Absolute Horse - March 2021/April 2021

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K ’M C - I E! PI UP RE F







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2021 ISSUE 348




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Donna Case Equine Nutritionist - remote feed consultations explained Transport Saddlery & Tack including reader questions answered Classifieds

GIVEAWAYS & OFFERS 5 Ariat Saddle Snaps 25 Turmeraid 33 Zebra Products bundle 51 Cavalor bundle 67 Gladwells’ money-off reader offer FEATURES INCLUDE 4 News 6 Shows - What’s On 8 Show Preparation - with Jayne Ross and Emma and Kevin McNab 13 Health & Welfare - including Strangles Awareness Week details, equine first aid, update on allergen avoidance, the tooth and hoof maintenance guide, and skin health advice 26 Rider Health & Welfare 29 Rhea Freeman comments on influencers behaving badly

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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Buyer’s Guide Equine Careers including steps to develop more diversity and inclusivity in the equine industry; free online CPD training The Professionals including training advice from Harriet MorrisBaumber and Hector Payne Laminitis Special Nutrition - including how, when and why is starch useful in the equine diet? Plus gastric ulcers explained


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orld Horse Welfare has enlisted the assistance of equine charities and the Cambridge Veterinary School to help an overwhelmed owner of 72 horses which had been breeding unmanageably at a site in Cambridgeshire. World Horse Welfare’s Field Officer, Chris Shaw, initially visited the site to speak with the owner. At the time the total number of horses involved across a number of large fields was not known, but the owner was keen to help improve the conditions for her horses. She admitted that the number had got out of hand and that she was struggling to cope with providing the necessary care for them all and sensibly asked for help.

World Horse Welfare quickly made arrangements with a number of different organisations including Redwings, Bransby Horses, the British Horse Society (BHS) and even Cambridge Veterinary School to attend the horses and representatives from each have been working closely together. Each horse is caught and then examined by the vets who are treating for worms and lice, and any farriery and dental needs. The horses are then passported and micro-chipped by the BHS. An important part of this processing of each animal is the gelding of each of the colts and stallions by the Cambridge vets to prevent the number of animals increasing again. The owner is paying for the passporting and castrations.



he latest Covid-19 lockdown has delayed World Horse Welfare re-opening its four Visitor Centres until the Easter holiday. Britain’s largest horse rescue and rehoming charity had planned to re-open its centres - which have been closed since the first lockdown in March 2020 - in mid-February. However, the charity is now aiming for Easter. The Visitor Centres, one of which is in Norfolk, are very popular with both locals and tourists. The centres allow visitors to learn about the work of the charity and meet horses that are currently being rehabilitated before rehoming. The Visitor Centres are also a source of income for the charity which has continued to take in, care for and rehabilitate horses and ponies during the pandemic. www.worldhorsewelfare.org





project to bring rare Exmoor pony bloodlines back to the moor has been a resounding success, says the Exmoor Pony Society. Just fifty moorland ponies survived World War 2 and, while the breed is still officially ‘endangered’, there are now more than 4000 registered ponies on Exmoor and across the world. However some bloodlines have

been missing on the moor for decades, including the Moth bloodline which was close to extinction. Exmoor Pony Society established the Exmoor Committee of Herd Owners (ECHO), a sub-committee to discuss moorland matters. ECHO launched an initiative to reintroduce certain bloodlines to the moor. Thanks to their hard work, the structure of the breed’s gene pool on the moor is starting to look much healthier.

Photo: Tricia Gibson



ominations are still open for the 2021 SEIB Insurance Brokers Livery Yard and Riding School of the Year Awards. These awards have been set up by SEIB to celebrate excellence in teaching, training and horse care. The SEIB Livery Yard and Riding School of the Year Awards have categories for best small riding school (under 20 horses), best large riding school (over 20 horses), best full livery yard, best do-ityourself livery yard and best Riding for the Disabled riding school. To nominate your favourite livery yard or riding school, visit www.seib.co.uk/ awards before 16th March 2021.





- Emma Reedman

- Megan Downes

When you just can't get that last piece of chaff!

What do you call a pony with a sore throat? A little horse. Hahaha well phoebe found it funny!

It must be love!


Sponsored by - Karen Ireland

- Lou Marrs “This bubble gum tastes different!”

- Lyn Howlett

When you’re desperate to join the party!

One Day!


- Andrea Mason - Annie Francis “Say what….?!”

- Kerri Holmes “Look mum, I don't need the dentist again!”

WINNER! WINNER! “At one with my horse!” - Ann Gales

“100 miles? Completed it mate!”

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SHOWS: WHAT’S ON willing that circumstances allow it to happen. Our main concern is that everyone stays safe.” In the meantime, for competitors to get their eye in after a long break for many, the second round of Virtual Search for a Star is set to take place on 10th - 11th April at Your Horse Virtually Live. Photo entries for these classes will be judged by members of the team of Search for a Star judges, with detailed feedback for the winning horses and ponies. Virtual Search for a Star will include classes for mountain and moorlands, show hunters, riding horses, hacks, details of qualifiers and venues to www.seib.co.uk/competitions show cobs, diamond pony, traditional cobs, part-bred as they become available. traditional cobs, RDA horse or Search for a Star classes with pony, racehorses with amateur finals at HOYS include; hacks, hunters, working pony, working owner / riders and new for 2021, horses, riding horses, traditional veterans. Entries are open until 8th March 2021. gypsy cobs – of any colour, Search for a Star is purely for show cobs, and the longstanding SEIB Racehorse to amateur riders and this rule is very strictly enforced. The ridden Riding Horse final. Search for a SEIB Horse of the Year Show Star qualifiers in the mountain Racehorse to Riding Horse class and moorland classes, veteran is open to professional and horse or pony and part-bred traditional cob will head to Your amateur riders. SEIB support ethical showing and testing for Horse Live for their prohibited substances and tack championships. inspections may take place. The SEIB Marketing Manager Search for a Star full schedule Nicolina MacKenzie said: “Will we run this year, won’t we, who will be released in due course. www.seib.co.uk/competitions knows!? But we seriously hope to. The plan is there, we are just



EIB Search for a Star 2021 is set to include exciting new classes for amateur show riders. Search for a Star ridden and virtual veterans and Search for a Star part-bred traditional ridden cobs have been added to this ever-popular series. The champions in these new classes – all being well – will be crowned at finals to be held at Your Horse Live in November. Virtual classes will go ahead in April and it is hoped that the ridden qualifiers will take place later in the year. Search for a Star first took place back in 1996 and over the years has provided thousands of opportunities for amateur riders

to compete at championship shows. Traditionally the highlight of Search for a Star is the opportunity to qualify and compete at Horse of the Year Show (HOYS). In recent years, in addition to the HOYS finals, Search for a Star now has championship classes in the main arena at Your Horse Live as well. For 2021, it is intended that all classes for the ever-popular SEIB Search for a Star and Racehorse to Riding Horse series will get underway with qualifiers beginning early in the summer months. The SEIB team organising Search for a Star are working closely with Horse of the Year Show and Your Horse Live. The SEIB team will add

DRESSAGE AT Photo: JulianPortch.com




ressage will continue at one of the country’s most famous showgrounds, with the All England Jumping Course set to host a Premier League show in May 2021. The three-day fixture (21st-23rd May) will include classes from Advanced Medium to Grand Prix, with entries expected from a number of British Dressage’s leading riders. More than £500,000 has been spent on making several existing grass rings into two vast allweather arenas, with top of the range Andrews Bowen surfaces. During the winter months, these arenas are used for cross-country and showjumping schooling courses, but at the beginning of the 2021 summer season they will be transformed to create a Premier League dressage venue with a number of arenas running concurrently as well as an international sized warm-up arena.


For Horse Lovers!





Photo: E J Lazenby Photography

ant to spend time with like-minded horse lovers in a picturesque outdoor location this coming summer? HorseFest is a new, three-day festival, taking place from 23rd 25th July, for all those horse fans with an interest in the equine world, allowing them to come together, learn, celebrate, have fun and create special memories. Held at Weston Park in Shropshire, you can camp or ‘glamp’ to fully embrace the outdoors, experience festival life and feel part of the HorseFest

tribe. The event promises a packed line-up that includes a variety of interactive and inclusive performances and demonstrations from top riders and experts across all areas of the equestrian world, allowing HorseFest festivalgoers to learn and develop their own knowledge in an inspirational and caring environment. Already signed up to appear are mother and daughter eventing duo, Mary and Emily King and event rider and presenter Jonty Evans, with the much heralded Cooley Rorkes Drift, known as Art, who captured the hearts of thousands when crowd-funding saved Jonty from losing the ride. The very own Tiger himself, Jay Halim,

will be passing on his showjumping tips for the top, while Grand Prix dressage rider, Sam Turner, will showcase the training techniques that have seen her reach the upper echelons of the sport with her traditional gypsy cob, Billy Whiz. Steph Croxford, so well-known for her incredible partnership with Mr President, will impart her many years of knowledge. Natural horseman Jason Webb and performance psychologist Charlie Unwin are set to entertain with an exciting collaboration. While action man extraordinaire, Ben Atkinson, highly regarded for his liberty work and classical dressage, is sure to leave you inspired and enthralled with his incredible team of horses. www.horsefest.org

021 brings two further members to The Showing Council and swells the number of showing organisations who now come under its umbrella to eighteen. The Shire Horse Society, an original founder member, has re-joined and the Veteran Horse Society joins for the first time. David Ingle, Chairman of the Council said, “We are sure both societies will be an asset to the organisation and assist in the various discussions, currently taking place.” Throughout last year, the Council produced its ‘Blueprint’ for holding shows under Covid Regulations, which is the only document recognised by the British Equestrian Federation and Sport England. The document has proved to invaluable to Show Secretaries. Any Show Secretaires requiring a copy should contact The Showing Council. www.theshowing council.co.uk


irle Place Country Show and Horse Trials has been chosen as one of the prestigious venues for the new Science Supplements Area Festivals. Organised by the team at BEDE Events, Firle Place is taking place 15th - 16th May, and is held in the South Downs National Park in the village of Firle, Sussex. Said Stuart Buntine of BEDE: “We are delighted to be hosting the first of the exciting new Science Supplements Area Festivals at Firle. They are a fantastic new initiative for the sport in general but especially for grass roots riders wanting to work towards a championship atmosphere in a stunning location. “We are really hoping to be able to have spectators attending but are like many other events currently waiting for guidance on whether we can goahead and allow public admission.” www.bede-events.co.uk

A Magical Event... 7


Photo: 1stclassimages



how Preparation tips from seven-time, Horse of the Year supreme champion Jayne Ross. TRIMMING LEGS “In all disciplines it is important for your horse to look its best and trimming legs is something we do regularly as part of our pre-show management. It isn’t

all about looks as it helps keep the skin cleaner, drier, and medication is more effectively applied. Before you start make sure you wash the horse’s legs with a shampoo rather than just water as this will remove grease and scurf – this makes the area much easier to work on. We use Absorbine’s ShowSheen 2-in-1 Shampoo and Conditioner because it deeps cleans, is pHbalanced for horse’s sensitive skin and rinses out easily, leaving no residue. “There are two options when trimming - scissors or clippers. Whatever method you choose always have an experienced helper holding your horse.”

Scissors: “If your horse isn’t keen on being clipped, then this is the way to go. You need a small mane comb and small sharp scissors.” • Lift the hair from underneath and cut the ends straight across. Start at the top of the leg and slowly work down • Use the same method when you get to the fetlock • Blend the hairs by altering the angle of the scissors over the back of the fetlock Use the same technique at the fetlock


The scissor method - lift hair from underneath

Work around the fetlock


Hold tail out of the way

Clippers: “As with all clipping make sure your blades are sharp and clean before you begin. The quickest way to trim your horse’s legs is with a small pair of cordless clippers. It is important that your horse stands still while you do this and if he’s not used to having his legs clipped introduce the trimmers gradually.“ • Start with the front legs at the back of the knee • With a light pressure, run the trimmers straight down the leg to the top of the fetlock. This will give a free-line finish and not appear ‘chopped into’ • Ensure everything looks tidy - go back for any stray hairs • Spend time blending the hairs behind the knee • The same method is used for the back legs – start a few inches below the hock. Make sure your horse’s tail is out of the way. Clipping around the fetlock • Clip the longer hairs at the back of the fetlock in an upward movement at first, then angle the clippers to catch the rest of the hairs and blend in • When working on the pastern area hold the clippers the other way up • When you have finished tidy up any stray hairs, give the legs a brush and remove any dirt. “I then like to apply Absorbine’s Hooflex Liquid Conditioner because it creates a breathable moisture barrier to help maintain a lasting moisture balance. It absorbs quickly giving deep conditioning and helps avoid hoof cracking and chipping, ideal for application around nail holes.”

The result is smart and tidy legs and hooves, ready for the show ring!

TRIMMING THE FACE AND EARS “Trimming the long hairs from your horse’s face and ears adds the finishing touch to show preparation. To trim the face and ears I use a small pair of quiet, lightweight trimmers. Even if I have trimmed a horse’s face before I always just check they are happy with the noise and sensation again before I start. I also have a helper on hand to hold and reassure my horse.“

Start at the bottom of the jaw and work your way to the top following the jaw line Trim all the longer hairs from underneath the jaw

Ears: “Generally, for showing trimmed ears are expected, but check the rules for your class if you aren’t sure. “I like to trim the ears a couple of days before a show, so I am safe in the knowledge it is done and I’m not trying to do it at the last minute. You’d be amazed how often a horse will let you do one ear then suddenly decide the other ear is a no-go zone!” • Gently squeeze the ear together so the sides touch • Run the trimmer down the edges to cut the long hairs. You might need to repeat this to remove any missed hairs • Finally trim the outside of the ear including the long straggly hairs at the tip.

Photos: Libby Law

Face: • Begin by trimming the bottom of the jaw and follow the line of the jaw to the top • Turn the clippers the other way around and work back down again taking all the hair as you go • It helps if you get your horse to stretch his head forwards a little when you get to the top of the jaw • Trim all the longer hairs from underneath the jaw, turning the trimmers to catch them all. • Turn the clippers around and run down the side of the face to remove any straggly hairs • Gently brush the face and you are finished.


nternational event riders Emma and Kevin McNab share their event preparation tips. Turn the clippers round and run down the side of the face

Before and after

Why is it important for your horses to look good? “It is important to have your horses turned out to the highest standard and we take pride in them looking beautiful. In the dressage phase it is about how you and your horse perform but it is an advantage to have an immaculately turned-out horse.” Continued overleaf...


SHOW PREPARATION Continued from previous page...

What preparation do you do the day before an event? “The day before is always a big day at the salon for the horses. We make sure our horses are trimmed and tidy all over: pull their mane, pull/rake their tail, trim bridle paths, fetlocks, and the bottom of the tail. They are given an all over bath to deep clean their coats with ShowSheen 2 in 1 Shampoo and Conditioner – the provitamins nourish the skin and coat and leave it looking great. “We try not to brush their tails too often to prevent breaking the hair so after they are washed, we spray them with ShowSheen Hair Polish and Detangler and brush them in preparation for the competition. Usually, we will plait them the day before or, if we are competing late the following day we will wait until the day of the show.”

“We use Absorbine ShowSheen on both the horses coats and tails. It is a really versatile product,” says Emma

What are your tips on the day of an event to keep the horses looking great? “Our horses always wear hoods the night before an event so on the day their plaits look just as good as the day before. There is nothing worse preparing beautiful plaits only to find that your horse has rubbed them out overnight! “Our head girl Lucy has her own special

Quarter Marks


competition grooming kit full of all the essentials that are needed to turn out at the event. She always makes sure the brushes are washed and clean for every show. “If there are two products that everyone should have in their competition grooming kit it should be a ShowSheen Hair Polish and Detangler and Hooflex Liquid Conditioner. “ShowSheen is so versatile at events: tail shine/detangler, spray for quarter markings, all over coat shine and face make up for around the eyes and nose. It is the most useful, versatile

product in our grooming kit. “We prefer using the Hooflex Liquid Conditioner for our horses' feet because it creates a breathable moisture barrier and maintains a lasting moisture balance. However, if it’s dusty or wet we Kevin McNab swap this applying Absorbine Hooflex Liquid for some Conditioner SuperShine Hoof Polish and Sealer because it has a gloss finish but doesn’t let dust or dirt settle.” Why do you have quarter marks on your horses? “Quarter marks make a big difference to the overall turnout of our horses and we do them at all competitions. Not only do they show off the definition of the horses’ hind quarters they give a finishing touch to a beautifully turned-out horse. There are many different patterns, but we do three vertical stripes on the top and then sharks teeth. Lucy will use either ShowSheen Hair Polish and Detangler or ShowSheen Finishing Mist to do them as this gives them great shine, highlights the coat colour and sets the hair better.” www.absorbine.co.uk


Suggested Products...

Yaris Equestrian manufacture rugs of the highest quality and their custom range features three show rugs that can be customised with sponsors’ logos or produced in a specific colour to complement your existing kit. Yaris Wool Show Rug - RRP: from £165. Yaris Polar Fleece Show Rug - RRP: from £88. Yaris Cotton Show Rug - RRP: from £89. www.yarisequestrian.co.uk


What The Muck is made with lavender and peppermint, and has a truly refreshing yet mild aroma. Peppermint naturally cleanses the skin and has the added bonus of antiseptic and antibacterial properties. This shampoo with provide a deep clean while maintaining a mild and gentle formula. www.pommel.co.uk


Returning for 2021...



national week of action encouraging people from across the equestrian community to speak out about their experiences of the infectious disease Strangles is returning this year. Strangles Awareness Week 2021 will take place from 3rd to 9th May with the aim to provide horse owners, yard managers, vets and equine professionals with a platform to share their own stories and promote support for those affected by the disease. This special week is a collaborative effort between the British Horse Society, Intervacc, Keeping Britain’s Horses Healthy, Redwings Horse Sanctuary, Scotland’s Rural College’s Premium Assured Strangles Scheme (PASS), Surveillance of Equine Strangles (SES), The (Dick) Royal School of RRP: from £4.80

Veterinary Studies and World Horse Welfare who have brought together their decades’ worth of experience of either caring for horses with Strangles, supporting those coping with outbreaks or research into the disease. An online survey aimed at yard managers, conducted last year, identified fear as one of the main barriers to talking about the disease with 58% of respondents believing that just speaking publicly may lead people to suspect an issue, ultimately affecting their business’ reputation. This sadly leads to many dealing with financially and emotionally devastating outbreaks in silence, allowing the highly contagious illness - the most prevalent equine disease in the UK - to spread further. It is hoped by encouraging more equestrians to speak out about their

experiences, people will have the confidence to seek help and advice. Last year’s Strangles Awareness Week reached more than half a million people through social media, with well-known equestrians such as Joe Stockdale sharing the Week’s posts and messages - and it’s hoped more will get involved this year. As well as practical information and free resources to support those who may be tackling outbreaks, this year’s event also includes a series of podcasts with figures from across the equestrian community sharing their experiences of Strangles and encouraging others to take up constructive conversations about the disease’s prevention

and management. Further information about what to expect during this year’s Strangles Awareness Week will be made available soon. If you’re a horse owner, yard manager, vet or equine professional and would like to join a list of ambassadors to help promote the Week through social media, please email campaigns@redwings.co.uk

Product Suggestion... Equine Bio Genie Bio Fluid eliminates up to 99.9999% of all pathogens, viruses and infectious diseases from any surface that you or your horse may come into contact with. The patented formula of Hydrogen Peroxide and Ionic Silver as a stabilising agent kills bacteria and pathogens, protects from infection after application, maintaining superior microbiological control with no known resistance. www.equine-bio-genie.co.uk



PEACE OF MIND FOR PARASITE CONTROL with the All Seasons Subscription Service


ould you say hand on heart that you worm egg count your horse every 12- 8 weeks and you’re always up to date with parasite control? With the best intentions time speeds by and busy horse owners can inadvertently find themselves behind on their plans. Let Westgate Labs take the worry out of worming for you! To make following a best practice parasite control programme as easy as possible they designed the award winning All Seasons Subscription Service. This gives you a tailor made testing programme designed to take the guesswork out of managing this important aspect of horse’s health. It’s proven a very popular option with horse owners and it won a coveted British Equestrian Trade Association (BETA) Business Award in 2020. For one simple monthly subscription payment, clients receive a bespoke plan for each horse and all the tests needed to target the right parasites at the right time of year direct to their door. In addition to a regular schedule of worm counts and EquiSal tests for redworm, roundworm and tapeworm, the subscription also covers any incidental tests that might be


required for pinworm, lungworm or liver fluke plus, reduction tests to check for drug resistance and sand testing to monitor sediment levels in the dung and help reduce the risk of sand colic. Operations Director Kristy Hodgson commented: “We designed the service on the back of feedback from our customers who tell us how worried they get about making the right choices for their horses and how, even with the best intentions, the gaps between testing can slip when juggling all those other pressures of work and family life. “The ability to spread the cost into small monthly payments is also something our customers value. They love how easy it is and tell us it brings peace of mind that enables them to get on with enjoying their horses.” The service hit the spot with subscribers too. “I love the fact I only medicate my horse when there is a need to do so. Westgate’s subscription is so easy to use. They send out everything, you do the sample and post it back, bish bosh jobs done and the results come to me via email,” commented subscriber Kirsty M.

“Another top delivery from Westgate Labs yesterday. Tapeworm and worm count time. Invaluable for busy people to ensure top care for your horses. Very efficient service, quick turnaround. Brilliant!” said subscriber Lesley W. Consultant vet to Westgate Labs, Carolyn Cummins MVB Phd MRCVS commented: “The intervals for testing are based on the worm life cycles we’re testing for, the relative risk of the individual horse and the parasite challenges they might

meet in their environment. Unintentionally lengthening this time between testing or treating could easily allow a parasite burden to get out of hand and become a threat to horse health.” With subscriptions starting from £6.50 per calendar month for a healthy adult horse programme the All Seasons service is an affordable way to manage parasite control. There are options for young and highrisk horses too which include more frequent testing. www.westgatelabs.co.uk/ subscribe/



ew research, from leading equine parasitologist Dr Martin Nielsen, has provided more evidence to show that reducing worming (or more correctly, de-worming) intensity, does not have any adverse health risks to horses. The work confirms that the traditional approach of frequent routine de-worming at predetermined intervals, without the use of diagnostic testing is unnecessary. To help share the results of

this significant study Dr Nielsen has produced two short explanatory videos, one for vets and one for horse owners. The videos are being shared by BEVA to spread the word. “Internal parasites, predominantly strongyles and ascarids, are omnipresent at equine yards,” said Dr Nielsen. “But a persistent growing resistance to the anthelmintics we have available is challenging us to find more sustainable and yet effective parasite control programmes. “De-worming every six to eight weeks and rotating between

products is still very common around the world but this sort of carpet bombing is completely unnecessary and drug rotation does not prevent drug resistance. Many people are not comfortable with de-worming less frequently, thinking it will compromise horse health, but our study shows that this is not the case; no adverse health effects were seen that could be ascribed to scaling down deworming intensity.” David Rendle, Chair of BEVA’s Health and Medicines Committee said: “Spreading this information will hopefully

encourage any horse owners who have not done so already to change from their oldfashioned habits of frequent de-worming, to a diagnostic test-led, or at least a more strategic approach with routine drug-resistance testing. In so doing we can help avert the potential equine welfare crisis that all are agreed will inevitably ensue if the equine industry continues with the indiscriminate use of anthelmintics.”



Photo: Zoetis


oetis Inc. is reminding horse owners to be worm aware and always know which parasite they are treating and why. “Reducing the use of wormers by only using them when you know what you are targeting and why, such as when treating for encysted small redworm, together with using diagnostic tests and regular drug resistance testing are the most effective ways to minimise the risk of drug resistance,” said Dr Wendy Talbot, National Equine Veterinary Manager at Zoetis. Between December and April, the biggest parasite threat to adult horses is encysted small redworm (ESRW) and all adult horses should have been recently tested or treated using a five-day course of fenbendazole or a single dose of moxidectin. “It is important to note that there is widespread resistance to fenbendazole, so a resistance test is advisable, prior to using this product. It’s also vital to remember that treating with a wormer that does not specifically target encysted small redworm (ESRW) can actually increase the risk of a horse with a high ESRW burden developing larval cyathostominosis, which is a potentially fatal disease,” advises Dr Talbot. www.horsedialog.co.uk


HEALTH & WELFARE The regular removal of droppings promotes healthy grass and reduces dropping related diseases. Four rows of height adjustable brushes rotate at variable speeds to flick the TO REDUCE WORM RE-INFECTION droppings into the plastic rotproof rear collecting box. A very smallholding and reliable 5.5Hp Honda engine private paddock is drives four rows of heightdifferent, but clearing up adjustable brushes. The after horses, donkeys or ponies machines speed-reduction is something we all have in gearbox incorporates a common. centrifugal clutch which allows Created out of necessity, the the brushes to stop revolving SCH Equestrian Powered Brush when the engine speed is low - a created and refined many (EPB) is for customers necessary feature when moving equestrian machines, but none requesting something – from heap to heap. more useful than the EPB, which To use the EPB tow it over the anything – to make this will allow you to spend longer perpetual and relentless task droppings and the powered with the horses and less time quicker and easier. brush will pick them cleanly off Over the past 33 years, SCH has clearing up. the ground and throw them into





ould you know how to help your horse whilst keeping yourself safe? Join the World Horse Welfare webinar on Wednesday 3rd March at 7pm to learn from equine vet, Chris Tuffnell, and registered veterinary nurse, Chris Shaw, about what to do in an emergency. Experts will teach you how to assess an equine emergency quickly and accurately, and will give you tips on how to manage these stressful situations. Knowing when to call the vet and applying effective first aid can be the key to success or failure when a horse has an injury. The free-to-attend webinar will cover common emergencies such as wounds, bleeding, and fractures, you will learn what to do – and what not to do – to give your horse the best chance of recovery. Plus by registering for the webinar through Zoom you will be able to take part in the various polls, ask questions during the live Q&A session with the speakers. www.worldhorse welfare.org


the rear collection box. Emptying couldn’t be easier – turn the winch to effortlessly lift and tilt the collecting box. The task of dropping removal never ends, and the EPB can potentially save hundreds of hours of labour per year. The durable chassis is constructed from solid welded steel, and the Honda-built engine offers maximum reliability. When combined with SCH’s dedicated spare parts team, the robust British-made machinery will save you time and cost in labour for many years to come. For a free 80 page brochure featuring over 200 British built machines designed explicitly for smallholders, visit: www.schsupplies.co.uk




hen you are sponsored by a company that manufactures equine first aid products you don’t ever want to have to find out how good the products are. However, that’s exactly what happened to Robinson Animal Healthcare sponsored rider, Sophie Wells, when one of her top horses recently went lame with an abscess. C Fatal Attraction (Jorge), Sophie’s Gold Medal winning ride from the

Paralympic World Equestrian Games in 2018, suddenly went lame following a lesson. Sophie immediately called out the farrier who didn’t initially get a reaction when he applied hoof testers. The following day Jorge was much worse, so Sophie called her vet and this time he did react to the hoof testers. The vet removed Jorge’s shoe and had a little dig around in the hoof and

Above: Prior to poulticing Sophie tubbed Jorge's foot; Above right: Sophie poulticed Jorge’s hoof with Animalintex; Right: Sophie used Animalintex, Veterinary Gamgee and Equiwrap Coheshive Bandages in the treatment of Jorge's abscess

recommended that Sophie tubbed the foot for several days and applied a hot poultice. Sophie hot poulticed the hoof for three days and applied a dry poultice on the fourth day using Animalintex, which softened the foot nicely to release the pressure and ease Jorge’s discomfort so the farrier was able to put the shoe back on. Said Sophie: “The Animalintex was so easy to use. I cut normal Animalintex to shape first as I needed it to go up the side of his foot slightly where there was a crack, to encourage any dirt out, and then used the hoof shaped Animalintex pads. “I applied some Veterinary Gamgee on top of the Animalintex to make sure there


was even pressure across the foot and then secured it all in place with Equiwrap Cohesive bandages. Jorge’s colour on the yard is purple so he had to have purple bandages! “The Equiwrap bandages were really effective at holding everything in place as he walked around the stable. “It’s inevitable with horses that at some point you will need to reach for your first aid kit, so I am just very grateful that my kit was stocked up thanks to Robinson Animal Healthcare.” www.robinsonhealthcare.com






n abscess may come on suddenly, leaving your horse in considerable orses and ponies are discomfort, and even the notoriously good at smallest wound can become getting nicks, cuts, infected in just a few hours, so grazes, broken skin areas and prompt treatment is vital. bites. It is therefore essential To treat an abscess or an to have a proven antibacterial infected wound you will need to protective cream in your first apply a hot, wet poultice, so aid kit. there are a few essential items FiltaBac by Aniwell is a robust that you will always need to antibacterial wound protection keep in your first aid kit to form cream, proven to protect and a capsule poultice kit. prevent damage to skin areas What to include in a poultice kit: prone to exposure from the • A licensed poultice such as environment including rain, Animalintex which contains an mud, sun and insects. FiltaBac antiseptic to clean and prevent will stay in place, allow the re-infection and natural wound/skin to breathe, serum poulticing agent, Tragacanth, to be expelled and provide which, when it reacts with protection to the skin. water, draws out any infection FiltaBac assists with natural and creates a clean wound area wound healing and of course is a for the wound to heal. total sun reflector. • Veterinary Gamgee to use as A moderately thick layer of padding on top of the FiltaBac should be applied as Animalintex. soon as an area requires cover. If • A cohesive bandage such as you are unable to clean the area Equiwrap to hold everything in first, apply immediately to place. protect from further damage • A clean container, such as a and then cleanse with water, pat shallow tray to soak the dry and reapply. Apply to the Animalintex in. Do not use a affected area daily for two days bucket, unless it has been (no cleansing between) and on sterilised first. the third day, gently wash the • A hygienic sponge and salt to area, without damaging new clean the hoof or wound skin cells, pat the surrounding thoroughly prior to poulticing. tissue dry and reapply. A mix of a level teaspoon of www.aniwell-uk.com salt per pint of previously boiled water will help prevent further infection. • Duct tape to help keep everything in place when poulticing a hoof to help stop

the shoe breaking through the bandage and keep it dry. Keeping all of these important items together in one place as a poultice kit will save time and stress when faced with an injured horse or one that refuses to put weight on their foot due

Always contact your vet if you have any concerns about a wound or abscess.

to the agony of an abscess. Remember to regularly check the use-by-date on the packaging of a licensed poultice and replace when necessary. www.robinsonhealthcare.com




Milly’s painful eye VAPORISING SERVICE TO



illy was referred to the specialist ophthalmology service run by Cambridge Equine Hospital and Dick White Referrals for treatment of a painful eye. She had been seen by her referring vet initially and had been diagnosed with a corneal ulcer, but unfortunately this was not responding to treatment. Milly had lost her right eye two years ago, making it critical to resolve the problem in her left eye to save her vision. The cornea forms the outer clear surface of the eye and is made up of five layers. Corneal ulcers are common in horses, and normally resolve quickly if there are no factors preventing healing. They are most commonly caused by trauma, but may be caused by other conditions affecting the eye. When a corneal ulcer is healing the surface layer (the epithelium) must stick down to the thick middle layer (the

stroma). If this does not happen the ulcer will fail to heal. Milly’s vet had identified this problem, and had carefully removed the loose edges of epithelium at home – this is frequently all that’s needed. Unfortunately, Milly’s eye had not responded to treatment as hoped. Milly was examined carefully under sedation in order to rule out any underlying disease process that may prevent the ulcer from healing, before a minor surgical procedure (‘superficial keratectomy’) was performed to remove part of the abnormal middle layer of the cornea which was failing to stick to the overlying epithelium. This can be performed with the horse under sedation, and usually does not require a general anaesthetic. Nerve blocks are used to relax the upper eyelid, and local anaesthetic is applied to the surface of the eye. The cornea is cut carefully with a setdepth knife to a maximum depth of 350µm, which means that only the most superficial part of the cornea is removed.

Article supplied by: Department of Veterinary Medicine, University of Cambridge

www.vet.cam.ac.uk 20

Milly was sent home the same day to continue to receive antibiotic eye drops, and pain relief in her feed. Millywas re-examined two weeks later, confirming that the ulcer had successfully healed. She has not shown any signs of pain since the procedure was performed, and continues to do well.

Top: A stain (‘fluorescein’) is applied to the surface of the eye, turning ulcerated areas green (arrow). Image A shows Milly’s eye when she was first seen, image B shows Milly’s eye after surgery when the ulcer had healed, showing no more stain uptake. The white areas of cornea will continue to improve in appearance as the eye continues to heal over time. Above: Milly sedated in stocks before surgery.


n the aftermath of the equine influenza crisis and in the midst of a coronavirus pandemic, biosecurity for you and your horse has never been more important. The launch of Equine Bio Genie, an Eco Friendly, allpurpose disinfectant, is being welcomed by trainers, owners and riders alike. The Equine Bio Genie Vaporising system is administered via an air assisted vapour machine which heats up the Equine Bio Genie disinfectant solution, making the active ingredient rise, enabling full coverage of a premises. For example, in the case of a stable or feed room, the rafters and beams that may be harbouring bacteria from bird droppings, can be treated as part of the rapid and thorough clean. Equine Bio Genie’s dry mist spray application offers full and easy coverage in a rinsefree formula, ensuring that you are not giving bacteria the damp conditions they thrive in. www.equine-biogenie.co.uk




hile much of the world only recently learned the health hazards of microscopic airborne particles, horses have been struggling with their impact for years - whether their owners know it or not! Allergic reactions that manifest as respiratory issues, skin problems, general malaise and poor performance start as tiny airborne particles that infiltrate, irritate and trigger inflammation inside the horse's body. ‘Dust’ is the innocent-sounding description of the conduit for mold, fungi, bacteria and other allergens that activate inflammation and unfortunately, most horses’ biggest source of nutrition, hay, is loaded with these allergens. This is true even in hay of good nutrient quality and that looks and smells untainted. Breakthrough Equine nutritionist and digestive physiology expert Professor Meriel Moore-Colyer, PhD, is excited about recent findings regarding allergens that

affect horses. As a graduate dean and professor at the Royal Agricultural University, Gloucestershire, she supervised a recent breakthrough study that evaluated almost 400 potential allergens from a blood sample. Conducted by Samuel White, PhD candidate, MSc, BSc, the study included twelve equine subjects with Severe Equine Asthma, a condition at the most extreme end of the Equine Asthma Spectrum. Each was exposed to the same potential allergens in a controlled environment, and blood samples revealed which triggered a reaction represented by antigens. This was the largest scale allergen assessment in Severe Equine Asthma horses to date. The results established a wide range of previously unidentified allergens and highlighted fungi and mites as the main reactants. Pollen and latex were newly identified as a problem for horses, as they are for many

people. This initial study established a sound platform for future diagnostics and crutially, it enables targeted allergenavoidance regimes, which are the cornerstone to treatment. Allergen Avoidance The results of White’s study and the fast-evolving body of knowledge on allergens speak to the complexity of the subject. For example, it’s known that repeated exposure to an allergen will cause a progressively more severe response, whether that’s coughing, wheezing or decreased capacity to use oxygen at lower levels of exertion. Scientists thrive on this research, but horse owners only need to know one thing regarding allergens. “Allergen avoidance is the cornerstone to effective prevention,” asserts Moore-

Colyer. The easiest and most effective way to do that is using a Haygain Hay Steamer, using steam heated to over 100°c and injected evenly through hay in a thermally sealed chest, this process eliminates up to 99% of the dust, mold, fungi, bacteria and other allergens found in hay. Visit the website to find out more about the scientifically proven health benefits of Haygain’s Hay Steamers. www.haygain.co.uk

BEVA: HELP REDUCE ANTIMICROBIAL RESISTANCE The British Equine Veterinary Association (BEVA) is calling on horse owners to support vets’ efforts to reduce the risk of antimicrobial resistance by better understanding antibiotics. Antibiotic resistance is increasing throughout human and veterinary medicine. At the same time there are no new classes of antibiotics being produced, so there is an increasing population of ‘superbugs’ which are resistant to many or all antibiotics and in some cases cannot be treated successfully. www.beva.org.uk/Protect-Me





eeping horses’ teeth and hooves up to scratch is essential to maintaining their overall health. If dental and hoof care is neglected this can have knock on effects on a horse’s ability to eat, move and go about its daily life. Keeping an eye on teeth and hooves may also help owners to spot other health issues early, as problems in these areas may be indicative of broader issues. Teeth All horses should have an annual check up to make sure that their dental health is in order, and this is particularly important for veteran horses. Horses with known dental problems may need more regular re-checks. Regular


checking will allow you to monitor for any signs that your horse’s teeth are causing them discomfort. These signs can be varied, but make sure to look out for quidding (spitting out half chewed food), head tossing or a marked change in how they chew their food. If dental issues are causing your horse pain while eating, they may also display a reduced appetite, weight loss or a decline in overall performance, so it is important to spot problems early on. Sharp edges on a horse's teeth can cause pain, as they can cause ulceration on the cheek or tongue, as well as problems under saddle. Ulceration can be more common in domestic horses, who have a lower fibre

diet and therefore spend less time chewing food. Horses fed a higher proportion of concentrates or have a lower fibre intake will spend less time chewing their food. Their teeth are not worn down as quickly, so sharp edges can become troublesome. This can be solved by rasping the teeth, which is the process of removing sharp edges and hooks using a powerrasp or hand-rasp, normally with the help of sedation. Another common issue that your vet or equine dental technician (EDT) will look for are diastemata. Diastemata are gaps in the horse’s teeth where food can get trapped and cause inflammation. Not all horses have diastemata, although some will develop one or more during their lifetime. While flossing may be a simple solution for humans, horses can suffer gingivitis, gum recession, infection and eventually tooth loss, if diastemata are not addressed. A diastema may not be visible without using a dental gag as they are often found in the cheek teeth at the back of the mouth. Typically, diastemata

TO HELP OWNERS KEEP THEIR HORSES HEALTHY, WE SPOKE TO DR JESSICA MAY, UK LEAD VET AT THE VIDEO VET SERVICE FIRSTVET need regular cleaning and flushing to remove packed food and prevent infection. They frequently need to be cleaned more than once a year. It may also be necessary for a vet to widen the space between the teeth, to prevent food accumulating. Hooves Regular foot trimming or reshoeing is essential, especially for veteran horses. The correct diet also helps to maintain healthy hooves. For example, biotin supplements can be given to horses to improve hoof quality. Shod horses usually need a farrier visit every four to six weeks, while unshod horses are usually seen by their farrier every six to ten weeks. Between farrier visits, you should also keep an eye on horses’ feet and movement in case problems occur. If a horse looks uncomfortable with a shortened stride or is reluctant to move, or they are lame, further investigation to find the cause will be needed. The sole of the foot should be concave and the frog should be in contact with the ground. After a horse

has been shod, the shoe should sit flat against the edge of the foot, and checking the feet twice daily will help to identify a spread or twisted shoe. During summer, horses’ hooves may be at risk of cracking due to hot weather. Cracks stemming from the bottom of the hoof upwards are known as ‘grass cracks’, and can be caused by overgrown feet or changes to the condition of the ground underfoot. Cracks originating from the coronary band, at the top of the hoof, are known as ‘sand cracks’, which can be caused by a foot imbalance or excessive stress. Cracks typically need to be stabilised with remedial shoeing, while others may require additional treatment. If you notice a crack, it is best to get a farrier’s opinion. Veterinary assistance may also be needed to facilitate treatment. As a preventative measure, keeping the feet trimmed and in good condition can help to prevent cracks. Daily care is essential for keeping horses’ hooves clean and healthy. It is important for owners to consider their horses’ surroundings, as well as the immediate care of their feet. Feet should be picked out twice a day to look for foreign objects and reduce the risk of infection. If horses are kept in damp or muddy conditions, the risk of thrush is increased, which can cause pain and chronic lameness, whilst stray stones can cause sole bruising. Clean and dry bedding is another important factor to prevent issues, like thrush. www.firstvet.com/uk


aving used shavings to bed down her ponies for many years, Sammy Moody decided to give Miscanthus bedding a try in the stable of her retired pony, Tommy. Having heard good things about Terravesta Equine, Sammy thought this was the ideal choice for veteran Tommy. 22-year-old Sammy has owned Tommy, who is her first pony, since he was twelve, with the pair spending their younger days enjoying Pony Club activities, so understandably she wants to make sure that Tommy is comfortable in his retirement. After giving her stable a thorough clean, Sammy started a fresh bed using the Miscanthus bedding. Tommy is lucky enough to reside in a large stable that normally houses a 17hh horse and as Sammy likes him to have a full bed she used twelve bales to start the bed. Although this sounds excessive, most normal sized stables would only require half that amount if not less to create a perfectly adequate bed. Working full-time as a vet’s receptionist, Sammy found

MUCKING OUT... ! Made easy

that the biggest advantage of the bedding was how much time it saved her mucking out. Said Sammy: “I am really impressed with the Miscanthus bedding; it is dust free and makes a good dense bed which is perfect to support Tommy’s joints now he is getting older. He gave it his seal of approval when he rolled in the fresh bedding as soon as I put him back in the stable. “During the week I usually just skip out the droppings and remove any wet and do a big muck out at a weekend. When I was using shavings I would remove two full wheelbarrows of dirty bedding but with the


Miscanthus it only amounted to one full wheelbarrow. The Miscanthus also doesn’t stick to the droppings like shavings do and fall through the shavings fork so you don’t waste as much bedding when mucking out. This is ideal for anyone that needs to keep their muck heap small and obviously makes mucking out less time consuming. “Because I started out with a good deep bed, I also found that I didn’t need to add a fresh bale every week, only topping up the bed every few weeks which makes Terravesta Equine a cost effective choice.” www.terravesta-equine.com The owners were very keen that others were made aware of the online pitfalls that they, unwittingly, had fallen into.


young foal is facing a brighter future after being reported to World Horse Welfare. Humphrey had been bought unseen for £250 from an online selling site and was delivered to the buyer’s home on a housing estate. The foal lived in their garage and garden, sometimes even coming into the lounge, for two days before being reported to the charity.




SKIN HEALTH W ith a lot of horses rugged over winter it is a good feeling in spring to strip off those thicker layers and see your horse start to lose his winter coat (unless of course he was fully clipped). Some horses may come out of winter with a scurfy coat but don’t be tempted to bath your horse until the weather is warm enough. Also when it does warm up make sure that you are not


shampooing your horse too frequently as this can remove naturally occurring oils and dry out the coat and skin.

What can I do to keep my horse’s skin and coat healthy? • If your horse suffers from insect bite hypersensitivity limit his exposure to insects as much as possible by using a fly rug and mask, avoiding turnout at dusk and dawn, making sure he doesn’t graze near water sources such as bogs or streams, use exposed paddocks without hedging or trees and remove droppings from the paddock daily. • Correct nutrition and hydration are essential for coat and skin health, speak to an equine nutritionist and your vet if you have any concerns about your feeding regime and horse’s health. • If your horse has pink, exposed

or sensitive skin, use a suitable sun block when required to protect him from sunburn. For vulnerable areas on the face a mask which blocks UV light can also be used. • Check the horse’s coat and skin regularly for any abnormalities such as lumps, bumps, bites or lesions. • Remove excess dirt and sweat from your horse’s coat regularly, especially during warmer weather, to help keep flies at bay. Also remove rugs daily to ensure they are not rubbing and continue to fit comfortably. Nutrition is perhaps the most important part as certain nutrients are the building blocks

HORSES NEED A HEALTHY SKIN AND COAT ALL YEAR ROUND AS THE HORSE’S SKIN IS HIS FIRST BARRIER AGAINST EXTERNAL THREATS SUCH AS THE WEATHER, BITING INSECTS AND DISEASE. HERE, THE GOLDEN PASTE COMPANY SHARE THEIR ADVICE ON SKIN HEALTH FOR THE SPRING. of skin and hair. Certain minerals such as zinc, copper, fatty acids, and biotin are crucial so if your horse has a forage only diet adding a vitamin and mineral supplement may be necessary. If you are feeding a complete feed make sure you use the recommended amounts. The Golden Paste Company recently launched TurmerItch, a pelleted supplement specifically formulated to support a healthy skin and coat. How does TurmerItch work? The carefully selected ingredients are soothing to reduce itching, promote hair regrowth and help to repel biting insects, as well as keeping the skin healthy and the coat shiny. Insect Bite Hypersensitivity usually affects most horses from March until October but starting the ‘midge season’ primed is important for the best possible

advantage before they strike. By ‘priming’ the body to be less responsive to allergens generally, subsequent seasonal rises in insects should be less of a problem; the skin of the horse will have a barrier of bioactives that have been shown to act as a repellent, neem for example, and be less responsive to bites. By introducing this dietary system that can help optimise digestive health, the microbiome and gut integrity, the allergenic contribution to the itch threshold is reduced; subsequent challenges from biting insects may then fall below the threshold, thus reducing scratching and damage to the coat and skin. www.goldenpaste company.com


Healthy skin starts with good nutrition, after all, we are what we eat and it’s no different for our horses. This is what gave The Golden Paste Company the inspiration to launch TurmerItch, a new supplement for a healthy skin and coat which was developed for horses with skin issues. The new supplement, TurmerItch, combines key ingredients including Neem, Red Bush Tea and Chamomile, to help provide relief from itching and soothe the skin by promoting a healthy skin and coat. It also contains Turmeric, Milk Thistle, Beetroot, a prebiotic and Micronized Linseed to help produce a high shine to the horse’s coat. The active ingredients in TurmerItch support biting insect repulsion and help maintain reduced sensitivity which was demonstrated during trials with the supplement over 12 month period. RRP £59.99 (2kg tub) Not only was the supplement extremely beneficial to horses suffering with itching, it also improved hair regrowth and coat shine. www.goldenpastecompany.com

To enter: Visit www.absolutehorsemagazine.com and click on the Competitions page. Entries open 1st March and close 30th April 2021.




ow are you feeling after a period of ongoing Covid-19 restrictions? Have you eaten, drunk and been merry more or less than you might normally would? After such a strange 2020 we can be forgiven for wanting to dive headfirst into a tin of Quality Street but now, as the seasons change, it might be high time to start undoing some of that damage. We’re all hoping that as we go further into 2021, we will be able to socialise, compete and just get out and about again, so why not put in the work on your fitness now? Rider fitness has a huge impact on horse wellbeing and the efficacy of your partnership, so it will be time well spent. In the second article in this series, Clare Gangadeen from RiderCise focuses on three exercises designed to improve rider fitness and aid those of us who may have indulged a little too much during the mostrecent lockdown. These three exercises will help you give clearer aids and increase your stability in the saddle. 1. Single Leg Swing – Abduction / Adduction This exercise is deceiving. It looks simple enough, but it gives us excellent insight into


how our body produces movement. Often, we collapse laterally to produce this movement, dropping the shoulder to meet the hip, which is a compensatory action we do subconsciously, instead of activating the glutes to move the leg. By performing this exercise correctly, you will be able to provide clear effective leg aids whilst sitting straight and neutrally. Main Muscles used: Adductor Muscles: Tensor Fasciae Latae (TFL), Gluteus – Medius and Minimus (bum)

lifting your leg to the side (abducting) making sure that you are not bringing your shoulders towards your hips, creating a small C - shape • Hold the ‘squeeze’ in the bum muscles throughout the whole movement, they should be aching after 2-3 repetitions.

2. Squats Squats are one of the best exercises that you can do because they use a whole range of muscles and joints to perform, what we call a compound exercise in the fitness world. It doesn’t matter 1. Stand with your feet together how low you can go as long as and resting one leg. Keep your you really focus on maintaining standing knee soft, not locked your posture throughout. It out and your hips facing really is a simple but very forward effective exercise when 2. Keep your chest high and look performed correctly. straight ahead Main Muscles used: Quadriceps, 3. Bring your resting leg to the Hamstrings, Glutes, side of your body by squeezing Abdominals, Calves your bum and keeping the leg as straight as possible and without dropping your shoulder to meet your hip 4. Return the leg back towards your body in a controlled manner, squeezing your bum throughout the whole movement 5. This is one repetition Perform: 10 times on each leg and repeat. Notes: • Keep the movement small when

Wide Leg Squat 1

Clare Gangadeen is the founder of RiderCise, where she has combined her two passions, equestrianism and fitness (she’s a qualified PT and soft tissue therapist), to develop fitness programmes to help riders. The RiderCise programmes have been designed to develop a rider’s coordination, balance, control, strength, stamina and confidence unlocking your potential to work in harmony with your horse. www.ridercise.co.uk

1. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart 2. Hips facing forward 3. Chest high and looking straight ahead 4. Push your bottom backwards and downwards as far as you can comfortably go in a slow controlled manner without

Wide Leg Squat 2

Stationary Lateral Lunge 1

collapsing your torso and rounding your upper back and with your feet remaining flat on the floor. 5. Push your weight through both feet and stand up in one smooth move, squeezing your bum at the top. Keep feet flat and don’t collapse through your torso! 6. Keep the movement slow and controlled – count 4, 3, 2, 1 (slowly) and then stand to the count of 1. This is one repetition.

Stationary Lateral Lunge 2

3. Stationary Lateral Lunge and Leg Lift What a combination! The lateral lunge is and exercise in itself but adding in the leg lift really throws you a challenge. The lateral lunge will help lengthen AND strengthen the adductors, which is a must for riders! It will also show any weaknesses in your glute medius (pelvis stabiliser) on a single side. The transition into leg lift demonstrates how balanced and in control you are as you go into leg lift which engages the Psoas

Stationary Lateral Lunge 3

muscle. Can you do it without wobbling? It really helps improve your body awareness and motor control. Main Muscles targeted: Lateral Lunge: Adductor muscles, Quadriceps, Hamstrings, Glutes Leg Lift: Psoas, Abdominals, opposite Glute Medius 1. Stand with your feet together, chest high and facing forwards. 2. Lift one leg and step out to the side, shifting your body weight over the moving leg

and push your bottom backwards as you squat as low as you can comfortably go. 3. With power, push yourself back to the standing position and lift the leg so that the knee is bent at 90 degrees and in front of your body. 4. Keep the movement slow and controlled and the lateral lunge small to begin with. This is one repetition on one side. Perform: 10 on each side. www.ridercise.co.uk

Suggested Products... New nutrition brand Tribal Sports Nutrition has launched two vegan and organic energy smoothies, to challenge traditional gels and energy drinks, that make the perfect boost for whether you are competing or out for a hack. The smoothies, which come in on-the-go pouches that easily fit into a saddle or bum bag, utilise the energising and revitalising properties of baobab fruit to create a natural and effective fuel. The smoothies are also less concentrated than more conventional energy products and are easier on the stomach. RRP: £2.49. www.tribalsportsnutrition.com

It’s spring and with all the trees out in blossom, it’s that time of year when many riders with hay fever will be maxing out on pollen. And it’s not a trivial matter if you’re a sufferer – in some cases it can be so debilitating and can seriously affect your riding enjoyment. HayMax organic allergen barrier balm helps to trap all types of tree pollen. RRP: £6.99. www.haymax.biz



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 issue, we’re focusing on lessons learned…

WHAT'S BEEN YOUR BIGGEST LIFE/BUSINESS LESSON OVER THE LAST YEAR ( SINCE THE START OF THE PANDEMIC )? Kelly Baddeley – Knights of Middle England “The biggest business lesson I have learned through this last year is that you need to be willing and able to adapt to survive! We had to create new products and services that worked within restrictions and we got online as much as we could! Without adapting there is no way we would still be going and feeding our horses throughout this winter!” www.knightsofmiddleengland.com Tracey Cole Tracey Cole NLP “Being able to run my coaching and trainings 100% remotely has been an eye-opener. It’s been super convenient for everyone. Clients and trainees have mentioned that having greater flexibility in scheduling sessions, no travel to think about and no need to leave their horses has helped them immensely.” www.traceycolenlp.com

Carly O’Brien – COB’s Equine Shop and Services “Bring a freelance groom and instructor, my business has been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. Being furloughed from the riding school and some of my holiday freelance work cancelled, I found I had spare time on my hands. “With this I spent time doing some online training. I completed mini courses on the British Groom Association website, an online horse management course and attended webinars about growing social media. “It has made me realise that I don’t need to be running around trying to get to all clients and being in a rush. I can work successfully without the hectic schedule. Work smarter, not harder.” www.facebook.com/cobsequineshopservices Emma Halliday- Paddock Apparel “Seize the moment, life is short! Quite quickly into the pandemic I realised that this would be like nothing I had ever experienced and that the world as we know it would be changed forever. So, after years of deliberation I launched Paddock Apparel, an equestrian clothing brand with a conscious.” www.paddockapparel.co.uk Jane Brindley - Horse Riding With Confidence Scotland “My biggest lesson during this period has been the need to be on my guard for any self limiting beliefs and to challenge them in order to fully thrive in challenging circumstances. Continue to develop, seek help and support where needed and then get on and give it a go!” www.horseridingwithconfidencescottland.co.uk

Amy Pridige – Muddy Mare Clothing “Personally this year has taught me, like many others, to appreciate the small things in life. Business wise launching my brand five months before the pandemic started has meant I do not know my full potential and so it has made me more determined to succeed.” www.muddymare.co.uk


Find out more about the Small & Supercharged Mastermind group: www.rhea freemanpr.co.uk

Rhea Comments On...



or many riders, it’s a dream to bag themselves a sponsor. Being aligned with brands that you love working with, whose products you adore, who can help support you in your equestrian dreams is huge. But that’s really just the start. Bagging yourself a sponsor isn’t the easy bit as such, but with it comes a responsibility to promote the brand correctly and well, ensure that you remain the kind of person that brand wants to be associated with, and so much more. So here we are going to look at a few things NOT to do if you want to keep the brands you’re working with happy… 1. Promote other conflicting brands There are few brands that would expect you to only talk about them, because most brands tend to specialise in one area. But, let’s say your sponsor sells supplements, it wouldn’t be a great idea to actively promote a product

from a competitor of theirs when they do an equivalent. If, for whatever reason, you need/want/are advised to use a product that could be a conflict, SPEAK TO THE BRAND. They may understand, they may ask you not to actively promote it on your socials, they may suggest their version and give you a good reason why.

You say no. Now, if you had the image taken by a professional photographer, you will need to get their permission of course, but unless there’s a good reason, I would advise being as obliging as you can be. Quality imagery that brands can use has a real value, and this can help to make you even more valuable as a brand ambassador or sponsored rider.

4. Have no knowledge of their products It’s worth doing the work and making sure you really do understand what makes their products special. You don’t need to be an expert, but knowing 2. Disregard what they enough so you can produce have asked for valuable content will really If you’re sponsored or even working with someone on a one help. off basis, you’ll know what they 5. Don’t communicate with them, don’t think of expect from you in terms of what kind of coverage that they any ideas around the are hoping to gain. If you’re not promotion of the brand or products sure, ask. But when you know, Keep in touch. Think of things please deliver on what has been agreed. If you’re struggling you can do that help them and to do this for whatever reason, will appeal to your audience. speak to them. Explain the 6. Start swearing, being situation and work on a rude, breaking the law solution. and behaving in a way that’s 3. Prevent them using your content Let’s say you’ve taken a pic of you in their kit, looking amazing, and posted it on your social. The brand asks to use it.

very different to how you were when you started working together. Now, if you were swearing before, don’t worry too much(!), but when brands assess brand ambassadors, they

usually look to see how that ambassador will fit with their audience, brand ethos, and a lot of other values too. If you’ve gone from quiet and collected to swearing and drunken vomiting in ditches overnight, that will (quite rightly!) unnerve a brand. 7. Be controversial, just because If you believe in something wholeheartedly, then that’s different, but if you’re a bit bored one day and decide to pick a fight with someone on social, be aware that this could really backfire. 8. Don’t label things It is REALLY important that you label any sponsored content correctly so you don’t mislead your audience. The ASA and CMA have rules around this (search ASA Influencer Guidelines for more on this). It’s important for you and the brand. Of course, there are other ways you can upset a brand(!), but communication is key, in all things, to ensure you’re happy, the brand is happy, and that the audience is too. You’ve got this! www.rheafreemanpr.co.uk Twitter (@rheafreeman) Instagram (@rheafreemanpr) Facebook (/RheaFreemanPR)


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e h t r o F as m m o M

Roll neck. RRP: £95. www.tomlane.co

ASALI Travel bag. RRP: £399. www.asalidesigns.co.uk

Cashmere roll neck. RRP: £119.95. www.oxfordshirt.co.uk New Wool Throw, Stone. RRP: £65. www.tomlane.co

Estilo Bag in Navy. RRP: £149. www.pampeano.co.uk

Liberty Shirt Sunflower Blooms. RRP: £69.95. www.oxfordshirt.co.uk

Short Tail Hair Scrunchie. RRP: £35.www.clarehaggas.com

Sterling Silver Mini Bangle with Sterling Silver Disc. RRP: £90. www.thesilverstable.co.uk Hermoso Polo Belt. RRP: £65. www.pampeano.co.uk Iris boot in Rose. RRP: £100. www.lechameau.com


Alpaca bed socks. RRP: £18. www.tomlane.co

The Oxley Fedora in Olive Green. RRP: £79. www.hicksandbrown.com

Trek long down coat. RRP: £190. www.toggi.com

Cashmere V neck in Charcoal. RRP: £99. www.lineazzurro.com

Norfolk shirt in Sprig Cedar. RRP: £69.95. www.schoffelcountry.com Hold Your Horses Narrow Scarf. RRP: £69. www.clarehaggas.com

Alpaca bed socks. RRP: £18. www.tomlane.co

Love ASALI cardholder in Navy. RRP: £28. www.asalidesigns.co.uk

Large square scarf. RRP: £195. www.clarehaggas.com

AMZ Saddles unisex belts. RRP: £75. www.amzsaddles.co.uk

Iris boot in Vert Fonce. RRP: £100. www.lechameau.com

Mother’s Day box. RRP: from £25. www.forelockandfringe.co.uk

Personalised Headband RRP: £25; Snood RRP: £30. www.waringbrooke.com





hen it comes to beautiful equestrian inspired jewellery, The Silver Stable offers the ultimate British handmade equestrian jewellery design. We spoke to their talented Founder and Designer, Camilla Cottle, for her exclusive tips on choosing and buying equestrian jewellery for yourself or loved one. Versatility “When choosing a jewellery piece for someone else or yourself, think about the piece’s versatility; can it be worn with countless outfits or is it more a special occasion piece or evening wear only? Choosing a piece of jewellery that can be dressed up or down and will be enjoyed teamed with jeans or cocktail dress will be appreciated far more than a piece of jewellery that doesn’t fit in with your/their lifestyle.”

Longevity “When buying a piece of equestrian jewellery, look for a piece that offers longevity and wear. A beautiful handmade piece of jewellery not only provides that unique ‘one-off’ appeal but the attention to detail in crafting the piece and the materials used will stand the test of time in both looks and wear. Look after your designer jewellery, and it will last years and bring joy every time you wear it.” Mix and match “Will the jewellery you are looking to buy fit with your wardrobe and work with the rest of your beloved jewellery box? Every piece of jewellery is designed as part of a collection, which you can add to effortlessly. However, it will also have to fit with your existing jewellery collection in mind. “The combination of Silver and Gold pieces is born from my own desire to marry my jewellery

collection, which is a blend of both. The contemporary look combined with our classic equestrian styling means that our collection also works beautifully with antique pieces of jewellery as well.” Considerations “When looking for a piece of equestrian jewellery, look for something that will become a treasured item you’ll love for years to come. Choosing something made in the UK and by an independent designer is an investment in British talent. “If it’s handmade, it’s unique to you. Many of our pieces can be personalised with initials so again, they make for a treasured anniversary, birthday and celebratory gift. Some of our customers even have their horses’ initials engraved on their jewellery as keepsakes and treasured memories of their beloved horses.“ One size doesn’t fit all “When shopping for jewellery,


consider the sizing; not just the length of the chain or size of the ring, but the jewellery’s actual size. If you are petite, choosing an oversized piece of jewellery can dominate you and rather than being a ‘statement’ piece, it can overwhelm you and your outfit! “Our collections are designed with elegance in mind, and because they are beautifully handcrafted, they make a subtle statement that gets noticed for all the right reasons! “If you are shopping online and unsure of the length of a necklace chain or the width of a bangle, then take a piece of string, cut it to the length and try it on. If it’s a bangle, then cut out the width on paper and wrap around your wrist. These methods may sound a little crude, but it can give you a better idea of the best sizing to suit you.”



About The Silver Stable The Silver Stable is founded on a passion for contemporary jewellery design, sustainable business virtues and a desire to combine family life with a viable business model. At the helm of this emerging jewellery brand is Designer Camilla Cottle, who fell in love with the art of silversmithing whilst on maternity leave from her high powered job as a research and development manager in the food industry back in 2017. Every piece is made and finished by hand in their bustling Lancashire workshop, and every piece is responsibly made from sustainable materials. www.thesilverstable.co.uk

alented equestrian illustrator Emily Cole and Grand Prix dressage rider, vlogger and influencer Olivia Towers have collaborated on a new equestrian themed collection. During lockdown, Emily drew a 1.8m long drawing of Olivia’s team including Eagle, Joey, Moley, Barbie and Wilfred – horses that are well known to Olivia’s many thousands of followers. In addition, Olivia, her mum Libby aka The Sass Queen, and the Towers’ four legged helpers featured too. From this, Emily and Olivia decided to create a card collection for dressage and equestrian fans to buy, allowing them to enjoy a little Towers magic themselves! The Olivia Towers Collection comes as a set of five cards and costs £12. www.emily-cole.com


WIN CAVALLO SERA TSHIRT & SELJA HOODIE! Spring is a great time of year to rid yourself of those heavy layers and strong block colours mixed with more subtle tones really catch the eye (and are a great way to keep you looking on trend!) as we go into the warmer season. A t-shirt and hoodie is ideal as we head into Spring with the ever changeable weather. On warmer days there is nothing better than having some chill time around the stables in just a t-shirt and casual leg wear but as the sun starts to drop having access to a snuggly hoodie is key. Perfect for warm Spring days, the new Sera t-shirt from the Cavallo Sportswear range is a must have for any capsule wardrobe. The round neck t-shirt is made from 94% polyester and 6% elasthane for a comfortable fit. For a fun twist the chest features the quote ‘Keep Riding, Keep Loving, Keep Smiling’ in silver print and a small Cavallo logo sits on the nape of the neck. It is ideal teamed with the Cavallo Selja hoodie made from 55% cotton and 45% polyester making it warm yet breathable. The drawstring hood is fully lined and the Cavallo signature stirrup logo features prominently on the chest in sparkling print. www.zebraproducts.co.uk

To enter: Visit www.absolutehorsemagazine.com and click on the Competitions page. Entries open 1st March and close 30th April 2021.


BUYER’S GUIDE Belt bags - made from the same technical stretch fabric as the Mochara breeches. RRP: £25. www.mochara.co.uk

New Palisade boot. RRP: £290. www.ariat.com/ en/gb

Leopard, Jaguar, and Cheetah Velvet Hat Silks. RRP: from £18.99. www.stockinjur.com Chiara Compression bra. RRP: £35.99. www.dvrequestrian.com

Ladies Panita Competition Shirt. RRP: £69. www.zebra products.co.uk

The Riding Snood, which has been fully approved by the British Horseracing Authority offers protection against the transmission of Covid-19. RRP: £12. www.yarisequestrian.co.uk

New Revolve Radiance Vent-Air MIPS Peaked Helmet. RRP: from £269. www.championhats.com

Cavallo Caja Competition Breeches. RRP: £188. www.zebra products.co.uk

Mochara Breeches. RRP: £95. www.mochara.co.uk Penny jodhpurs - made using Repreve, an exciting new fabric made from recycled bottles. RRP: £79.99. www.dvrequestrian.com

Cavallo Chelsea Slim Boots. RRP: £150. www.zebraproducts.co.uk

FOMO FORM Half Pad. RRP: £60. www.fomoprotection.com


Stable Drape. RRP: from £95. www.yaris equestrian.co.uk

Easy Rain Sheet. RRP: £65. www.yaris equestrian.co.uk

Weatherbeeta’s Supa-Fit Zip Up Knee Patch Jodhpurs. RRP: £39.99 (adults). £29.99 (Childs).

Dublin Darent Boots. RRP: £149.99.

Dublin Altitude Zip Paddock Boots. RRP: £39.99 (Adults). £31.99 (Child).

All products on this page are available from www.ingatestone saddlery.co.uk

Weatherbeeta’s Stretch Bug Eye Saver with Ears. RRP: £17.99. Weatherbeeta Comfitec Airflow II Combo Neck. RRP: £84.99.

Weatherbeeta’s Comfitec Plus Dynamic DetachA-Neck Lite. RRP: £119.99.

Weatherbeeta Sherpa Fleece Cooler Standard Neck. RRP: £84.99. Collegiate Mono Crown Padded Raised Cavesson Bridle. RRP: £124.99.

Dublin Imperial Hat Bag. RRP: £22.99. Dublin Tatum 1/4 Zip Printed Long Sleeve Top. RRP: £44.99.






he Royal College of better understand barriers to Veterinary Surgeons veterinary professions; and (RCVS) has published its working with organisations that Diversity & Inclusion Group support applications from (DIG) Strategy, setting out individuals of diverse how it will work to help create backgrounds. veterinary professions where Retention and support within everyone can flourish and vet and VN education: updating which have no place for veterinary school standards to discrimination. reflect diversity and inclusion The Strategy takes a holistic aspirations; implementing approach and its six worksuggestions made during recent streams consider how the RCVS the RCVS and Veterinary Schools and other organisations that Council Roundtable for Black, form the membership of the DIG Asian and Minority Ethnic can work to improve diversity (BAME) veterinary students and and inclusion holding a within the similar event for veterinary “...If we are losing BAME student professions at veterinary colleagues to all stages – nurses; and from school-age discrimination or just developing clear children who not attracting people reporting may be systems and from diverse considering a support for backgrounds in the first those who career in the veterinary place because they suffer from professions, to think it’s ‘not for people discrimination engendering during extrapositive culture like them’, then we are mural studies change for (EMS). losing out as a those already in Recruitment profession...” the professions. within the The six strategic profession: work-streams, with examples of encouraging veterinary associated activities within each, organisations and workplaces to are: take up recruitment awards/ Recruitment to veterinary/ standards eg Stonewall, Race at veterinary nurse education and Work, and Disability Confident; training: developing case helping employers understand studies, ambassadors and the business, moral and societal careers materials for school-age case for diversity and inclusion; children from all backgrounds; and, working with employers to commissioning research to develop a toolkit to support


better recruitment practices and encourage people to call out poor examples. Retention and support within the professions: strengthening standards regarding staff support within the Practice Standards Scheme; encouraging members of the veterinary team to attend diversity and inclusion training; producing materials that support difficult conversations; and, strengthening the RCVS Code of Professional Conduct to enable more confident reporting of poor behaviours. Organisational policies and procedures: RCVS and other organisations within the DIG ensuring their policies promote and support diversity and inclusion; developing a toolkit to better support in-house conversations around diversity; and encouraging veterinary organisations to have regular discussions around diversity and inclusion and visible statements of intent. Culture change: improving the diversity of governance/ leadership within the veterinary professions; ensuring diversity and inclusion is included in agendas at events, within CPD programmes etc; and enabling organisations to have, via the RCVS Diversity and Inclusion Group, a safe space to discuss progress and identify where they may need further help and guidance. The RCVS Diversity and

Inclusion Group includes representation from the Association of Veterinary Students (AVS), British Veterinary Association (BVA), the British Veterinary Ethnicity & Diversity Society (BVEDS), the British Veterinary LGBT+ Society, the British Veterinary Nursing Association (BVNA), the Major Employers Group, the Society of Practising Veterinary Surgeons (SPVS) and the Veterinary Schools Council (VSC) and will be responsible for monitoring and evaluating progress within the six workstreams on an ongoing basis. Dr Niall Connell, Senior VicePresident of the RCVS and Chair of the Diversity & Inclusion Group, said: “I’ve always been of the opinion that making the veterinary professions more diverse and reflective of British society at large, as well as protecting fellow professionals from discrimination, isn’t just a moral issue, but one that actually improves the quality of the profession and the outcomes we are delivering for our clients and patients. “If we are losing colleagues to discrimination or just not attracting people from diverse backgrounds in the first place because they think it’s ‘not for people like them’, then we are losing out as a profession, and if we aren’t drawing on a diverse range of backgrounds, experiences, and attitudes in our work, then we are also potentially doing a disservice to our patients and clients.” www.rcvs.org.uk/diversity




inda Greening, Head of Inclusivity at Hartpury, has accepted an invitation to join a new focus group aimed at championing equality and diversity within the equestrian industry. The BAME Equine and Rural Activities Focus Group (BERF) is committed to driving forward positive ideas and solutions to support members of the BAME community across a range of disciplines at all levels. The group, which has 200 members, was represented by founder and chairperson Sandra Murphy at a recent meeting held by the British Equestrian Federation (BEF) looking at increasing representation and fairness within the industry. Linda Greening aims to contribute to the activity of BERF by ensuring that all members of the group are aware of the opportunities to study subjects linked to equine and rural affairs at degree level. “It is imperative that we empower a generation of BAME equestrians and graduates who can positively contribute to the industry, and beyond, in the future,” said Linda.




or the seventh year in a row, the BBBAwards celebrated the outstanding achievements of Black British professionals and entrepreneurs, highlighting the community’s commercial contribution to the UK economy and identifying formidable role models and mentors across several sectors. Sandra Murphy, Founder and Managing Director of Lincolnshire-based Equidiet UK Ltd, was crowned the Consumer and Luxury Senior Leader Winner. With over fifty years of experience in the equine industry, Sandra spotted a gap in the market for a natural fibre liquid feed that nourishes and hydrates horses. Seeking to gain the scientific knowledge to bring this product to life, she decided to undertake an Equine Sports Science degree in 2010 at the University of Lincoln. Sandra has successfully grown her revolutionary equine nutrition business into a global brand. “I’m so excited and humbled to have won the Black British Business Award for Senior Leader Consumer & Luxury 2020, especially during these unprecedented times. I am also the Chairperson for the Bame Equine and Rural Activities Focus group (BERF) and a member of the British Equestrian Federation Equality Engagement group and hope to use this platform to become a role model not only for black equestrians within the equine industry but also for black women and businesses in general. I want to encourage and inspire people to believe they can be successful with a good idea and the right support.”



VR Equestrian are inclusive of everyone; from age, body shape and size, ethnicity, ability/disability, and gender. They promote diversity through all their platforms, hoping to improve and encourage inclusivity within the equestrian industry. International equestrian for Team Jamaica, producer and regular guest teacher at Ebony Horse Club in Brixton, Lydia Heywood, shares DVR Equestrian’s vision for change and a very exciting t-shirt collaboration between DVR and Lydia’s Revolution foundation ‘Cool Ridings’ has been born. The dynamic duo has Tee. RRP: £25 designed and launched the ‘Revolution Tee’, which is made from Certified Fair Wear 100% Organic Cotton. This unisex tee has a centre front print reading ‘Riding the Revolution’, and a powerful paragraph of text on the back with statements like ‘We are here for change’, and ‘Let’s positively push each other to be our whole true selves and nothing but the best.’ Part of the profits from every sale will be going to the Ebony Horse Club and the Cool Ridings Foundation. www.dvrequestrian.com






new online training website tailor-made for the equestrian industry has launched recently. EquiToolz is suitable for anyone involved with horses to boost their skills and give them accredited CPD. The online training offers a great opportunity to gain confidence, and the free courses include CPD approved training which is highly valued by employers. Not only can employees take charge of their own development, but organisations can use it to train staff, volunteers and members in a more cost-effective way. The content is delivered through

videos, audio, interactive questions and attachments. The best bit is you can study at your own pace; elements can be revisited and, if you need to leave mid-way through a section, you can simply pick up where you left off. The flexibility makes it easy to fit into your busy routine and train from your home, college or workplace. When the course is completed, you can print off a certificate as evidence of your newly acquired skills. EquiToolz has been proudly developed by Kirsty Collinson from TrainingToolz, specialising in simple but effective online training toolkits. Kirsty said,


“Equine businesses and organisations, including sporting bodies and charities, can access key CPD approved courses for free via EquiToolz which usually they’d have to pay for. This means they can allocate budget to other areas at a time when so many in the sector are struggling financially.” Catherine Morgan, Associate Director, Howden Insurance Ltd said: "It is more important than ever that all businesses have robust health and safety procedures in place, and they are even more vital for equestrian businesses given the high-risk nature of the industry. EquiToolz

helps with this by bringing relevant and specific content and training courses to riders and equestrian businesses and organisations." With more courses in the pipeline, Kirsty envisages that EquiToolz will soon be able to offer further training opportunities for everyone, including employers looking for courses on legal compliance, employees looking for professional development, leisure riders, those just starting out with horses, and people in need of a subject refresher. Courses currently available free of charge are: · An Introduction to Parasite Control for Horses · Level 2 Safeguarding Awareness in the Equestrian World · An Introduction to Health and Safety (including Covid-19) for Employers in the Equestrian Industry · Level 2 Food Safety and Hygiene for Catering in the Equestrian Industry · BETA Body Protectors Awareness Course Also available is training in essential coronavirus precautions. Courses covering riding hat fitting and road safety are to be added soon. www.EquiToolz.com

artpury has announced a new partnership with Racing Welfare to carry out industry-driven research into stable staff injuries and recommend strategies to support injured stable staff to the UK horseracing industry. Emma Davies, Programme Manager for BSc Equestrian Sports Science at Hartpury University, is leading the project in collaboration with the national horseracing charity to investigate the psychological effects of injuries sustained while working in the UK racing industry. The collaboration will seek to identify employment and psychosocial risk factors of injuries to stable staff working in racing, identify the psychological effects of injuries, and allow the design and implementation of preventative strategies, education and interventions to support staff.



Hannah Huntsman


veryone has their own story as to how they fell in love with horses and their entrance into the industry. For me, it was when I was 18-months-old. I sat on my next door neighbour’s horse and I was hooked! Riding around with a bicycle helmet on and one parent on each side. Nothing has come close to my obsession with horses since. “Growing up I went to various different riding schools and had the opportunity to ride a wide variety of different horses. I am sure many parents can relate to driving their children to and from riding lessons each week, watching them ride around for hours. To me, that lesson was the most exciting event of the week. Having never had my own

horse, being able to ride all of these horses was an absolute joy. Horses of all different temperaments, sizes, ages and abilities. That experience is invaluable and I cannot stress enough how much each of those horses taught me. “If I could give anyone one piece of advice it would be this - take every opportunity you can get. As I reached my teenage years, I was offered work experience at multiple different yards, and people offered to let me ride their horses. When I was younger I would turn certain opportunities down due to lack of self-confidence, but now that I am older I take every chance I am offered. I go out there and ask. I’ve had work experience at different yards, dressage studs and public events. Each of these different environments helped me build confidence, taught me

valuable skills and are experiences I will never regret. “I am currently studying Equine Performance and Business Management at Writtle University College. A course that has such a variety of modules, preparing you for many sections of the equine industry. Choosing an equine degree, for me, was difficult to begin with. There are so many choices, so many different universities and so many different careers. “I’ve always known that I wanted to do an equine degree and work in the industry but I didn’t know what job exactly. The course I am studying gives me the skills and knowledge to work in a variety of sectors, with the freedom to make that choice for myself. If I decide I want to change my path in the future, this degree allows me to do so. “It has taken me a long time to decide what I want to do as a career. I am still not 100% set on it, but I have multiple ideas in mind. Something I have always enjoyed is the training aspect of horse production, and so the prospect of working in that area

WE MEET HANNAH HUNTSMAN, AN EQUINE STUDENT AT WRITTLE UNIVERSITY COLLEGE IN ESSEX. is something I look forward to. During the second year of my degree, I worked with a World Horse Welfare 2-year-old gelding, bringing him on in his training and education. The time I spent with this young gelding opened my eyes to the skills and work involved in training. “Another area I am interested in is equine journalism. A contrast to training, I know! Studying a variety of subjects at A-level also allows me skills to fall back on. English A-level was one of my passions, as is writing. The idea of linking equine and English really interests me. Who knows what the future might bring.”



he Ladies Countryside Community has launched to support, connect and inspire women who live in the countryside or love a rural way of life. The new social space is designed to help members find friendships, information and inspiration from fellow country-loving ladies. Having missed the camaraderie and inspiration from events in 2020 and unable to find a dedicated online community, Lindsey McDean, an equestrian, was inspired to create one. Lindsey said, “This past year has been tough on us all and I’ve realised how important it is to have a safe space to connect with like-minded women, especially when you live in isolated rural areas.” www.ladiescountrysidecommunity.co.uk



Best move I ever made! INSPIRED BY BLM: APT CAVALIER RAISES £2,000


arah Johnstone, founder of equestrian performance brand Apt Cavalier, completed a challenge of running 117 miles in less than ten weeks, raising £2,115 for Ebony Horse Club. Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, Sarah selected Ebony Horse Club as the focus of Apt Cavalier’s fundraiser. Ebony Horse Club is located in one of the poorest areas in London, Brixton and believes that young people’s opportunities shouldn’t be limited by the postcode they grew up in or the colour of their skin. www.aptcavalier.com Our columnist, Rhea Freeman, has been named as one of Britain’s Top 50 Business Advisers! Well done Rhea!


’m Christine Wonnacott and I’m an equine sheath cleaner. My path to this career has been a varied one. After leaving school I went to Writtle College and completed a National Diploma in Horse Studies, followed by a BSc Hons in Animal Science. I loved my time at college; the best days of my life (until now!). “While I studied I had a few part-time jobs which gave me customer service and administration skills that would prove useful in future roles. “My first proper job out of college was as a trainee embryologist in an IVF clinic. This was a fascinating job and I learnt a lot, but after a few years I moved on to pastures new, this time into the education sector, working for a national awarding organisation as a registrations and awards officer. “This was a great company to work for, and over time my role evolved into an IT support role as I am generally an inquisitive person and like to know how

and why things work as they do, and more importantly how to fix them when they break - ending up in the IT team was inevitable really. So, fourteen years later I decided that it was time to look for a new challenge, however being sent to work from home for the first lockdown last year, after only three weeks in the new role was very challenging, but ultimately the best thing that could have happened. “I had been thinking about sheath cleaning as a business for some time, but never had the incentive to take the plunge and do it. But there I was; sitting at home all day every day, on my own, struggling. And then it just happened! Before I knew it, I had set up and launched my business, East Anglian Equine Sheath Cleaning, and I’ve never looked back.. “There are stresses with being self-employed; not having the security of a fixed, regular salary coming in is a big one; worrying about times when it seems

quiet. But ultimately, I have found working for myself absolutely liberating! For the first time in my life I feel in charge of my own life, not beholden to anyone, not having to ask permission for days off, farrier visits, car repair appointments....the list goes on. And I am working with horses! The one thing I always said I wouldn’t do as horses are my hobby, and I wanted to keep them just that. But now I don’t feel like horses are my work; I just get to spend time doing what I love and that is my fulltime occupation. I now understand the phrase, "Do what you love and you’ll never work another day in your life.” I didn’t believe it before, but now I have found my niche, my passion. If you can find a way to do what you love, go for it, you won’t regret it!” www.facebook.com/East AnglianEquineSheathCleaning



ince its launch in 2010, UK livery yard directory LiveryList has developed to also become one of the UK’s largest resources for yard owners. At these current times, it is more important than ever to ensure equestrian businesses are viable, credible and sustainable, and LiveryList is offering yards a way to review and change the way their yards are run, and to improve on these factors, by the launch of their not-for-profit Yard Owner Learning Sessions. The sessions are held twice monthly via Zoom, and yard owners can just attend those that are of interest. With uncertainty still on the horizon, many yard owners can take this time to review and reflect on the way they run their yards, ways they can become more streamline, improve the management of their yards and thus help to improve the industry as a whole. www.liverylist.co.uk



etting your horse fit and how to do it can seem like an overwhelming challenge especially on the back of a difficult winter, with both the weather and lockdown working against us all. So where do we start? “First thing to understand is fitness comes in two different forms; cardiovascular fitness and muscular fitness, or the trendy term ‘core strength’ “General riding a couple of times a week should establish a very basic level of fitness but for the competition horse this is unlikely to be enough. “Raising the heart rate is the key to cardiovascular fitness, so increasing the amount of canter work within your schooling session may be a very easy way to start to increase cardiovascular fitness. Incorporating some medium canter and some more collected canter on a smaller circle will start to strengthen and condition the muscles too. Changing from a medium canter and then to a more collected canter and then back into medium several times, will provide a good workout for both the heart and lungs as well as the muscles. (Provided your riding your horse’s way of going is correct of course! If it’s going round like a giraffe, then its not working the right muscles in the right way!). “This very simple principle of changing gears in canter is key to developing a horses stamina and fitness for top level eventing competition. An event horse is expected to gallop cross country and change gear multiple times over a sustained period of time,


RARING TO GO? over various terrain, all whilst staying in good balance and maintaining self carriage. Good, correct flat work training is vitally important because if a horse cannot work in balance and self carriage on the flat, there is little chance it will be able to do so once challenged by terrain and obstacles. “If you are blessed with hilly areas for hacking this is fantastic for getting the horse’s heart rate up and also strengthening the muscles. Walking up very steep hills will be enough to make a horse puff or blow, whereas trotting up more gentle inclines will have the same effect. “You can make it into a strength

HAVING RIDDEN FOR GREAT BRITAIN INTERNATIONALLY AND TRAINED WITH THE WORLDS BEST COACHES, HARRIET MORRISBAUMBER IS IN THE UNQIUE POSITION TO BE NOT ONLY A TALENTED RIDER BUT A TRAINER TOO. HERE SHE ASKS... and conditioning workout for the core too by repeatedly changing gears within the trot or canter, all the time imagining you have a dressage Judge watching you so you keep your horse’s way of going as good as possible! “Working your horse in this way is fantastic training for them for

If you’re lucky enough to have a friendly landowner with fields and tracks where the going is good enough to trot and canter, then this can be the ideal for adding in some extra cardiovascular fitness.

several reasons as it is less mental pressure for them than being in an arena, and if you can train your horse to politely canter faster, slower, bigger, shorter etc out in the open, you can do it anywhere! “If you don’t have access to tracks with good ground you may need to use an all weather gallop to ensure good going. Incorporating pole work, cavaletti work and gymnastic jumping are good ways of building strength in the core muscles. There are also other forms of ‘training equipment’ such as a water treadmill which will make the cardiovascular system work whilst encouraging the core to strengthen as the horses lift their limbs up and out of the water.” www.harriet-morrisbaumber.co.uk




he Windrush Equestrian Foundation are pleased to announce a new partnership with leading cross-country video provider, An Eventful Life. The partnership will allow members of the Foundation’s Young Eventers’ Programme to benefit from access to their cross-country videos from a range of events across the UK. The videos capture all elements of a cross-country round, from start to finish, often with a variety of angles at each fence. This provides the programme’s riders, and coaches, an additional tool to review performances and analyse what went right and where improvements can be made.



REC GB and EquiToolz, the online equine training provider, have collaborated to create two free courses aimed at promoting TREC to newcomers. ‘Welcome to TREC’ and ‘Starting Your TREC Adventure’ explore each of the three phases, detailing the equipment needed, how to get started in the sport, what to expect at a competition and more. www.equitoolz.com




n exciting new digital coaching concept launched recently, which will bring accessible coaching to riders of all levels. Classical dressage rider and BD accredited coach, Maddi Burchell, has been riding for over 30-years. In which time, she has amassed an extensive knowledge, qualifications and expertise, including becoming a Centre 10 Advanced Coach and NLP Practitioner. Mindset and nutrition are at the heart of her training, as she sees the rider as an athlete and wants to provide a holistic approach to more riders at all levels. Spurred on by the pandemic and the changes that have been seen throughout the world, The Dressage Coach was born. The Dressage Coach is a digital coaching platform offering a range of services for all riders whether they’re an everyday rider or elite equestrian athlete. The Dressage Coach includes virtual training, mindset and performance coaching, as well as a wide range of distance learning resources. www.therdressagecoach.com



venting enthusiasts can now buy a share in an exciting young event horse sourced by Laura Collett and imported by the Event Horse Owners Syndicate for just £65. Camouflage is an athletic fiveyear-old gelding from Peter Thomsen’s performance horse operation in Northern Germany. www.eventhorseowner ssyndicate.co.uk



howjumping team Breen Equestrian has launched a luxurious new breeding facility close to their base at Hickstead in West Sussex. Pook Bourne Stud is a state-ofthe-art breeding premises with space to accommodate up to 85 mares and young horses. Nine stallions will stand at the stud, including Golden Hawk, Can Ya Makan and Clyde VA. www.breenequestrian.com

Photo: Ahmedd44Photography



Hector Payne’s


lucky enough to have arena mirrors, ride towards them and look at whether the horse is trotting straight. If you have a young horse it is a good idea to introduce leg yielding to their training early, even if it is just a few steps. Starting in walk, leg yield back to the track and then as it improves leg yield away from the track. If you teach it well in walk, it will come more naturally

in trot. For more experienced horses it’s good to leg yield in from the track as it encourages them to put their hind legs underneath them more, without the rider having to work too hard. To help ensure your horse is in front of your leg and responding to your aids try this simple pole work exercise: Set out four sets of poles on a large circle, two sets of trot poles




orse Clinics is a unique website which allows riders to find equestrian clinics, demos, lectures and training camps to help them learn, develop their riding and achieve their goals - all currently free! This one-stop-shop allows riders to easily discover the training clinics for their chosen discipline, in their local area. This new initiative has support from some of the country’s leading coaches and riders including Richard Waygood MBE, Ernest Dillon FBHS and International 5* event rider Georgie Spence. www.horseclinics.co.uk

just over one and a half yards apart and two sets of canter poles, three yards apart. The aim is to complete the circle as smoothly as possible. To make this harder try using raised trotting poles or cavaletti’s. Build up slowly by first isolating the trot poles and then the canter poles before riding the complete circle and repeat the exercise on both reins. www.terravesta-equine.com


he insurance cover for Valegro Triple Olympic dressage gold medalist, has recently been moved to SEIB. Following the, now retired, Valegro’s newly found title as SEIB sponsored, Horse & Hound ‘Horse of the Decade’ his owners approached SEIB to find out more about the cover they could offer this national treasure. www.seib.co.uk


Photo: Jon Stroud Media


ollowing a short winter break, event riders like Terravesta Equine’s brand ambassador, Hector Payne, will be cracking on with preparations for the season ahead. This year will be extra hard as nobody quite knows what, if any, restrictions there will be, but competition horses must be fit and ready to go when they can. When motivation is low it is a good idea to mix things up in training and do something different to keep things fresh for both you and your horse. You could set a goal to improve a weakness or teach your horse a new dressage move. Having a focus will keep you on track and give you an incentive to tack up every day. A simple thing to improve is straightness. Achieving straightness when riding is vital, whether that is for approaching a fence when jumping or achieving a perfect straight line when riding a dressage test. During your schooling session, ride on an inner track or the 3/4 line as this means your horse has to ‘stand up’ and not use the fence for balance. If you are


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What is



aminitis is a disorder that is associated with overfeeding sugar or water-soluble carbohydrates. It is not a disease, rather the result of several conditions. It is very specific; an inflammation and, ultimately, breakdown of the lamellar (connective tissue) holding the hoof to the bone of the toe. There are three phases developmental, acute and long term chronic. Obviously the condition is painful, leading to the horse adjusting its stance to alleviate discomfort, which gives the distinctive pose, and also gives rise to abnormal hoof growth. The actual physiology of laminitis at hoof level involves poor circulation, vasoconstriction and pooling of toxins (from disrupted hindgut fermentation), proinflammatory factors, oxygen starvation and the inability of glucose to energise normal hoof metabolism. The major instigators of these factors are endocrinological – obesity, insulin resistance PPID, dietary (too much fructans, sugars, overeating), or mechanical (bruising, wounds). Finally, breed is a factor, with our native breeds being most susceptible. Individually, these causative factors may not trigger laminitis, or just give mild symptoms, but a combination of different aspects can increase the risk and severity. For example, an obese horse on a high starch diet will


be more liable to laminitis than a lean animal on a high forage diet. And mechanically, a heavily obese horse with hoof damage can exhibit laminitis where a lighter horse would not. So, how can we reduce the risk of laminitis? There are two main routes; physical and nutritional. Physically, checking hooves for punctures or bruising is an easy task; obviously, but possibly overlooked, is exercise. Regular and continuous exercise helps circulation and keeps the lamellar oxygenated and flushes away pro-inflammatory factors and toxins. Equally important is weight control; an overweight horse puts extra stress on the hoof. Bearing in mind the physical impact of obesity, there are also physiological problems. Fat deposits produce inflammatory markers and interact with insulin production. Insulin has a direct effect on the strength of the lamellar, so reducing insulin production is a positive thing. This also links in with IR, PPID and PSSM – disorders involving carbohydrate dysfunction. And this leads into nutritional regimes to support a beneficial diet. Overfeeding has two outcomes. Absorbing large amounts of sugars (both directly and from digested starch) is accompanied by rising levels of insulin which impacts directly on hooves, but also, through IR, can result in hyperglycemia, which is a factor. If too much is fed, excess sugars


and protein can enter the hindgut and upset the microbial population. Fermentation products change and bacterial toxins rise; lactate increases gut permeability and toxins, vasoconstrictors and oxidative molecules are absorbed; all of these are negative components in laminitis. If high levels of fructans (the soluble carbohydrate in spring grass) are fed, the end products further allow malabsorption, leading to laminitis. So, to maintain a horse on a route that does not lead to laminitis, regular hoof checks, exercise and a diet low in sugars, water soluble carbohydrates and protein will ensure good absorptive function, hindgut integrity and reduction in the negative factors that cause damage. www.british horsefeeds.com Speedi-Beet RRP: from £12.50. Fibre-Beet RRP: from £13.50.

Speedi-Beet is a highly nutritious micronized (cooked) beet pulp feed which provides an excellent source of digestible fibre and is ideal for equines prone to laminitis as part of a balanced diet. Due to its unique manufacturing process, Speedi-Beet can be soaked and ready to use in just ten minutes and is extremely palatable. It is also starch free and unmolassed, making it up to 95% sugar free. Feeding Speedi-Beet before turnout can help stabilise the ingestion of sugars present in spring grass. Speedi-Beet is also extremely versatile. It can be fed in small amounts to overweight horses as a carrier for a multivitamin and mineral supplement or in larger quantities to a poor doer for weight gain, or working and competition horses that need extra energy. Fibre-Beet is a formulated blend containing all the benefits of Speedi-Beet with added high quality Alfalfa for optimum condition and to provide quality protein for muscle tone and function. Alfalfa can also help with topline or simply help maintain weight and a healthy, shiny coat. Can also be fed to horse and ponies prone to laminitis as part of a balanced diet.




any people have the misconception that horses and ponies suffering from laminitis should be fed poor quality hay alone or, worse still, starved of food for long periods of time. Either of these management styles can easily lead to many other serious health issues on top of the existing laminitis. The digestive system of the horse is designed to process small amounts of feed at very regular intervals, hence the horse is known as a ‘trickle feeder.’ This does not change when a horse is diagnosed as suffering from laminitis. Laminitic horses, or those who have been identified as being at risk, require carefully controlled diets that are low in starch and sugar but contain a high level of fibre. Laminitics that are overweight require a balanced diet that reduces their calorific intake


whilst continuing to meet all their daily nutritional requirements. This can often be problematic for horse owners when faced with choosing a suitable diet that meets both of these requirements. The Lighter Diet has been specially devised by HorseHage to supply all the nutrient and fibre requirements of those prone to laminitis, without the need to feed lots of different products which can be expensive and confusing. The diet also allows sufficient quantities to be fed, ensuring that the horse is not left for extensive periods of time without food. It consists of Mollichaff HoofKind Complete, a complete feed in one bag, designed to provide the nutritional support of equines prone to laminitis, to be fed alongside High Fibre HorseHage. HorseHage High Fibre is a dustfree bagged forage suitable for

those prone to laminitis. These products are all high in fibre and essential nutrients, but are very low in starch and sugar and carry the HoofKind symbol on the bag to indicate their suitability. Mollichaff HoofKind Complete is a highly palatable mix containing a balanced blend of oat straw, alfalfa, fibre pellets, soya oil, biotin, vitamins, minerals, trace elements and antioxidants and does not contain any cereals. It is low in protein and calories, and provides limited, controlled energy from high quality, digestible fibre and oilbased ingredients, making it an excellent feed for fizzy horses and good doers as

well as those prone to laminitis. The high levels of fibre and low levels of starch, sugar and energy, allow it to be fed in surprisingly generous quantities. This means that the daily amount can easily be split into several feeds. Containing a broad spectrum vitamin and mineral supplement, with added biotin, and when fed at the recommended levels to horses at rest or in light work, Mollichaff HoofKind Complete needs no further supplementation other than good quality forage such as HorseHage. It is essential that Mollichaff HoofKind Complete is fed at the recommended levels to ensure that the vitamin and mineral requirements are being met and that the biotin level is sufficient. Mollichaff HoofKind Complete contains therapeutic levels of biotin. Independent scientific studies have found that supplementing an average horse’s diet with 15mg of biotin per day can greatly increase both the growth rate and the hardness of the hoof. Mollichaff HoofKind Complete has been specifically formulated to ensure that these levels are met. For an average 500kg horse, feeding the required 2.5kg per day will

provide the required 15mg of biotin. Mollichaff HoofKind Complete also contains added magnesium, which is often deficient in UK soils and is an important factor in the nutritional support of many metabolic processes in the horse. Deficiency may be associated with glucose intolerance and insulin resistance, both of which are important in the nutritional management of laminitis. Additional natural plant-based antioxidants are also included. These help mop up free radicals and assist in the nutritional support in the prevention of damage that they cause to cells and cell membranes. Free radicals are present within the horse’s

system at all times, however, it is at times of illness or disease that their effects are most problematic and they can exacerbate the condition even further. The antioxidants in Mollichaff HoofKind Complete have been specially selected for the nutritional maintenance of the immune system, the respiratory system, the circulatory system and the allimportant hooves and laminae. High Fibre HorseHage is ideal to be fed to those prone to laminitis, due to its high fibre content and low energy and starch levels. It contains a typical sugar level of around 5%, which is considerably lower than a typical hay sample which can contain as much as 10%. This

low sugar level is due to the fermentation process that occurs within a bag of HorseHage when it is made. As hay does not undergo any fermentation and is simply cut and dried, the sugar level remains higher than in HorseHage. Current studies have found that the sugar portion of the diet can play an important role in the development of laminitis. HorseHage is dust-free and helps reduce the risk of respiratory issues occurring or alleviate any pre-existing conditions. As laminitics often have to be stabled for long periods of time, they are often subjected to higher levels of spores that can be inhaled or ingested, especially when being fed poor quality or

old hay. Feeding HorseHage helps to reduce these levels, whilst meeting their specific nutrient requirements. It is important to weigh all feedstuffs and to ensure that you feed a minimum of 1.5% of the horse’s bodyweight in total food per day (including forage), unless instructed otherwise by your vet or Qualified Equine Nutritionist, even to overweight horses and ponies. Clean, fresh water should be available at all times and remember if you are using a new feed, it should be introduced gradually and quantities increased slowly as required. www.horsehage.co.uk



LAMINITIS L aminitis is a concern for many horse owners during Springtime, although the condition can occur all year round. It is an acutely painful disease, and it can be very difficult to manage. Naturally it is best to put measures in place to prevent laminitis occurring, such as identifying and treating underlying hormonal disorders which might be causing the condition, keeping your horse at a healthy weight, and reducing access to grass. Laminitis can affect horses and ponies of all shapes, sizes and ages, but what can you do if your horse has an attack of laminitis? What to do if your horse or pony has laminitis Calling the vet is the first step if you suspect that your horse has laminitis, they will be able to offer pain relief and help you to work out a plan to treat and manage the condition. Understanding of laminitis has improved significantly over the last 5-10 years, and there are increased treatment options. Here are some suggestions to keep your horse comfortable while you wait for the vet. Remove the horse from the pasture Laminitis is inflammation within the lamellae inside the hoof, this causes damage and weakens the structure of these cells. In severe cases the weakened lamellae can break, meaning that the pedal bone is no longer supported within the hoof capsule, so it is essential to limit any further damage by reducing movement. The horse or pony should be removed from the field, and stabled immediately. Due to the painful nature of the condition the horse should be allowed to walk at their own pace, or it may be appropriate to travel the horse in a low trailer if the field is a longer distance from



the stables. If no stabling is available a small pen will need to be created to reduce movement. Create a comfortable environment Stabling the horse will allow it to be more comfortable, and a deep bed of shavings is ideal. The horse needs to be able to dig it’s hooves into the bedding material to provide pain relief, and the bed must be continued right up to the door of the stable. Some owners like to use sand, but this must be dry and not too tightly compacted, and cardboard bedding could also be used. The bedding material just needs to be able to mould around the hoof and provide support to the frog. It is sensible to ensure that the horse has a companion close by, keeping them relaxed and calm. Provide soaked hay and water within easy reach The laminitic horse should not be starved, but does need to be fed an appropriate diet which is low in non structural carbohydrates. Your vet will help you devise a suitable diet appropriate for a laminitic, but soaking hay is an effective way to reduce the sugar content. Hay can be soaked in cold water for several hours, but for a more immediate option warm water can be used, soaking hay for 30 minutes to one hour to make it a safer forage choice for the laminitic horse or pony. It is essential that both hay and water are easy for the horse to get to, as limiting movement and reducing any further pain is the priority. Remember laminitis can affect horses and ponies of all ages and sizes, and it is essential to call the vet if you suspect that your horse is suffering with this condition, and of course prevention is always best. If you’d like to learn more about coping with

emergency situations and keeping your horse healthy then you can learn more with NKC Equestrian Training’s Horse First Aid Course. www.nkcequestrian.com/ product/virtual-horse-first-aid-course/ Signs of Laminitis Signs of laminitis can vary significantly, but the main clinical sign is pain and lameness. Research has highlighted several sub-clinical signs of laminitis, which if noted in time allow for treatment and management changes before the condition worsens. Horses may change their behaviour in the stable, banking up bedding under their hooves to take pressure off the front of the hoof. The horse may become reluctant to walk across stoney ground, or be uncomfortable on hard ground. The appearance of hoof rings on the outside of the hoof, is likely to indicate changes in the lamellar cells, and these earlier signs may allow a window of time for treatment before the condition develops and becomes increasingly more painful. An increase in the digital pulse, and warm or hot hooves are also common signs of laminitis. In acute cases of laminitis the horse may be lying down, physically unable to move, panting, sweating and exhibiting a classic laminitic stance where the horse is rocked back on its heels, taking more weight on the back legs. Other markers of pain and discomfort may be noted, such as raised heart rate and an increased respiratory rate. Not all of these signs will be noted, and cases of laminitis can be mistaken for colic or other lameness issues.




eamwork, communication and trust are key to helping to solve the serious problem of horse, pony and donkey obesity in the UK, was the consensus of the panel of experts at the National Equine Forum’s (NEF) Great Weight Debate (Equine), held recently. The Great Weight Debate (Equine) was the second of two special interest webinars to be held in advance of the National Equine Forum in March. It was a truly international affair with more than 170 delegates signing in from Australia, Belgium, Chile, Czech Republic, France, Israel, Norway, Slovakia and United States of America as well as the United Kingdom and Ireland. Equine obesity is a growing problem not just in the UK but around the world. The webinar explored how various sectors of the equestrian industry perceive the challenges faced by those who are struggling to manage their horse’s weight. It included the views of equine vet Lucy Grieve, horse owner Helen Gale, livery yard owner and coach Beth Maloney, nutritionist Liz Bulbrook, competition judge David Ingle and equine welfare officer Penny Baker. The session was chaired by equine vet and nutrition specialist Professor

Pat Harris with the support of Dr bespoke approach is needed for Tamzin Furtado, a social every horse, owner and scientist with a special interest situation. Some livery owners in human behaviour change for may face challenges in changing animals. management practices and peer The panellists shared their views pressure on a yard may prevent on what they believed to be the people implementing intake blocks for horse owners in restriction measures such as a recognising obesity and grazing muzzle or restricted addressing the problem. They turnout. identified the importance of “Peer pressure can be daunting empowering owners and and there can be a lack of working with them to make step confidence that you are doing by step changes with the the right thing,” said Beth support of a reliable and trusted Maloney. team including vet, Communication and nutritionist, yard “...If we are all proactive owner and farrier. signposting to “Vets are in unique being really reliable advice and and privileged scientific honest with information were position to provide an achievable and ourselves identified as pivotal, effective tailor-made not only in helping obesity is to identify weight strategy for individual horses,” neglect...” changes but also to said Lucy Grieve. “We build horse owners’ must all learn to knowledge and overcome avoidance and confidence. This would build a engage, recognise, accept and clearer understanding of the understand, and tailor a calorific value of feeds and of solution.” grass and forage, what Helen Gale continued: “Owners constitutes a balanced diet, the need to be able to recognise and importance of regular exercise acknowledge that their horse and weight monitoring, being has a weight problem and be able to identify the difference motivated to take action. between fat and muscle and Communication is key. It’s being familiar and comfortable important for others to with the range of weight control understand why you are tactics, such as grazing muzzles, following the advice form vets restricted grazing and track and other experts and how they systems. can best help.” “Understanding nutritional There was recognition that a value of forage and feed is

another challenge. We see milder winters and changing environmental conditions, and this can have an impact on what is fed,” said Liz Bulbrook. David Ingle suggested owners should ask themselves, “what is fat and what is muscle. Some people may be in denial. If you don’t know you shouldn’t be afraid not to know,” he said. The language used was also identified as important; gauging the needs and response of the individual and asking the owner what they think, would be more effective than using potentially inflammatory language - for example choosing the phrase ‘fat pad’ rather than the terms ‘overweight’ or ‘obese’. “If we are all being really honest with ourselves obesity is neglect,” said Lucy Grieve. “I doubt many vets would walk away from an emaciated horse or an infected wound or a cloudy eye so why are we so willing to walk away from these ticking time bombs which are actually a real welfare issue as the animal is potentially at risk of losing their life?” Lucy Grieve added that owners should see this as an exciting challenge and a positive thing they can do with their horses. “Relish the ability to do something good for your horse,” she said.


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ocial behaviour can influence the body condition of horses and ponies living in herds, according to a new study conducted by the University of Bristol and the Royal Veterinary College, in collaboration with Spillers through the Waltham equine studies group. The researchers believe the new findings could help address problems associated with equine obesity. Horses and ponies are socially-foraging herbivores, who have evolved to live in herd environments within a distinct social hierarchy. “Most owners and keepers know that individual horses and ponies experience different positives and negatives when living in groups,” said Clare Barfoot RNutr, Marketing and Research and Development Director at Spillers. “This is why we tend to choose field companions carefully so that a balanced and harmonious relationship can be maintained within the herd.” Earlier studies have shown that the foraging success of individual animals in social groups may be partly influenced by their social status, but the importance of other social factors on foraging efficiency and body condition has not been explored until now. The study, published in PeerJ, investigated associations between social dominance, body condition and interruptions to foraging behaviour in twenty separate domestic herds of horses and ponies. Social dominance was measured for each individual alongside observations of winter


foraging behaviour. During bouts of foraging, the duration and frequency of interruptions were recorded, with total interruption time taken as a proxy measure of foraging efficiency. The cause of each foraging interruption was also classified (vigilance, movement, social displacements given and received, scratching and startle responses). During the 120 hours of observation individual animals spent an average of 76.4% of their time foraging. Vigilance frequency was the individual interruption behaviour most strongly and negatively associated with body condition score: lower body condition was associated with greater vigilance. However, vigilance was not associated with dominance status. The results suggest that certain individuals may be more likely to conduct vigilance, perhaps on behalf of the group or due to being more anxious or alert, regardless of their social status. However, subordinate horses showed more movement whilst foraging and were more likely to receive displacements and be forced to move foraging location. “Neither the more vigilant nor the more frequently disturbed individuals compensated for their reduction in feed (energy) intake by spending more time foraging which probably explains the link with lower body condition. We hope that what we have learnt about the behaviour of individual horses when kept in groups could be included as a relevant factor when addressing health problems associated with equine obesity,” said Clare.

Navilam ‘O’ is a combination of NoBute and English Hawthorn. It offers maintenance for the laminae, navicular/pedal bones and lower leg/hoof. Based on No Bute to nutritionally help maintain healthy joints and connective tissue. RRP: £22.80. www.animal-health.co.uk

Paddock Power Original lick has added protein and a full spectrum of vitamins and minerals. Paddock Power improves your horse’s condition, coat, feet, health and temperament, providing your horse with a balance of minerals and vitamins coupled with protein, oil and protected trace elements. Low molasses content is beneficial for oral health and suitable for equines prone to laminitis and Cushing’s disease. www.paddockpower.co.uk

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Lamigard Advanced Care pellets and Lamigard TRT Regular solution contain a potent blend of key nutrient and plant extracts to help in long term nutritional management of horses and ponies prone to both SIRS laminitis and those with endocrine dysfunction. Low in sugar and starch, high in fibre, easy to feed and suitable for horses and ponies on very low, or no other concentrate feed. www.equine-america.co.uk RRP: Solution 1ltr £46.50 2-month supply / Pellets 1.5kg £42.20 1-month supply.

New Spillers Fibre Lite Molasses Free is a low-calorie fibre blend with short chopped alfalfa and straw to help slow eating time. Molasses-free and with no added sugar it is also low in starch. Added grass nuts and garlic enhance taste and texture, which together with the softness of the chop make it extremely palatable and ideal as an accompaniment to a compound feed or balancer. www.spillers-feeds.com

Hi-Fi Senior feed is the latest product in the Dengie range to have a packaging makeover. HiFi Senior will still be easily recognisable in its distinctive purple bag but will now feature Chewy, a 32-year-old grey Connemara cross who is a longterm Dengie customer. www.dengie.com


WIN THE NEW LAMINAID AND PODOSENS FROM CAVALOR! Cavalor LaminAid is recommended for horses and ponies with sensitive hooves due to metabolic problems. It supports the sensitive intestinal flora and brings hormonal and metabolic processes back into balance while improving blood circulation and flow in the hoof. Cavalor LaminAid is a unique, balanced combination of several essential oils including Eucalyptus globulus, Allium sativum and Betula alba. When incorporated into a blend, they complement each other and have a synergistic benefit. Horses and ponies prone to sensitivity in the hooves, caused by metabolic issues, may have problems with endotoxin leakage in the digestive system and high amounts of insulin in the blood. This can lead to problems in the lamellar cells. Also new to the range is Cavalor Podosens a hoof oil that helps to provide external relief for sensitive hooves and contributes to their faster recovery. It contains some of the essential oils that are also present in LaminAid, including Betula alba and Eucalyptus globulus. Applying the oil twice a day to the hoof and/or the sole of the hoof helps by increasing circulation and bringing quick relief to sensitive hooves. Betula alba may also promote the elasticity of the hoof and promotes hoof growth. www.cavalordirect.co.uk LaminAid RRP £91/1litre; PodoSens RRP £38/500ml; Combi Box containing both RRP £119.

To enter: Visit www.absolutehorsemagazine.com and click on the Competitions page. Entries open 1st March and close 30th April 2021.


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STARCH? l in the cooking! It’s al


tarch gets a lot of negative publicity these days and, whilst some may be deserved, it is often the way it is fed which is at fault. Horses are designed to function on fibre and, in their natural environment, where their basic aim is survival, it’s sufficient to keep them going. But having domesticated them and imposed on them the rigours of training and competition, we now find that fibre is not generally enough to provide the fuel they need to perform. We’d also find it hard to deal with the dramatic fluctuations in condition that feral horses and ponies go through in the wild, so alternative energy


sources, such as cereals, have traditionally been the answer. That said, there are still plenty of horses and ponies, particularly those of native type, whose systems have adapted to deal with a sparse diet and as such now do almost too well on the modern pasture we now keep them. Starch is made up of chains of glucose molecules and is tightly packed in granules into cereal grains. It is there to provide food for the growing seedling, should the grain (seed) germinate and grow into a new plant rather than being fed to our horse. It provides a much more concentrated source of energy than fibre so the horse only has to eat a relatively small amount to gain the energy he needs. Much of its bad reputation has been gained though, through feeding excess quantities of grain. This can lead to over excitability, as the horse receives

too much energy, or to digestive or metabolic disorders, such as stomach ulcers, colic, laminitis or tying up, as the horse’s digestive system struggles to cope with the starch levels. The important thing with starch is that it must be digested in the stomach and small intestine and should not be allowed to pass on to the hind gut. The horse’s stomach is relatively small and not very stretchy so this limits the size of the meals we can give – too large and some undigested starch could flow out and reach the hindgut where it can upset the microbial balance. Hindgut bacteria are sensitive to any change in their environment and do not survive exposure to starch. So, if undigested starch reaches areas of the horse’s gut that it shouldn’t, not only will it disrupt the bacterial populations, so reducing the efficiency of fibre digestion, but toxins produced by the bacteria as they die can lead to diseases, such as laminitis. Humans find starch easier to digest if it has been cooked – we don’t eat

raw potatoes and always cook pasta and rice before we eat them. As research into equine nutrition and feed technology has progressed, we’ve found that cooking vastly improves the digestibility of starch for horses too, helping more starch to be absorbed in the small intestine. The most efficient cooking method has been shown to be micronisation using infra-red energy. Firstly, the grain is soaked to increase the moisture content and swell the starch granules. The grain is then passed under the infra-red heat source and, as water vapour pressure in the grains rises, starch granules swell and fracture – a process known as ‘gelatinisation’. The grain is then rolled to stop the gelatinised starch from binding to the protein in the grain, which would render it indigestible. To achieve maximum gelatinisation of the starch, and thus maximum digestibility, the temperature and length of time for which the grain is exposed to the heat are crucial. An inclusion of well-cooked cereal grains, in a properly balanced mix or cube, can therefore be an ideal source of additional calories for many horses, as long as rations are divided into as many small meals per day, as possible, and the horse also consumes sufficient forage. Many modern feeds contain a blend of energy sources, including cereals, a range of fibre sources and oils, which reduces the reliance on cereals. Indeed, there are now several which contain no whole

cereal grains and can support the hardest work levels, while still being fed in manageable quantities. www.baileyshorsefeeds.co.uk

Suggested Product... The ‘original’ fully balanced conditioning feed, Baileys Top Line Conditioning Cubes are still the ‘go to’ option for many as they do exactly as their name suggests. Based on meticulously micronised wheat, they are calorie dense and highly digestible so deliver conditioning calories to where they’re needed, without needing to be fed by the bucket-full. Their quality protein sources help build muscle and top line, while soya oil and elevated levels of vitamins and minerals put a shine on the coat. Boosted levels of antioxidants, including grapeseed extract, support recovery and immunity in the hard working or run-down equine alike, while a yeast culture and Digest Plus prebiotic support gut health and efficiency to complete the package. SRP around £12.50/20kg.


ounder of Remus Horse Sanctuary, Sue Burton, is appealing for support of a new appeal to buy a Bale of Hay, to help feed the many tethered horses in the South East of England. Based on Ms Burton’s knowledge, the number of tethered horses in Essex alone is likely to exceed several hundred, with many thousands more across the South East. The charity believes there is no justification for tethering a horse, pony or donkey. Yet despite the Animal Welfare Act, many owners still choose to use this method to keep their animals. A tethered horse will quickly run out of grazing within the circumference of its restraint and

APPEAL: FEED A TETHERED HORSE often have no water. The charity receives telephone calls and messages from members of the public 365 days of the year, reporting horses, ponies and donkeys that are in distress, tethered, malnourished, diseased and worse still, dead. “Our revenue, like so many other charities, has been severely affected by Covid-19. We still need help to recover the

shortfall from 2020, let alone supply feed to these poor forgotten creatures. “Equines may be able to live out in all weathers, but this is based on the natural native pony who is loose and can walk to keep warm, walk to find shelter, and trickle feed throughout the day. All of these rights are denied to an animal that is tethered.” www.remussanctuary.org

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RRP £49.99/ 1kg

New V.I.P. Miracle Mare from Nettex is a non-magnesium supplement containing Wheatgerm Extract (WGE) which has been proven to help with challenging oestrus associated behaviour in mares in as little as 48-hours, thereby increasing owners enjoyment of their mares at this time. This key ingredient has prebiotic-like functionality which optimises gut flora balance helping the body’s own mechanisms regulate themselves, which in turn, supports mares that show signs of bad behaviour when in season. www.nettexequine.com

Nutrition plays a key role in horses at all times, especially when a mare is pregnant. Now you can give your horse a helping hand in a natural, entirely organic way with the use of Elite Equine 100% Organic Rosehip Supplement that contains only the finest hand-picked rosehip, dried at temperatures that preserve the powerful, natural antiinflammatory action that it is known for. The high levels of Vitamin C also encourage absorption of iron in the body making it even more valuable for pregnant mares. Elite Equine contains no additives or preservatives and each tub is personalised with your mare’s name, at no extra cost. www.eliteequineuk.com

RRP: £38/1kg






lthough I am based in the UK a remote consultation has always been a way of reaching clients all over the world. Now more than ever before owners throughout the UK are benefiting from this service too. But what does a remote consultation involve and how could it help your horse? Owners often come to me with all sorts of questions. What is the best feed? How can I help my horse lose weight? Is the feed winding my horse up? Is my horse’s diet balanced? Having a remote consultation from an independent nutritionist like myself should help to

solve all of your feeding mysteries in an unbiased, trustworthy, qualified way and set you on the straight and narrow. With my remote consultations the process starts upon booking. You are sent a questionnaire via email asking all sorts of questions about your horse. This includes stats such as their age, height, breed, through to information you may not have considered like their temperament, how often you work them, their clinical history to name a few. Each of these points are important to help determine the correct diet for your horse. Having this information in advance

also means that during the appointment we can really make the most of our time on the phone. I also ask for various photos of your horse so that I can get a visual as to the horse I am discussing. The consultation itself lasts for around an hour on the phone and during that time we go through the diet as a whole, so not just hard feed, but also forage, grazing, supplements (where appropriate) and electrolytes. Being independent I have no association with any feed company so this advice is literally

based on what is right for your horse. Changes to the diet are made where necessary and the reasons explained, leaving owners educated and better able to make decisions of their own in future. You can ask the questions you have always wanted answering and leave with a clear plan as to how to implement the new diet, or with reassurance that you were already on the right path. Following this you receive a written report via email summarising all of the advice, so you have something to refer back to. To book your remote feed consultation please do get in touch on 07901 337826 or donna@thehorse feedguru.com www.thehorsefeed guru.com



engie is proud to announce their new partnership with Writtle University College as their ‘Official Fibre Feed Provider’. Dengie have collaborated with Writtle for many years providing students with an insight to the feed industry through lectures and hosting tours to see the ‘field to feed’ process that is unique to Dengie. Equine Resource Manager, Dan Cook, said: "We were looking to secure a partnership with a company that shared our enthusiasm and vision for the physical supply of feed to both our bespoke sports horse stud and equine training and development centres, along with helping to facilitate and enhance the student experience and learning opportunities along the way.”






quine Gastric Ulcer Syndrome (EGUS) is a term which can span a wide spectrum of severity from a very slight inflammation of the stomach wall, right through to severe ulceration and bleeding. There is undoubtedly much more to learn about the causes, management and prevention of EGUS. We currently often categorise the severity from 0-4, with 0 being a normal, healthy stomach wall, and 4 showing significant and widespread ulceration. The occurrence of EGUS is surprisingly high and whilst the exact number is unknown, some studies suggests that over 90% of racehorses, 60% of performance horses and up to 50% of leisure horses may suffer from gastric ulcers at some point in their lives. So we can understand how and why gastric ulcers occur, it is important to understand the anatomy of the horse’s stomach. The stomach has two distinct regions - the top half is known as


the squamous or non-glandular region, the bottom half as the glandular or gastric. As the gastric region is where enzymes that digest the horse’s food are excreted, this area tends naturally to be fairly well protected from acid attacking the stomach wall and therefore causing damage. The squamous or non-glandular region however, acts as a holding area for the food as it makes its way through and therefore has very little protection from acidity. Because of this, it relies entirely on a continuous flow of fibre coming in to help protect it. This helps to explain why we are all told we should feed our horses ‘ad-lib’ fibre - if they can continually pick at fibre, the stomach will continually have fibre moving through, therefore helping to protect it from ulceration. Additionally, the horse’s saliva helps to neutralise the acid in their stomach. Unlike humans, horses only salivate when they are physically eating, so the more time we can allow them to chew, the more saliva

exhibited, it may be that your horse is prone to EGUS. The only way to get a definitive diagnosis is for your vet to perform an endoscopy where a thin optical cable is inserted through a nostril and down into the stomach so any signs of ulceration can be seen.

EGUS and diet For horses and ponies thought to be prone to EGUS, the best advice for any owner is to try and keep their horse as naturally as possible. Although not always possible, maximum amounts of time spent grazing is always they will produce, and the less beneficial. For any time spent chance there is of them being prone to ulcers. Traditionally we stabled, ensure that ad-lib access may have thought that ulcers in to fibre is always available. Low calorie bagged forages with this Squamous region were lower sugar and starch levels are caused by diets low in fibre but high in starch. However, it is now ideal for horse and ponies that hold their weight well or are in believed that exercise regimes can have a huge impact on ulcers light work, but for those that struggle to maintain condition in this area as intense exercise or are working harder, a higher may cause ‘acid splash’. For this calorie forage would be a better reason, it may often be choice. Choose one with BETA suggested that you ensure the horse has had a small fibre based NOPS certification if you are competing so you have bucket feed (i.e. dried alfalfa) complete peace of mind. When before exercise. This allows a thinking about your bucket feed, protective mat of fibre to be try to ensure starch levels are formed, preventing the splash kept as low as possible. Choose effect and therefore protecting the vulnerable squamous region. products that are high in fibre, a complete fibre-based feed which Common symptoms of contains a full spectrum of gastric ulcers can vitamins and minerals is often include: ideal. This type of feed, when fed - Weight loss at the correct rate, requires no - Decreased appetite addition of supplements or - Recurrent colic cereal-based products. Alfalfa is a - Decreased performance proven acidity buffer, so a feed - Irritability which contains alfalfa is often a - Teeth grinding good option for managing Whilst these symptoms can be horses prone to EGUS. indicative of many other issues, www.horsehage.co.uk if several or all of them are being

INSURANCE Pro Gut Balancer powder is a unique combination of pre and probiotics, together with a mannan oligosaccharide (MOS), to help maintain the health of the gut microbiome in the light of the many challenges faced by modern performance horses. Promotes optimum digestive function and energy from dietary fibre sources. The supplement boosts immunity and promotes the synthesis of vital B vitamins and vitamin K by the gut microbiota. www.equineamerica.co.uk RRP: from £15.40

Pro-biotics are naturally occurring cultures of specific strains of beneficial bacteria. These organisms work together in the gut to assist lactic acid production, producing digestive enzymes to aid normal gut function. Prozyme E pro-biotic powder works in the digestive system and overpopulates bad bacteria with beneficial bacteria. The introduction of this bacteria will help to maintain balance as nature intended. RRP: £17.85. www.animal-health.co.uk


t this moment in time, it is vitally important for individuals and businesses to review their insurance. There has been a lot in the press that some did not have the cover they expected when the Covid-19 pandemic hit. On the back of Covid, and many claims earlier in the year due to the weather, we are in what is known as a ‘hardening’ insurance market. In a hard insurance market, premiums rise at a rate above what would normally be expected. Due to these circumstances, now is a good time to insure with a specialist insurance broker who should have buying power with the insurers and can ensure continuation of cover for assets and liabilities at reasonable cost. SEIB’s Deputy CEO, Suzy Middleton said, “We haven’t seen a hard market since 2001 and therefore many have not experienced the volatility that could follow. It is imperative for those looking for insurance cover not to chase the cheapest rate but to check very carefully that you have the cover you need with a reputable company.” A perfect storm of factors has resulted in the market ‘hardening’. Before Covid struck in March 2020, premiums were already being squeezed. In the last half of 2019, property insurance rates were affected following several significant fires – over 20 happened with pay outs of


SET TO RISE IN THE UK over £10 million each. Also, the Ogden rate, which works out ‘lump sum’ payouts for personal injury claims has increased, resulting in larger settlements per case to ensure adequate funds for lifetime care if required. Storms Dennis and Ciara caused widespread havoc in February 2020 resulting in insurance settlements in excess of £400 million. Low interest rates and high reinsurance rates compounded these problems all of which have now been dwarfed by Covid-19. People requiring insurance cover in niche sectors including the equestrian market may be able to minimise the effect of the hard market premium rises through using the services of a specialist broker with detailed experience of the market. An experienced, effective broker will have excellent and flexible relationships with several insurers meaning the pool of available cover is vastly increased. Suzy Middleton added, “You need a broker who knows what they are talking about. Be careful who you use as some insurers may be unrated or not financially stable. The last

thing anyone needs is trying to reclaim costs in the midst of a pandemic if the underwriter goes under.” SEIB Insurance Brokers CEO, Barry Fehler said, “My advice is to work with a specialist broker who understands your needs and prepare for your renewal earlier than normal. This will give more time to find the best package for you in the current market. Be flexible. The market has changed and you might need to make changes to your cover, to ensure you get what you need at a desirable price.” Barry Fehler continued, “With all our years working as brokers in the industry, SEIB have strong relationships with our insurers that are behind long-established policies for the equestrian business community. To date this has helped keep rate increases comparatively low. Many of our team are horse owners and riders with some competing at a high level. This helps us to understand the challenges you and your business are facing due to the pandemic.” www.seib.co.uk




By Equi-trek



eading horsebox and trailer manufacturer, Equi-Trek, shares advice on travelling horses to ensure a safe and stress-free journey for you and your horse. Preparing your horse for travel Correctly fit leg and tail protection and make sure you use a leather headcollar as it will break more easily than a nylon one in an emergency. Choose an appropriate rug for the temperature outside but don’t over-rug – sweating due to excess heat is worse that a horse that is a bit cool. Check you have any documentation you will need for your journey and be sure you won’t exceed your payload. Equi-Trek has the market leading payload on all models due to the use of carbon fibre technology and the fact that this saves at least 100kg as well as being completely wood free.


Pre-travel vehicle checks It goes without saying that all horseboxes and trailers must be correctly maintained and serviced in line with the manufacturer’s warranty. Regular checks must be made to tyres, brakes, fluid levels, windscreen wipers, lights, battery, and ramp. It is important to remember that not all manufacturers use aluminium flooring like EquiTrek do. Thoroughly check your vehicle or trailer before every trip and adjust the partition so it is in the correct place for your horse. Ensure any haynets are correctly tied and are high up so the horse can’t become tangled in one. Make sure you don’t forget to pack the essentials such as food, water, rugs and a horse and rider first aid kit. Loading your horse Always load in a quiet and

secure area and ensure your vehicle or trailer is parked on flat ground so that the ramp is level. Never rush loading and allow plenty of time so your horse is calm and relaxed when setting off. If the horse is difficult to load make sure you have someone on hand to help you and always load with suitable footwear, gloves and a hat. Many horses don’t load well with a split half ramp as there is

too much for them to process all at once – not only are they stepping on to the ramp but they are also putting their head into the horse box and moving straight inside. A low and inviting full ramp allows the horse to get all four hooves onto the ramp before going inside, breaking the process down. Safety doors either side of the ramp are important and so is a heavy duty slip resistant ramp with treads. Also a lot of horses prefer a side loading ramp as the space they are being asked to go into is open and inviting. Secure the horse to a breakable tie inside and make sure they are tied on a short length so they can’t turn around. Advice during transit • Drive as smoothly as possible with gradual acceleration/deceleration and gentle braking, if towing a trailer ensure that the trailer is in line with your vehicle before accelerating away from corners or roundabouts. A useful analogy is to drive as if you have a glass of water on the dash board and you are trying not to spill it.

• Make sure there is good ventilation in the horse area • Open all available ventilation even in winter and rug your horse to maintain a reasonable temperature. Unloading the horse Park in a quiet, secure area and give your horse some time to settle before unloading. Make sure you are parked on a flat surface so the ramp is level. Allow plenty of time and stay calm so your horse doesn’t rush and unloads slowly making sure you encourage them to walk to the end of the ramp rather than jump off. A full ramp makes unloading easier as there is room for the horse to come down slowly and not rush on.

Travel top tips • Aid hydration by providing a soaked haynet during transport, soaked hay or haylage will also help with air quality • Always carry extra food and water (for horses and people) in case your journey is delayed • Make sure you have a basic equine first aid kit on board to treat any minor injuries • For long journeys make stops to offer food and water and untie your horse’s head to give them a chance to stretch down which may help to clear the airways • Arrive at your destination in plenty of time to allow the horse to relax and get used to his new surroundings before you tack up to ride. www.equi-trek.com


What’s the situation?


ew regulations for moving horses to and from the EU recently came into effect and the team at British Equestrian have provided an update on how the new processes are working in practice, some of the difficulties being experienced by those on the ground and what’s being done to improve the situation. The UK has left the EU single market and customs union and, as of 1st January 2021, operates under a free trade agreement for the import and export of goods, including horses for any purpose. We have been given ‘third country’ status, which brings with it a series of rules and requirements which we now have to work with when travelling horses abroad. What’s new? In order to meet the regulatory requirements of moving horses from a third country such as the UK to the EU, even if only on a temporary basis, we now need to make sure that horses have: • Pre-travel residency or isolation • Blood tests and export health certificates • Customs declarations or carnets The British Equestrian pre-travel checklist is a helpful starting point for making your first journey under the new requirements. It lists all the steps you’ll need to take in the build-up to departure, with tick boxes. For those travelling horses as an economic activity - for example, professional riders travelling to a competition - it’s now necessary to

have legal status in the EU, which includes an inspection certificate for your vehicle carried out in the EU, transporter and handler authorisations, and certificates of professional competency issued in the EU, in addition to the UK equivalents that were in place pre-Brexit. What do these changes mean? • That there is a greater paperwork burden involved in preparing for your journey • Trips need to be planned much further in advance • The use of an approved shipper is strongly recommended • The overall journey time has increased due to more checks required on paperwork, the vehicle and horses being carried out. As a result, it’s estimated that overall travel costs have increased by between 220% and 320%, depending on if you use a ferry or the Eurotunnel. The British Equestrian Trade Association (BETA) has also reported that there have been issues for those carrying their own feed and bedding on the crossing to Europe, either on the lorry with horses or in a separate shipment. They recommend carrying a commercial invoice to show that the goods have been purchased in the UK and have warned that you could be liable for VAT changes on arrival. If you’re taking items into Europe which will be returned, use a carnet or duplicate list with the relevant forms to avoid VAT or duty on return. www.britishequestrian.org.uk



orseboxHub promises to streamline the process of transporting horses across the UK and Europe - for both owners and transporters - by enable horse transporters to advertise their empty return journeys in one place, giving horse owners the option to choose a cheaper and more environmentally conscious way to move their horse. In addition, horse owners can submit details of their journey into the HorseboxHub platform to receive quotes from horse transporters in real-time. This means that if an empty return load is unavailable on the day of their desired journey, they can instead receive quotes from a wide range of horse transporters. www.horseboxhub.com



THE FACTS A saddle is without a doubt the most important purchase for your horse. It is a well known fact that a horse needs a correctly fitted saddle to perform to the best of its ability, but is this idea really implemented fully. A badly fitted saddle can do a lot of damage, leading to behaviour problems or even lameness. The huge influence the saddle has in relation to equine welfare, rider comfort and the production of optimum performance is being increasingly recognised by equine vets and physiotherapists, trainers, instructors and horse owners. The Society of Master Saddlers (UK) Ltd was formed in 1966 to serve as a Trade Association for the craft retail saddler, but has since embraced all aspects of the Trade. The Society's aims are to safeguard the quality of work, services, training and


qualifications of all those who work in the saddlery trade from manufacturers and retailers through individual craftspeople and saddle fitters. For horse owners The Society of Master Saddlers acts as a standard that you should expect your saddle fitter to be a part of. Having a Society of Master Saddles Registered Qualified Saddle Fitter guarantees that they are fully qualified, professional and have a minimum of three years’ experience. Before the Society of Master Saddlers launched its saddle fitting qualification, there was very little formalised training available. Coinciding with the introduction of the saddle fitting qualification, the SMS began an extensive programme providing information and advice about the importance of a correctly fitting saddle in relation to safety, wellbeing and performance. It is a fact that

today’s horse owners are far more knowledgeable than their counterparts of even a few years back. In the last couple of decades, saddle fitting has become more and more complicated. Firstly, whereas in the past most countries were largely reliant on indigenous breeds and types of horse, nowadays many breeds have become global. Consequently, today’s saddle fitters need a far more comprehensive knowledge of the conformation of different breeds. Secondly, there are more saddle designs on the market than ever before. Innovations continue to enter the market and ranges of specialist saddles are constantly increasing. The product knowledge demanded of today’s saddle fitters is far greater and more comprehensive than their counterparts of twenty - even ten - years ago. And of course, saddle fitters must have a good

IN THIS ISSUE WE TALK TO THE SOCIETY OF MASTER SADDLES TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THE WORK THEY CARRY OUT, HOW SADDLES HAVE DEVELOPED OVER THE YEARS AND THE REAL IMPORTANCE OF HAVING A CORRECTLY FITTED SADDLE. understanding of the demands of the individual disciplines and sports and the regulations applicable to the use of tack. SMS saddle fitters take pride in the help, information and advice they provide. Although every endeavour is made to accommodate the rider, the first priority is to provide a saddle that affords a good fit for the horse. Saddle Checks Horses change considerably over time. A horse’s ‘shape’ is very dependent on the horse owner’s management. A horse can change shape for

many reasons. Maybe he is enjoying a break from work turned out in a field with lots of grass. Possibly, the competition season is well under way, and he is leaner and more muscled than he was at the beginning of the season. Maybe he is a young horse and he is going through a period of rapid growth and development. Maybe his owner, school over for the summer, has vastly increased his exercise and schooling programme. Or perhaps he has lost condition over winter. It’s surprising how many owners notice a rug getting tighter but the fact that the saddle no longer fits well completely escapes them. This is why it is very important to get saddles

checked regularly. Saddle fitting checks are an important part of horse care. Yes, they cost money. And yes, occasionally the saddle fitter may need to return quite quickly because the horse has changed shape so rapidly. This isn’t an unnecessary expense it is vital to make sure your horse is comfortable. A saddle that is too narrow and is pinching and exerting other unwanted pressure - or too wide and pressing down and restricting the horse’s ability to use himself correctly - can result in welfare, veterinary, behavioural and performance problems. Overcoming the resulting problems could be expensive in terms of veterinary,

schooling and other professional services. Meanwhile the horse has suffered totally unnecessarily. Recognise that changes in exercise and feed regimes have the potential to alter the horse’s shape. Try to stick to the principle one saddle should fit one horse and remember a saddle adopts the contours of the horse, if placed on a different horse, it could be very uncomfortable. When a saddle suffers an accident or when the horse suffers a fall whilst being ridden the saddle should be examined by a Master or Qualified Saddler. Internal damage such as a broken tree can be difficult to spot and, not rectified, it may result in


ANSWER: “The maximum length of the seat is determined by the length of the horse’s rib cage. Find the last rib and then follow the natural curve up, the tree of the saddle must not pass this point. If the horse is short in the back, then the panel may go beyond this point, but never the tree. “When the rider is sitting in the saddle they need three to four fingers distance behind them. This is so that they are sitting in the deepest part of the seat and not putting all their weight on to the back of saddle. “Saddles with a flatter seat will allow more room for the rider, whereas a deep seat will feel more enclosed and may require a longer seat length for the rider.”

complicated veterinary problems. Use the services of a Society of Master Saddlers’ registered qualified saddle fitter to undertake fitting checks regularly. Always have a new saddle fitted and recognise that it is at least equally importance to have a second-hand saddle fitted. SMS saddle fitters have a comprehensive knowledge of saddle brands and designs. They are aware of the rules and regulations applicable to tack and equipment used in all the equestrian disciplines and sports, and offer advice and professional services. www.mastersaddlers.co.uk

Your Own Design... Power Pads saddle pads can be custom designed whilst offering outstanding protection with 305g of inner wadding that will mould to your horse’s back for ultimate comfort. Create your own bespoke Power Pad saddle pad with seven base colours and sixteen different colour options for the binding, providing an extensive choice to suit your needs. The traditional design of Power Pads allows for plenty of space for branding such as a sponsor’s logo or for a rider to personalise the saddle pad to promote themselves or their yard. RRP: £35. www.yarisequestrian.co.uk



CHRIS TAYLOR: All Things Leather


hris started his business in 1996 providing all the services you would expect to find at a saddlery workshop, from making bespoke items to a full repair and saddle fitting service. He had worked in the saddlery trade for many years prior to the opening of Saddler’s Den, and is a Master Saddler, a member of the Society of Master Saddlers, and a published author, with his first book, ‘Leatherwork: a Practical Guide’ published in 2010. Although the core business is saddlery, Chris and his team will turn their hand to anything. Outside of saddlery they have customers ranging from interior designers to fashion suppliers. Said Chris: “Many of the items made for the fashion suppliers go to Japan. Saddler’s Den also run training courses in basic and advanced saddlery, bag making, saddle flocking and repair, and we also tailor courses to meet people’s needs.” From an early age Chris was always fascinated by how things worked, always getting into trouble for taking things apart and then not being able to put them back together again. On joining the Scouts he developed an interest in macramé and leatherwork. Chris didn’t have a particularly equestrian background until he acquired his own horse in his 30’s. He always did leatherwork


as a hobby and once he got his own horse, Chris wanted to know more about equestrian items. Said Chris: “I am basically selftaught, buying items at auctions, taking them apart and then rebuilding them. I have always looked at items and thought ‘I can do that’ which has given me an extensive knowledge base and to date there is very little we cannot make. That’s not to say I know everything, the trade moves on and we are constantly learning.” The most unusual item Chris was ever commissioned to make was whilst working on the Kevin McCloud - Hut by the Beach series where they were tasked with getting a raft to float using only sheep skins as buoyancy.

IN THIS ISSUE WE TALK TO BENCH SADDLER CHRIS TAYLOR ABOUT HIS PASSION FOR THE INDUSTRY. CHRIS WAS PRESIDENT OF THE SOCIETY OF MASTER SADDLERS IN 2018 AND 2019. “I love the wide variety of items we constantly encounter but if I had to pick a subject as my favourite it would be restoration and archaeological reconstructions as I have a keen interest in history. In 2007 I spent a month in China with Cambridge University Archaeological department studying and reconstructing a 2800 year old saddle,” said Chris. Passing his skills on to the next generation of saddlers is extremely important to Chris who thoroughly enjoys teaching to ensure the trade survives. Chris explains what he feels are the highs and lows of being in the saddlery trade: “For many bench saddlers it’s not a job but a way of life, which fires a

passion to produce quality wellmade items. No two days are the same and I can honestly say that since being in the trade I have never woken with the feeling of ‘Oh no I have to go to work’, I look forward to the challenges the day brings. “Unfortunately with the glut of imported items the skills of the bench saddler can sometimes be overlooked although the Society of Master Saddlers has been actively pushing these skills in recent years.” Chris has seen many changes in the industry over the years and feels that research has obviously contributed greatly to the comfort of the horse when it comes to making and designing items.





s we are on day 823734 of this latest lockdown, it’s been a very long time since I have been saddle fitting. So my days have been filled with YouTubing, leather repairing and excessive amounts of tack cleaning… and sometimes combining all three; when I’m feeling particularly adventurous. So I thought I’d share with you the top three things people do wrong when cleaning their tack.

isn’t it? Soft leather? Well, no, not really. Some leather is designed to be strong and a little stiffer. Oil seeps deep into the leather fibres, and causes them to separate a bit, hence the softening. This weakens the leather, and it means the internal structure is compromised. Not good. It also sits on the stitching, which can rot it (especially if it is cotton based stitching) and cause safety issues. Plus… who wants their tack to be slimy? Not me! 1. Oiling leather. I know, I know, Moisturising your leather, like you would your skin, is important, but oil used to be the Best Thing a good quality (solid) balm is a Ever for tack. If you’re ancient much better idea! (like me), you’ll probably remember the times where we’d 2. Using too much water. You don’t need much water at all. literally soak a new bridle in a Water is not leather’s friend. As bucket of oil for an entire day… and pull it out, dripping, amazed the water evaporates, it sucks out the leather’s natural moisture. So, at how much softer it was. Because that’s what we all want, ironically water DRIES out your

tack. When you clean your tack, make sure you really squeeze every drop of water out of the sponge before you use it. And use hot water - because it helps cut through the greasemeaning you can use less product. Simply use a small amount of good quality saddle soap on your slightly-damp sponge and let the soap and elbow grease do the work. Yes, elbow grease. You heard me. 3. Using ‘Two-in-One’ products that end up leaving a residue on your tack. Every now and then you need to CLEAN it with a solid soap, and then condition it with a good conditioner or balm. And keep those ‘Two-inOne’ products for that last minute show day panic. www.peeweesaddlery.co.uk

Your Questions Answered... IN THIS ISSUE FORMER SOCIETY OF MASTER SADDLERS’ PRESIDENT, KAY HASTILOW PROVIDES ADVICE ON HOW TO FIT A SADDLE FOR A SHORT COUPLED HORSE. QUESTION: “I am looking at buying a horse who’s fairly short coupled, however I’ve got long legs so need a seat that could end up sitting beyond the rib cage. How could a saddler accommodate this if I were to buy him?”

Photo: Abbi Grief Photography

ANSWER: “First of all


remember that the horse dynamic (working) has more room for a saddle than the horse static so if a saddle that suits you appears just a little too long when the horse is standing and being fitted, try riding in it, having marked T18 with a dot or tape so that you can see if the saddle is still beyond or now within this area. I have seen up to 2” (5 cm) extra length in the saddle area in a working horse as opposed to that horse static Continued overleaf...


SADDLERY & TACK Continued from previous page...

so you might well find that you have enough room for the saddle that you would really like to ride in. “It is not difficult with a bespoke saddle to have a larger or more forward cut flap and panel (depending on the discipline that the saddle is for) made with a suitable seat size for your horse and this will accommodate your extra leg length. Possibly a tree with a wider, flatter seat can be used here as this will give you more room to sit in whilst keeping the length of the tree within bounds for your horse. An SMS Qualified Saddle Fitter can take measurements of you whilst you are sitting on a chair from hip to knee and knee to heel, possibly marking on a pattern exactly where you like your knee to sit. Knee and thigh blocks fastened with Velcro can also help as you can position them to suit your leg shape. “Short backs in the horse are a common problem for saddle fitters these days. Horse breeding has favoured a shorter back for some years as this is considered stronger but of course, all things in moderation - there has to be room for a rider to sit on the horse!”


martingale is a piece of tack which is usually used to control head carriage and act as an additional form of control. There are several different types of martingale which are used for varying reasons and are seen across several disciplines. In this feature we look at the different martingales and explain their design and uses. The two most common types of martingale are standing and running. A standing martingale consists of a strap that attaches to the girth and runs between the horse’s front legs up to the back of the noseband. This runs through a neck strap which fastens around the neck and keeps the martingale close to the horse. This type of martingale should only be fitted to a cavesson noseband or similar and if correctly fitted, the main strap should be able to touch the throat lash when raised. It is not recommended that a standing martingale should be used for jumping as it may restrict the horse. The running martingale attaches to the girth and then passes through the horse’s front legs before splitting into two straps


with a ring on the end which the reins pass through. Martingale stops, which can be either rubber or leather, should be used on the reins between the bit rings and the rings of the martingale to prevent the martingale straps from slipping forward and interfering with the bit. The running martingale prevents the horse from raising its head above a certain point as it applies additional pressure to the reins and consequently the bars of the mouth. If correctly fitted the ‘fork’ of the running martingale should slacken about an inch when the horse lowers it head and there should be a straight line running from the rider’s hands to the bit rings when the horse has his

head in the correct position and the martingale is not acting on him. A running martingale is very popular for jumping disciplines as it gives the rider extra control without interfering unnecessarily with the horse. The Irish martingale is not like others, but rather a semi martingale. It is simply a short leather strap with a ring at either end which the reins pass through, quite close to the bit. It is not designed as a form of control but rather to prevent the reins coming over the horse’s head in a fall. They are most commonly used in European racing. www.mastersaddlers.co.uk

MASTER SADDLER HELEN READER NAMED IN INSPIRATIONAL ENTREPRENEUR LIST Society of Master Saddlers’ Vice President, Helen Reader has been recognised for her contribution to the equine industry. Helen is passionate about her work and has been named as one of the UK’s 100 most inspirational entrepreneurs by Small Business Britain’s Entrepreneur 2021 campaign. “Passing on the knowledge I have gained over many years and helping new people in the industry is fantastic and I get a lot back from supporting others.”




Tilly Beals

Wednesday mornings, is based at the North Norfolk Riding Centre in Walsingham. Our enthusiastic riders come from Thornage Hall, the Holt Hub and individuals helped by a band of dedicated volunteers. Even during this difficult Covid time, Norfolk Coast RDA is able to continue to give help and support. www.norfolkcoastrda.org

Vicky Cartwright with Piggy

Photos: www.mattpalgrave.co.uk


he Norfolk Coast Riding for the Disabled Group was given a wonderful boost to both morale and funds, amounting to over £1,200, just before Christmas. Piggy March (nee French) leading Event Rider, winner of Badminton Horse Trials 2019 and Patron of Norfolk Coast RDA – generously donated her time and expertise to give a series of Jumping Clinics to over fifty riders of varying abilities and ages ranging from 7- 65, from all over Norfolk. Piggy worked nonstop over the two days instructing hourly sessions with three riders per session. The highly successful – socially distanced – event was efficiently organised by Polly Baker and held at the impressive Wakefield Farm Equestrian Centre, Foulsham curtsey of Neil, Jo and Tom. Norfolk Coast RDA, which started in January 2019 and meets on Tuesday and

Amanda Brownlow

Claudia Davison with Piggy

James Payne with Piggy

Tabitha Case

Kayleigh Warmer

Lottie Hood (Piggy's neice)

Charlotte Coventry with Piggy

Rosie Ringer