. This podcast is definitely worth listening to. With an informal conversational style, it’s like

THE PONY PODCAST IS THE BRAINCHILD OF EVENT RIDERS AND A TEST HOLDERS TESS BISHOP AND ALEX VAN RANDWYCK. HERE WE FIND OUT MORE... you’re sitting down over a cup of tea with the experts, covering the trials of day to day life and many other relatable experiences that more often than not lead down one tangent or another. You can find all their episodes and more at Apple Podcasts, Spotify and www.theponypodcast.com



Photo: Sophie Lefevre photography


I draw cartoon ponies for a living!

business. It is only natural that I have therefore worked in a kitchen twice and have owned draw cartoon ponies for a my business for eight years. living. Admittedly, this “My drawings started life as a wasn’t the career I set out procrastination tool – I owe it to achieve many years ago; I largely to a series of happy was supposed to be an accidents and the power of Architect,” explained Emily social media that they have Cole. “Today, instead of become a career. The most designing buildings, I am now significant of these ‘happy filling my days drawing horses accidents' arose after I watched doing ridiculous things and Nick Skelton jump onto the translating it across to a range podium too early in the 2012 of British made gift and Olympics. I drew a cartoon homeware products,” Emily replication of this scene in the continued. small hours of the morning and “I am not very good at setting emailed it across to an goals but growing up there were equestrian publication who two things I was adamant that I were asking for photos of never wanted to do; the first was people’s experiences of the work in a kitchen and the 2012 games. I was having a second was to own my own perfectly lovely day before I saw



a message ping into my inbox from British Showjumping saying that they had just seen my drawing and ‘could I give them a call.’ I logically jumped to the conclusion that I had offended someone. Thankfully it was quite the opposite and they wanted to buy the drawing to present to the riders – the surrealness of the moment is just as real as it was eight years ago. “Fast forward a few months and I was receiving a lot of

commission bookings but this came with the slight snag that I was trying to balance this with working in an Architecture practice. Burning the candle at both ends wasn’t sustainable and thankfully my Dad sat me down and told me that I needed to make a decision. I decided that if I didn’t have a go now, I would always wonder ‘what if,’ so I took the plunge and became Self-employed for the first time. “A number of years on and I can confidently say that deciding to take the plunge was one of the best decisions I have ever made. I moved into my first ‘proper’ office space last year, acquired a stray kitten from the lorry depot next door and am presently looking at having to expand my office space already. My job currently involves a selection of commissioned work, advertorial pieces and product design. I have managed to build a range of illustrated products that have all been designed and manufactured in the UK. “My next major project is to work on a book of my drawings - I wonder if in a few year times I will look back at this decision as a good one!” www.emily-cole.com



acing2Learn is the horse racing industry’s new online learning and development platform, as launched by 1st4sport and the British Horseracing Authority (BHA). The platform aims to educate and upskill anyone involved in the racing industry, encouraging them to be the best they can be. www.racing2learn.com




ocial media and marketing consultant Rhea Freeman has become an accredited #SheMeansBusiness trainer, helping to educate and inspire female entrepreneurs to grow their digital skills, particularly on social media. The national programme is run by Enterprise Nation, a community of small businesses and advisors that run events both online and offline all over the UK. The programme is powered and supported by Facebook, ensuring that accredited trainers are up to date with the latest news and training which they can then pass onto people who attend the events they run. “I’m so delighted to have been selected to become and accredited #SheMeansBusiness trainer,” said Rhea. “The initiative is one I’m hugely passionate about as I spend a lot of time helping small businesses, particularly in the equestrian and country space, understand and utilise their social media better, whether this is through my free or membership groups, or my weekly podcast.” See Rhea’s www.rheafreemanpr.co.uk column on www.enterprisenation.com/ page 37! campaigns/she-means-business/

How To Write A Press Release That Drives Results


riting the perfect press release takes skill and talent, but following some basic guidelines can make the difference between the magazine Editor's 'delete or keep' approach to their inbox. Here are my 3 Top Tips: appearing in print. Just as a state-of-the-art tractor will not appeal to a glossy women’s fashion title but will appeal to Farmers Weekly, you need to tailor your press release mailshots to the relevant media.

Is It Newsworthy? Sounds pretty obvious, right? Well, you would be surprised how many businesses believe that their story is national breaking news. While we don’t wish to dampen your enthusiasm, you may need to step back and take a proper look and imagine if this story would be of interest you if you knew nothing about the brand, product or person. Think About The Media Targeting the most relevant media for your story will dramatically increase your chances of your press release

Short & Sweet Column space is at a premium in print media. Don't write a short novel. Editors will generally only put a few lines per story - a paragraph or two at most, so don't give them more work to do by giving them a long and lengthy document. Who, when, where, or why including details of the price, website address and telephone number are essential. Don't forget to include details of who to contact for more information and a high-resolution quality image.


www.mirrormepr.co.uk @mirrormepr Tel: 0207 043 2345


HORSERACING DEGREES: PROVIDING WINNING ROUTES INTO DREAM CAREERS artpury University has launched a programme of specialist degrees driven by industry professionals to enable graduates to succeed in the horseracing industry. The BA (Hons) International Horseracing Business and BSc (Hons) Racehorse Performance and Rehabilitation degrees provide students with the industry experience that employers are looking for, to increase the effectiveness of their business.



grew up in the centre of London and pestered my parents from an early age to learn to horse ride. “During these days I did seem to particularly enjoy tack cleaning and when the time came to decide on the course of my future and university, I wanted to do something with horses as a career. “My parents knew that Cordwainer’s College in Mare Street did leather courses so we went along to an open evening. “I originally just wanted to make things out of leather. I was not really aware that Master Saddler existed but once I did know about it, the title then became my ambition. “I had an interview with Line Hansen at Cordwainer’s College at Capel Manor College, Enfield. I took along to the interview a miniature set of harnesses I had made for a model horse which seemed to impress as I was offered a


The performance and rehabilitation course combines industry experience with strong practical knowledge of racehorses, while the business students will take a closer look at the governance and structure of international racing. Impact-driven equine research at Hartpury – one of the largest equine educational establishments in the world – is aimed at further enhancing welfare standards and ensuring best practice within the industry. The racing modules are being taught by lecturers with in-depth experience of racing and a wealth of contacts: Saranna Jordan worked for Grand National-winning trainer Venetia Williams for a decade and was assistant to 15-time champion trainer Martin Pipe; Fiona Dowling worked for Gold Cup and Grand Nationalwinning trainer Gordon Elliott as well as spending many years working internationally. Students are also gaining hands-on experience working with the world-class facilities at Hartpury’s Equestrian Centre, including the Racewood MK10 Racing Simulator within the Margaret Giffen Centre for Rider Performance. “The degrees have been designed to meet the needs of the industry and our contacts have been very supportive of our courses. Many of the students are currently working with trainers locally, which enables our graduates to hit the ground running and go straight into their chosen career,” explained Saranna.

place on the next course. “I started there doing the Cordwainer’s Diploma in September 2000. I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Cordwainer’s, and achieved my City & Guilds Saddlery Skills Assessments at Level 1 and all three level 2s as well as learning to drive and living part of the time away from home. During my second year at Cordwainer’s, Line put me in touch with Laurence Pearman of Stroud Saddlery and I started full time at Stroud the summer after completing my HND before eventually going selfemployed making bespoke bridles which I do now. “I am always looking for the next big thing in the fashion of bespoke bridlework, which is always led by our customers and what they ask for. Most are amazed that they can literally have any width or length as each bridle is cut and made specifically for them.”

My Dream Job... Issi Russell

‘We started supporting Zara Phillips with bespoke bridlework. Zara was one of the very first to really use our bridle design in competitions”



ost of us look forward to summer – long hacks down leafy lanes and horses relaxing in grassy fields and warm sunshine, but no sooner does the weather improve than out come the bugs! It can often seem that the insect population is out to make your horse’s life a misery, from stable flies biting his ankles to horseflies driving him into a frenzy in the field! Summer showers followed by warm sunshine provide the ideal conditions for flies to proliferate, so our changeable weather is an ideal breeding ground for the fly population! To beat this, you need a proper bug defence program. Advances in technology and an understanding of insect control indicate that a combination of management and chemical control now provides the most sophisticated and cost-effective means of protection. Understanding the enemy is key to the winning the battle and reducing the attractions that lure them to the area is a good starting point. The majority of flies prefer to lay their eggs in moist, decaying organic matter, where the larva develops into pupa, from which the adult emerges. The abundance of fly and insect populations is affected by temperature, moisture levels and humidity, and stables, yards and barns provide the ideal breeding environment. The key to controlling numbers of flies and insects is to break the breeding cycle. Preventing moisture in potential

Summer Flies


fly breeding areas is the critical factor in fly control and implementing some key yard management tactics can have a profound effect. So, take a walk around your stable area looking for places that insects will find enticing and clean them up. • Remove manure regularly and keep the area around the muck heap clean and dry and ensure that the heap is as far away from the stables as possible. • Clean up around taps and hosepipes and ensure that watering systems are well maintained to prevent leaks.

• A concrete apron with a gradient around stables and barns will help keep the area clean and dry • Remove accumulated bedding in hard to clean areas such as under feeders and automatic water bowls, in corners and around fences and rails. • Ensure good ventilation and airflow to prevent moisture build up and allow bedding and floors to dry. A common misconception is that flies are at their worst in the summer during the day. This is not always the case and can vary

depending on where you are in the UK. If you are turning your horse out overnight you may still need a fly mask, fly rug and spray, especially if the grazing is nearby water or woody vegetation. With the variety of climatic conditions throughout the USA this problem is multiplied, so it is not surprising that some of the best insect control products have been developed there by the Absorbine Fly and Insect Control Research Centre, including the UltraShield range. Continued overleaf...




Blackfly Horsefly Stable fly Mosquitoes Midges “no-see-ums”

Running water Shade and woody vegetation Manure and rotting vegetation Water Standing water, manure, and decaying vegetation

Morning and late afternoon Morning and late afternoon Daytime Dusk to early morning Twilight to dawn 23

HEALTH & WELFARE: FLIES Continued from previous page...

A high quality, long lasting fly spray is a must in any horse care kit and the UltraShield Insecticide and Repellent fits the bill. It kills biting and nuisance insects on surfaces and contains active ingredients Permethrin and Pyrethrin, providing instant ‘knock-down’ when insects come into contact with it, as well as a long-lasting protective ‘shield’. It is ideal for use in and around paddocks, stables, field shelters, and for use in horse boxes. A fly mask is a must to prevent flies congregating around your horse’s face, especially their eyes. The UltraShield Fly Mask

Jayne Ross, 7 times HOYS Supreme Champion using UltraShield Green all natural body spray

range is designed to keep horses cool, dry, and comfortable using high-tech fabrics, structured eye darts and a mesh that blocks 80% of UV rays. They stay put with a two-way controlled

Suggested Product...

stretch fabric, extended fabric around the ears and a strong double-locking hook and loop closure featuring wider velcro, plus rolled inner seams preventing rubs and irritation. To compliment the UltraShield Fly control products, UltraShield Green is the perfect conditioning spray for soothing horses in the warmer summer months. It is an all-natural, non-chemical body spray with a mix of seven aromatic oils, including thyme, cedarwood, lemongrass and citronella and has a fresh herbal aroma. The reality is that flies and pests go hand in hand with keeping horses. Not only do they bite and sting, they spread disease and can cause bacterial and fungal infections, so it is vital to keep your horse

The new Bucas Sweet-Itch X Light rug is made using the Bucas Sweet-Itch polyester fabric on the upper and an open mesh fabric on the lower part. The specially developed fabric blocks entry of even the smallest of insects. The upper part of the rug completely shields the areas of the horse that are prone to Sweet Itch. The rug also has the benefit of being light weight for use on warm days as the lower open mesh helps cool the horse by allowing air to circulate. The Bucas Sweet-Itch X Light also helps in protecting against sun bleaching. RRP: £125. www.zebraproducts.co.uk


as bug free as possible. Although it is almost impossible to eradicate all of them, with a two-pronged approach of good housekeeping and high-quality fly control products you can ensure that you not only protect your horse but make its life a lot more comfortable. www.absorbine.co.uk





To Flies




lies and other biting insects can be a real nuisance to horses during the summer months and for some this can lead to uncomfortable skin conditions such as sweet itch. For horse owners, it is not pleasant to see their horse covered in flies as they can sometimes become quite distressed, as they try to relieve themselves of the irritation. Without adequate protection fly bites can cause the skin to become sore and infected. To make sure your horse is comfortable it is important to always be conscientious about removing sweat, especially following exercise, as sweat attracts flies. Activ Scrub from Robinson


Animal Healthcare is an antibacterial cleansing scrub that can be used as a body wash post-exercise. Veterinary Cotton Wool is ideal for using to wipe away discharge from the delicate eye area that could attract flies. Made from

Suggested Products...

100% pure cotton, the premium quality cotton wool is soft, absorbent and gentle on the skin. All cotton used in manufacturing is sustainably grown and is 100% natural and degradable. www.robinsonhealthcare.com

The Veredus Soundless Fly-Fringe is hand crochet, made from washable and breathable cotton. The ears are made out of specialist sound-absorbing material which helps the horse to concentrate and reduce the possibility of the horse becoming distracted. RRP: ÂŁ58. www.zebraproducts.co.uk


Lemon Aid is an after exercise anti-fly wash. With organic lemongrass, no-rinse necessary. Chemical free. RRP: ÂŁ9.95/500ml. www.hawkinsorganic.com

Soothit Cream is a liquid cream version of Lotion E with added lavender to extend the residual activity on the surface of the skin and enhance the tea tree oil activity. Not only will the lavender oil enhance the soothing effect on the skin, but also significantly increase the insect repellent properties. RRP: £9.25. www.animal-health.co.uk

ManeTain is a superior, high quality, non irritating mane and tail conditioner, protector and detangler. Containing tea tree oil, which acts as a natural skin conditioner, natural insect and fly repellent. Formulated to protect each hair fibre against natural damage. Use either on dry or a just washed mane or tail, as a leavein conditioner. A great product to help you get through a tangled mane and tail, simply spray onto a dry mane and brush gently through, it will leave the mane shiny but not greasy. RRP: £10.35. www.animal-health.co.uk

Aniwell’s FiltaBac & AMHVet...


SUMMER SUN, FLIES AND IRRITATIONS lies irritate, bite and can cause dangerous physical situations for those on the ground or mounted on especially sensitive horses. Prevention with insect repellants/deterrents, keeping the yard and paddock areas clean and clear of manure will help keep fly numbers down. Providing the horse with physical barriers to ease the misery from the fly worry work well. Sweet itch is the most wellknown of the seasonal insect problems. The allergic reaction to the saliva of the Culicoides midge unfortunately has no known cure - therefore prevention is the key. Removing horses from the midges breeding grounds (sheltered boggy marshlands) to an exposed, dry area will reduce the incidence of midge infestation, close fitting blankets and head covers and an application of a thick antibacterial protective cream such as FiltaBac to exposed areas unable to be covered, will deter biting. When flies or Culicoides midges have broken the skin and cause weeping wounds - preventing infection and reactions is paramount. Clean the wound area with clean water or a mild antiseptic solution before applying a thick layer of Aniwell’s Active Manuka Honey


Vet (AMHVet) which is ideal for treating and soothing the irritation caused by biting and sucking insects. In the thick, sticky base the active manuka honey is less likely to attract insects. If you are concerned about insects becoming ‘stuck’ in the AMHVet, Aniwell suggest covering the AMHVet with a moderate layer of FiltaBac this will protect the AMHVet, insects are not attracted to it at all, and will provide extra skin protection. NZ’s active manuka honey has a unique property – methylglyoxal, which allows the honey to be effective as a broadspectrum antimicrobial agent, provides a nonirritating cleansing action to the wound bed, and is soothing. All the active manuka honey used in Aniwell’s AMHVet products is tested for an activity factor of 15+ (MGO 500) or above. FiltaBac is a thick, antibacterial total sunblock protection cream.

Used extensively for protecting skin prone to burning, including dew burn on fetlocks and for protecting cuts and minor wounds from the environment. Both AMHVet and FiltaBac are must haves for your tack box and first aid kits. Stay safe and protected from the summer sun and seasonal insect woes. Available at veterinary clinics, equine/pet supply stores, pet pharmacies and on-line stores. www.aniwell-uk.com


HEALTH & WELFARE Suggested Products...


Multi-Coloured Quarter Sheet is a technical, lightweight, highly breathable rug that has been designed to keep the horse cool during warmer days. The fluorescent close-knit mesh fabric and co-ordinating reflective banding offers good visibility and also discourages flies from biting. Likewise its extra-large tail also deters the flies from that area. RRP: £34.99. www.equisafety.com

Think Fly Spray utilises the Denis Brinicombe Group’s patented PST22 technology to deter flying insects. Its organic ingredients with zero added chemicals means that its kind and safe for horses, their riders and for the environment. RRP: £16.95. www.brinicombeequine.co.uk


onest Riders is RRP: £11.95 each. delighted to announce a new brand, Honest Horse, has joined its stable. Honest Horse represents a revolution in horse care, bringing highly effective yet natural, cruelty-free, lowwaste choices to the equestrian world. “Honest Horse has developed three variants of shampoo bar made from 100% natural ingredients which not only do the job of cleaning horses until they shine, but also cause no harm to the environment in the process,” said Zoe Kiff from Honest Riders. www.honestriders.co.uk



Hawkins Organic offers natural grooming products for dogs, horses, and humans. Made in Suffolk without any nasty or harsh chemicals they are not only gentle and effective, but smell great too due to the organic essential oils they contain. For horses there is a selection of hoof gels, shampoos, fly repellents, no rinse washes and stain removers. Used by professional riders including Burghley winner Caroline Powell and International Showjumper Trevor Breen. www.hawkinsorganic.com

To enter: Visit www.absolutehorsemagazine.com and click on the Competitions page. Entries open 1st June 2020 and close 31st July 2020.


ne vaccination will protect several horses

Just think about humans, who is offered a free flu vaccination? The young and the elderly are, because these groups of people Preventative health care is so (and it’s the same with horses) important, and Equine often have a reduced immunity. Influenza and Tetanus This idea cannot be applied to vaccinations are a cornerstone tetanus vaccinations, as this is of this. Sadly it is estimated not an infectious disease which that only 35-40% of horses are is passed from horse to horse so vaccinated, and a common vaccinating one horse will not vaccination myth is the idea protect another horse. that it is ok to only vaccinate Cold tea (or any old eye one horse (usually the medication) will be competition horse), and not sufficient to fix ANY eye worry about the younger or condition older animals. Any eye condition should be Some owners are under the taken as seriously as colic, and (wrong) impression that owners must call their vet vaccinating one horse will straight away if their horse has a somehow offer immunity or sore, swollen or closed eye. protection to their other A popular myth is that applying horses. There is a degree of cold tea to a swollen eye will validity to this argument, but ‘cure it’, and owners often swear it is not a safe, or reliable way that this has ‘fixed’ their horse. to protect horses from Did it, or did they get extremely potentially deadly diseases. lucky and the horse’s eye got



better on it’s own? It is important to understand that two common eye conditions (corneal ulcers and uveitis), require different treatments, and that re-using an old medication could make the situation worse.

Human products will fix anything Sudocrem, and sometimes wound cream, are often found in a horse first aid kit, and many owners believe that Sudocrem is suitable for topical application to wounds. Whilst Sudocrem can be a useful barrier product, helpful for mud fever prevention, it can actually ‘clog’ up a wound, stop the wound from ‘breathing’ and even delay healing. We have a much better understanding of how wounds heal nowadays, and more suitable products, such as hydrogel, to use.

More hibiscrub the better Hibiscrub is another staple for many horse first aid kits, but it is not what we recommend owners use to clean wounds with. Hibiscrub is designed for surgical use, and it is too strong, it kills good and bad cells, it can delay

wound healing and often owners are using it at the wrong concentration. If you wish to use hibiscrub it should barely colour the water, and it is certainly not a case of the more the better. Hibiscrub is best kept for use under guidance of your vet, and saline solution is a better choice for wound cleaning. Force walking a horse with colic If your horse has colic it is essential to call your vet in the first instance, however many owners are still under the impression that they must continually walk the horse, ‘forcing’ it to do so if necessary. Whilst gentle hand walking can be helpful, distracting the horse and calming the owner it is no longer recommended to actively encourage the horse, or to walk the horse for hours on end.

Do you have a favourite horse care myth? I would love to hear the myths that you have encountered in the horse world - share them with me by visiting my website or social media platforms. www.nkcequestrian.com





f you’re not riding at the moment, either because of the current restrictions, box rest* or retirement, why not try giving your horse a gentle massage? It’s a great way to make sure that their body is getting some stimulation and checking that all is well. It stimulates the blood supply in the superficial muscles helping them to get rid of any lactic acid and other toxins and is

good for the coat and skin. It’s also a very bonding way to spend some time with them. Make sure your horse has had at least an hour to digest their feed, then start stroking them from the poll down the neck, in slow, sweeping movements, following the direction of the horse’s muscle with the open palm of your hand. Stand behind the stroke, but don’t push. This massage stroke is called effleurage and is the most widely used stroke in massage.


particularly enjoying it. Then repeat the process on the other side of the horse. If your horse isn’t used to being massaged they may move away from your hands to begin with, as most horses have been taught to move away from pressure. However, if you’re gentle and patient they will realise that it’s something enjoyable and will soon start to stand still and relax into it. Built into your routine as a nice treat and for maintenance in-between professional treatments, even if you only have time for ten-minute sessions, it will be something that you and your horse will enjoy together and will enrich your relationship. www.equiheal.co.uk

Kate with Eldorado at Athena Herd

* if in doubt check with your vet that massage is appropriate at this time.


Continue down through the chest, over the shoulder and back, down through the abdomen and over the loins and hindquarters. Be mindful of not standing behind your horse, particularly when massaging the sensitive hamstrings. You can stroke down the legs, but remember that there is no muscle below the knee, so only very gentle stroking here. You can go over the same area three times – with light, medium and then firmer strokes. But remember to use very little pressure – you’re doing this for wellbeing and relaxation only – and be particularly gentle over bony areas like the shoulders and hips. It’s useful that you can feel differences in skin temperature and any lumps and bumps as you go, much more easily than you can when grooming. Keep an eye on your horse’s face and body language and note any reactions to sensitive spots or where they are

ith winter now a distant memory, along comes the summer months with their own set of associated ailments that can rear their ugly head and spoil the best made plans. Just as mud fever is more prevalent in winter, certain conditions are more common during the summer, so it is important to ensure your first aid kit is fully stocked with the products appropriate for the time of year. Animalintex is arguably the most versatile product in any equine first aid kit with the ability to treat a range of different conditions and is the only poultice and wound care dressing that is licenced by the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD), meaning it is strictly controlled to ensure efficacy, safety and consistency. Each poultice contains two active ingredients, Boric Acid to kill infection and promote faster healing, and Tragacanth to draw out dirt and infection and reduce inflammation. This, in combination with different layers of absorbent material, padding and a low adherent wound facing layer creates the proven formulation of Animalintex. As a licenced product it can be used to treat a wide range of ailments that are more likely to occur during the summer months.


Laminitis A painful and serious condition, where the sensitive

Dealing with


laminae inside the hoof wall become inflamed, causing lameness. If you suspect your horse or pony has laminitis you should always call the vet immediately. Animalintex Hoof Treatment applied as a hot, wet poultice can help improve circulation and ease the pain associated with the condition.

Bruised Sole As the temperature rises during the summer months and with reduced rainfall the ground can become hard, increasing the risk of a bruised sole. To help ease the discomfort of a bruised sole, Animalintex Hoof Treatment should be applied as a hot, wet poultice, every eight hours for up to three days. When applied as a hot, wet poultice to treat a bruised sole, Animalintex improves blood flow helping to reduce swelling, whilst the warmth of the poultice provides comfort and relieves the horse of pain. Strenuous Training Riding on hard ground increases

concussion and can have a negative effect on the leg structures. This concussion may result in inflammation and swelling, injuries to tendons and muscles. Animalintex can be used as a dry padding to help relieve inflammation and can be highly effective for treating slight sprains. It can also be used cold from the refrigerator for additional cooling.

Abscesses Foot abscesses can occur at any time of year, with a puncture wound to the sole of the foot the most common cause. A vet or farrier will need to locate the abscess and drain the pus. Once the pus has been drained the foot must be cleaned, before applying Animalintex and securing in place with Equiwrap, to draw out any remaining pus.

months horses spend more time in the field where injuries can occur. Injuries sustained as a result of a puncture wound can become contaminated or infected and will require the use of a hot poultice to draw out the pus. A hot, wet poultice increases the blood supply to the injured area, providing more oxygen and white blood cells which fight infection. The improved blood flow reduces the swelling whilst the warmth of the poultice relieves the animal of pain, providing comfort. Whatever the type of injury, always remember to change the Animalintex poultice at least once every twelve hours. www.robinson healthcare.com

Infected wounds During the summer






hen the British Equine Veterinary Association (BEVA) issued new guidelines in response to the Covid-19 pandemic many horse owners found themselves in a situation they had never imagined. Following advice from the UK Government to reduce the spread of the virus and protect the NHS, BEVA announced that vets were only able to attend emergencies and that all routine and non-essential work should stop, including vaccinations, poor performance/mild lameness examinations and routine dentistry. With restrictions in place and with the real prospect that this may not be a one-off occurrence, we all owe it to our horses to step up preventative healthcare and to reduce the pressure on vets when restrictions are in place. Why wait for your horse to start showing symptoms when you could detect an issue and prevent ill health from ever taking place?


Many horse owners are used to testing their horses for worms with faecal samples and saliva tests and new technology at an affordable price means that a complete health check of the horse’s gut can now be carried out too. The cost of the test that can flag up potential issues is minor in comparison to a vet’s bill if your horse becomes ill. Leading expert in gut health, EquiBiome, has brought a revolutionary test kit to the market which gives horse owners an accurate insight into the levels of good and bad bacteria in the hind gut. The EquiBiome test provides a real-time snapshot of the hind gut microbial community to get rid of the guess work and once an individual horse is tested a report is produced which includes advice on practical changes that can be made to diet and routine to improve health and performance. The bacteria of the hind gut make a huge contribution to the health of your horse, including temperament, energy levels, nutrient availability and vitamin

production. Your horse is what he eats and the success of the diet depends first of all on what is going on in the gut. Scientific research has linked every common gastrointestinal health problem to the gut bacteria. Horses with colitis, colic, inflammation, EMS and laminitis have different gut bacteria than those that are healthy. The 'biome' is a 'whole community', the bacteria interact with each other, producing benefits and interacting with their host. Pathogenic bacteria (disease causing ‘bad’ bacteria) can take over the microbiome community if not kept in check by the good gut bacteria. Many pathogenic bacteria can travel from the gut to other parts of the body where they can cause health problems for horses. Knowing what type and how many of the good and the bad bacteria, gives valuable insight into the type of diet that can help, and the type of pro and prebiotic that will suit the biome. Many of the bacteria within the list of pathogens are

linked to gastrointestinal upsets such as diarrhoea, inflammation and discomfort. The EquiBiome Test identifies them all and gives insight into management. Managing the hind gut has never been possible before the development of next generational sequencing of the bacteria DNA. The test is so accurate that it can identify water contamination (arsenic/nitrate/nitrite), dietary deficiencies, mineral and vitamin imbalances, acidosis, antibiotic resistant bacteria and emerging pathogens. EquiBiome uses Illumina MiSeq to generate the test report, this is the most accurate and up to date technology, preferred by geonomic researchers around the world. In horses, the knowledge and science relating to the microbiome and its links to health and disease are increasing thanks to EquiBiome as they have the largest library of equine data in the world and they use this information to identify and accurately describe what makes up a healthy biome.

How do I take the EquiBiome Test? The EquiBiome Test Kit is ordered online at equibiome.org and once it arrives follow the instructions and return your horse’s faecal sample for testing. You will then receive a detailed report with recommendations to improve your horse’s gut health. With the right management, based on facts not guess work, your horse’s gut health can be improved. www.equibiome.org

When it comes to your equine first aid kit, it’s worth saving some space for Aloeride an equine feed supplement, made in the UK from the finest grade of pure organic aloe vera available. The taste free easy to feed powder sachets can assist acceleration of wound repair, rejuvenation and recovery. Aloeride also helps support the immune system whilst offering anti-inflammatory properties, making it ideal for horses recovering from illness, post operation and for those horses on box-rest. RRP: £55.20 (month’s supply). www.aloeride.com

pony’s owner, Patrick Eagle, has been banned from keeping horses for ten years after allowing a headcollar to become very badly embedded in the pony’s head, causing a severe wound which became infected and infested with maggots. The pony, now named as Moses, came to the attention of World Horse Welfare when Field Officer Charlotte Melvin visited a group of cobs after a member of the public reported concerns for their welfare. Charlotte noticed a strong smell of infection when she approached the last pony on the site during a visit in October 2019. On closer inspection Charlotte discovered that the pony, a piebald colt estimated to be around two years of age, had a severely embedded headcollar. The wound was very badly infected and full of maggots. Charlotte contacted the RSPCA, police, local vets and a transporter. The pony was removed under Section 18.5 of the Animal Welfare Act and transported to the vets for urgent treatment. Moses made a full recovery from his injury in the expert care of the World Horse Welfare team and will be found a new home via the charity’s rehoming scheme when he is ready.


Photos: World Horse Welfare

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HORSES... ComfortStall


id you know that standard rubber matting is only 3% softer than concrete? Introducing ComfortStall by Haygain, a unique orthopaedic, fully sealed and impermeable surface which helps to promote healthy horses from healthy stables. The orthopaedic foam provides superior comfort and cushioned, anti-fatigue support to joints, tendons and ligaments helping to

prevent and manage a wide range of musculoskeletal health issues such as hock sores, hoof pain or osteoarthritis. ComfortStall also offers excellent respiratory health benefits as the fully sealed, padded design eliminates the need for deep, dusty stable beds and stops the accumulation of any bacteria and harmful ammonia gases that tend to build up in the gaps or underneath traditional rubber mats. This special surface requires no maintenance and by reducing your stable expenses, it can pay for itself in just over a year – what’s not to love? www.haygain.com



Water, water, everywhere...

eeping your livestock, plants and trees healthy is the passion and expertise of SCH Supplies, and as manufacturers of waterers, no one understands the importance of adequate hydration better. With capacities from 25 to 2000 litres, SCH watering units are typically towed behind a ride-on lawnmower or a small tractor, allowing plants and animals far from your fixed water source to thrive. Bulk transporting water is one of the easiest ways to save time. The Fast Tow Animal Drinking Trailer eases the transport of water to animals grazing in remote areas. A 900 litre (200 gallon) baffled tank is mounted on a fast tow chassis which includes brakes, lights and mudguards. A removable


drinking bowl complete with a float valve is fitted to the rear of the tank which automatically keeps the water bowl full. The Animal Drinking Cart ADC has a capacity of 600 litres (132 gallons), saving you countless journeys from your fixed water source to your livestock. The tank is removable to leave a useful flatbed trolley that could be used for feed bags, bedding and tools. The 270 litre Animal Drinking Water Carrier features a reliable

petrol pump which will allow you to fill up drinking troughs quickly, or spray water over vegetation. The water tank is mounted on a welded steel chassis and has low ground pressure wheels for use over unfriendly ground. The Rough Terrain Water Carrier small water tanker is ideal for reaching animals in rough terrain areas. The large surface area of the wheels helps to prevent the carrier from getting stuck or bogged down. The

Fast Tow Animal Drinking Trailer

water may be dispensed at speed using a 12-volt pump powered from the towing vehicles electric supply. The water can also be discharged from a ¾” tap on the rear of the container. For a free 80 page brochure featuring over 200 British built machines, contact SCH on 01473 328272. www.schsupplies.co.uk

Animal Drinking Water Carrier Rough Terrain Water Carrier

Animal Drinking Cart ADC

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Step up with ease on to a brightly coloured Stubbs Mountie from Abbey England. A versatile mounting block made from tough and durable Stubbythene moulding with slip resistant treads and rounded corners, the Mountie is stackable and can be carried by one of two rope handles. RRP: Around ÂŁ36.99. www.abbeyengland.com

When it comes to keeping leg wound dressings clean, dry and protected from insects this summer, Golly Galoshes are ingenious waterproof, breathable and versatile leg gaiters that dispel the need for additional protective bandaging. Golly Galoshes also eliminate direct contact with bedding or droppings. RRP: from ÂŁ26.99. www.gollygaloshes.com



Menstrual cycle

HEALTH AND WELLNESS COACH SAMANTHA HARDINGHAM IS QUALIFIED TO HELP HER CLIENTS BUILD A LEAN, STRONG, HEALTHY BODY AND MIND THROUGH BOTH EXERCISE AND NUTRITION. RUNNING ONLINE COMMUNITY GROUPS SUCH AS ‘THE BODY MIND COACH GROUP’, AS WELL AS HER WEEKLY BOOT CAMPS, SPORTS MASSAGE, AND ONE-TO-ONE TRAINING/NUTRITION SESSIONS, SAMANTHA EDUCATES, TRAINS AND TEACHES HER MEMBERS TO FULFIL THEIR HEALTH AND FITNESS POTENTIAL BY OFFERING DAILY INSPIRATION, MOTIVATION AND SUPPORT TO ALL. ’ve not written about this subject here before but your menstrual cycle is definitely something to take into consideration for you and your horse. It always affected my riding physically and mentally but nobody ever explained how I could navigate my way through the PMT or premenstrual tension. If only I’d have known then what I know now! I’m forever going on about fuelling your body for your menstrual cycle but it’s also important that you work your riding and training around it aswell for maximum benefit.



There are four phases of the female cycle, follicular, ovulation, luteal and menstrual. The luteal phase, the week before your period, you may feel extra tired, weaker physically and unusually hungry. This is normal! It’s your body preparing itself. Be aware of lifting heavy items around the yard as there’s an increase in dislocations in women during this phase. The same goes for your riding, if you’ve got a


strong or tricky horse, it may be that you’d be better off hacking out or having a rest day or two at this time. If you were considering starting a new diet during this phase you’d be almost guaranteed to fail as you need up to an extra 300 calories per day which could blow your required calorie deficit. The best time to start a diet would be in the follicular phase giving your body time to adjust, aiding your nutrition with lots of dark green leafy veg plus a bit of dark chocolate throughout the month to ride out all those cravings, excuse the pun. Equally this is the best time in your cycle where you have more energy and likely to feel on top of your game. If you suffer with PMT a bit of planning around your cycle could enhance the progressions you make with your horse and in your riding. www.facebook.com/ ItsTheBodyMindCoach/ www.instagram.com/ samanthahardingham


uper X Country has launched a brand new product, SXC Maternity Leggings… and also announced something else through the images showing the product! Founder of Super X Country, Becci Harrold, decided to design and manufacture these leggings after finding a gap in the market last year, when she found out she was pregnant. “During my pregnancy, I’ve wanted to remain as active as I could and even though I don’t ride at the moment, I still wanted to feel connected to my horsey friends and have something that was comfortable to wear on the yard. And so I designed these. They make you feel amazing – which is not always easy – and still have all the features of the best selling Candy leggings, but with a comfort pregnancy band attached. I’ve been living in these over the last few months!” RRP: £29.99. www.superxcountry.co.uk

RHEA Asks...




ou might have seen a few challenges circulating on social media (I take responsibility for the #socialsupercharge one!), but this month I wanted to chat about how social media hashtag challenges work, why they can be really good, and the benefits they can have for you too. What?! There are quite a few hashtag challenges wafting around the internet at the moment, from simple and quick #widn (what I’m doing now) where you share what you’re doing when you’re tagged on Instagram Stories, to more involved ones like my #socialsupercharge one, and one of the most recent ones I’ve seen involves posting album covers that mean something to you! These challenges can take place on any social media platform, but tend to have

slightly different ‘mechanisms’ depending on the platform. So on Facebook, you’ll often see people challenge others – and tag them in the post so they know that they have been challenged - and then they go on to nominate others. You can use a hashtag challenge on Facebook, but it does generally tend to work better on Instagram, where the hashtag is king! Hashtag challenges are easy and fun to take part in, you just need to know what the challenge is about and off you go. You can then add the challenge hashtag to get your content discovered by people who are interested in the challenge. And you can also find other likeminded souls through

following and engaging on that hashtag too. Why? Challenges can have lots of purposes. It can be to raise awareness around something, or to raise money for something (so this is often where a challenge has a social media element – there’s currently one about running 5k and nominating five people to do the same, and donating money to charity too – the # and challenge are promoted on Instagram but it actually takes place somewhere else). Challenges can also be a way to have a bit of fun, share a moment, unite for a cause, or just

find people with shared hobbies, passions and interests online. Challenges can also give you the chance to improve, upskill, or be more consistent. As well as connect with others.

How?! Keep an eye out for clues! When I run a challenge I make sure I mention it on social media before, I email my list, I keep my groups involved, and I actively get involved in the challenge during too, to help promote it. If you notice someone you follow is talking about a challenge or using a very specific/new #, drop them a message and ask them what it’s all about and find out more. And beyond that, it’s a case of just getting involved. Most challenges will have a theme and on Instagram they’ll have a hashtag too, to allow you to connect with others on the hashtag, find likeminded people, and make some new friends! www.rheafreemanpr.co.uk Twitter (@rheafreeman) Instagram (@rheafreemanpr) Facebook (/RheaFreemanPR)


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Giverny jersey lined boot in Cherry. RRP: £120. www.lechameau.com


Zip neck jumper. RRP: £95. www.tomlane.co

Fine Silver Horse Hoof Print Necklace. A keepsake of your beloved horse captured in fine silver. RRP: £55. www.nuttyheifer.co.uk

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The Newquay Deck Shirts. RRP: £64.95. www.whaleofa timeclothing.com

Contrast belt. RRP: £65. www.annabel brocks.com

Athena Linen shirt in Pink. RRP: £47.95. www.schoffelcountry.com

Farlows Plain Lambswool Scarf. RRP: £28.99. www.farlows.co.uk

Hand Cream. RRP: £9.50. www.ladidaandover.com

Electra Silver White Topaz Earrings. RRP: £195. www.emilymortimer.co.uk

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Brand Under The Spotlight...



ounded in 1927 by Claude Chamot, Le Chameau boots are synonymous with quality and craftsmanship. Famously built to last, the iconic rubber boots have long been favourites of the Royal family, farmers and the go-to for city dwellers when they visit the countryside. Le Chameau are the only rubber boots to be handmade by a single ‘maîtres bottiers’ or master bootmaker, making each pair genuinely unique. Using the highest quality materials and with a range of iconic and innovative styles, Le Chameau’s maîtres bottiers have been making boots by hand for over ninety years. Their processes are a unique combination of traditional skills passed from generation to generation, and technical innovation which has kept them at the forefront of their craft. The name for Le Chameau (which is french for camel), was inspired by the opening of the first rubber boot factory in

Casablanca in 1949. Today Le Chameau’s maîtres bottiers still handcraft rubber boots from a factory in Morocco. In addition, Le Chameau also offers a range of waterproof and breathable leather boots which have been developed to offer class leading performance and comfort. Alongside this development, the boots have evolved and are available with a variety of different linings including neoprene, jersey, leather and wool – meaning there is a wellington for every occasion and every season. Alongside the specialist

collection which comprises waders and Ceres boots for fishing, there is the Icon collection – this features the most well known of the boots, Chasseur, Vierzon and Saint Hubert. The Chasseur is the flagship, allweather boot with a full-length waterproof zip which is immensely popular and instantly recognisable as a Le Chameau boot. With the Vierzonord similar in design, an all-round iconic country boot for all conditions. Le Chameau also offer the Country collection, which

includes the stylish and function Giverny boot (available in a variety of colours) for field and country, as well as the Giverny Botillon which is a shorter women’s country boot, ideal for Spring Summer. There is an outstanding level of craftsmanship and technique needed to handcraft Le Chameau rubber boots down to the most intricate detail. Each pair is made using Chamolux rubber – which is used because it is so light, flexible and incredibly durable. Chamolux is made from natural rubber using a secret process which gives Le Chameau boots the unique comfort and fit that they have become renowned for. www.lechameau.com






t’s worth using your time now to check that you have everything in place. “Alongside your lorry or trailer checks, checking that your horses’ vaccinations are up to date and digging out their


passports to check all is correct are both essential aspects in planning your first outing,” explained Liz. “Plus if you haven’t tried on your showing gear since last year, now is the time to get it all

out and have a good try on! “It’s worth checking the rules and regulations of any societies, associations or riding clubs that you belong to, to double-check nothing has changed and that everything you are planning to wear is correct and within the rules and regulations. “Check all your gear over properly to ensure that there are no ripped or fraying seams and that is all still fits. Checking over your showing outfit now could save you an embarrassing wardrobe malfunction on the day, so get those repairs completed ahead of show day. “If your competition outfit has become a bit of a squeeze, it may be time to sell it and replace it with garments that fit. You need to be realistic as to whether you will have the willpower to slim down to fit into it all again (and in time for your first show) or swap for a size bigger that will not only be

more comfortable for you to wear and look much smarter on you. “If your showing outfit is looking a little tired, try jazzing it up with some new accessories. A new tie that matches a new browband for your horses’ bridle can instantly update your showing outfit. A new pair of breeches to replace your baggy old showing breeches again can give an instant wardrobe refresh. “You might have also forgotten how hot it can be wearing your tweed in the saddle for long periods, so choose cotton underwear, and technical socks that wick away moisture and keep your feet fresh. Our new Lace Stretch Show Shirt is styled in a breathable technical stretch fabric which also wicks away moisture from your body. This shirt also looks stunning, once your showing class is over with its beautiful lace panel detail. “Just like you, I’m looking forward to hopefully venturing out to some shows with my young horse, so I’ll be following my advice and checking my outfit too. Good luck and have fun when the time comes.” www.equetech.com

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Charm Tech Top. RRP: £45. www.mountainhorse.se Bright Tech Tee. RRP: £45. www.mountainhorse.se


Jade Holland Cooper is delighted to announce that the first Limited Edition piece that she has created with Olympic Gold medal winning, dressage rider, Carl Hester is now available! Jade and Carl through their friendship and mutual love of dressage, formed a working relationship back in 2018 to bring female riders worldwide a beautiful, elegant capsule collection of must-have pieces. The first HCH – Holland Cooper Hester - piece is a striking quilted gilet. A wardrobe staple for every dressage rider. It has taken time and precision to ensure the design and fit is just right and Carl is thrilled with the initial product to launch bearing his name. The gilet is the perfect combination of Jade’s flair for design and Carl’s industry knowledge which combined, create a stylish and wearable piece. “I wanted to make sure that our first piece was an equestrian essential. I know that anyone who will be wearing this gilet will feel that it is Sizes: XS, S, M, L, XL Colour: Black.

Equiboodle Riding Tights. RRP: £59.99. www.equiboodle.co.uk


practical and elegant. It keeps your body warm, is smart and enables you to move your arms and work with the horse, it is the most useful garment for any rider. “Jade’s attention to detail and uncompromised style made the decision to work with her British brand an obvious choice, I’m excited to be involved. Jade and I have created the HCH collection for all women, whatever discipline they take part in,” said Carl Hester. “It is an honour and privilege to be associated with Carl Hester, an icon within the equestrian world. The gilet is a great combination between style and functionality,” commented Jade Holland Cooper. The Carl Hester Gilet is finished with iconic gold hardware. The breathable, rain resistant fabric includes diamond quilting filled with an eco Sonora by Dupont Insulation and elasticated side panels to allow for easy movement. www.hollandcooper.com

To enter: Visit www.absolutehorsemagazine.com and click on the Competitions page. Entries open 1st June 2020 and close 31st July 2020.



Keep Them Chewing Any horse must be kept chewing but, for a stressful or unthrifty one, it’s even more important, and some can become fussy, even about their hay or haylage. Chewing produces saliva, which helps to neutralise the acid in the stomach and so reduce the risk of ulceration. If a horse doesn’t have access to grass or is not a great eater of hay or haylage, providing alfalfa chaff, soaked (unmolasssed) beet pulp and/or dried chopped grass, in separate buckets, alongside hay and/or haylage, will encourage natural in the box. possibility of a horse suffering foraging behaviour, allow the undetected limb or back horse to choose what he prefers Time In problems and, if necessary, get The stable environment may also when and, therefore, encourage your vet to investigate. need examining as some horses him to keep eating fibre. Improving fibre consumption like to see what’s going on and Time Out should benefit gut health and be able to interact with other More time in the field should horses and some maybe prefer a therefore digestive efficiency improve every horse’s outlook and, possibly, appetite. Horses quieter situation. In any case, but, if they are not used to it or who need to gain weight need to when stabled, horses should are not happy on their own or consume more calories than they always have access to forage or don’t like their companion, some burn for their work, in order to forage alternatives, to satisfy experimentation may be lay down the extra as condition. their need to chew, and this necessary to find a regime with Those who are fussy or who have holds true for the good-doer as which they are comfortable. limited appetites will struggle to well as the poorer one. Finding a solution so that a eat the volumes of even the horse can enjoy its time in the Gastric Ulcers most calorific fibre feeds, like field is always going to be Constant stress or pain can result alfalfa, so these cannot always be preferable for their mental health in gastric ulcers or, conversely, relied on to promote the desired than simply leaving them the pain from gastric ulcers weight gain on their own.



ailoring management and diet can help to reduce stress and allow a horse to be happy, healthy and content to his, and his rider’s, benefit.


Rule Out Pain Teeth ideally need looking at every six months and make sure you use a vet or other qualified professional who has the experience and equipment to do a proper job as hooks, sharp edges or caries could be causing pain. Constant pain is depressing so can also be the cause of poor condition as well as ‘bad’ behaviour so consider the


maybe cause a horse’s stressy or excitable behaviour. Indeed, it’s probably always wise to consider that, unless there are other obvious causes, a stressy, unthrifty horse is likely to have gastric ulcers. If gastric ulcers are suspected, veterinary confirmation and treatment is recommended so they are given a chance to heal. Management and feeding can then be adapted to reduce the risk of recurrence.

DAISY’S Herbal Answers

Quick Release Cereals are a great source of concentrated calories for horses but, because the starch they contain is broken down into glucose, which is rapidly absorbed into the blood stream, the energy/calories they provide is termed ‘quick release’. For this reason, they are best kept to a minimum in the excitable horse’s diet and, preferably, excluded from the diet of the stressy or ulcer-prone horse, due to the increase in acidity that results from their digestion. Slow Release For horses who have moderate to high calorie requirements, low starch performance or conditioning feeds, often designed for horses prone to gastric ulcers, are ideal. These provide slow release calories, from oil and highly digestible fibre sources, so can promote weight gain and fuel the hardest work without sparking excitability. Good-doers may get all the calories they need from forage alone so a low starch, high nutrient balancer is ideal for providing essential nutrients without the calories associated with a mix or cube.

Protein’s Ok Many people believe that a higher protein level can exacerbate excitability, but this is not the case as protein is rarely used by the horse’s body as a source of energy. High energy feeds often have higher protein contents, to support the elevated requirements of working horses, but it is the higher energy/calorie levels, that are more likely to cause excitability, especially if supplied as quick release energy from cereals.

Rules of Feeding Always make any dietary changes gradually, over 7 to 10 days, and keep meal sizes manageable to avoid overloading the limited capacity of a horse’s stomach. Feed no more than 500g per 100kg of bodyweight, per meal, including mix/cube, chaff beet etc, which is 2.5kg for a 500kg horse. Oversized meals can result in undigested feed being forced from the stomach and disrupting the bacterial populations in the hindgut. This can lead to an increase in acidity levels leading poor digestive efficiency and discomfort, which may be expressed as fractious behaviour. www.baileyshorsefeeds.co.uk

CHAMPERENE BESPOKE HORSE HERBAL IS BASED IN SUFFOLK AND RUN BY DAISY BAYLISS, AN APPROVED HERBALIST, WHO HOLDS A BSC (HONS) IN EQUINE SCIENCE. QUESTION: “My horse can be quite stressed at times, especially when out hacking. I have had everything checked and am having lessons to help work through the problem. However I also wondered if herbs could be used to settle him and take the edge off a bit?”

ANSWER: Herbs can be used to help ease stress and could help you settle him to work through the problem. The most commonly used herbs to settle nerves include Chamomile, Vervain and Valerian. These three herbs can be used together. Chamomile is great for any tension or stress and will also help with any knock-on effect that the stress may have on the digestive system. Vervain helps to support the nervous system and Valerian will also help to calm a nervous horse. However Valerian is banned by some federations, so you should always check before using it if you are competing. Brewer’s Yeast can also be effective against stress and anxiety and it will also support the digestive system, as will Meadowsweet. As mentioned earlier it is important to consider the digestive system when dealing with excitable horses, as ulcers can be a problem. These herbs need to be fed over a period of 2-3 weeks to see the full benefits. www.champerene bespokehorseherbal.com



By Nutrition Consultant Deborah Leabeater MSc, CBiol, MRIB

Dealing with




orses and ponies are ‘fright and flight’ prey animals, and can react (or overreact) to new or challenging situations, perceived as a potential danger. Correct training should expose a horse to new environments, and they gradually become habituated, no longer feeling the same degree of excitement and need to flee the scene! Some horses become excited when anticipating an activity they apparently enjoy - before a showjumping round, in the cross-country start box, or as they approach a stretch of ground where they normally canter on a hack. This excitability may be enjoyable for horse and rider, but if the excitable behaviour becomes extreme, action needs to be taken. The first port of call should be


a complete health check to ensure there is no discomfort, causing a horse to appear excited, when he is actually trying to run away from something causing him pain or distress: Points to consider include correctly fitting tack, especially bitting - does he have sharp edges with his teeth that could cause discomfort? Does his saddle fit need attention, as it is causing sore muscles? Secondly, is his general diet and management regime suitable for his workload - is he receiving the right amount and type of energy in his diet, or is he literally ‘too full of beans’ and receiving too much high energy feed? Could you replace some calories from cereals with oil and digestible fibre? Does he receive adequate turnout time – there are of course times when turnout is not available, but if possible,

turnout time may help reduce over-excitability. If all these areas have been considered, looking more closely at calmers to provide nutritional support is warranted. There may be dietary imbalances which could cause or exacerbate excitability and perhaps the best known is the mineral magnesium. As well as forming a significant part of the mineral matrix in bone, magnesium (together with calcium) plays a key role in nerve transmission and nerve excitability, as well as muscle contraction and relaxation. Many UK forages are low or marginal in magnesium, so a horse on a forage based diet, with a low intake of fortified concentrate feed, may not receive an adequate intake. In addition, magnesium requirements may increase as a result of work, training, travelling and competition and a low or marginal magnesium

intake can result in muscle tension and nerve excitability. Magnesium supplements come in several forms, but one of the safest and most widely used is magnesium oxide. Certain amino acids such as tryptophan, which is a building block in the production of serotonin - a body chemical and neurotransmitter which helps to lower levels of fear and stress may also be included in some calmers. Vitamins such as niacin or vitamin B1 may also be included, for their roles in the production of neurotransmitters, and nerve excitability. Some plant extracts with anecdotal evidence to support calming effects may include Chastetree berry, and chamomile. For those who compete, care should be taken to ensure that calmers don’t contain plant extracts which could contravene prohibited substances regulations, such as some species of passionflower (Passiflora) or valarian. It should be remembered that all horses are individuals, and may react differently to specific calming products, and the response will also depend on other aspects of the diet and management regime. Always introduce new supplements gradually, and follow the manufacturer’s recommendations. www.equine-america.co.uk

Suggested Products... Containing a blend of soothing herbs Rowen Barbary Leisure Plus is a high fibre feed designed to provide low energy levels ideal for horses prone to nervous and anxious behaviour. Linseed and Soya Oil help ensure excellent overall skin and coat condition alongside Calcareous Marine Algae to benefit gut health. RRP: From £14.52/20kg. www.rowenbarbary.co.uk

So Kalm Paste premium grade formula settles uptight or stressed horses and focuses their performance and concentration. Containing a premium grade magnesium with L-Tryptophan, an essential amino acid associated with the production of serotonin, to calm and focus the horse. RRP: £10/3 x 10ml servings. Super So-Kalm Paste is a concentrated form of the original So Kalm Paste for a more rapid support. RRP: £19.99/3 x 10ml servings. www.equine-america.co.uk

Magnitude is a highly absorbable form of magnesium that should be fed daily to horses or ponies to promote healthy nerve tissue and reduce nervous tension. RRP: £24.99/1kg (60 days supply). www.equine-america.co.uk

Tranquil E is calmer based on an aqueous infusion of valerian, and is a natural calmer used for when spirits are excessively high and specific unmanageable conditions can lead to control problems. This calmer will naturally help calm a horse/pony without removing its competitive edge. In situations such as an activity that may cause anxiety or stress for example, transportation, schooling etc. www.animal-health.co.uk

RRP: £17.35.

Super So-Kalm powder provides three key micronutrients to help the horse to maintain a calm outlook and concentrate on his work. magnesium, calcium, vitamin B1 (thiamine). Super So-Kalm also provides tryptophan, a key amino acid which can be converted in the horse’s liver to produce the important B vitamin niacin. RRP: £29.99/1kg (30 days supply). www.equine-america.co.uk

TopSpec Calmer contains a pure protected yeast, MOS, B vitamins, magnesium, tryptophan and sepiolite clay, which all act in different ways to help calm and relax responsive horses. RRP: £29.95/3kg. www.topspec.com

Timothy HorseHage - A dustfree bagged forage made from Timothy grass which is higher in fibre and lower in protein than many other grasses. Suitable for equines that are resting, convalescing or prone to laminitis. Mollichaff Calmer Complete - A complete fibre feed suitable for equines prone to nervousness or excitability and containing a carefully formulated combination of camomile, lemon balm and mint plus elevated levels of magnesium and vitamins B1 and B12. Mollichaff Alfalfa Oil - A natural feed made from pure alfalfa with soya oil and no molasses. It supplies a medium energy level which comes from fibre so will not cause the fizziness or excitability associated with grains. All www.horsehage.co.uk




Spooky HORSE

inding yourself with a spooky, fresh horse is something many owners dread for good reason! Not only can it be scary, but it can also at times be downright dangerous. So how do you go about feeding these types of horses? First of all, it is definitely important to remember that the horse is a flight animal so in many ways this sort of behaviour is natural for them.


Whilst nutrition may reduce the risk of contributing to this sort of behaviour, and can be a problem if incorrect, if the natural temperament type of the horse is highly strung, you are only likely to exert a certain amount of influence through nutrition alone. You also need to look at every other angle such as consistent, appropriate handling and training. The main aims of feeding for these sorts of horses is to give

a high fibre, low starch ration, providing only the energy that is required to maintain good condition and enough fuel for the work asked. Even if the horse does need a high calorie (energy) diet to maintain weight, these calories can be provided through highly digestible fibres and oil, whilst maintaining that controlled starch level (around 12% or less). The other point here to mention is that a calorie is a unit of energy, so if your horse maintains weight nicely on a low energy feed, it is preferable to stay on this, as an increase in calories may not only lead to weight gain, but also excess energy. From a forage perspective often these types of horses will worry their weight off and can be more predisposed


eading UK manufacturer Horslyx has announced its Brand Ambassador programme for the coming year. Following the previous year’s successes, this year’s programme sees five riders join the team. With riders competing in the highest echelons of the equestrian sporting world, the new team includes: Katie Jerram-Hunnable; Emily Galbraith; Amy and Vikki Smith; Rowan Crosby; and Richard Nichol. The band of riders are leading lights in the world of showing, eventing, showjumping and dressage. www.horslyx.com



to ulcers, so feeding ad lib where appropriate is preferable to adding ever increasing amounts of hard feed. Never underestimate the power of forage! In terms of calmers what I will say is always get the base forage and hard feed correct first before moving to this. If you do still wish to go ahead and use one, look to see if there is a study available to back it up. Was the study independent? Was it a double blind, placebo controlled trial? These are all things you can look for. It can seem like a minefield so I would advise you to enlist the help of an independent nutritionist for this who can go through the entire ration with you. www.thehorsefeed guru.com


edwings Horse Sanctuary and veterinary researchers at the University of Edinburgh have published a new study which could help owners manage their horses’ weight in winter and reduce their risk of laminitis. Redwings cares for a large population of Native ponies. Their diets are often supplemented with hay during the winter when the grass is poor. However, the charity’s vets were concerned that some ponies were gaining weight, which was putting them at a higher risk of laminitis in the spring and summer months. They decided to team up with researchers at the University of Edinburgh to see if they could

NEW STUDY HIGHLIGHTS: FEEDING STRAW IN WINTER TO SEE BENEFITS IN SUMMER come up with a way to safely encourage weight loss in these ponies over the winter, so when they started to enjoy the spring grass, the additional weight they naturally gain wouldn’t have such an impact on their hormones. Together, they conducted a trial, which involved feeding 50% straw and 50% hay to a group of overweight Native ponies and comparing them to a group fed with a normal hay supplement

over the course of a winter. The study found that all ponies supplemented with 50% straw lost weight, an average of 27kg, compared to those just fed hay where only three out of fifteen ponies lost weight and the rest gained weight. While there is anecdotal risk of colic in ponies that are fed straw, there were no incidents of colic recorded throughout the study. “We can’t and don’t want to put every pony on a crash diet.

Restricting food has such an impact on a horse’s behaviour and welfare. When discussing human obesity, we often talk about making sustainable lifestyle changes and it shouldn’t be any different for horses,” said Roxane Kirton, who undertook the study while working as a Welfare Veterinary Surgeon at Redwings. www.redwings.org.uk

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survey conducted by Spillers has revealed that horse owners are concerned about their horses’ expanding waistlines during lockdown and are also worried about fizzy behaviour. Spillers ran the online survey in mid-April to find out more about the effects of lockdown on horses’ routines. 54% of respondents said their biggest feed related concern during this time was weight


gain and 41% were worried about laminitis. While 65% of respondents had not changed their management routine during lockdown, 12% said they were now turning their horses out 24/7 and an additional 9% had introduced strip grazing or a grazing muzzle to manage grass intake. 25% of those who had been previously riding had now stopped and in answering the question about feed-related concerns 21% of respondents were worried about fizzy or excitable behaviour, whether on the ground or when riding. “Obesity and laminitis are serious issues, especially now that the grass is growing in abundance and in particular 24/7 turnout coupled with reduced exercise can significantly increase the risks. Now that the BEF has revised its advice and more people are riding again, excitable horses and fizzy behaviour may also become a bigger concern. We are now actively signposting owners towards our collection of online blogs, tips and advice to help owners minimise the risk of weight gain and reduce excitability in their horses,” said Clare Barfoot RNutr, Marketing and Research and Development Director at Spillers. www.spillers-feeds.com

querry Cool Mash is an efficient quick-soaking mash for horses that need a low energy feed. Designed for horses and ponies in light to medium work Equerry Cool Mash is cereal-grain-free. It has low levels of starch and benefits from a ‘Non-Heating’ formula. Equerry Cool Mash contains highly digestible fibre sources RRP: £11.95/20kg. including sugar beet, to benefit your horse. Equerry Cool Mash proved a great success for Amber Major and her horse Howard, especially through the spring and summer months. Said Amber: “The Equerry Cool Mash proved fantastic when Howard didn’t need a conditioning feed but did require a diet to help him stay calm and perform at his best. It’s great to know he’s getting everything he needs and he loves it too.” The mash also includes yeast to support a healthy digestive system and added vitamins and minerals including magnesium. www.equerryhorsefeeds.com


Suggested Product...

Graze-On Lite is a low calorie, high fibre maintenance feed. Made from a blend of short chop grass and soft straw with a fresh mint flavour, it is the perfect total or partial hay replacer for good doers or overweight horses and ponies. Short chop forage prolongs feeding time and promotes gut health while the mint flavour improves palatability. Graze-On Lite will replace the existing Graze-On Gold Blend product. RRP: £9/bale. www.northerncropdriers.co.uk


LAUNCH OF TIMELY LAMINITIS GUIDE aminitis can occur at any time of year but owners often particularly worry with the flush of new grass and, with an increased number of horses out at grass during the coronavirus restrictions, many more owners are concerned for their horse’s health. World Horse Welfare has launched its updated, rewritten and timely guide to laminitis, a devastatingly painful condition for horses, ponies and donkeys and mules. This new leaflet is full of useful tips to help owners prevent laminitis, spot the warning signs and know what to do if their horse is suffering from, or has suffered from, laminitis. Not every owner may be particularly familiar with what the risk factors for laminitis are, the danger signs or the common indicators that a horse is suffering. Laminitis causes severe pain and lameness which needs emergency first aid and veterinary treatment. It occurs when the finger-like projections which support the pedal bone of the foot within the hoof capsule, become weakened by losing their normal shape. This results in instability of the pedal bone within the foot, potential inflammation and signs of pain and lameness. It


is most often a consequence of an underlying hormonal disorder and/or an inflammatory condition, such as equine metabolic syndrome (EMS) and pituitary pars intermedia dysfunction (PPID, or equine Cushing’s disease) but laminitis can also occur after a carbohydrate overload, such as ‘pigging out’ on spring grass. Laminitis is a common condition, with about 1 in 10 horses in any year experiencing a bout and having suffered from it once, a horse is more likely to suffer from it again and will need careful on-going management. Common signs of laminitis include strong/bounding digital pulses felt at the back of the fetlock, reluctance to walk forward, difficulty making a tight turn, excessive heat in the feet, shifting weight from foot to foot when at rest and lameness, stiffness or a short, stilted or pottery walk especially on hard ground, but often the

early signs of onset of a bout of laminitis can be difficult to spot. When it comes to the condition, however, the old saying that ‘prevention is better than cure’ is very true. Sam Chubbock, Head of UK Support at World Horse Welfare said: “Making sure your horse or pony is the right weight is really important when it comes to preventing laminitis – as is avoiding unintentional weight gain. It can be really difficult to notice our horses gaining weight when we see them every day, which is why regular weight monitoring and fat scoring are so important. “Although equine weight tapes aren’t 100% accurate as a means of weighing your horse, if you use one regularly it will tell you if your horse is gaining or losing weight – and allow you to adjust his or her management accordingly.” www.worldhorsewelfare.org /advice/health/laminitis

Suggested Product...

TopSpec Lite Feed Balancer is designed for horses and ponies that are good-doers. It is ideal for horses that are overweight when fed as part of a calorie-controlled diet. Lite Feed Balancer is a ‘NonHeating’, cereal-grain-free formula; with low levels of starch and sugar, and a considered level of protein to help maintain muscle function but avoid promoting body condition. It is very important that this group of horses and ponies receive their full requirement of vitamins and minerals. TopSpec Lite Feed Balancer allows them to receive all the micronutrients required to balance the diet of horses in light to medium work. Long term trials have shown that horses and ponies on restricted/poor grazing do not gain any additional weight when fed TopSpec Lite Feed Balancer. It can also be used very successfully as part of a calorie-controlled diet when weight loss is required. Lite Feed Balancer is suitable for horses and ponies that have recovered from laminitis providing they are not obese. www.topspec.com


NUTRITION his diet will disrupt the normal microfloral balance in his hindgut, which can lead to loose droppings, colic, ‘fizzy’ and stereotypical behaviour. It can also cause gastric ulcers and contribute to ‘tying-up’ and laminitis. Your horse’s turnout time is likely to have increased compared to his winter regime due to, for example, improved field conditions or livery yard rules for reducing contact with others. However, as grass quality is usually reasonable at this time of year, it can have a significant impact on condition. Grazing may need to be restricted and the best way to do your horse before if he is usually this includes mixed grazing (e.g. worked hard but with little or no with sheep), using a grazing work, and possibly an increased muzzle, use of a bare paddock/ turnout time, it is a concern for ‘sacrifice paddock’ or limiting many horse owners. Problems turnout time severely. such as laminitis and arthritis are When stabled, or in a ‘sacrifice associated with being paddock,’ a low sugar, low overweight, so it is important to calorie conserved forage should address the weight gain before be used. Late-cut meadow hay is any potentially serious usually suitable but may require consequences occur. soaking for between three and Whether you are feeding your twelve hours in ample, cool, horse to avoid unwanted weight fresh water to reduce its sugar gain, or for weight loss, there are and calorie content. Using several points to consider in haynets with small holes is order to ensure you keep him as helpful to slow intake. Some hay healthy as possible. can be partially replaced by an Forage first exceptionally Feeding in a way that is low calorie, sympathetic to your horse’s chopped digestive system is important straw to for supporting his health. The ensure that way to do this is to provide a diet based on forage with small, he doesn’t stand for too low-starch, hard feeds. long without A constant supply of fibre is forage essential, even though his calorie and protein requirements available. will be low. Insufficient fibre in



our horse’s diet plays an important role in supporting his health throughout the year but summer can bring particular challenges. Dietary advice at this point in the season would usually be focused on your horse’s increased workload; as you make the most of longer daylight hours, better weather conditions and competitions. However, the Covid-19 outbreak has had a big impact on many plans made for this summer. Let us hope that by the time you read this article some additional equine activities are encouraged by the Government. If your horse is still unable to exercise as normal, his diet should not be forgotten as there are new challenges involved in keeping him healthy. One of the biggest risks if his workload is still reduced is excessive weight gain. You may not have experienced this with



Do you need to feed anything else? In theory, if your horse has access to ideal grazing, has no nutritionally-related issues and is not in work, he could remain healthy on grass plus a salt-lick alone. However, ideal grazing is rarely available in the UK, so his diet will need to be balanced for essential micronutrients, including vitamins, minerals and trace elements. This is particularly important when grass is restricted. Feeding an appropriate top specification feed balancer or multi-supplement is an ideal approach. This can supply everything that is needed in the hard feed, except for salt. A salt lick should be on offer 24/7, with extra salt added if your horse sweats significantly. Naturally, ample clean, fresh water should also be constantly available to ensure he remains well hydrated. Article supplied by nutritionists from the TopSpec Multiple AwardWinning-Helpline. They can be contacted, free of charge, on 01845-565030.

Effects of

SUMMER ON YOUR HORSE fter dark nights and muddy fields, the summer is a welcome time of year for horse owners but for our horses it can present a new set of


challenges that we need to address. Exercise often increases for horses over summer and combined with hard ground as the weather dries up, this will

eteran New-Forest pony, Ellie, age 25, is described as the ‘ultimate good doer’ by her owner, Victoria Spouge, based in Lincolnshire. Ellie has been owned by Victoria for thirteen years and lives out 24/7, with just the occasional hack out as her workload. Despite being a little long in the tooth agewise, over the years Ellie has gradually lost teeth and some have become displaced and her latest equine dental check showed she has twelve teeth missing. Said Victoria: “Ellie is able to graze well, but due to the lost teeth she struggles to chew hay and this has led to her quidding and producing loose, watery droppings. This in turn meant we had to wash her quite often and we were also concerned that she wasn’t getting sufficient fibre in her diet, even though she isn’t underweight.” So Victoria decided to see if she could find a


result in inflammation in the joints, whether noticeable or not, which occurs as part of the body’s natural response to physiological stress. We can support the joints with TurmerAid, a natural antiinflammatory supplement which combines turmeric and other key ingredients to help the integrity of the equine natural defence mechanisms, while supporting the body’s natural inflammation processes. An increase in insects and exposure to the heat and rain will also test the skin and coat which will need to be in good condition to help prevent ailments such as sweet itch and rainscald. A healthy skin and coat is your horse’s first line of defence against external challenges. TurmerAid helps to maintain the

partial hay replacer which would help prolong Ellie’s eating time as well as providing extra fibre in her diet. She found out about Mollichaff Veteran – a high fibre forage mix designed to complement the forage ration where necessary. Highly palatable, Mollichaff Veteran is designed for elderly horse and ponies and also those that are dentallychallenged and unable to consume longstem forage. It is made from a balanced blend of dried grass, dried alfalfa and oat straw, topped with a unique dressing combining linseed and soya oil with a very light dressing of molasses, plus added vitamins and minerals, plant-based antioxidants, mint, nettle, salt and added biotin. Said Ellie’s delighted owner, Victoria: “Her droppings have improved and she really loves the chaff. Her dark liver chestnut coat

integrity of skin and promotes a shiny coat, as well as aiding digestion thanks to the added yucca which has positive effects on the microflora that occur naturally in the horse’s gut. The complete turmeric pellet contains a minimum 5.1% curcumin (one of the major actives in turmeric), yucca, black pepper, linseed and apple cider vinegar. The only pelleted turmeric supplement on the market, TurmerAid is an ideal supplement all year round and over the summer months can be fed straight from the hand or alone from a bucket if daily feeds are reduced. RRP: £19.99/2kg. www.goldenpaste company.com


“I am now confident that Ellie is getting plenty of fibre in her diet” - Owner Victoria

is lovely and shiny and I would happily recommend Mollichaff Veteran for any toothless horses or ponies.” www.horsehage.co.uk





Louisa Milne Home

ow old were you when you started riding? “Mum has always had horses so I have been able to ride for as long as I can remember!”

would definitely be able to jump round Badminton. It was just something I always had in my sights.”

What is your greatest achievement to date? Tell us about your first “Taking King Eider to ten 5* pony. events, he retired at 19-years“My first ride was in fact a old, fit and well and still enjoys donkey called Thumbelina; she going out showjumping which was very cool but quite strong is fantastic. I loved winning the willed. I remember Thumbelina Advanced at Eglington on him running away with me and only and finishing second at the stopping once we were in a same event, riding Porthill rhododendron bush. Rusty Nail. “Thumbelina was followed by a “Riding in the Foxhunter and 12.2hh pony called Chester who Grade C final at the Horse of the was fab. My best memory of him Year Show (HOYS) on Harry DV was doing the Open Pairs class was also a really special moment around Aswanley Hunter Trial as showjumping at HOYS when I was seven, with one of wouldn’t have even been on my my older cousins. Half the jumps radar four years ago. where in the British Eventing “King Eider being listed for the Novice section, so I am not sure Senior British Team was a really how I managed to talk anyone nice acknowledgement of what into letting me enter. My late a great horse he is. Both King uncle took a photo which I Eider and Harry have been with treasure to this day.” us since 4-years-old.” Why did you choose eventing? What is your average day like? “Back in my Pony Club days, eventing was definitely what “We normally have about eight really appealed to me and every or nine horses in so they get fed time I was riding my ponies, I at 7.30am and then I normally was always imagining that if start riding at 9am. If I am doing they had longer legs then they flat work I will ride five of them


LOUISA MILNE HOME IS ONE OF SCOTLAND’S TOP EVENT RIDERS, HAVING COMPETED AT THE HIGHEST LEVEL, INCLUDING BADMINTON AND BURGHLEY WITH KING EIDER. AS KING EIDER HANGS UP HIS EVENTING COLOURS, LOUISA IS CONCENTRATING ON HER STRING OF PROMISING YOUNGSTERS. IN THIS ISSUE WE CATCH UP WITH THE ROBINSON ANIMAL HEALTHCARE SPONSORED RIDER. before lunch and then the remainder in the afternoon. “I like to do any teaching in the afternoon so that most of the horses have been ridden first. The horses go out in the field before or after they are ridden and then come in again at around 3pm, to get all the jobs finished before they are fed around 5pm. I then go back down to check and do late night feeds at 10pm.” Tell us about your current string of horses. “We have a really nice bunch that are hopefully all capable of big things. King Eider is enjoying showjumping in Foxhunter/1.30 classes so he is still not ready for the quiet life yet! “Future Plans and Carrow Iroko are the next two hoping to really make their mark in eventing. They

both had a very good year at Intermediate level in 2019 and the plan was to step up to Advanced /CCI4* this year. “I also have a very smart mare that is currently at Intermediate/Advanced level. She is a real cracker but as she is only 15.1hh, the owner might sell her to give a young rider a fab start. “In the middle of the team is Ballylarkin Bouncer who is a very good novice and also working his way up the tree is Edenside Marko, a 6-year-old that will hopefully make his

British Eventing debut this year, depending upon when eventing can resume. “Then back on the showjumping side I have Harry DV who jumps 1.30/1.40 classes depending what is on offer on the Scottish circuit. “Rowan a 14.2hh 4-year-old Connemara x Trotting Cob completes the yard; he is being started and produced to sell as a fab competition pony.” What are your hopes for the future? “I am really excited about both Future Plans and Carrow Iroko and hope that they will be real Badminton and Burghley contenders. Edenside Marko has been growing non-stop since we got him as a 4-year-old but once he stops growing and starts to mature I really hope he will get to the very top of the eventing tree. I bought King Eider, Harry and Marko from Edenside, so King Eider has taken me to Badminton and Burghley, Harry has taken me to HOYS and I hope Marko will help me secure my place on the British Team!” What do you like to do in your spare time? “Two years ago I finally got my house built after about ten years of saying I was going to do it, so it is really nice to tinker around with home improvements and getting the garden sorted. If there is a chance to travel, I really do enjoy that and luckily my sister splits her time between homes by the sea in France or skiing in Switzerland, both are great places to visit!” www.robinsonhealthcare.com



with Harriet Morris-Baumber


o, why is accuracy so important? The accuracy of the movements is a clear way to demonstrate the athletic ability of your horse and your skills as a rider. Event rider and trainer, Harriet Morris-Baumber, believes perfecting the finer details are well worth the time and patience spent in training at home. Here Harriet shares her top tips for accuracy. Don’t cut corners, as this will allow you less time to prepare for the next movement and will make you look sloppy which will influence the Judge’s overall opinion of your riding – remember there are ten marks riding on how well the Judge thinks you ride! Make sure your circles start and finish at the specified marker. If you are unsure of where or how to precisely ride a circle, know the distances between all of the letters and really study the geometry of the arena, then apply this to the arena physically. At home measure the distance and physically mark out the

circle, putting out little gates for you to ride through, such as mini cones or poles. This will allow you to feel and see where a circle should be rather than just looking at it on a piece of paper or on a diagram. Make sure you count the strides accurately; if a movement asks for three to five steps of walk make sure it’s not two or six. Equally, if the test asks you to halt for four seconds make sure you count one Mississippi, two Mississippi, to avoid moving off too quickly. A good halt is really important and there is sure to be at least one in every test so they are well worth practising. When a Judge is sat at C it is very easy to tell if the halt is straight but not so easy to spot if it’s perfectly square so always prioritise straightness in training and then aim for the halt to be square. In some tests the free walk is worth double marks, so it is really important that the free walk is perfected. Teaching the horse to march forward whilst gently pulling the reins through

your fingers so the head and neck can stretch down is a key skill to acquire. A good free walk doesn’t just happen by accident; it’s the result of correct training. Use every step in the arena to your advantage. Ride extra deep into certain corners to give you extra strides to prepare for movements, by adding a stride, you add time. Know when to adjust the volume, this means making your aids clearer and more obvious or making a quieter more subtle signal. For example, if there was a change of rein in medium trot coming up you might use the stride before and through the corner to ‘turn the volume up’ so the medium trot had more pizzazz. Or if there was a downwards transition, the paces would want ‘turning down’ slightly in preparation for a smooth transition. The devil is in the detail and it is this level of accuracy that will make all the difference to the success of any dressage test. www.harriet-morrisbaumber.co.uk




s lockdown has continued this month we have thrown ourselves into the care and training of our animals. Our donkey foal Buddy has been learning lots of new agility skills and is becoming very confident walking out in the countryside on his own and with others. We have also been working on showing skills ready for the future. We have created a round pen during this time and the ponies and donkeys free school work is really developing. The bond and trust between pony, donkey and owner has developed even further through this approach. Solo is a superstar, he loves all disciplines and tries his heart out. His round pen work has been simply amazing. Our ponies and donkeys have continued to explore our local countryside, gaining waves from passers-by. We have



continued to look after Howard Junior School’s Reading Rabbits during this time of school closures. They too have enjoyed their walks in the countryside

and hopefully will return to their school soon. More agility obstacles have been made and they are in the process of being painted ready for new sessions starting soon. However we have some sad news to share. During these challenging times we had a break-in at our yard and intruders were spotted. The police were called and attended. I would like to urge everyone to review their security at their yards, ensure everything is out of sight and safe. We were extremely saddened by this and further improvements to our security have been made. What next‌.. On a happier note we are hoping to re-open our yard to visitors on the 2nd June. We are of course putting lots of new measures in place to keep all visitors and ourselves as safe as we can be. We shall be

discounting sessions for all keyworkers and keyworker children as a thank you for their hard work. Our visits to schools are on hold until further notice, but we are looking to reintroduce these when able. Looking forwards we have arranged wellbeing horsey tea meets to ensure that no one is isolated, giving people the opportunity to talk, gain support and widen their friendship circle. We shall also be offering agility sessions away from the yard, promoting and sharing this exciting discipline that has many benefits. As a recognised Shetland Pony Agility Trainer we are hoping to organise online and clinic training too. www.berryfieldsanimal assistededucation.co.uk


SADDLERY & TACK design of safety attachment and Mayhew, where the hinged stirrup bar is straight with a wide hinged hook-over stirrup fitting. All three makers’ designs are widely used by other side saddle IN THIS ISSUE WE makers and indeed by each other MEET MASTER as a customer could request their SADDLER AND SIDE preference when ordering a SADDLE SPECIALIST, saddle. CORALIE CHUNG Because of the quick release nature of the side saddle safety features it is inadvisable to mount using the stirrup. A tall mounting block or a leg-up is always preferred. pass through, so a slipper stirrup The majority of side saddles still – that prevents the foot going in use today are antiquated. through as closed at the front They were designed and made in or a collapsible stirrup iron were a time when horses were still in used. use as working animals. Horses The three most well known then were generally leaner and makers of side saddles had their travelled in straight lines. own patented safety system for A typical ladies mount would the stirrup attachment. have been a lean thoroughbred Mr Wilton (senior) of Champion type shape. The rider would likely and Wilton patented theirs in have been smaller and more 1880. It is a hinged mechanism petite than today’s average rider. onto which the metal loop of the Therefore the bespoke saddles stirrup leather hooks. It is held for that type of horse and rider firmly in place by the weight of do not always correspond with the rider’s leg on top of the our modern warm blood, cob or leather safe. Should the rider fall, native breeds which are often the weight is lifted and the hinge more heavily muscled around lets go, releasing the rider from the shoulders, wither and back the saddle. due to the rounder outlines we The other two main side saddle like to work them in. makers were Owen and Co, who When buying an astride saddle, had a ‘hook on and click down the SMS Qualified Saddle Fitter



he most important thing to consider before riding side saddle is safety. One of the foremost considerations is if the worst happens, and you fall from your horse, that you will become immediately detached and not ‘hung-up’ with a foot stuck in the iron and the stirrup fixed to the saddle. The late Victorian period began producing innovative safety designs for riders and their saddles to reduce the risk of accident and injury. Previously to this time most side saddles had a closed roller bar fitted for the stirrup leather to

Champion and Wilton

Owen and Co

would have a range of new and possibly second-hand saddles from various companies (and to suit various budgets) to try on the horse in order to get the best fit for both him and his rider. There is a huge choice of readily available modern astride saddles. Fitting a side saddle can require a great deal of patience. Side saddles are not available in abundance. Most often they are bought and sold privately. Side saddles were made to the individual’s specifications so a prospective buyer now would need to find one that fits their body shape and is comfortable. The next task is to see if it will fit the horse. As mentioned previously many side saddles are on the narrow side (there are of course exceptions) so some wither is essential. Side saddles are longer than astride saddles, so the horse will need good length of back. There is limited supply of side saddles which makes finding the perfect one a complicated task and the result is often a compromise. Fitting a side saddle can therefore be a long drawn out affair. As with fitting an astride saddle it is very important to have the side saddle checked and fitted by an expert. www.mastersaddlers.co.uk

Mayhew saddle




FOR DRESSAGE TO APPEAR EFFORTLESS AND ELEGANT HORSE AND RIDER MUST PERFORM IN PERFECT HARMONY. HERE THE SOCIETY OF MASTER SADDLERS DISCUSS DRESSAGE SADDLES AND THE IMPORTANCE THEY PLAY FOR RIDER POSITION AND IN THE COMPETITION ARENA. n the sport of dressage horse and rider are required to achieve balance and elegance at the highest level in order to achieve those winning rosettes. As well as the correct training, tack – both bridles and saddles need to fit correctly and assist


If the saddle is uncomfortable, there are times when a horse will simply stop working altogether and in the long run a saddle that does not fit will lead to soreness and injury. A dressage saddle is designed with a long and straight saddle flap, which mirrors the leg of the horse and rider in working to the dressage rider. They also have a deep seat and knee blocks that best of their ability. It is important that the dressage are usually pronounced. This helps prevent the riders’ leg saddle fits horse and rider from coming too far forward. perfectly. If the saddle rolls to The dressage saddle has been one side or pinches the horse’s designed with a longer stirrup as back, the horse will never be well as longer and straighter able to work or move well, saddle flaps. It has a higher however skilled his training.

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cantle and pommel to help encourage the rider to have a deeper seat. A dressage saddle is designed to allow the very best communication with the horse by placing the rider in the centre of gravity, providing a sufficiently deep seat to feel secure but still be able to absorb the horses movement and by placing their leg long and relaxed to enable the appliance of a minimum of aids. The dressage saddle should encourage a good position without being restrictive. On a dressage saddle the stirrup bars are set further back to encourage a longer, straighter leg position. Most dressage saddles have long girth straps and a short girth; this allows the rider to maintain closer contact with their legs and give clear but minimal signals. The stuffing of the panels of a dressage saddle is often kept to a minimum to allow a closer feel to the horse. When fitting a dressage saddle they are often easier to fit than jumping or general purpose saddles due to the panel and flaps generally sitting behind the shoulder and not impeding the movement. www.mastersaddlers.co.uk

The Amerigo Vespucci Handgrip Reins are a fantastic all round option for riders of any discipline who are looking for an alternative to traditional, continental reins. Designed to help the rider keep their hands in the correct position whilst allowing a steady and even contact, leather stoppers are placed every 6cm down the length of the reins for extra grip. Made from a mix of durable rubber and leather for added comfort in the hand. RRP: £121. www.zebraproducts.co.uk


Suggested Products... Just launched by Jeremy Rudge Saddlery is the Advantage girth. This innovative 8-way flexion design girth aims to increase a horse’s comfort and way of going and also claims to improve cadence and provide even weight distribution. Amy Downing, saddle fitter at Jeremy Rudge Saddlery, who came up with the design and spent several months developing the new girth said, “The claims for the Advantage girth are supported by independent biomechanical testing and analysis, extensive field trials and customer feedback. We used computer software written specifically for testing biomechanical performance.” Tacking up is exactly the same as with a single piece girth. Available in Standard or Slim sizes, each version can be supplied with double or single end fittings. Manufactured in premium quality leather. RRP: £200. www.jeremyrudgesaddlery.co.uk

Used by 12-year-old International showjumper Tabitha Kyle, the classic Jumping Bat from Fleck is allowed under the British Showjumping and British Riding Clubs rulings. Features include a soft cushion flap, nylon weave and a soft wrapped grip for comfort and security. The bat is a timeless classic finished with a nickel cap. RRP: from £42. www.zebraproducts.co.uk The fully adjustable Vespucci Flash Bridle is made from the finest quality leather. The luxuriously padded Flash Bridle with elegant design will fit comfortably and correctly on your horse’s head. RRP: £328. www.zebraproducts.co.uk


Your Common


hen faced with any bitting problem you must look at the horse as a whole. This will include checking his teeth, back, saddle and any other factors which may be affecting him such as the rider’s ability and his level of training. Once you have eliminated all other possible causes of a bitting problem, you can then turn your attention to the actual bit.


QUESTION: “My horse goes behind the bit and drops the contact altogether. Why is that?”

ANSWER: Richard says: “If a horse drops the contact or won’t take the bit forward you should first check that it is not pinching the tongue or the corners of the mouth. Horses


use their tongue as a feeler and it is a large muscle that fills the whole mouth. Any bit that you place in a horse’s mouth is sandwiched between the tongue and the roof of the mouth. It is extremely important that the bit you use for an individual horse is comfortable and that there is adequate room for it. “In this instance you might try a slim bit with a forward curve. Place the bit between the palms of your hands and move it around. Imagine that your palms represent the horses tongue and the roof of his mouth. Then ask yourself, how does it feel? ‘Would I like this bit in my mouth?’” QUESTION: “I can’t stop my horse out hacking!” ANSWER: Richard says:

“There is no mechanical device that will stop a horse out hacking if it decides to take flight. You need to ask yourself why the horse won’t stop. Is he suitably trained for hacking out? Is he an ex-racehorse that associates hacking out with a journey to the gallops? Is he in any pain or discomfort? “The most important thing is that horse and rider are safe, so seriously question if the horse is suitable for hacking out at this stage in his training. If you are able to figure out why the horse won’t stop and address this problem then you might like to use a bit which offers more control but is not severe. “One suggestions is a leverage bit with a curb strap. A leverage bit distributes the pressure inside the mouth, on the jaw and a little on the poll giving the

rider more signalling ability, whereas an ordinary snaffle distributes all of the pressure in the mouth.”

QUESTION: “My horse leans on the bit all the time. Why?”

ANSWER: Richard says: “Usually when horses lean on the bit it is because they are fitted with a single jointed snaffle which is pinching due to its nutcracker action. The horse then stiffens his tongue and pushes his jaw out to flatten the bit and stop it pinching. “To a certain extent it could be an issue with the rider allowing the horse to constantly lean on the hands and also partly a training issue in that the horse doesn’t understand how to yield to the bit. You also need to consider, especially if it is a young horse, he might be leaning on the bit and the rider’s hand to help him balance. “Physical problems, such as a poorly fitting saddle or lameness could also cause the horse to lean on the bit. You need to use a bit which is comfortable for

the horse and offers more signals and this will be more subtle if it has a curb. If you use a jointed bit, such as a Lozenge make sure it has small neat joints.” QUESTION: “Why does my horse throw his head in the air all the time and refuse to go on the bit?”

ANSWER: Richard says: “This is a form of bit evasion, so similar to your approach to a horse dropping behind the contact, make sure the bit is not pinching or uncomfortable in any way. If a horse is happy in his mouth he should be encouraged to take the contact and move forwards. “A simple Eggbutt Snaffle with a Mullen mouth piece with a forward curve could also encourage a horse to lower his head and offer a comfortable alternative to a jointed bit which may pinch. It is very important that you have the back and saddle checked first though, as problems with these often result in high head carriage.”

QUESTION: “My horse puts his head down low and snatches the reins out of my hands all the time - why would this be?” ANSWER: Richard says: “A horse carrying out this behaviour may be uncomfortable in his mouth, perhaps the bit is pinching or he has large joints sticking in the

roof of his mouth. Once you are happy that the horse is not in any discomfort from the bit and you have eliminated all other possible causes (see introduction) then he will need re-schooling as snatching the bit is not acceptable behaviour. “If the horse tries to snatch the reins the rider must prevent this by closing his hands on the rein

but not by pulling back. A horse must learn that during long rein work he is allowed to put his head anywhere as he should be relaxed but as soon as the rider picks up the rein pressure again he is not allowed to snatch the reins. Once this has been established there is no reason why it should carry on.” www.abbeyengland.com

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The Nathe Loose Ring Snaffle is a flexible bit with a copper middle link and is a good general option for horses of all disciplines and educational levels. The copper middle link encourages the acceptance of the bit and stimulates the flow of saliva and improves the chewing activity, which is a good sign your horse is comfortable with the bit. Providing steady and even pressure on the tongue, the Loose Ring Snaffle with Copper Middle Link features bit guards to protect the lips. Made from thermoplastic, the bit is 20mm thickness and ring size, 70mm. RRP: £97.50. www.zebraproducts.co.uk

The Sprenger Dynamic RS gives soft but very effective signals for a better contact between horse and rider. Suitable for horses with contact problems, the Dynamic RS is doubled jointed with flat rings. Characterised by an ergonomically shaped mouthpiece the bit lies perfectly in the horse’s mouth resulting in soft and even pressure on the entire tongue area, encouraging the horse to soften and relax into the contact. RRP: from £152.50. www.zebraproducts.co.uk



t: Bits in the Spotligh



crucial. On the outside of the horse’s face the Bradoon should fit neatly into the corner of the he double bit mouth pressure; then you get lips with the Weymouth just combination of a downward pressure on the poll; below, with the Bradoon ring Weymouth and a and then the chain moves sitting behind the cheek of the Bradoon is a popular choice for against the jaw as the cheek of Weymouth. Spend some time showing and dressage and is the bit reaches 45 degrees, adjusting the height of the bits known as the double bridle. A stopping the mouth and poll so that the lips look natural and double bridle is made up of a pressure from dominating by are not pulled out of shape. You slim snaffle known as a balancing the bit giving equal will find that when you look Bradoon and also a curb bit, pressure in the mouth on the inside the mouth the horse will known as a Weymouth. jaw and the poll, which gives push the Bradoon over the top The Bradoon part of the double you your degree of head tilt and of the Weymouth so that the has just two really clear signals brakes, and way of helping the Weymouth is sitting against the to the horse, mainly because it is horse to transfer weight. tongue. This seems to be the jointed it gives the clearest The reason to consider two bits most comfortable way of turning signal and a small lift is to improve what the horse can carrying them. The Bradoon upwards. As the cheek of the already do. The right double should be ¼” bigger than the Weymouth turns (providing the bridle bits should promote Weymouth because the curb chain is set correctly) you refinement, communication, Bradoon has a joint or two joints should get a perfect balance of definition, elegance and lead in the middle and will bend three pressures; the mouthpiece towards collection. downwards inside the mouth. rotates applying downward The fit of a double bridle is This way of sizing allows for



there to be approximately ¼” of both bits out of the horse’s mouth on both sides. Abbey England makes Bradoons with a variety of mouthpieces to suit the individual and the outer rings are available in different sizes to complement the size of the horse’s head. Weymouths also come in a variety of sizes to suit the size of the horse’s head, and the shank length can be long or short to achieve the desired action. Abbey England hosts one of the largest collections in the UK and as a bitting expert understands the importance of both performance and comfort. All their bits have been designed and manufactured to the highest standards using only the best quality materials. www.abbeyengland.com


Saddle Fitter

The Equipe Platinum Oracle Special Dressage Saddle is designed with elegance in mind and is made from the finest Italian calfskin. Crafted in multi-layers and shaped through a steam process, the saddles wooden tree is reinforced with special steel to guarantee its strength and elasticity. RRP: £4,090. www.zebraproducts.co.uk

ockdown has caused us all to do things that we later regret… baking and eating three loaves of Mary Berry’s banana bread a day, cutting our own fringes and buying random things on eBay. It can be very tempting to buy a saddle online, especially when you see ‘new leather’ saddles for £300. But, if your budget is very limited, then it is MUCH better to buy a good quality secondhand saddle from your saddle fitter, or at least ask their advice; instead of considering one of these awful, cheap, new leather saddles. Why? Because it is not possible to make a decent leather saddle that cheaply. Fact. When you look closely at them, there are a million reasons why you’d be better off baking that banana bread (again!) or hacking your own fringe off; instead of buying one.


Photo: Abbi Grief Photography

Made using a specially created synthetic tree incorporating a tempered steel head iron, the Amerigo Vega Jump Special saddle reflects the most popular measurements, and has produced a very flexible saddle that is suitable for many horses and riders. The Vega saddles offers top Amerigo quality and great value for money. The specially developed Vega synthetic tree functions in the tradition of a classical spring tree. Its flexibility allows unrestricted movement of both horse and rider, while the tempered steel gullet plate guarantees perfect fit and stability. www.zebraproducts.co.uk

Next, the panels… they’re usually uneven, lumpy and creased. And under the flap? The girth straps need to be attached to at least two separate bits of webbing, which should be made from strong First of all, the tree. To make a nylon. Not cotton. Cotton saddle that cheaply, the tree will snaps. And frays, especially probably be made of bare (soft) when rubbed against the edge wood. These trees do NOT pass the British Standard which states of these unfinished, splintering trees. the wood needs to be beech or eBay can be fabulous for buying birch veneer, laminated, with a A-Team t-shirts, lockdown specialist adhesive; or birch lounge pants and plywood. These trees are not matchymatchy sets. But, not for cheap, and therefore won’t be saddles. Obviously there are found in those super cheap, foreign-made saddles. A tree that sometimes bargains to be found in the second-hand passes the British Standard will market, but then how do you have the BS number stamped on know it’s not had the wrong the left stirrup bar. flocking put in, or the tree Because of the material used, the broken? It’s really not worth the trees in these yucky saddles break risk. Follow your SMS Saddle SO easily; plus they’re often Fitter’s advice. If you’re uneven/twisted and splintered. interested, find me on social Invariably the stirrup bars are made from cheap, flimsy material; media with the wrong number of rivets (/adayinthelifeofasaddlefitter)… holding them on. Not good, not I have uploaded several photos and videos this month, where good at all. we look inside these icky cheap saddles. But... be prepared to be shocked. www.peeweesaddlery.co.uk





Work A Treat ost dog owners will have included tasty treats as rewards in their training. Whether you are training a puppy, a young dog or teaching an old dog new tricks, treats can be a very effective part of your training tools, as Jackie Smith, Founder of Jackson’s UK, a new British premium dog food and treats brand, explains. “When training a young dog, I use a combination of keywords (sit, down, close, watch, etc.), voice tone, body language, and treats to establish the desired outcome. “For example, if I am teaching a puppy to sit, I would stand in front of the dog in a standing position, hold my hand up to the dog’s nose to get him interested, then move my hand in an arc over his head. As the dog raises his head to follow the



hand, the dog’s bottom will go on the floor. The instant he sits, give him the cue ‘Sit’, praise him and give him the treat. I never have the treat in my hand (only in my treat bag in my pocket) so that when you ask for a command it is the command that is the cue for the reward (treat), otherwise your treats can become a tool of bribery rather than reward. “When they do sit (even if unintentionally) make a big fuss of them, adopt a happy excitable tone and let them know they have pleased you as this will be essential as your training progresses. Then, and only then, give them the treat that you have stowed away in a pocket somewhere. THIS is a reward! “You can use this method with

any type of training, one command at a time and not for too long as learning is mentally exhausting for the dog. I usually focus on one command for no longer than fifteen minutes, keeping treats in different pockets, so that expectation doesn’t set in. “As your dog starts to respond to your commands for the first time, think about offering the treat more sporadically, say every second or third time they have responded correctly in a row, but always make a fuss of them every single time – that is very, very important. As they grow, and in the absence of treats, it may be that you rely on

their desire to please you when you are out, for example. “Always think carefully about the treats that you are using. Dogs, like us, prefer wholesome fresh ingredients, high in protein and cooked gently, so that they are appealing in smell and taste. Treats should be easy to chew and digest and be given in minimal amounts. “Be cautious when buying treats for puppies as many are not suitable for young dogs, so can lead to tummy upsets – look for treats that are for ‘all life stages’. If you choose to feed fresh meat, be careful of the food going off rapidly in the warmth of your training pouch or pocket and warm weather. Our dog treats are ideal for training dogs, offering a naturally tasty and convenient alternative to fresh meat. “Remember, premium dog treats are an investment in your dog’s health as they contain fresh, wholesome ingredients with lots of benefits, and your dog will love them!” www.jacksonsuk.co.uk

Suggested Products... Brick Red double-layered cotton towelling Dog Drying Mitts. RRP: £18 per pair. www.ruffandtumble dogcoats.com



he RSPCA marked the 75th anniversary of VE Day by taking a look back at the animals that risked everything to protect all those years ago. Victory in Europe Day, generally known as VE Day, is a day celebrating the formal acceptance by the Allies of World War II of Nazi Germany’s surrender of its armed forces on 8th May 1945. During the six year war (1939 - 1945), the RSPCA rescued and treated over 256,000 animal victims of enemy action, in addition to more than one million animals suffering from general injury and sickness. Champion animals included a dog named Peggy, who was given an inscribed collar by the RSPCA in recognition of her life-saving actions of her family’s baby. When a bomb was dropped on the family home in East Anglia, rubble, debris and dust covered the pram, and Peggy jumped onto the pram and began furiously digging a hole through the rubble leaving a gap for the baby to breathe. Mother, child and Peggy all survived. www.rspca.org.uk


This fine silver paw print necklace is the perfect way to treasure your pet. Made using a photo of your pet’s paw to create a treasured piece of jewellery. RRP: £55. www.nuttyheifer.co.uk



Pet & Horse Crematorium


Tel: 01284 810 981




QUALIFIED MASTER SADDLER & SADDLE FITTER • Range of quality new, secondhand and synthetic saddles and accessories • Impartial, independent, saddle fitting and advice • Mobile workshop. • Re-flocking, top-ups and remedial flocking • Full saddle repair service. Please phone Kay on (07775) 850400

Based in Norfolk, but covering a wide area. Registered member




Full range of Horse & Pet, Feed & Bedding Open 7 days a week Indoor schools for hire

01255 870744

Juddpurs Saddlery Specialists in saddle fitting by Society of Master Saddlers qualified saddle fitter. Most ranges of saddles in stock or we can order. 111 Bedingfield Crescent Halesworth, Suffolk IP19 8ED

Tel: 01986 874800


Motorised dentistry, lameness evaluations and on-site treatments, including PRP and Arthramid, portable x-ray, ultrasound, portable video gastroscopy and endoscopy, all carried out in the comfort of your horses’s home. Pre purchase examinations. 24 hour local emergency cover.

01371 851755 / 01371 850532 www.fullerequine.co.uk www.facebook.com/fullerequine fullerequine@gmail.com

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