Absolute Horse - September 2020/October 2020

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K ’M C - I E! PI UP RE F E









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Tel. 01787 224358


2020 ISSUE 346




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56 FEATURES INCLUDE 4 News 10 Life During Lockdown 13 Local Rider’s Inspiring Story 14 The Professionals including an interview with Kevin and Emma McNab, tips from Harriet Morris Baumber on finding the right horse to buy, plus Sophie Wells shares her hacking advice 19 Zoe Kiff from Honest Riders talks about reducing plastic waste on your yard

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.

How to contact and connect with us...



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Dressage supremo Carl Hester talks about his new horses and his summer of training Health & Welfare - including Vetwatch by Rossdales which looks at Liver Disease in horses; Dr Jessica May discusses EMS, and we mythbust online first aid courses Rhea Freeman Asks - How to start an equestrian blog? Ashley Rossiter explains why buying your social media followers is a waste of time and money

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Lorraine Lock from Essex at the NAF Five Star BS Champs - see page 64. Photo: 1st

Class Images




Small & Supercharged Masterminders share their tips for staying positive and protecting your mental health Buyer’s Guide - supporting country and equestrian brands Nutrition - including how to make the most of information and advice when feeding your horse, and why crash diets do not work Donna Case Equine Nutritionist - feeding advice for the older horse Saddlery & Tack including bitting Q&A and your saddlery questions answered Event Reports Classifieds

GIVEAWAYS & OFFERS 8 Ariat Saddle Snaps 15 Absorbine bundle 23 Stable Shield 23 Animal Health Company offer 52 Devon Haylage

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NEWS uffolk horses hit SACREWELL the headlines FARM: NEW recently as being ADDITION the first to be bred having already chosen the sex of the foal before insemination. As a critically endangered species, as rated by the Rare Breed Survival Trust (RBST), the team at the heritage farm attraction, Sacrewell Farm, near Thornhaugh, Peterborough, are delighted to be providing a home for Grace alongside the farm’s other Suffolk Punch and Cleveland Bay horses. Livestock supervisor Amy Hunt said: “Grace has already made herself at home on the farm. Here at Sacrewell, we’re committed to ensuring the survival of rare breed farm animals such as the Suffolk Punch, with Landrace Pigs and Bagot goats.” General Manager Lee Scowen added: “Suffolk Punch horses are a living piece of British agricultural history and it’s tragic that they are on the brink of extinction. As a breed, they’re gentle, good-natured and wonderful assets to charities such as ours that exist to teach people about food and farming. It means that our visitors can get close to these gentle giants that were once a common sight across East Anglia.” www.sacrewell.org.uk





orld Horse Welfare has announced that, after careful consideration, it has reluctantly decided to keep its Visitor Centres closed to the public until February (halfterm) 2021. This decision affects all four of its Rescue and Rehoming Centres including Hall Farm in Norfolk, Somerset, Lancashire and Aberdeenshire.



o you know an exceptional individual or organisation, as yet without accolade, within the equine sector? Nominations are now being invited for the National Equine Forum (NEF) Sir Colin Spedding Award 2021 and the organising committee is keen to hear if you have any shining stars on your radar. The Sir Colin Spedding Award was introduced in 2013 and has become one of the most respected annual awards within UK equestrianism. Any individual or organisation, from any equestrian field, is eligible, as long as their outstanding qualities have not been formally acknowledged elsewhere. Previous winners of the Award include tireless Suffolk Punch champion Nigel Oakley. To complete your nomination visit www.nationalequineforum.com Closing date 7th September 2020.


June/July 2020 Edition Competition Winners: Hawkins Organic Alison Rampling - Essex. Holland Cooper Philippa Parkin - Norfolk




stallion needed a helping hand recently after getting stuck on a gate while trying to impress the ladies! A member of the public spotted the stricken horse with the front of his body on one side of the gate and his back legs on the other. RSPCA officer Jack Curran said, “The horse had tried to get over the gate and got stuck. Thankfully, when I arrived, I was able to track down his owner and he came down to the field to help. “We were able to free him from the gate unharmed.” www.rspca.org.uk/covid

CHARITY SAYS GOODBYE: 30-YEAR-OLD EX-POLICE HORSE long-serving police horse, who spent his retired eleven years at Bransby Horses has had to be put to sleep aged thirty. Irish Draught gelding, Boz, retired to the Lincolnshire equine rescue and welfare Charity after serving with the Greater Manchester Police. Boz’s service history was significant. During his time with the force, 17.2hh Boz served at football matches, including every Manchester Derby from 2001 until he left the force, the 2002 Commonwealth Games, the 2001 Oldham riots and


The SEIB team take on Mud n Madness in February 2020

SEIB INSURANCE BROKERS MAKE FOUR SHORTLISTS IN THE UK BROKER AWARDS every Manchester Pride event from 2001 until his retirement. He also took part in The Royal Windsor Horse Show in 2002 in the All The Queen’s Horses parade to mark Her Majesty’s Golden Jubilee.


Redwings Horse Sanctuary supporter and her rehomed rescued pony have taken on a running challenge together to raise awareness for mental health. Jen Brooker, from Saxthorpe in Norfolk, decided to run the equivalent of two marathons over six weeks with Redwings Smartie,a 16-year-old Welsh Section A pony by her side. The dedicated pair completed their challenge with a 9km run which finished outside the entrance to Redwings’ Aylsham visitor centre and used their efforts to raise £240 for the mental health charity Mind. Rachel Angell, Redwings’ Head of Norfolk Equine Operations, who oversees the rehoming programme, said: “We’re very proud of this super pair! This is a fantastic way to keep Smartie fit and healthy and, most importantly, for him to have some fun with his Guardian. The fact that they have raised such a great total for a very worthy cause is just the icing on the cake!”


EIB Insurance Brokers have been shortlisted for national insurance industry awards. The UK Broker Awards have been set up to provide national recognition for companies in the insurance industry and SEIB have made the shortlist in four separate categories. Hosted by Insurance Age, the winners of the prestigious UK Broker Awards will be announced in an online ceremony on the 11th September. In achieving shortlisting for these awards, SEIB has highlighted their commitment and ability to respond to the ever-changing needs of their customers. SEIB has been shortlisted for the Covid-19 Response Award, showing the effectiveness of the company’s agile response to the challenges posed by Covid-19. SEIB hosted one of the first virtual – or online – awards ceremonies back in March, with the SEIB Giving ‘Virtual’ Awards. The SEIB team successfully pulled off this new style of awards at very short notice. SEIB has also been shortlisted for the Marketing and Customer Engagement Award, the Claims


Team Award and the Customer Service Award at the UK Broker Awards. SEIB’s Financial Director, Bipin Thaker said; “To be shortlisted for this selection of categories at our industry’s main awards is a great boost. Everyone at SEIB, without exception, works so hard to make sure they are on hand to help our customers. The lock-down has been the first time that most of our team has worked from home and the service they have provided throughout has been brilliant. We are very much looking forward to the online ceremony of the UK Broker Awards.” Putting something back is embedded in the culture of SEIB. Alongside supporting their staff through insurance qualifications and many other development initiatives, the company sponsor several employees to help them in reaching their equestrian goals. The SEIB team also do a huge amount for local and national charities through various means, from taking part in ‘Mud n Madness’ team events, right through to the SEIB Giving Awards. www.seib.co.uk




ollowing the success of Virtual Windsor in May, the organisers of Royal Windsor Horse Show have announced that the online Show will be returning as a new series with two editions taking place in the Autumn and Winter. The Virtual Windsor Autumn Series 2020 will be live-




streamed on 25th-27th September, and will feature three disciplines in which riders from all over the world can participate from their own homes. The Show will comprise twentytwo Showing classes, alongside new additions in the form of International Pony Club Dressage, a Riding for the

Disabled Association class and a specially designed ‘Equitation Jumping’ discipline open to all. In addition, the popular shopping section will be bringing visitors new products and offers, and there will be yard tours and masterclasses with first-class riders. virtual.rwhs.co.uk

orld Horse Welfare is running a unique prize draw, which offers riders the chance to win a ride out with their eventing heroes. These incredible prizes are being offered by Zara Tindall, Pippa Funnell, Alex Tia Hua and Sir Mark Todd, and are part of the fundraising campaign for the charity whose centres have been shut due to the pandemic. Entries close 14th September. www.worldhorsewelfare.org



emus Horse Sanctuary will be opening its gates for the first time this year on Sunday 6th September, after months of hardship through lack of volunteer staff and fundraising, as a result of the pandemic and lockdown measures. Visitors, members and supporters are invited to come and meet the 200+ animals and learn about the Sanctuary’s horse welfare programme and the issues that the charity has faced over the past six months. This Open Day will be a vital source of fundraising for the charity which, like many, had all of its physical fundraising curtailed on 23rd March at the start of lockdown. The Sanctuary will be open from 1pm to 5pm and pre-booking is essential as Remus will only be selling a limited number of tickets for this event to ensure visitors safety and maintain social distancing. www.remussanctuary.org


PHOTOGRAPHIC EXHIBITION Running from 3rd- 9th September at The Garage Gallery, Aldeburgh, Suffolk. An exhibition of powerful, analogue photographs of wild horses in Northern Spain by the late photographer, Andrew Smiley. This is the first time that his work has been exhibited in the UK. www.snapemaltings.co.uk/whats-on/exhibition-wild-horses-by-andrew-smiley



CLEMENTINE ST JOHN WEBSTER - SECOND SOLO SHOW Running from 29th September - 10th October at the Osborne Studio Gallery. Experience Clementine’s own special take on equestrian art. Admission to the gallery is free. www.osg.uk.com


- Julia Gardiner

“I thought my human mummy said this would hurt...”

- Emma Moore

- Pauline Whitley “No I’m not getting up - I can’t see ANYTHING!”

“Ok but first... Let me take a selfie!”

- Karen Ireland “Oh no the equine dentist is here! I show you my teeth now!”

- Ellen Debbage

“And..... SMILE!”

- R A Marshall - Rebecca Foulger

“OMG did you just see that too?”

“Hat on, who’s ready to party?!”

- Sandra Chaplin “Wish this lockdown would hurry up and finish, she’s not only dying her hair...!”


- Jodie Sillett “Have I got anything in my teeth?”

- Sarah Jane Meek “Blergh, I’d prefer a McDonald’s!!”

- Chelsea Bowen Chelsea and Rocky

- Natalie Webb

“Fine! I’ll get out of bed, but I’m not brushing my hair!”



- George Lazell

“A man’s best friends”

- Jane Beanland

“When lockdown is over can we run away and join the circus?!”

EACH ISSUE AN ABSOLUTE HORSE READER WILL WIN A PAIR OF - Barbara Stainton My little boy Harry checking over ex police horse Zero using his toy stethoscope and syringe


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“The worst is yet to come” n 2019, the RSPCA received reports of more than 21,000 incidents involving horses and by the end of the year it had nearly 900 in its care, leaving its rescue centres full and funding hundreds more in private boarding. Since lockdown, the RSPCA has received more than 2000 reports about horses but fears much worse is to come if, as expected, the Covid crisis sparks a UK and global recession. Equine welfare charities are of the financial recession had already under immense strain, been felt, the RSPCA had 290 following the horse crisis which horses in its care, already more was sparked off by the 2008 than our official stables could financial crash and the sector is house. The following year, the extremely concerned about the impact of the crisis really began welfare repercussions for horses to hit and our officers were in the months ahead, with an called out every day up and estimated 7,000 horses at risk of down the country to neglected suffering. and abandoned horses. By May The RSPCA is appealing for vital 2012, the number of horses in donations to help it our care had leapt prepare for an influx to 600. Fast...”irresponsible of horses and ponies forward to today, desperately in need horse breeders will and we’re caring of help. continue to breed for 927 horses Christine McNeil, the their animals in that’s three times charity’s National the amount since a bid to turn a the crisis hit, and Equine Inspectors Co-Ordinator said: quick profit”... we strongly fear “This is a truly that the impact worrying time for equine will be even worse this time charities - we still haven’t got a round. handle on the repercussions of “With such a huge number of the current horse crisis, and it horses in our care, and so many now looks like the worst is yet to in private boarding, at great come. cost, we have already had to “In April 2011, before the effects adapt how we try to help as



many horses as we can. For example, several ‘herds’ of horses in need are being cared for in situ with our officers visiting regularly to feed and care for them, until we can find spaces in one of our centres for them, or funds to transport them to private boarding.” The current horse crisis is thought to have been triggered by continued overbreeding, coupled with falling demand for some types of horses, which left a surplus of unwanted animals which have been left dumped like rubbish, sometimes extremely sick or dying, leaving equine charities bursting at the seams with these abandoned animals. Threats of a financial recession this year has led to fears that irresponsible horse breeders will continue to breed their animals in a bid to turn a quick profit and that existing horse owners will struggle financially to keep

their animals and cover vet bills. This may lead to animals suffering, and some may even resort to abandoning their animals out of desperation. Between March-May 2020, during the lockdown period, the charity has received reports of 2,116 incidents relating to horses alone. The charity spends approximately £5200 per year for the care of each horse taken in - that’s over £4.8 million each year. The RSPCA has been working alongside the Blue Cross, Bransby Horses, British Horse Society, Redwings, The Donkey Sanctuary and World Horse Welfare, in a bid to tackle this national crisis. Many of these charities have seen their income plummet while still continuing to look after horses in their care. Equine organisations have also been hit by the difficulty of rehoming under the present restrictions. Rehoming only restarted in mid April in England, but horses represent one of the biggest challenges of all rescued animals to rehome, because of the difficulty of doing so whilst respecting social distancing, and while equine centres remain closed to the public. Despite these difficulties, the RSPCA has managed to rehome 21 horses in the first ten weeks of lockdown - this compares to 56 in January and February. Christine added: “The public’s help is absolutely vital to keep the RSPCA afloat during this extremely difficult time.” www.rspca.org.uk/covid




id you know that a simple rummage through your tack room could provide vital help for horses in need? Redwings Horse Sanctuary rescues neglected and abandoned horses from across the country, giving them a safe place to live, and is currently home to over 1,500 residents – making it one of the UK’s largest horse sanctuaries. The registered charity is 100% funded by donations, which sadly took a hit during the Covid-19 lockdown with Redwings’ visitor centres having to close, community fundraising events being cancelled and an 11% rise in internal welfare costs, such as feed and disinfectant. However, you can help by donating your unused or preloved tack and rugs!

All donations are gratefully received by the charity, especially its four-legged residents – from its elderly ponies and donkeys who need the extra comfort of a cosy rug in winter, to the horses who are training to be ridden so they can find loving new homes as part of Redwings’ rehoming scheme. Gentle giant Sully is one horse at the Sanctuary who has benefited from the kind donation of a fly mask. This former Police horse, who stands at 17 hands high, has Percheron and Suffolk Punch heritage and required an XXL mask to help protect him during the summer! Manufacturer, Ruggles Horse Rugs, decided to waive the cost of the mask to help Redwings save some much-needed pennies at this time and help out this very special horse. With a properly fitting mask, which

means he can now happily enjoy time out in his paddock, this simple gift has made a real difference to Sully’s wellbeing. Even if donated items cannot be used at the Sanctuary, they can still help horses in need! These items are sold on through fundraising sales with all the money raised going towards the care of Redwings’ horses and donkeys. Before donating your tack and rugs, please just make sure they

are clean, in a good condition, reusable and are either bagged or boxed. Items can be dropped off at your nearest Redwings visitor centre, but please be aware that the charity has only been able to reopen its two centres in Norfolk at this time - Redwings Caldecott, near Great Yarmouth, and Redwings Aylsham, north of Norwich. If you do not live nearby, please call 01508 481000 or email fundraising@redwings.co.uk to discuss delivery options. To find out more about Redwings, and the many other ways you can support its work right now, please visit www.redwings.org.uk

Sully in his new XXL fly mask


LIFE DURING LOCKDOWN centres rely heavily on volunteers, over 70% reported they had had to reduce or stop all volunteer help. At the time of the survey twothirds of centres had reduced or stopped rehoming their horses, ponies and donkeys, and although most have begun rehoming once more, almost all of the centres are already operating at, or above, full capacity. Despite this situation, 62% of equine rescues continued taking the most urgent welfare cases during lockdown. The equine welfare sector continues to work collaboratively to ensure effective identification of concerns and practical we are expecting to see solutions to the welfare increasing numbers of welfare challenges that have, and will, case admissions in the coming result from the Covid-19 months.” pandemic. NEWC and World Over 83% of rescues reported Horse Welfare have helped that restrictions have had a establish the Equine Emergency negative impact on fundraising, Rescue Fund with PetPlan with more than half reporting a Charitable Trust, which has given reduction in income of over 50%. out its first grants to equine Organisational size was no welfare organisations with immunity to impact, with all further funding rounds planned. organisations from the RSPCA to NEWC and member the smallest rescue centres under organisations are also working intense pressure. More than four with the UK Government and in five respondents had closed the Devolved Administrations to their premises to the public and press home the gravity of the all those with shops had closed situation and ask for their them - a key source of income support. for many. More than 40% had furloughed some staff and although many equine rescue

SURVEY SHOWS DRAMATIC EFFECT OF COVID-19 ON HORSE RESCUE ORGANISATIONS survey, intended to assess the impact of Covid-19 on animal rescue organisations, has shown that across the equine rescue sector there has already been a significant negative impact. It also highlighted that the full effect of Covid-19 will likely not be felt until winter when numbers of welfare cases are expected to rise further when caring for equines becomes more resource intensive, with increased costs. The survey was run by National Equine Welfare Council (NEWC) and The Association of Dogs and Cat Homes (ADCH). The equine part of the survey was sent out to thirty-seven NEWC members,


including World Horse Welfare, as well as an additional 126 other equine rescues (42% of which are multi-species organisations, taking other animals as well as equines). Roly Owers, CEO of World Horse Welfare a member organisation of NEWC which analysed the results of the survey, said, “What we have experienced here at our four Rescue and Rehoming Centres has been repeated across the other horse rescue organisations. Even with no visitors, diminished income and no rehoming we were still looking after over 350 animals on a daily basis. Thankfully, since rehoming began again we have rehomed record numbers, but

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Photos: The Veale Family


22-year-old woman is taking on a 200 mile horse ride along the East Anglian coast in memory of her late father while fundraising for St Elizabeth Hospice who cared for him in his final days. Starting from her home in Eyke, Suffolk, Georgie Veale and her 19-year-old, former show horse, Plum will be riding along the region’s coast over the course of a week in memory of her late father Jonnie Veale who passed away from cancer ten years ago while being cared for at the Ipswich-based hospice. Embarking on their journey on 5th September, Georgie and Plum, accompanied by her mother Sarah and horse Peter, will ride twenty miles-a-day, while joined by friends and family for support, before reaching their destination at Holkham, in Norfolk, on 11th September. Georgie, who works as a graduate surveyor in London, said, “I wanted to do a memorable fundraising event to raise as much money as possible for St Elizabeth Hospice, ten years on since they took incredible care of my father during his final days. “Their care and generosity allows families to be there with their loved ones during their final days. Without them, my father wouldn’t have been in a relaxed environment surrounded by friends and family, which we are extremely grateful for.” The chosen route has been meticulously planned as to avoid bridges, gates and other



Jonnie, Georgie, Sarah and Ed Veale

rural obstacles which would prove challenging to a horse, while along the way Georgie and Plum will be stopping overnight at various stables to recuperate which have been kindly offered by supporters en route. As the adventure fast approaches Plum’s fitness regime is in full force, with Georgie taking her for long rides across diverse terrain, such as climbing over fallen down trees, ascending steep hills and trekking, to keep her fit in preparation for their fundraising ride. While Peter, a retired police horse who has been lent to Georgie and Sarah by their sponsors Happy Horse Saddlery and Ryder-Davies & Partners, is also joining Plum in her training regime ahead of their challenge. “My inspiration for this trip was to take part in something I love for this charity. My father was always supportive of my riding, while my grandmother Angela Veale, took part in a sponsored

ride from Land’s End to John O’Groats in 1948,” explained Georgie. “I am really excited to get started and to witness the east coast’s gorgeous scenery as we ride on the beach, swim in the sea with the horses and just appreciate how lucky we are to live here.” Celia Joseph, Area Fundraising Development Manager at St Elizabeth Hospice, added, “As an independent charity we rely on the generosity of community support for our fundraising to ensure we can provide our much needed service and care provision to patients and their families. “We are extremely grateful for this tremendous support and want to say a big thank you and good luck to Georgie and Plum as they take on their challenge and we encourage everyone to get behind them and support them with their fundraising.” St Elizabeth Hospice is an independent Suffolk charity

providing free services to improve life for people living with a progressive or life limiting illness throughout Suffolk, including Great Yarmouth and Waveney where the hospice provides specialist palliative care services to the community in partnership with the social enterprise, East Coast Community Healthcare. Centred on an individual's needs, the hospice provides specialist support, whenever and wherever it is needed, whether at home, in the community or at the hospice. www.stelizabeth hospice.org.uk To donate towards Georgie Veale’s challenge visit www.justgiving.com/ fundraising/georgie-veale.



A new member of the McNab Eventing team perhaps?!

International Event Riders




bsorbine Ambassadors, Emma and Kevin McNab moved to the UK from Australia in 2011 with the sole purpose of competing in UK and European events. Since then they have developed a team of horses and made an impact on the eventing scene with four horses qualifying for the Olympics in 2020. They now have their sights firmly set on representing Australia in Tokyo 2021.


What did you do at the yard during lockdown? “We were fortunate as lockdown ran very smoothly for us. We are normally out schooling or competing a couple of times each week, so having to stay at the yard gave us the opportunity to do things that usually get put to the bottom of the list. We did all the odd jobs like, painting the showjumping rails, laser levelling our indoor arena and just generally tidying up around the

place. Emma McKnab says, “We use “We decided it was best to reduce Absorbine ShowSheen on both their coats and tails. It is a the horses’ workload during fantastic versatile product. lockdown until we knew a definite competition start date. The horses were ridden five days a week and had the weekend off, I guess you could say we spent our weekends like ‘normal people’! It was really nice for us to be with our little girl, Annabelle, and having this quieter period we spent a lot more family time together. any effect on the “The horses all felt great coming horses? out of lockdown and starting to “For our young horses it was compete again, especially our fantastic as we got to put a lot of younger horses as we got to put time and work into them, so they a lot of time and work into them definitely benefited. We prefer to which would normally be trickier give the older 4/5* horses shorter with the event calendar being so periods of time off and away busy for the older horses. from competition. They get fit “Despite everything going on easier and feel better in their around us with Covid-19 the bodies when they are kept doing positive was that it was nice to something, so these horses were have our schedule a little quieter kept in light work. for a while. However, by the end of lockdown everyone at Family time with the yard was definitely ready daughter, Annabelle to get back out competing again.”

Did the long ‘downtime’ between competitions have

Annabelle helping around the yard

“We find using Absorbine Hooflex Liquid Conditioner daily really does improve the hoof condition,” says Kevin.

“Towards the end of lockdown when we were getting closer to the start-up of competitions, we were lucky that our Aus Squad Schools began. These are days organised for the Australian High-Performance Team riders to all come together and train. This meant we were able to take the horse out to train and practise in a mock competition environment. “We were also lucky when the lockdown restrictions lifted slightly to have weekly help from Sune Hansen who is our fantastic Dressage coach. Before the horses started competing again, we made sure that they had all been cross-country schooling, so they were prepared for the start of events. “For the horses that are at 4/5* level it is always disappointing if you miss part of a season as their time at this level is always limited. Hopefully the second half of this year will be a good start to their 2021 season.”

Did the long break have an impact on you? “Not really, we are both very active busy people and we’re still riding the same amount of horses, so our fitness level was

good. We also benefitted from the Aus Squad School days that simulate a competition environment so by the time were went out eventing again we were competition ready.”

What are the new Covid-19 rule competitions like? “We think the new format is great, its all very well organised and efficient. The only difficulty is with such a large team of horses to compete it’s been trickier with events being so oversubscribed. It means we have to go to a lot more competitions to be able to compete all our horses. The whole team behind these events have done a fantastic job.”

As the Tokyo 2020 Olympics have been postponed, have your goals changed? “Our goals have remained the same and Kevin still has four horses which were qualified for Tokyo this year. To bring their qualification back up to date for selection in 2021 they will all have to do a 4*S. Kevin is also aiming to do the 5*L at Pau this October on both Scuderia 1918 Don Quidam and Scuderia 1918 A Best Friend. The original plan for these horses this year was to do Kentucky on Scuderia 1918 Don Quidam and Luhmuhlen on Scuderia 1918 A Best Friend. “As the horses have had such a big break from competition, they will do more through winter and have a busy first half of next year to be able to put them forward for selection with the best results possible.“ www.mcnabeventing.com www.absorbine.co.uk



wo Absolute Horse Magazine readers will each win a bundle of goodies from Absorbine! The prize includes a bottle of ShowSheen Hair Polish & Detangler, Hooflex Natural Liquid and a treat for YOU - a Baseball Cap! ShowSheen Hair Polish & Detangler makes coats smooth and sleek and helps to accentuate body tone and definition. The unique formula contains pro-vitamins to condition the skin and coat and silk proteins to strengthen the hair and give it a healthy shine. Now in a ‘quilted’ bottle with revolutionary sprayer head that allows a targeted application with a vertical or horizontal fan spray pattern, it sprays upside down for those hard to reach areas, and allows every last drop of product to be used. Size 946ml. RRP £18.82. Hooflex Natural Liquid – maintains the correct moisture balance in the hoof using all-natural ingredients including tea tree oil, arnica, and avocado oil. Helps enhance natural hoof colour without artificial chemicals or dyes whilst penetrating into the hooves to condition. Size 444ml. RRP £20.11. The full range of Absorbine products are available from equestrian retailers and Absorbine stockists. www.absorbine.co.uk

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



Finding the Right Horse


uying a horse is a big commitment and whether you are an experienced rider looking for your next budding superstar, or are new to horse ownership and are looking to buy your first horse, finding the right horse for YOU can be difficult. Getting it wrong can be both costly and emotionally draining; as the new owner you may be forced to sell the horse, which could be for less than you originally paid, and heartbreaking if you have already fallen in love with a horse that is totally unsuitable for your needs or ability. Event rider and trainer, Harriet Morris-Baumber, is often called upon to accompany clients to look at a potential new horse and will even hop on board to get a feel for the horse herself. Here Harriet offers advice on the important things to consider when buying a new horse:

Get a second opinion Always take someone with you, so you can discuss your thoughts together afterwards. Record a video of both you and the vendor riding, as the camera never lies! The horse may have felt completely different to how it looks so having a video to refer back to will be very helpful. How does he feel? It can be very easy to get carried away with how the horse looks but if the feel isn’t what you were wanting, it might not be the right horse for you. Do you feel safe? This sounds


like a silly question but if you don’t feel safe on a horse, it doesn’t matter how amazing it jumps or how extravagant it’s medium trot might be.

Play to your strengths as a rider It’s very easy to get sucked into to thinking ‘I can learn to ride this horse’ or ‘my friend can ride it well so I must be able to’. Always go with what suits your own natural abilities. Not everyone can ride every horse and if you only have one horse, it’s important that it ticks as many boxes as possible. Temperament The horse’s temperament will never change. You can train a horse to jump narrow fences, or to do a better dressage test but in order to do that the horse has to have a willing attitude.

Daily routine and facilities A horse’s management routine can have a vast impact on how settled it will be. So find out exactly what the horse’s routine is and if this will fit in with your routine and facilities. Does this horse require turnout every day? Does it live out? If it’s routine is considerably different to what you can offer, think carefully before taking the plunge.

Age and experience The age and experience of both the horse and rider is important. If an inexperienced rider makes an error on an experienced horse, the horse will probably help the rider out, but if the horse relies on the rider for reassurance and confidence it’s more likely to progress better

with a more experienced jockey. However, some young horses have such a fantastic attitude and are wise beyond their years so consider the strengths and weaknesses of each horse as an individual.

Help and support Do you have a regular trainer who could guide you and help out if things don’t go to plan? Buying a younger horse with less experience combined with a less experienced jockey may be fine if there is an experienced person around to offer advice and help. Think of it like learning a language from someone who is fluent rather than someone who is only just beginning to

Hack with Confidence

speak it themselves.

Beware of the ‘project horse’ There may be a genuine reason for a horse not being fully educated and developed but generally there is good reason why a horse has not been able to fulfil its potential and is being sold as a project. It may be because it physically cannot do what is asked of it due to weakness or discomfort, it may be it has a rotten attitude that stops it from performing to its best. Either way, ask lots of questions and have your eyes wide open and be on high alert. Some riders like the idea of a challenge. They like the idea of turning a horse around but the true challenge should be ‘Can I get 5% more marks in the dressage?’ or ‘Can I jump a clear round time after time?’ rather than ‘Will I make it round the course at all?’ or ‘How will I survive the collecting ring with my naughty horse?’ “If in doubt, always ask an experienced professional who you trust, someone that will be there to help you once you’ve bought the horse. If possible take this person with you to see the horse, as they can offer their opinion on all aspects. “Where possible get this person to ride the horse too, then you get to see the horse being ridden by someone other than the vendor, and they will be able to feel what the horse’s strengths and weaknesses are and give you feedback on its potential suitability,” advises Harriet. www.harriet-morrisbaumber.co.uk



acking out on a lovely sunny day is one of the great joys of owning a horse, providing both you and your horse are confident that you can tackle any situation that might arise. For some riders, the idea of hacking out is terrifying and equally it can prove too much for some horses, not knowing what might be lurking around the next corner. Dressage rider and Robinson Animal Healthcare sponsored rider, Sophie Wells, includes hacking in the weekly routine of all her horses at least once or twice a week, and firmly believes that breaking free from the arena is good for their brains and their bodies. Said Sophie: “Hacking gives them time outside of the arena and exposes them to wide open spaces and the natural environment where things are unpredictable and you can’t control what goes on around you, such as when a bird flies out.” All the horses on Sophie’s yard

hack alone and in company. Sophie likes them to develop their confidence to go it alone and from a practical point; there isn’t always someone available to hack out with. They are all just as comfortable hacking in company as let’s face it, hacking with friends is much more fun! Pinocchio, Sophie’s gold medal winning campaigner from London 2012, is now retired but is the perfect babysitter for accompanying a young horse or nervous rider out hacking. For those that have lost their confidence out hacking, Sophie recommends going out with another sensible horse and capable rider, beginning with just a short hack around an enclosed field and gradually increasing the length of the ride and the distance from the security of the yard. “Try moving from the arena to a more controlled environment first, such as a large paddock before hacking further afield which could involve riding on a road where you can’t guarantee people driving sensibly.” For a competition horse there

are many benefits to riding outside the safety of the arena. Getting them to relax in different environments helps them to adapt to different things that can happen on show day, as well as being ridden in changeable weather conditions. There is always much more to spook at on a windy day, than on a warm, summer day.

Sophie’s top tips for solving common hacking problems are: • Build a strong relationship with your horse to help him trust you in a tricky situation. • If he sees something scary, give him time to process his thoughts and don’t try to force him past. • Ride out with a sensible horse and knowledgeable rider. • When trying to build the confidence of a young horse, have someone walk with you on the ground. • Build up slowly, going a little bit further on every ride. • If your horse doesn’t like traffic, introduce vehicles in a controlled environment. Try moving farm equipment around them on the yard. • Don’t forget to breathe! Slow deep breaths help to bring the heart rate down and relax the muscles of an anxious rider. Chatting to a riding companion also helps to relax your horse and take your mind of your own nerves. www.robinson healthcare.com



Photo: Iain B Images

Having a good support team is crucial, making sure that everyone knows their role.


Cooling Off Tips

HERE EVENT RIDER, HARRIET MORRISBAUMBER EXPLAINS ABOUT AGGRESSIVE COOLING AND HOW TO EFFICIENTLY REDUCE A HORSE’S CORE TEMPERATURE veryone knows that during exercise a horse’s body temperature increases, but do you know how to bring it back down again? The higher the intensity or duration of exercise, the higher the temperature will go. Exercise, temperature and humidity are the three factors that cause a horse’s core temperature to rise. Naturally horses and humans have developed some clever ways to try and keep the temperature from rising to a dangerous level. Sweating is one way to cool down, as the sweat evaporates from the skin, the skin’s temperature drops but the higher the humidity the less effective this is. When a horse is cantering or galloping at a fast pace, the air



rushing past helps the sweat to evaporate quickly and is actually very effective at cooling the skin. It is when a horse stops that the heat can suddenly hit them and this is the most important time to cool them down quickly, known as ‘aggressive cooling’ or ‘rapid cooling’. Following strenuous exercise and especially following a crosscountry round it is of paramount importance that the horse’s core temperature and heart rate is brought down quickly and effectively to avoid unnecessary strain on the heart, muscles and respiratory system.

Cool a Horse Effectively Having a good ‘pit crew’ or support team is crucial. The more hands on deck the quicker the horse’s temperature can be

brought down and the quicker the horse can begin recovery. Make sure everyone knows their role - one person to lead the horse, two people washing down, one on each side of the horse and one person topping up the buckets of water. When I am eventing, I have a very slick system in place and masses of buckets all full, ready and waiting at the lorry for when the horse returns from cross-country. I have several large buckets that the smaller, normal sized buckets can be plunged into and refilled instantly. In particularly hot weather I keep the buckets in the shade and even add ice packs to the water. Darker coloured buckets absorb the sunlight and heat the water great if it’s not a very warm day, counterproductive on a hot day. Remove the saddle and apply copious amounts of water to the horse, the more water the better, large sponges that absorb a lot of water are great for this purpose. Squeeze the sponge out over the horse quickly and then dunk the sponge and repeat, or tip the bucket of water directly over the horse. Some horses don’t appreciate a bucket full of water poured over them at once, so do whatever is best for your horse. Watering cans can be quite useful in this instance. Focus on areas with large blood vessels such as the neck and inner thighs, or areas of large muscle mass such as the neck, shoulders and the hind quarters. It is essential that the horse is kept gently moving; this provides air flow across the skin aiding the cooling process and helps to

prevent the build-up of lactic acid, which can lead to azoturia. Where possible try to keep the horse in the shade. Stripping tack and boots off should be done as and when appropriate for each individual horse. Some horses are better walked in their bridles until their adrenaline levels have dropped. I prefer to take boots off as quickly as possible but leave overreach boots on while the horse still has studs in, other people leave boots on and pour cold water down the legs to cool the legs and remove excess heat that way. Modern cross-country boots offer much better airflow so keeping legs cool with boots on is easier. Once the boots are removed I use cold pack boots to apply compression and cold therapy to the legs. It is important to offer your horse a drink; it is a myth that drinking immediately after exercise is dangerous. The electrolytes that are lost as the horse sweats can be replaced in feed or water but always offer normal water as well, as horses can be put off from drinking entirely if their water smells or tastes different. Once the horse’s temperature, heart rate and breathing are back to normal, they can be allowed to eat, grazing in-hand is ideal. At this point it is important not to allow the horse to get cold, especially if there is a strong breeze. A thin, cooler rug can be put on and then monitor the horse’s temperature - another rug may need to be added to prevent the horse catching a chill. www.harriet-morrisbaumber.co.uk




id you know that in the UK alone, it’s estimated that we use 5 million tonnes of plastic every year? Unfortunately plastic waste does not decompose and can last for hundreds of years stuck in landfill, or worse, littering our countryside, rivers and oceans. A report by the World Wildlife Fund in 2019 suggested that only 24% of plastic waste is recycled. So if recycling isn’t always possible, what can we do, as equestrians, to reduce our plastic consumption? We’ve picked out seven small changes that you can make around the yard and beyond…

1. Fix your thirst! When you’re on the go, heading to the yard or off competing, carry a reusable coffee cup and water bottle. Catering stands at shows are usually more than willing to fill your own cup or bottle with their liquid refreshments.

2. Switch the sponge Did you know that the majority of sponges are made from plastic? Once you’ve finished using one for bathing, tackcleaning or eye-wiping and chuck it in the bin, that sponge hangs around for 100 more years! Instead choose a sponge that is biodegradable, or better still, compostible, so that it can head straight to the muck heap when you’re finished with it.

effort to reduce or even eliminate plastic from its packaging. Quite often you’ll find this information in their ‘About Us’ section, or you can always drop them a DM to check.

4. Reuse your tubs Have you ever added up the number of supplement tubs that you throw away each year? Scary, isn’t it, as some are still made from non-recyclable plastic. Plenty of supplement brands are now considering the alternatives – delivering refills in paper bags, for example, so shop around and look to switch if you can. If that’s not an option, think about using the tubs are storage containers for your lorry or tack room.

5. Reuse spray bottles Once you’ve used something up, can you repurpose the bottle? Give them a good rinse to ensure there is no residue left and find them a new home. We love taking ours home and using them to make room sprays with water and essential 3. Plastic-free oils. If you’re feeling packaging adventurous, you could even try Over 67% of plastic consumed in making your own fly repellent! the UK every year is packaging. If 6. Plastic alternatives you’re reducing your carbon There are now so many great footprint by ordering your horsecare products that come in equestrian products online, try non-plastic containers. to pick a brand that has made an

You can now buy everything from wound care to mane and tail conditioner in aluminium tins, which are fully recyclable. Don’t be afraid to experiment and look at the smaller brands that you may not have heard of before. Quite often these brands are doing so much more to be sustainable and producing truly innovative, effective products that will blow you away!

7. Go zero-waste This can be pretty difficult in the equestrian world, but times area-changing! This year we released our new Shampoo Bar for horses, which has very little packaging (just a recycled paper band with the instructions). Not only is there zero-waste once you’ve finished the bar, customer feedback has revealed that it is easier to use and delivers better results than bottled shampoo. Reducing your plastic waste as an equestrian can feel like an enormous task! If you’re feeling overwhelmed, start small, pick one thing from the list above and go from there. Plastic pollution is a huge problem around the world, so if we all take responsibility for our own plastic consumption together, we can make a difference! www.honestriders.co.uk




WHILE THE WORLD CAME TO A STANDSTILL WITH THE ONSET OF THE CORONA VIRUS PANDEMIC, TEAM GBR DRESSAGE RIDER CARL HESTER TOOK THE OPPORTUNITY FOR THIS DOWNTIME IN TRAINING AND TEACHING TO LET THE ARTICULATED LORRIES AND PLANT MACHINERY TAKE OVER HIS EQUESTRIAN FACILITIES, AS THE SYNTHETIC TRAINING SURFACES FROM MARTIN COLLINS WERE INSTALLED... hat a year 2020 has been so far. If the global pandemic hadn’t totally stopped the world, we would have been on our way to the Tokyo, 2020 Olympics,” explains dressage supremo, Carl Hester MBE. “The team horses would have all left for Belgium in mid-July to get on a plane with the other European competition horses

W 20

destined for Japan. Instead I have been watching the BBC coverage of the past Olympics including London and Rio and reminiscing - time flies! “So with the lorry staying firmly parked up the horses have been given a nice easy time, but the same can’t be said for the team who work here! “At the start of lockdown we all had to make the decision to

“So with all the time on our hands it was time to do lots of housekeeping, gardening and most importantly it was actually perfect timing to have all the work done on our arenas. “We made the decision to have two brand new Martin Collins arena surfaces installed. I want the best for my horses and after talking to the team at Martin Collins we opted for Ecotrack in the indoor arena and Activ-track for the outdoor. “Not only did we have the surfaces replaced but the outdoor arena needed the drainage, membrane and allnew wooden kickboards replacing (protecting my beautiful box hedging). “The indoor surface was in place within two days and we took the opportunity of working the horses outdoors on the grass arena I created in one of the parkland paddocks. isolate as a yard. Alan and my “The reason I had two different girls Sadie, Chloe and Lucy who types of surface? It’s widely work here had to live on the yard accepted that it’s much better and not go anywhere or see for horses to work on different their families – and still work surfaces where possible, so their hard keeping the horses joints/ligaments are all put comfortable. Charlotte lives just down the road so was able to be part of our ‘bubble’. “Luckily the beautiful weather helped - our fields dried out and we could put a few of the younger horses to live out in small groups and the top horses were kept ticking over in light stretching work, lunging and hand walks, and hacks around the field.

under different situations which helps strengthen them. Having ridden on the wonderful surfaces at Olympia, Royal Windsor and Hickstead the choice of Ecotrack was made for the indoor.

“It really is hardwearing, no dust, needs little maintenance and the high wax content ensures durability for the high level of traffic, whilst cushioning the horse’s movement. “Activ-track was the outdoor choice. It is also waxed and won’t freeze in the winter but allows for more drainage and has a ‘looser’ ride. As our area gets very wet with two rivers next to us, we needed to make sure that drainage was exceptional. “Both schools rode perfectly from day one– no bedding in needed! The indoor is a bright surface so makes the arena look huge and the outdoor isn’t as bright, so you don’t get too much glare when it’s sunny.

“Our horses are now back in full work, although the top-level ones are doing more athletic exercise rather than running through the GP movements all the time – they know how to do them so they just need to be kept fit. We have some fantastic youngsters Sadie has been riding and they have benefitted in training without the stress of competition, but now we are hoping to get them out to some local shows as competitions are beginning again. “I have taken over the ride on one of Charlotte’s horses En Vogue. He is nearly ready for international Grand Prix, so perhaps he will be my ride at Tokyo next year if it goes ahead...watch this space.

“It’s nice to have role reversal Charlotte as the owner and me as the rider!” Feature courtesy of www.martincollins.com

ARENAS, STABLES, PADDOCKS & YARDS certified to do so, using a boom sprayer. Paddock owners should walk the field with the spray operator/contractor to identify the weeds that need treating, and to check they are the right size for spraying. If the weeds have grown too large, they will need chopping down and the regrowth treated two to three weeks later. This ensures the leaves are all the same size and are healthy and actively growing, which will take the herbicide up well. any horse owners they make fields look untidy and year from ever-spreading root “Where weeds are growing in simply ignore weeds uncared for.” systems. small, defined groups, spraying growing in paddocks, The Weeds Act (1959) requires “Mowing down nettle beds or with GrazonPro using a knapsack letting their animals graze that if an order is served upon thistles may give temporary or a handheld lance from a around them. This is not them, landowners have to visible relief, but they will soon quadbike is an option – again always in the horse’s or control common ragwort, recover with added vigour. only by people who are paddock’s interests says Dr broadleaved and curled docks Spraying with a herbicide is a appropriately qualified. As well Nicola Perry, weed biology and spear and creeping thistles. reliable and long-term option as docks, nettles and thistles, specialist for Corteva The Ragwort Control Act (2003) because if it is applied correctly, GrazonPro can also control Agriscience. strengthens this by placing the it will kill the roots. brambles, broom and gorse. “Weeds need controlling for onus on the occupier of the land “Envy works on a wide range of “Where ragwort is the main many reasons. Some, such as to take action where ragwort is weeds such as buttercups, problem, it can be sprayed with a ragwort are poisonous and are posing a serious risk to grazing chickweed, daisy and docks. It is selective herbicide containing potentially lethal to horses that animals. very safe to grass, and as long as the active ingredient 2,4-D. This eat them. “There are various approaches to ragwort is not present, horses is best done when the plants are “Others, like nettles and docks, weed control – but all with only need to be removed for young and actively growing. will take over if left unchecked, varying success,” says Dr Perry. seven days post-application. Horses must be kept out of the leaving no space for grass to “Topping or pulling weeds like There will also be no herbicide fields until the ragwort has grow. Some, like thistles, can ragwort and docks can only ever residues in any manure that decayed and broken down or easily spread their seed to be a short-term fix because these might subsequently be collected. been completely removed.” neighbours’ properties which will weeds are perennial, which “Envy is for professional use, so www.corteva.com not be welcomed. In general, means they grow from year to must only be applied by people





dvanced lighting technology for stables, which is scientifically proven to improve the health and wellbeing of horses, is something that all types of owners could be utilising to keep their horses fit and healthy. HorseLight UK, which is one of the pioneers of this technology, and offers lighting products that owners large or small can install in their stables. The principle of the technology centres around how specific light wavelengths can affect, regulate and strengthen the Circadian Rhythm in horses and the secretion of Melatonin, also known as the sleep hormone. The benefits to horses and owners are far-reaching according to HorseLight. The immediate effect noted is how well the horse looks, as horses under lights will have a summer coat from spring to late autumn, but there are a host of other benefits too such as enabling breeders to bring mares into season early. www.horselight.co.uk




wo lucky readers will each win a bottle of Stable Shield Disinfectant to help their stable environments are clean and disease-free. Stable Shield Disinfectant is alcohol-free but is an advanced hard surface/multi surface cleaner and sanitiser that is manufactured to contain one of the fastest acting and most powerful germ killing products available today. It is effective within 30 seconds and kills up to 99.999% of bacteria but contains no irritants within its formula. Common equine infections such as ringworm, strangles and aspergillus can be prevented with regular use. Infectious diseases can spread easily, so to minimise the risk, adopt a regular cleaning regime using the new Stable Shield Disinfectant alongside Stable Shield’s anti-bacterial paint for better protected yards and stables. To ensure Stable Shield works to its maximum effectiveness, we recommend that your stable is correctly ventilated and cleaned regularly, dirt removed from the stable walls, powerwashed at least every six months, and disinfected monthly. www.stables hield.co.uk

RRP: ÂŁ65 + VAT and delivery/5L.

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IN THE HORSE By Catriona Mackenzie BVMS, MSc, CertAVP(EM), DipECEIM, MRCVS

Presented by

ROSSDALES EQUINE HOSPITAL Cotton End Road, Exning, Newmarket CB8 7NN T: 01638 577754 E: hospital@rossdales.com www.rossdales.com



iver disease is a relatively common problem in horses. Despite this, it can often be a real challenge to identify the underlying cause. Liver function The liver is the single largest organ in the horse, comprising 1% of the horse’s total bodyweight. It works in partnership with every other organ in the horse’s body and is involved in the accumulation, metabolism and distribution of nutrients within the body. • It acts as a filter for all blood from the gastrointestinal tract before it is returned to the heart. • It receives nutrients and regulates their metabolism, storage and distribution throughout the body. • It can convert drugs and other potentially harmful substances into less harmful ones before safe excretion in the urine. • It stores glucose energy in the form of glycogen and other nutrients such as fats, protein and some vitamins. • It produces bile, to aid fat digestion, which is transported to the small intestine via bile ducts.

• It produces substances that are essential for the normal clotting process of blood. Causes of Liver Disease There are a number of causes of liver (hepatic) disease, as detailed in the table at the bottom of the page. Some of the more common causes are described in more detail here. Hepatitis means ‘inflammation of the liver’ and can have a number of causes, including the ingestion of chemicals or plants toxins or following an infection, either bacterial or viral in origin. Individual liver cells can be destroyed by this inflammation


Infections Inflammatory Other

and replaced with scar tissue but, due to the organ’s vast reserve capacity, clinical signs are usually apparent only when the damage is so widespread that there is no longer enough healthy tissue to cope. Ragwort poisoning is still common in our equine population. The toxins in the ragwort plant cause liver cells to merge together and lose function. Frustratingly, the damage is cumulative and nonreversible, and may even predate current ownership of the horse, so by the time symptoms are seen, the disease is often already very advanced. This

Plants (e.g. Ragwort, clover) Mycotoxins (e.g. aflatoxin, zearalenone, fumonisin) Chemicals Drugs Viral hepatitis (Equine herpes virus, Equine parvovirus hepatitis, Equine hepacivirus) Parasitic (Liver fluke, large strongyles, ascarids) Cholangiohepatitis Chronic active hepatitis Secondary to gastrointestinal disease Neoplasia Cholelithiasis Hyperlipaemia


Ragwort poisoning is a common cause of liver disease

dramatic reduction in food intake, or in cases where appetite is drastically affected, perhaps as a result of another condition. These conditions are life threatening if the effective treatment isn’t started immediately.

Mycotoxins are an important and often underestimated cause of liver disease in horses. These are harmful substances that are produced from moulds growing Viruses: in recent years, a on crops either during growth, number of newly discovered harvesting or storage. viruses have been associated Environmental conditions can with liver disease in horses. have a huge impact on the levels Equine parvovirus-hepatitis has of toxins produced. Increased been identified as a cause of amounts of these substances are Theiler’s disease (equine serum produced during times of ‘stress’ hepatitis) which is often, but not (e.g. extremes of temperature, always, associated with recent dry weather etc.). Once administration of an equine produced, these toxins are very biologic product. Equine stable and survive on hepacivirus has also been pasture/forage for long periods discovered recently and is closely of time. They are also not related to human Hepatitis C degraded by the acid virus. environment in the stomach. Hyperlipaemia is a metabolic Rossdales Laboratories has disorder that results in an teamed up with Alltech, who are excessive amount of fat in the world leaders in animal nutrition bloodstream and primarily and mycotoxin management, to affects fat ponies or donkeys be able to provide who receive a sudden and comprehensive mycotoxin means that effective treatment is difficult and frequently impossible. A liver biopsy is required to confirm the disease.

testing. This then enables a risk analysis to be carried out to assess the likelihood of mycotoxin related disease. Parasitic infection may cause focal or multifocal liver disease but is rarely a cause of significant hepatic dysfunction or liver failure. Larvae of Parascaris equorum (roundworms) and large strongyles can migrate through the liver resulting in areas of focal hepatitis and fibrosis. Liver fluke infection can occur in horses, particularly if cograzing with ruminants, although it most commonly results in subclinical disease. Faecal analysis for fluke eggs is available but has low sensitivity due to intermittent egg shedding and the fact that many infections do not become patent. Serological testing is also available and can aid in diagnosis. Clinical Signs Liver disease can be difficult to recognise in the early stages due to the vague and often subtle clinical signs. The vet will require a detailed history of the horse’s symptoms and management, as well as performing a thorough clinical examination. Common signs of liver disease in horses include: • Loss of appetite/anorexia • Depression • Weight loss • Diarrhoea • Fever • Oedema (excess fluid accumulation, particularly beneath the chest and

A horse with end stage liver disease and dramatic oedema of his abdomen Continued overleaf...

Catriona (Cat) Mackenzie is a European and RCVS Specialist in Equine Internal Medicine. She is member of our medicine team at Rossdales Equine Hospital and joined the partnership at Rossdales in April 2020, having originally joined the practice in 2009. Cat graduated in 2006 from University of Glasgow Veterinary School. She then completed an Internal Medicine Fellowship at Hagyard Equine Medical Institute in Kentucky before returning to the UK undertake a two-year internship at Rossdales. After this, she spent three years with our stud team in Newmarket before undertaking a three-year residency in Equine Medicine at the University of Liverpool. Cat rejoined Rossdales as a member of our hospital medicine team in 2017 and was awarded European College of Equine Internal Medicine diplomate status in 2018. She became an RCVS recognised Specialist a year later.



Photosensitsation of pink areas of skin can occur as a result of liver disease

abdomen, the sheath, legs and underside of the head). • Jaundice (a yellow tinge seen in the mucous membranes e.g. the gums and eyes). • Photosensitisation (excessive skin sensitivity to sunlight). • In more advanced cases, neurological symptoms may be apparent (e.g. staggering, circling, apparent weakness or blindness, convulsions) as well as laryngeal paralysis. Diagnosis When liver disease or injury is suspected, diagnosis can usually be made relatively simply by performing biochemistry on a blood sample. When the liver is stressed or in a diseased state, a number of blood serum enzymes and biochemicals can alter quite dramatically and the laboratory information can be used to build up a blood picture

Ultrasound image showing the liver (white arrow)


of potential origins for the disease. Further diagnostic tests may be useful to help identify the underlying cause. It is essential to identify first whether it is only an individual horse or a group of horses that are affected. This can be done by blood testing a number of horses from the same environment. It is very common to identify a number of other horses that are affected subclinically. The presence of a group of affected horses suggests exposure to a common environmental toxin or infectious agent.

Hepatic ultrasound can be a useful tool for an individual horse with liver disease. However, changes are often subtle and non-specific and for the majority of horses, no specific abnormalities are seen. A liver biopsy can be used to help provide further diagnostic and prognostic information. This should always be done using ultrasound guidance. Histology can provide a specific diagnosis in some cases (e.g. ragwort toxicity or tumours) but usually does not identify the cause. However, it does provide useful information about the type of disease process and the severity of the underlying disease. This helps to formulate a treatment plan for an affected horse and provide prognostic information. Identification of potentially toxic substances can be challenging. The first simple assessment may be visual assessment of the hay and pasture for evidence of toxic plants such as ragwort. A good history should be taken to evaluate the possibility of more unusual toxins, such as arsenic

or other heavy metals. Specific testing can then be carried out if indicated. Prognosis One of the most difficult aspects of liver disease is that, in many cases, symptoms do not appear until the disease is fairly advanced. The prognosis and likely outcome of the disease will depend on the initial cause (and therefore how it will respond to treatment) and the severity of the damage. A liver biopsy alongside comprehensive blood tests and ultrasound scans will enable the best treatment route to be taken and will allow your vet to give you an accurate prognosis. Many horses with liver disease go on to make excellent recoveries and a full return to their previous career. Sadly, some cases are already too advanced by the time clinical symptoms appear. In these cases, at best, the condition may only be able to be managed; at worst, euthanasia may be considered the most humane option.

A liver biopsy being taken. This should always be done under ultrasound guidance




quine scientists are using artificial intelligence to recognise pain in horses from subtle changes in their facial expressions. A team at Nottingham Trent University has launched the international collaboration, which it is hoped will result in a better understanding of how painful certain conditions are, better treatments and improved monitoring of recovery. The researchers are training a computer to automatically identify and track key features of horses’ faces that have been shown to change in response to pain. The machine will then analyse videos of horses which have recently undergone surgery or are recovering from illness to see how these facial features change as their condition changes and they’re given pain relief.


ormaHoof is a revolutionary new hoof care and equine podiatry system developed to tackle equine soundness from the hoof up and is designed to offer vets and farriers a highly effective, easy to apply and cost-effective solution to every hoof care challenge. Robert Stevenson, a world class farrier with many decades of experience in equine podiatry and hoof care, developed the FormaHoof concept. FormaHoof is a liquid fit, reusable mould process. The reusable FormaHoof mould is shaped internally with all the features of a healthy, strong,


balanced hoof, including a concave sole, reinforced support for the heels and heel bulb region and an optimal hoof pastern axis. The mould is placed onto the horse’s hoof and an adaptable polyurethane resin applied into it. Once the FormaHoof AP resin has set, the mould is removed and the resulting hardened resin application then mimics a perfectly healthy hoof, offering protection, support and a fully balanced hoof. Rob said, “The beauty of FormaHoof is that it can be used for pretty much any hoof-related issue in horses, from thin soles and white line disease to

conformation, developmental and poor performance issues and it’s fantastic for treating laminitis. The vet or farrier can apply medication if needed under the application, the mould delivers the perfectly shaped hoof and the resulting FormaHoof AP application protects and supports the horse’s hoof, offering immediate relief from pain.” www.FormaHoof.com

WARNING: RISK OF PARASITIC SKIN DISEASE kin disease is a common problem for horses, but a leading veterinary dermatologist believes some parasitic diseases are becoming more frequent, in line with a reduction in the use of wormers. “Overuse of some drugs such as equine wormers has inadvertently treated problems such as parasitic skin disease but these may now be unmasked with a reduction in anthelmintic usage,” explains Dr Paterson, who is a recognised Specialist in Veterinary Dermatology. Dr Paterson, who founded the telemedicine company Virtual Vet Derms, says they have seen a persistent increase in enquiries about


equine parasitic skin diseases over the past two years. “This escalation seems to coincide with the increase in use of FWECs rather than outmoded routine worming,” she said. Diseases such as sarcoptic mange, which is carried by foxes, and chorioptic mange appear to be more prevalent, yet market research shows that in many cases a visit to the vet is a last resort and people go to Dr Google first, which is worrying.” It’s important for parasitic skin diseases to be diagnosed early so they can be treated before the condition escalates. Services such as Virtual Vet Derms can provide quick, low cost access to a Specialist Veterinary Dermatologist,” explains Dr Paterson. www.virtualvetderms.com







quine Metabolic Syndrome (EMS) is the name given to a group of clinical conditions, similar to human metabolic syndrome and Type 2 Diabetes. A proportion of horses are genetically at risk of developing EMS. The disease is induced by a combination of dietary and management factors. Horses and ponies can be affected by EMS. Breeds that are often described as ‘good-doers’ (those that gain weight easily), and typically have a high body condition score (BCS), are most susceptible. As a result of EMS, they are at high risk of developing laminitis, a very painful inflammation in the tissues around the hoof. Any breed can be affected by EMS; however, those most predisposed include: Warmbloods, Arabian horses, Welsh, Dartmoor and Shetland ponies. It is important to note that EMS and Cushing’s Disease (Pituitary Pars Intermedia Dysfunction, PPID) are two different diseases;


however, they are sometimes confused. Both often result in insulin resistance and laminitis, and therefore have similar presenting signs. Keep in mind that EMS typically occurs in younger horses and ponies, whilst PPID typically occurs in those that are older. Rarely, EMS and PPID will both be present at the same time.

What are the causes/risk factors? Insulin is a hormone which has a central role in how the body uses and stores glucose and fat. In horses with EMS, the body does not respond effectively to insulin. This is termed insulin resistance. As a result, the body is less able to take up and store glucose from the blood. In addition to insulin resistance, there is also an impact on fat storage. Other metabolic problems include inflammation, clotting disorders and damage to blood vessels. These metabolic changes often result in laminitis, because the blood vessels in the feet are particularly susceptible to metabolic disturbances.

The reason for laminitis being so common in horses suffering from EMS is thought to be due to their unique anatomy. Possible mechanisms include: constriction or dysfunction of the blood vessels in the feet, reduced glucose uptake, altered hoof horn production, and increased activity of certain enzymes. Sadly, severe episodes of laminitis have long lasting consequences and can sometimes be fatal.

What are the signs of EMS? Obesity: Monitor for regional fat deposits, particularly in the nuchal ligament, found in the dorsal neck region. This is also described as a ‘cresty neck’. Other areas to look for fat deposits include around the eyes, the tail head, and the prepuce or mammary glands. Alternatively, obesity may be generalised. It is important to note that EMS cannot be ruled out in horses or ponies with a healthy BCS.

Laminitis: Subclinical laminitis is indicated by a pottery, short-

strided gait. Growth rings in the feet that are wider at the heels. In acute laminitis the pony or horse will be reluctant to walk, and have increased digital pulses and warm feet, more commonly in the front feet.

What can you do to prevent your horse developing EMS? EMS is preventable and reversible in all breeds with appropriate dietary restriction. This, combined with exercise, is essential to preventing and treating EMS. Weight loss and increased exercise improve the way that the body responds to insulin. Essentially, it helps to reverse insulin resistance and makes the body sensitive to insulin again. If you want to reduce your horse’s weight, eliminate access to pasture until the ideal body condition has been achieved, but ensure that you are feeding a mineral balancer to meet the correct nutrient requirements for your animal. Any weight loss programme must be gradual. If your horse or pony has active laminitis it should not be

exercised and you should seek veterinary advice immediately. If possible, avoid all grazing until the laminitis has fully resolved. Many horses with EMS and laminitis are managed with zero grazing, as they are highly sensitive to the levels of sugar and carbohydrates in grass; even an hour of turnout can cause foot soreness. An all weather turn-out area is a good solution, allowing horses and ponies to spend risk-free time outside.

What should you do if you think your horse may have EMS? If your horse seems to be a bit pottery or short strided, is reluctant to walk out, has signs of laminitis, or if you or your farrier are concerned about their feet, you should contact your vet for an examination and further investigation. Treatment may involve radiographs of the feet to assess their condition, blood tests for EMS and PPID, blood tests to monitor EMS during a weightloss diet, as well as prescription drugs to aid weight loss, if deemed necessary.

What does treatment involve? The most important aspects of EMS treatment are diet and exercise. Aim to reduce calorie intake to 1-1.5% of current body weight per day for 3-6 months. That is 5-7.5kg for a 500kg individual. Use a weighbridge or weight tape to accurately measure and track the weight of your horse or pony, and use a body condition scoring system to monitor their progress. www.firstvet.com/uk


That Busts Common Myths


nowledge is power when it comes to first aid and whether you are new to horse ownership or you are looking to refresh your skills, attending an equine specific first aid course is a good idea for anyone caring for a horse. With lots of well-meaning advice available online and on social media, it can be difficult to know what is the correct thing to do when faced with an emergency and what information is out of date, so it is far better to get the information direct from the horse’s mouth – and by this we mean a qualified vet! NKC Equestrian Training offer a number of first aid courses from full day workshops to online courses in bite sized sessions that can easily fit around the busy schedule of most horse owners. Founder of NKC Equestrian Training, Nicola KinnardComedie BHSAI MSc, very kindly offered Robinson Animal Healthcare the

opportunity to take part in one of their Online Courses to provide a review.

Online Horse First Aid Course The course was split into three, two hour sessions with each session focusing on three or four different topics. Nicola warmly hosts the sessions, welcoming everyone and giving a brief explanation about how it all works, before introducing vet, Kate Granshaw, who conducts the course. The first session focused on how to recognise a healthy or unhealthy horse, first aid and what you should keep in your first aid kit, vaccinations and why they are so important, and different types of wounds. In the healthy horse section, Kate went through all the vital signs, explaining what is and isn’t normal, stressing the importance of knowing what is normal for your horse, as this can vary greatly from horse to

horse. Next up was vaccinations, where Kate explained why it is important to ensure your horse is vaccinated and the most common diseases that horses in the UK are vaccinated against. There are many myths surrounding vaccinations, such as ‘my horse doesn’t leave the yard, so surely it doesn’t need vaccinating’, with Kate doing her upmost to dispel as many of them as possible with proven, scientific facts. Finally the session came to a close looking at different types of wounds and how they should be treated, as well as providing an understanding of how wounds heal. Session two was all about equine emergencies - what might be considered an emergency and what might look much worse than it is, with the main topics being nose bleeds, choke, a horse getting cast and colic. Continued overleaf...


HEALTH & WELFARE Continued from previous page...

Horses can be unpredictable animals, especially when in pain, so the session began with Kate pointing out that human safety should always be top priority and never to put yourself in unnecessary danger. Nose bleeds are a common cause of a horse requiring veterinary attention and can have a number of different causes. Kate expressed her view that nose bleeds should always be investigated and went through the questions your vet might ask to help assess the likely cause. Choke can be incredibly frightening for any horse owner but this section provided reassurance that it was rarely a cause for concern. Dealing with a horse that has become cast was another topic where human safety was of the upmost importance with Kate stressing that this wasn’t a situation that should be tackled alone. Colic is a source of fear for most horse owners and is the most common reason a vet is called out. This is always an emergency and in this section Kate explained the different symptoms, what to do and the various treatment options. This was again an opportunity to dispel the many common myths often believed to be true. The third and final session of the course looked at eyes and what to look for in a healthy eye and conditions of the eye, lameness, snotty noses and biosecurity. A little known fact is that eye injuries should be treated as seriously as colic as a delay in


treatment could result in a horse losing it’s eye. Knowing how to correctly ‘trot up’ your horse is a real bonus when it comes to diagnosing lameness and being able to assess your horse to understand if they are lame in front or behind. When covering this topic, Kate identified what to look out for when trying to determine front or hind leg lameness and also explained why vets use the flexion test. When discussing snotty noses, Kate explained the biggest concern is that many of the causes are infectious and can potentially be passed on to other horses on the yard. This led nicely onto the topic of biosecurity and the need for all yards to have an isolation procedure in place. The isolation procedure recommended by most vets is the ‘Traffic Light System’. Kate detailed how this has been proven to work well in limiting the spread of disease, even on a large yard. Without a doubt the Online First Aid Course from NKC Training is well worth the time and money for any horse owner. The recent lockdown due to Covid-19 only served to highlight the need for owners to step up their level of care when vets were treating emergencies only. Delivered by industry experts, it provides information you can trust whilst bursting the bubble on many common old wives tales still believed to be true by many in the horse world. www.nkcequestrian.com www.robinsonhealthcare.com

Striving for...

EQUESTRIAN EQUALITY “MY NAME IS REECE. I’M 18 AND MY PASSION IS EQUESTRIANISM. PICTURE ME RIDING MY BELOVED BAY MARE ROSE, HELPING THE YOUNGER RIDERS ON THE YARD AND VOLUNTEERING WITH AN EQUESTRIAN CHARITY.” ow I’ll tell you I’m black and from inner-city Coventry. Did the picture you have in your mind match my reality? Probably not, but that’s not your fault as I’m not your stereotypical equestrian participant. But I’m making it my mission to facilitate change, tackle discrimination, encourage acceptance and breakdown barriers in my equestrian community. I’ve recently launched a campaign to ‘Ride Out Racism’. I’ve experienced racism in my equine education and employment but I’ve also had a great deal of support and encouragement and I want to use what I’ve experienced to bring riding to more young people like me. As part of my campaign, there are ‘Ride Out Racism’ rosettes and pin badges for all riders to proudly display, post pictures of them riding with on social media, and show that they believe in an equal and diverse equestrian world. Available on www.etsy.com – search ‘ride out racism.’


Suggested Products... RRP: from £21.45.

Kaolin Poultice can be used on a regular basis as a precaution against muscular stiffness and soreness after workout or competition. Kaolin Poultice can be used for reducing inflammation and suppressing pain, but can also be effective treatment for specific ailments where a poultice or hot/cold compress can be used.

Winter Wash - A unique high quality non rinse shampoo formulated for use on clipped horses and ponies in winter. Containing Tea Tree Oil which will leave the skin clean and refreshed. Also contains Peppermint Oil which help to avoid ‘chill out’. Helps relieve discomfort and skin soreness of winter ailments. RRP: from £10.25. Both available from www.animal-health.co.uk



easonal clipping can leave your horse or pony with minor skin issues - rashes, small cuts and other irritations. Clipping can leave your horse incredibly itchy and they can quickly rub the closely shaved skin raw. Even the most careful clipping can result in the odd nick to the skin, opening the door to bacterial invasion or worry from insects. After the clipping use a damp/hot cloth to remove microfine hair fragments, a soft brush or alternatively rinse the body down. Dry thoroughly and add a light

For After Clip Care spray of quality grooming oil to keep the skin and coat shining, as there has been a loss of natural oils. Using products that are then required to be shampooed off can further strip the natural oils. Bear in mind if your horse has white/pink skin, especially on the legs, this skin will be exposed to the elements – protection from the sun, mud, rain and insects is very important to prevent burning, scalds or bites. Cover with flysheets and boots if this is going to be a problem early on. Aniwell’s AMHVet and FiltaBac are perfect for post clip care of

the skin – be it a rash or needing a covering protective cream. AMHVet (Active Manuka Honey Vet) is ideal for treating and soothing the common irritations, rashes or small nicks caused when clipping your horse or pony (and also your dog or rabbit at any time). FiltaBac is an excellent protective cover to stop sun, mud and insects getting at the soft exposed skin. FiltaBac can also be applied over the AMHVet giving extra protection from the weather and insects. Both products can be soothing and also result in minimal scarring. They can be used safely and

effectively on all animals, on a variety of injuries - bites, cuts, burns, rashes and stings. Available at veterinary clinics, equine/pet supply stores, pet pharmacies and on-line stores. www.aniwell-uk.com


RHEA Asks...





logs can be a great way to share your journey, whatever that looks like, with your fans and followers. And as a side benefit, having your own online space could also help to make you a more attractive prospect to brands looking to work with riders and influencers. And the best bit? It’ll cost you nothing to get started! We all know that blogs were really popular a few years ago, but many people have switched to Facebook, Instagram, or another social media platform to document their days. Facebook is particularly popular, but is that really the best place to blog? I’m going to stick my neck out and say no. Because you don’t own the platform and, therefore, you being on there isn’t up to you, you’re putting your eggs in someone else’s basket. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use the platforms to promote what you do, but more about that later! So, there are a few different things to consider when it comes to starting a blog –


and your first decision is going to be free blog vs. paid for. One of the main differences here is the name of your blog, as free ones tend to have a cheeky .wordpress (if you use Wordpress as your provider), or .weebly or something in your blog’s address. This doesn’t necessarily matter and, if you’re dipping your toe in the water and not sure if it’s something you want to continue with, it’s a good place to start. You can always upgrade later. And that’s actually a key point here – the decisions you make about everything, from colour scheme to blog name, don’t have to be yours forever. You might find that your blog takes a certain direction and that means that the name needs an adjustment – that’s fine too. There are various providers out there - Wordpress is a popular one (my website runs on this platform), but in all honesty there are a few that provide a good platform to write. When you’ve decided, just pick the theme of your blog (this is

largely the layout, and then you customise with colours, fonts, etc)… and now the exciting bit, the content. When you start your blog, you might feel overwhelmed with what to write about – and that’s not a bad thing – just write all your ideas down as you can then refer to these as needed and build on them. If you’re looking for one super easy blog to start, start with ‘about me’. Let people get to know you, what makes you tick, how you got into horses, what this blog’s about, and all the background that will help people get to know you better and become invested in your story. Write it, proofread it, add your pics… then take a deep breath and publish. And at this point you move to social and promote it! The first time you press publish, the butterflies and the nerves and everything else will kick in. They just will. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it. Far from it. You’re sharing your story and you have no idea what influence that will have on the people who read your words. www.rheafreemanpr.co.uk Twitter (@rheafreeman) Instagram (@rheafreemanpr) Facebook (/RheaFreemanPR)

DEBUT NOVEL amantha Mattocks, editor and owner of the award-winning publication The Arabian Magazine, has published her debut novel, Sandstorm. Set in the exciting and mysterious world of the Arabian horse, against the heady backdrop of the




Keep hands sanitised at the yard >>>> FastAid Hand Disinfectant kills many viruses and bacteria. www.robinson healthcare.com


Why Buying Your Followers y Is A Waste of Time & Mone mystical Middle East, Sandstorm is a racy read that grips the reader from the very first page galloping, as it does, through the Arabian horse show circuit. www.samantha mattocks.com


he Farrier is a pictorial journey across the equine world, recording farriers at work on six continents. Here the variety of horse types, their diverse environs, and the farrier’s range of activities, are seen through the craftsman’s eye. Dr Simon Curtis captures the essence of the farrier’s world using his unequalled opportunities to photograph over sixty farriers around the world. www.curtisfarrierbooks.com

RRP: from £2.95/50ml bottle.


f you’ve seen an influencer or businesses’ Instagram follower numbers suddenly leap significantly overnight without any rhyme or reason, there is a good chance they’ve possibly bought their followers.

them can also be a sign that something isn’t quite right!

Number Game Alongside other tell-tale Follower growth takes time, and buy your products. And, isn’t signs, we also have access to software which can tell us the effort and tactics and while social media all about percentage of an account's buying followers might seem connecting people with your an easy route to appearing brand? Spamming your follower 'suspect' followers. Most accounts will have some level successful, it isn't, for several count with bots and fake of fake or bot following. Still, reasons: accounts won’t help you reach diving into these figures the people you may want to Credibility alongside the other markers target. Buying a load of followers gives us a good indication as No Comment might impress some, but it's to whether a brand or pretty easy to see if a profile Accounts with substantial influencer has a genuine or has bought followers in follower counts and little or no fake following. masses; accounts with comment are also a bit suspect. Remember, growing your followers who have little or While most people can’t be organic audience can take no posts are more than likely bothered to comment, if you to be fake. Those accounts spot a lot of remarks from their considerable time and effort, with minimal posts and followers that seem odd, out of but if you want to be attractive to companies or substantial follower numbers context or don’t make sense, build your business as a are always highly suspicious. then we would red flag it. Again, trustworthy brand, then Real Relationships and looking at accounts that don’t sticking by the rules is the have any engagement with the Real Fans followers who do interact with long term game-changer. So as a brand, buying your followers may play up to the ‘numbers game’ but remember they won't ever give you real customer interaction or ASHLEY AND HER TEAM LOVE TO CONJURE UP go onto to be a CREATIVE IDEAS THAT loyal customer GET PEOPLE TALKING AND MAKE AN IMPACT FOR YOUR BRAND OR PRODUCT.

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



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


Louise Towl, Ready To Ride Physio: “Having been through a number of negatively life changing events in recent years, I have learnt that something positive always comes out if it, no matter how dreadful the situation. So my top tip is to keep your eyes and ears open because you truly never know what opportunities are just out of sight.” www.readytoride.online

Abbi Grief, Abbi Grief Photography: “Always focus on you and not what others are doing around you. As a professional photographer, social media can be both an educational and uplifting platform but can sometimes be quite a daunting place in which imposter syndrome has the ability to kick in if you let it. The trick is to not allow that to terrify you. Instead of thinking that you aren’t worthy to be in your position, take the opportunity to be inspired, to learn and to create; but most importantly, don’t be afraid to be yourself. Allow your personality to shine through, rather than pretend to be someone you are not.” www.abbigriefphotography.co.uk

Emma Laws, The Fuzzy Sheep Photography: “My top tip for staying positive is to find at least one good thing (no matter how big or small) in each day and write it down in your favourite notebook. It is great to look back through when you are having a tough day.” www.fuzzysheep.com


Catherine Orpin, Touch of Tweed: “I make time each morning and evening to tune in to what I am grateful for, this could be a roof over my head to the food in my fridge. Tuning into what you are grateful for has many benefits; boosting confidence, helping you to worry less and even improving sleep.” www.touchoftweed.co.uk Martha Lily, Martha Lily Photography: “It’s so important to remember you can’t pour from an empty cup and if you’re so busy giving to everyone else you’ll have nothing left to give. So remember to take rests, have a cuppa, have some time off. We are all guilty of trying to do it all but we need to let go of the reins a little and delegate and put our precious energy into what really matters. We often spend 80% of our time on things we think need doing when really if we do the slightly harder 20% that will really reap the results more long term.” www.marthalilyphotography.co.uk Kathryn Bell, Team Equestrian Shop: “If you are feeling overwhelmed, take things in small chunks and try to focus on one at a time. Each task completed will give you a psychological boost for the next one. Don’t compare yourself to others who may be doing something similar - be yourself and do it your way.” www.teamequestrianshop.co.uk Jane Brindley, Horse Riding with Confidence Scotland: “To avoid dwelling on the past or trying to anticipate the future when on horseback remember that if at any moment in time your horse is moving in the direction of your choice, at the pace of your choice, then all is well. Apply this in any life area, so to avoid thinking about past mistakes or worrying about an uncertain future live in the moment and remember that if at THIS MOMENT all is well then you can celebrate and enjoy the moment.” www.horseridingwithconfidencescotland.co.uk

Ruth Chappell, Dressage Anywhere: “Set yourself a challenge, doesn’t matter how big or small, it’s just important to get a sense of achievement. Could be something as simple as setting a timer for 25 minutes and getting through your email in one sitting or something longer term like ‘Couch to 5K’!” www.dressageanywhere.com Carly O’Brien, COBS Equine Shop: “Sometimes things can get on top of you and the some of the small things can become massive. “I take a step back and think, ‘will this affect me or my business in a week’s time?’ Will it be the end of the world? Most of the time the answer is no! “I love a podcast! Many are horse/country based but I also listen to celebrity ones. Some are very inspirational and some just make me laugh! Laughter is the best medicine!” www.facebook.com/cobsequineshopservices/ Emma Warren, Hiho Silver & Dimpsey Glamping: “Staying positive for me involves trying to only worry about the things I have some control over, so, e.g. with lockdown, we took stock, followed all the guidelines and concentrated on dealing with the things we could control – us staying safe, keeping the business spinning and the classic of finding toilet roll! Outside of that, I have no control, so I try not to worry about it.” www.hihosilver.co.uk Teresa Lewis, Teresa Lewis Art “If something goes wrong then rather than focus on that, I think of three positives instead and focus on those. That way my mind focuses on that instead of what went wrong. Also I see it as ‘learning’, not failing.” www.teresalewisart.co.uk To find out more about the Small & Supercharged Mastermind group, see www.rheafreemanpr.co.uk

Heidi Hunter-Cope, co-founder of Horsefest and chartered psychologist: “We can build our resilience through positivity – it is possible to retrain your brain to see the world in a positive way! Concentrate on controlling the controllables. Here’s some ideas as to how: “Reframe your thinking. Consider how you think about situations – if you come across a scenario that is difficult listen to the words in your head – if you hear yourself saying ‘I can’t do this’ try replacing the words with ‘this is tough, but I have handled tough situations before and I can do this’ – actually say the words in your head! Also think of the last time you did something that was difficult (picture it, remember how it felt). Reframing isn’t easy, it takes practice. “Control the stressor. Consider your stress response – research has shown that it isn’t stress itself that impacts health and wellbeing, it is your perception of this stress. If you perceive it to be a bad thing and that you are out of control, it likely will be. Identify elements of the stressor that you can control – and act on these. So if getting up really early in the dark to do the horses everyday causes you stress, think about how you can change this – e.g. erect new lighting so it is really bright outside, or change your routine so you do inside things early and go out when it is getting light. “Be kind to yourself. Do things that make you feel happy – exercise, go outside, ride your horse, have a bath. “Train your brain. Take time every day to think about the positives – if you feel yourself going down a dark hole of negativity, consciously stop yourself and make yourself look for any positives that the same situation could deliver.” www.facebook.com/HorseFestuk/ Faye Anderson, Synovium: “Do not take it personally. I am a highly sensitive person (HSP), and I used to take everything so personally! I used to take someone’s opinion and criticism of me and view it as literal and personal. My reaction would be to defend myself I wanted to correct them and prove them wrong but in turn, I would just make something big out of some behaviour that is so small. “You cannot change someone’s opinion on you, but you can change how you react to it. You get to choose if you accept or deny the negativity that is directed towards you. “Being an HSP, you might sense some energy that is not actually directed towards you. You might also be more sensitive to someone’s comment, even if this person does not actually mean anything bad by it. The truth is that everyone is dealing with their own feelings, beliefs, and opinions. If you want to live a good life, you cannot take everything personally. Understand that there are more important things to life than stressing about someone’s opinion of you!” www.synovium.co.uk


BUYER’S GUIDE Horse Hoof Stud Earrings. RRP £23. www.alfandco jewellery.co.uk

Crossbody Country Bag. RRP: £295. Mantarrya Necklace. RRP: £37. www.caralarga.com

Stirrup Keyring. RRP: £25. www.lgleather works.com

Our ks c i P p o T

Box Logo Hoodie. RRP: £80. www.sloane studios.com

Langham Boot. RRP: £250. www.grubsboot.com

Base Layer. RRP: £38. www.georgiandollar.co.uk Toggi Calgary Riding Boot. RRP: £135. www.toggi.com

SEP Jordan Alhambra Zipper Pouch. RRP: £80. www.sepjordan.com Launching 1st October 2020 Ariat Ketley H2O. RRP: £270. www.ariat.com/gb/en Limited Edition Handwoven Clutch. RRP: £90. www.bitterlemon.co.uk

Wildflower Ring. RRP: £69. www.pureshorejewellery.com


Caring for

YOUR BOOTS Rustic Wooden Bowl with Silvery Gold Horseshoe Motif. RRP £89. www.lifeofriley online.co.uk

H Sterling Silver Fairfax & Favor Stud Earrings. RRP: £40. Sterling Silver House Charms. RRP: from £30. www.hihosilver.co.uk

Boot In Stirrup Necklace. Usual RRP £70 but currently on an introductory offer at £50. www.alfandco jewellery.co.uk Gray Linen Shawl. RRP: £127. www.sepjordan.com #equiboodlemademedoit Collection. RRP: from £24.99. www.equiboodle.co.uk

Eliza Bag. RRP: 49.99Euros. www.uconacrobatics.com

Wexford H2O. RRP: £160. www.ariat.com/gb/en

ave you thrown your wellies in the back of the cupboard in the hope that you won’t need to dig them out again before winter? To preserve the life span of rubber boots it is important that they are properly cared for using the right products to ensure they are in good condition when the dreaded mud and wet weather returns. To clean your boots wipe off mud, grass and dirt using a cloth soaked in warm water but never put wellies away while they are still wet, always leave them to dry naturally and store them away from direct sunlight and heat from radiators. Failing to take good care of your wellies can cause them to degrade and crack. Grubs Boots recommend ReviveX Rubber Boot Saver to help maintain the quality of all the rubber boots in their range, as it helps to preserve their flexibility and colour. It protects rubber, plastic, neoprene and vinyl from sun damage, helping to restore their original appearance and shine, whilst protecting against cracking and fading of the colour. ReviveX repels dirt and oils and also prevents the white marks that appear due to rubber blooming when wellies are stored. www.grubs boot.com

Toggi Winter Defender. RRP: £130. www.toggi.com

RRP: £9.95.



WB Dynamic detach a neck medium grey/burgundy. RRP: £134.99.

Syntovia flash bridle. RRP: £49.99.

WB Otter print fleece cooler rug. RRP: £56.99.

All products shown on this page are available from www.broomfields-farm.co.uk

Dublin Gigi full grip breeches in asphalt. RRP: £69.99.

Syntovia running martingale. RRP: £22.99.

Dublin Arderin field boot. RRP: £129.99. Dublin Danielle top in gunmetal. RRP: £32.99.

Dublin Altitude zip boots. RRP: £39.99. Dublin Taylah hoody in light grey. RRP: £34.99.


Dublin Venturer yard boot in brown (left). RRP: £69.99.

Attain Full Zip Hoodie. RRP: from £100. www.ariat.com/ gb/en

Laura Tech Fleece. RRP: £50. www.mountainhorse.co.uk

Felix Bühler polo shirt. RRP: £21.90. www.kramer.co.uk

The women’s FAZE is the first in FOMO’s line of state-of-the-art equestrian body protection. FAZE features a unique, adjustable mechanism which works to mould it to your exact body shape; by limiting the space between your body and the foam you significantly reduce the margin for injury should you fall. The combination of textiles used in the FAZE’s innovative design ensures that it is flexible, breathable and easy to adjust. The outer is even removeable and washable. FOMO FAZE is an approved BETA 2018 Level 3 body protector, which is the highest level of safety standard in the world. RRP: £299. www.fomoprotection.com

Toggi Combo. RRP: £90. www.toggi.com

The Duet Gift Box (brush-based gift set). RRP: £40. www.hoovesandlove.co.uk




By Baileys Horse Feeds

ADVICE... tions, Questions!


s horse owners, most of us understand the basics of equine nutrition. We know that horses need a forage/fibrebased diet and choose whether or what to feed alongside that, according to how our horse looks or feels. Very often we have no need to ask further questions, unless


we feel we have a problem, and then it’s well worth talking to an expert. Whether you seek out an independent Equine Nutritionist or one who works for a feed manufacturer, they all have the horse’s best interests at heart and will need to ask lots of questions to gather as much information as possible, before advising you what to feed. Here are the sorts of things they’ll want to know:

Your Horse’s Age Youngsters, up to the age of 3years-old, for example, have different requirements from mature equines, while older/aging horses may have

their own issues, like failing teeth, Cushing’s/PPID, reduced digestive efficiency etc.

Your Horse’s Body Condition Assessing the amount of body fat your horse is carrying tells us whether his calorie requirements are being met (or exceeded), while a consideration of top line and musculature indicates whether protein requirements are being met by his current diet. Body Condition Scoring is a useful objective way to give a nutritionist a clearer idea of the horse’s current condition. You should also say whether you want the horse to lose or gain weight, or stay the same, as this will help determine the calorie/protein content any recommended diet should supply.

Whether a ‘Good-Doer’ or a ‘Poorer-Doer’ Does your horse get fat ‘on fresh air’ or do they lose weight really easily? Are the calories from forage alone sufficient for your horse to maintain condition? The answer to these questions gives a further indication of your horse’s overall calorie requirements. Your Horse’s Temperament/Energy Levels How would you describe your horse’s general ‘demeanour’ and how he ‘behaves’ from the ground or under saddle? Would you say your horse is laid-back, fizzy or ‘just right’ and would you like this to change so they are calmer, livelier or have more stamina? This suggests not just the potential energy levels, in your horse’s current diet and in any recommendations, but also the energy sources which are or may be most appropriate eg. cereals for fast release energy and sparkle, fibre and oil for slow release ‘calmer’ energy.

Your Horse’s Workload This is often over estimated so consider how many times per week you ride, what you do and for how long. A horse’s requirements for all nutrients, not just energy/calories, increase with workload so this information will guide the choice of feed and the amount fed. Any Clinical Issues If your horse is prone to laminitis, tying-up or gastric ulcers, for example, it will Continued overleaf....


NUTRITION Continued from previous page...

influence the chosen energy sources in the diet, while some conditions, like liver problems, require a particularly considered approach to achieving a healthy balanced diet.

Existing Diet Knowing what you feed now, including product names and quantities fed, shows the influence of the horse’s existing diet on its current condition, temperament, energy levels etc and give a good indication of whether it is falling short, over supplying nutrients or is just right. It’s also important to know about your horse’s forage as this is a major component of the diet which can be highly influential. Questions include, whether he’s fed hay or haylage, how much, is he a good forage eater or does he leave a lot?

There are so many factors which can influence how well a particular diet works for a horse and it’s the nutritionist or feed advisor’s job to work out what is likely to work best. Horses are individuals, as are their owners, and there are likely to be several possible solutions, not necessarily one right answer; either way, advice will be given based on the horse’s best interests.

Google It? While the internet can be a really useful source of background reading and information, you can’t beat a trained, knowledgeable expert who is able to look at every aspect of the situation and give holistic recommendations. There are also online tools, like the Baileys Feed Finder, which is great for providing a selection of feeding options, based on your answers Turnout to a series of questions, similar to Advisors will also want to know those outlined above. These can’t how much turnout your horse replace a human being but can gets, what the grass is like and give quite accurate product what, if any, supplements are fed. recommendations which you can To help advise on daily quantities then explore further. to feed, an idea of your horse’s Face to Face bodyweight is important. If you Photos are useful but, as with so don’t have a weightape or weighbridge, your horse’s height many things, it’s hard to beat a and type, eg cob or TB, will give a consultation in person, when your feed advisor can see your good guide. horse and assess body condition and weight for themselves. They can also get to know you a little and simply get a better ‘feel’ for what is likely to work best. As restrictions start to ease across the UK, most Nutritionists and Feed Advisors are getting out and about again, with full appropriate precautions. www.baileyshorsefeeds.co.uk

Make The Most of...


THROUGH OUR WEBSITE By Gaby Brisbourne of Rowen Barbary


f you are wanting to find out exactly how much to feed your horse then our ‘Feeding Made Easy’ link on our website will help. It shows you a chart with various heights of horses and therefore the bodyweight in comparison to the height. After determining this, you move onto step 2 which helps you calculate the amount of feed you will need per day. Remembering that your horse will consume around 2.5% of their body weight per day, this equation takes that into account to make sure that you are making exactly the right amount for your horse. Finally, in step 3 it takes into account your horse’s workload and condition, and helps determine the concentrate and forage proportions of your horse’s diet, bearing in mind that a minimum of 50% of a horse’s diet should be forage. Once you have established all your background information, you can scroll through the website to look at all of our products and also speak to our Equine Nutritionist for any more information you wish to seek. Perfect Feed Finder We love to help our customers find the perfect feed for their horse or pony. To do this we have a short survey which helps determine which of our products are best for you. Whether it’s the condition of your horse you wish to improve, to help gain weight or if your horse is a fussy eater, suffers with laminitis or has bad teeth, we have feeds and supplements to help all your horse’s needs. With the use of our ‘feeding made easy’ section you can establish the amount of feed, and which feed is perfect for your horse’s needs, in just a few moments.

‘Feed Advice Form’ If you aren’t much of a computer person, or simply want some more knowledge, our Feed Advice Form gives us all the information you are wishing to find out and we will get back to you with our suggestions. It’s useful for people who are new to the horse world, have got a new horse or perhaps a new goal for their horse which will include changing their diet and exercise needs, and whatever the query may we will do their best to help. By filling in this form it gives us an idea about your end goal, which is very important when deciding your horse’s diet. We offer supplements, herbs and even some special treats, so it’s not only problems we can solve, but we can also suggest ways to treat your horse or to add something extra into their diet. www.rowenbarbary.co.uk





aking professional advice is always a good idea and HorseHage & Mollichaff offers a Helpline for horse, pony and donkey owners, so if you have a query, you can talk to someone for specialist advice. The team of sales staff at HorseHage & Mollichaff are all trained in equine nutrition and are either horse owners or have owned horses in the past, and so they fully understand the needs of customers that contact them. The company also employs a consultant nutritionist, Deborah Leabeater MSc, CBiol, MIB. The Helpline number is 01803 527257 (standard call charges apply) and it is manned Monday to Friday from 8am until 5pm. Said Rachel Hornby, at HorseHage: “Being able to talk directly to a horse owner over the phone is a much better scenario than answering a query online, although we are always happy to do that too. Often a lot more information about the horse or pony in question is required than is usually provided on a message, such as the animal’s age, height, weight, work regime and any conditions or illness they may have that would affect their diet. This may


should I put him back on his increases until you are actually usual ration?” back exercising him and he is ANSWER: You should burning off the extra energy you definitely adjust your horse’s give. Any changes you make feed whilst you are both out of should always be gradually and action. If you continue to feed done over the course of about a his current feed levels, you will week. be providing him with energy levels required for when he is in QUESTION: “How long work, but he won’t be working, will my HorseHage keep?” so that excess energy may create ANSWER: Unopened, increased excitability. However, HorseHage will keep for up seem like a lot of questions to to eighteen months and an owner but it enables our staff it is important to ensure his fibre levels are kept high and that his once opened, it should be to provide accurate advice. We basic nutrient requirements are used within 5 – 7 days. research carefully into the still being met. Once you are However, any bags with formulations of our feeds to back and ready to start riding holes in should not be used offer the best product we can again, increase the feed (unless within 5 – 7 days of and they are manufactured to the hole being made). the highest standards with BETA gradually, as you would the exercise. Don’t start any NOPS, FEMAS and UFAS certification. We truly care about the welfare of horses and ponies QUESTION: “What are the most important factors to and want to give the correct think about when feeding a veteran?” feeding information according ANSWER: Teeth are probably one of the most common to each individual animal. It’s problems horse owners face with older horses, and whilst not all about sales and good, regular dental care throughout a horse’s life will marketing.” undoubtedly help delay any serious issues, there is only so Queries that come through the much that can be done about wear and tear over a lifetime. HorseHage & Mollichaff Helpline Once teeth become badly worn or if some are missing, can vary greatly. Here are some chewing a long-stem forage may become increasingly difficult examples with responses that for many horses. It is important to take action at this point to we have answered in the past ensure that sufficient fibre is kept flowing through the that may be helpful to some digestive system, but also to avoid the risk of impaction colic readers: occurring as a result of poorly chewed forage. Even for those elderly horses that are still coping with a long-stem forage, it is QUESTION: “I am going to important to remember that it is unlikely they are chewing as be unable to ride for around efficiently as they once were. This, combined with the fact that eight weeks due to an injury and their digestive system probably won’t be absorbing nutrients I have decided to turn my horse quite so well, makes it important to feed the best quality and out for a holiday during this most digestible forage possible. time. Do I need to reduce his feed www.horsehage.co.uk just for this period and if so, how long before I start riding again


Claim YOUR Free Sample Pack.... ew from The Golden Paste Company and set to hit shelves in October 2020, TurmerItch is an exciting new supplement. The maintenance supplement promotes a healthy skin and coat and was developed for horses and ponies with issues such as sweet itch and other skin conditions. The company is inviting all horse and pony owners to claim a free TurmerItch sample pack which includes 100g of product, a free gift and a voucher to save 30% off when you pre-order before 25th September. The easy to use pellets are highly palatable and by introducing this dietary system in winter, before the sweet itch season begins, horses should be less reactive to midges when they return. To claim your free TurmerItch sample pack (one per person, while stocks last) and save 30% off when you pre-order for October 2020 delivery, please visit: www.goldenpaste company.com







hen it comes to feeding the older horse, I tend to see three quite distinct types in terms of their nutritional requirements. The first type generally are those who may be slightly older; happy, healthy, holding their weight well and are still enjoying ridden activities with ease. If your horse fits into this category there are still things you can check. Is he receiving the full quantity of the manufacturers hard feed? If not, look to add a balancer that will make up for the short fall in necessary vitamins, minerals and amino acids. Some veteran balancers may even contain additional probiotics and prebiotics to aid continued digestive health, or glucosamine,


chondroitin and MSM to support joint health.

The second types of horses are those who have become overweight and may also have clinical issues such as EMS or PPID. These horses need to be fed appropriately for this. Many veteran feeds are in a mix format as they are easier to chew, however the starch in most of these cases is likely to be too high for these conditions. What we want to achieve is an ideal body condition score, bringing the horse down to the correct weight safely, whilst feeding a high fibre and low starch and sugar diet. As such look for fibre based feeds, 10% or lower in starch. Grass restriction and forage amounts will need to be considered.

Finally, there are those who really do struggle to maintain their weight. They may have issues that contribute to this such as poor teeth, digestive issues, or are in pain, possibly from painful joints which deteriorate with age. If this sounds like your horse make sure he is checked by your vet to rule out any problems or issues he may be having. Feeding ad lib forage is ideal but look to see if he is able to chew it properly and not spitting it on the ground. There are various different types of forage replacers you can look at feeding. Rectify this first and you may well solve your problem. Once you have sorted the forage there are some really great veteran conditioning feeds on the market, but be sure that whatever feed you select is suitable for any clinical history as above. If in doubt get your horse checked out through enlisting the help of an experienced Equine Nutritionist who will be happy to help you! www.thehorsefeed guru.com


inter is coming, and that means the nutritional value of the grass will soon be reduced due to the environmental temperatures dropping. This causes a decrease in growth unable to keep up with the demand of horses at pasture. It is important for horses to have access to good quality forage in order to maintain condition over the winter. The forage maintains digestive health and the fermentation of the fibre in the hindgut also provides the horse with body heat. Some older horses that suffer with dental issues may be unable to chew long-stem forage such as grass and hay/haylage so would benefit from a fibre replacer to help prevent loss of condition. There are a range of fibre replacers available on the market including short chopped chaffs, sugar beet, grass nuts, alfalfa pellets and specially formulated

soaking feeds such as Rowen Barbary ReadyFibre Mash. ReadyFibre Mash has been specifically formulated to provide high levels of fibre (30%) and is designed to be fed as a fibre replacer, whilst also helping support gut health. The soft textured mash is ideal for horses unable to chew long stem fibres or those with dental issues. The mash provides low levels of energy and is low in starch and sugar making it suitable for horses prone to laminitis or Cushing’s syndrome. The super fibres within the mash, increases the horses water intake as it has an excellent water holding capacity. If the ReadyFibre Mash is being used as a hay replacer it should be fed little and often to help replicate the horses natural trickle feeding behaviour. The ReadyFibre Mash should be soaked for five minutes with a minimum of equal volumes of mash to water, however more water can be added to alter the consistency.

Suggested Products... Veterans who need condition but must also avoid cereals will love Baileys Ease & Excel Cubes, which provide high levels of safe slow release calories and smell irresistible. What’s more, they can also be soaked to a tasty mash for those who have trouble chewing. SRP around £14/20kg. www.baileyshorse feeds.co.uk

By Eleanor Blinkhorn, Rowen Barbary

Keep Weight on


Rowen Barbary Senior Support is an excellent product for horses 16-years-old and above. The dry feed is a high fibre formula for poor doers requiring more condition through a balanced feed. It contains an equal ratio of Glucosamine and MSM for joint care and support. Mobility is maintained through the use

of Turmeric and Black Pepper which aids bio-availability. Senior Support also contains Linseed and Soya Oil supported by key antioxidants providing the horse with extra calories, benefiting skin and coat health, as well as body condition. www.rowenbarbary.co.uk

Mollichaff Veteran is a high fibre forage mix that has been specially formulated for older horses and ponies but it is also a great product for those that are unable to consume long forage and require a partial hay replacer. It is made from chopped ingredients so it is easy to manage and is very palatable too, making it great for fussy feeders. It contains a balanced blend of dried grass, dried alfalfa and high quality oat straw and is topped with a unique dressing combining linseed and soya oil with a small amount of low sugar molasses and added vitamins and minerals, plant-based antioxidants, biotin, mint, nettle and salt. www.horsehage.co.uk





oint disease is one of the most common reasons for lameness in horses and ponies, ranging from mild and intermittent to severe and debilitating. Degenerative joint disease is one of the factors most likely to limit the working career of all horses, and will affect the quality of life and soundness of older horses and ponies, whether in work or retired. Joint disease occurs when the degree of wear and tear, a direct trauma, or the abnormal loading arising from poor conformation, all result in more damage than the body can repair. A healthy joint is where two bones meet, and each end is covered with a layer of spongy, elastic, shock absorbing cartilage, which helps to reduce friction, and cushion the impact of work, especially on hard ground. Cartilage is made from a

collagen framework, filled in with water-retaining compounds called glycosaminoglycans or GAGs, which provide further elasticity and shock absorption. GAGs include chondroitin sulphate and hyaluronic acid, and in a young, healthy horse, these GAGs are produced from building blocks or precursors supplied in the diet. The healthy joint is encased in a joint capsule, containing synovial or joint fluid, to bathe and nourish the joint (cartilage has no blood supply, and relies on synovial fluid for nutrients to keep it healthy and repaired). Synovial fluid, which contains the GAG hyaluronic acid, should be viscous and elastic, and provides further lubrication and shock absorbing properties to the joint. However, in older horses, the degree of long-term wear and

NORMAL JOINT SYNOVIAL MEMBRANE Mobile and flexible JOINT SPACE Thick and elastic synovial fluid HEALTHY CARTILAGE Resistant to shearing stress SYNOVIAL MEMBRANE Reduced mobility and flexibility JOINT SPACE Narrowing thin synovial fluid THINNING CARTILAGE Due to wear and tear and destructive enzymes



tear, possibly coupled with earlier joint injuries, years of working on hard ground, or poor conformation, can all result in the ability to repair the joint being overwhelmed. The cartilage becomes thinner, less elastic and pitted, and the synovial fluid becomes less viscous, providing poorer shock absorption, and pain will result. The efficiency of the repair process will also reduce with age, so pain and lameness become apparent as the joint damage progresses. Fortunately, early intervention, discussion with your vet and nutritional support can all help to reduce the impact of degenerative joint disease in older horses, and the sooner support is put in place the better. The vet may take x-rays or scans to assess the joint damage, and may recommend medicating the joint with mild steroids to reduce the excessive inflammation which causes further damage. However, a careful programme of exercise on suitable surfaces, together with nutritional support, will help many horses and ponies. Supplements providing collagen to support the cartilage framework, hyaluronic acid to help maintain the viscosity of the joint fluid, key amino acids such as glutamic acid, and trace minerals such as manganese to provide building blocks for the horse to produce his own GAGs,

By Deborah Leabeater MSc, CBiol, MRIB. Nutrition Consultant or the provision of the GAG’s themselves, will be beneficial in most cases. Supplements may also include plant based or natural anti-inflammatories and antioxidants such as Boswellia, MSM and Turmeric. Glucosamine is another key component for joint health, helping to stimulate GAG production, and can either be made by the horse if the correct building blocks are provided in the diet, or it may be included in a supplement. The provision of nutritional support for joint repair should ideally start in the horse’s early working life, to ensure optimum protection into old age, but can still be introduced in later life, to help to maintain comfort and soundness in older horses, either to keep enjoying a working life, or remain comfortable in retirement. Call or message the friendly and knowledgeable team at Equine America to discuss their extensive range of joint supplements, to find the best one to help your horse or pony. www.equine-america.co.uk

Suggested Products... Buteless Original Powder is a highly palatable blend of key ingredients and nutrients proven to support mobility, and joint and muscle comfort in all horses and ponies. Key ingredients include: boswellia, MSM, yurmeric, yucca, vitamins E and C, and Omega 3 fatty acids. RRP: from £27.99/1kg.

RRP: from £62.99.

Cortaflex HA Superfenn (Powder and Liquid) provides powerful joint support for performance, racing and competition horses, or older horses with significant levels of wear and tear, through a unique combination of collagen, amino acids, hyaluronic acid and trace elements, delivering the important nutritional building blocks to support joint health. Also contains boswellia and MSM to support joint and muscle comfort.

Glucosamine HCI 12,000 Glucosamine is one of the key RRP: from £18.50/1kg. compounds in supporting joint health, and has three important roles: To stimulate the production of the proteoglycans which help produce the strong, elastic, shock absorbing properties of the collagen matrix in the cartilage; To help reduce the degradation of cartilage; It has antioxidant properties and helps promote a normal inflammatory response. All www.equine-america.co.uk

TopSpec 10:10 Joint Support is a caramel flavoured additive which contains an excellent specification of nutrients to support the development and maintenance of healthy joints. Contains a generous combination of natural sources of glucosamine (10g/500kg horse/day) and MSM (10g/500kg horse/day). www.topspec.com



ver the summer months prolonged periods of dry weather can make natural surfaces hard and compacted which can increase concussion to the horse’s limbs. Hard ground has a higher impact resistance so the energy transmitted from the horse is not absorbed to the ground, increasing concussion up the limb. Whilst some of us are lucky enough to have access to an allweather synthetic surface to ride and train on, for others this is not an option so faster work may be carried out on suboptimal ground. When competing it can also be difficult to avoid harder ground despite the best efforts of event organisers. To avoid issues as a result of hard ground, such as tendon injuries or concussive laminitis, it is important to make the right decisions for your horse and to remain mindful when working on different surfaces. Providing nutritional support in the form of a natural antioxidative supplement can also help to maintain healthy joints and aid recovery following exposure to hard ground. TurmerAid, from The Golden

Paste Company, is a natural turmeric supplement for horses which supports healthy joints, aids digestion and promotes a healthy skin and coat. The supplement sustains healthy joints as it helps the integrity of the equine natural defence and structural mechanisms, while supporting the body’s natural inflammation processes. The only pelleted turmeric supplement on the market, TurmerAid is carefully formulated with key ingredients for maximum absorption and bio-availability. The complete turmeric pellet contains a minimum 5.1% curcumin, yucca, black pepper, linseed and apple cider vinegar. TurmerAid remains effective as the ingredients are evenly distributed in each pellet and are only released when the horse bites into them. The pellets can be added to feed or fed alone by hand or from a bucket. The RRP for a 2kg tub is £19.99. www.goldenpaste company.com



rom Five Fibre Facts f



n this issue we are talking all about fibre in your horse’s diet. This can be provided by the horse’s natural grazing, forage, chaff or high fibre feeds. Here are five facts on the importance of fibre from HorseHage and Mollichaff.

supply of food (trickle feeding) to encourage these ‘waves’ to continue. A period of as little as eight hours without food may cause a slowing of these muscular contractions and impair the digestive process. A high fibre diet is a more natural way to feed you horse compared to a high cereal diet and forage 1) Feed fibre first can provide 70-100% of the The horse, through evolutionary diet. (If 100% of the diet is adaptation which has occurred provided by forage, a broad over a period of 65 million years, spectrum vitamin or mineral has become a ‘trickle-feeder’. source such as a good quality His digestive system, with its balancer should also be small stomach and very large provided.) bacteria-filled hind gut is 2) Fibre – It’s not just a designed to contend with an filler! almost continuous supply of Many horse owners feed a small grass and herbage. Food is moved along the digestive tract amount of chaff just to bulk out the concentrate feed but there by muscular contractions or waves known as peristalsis. The are other beneficial reasons for gut is designed to receive a small but regular and frequent


its use. Horses are predominantly fibre digesters or hindgut fermenters. Within the hindgut, are millions of microorganisms that play a vital role in breaking down the digestible fibre content of the natural herbage diet, releasing energygiving substances which the horse then uses. Contrary to some beliefs, fibre is not just a ‘filler’, as the hindgut micro-organisms create a delicate microbalance which, if upset, may result in health and performance problems and also may suppress the immune status of the horse, often creating a downward spiral of health problems.

4) Fibre can reduce boredom for stabled horses Feeding a chaff will stimulate the production of saliva and will satisfy a stabled horse’s psychological need to chew, as a product such as Mollichaff can 3) Fibre can help buffer require up to 8000 chews per stomach acid kilo to eat compared to as few as Trickle feeding fibre such as chaff 1200 for concentrates. By (a little at a time) encourages providing plenty of fibre to horses to chew, producing much horses that have to spend more saliva than when increased periods of time concentrates are fed on their stabled can prolong eating time own, and this alkaline saliva and decrease the likelihood of buffers the stomach acid. The stereotypical behaviour caused presence of a high fibre feed by stress and/or boredom. such as chaff in the stomach 5) Fibre – fuelling the helps to neutralise stomach horse’s central-heating acid. Chaff will also encourage system chewing, prolonging feeding During cold weather, access to time and the production of fibre has a double advantage as increased amounts of acidnot only does it keep the buffering saliva. Furthermore, alfalfa may actually have a more digestive system functioning protective effect than other hay- correctly, but additionally, the based chaffs because of the high digestion of fibre in the hind gut creates heat as a by-product, protein and calcium content quite literally warming your giving improved buffering horse up from the inside out! properties. Feeding a bowl of alfalfa chaff or any chaff prior to The digestion of fibre in the horse’s system produces heat so exercise may be helpful as this will help to reduce the splashing it is also a vital tool to keep them warm, particularly if they effect of acid on an empty live out or are not rugged. stomach. www.horsehage.co.uk



QUESTION: “My pony suffers from EMS. She has a very restricted diet to keep her weight down, so I am looking for a natural way to supplement it.”

ANSWER: Feeding a pony with EMS can be tricky, however there are some great herbs that you can use to supplement their restricted diet. Sea kelp is excellent as it is a great all round source of vitamins and minerals. Along with this you can also feed herbs such as rosehips, which are very rich in vitamin C and nettle, which is also rich in vitamin C, and is a great source of Iron. These herbs are not only good as an all round vitamin and mineral supplement, but both kelp and rosehip are excellent for the hooves and nettle is great for circulation, therefore can be beneficial if your pony also suffers from laminitis. www.champerene bespokehorseherbal.com


DO NOT WORK! By Claire Burrow, Devon Haylage BSc (Hons)


f I had a penny for every time I heard of a horse owner exclaiming that their horse, even though on a strict diet, is not losing weight, I would go out and buy that expensive dressage saddle I’ve always had my eye on! It is common knowledge that crash diets in the human world simply don’t work and it is the same in the equine world. Even though we have domesticated horses for 1000’s of years, they are still in essence, physiologically wild animals. The body of a wild horse, who is denied sufficient fibre will go into survival mode to store sufficient fat reserves to survive the ‘famine’. Levels of the stress hormone cortisol will rise causing a cascade of hormonal responses resulting in high levels of internal inflammation and more fat storage. It is the same for our domesticated horses. Horses’ satiety is met when enough fibre is filling the hind gut and is directly connected to the amount of chewing they do. Therefore, horses on diets can sometimes begin to eat fences or bedding for example as they have an innate drive to fill their gut with dry matter. As soon as food levels resume to normal levels; for the horse this is when their ration of daily

increased movement with the help of a track system for example (with limited, if any stabling) and a high fibre, low sugar forage such as our Devon Haylage Timothy offered on a free choice basis. When a horse is able to chew on forage is offered, the horse will naturally gorge on this fibre and sufficient amounts of fibre, the satiety hormone ‘leptin’ will tell eat everything in one sitting. the horse when to stop and over A horse whose intake is restricted will not be able to self- time, the animal will be able to self-regulate his intake, only regulate. They are doing this to consuming enough dry matter simply survive, they are not ‘greedy’ as is often described but as his body needs to stabilise at an appropriate weight. just being quite sensible really! For a free sample of any of our Long term weight loss in horses four haylage types or for more is much more safely achieved information email me: through cutting out all hard claire@devonhaylage.co.uk or feed, but offering a low calorie call 01404 813100. balancer instead, along with


NUTRITION Suggested Products... Baileys Alfalfa Blend - This deliciously different alfalfa chaff combines UK-grown alfalfa with tasty green oat straw and a dusting of mint. It is ideal fed as a partial forage replacer or can be included in the bucket feed as an alternative to traditional ‘straight’ alfalfas. SRP around £14/18kg. www.baileyshorse feeds.co.uk

Mollichaff HoofKind Complete is a complete high fibre feed which is low in starch and sugar and does not contain any cereals. It’s an excellent feed for equines prone to laminitis. Containing a balanced blend of high quality oat straw, dried alfalfa and fibre pellets and soya oil with added vitamins and minerals plus biotin, it can be used as the sole bucket feed when fed at the recommended levels. www.horsehage.co.uk Fibre-Beet is a super-fibre conditioning feed formulated to contain all the benefits of Speedi-Beet with added high quality alfalfa for optimum condition and quality protein for muscle tone and function. The highly degradable fibre sources in FibreBeet provide optimum fermentation patterns to help keep the digestive system healthy. Fibre-Beet when fermented produces high levels of butyric acid, which aids the function of the cells of the gut wall, and low levels of lactic acid, making it an ideal alkaline feed. With an effective degradability 50% higher than forage fibre, Fibre-Beet can improve energy intake whilst keeping dietary fibre levels at an optimum. Soaked and ready to feed in only 45 minutes in cold water, or 15 minutes in warm water. RRP: from £13.50. www.britishhorse feeds.com





evon Haylage own and manage all of the land used for making haylage themselves. This ensures that they have complete control of the production system from seed-to-sale, helping them to produce a consistent product which meets the high standards they pride themselves on. All of their grass is grown specifically for the sole purpose to produce haylage; it is not surplus agricultural forage. Devon Haylage is a family run business in beautiful East Devon. For generations they have kept many heavy horses on their farms for working and more recently eventing and leisure horses. This has given them the understanding that good quality forage is by far the most important aspect of a horse’s diet. Many are able to perform successfully on a forage diet alone and this perceptive led them in 1997 to produce their own haylage and supply the equine market with a top quality but affordable haylage that was consistent in quality. This giveaway of £250 worth of haylage equates to a full pallet of 35 x 20kg bales including delivery*, provided there is adequate lorry access. The winner gets to choose from the four types of Devon Haylage available.

* Please note: Delivery will be to the England and Wales mainland only – Anywhere other than mainland England and Wales may incur a small extra delivery charge payable by the winner.

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



Haygain Explains:

PREVENTING DIGESTIVE DISORDERS astrointestinal health in horses is a hot topic with owners today and at Haygain we encourage you to proactively maintain the optimal gastrointestinal health of your horse by feeding them Haygain steamed hay. Colic is a general term referring to abdominal pain, which could have a variety of causes and is a common problem that can affect horses of all ages. It can be the result of changes to feeding regime, internal parasites, poor grazing, excessive stress and exercise after eating, dehydration, the list of potential causes is endless. We know that horses evolved on a different diet from the one they’re expected to eat today and the manner in which horses eat and the time they spend eating has changed considerably. Plenty of water and a high forage intake are essential for a healthy GI tract. Hydration is necessary to digest the large amounts of fibre that horses need to consume on a daily basis. The average horse eating



9kg of food each day requires a minimum of 20-40 litres of water just to digest that feed. This does not include the necessary water for other body functions. Additionally, if the horse is exercised, the water demands are increased further. A horse can lose up to 5% of his body weight in fluids before showing any actual signs of dehydration and while it will undoubtedly affect a horse’s performance it can also be lifethreatening. Dehydration can also make respiratory diseases such as Inflammatory Airway Disease much worse. A simple way to help horses maintain their hydration and reduce respiratory diseases is by steaming their forage. When hay is steamed with the Haygain hay steamer, you increase the moisture content three-fold and also improve palatability and hygiene by killing the 99% of bacteria and mould spores. Haygain steamers are easy to use and with a variety of sizes can suit the one-horse owner or the biggest professional competition yard. www.haygain.co.uk

he polo pony needs to have speed, stamina and agility. And, unless the owner can keep a string of ponies so there is one for each chukka, it needs to recover fast. Although traditionally they were small animals, in the modern game they can be between 15 and 16 hands and are increasingly becoming a specialist breed. When you look at human athletes you can see how the physique fits the event; a 100 metre sprinter is heavily muscled, whereas a marathon runner is leaner. Their metabolisms differ too. So, what about a footballer – bursts of speed, endurance and stamina, and agility, he's just like a polo pony. The footballer tends to be moderately muscled, in between the sprinter and the long-distance runner. This analogy is less pronounced when transferring it to the equine world, certainly in terms of physique or conformity, but there is a well-defined difference in how the metabolism of a racehorse and that of the endurance horse works. Rapid muscular contraction (racing) is powered by the actions of the chemical ATP and its transformation to ADP and back. In skeletal muscles the most abundant provider of ATP is glucose. So, a racehorse burns glucose to work its muscles and, as long as there is plenty of oxygen flowing to the muscles, the system works. After a while however the oxygen supply lessens, and the biochemistry produces lactic acid that interferes with contraction and causes the muscles to ache. It

takes a while for the blood to remove the lactic acid to the liver where it is transformed back to glucose. The endurance horse works by a different mechanism. Muscular activity is not as extreme, rather it is prolonged, and energy derived from the fermentation activities in the hindgut is sufficient to generate ATP. Although glucose breakdown is also involved the intensity of exercise means that there is unlikely to be a shortage of oxygen and the debilitating effects of lactic acid build up, and activity is not restricted by a lack of muscular activity. In simple terms one uses ‘instantly available’ energy, whilst the other uses a constant stream of lower energy (VFA) to power activity. So where does the polo pony lie? As with the footballer it is a mix between the two. A polo pony needs to be fed for both speed and stamina. Agility is not a factor we can feed for, but the others we can. What is important is to get the mix right without depriving the animal of ‘instant energy’ but avoiding the risk of tying up or of Monday Morning Sickness. These conditions are linked with the generation of ATP, and its possible oversupply. Most biochemical reactions are reversible. That is for example ATP can be changed to ADP and back again and it is this mechanism that contracts and relaxes the muscle strands. However, if there is too much ATP being generated then the reaction to ADP dominates, and the muscle strands may lock.


The Equine Soccer Stars? With all mechanisms in the body it is a matter of balance. To achieve the balance, we need to look at the requirements of the pony. He will be exercised and trained to maintain peak activity and then, during the season will be expected to perform at a higher rate. However, feeding an animal where the level of activity is not always the same can present problems. So we start with the basis that horses eat grass. For an animal on maintenance or light exercise this is probably sufficient if the grass is of reasonable quantity. If we increase the activity, we must increase the input, and this has been traditionally achieved by feeding compound or cereal based feeds. However, if we increase and then decrease there is a danger that unutilised glucose (stored as glycogen) can lead to several disorders, including those mentioned earlier. A more favourable alternative is

to use a fibre source that is highly fermentable and provides more ‘slow release’ energy (VFA) than grass or hay. Such a product is Fibre-Beet, which has been formulated not only to provide more available energy, but also to ‘smooth out’ variation that occurs in forage. The nutrition of using a FibreBeet/Forage base allows us to maintain the pony on a higher level of nutrition, and when extra activity is required cereal base feeds can be added; this has the added advantage of being able to feed less concentrate, supplying only as much ‘instant energy’ as is needed for the task in hand. There is another aspect. After a chukka the pony needs to recover, possible in a relatively short time. It will be dehydrated but may not want to drink. Speedi-Beet, an ingredient of Fibre-Beet, has been shown to help re-hydrate horses by the simple expedient of offering it soaked in the proportion of 1:10

with water. The palatability of the Speedi-Beet encourages intake more so than offering water alone. Also, if electrolytes are offered these will be more readily accepted when incorporated in the Speedi-Beet. Again, a small amount of Fibre-Beet, added to water makes an attractive and palatable drink. The above regime means that for a pony undergoing reasonable levels of exercise, Fibre-Beet can replace some of the forage and allow most of the energy required to come from hindgut fermentation VFA’s. When training is increased concentrates can be added, but at lower levels than traditionally used. Instant energy is available but in moderation and only for the period required. Intensifying activity can be accompanied by increase in the concentrate, again only for the period required. As the level of activity decreases (rest days etc.) the concentrate can be reduced. An important

IN THIS FEATURE DR TOM SHURLOCK, CONSULTANT NUTRITIONIST FOR BRITISH HORSE FEEDS, DISCUSSES WHAT THE HORSE REQUIRES FROM THEIR FOOD IN ORDER TO WITHSTAND THE ENERGETIC SPORT THAT IS POLO. effect is that, throughout the different activity cycles, there are not large changes in diet, which in itself can avoid serious impact on the microflora activity in the hindgut. In addition, recovery and rehydration can be aided with Speedi-Beet and, as this is also a component of Fibre-Beet, again there is no conflict with rapid diet change and negative effects on digestion. www.britishhorsefeeds.com





oday the riding public has far greater awareness of the important part the saddle plays in terms of welfare, comfort and success. A well-designed, well-made and well-fitting saddle is an excellent tool. A saddle that is poorly designed - or one that has inherent manufacturing defects or one that doesn’t fit well is at best a hindrance, at worst, a disaster in the making. Problems caused by an ill-fitting saddle: • Pinching • Rubbing


• Pressure sores • The saddle could be rocking, positioned with an up-hill seat or a down-hill seat, pressing on the withers or spine • Effects the horse’s way of going to compensate for the discomfort • Muscle wastage, not just under the saddle • Behavioural problems such as bucking, rearing, cold backed, dislikes being saddled, head tossing, refusing to make upward transitions or jump, short choppy strides – to name just a few.

Essential Knowledge So whether using an old saddle or a new saddle you may think twice about how it fits your horse and get it fitted by a Society of Master Saddlers’ Registered Qualified Saddle Fitter. A Qualified Saddle Fitter’s first consideration will always be the horse. This may mean that you need to adjust any preconceived ideas you may have about your own preferences in relation to make and design. If you must use a numnah or gel pad the saddle fitter must be

informed at the time of the original enquiry - and always before the saddle is fitted. Adding a numnah under a saddle which fits well without it is akin to putting thick insoles into shoes that fit perfectly without them. Each horse should have its own saddle. Just as a pair of shoes adapts to the wearer's foot, so the saddle adopts the contours of the horse. Ill-advised riders use one saddle on several horses (‘it cuts down on tack cleaning’…’I ride better in that particular saddle’…) without pausing to consider possible consequences. It may be possible to adjust your existing saddle to fit your new horse - but the advice of a Qualified Saddle Fitter should always be sought. Your horse changes shape regularly. The frequency of these changes will relate to his age, training, management and so on. Try to develop an eye to recognise these changes. Viewed on a daily basis, the changes may seem inconsequential but over a period of just a week or so they can be surprisingly substantial. Have your saddle checked regularly and any necessary adjustments made. www.mastersaddlers.co.uk


QUESTION: My horse leans on his snaffle with a lozenge. What's the next best alternative, without having to resort to a snaffle with a nutcracker action? ANSWER: Richard says: “I am assuming you are in a Loose Ring Round Lozenge Snaffle, try an Eggbutt Flat Lozenge Snaffle which is very slim with a forward curve and a small flat lozenge with neat joints to encourage him out to the bit but discourage him from leaning. The Eggbutt cheek will make your signals slicker and easier for him to respond to and the flat lozenge will not be as easy to rest on. If that does not work try a Mullen Forward Curve Snaffle either on a Loose Ring or an Eggbutt Cheek. The slim 12mm Mullen with a deep curve allows lots of jaw and tongue room behind the bit but discourages leaning and completely takes the pinch out of the mouthpiece, which might be the reason he is leaning his tongue into the bit to stop it closing too much inside his mouth.”


Your Questions Answered...

QUESTION: “I’m confused about double bridles. I have always been told that they should never be used to mask schooling problems and that the horse should be able to work just as well in a snaffle bit. In which case, why do we need them for dressage?”

because it is jointed it gives the clearest turning signal and a small lift upwards. The Weymouth is the bit that gives the horse the clearest and least restrictive signals, firstly if it has a decent port to allow some tongue room it encourages the horse to reach forward into the bridle. If the chain is set ANSWER: Richard says: “I correctly, as the cheek of the think in our effort to bit our Weymouth turns you should get horses better we may have lost a perfect balance of three the reason behind choosing to pressures; the mouthpiece put our horses in to a double rotates applying downward bridle. It is to get the perfect mouth pressure, then you get blend of signals from two downward pressure on the poll completely different bits. The and then the chain moves Bradoon part of the double against the jaw as the cheek of has only two really clear the bit reaches 45 degrees, signals to the horse mainly stopping the mouth and poll

pressure from dominating by balancing the bit, giving equal pressure in the mouth on the jaw and the poll, which gives

you your degree of head tilt and your brakes and way of helping to transfer weight.” www.abbeyengland.com




Becomes Your Career...

n this day and age of rushing about, looking after family, trying to simply ‘survive’ it’s easy to get stuck in a rut when it comes to your career. If you like meeting new people, enjoy variety and being outdoors whatever the weather, saddle fitting could provide the answer. The first point of call would be to visit the Society of Master Saddlers website to look at the different options and opportunities available to you, especially if you are currently working outside the industry. The Society organises a twoday Introductory Course in Saddle Fitting which is run in conjunction with BETA. The course is open to all those with an interest in entering the field of saddle fitting. It is also open to other equestrian professionals who want to enhance their equestrian knowledge in this area such as



BHS Instructors, chartered physiotherapists, veterinarians etc. An ideal route into saddle fitting is to find employment with a Society member who is willing to train you through an apprenticeship. Another route could be to train as a saddler and join the Society in your own right, then progressing into saddle fitting. After initially attending the twoday introductory course, which will not only inspire you but give you plenty of knowledge to start your first steps to becoming a Qualified Saddle Fitter recognised by the Society of Master Saddlers, you will need to complete three years’ experience working with and alongside a QSF. This can be done on a part-time or full-time basis depending upon your circumstances and the availability of a tutor. You would be able to join the Society’s Mentor Scheme as a trainee

saddle fitter which is open to those who have attended the Introductory Course. This is an ideal way to develop your training and skills whilst working towards the five-day qualification course. All of those training to become a saddle fitter and working towards the Society’s City & Guilds Saddle Fitting course and assessment will need to undertake training in saddle flocking and attain the Society’s Saddle Flocking Qualification before attending the QSF course. Full details of the requirements for the exam can be found on the SMS web site under ‘Training’ then ‘Courses’. You can train for this where you wish or at one of the establishments listed. Your final step to becoming a QSF on completing the five-day course is to complete a final assessment leading to your SMS Registered Qualified Saddler Fitter status. It really is that

straight forward! 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 to individual craftspeople and saddle fitters. With this in mind the SMS formulated the Qualified Saddle Fitters course, a more advanced course aimed at saddle fitters who have been fitting saddles for a number of years and who want to refine their saddle fitting to the standards promoted by the Society and approved by City & Guilds. You will be required to pass an assessment, which will include a written paper and practical units in conformation and action in hand, saddle assessment and fault identification, taking template measurements and a practical saddle fitting assessment. Once a Saddle Fitter achieves their qualified status they will need to attend a refresher day every two years to maintain their qualification. Qualified saddle fitters should also gain CPD points and attend additional training seminars when they can to maintain their knowledge to current standards. Don’t forget to take a look at the SMS website. You will find it is full of very informative advice on what each step to becoming a Qualified Saddle Fitter consists of. Take your time to research the website and feel filled with confidence to take the leap from your everyday office job to your dream saddle fitting career. www.mastersaddlers.co.uk


artpury has announced a new partnership with three organisations – the Society of Master Saddlers, the Worshipful Company of Loriners and the Worshipful Company of Saddlers – to carry out industry-driven research and promote equine education. With horse welfare at the heart of all the organisations’ equestrian activities, the partnership will drive forward training, education and research in relation to horse-human interaction and partnership. They will also work together to champion and support a successful and modern saddlery industry, providing British equestrians with the very latest equipment and access to registered, qualified saddlery fitters. The research will be enhanced by a range of world-class facilities at Hartpury – the world’s largest equine educational establishment – including the Equine Therapy Centre and the Margaret Giffen Centre for Rider Performance. Hazel Morley, Chief Executive of the Society of Master Saddlers, said: “We are also delighted to be able to offer Hartpury students the very best in saddle and bridle fitting awareness training, and an exciting career path in the saddlery industry.”

A Saddle Fitter hind limbs play in how the saddle sits on your horse. Why else do saddles slip? Another cause of saddles slipping is stirrup leathers stretching, so make sure you lameness. ‘LAMENESS?!’ I hear check yours regularly. Take them you sob whilst hammering in the off the saddle to check, don’t vet’s number on speed dial. Please rely on numbers on the don’t let this panic you… it’s not leathers… they’re not always meant to make you worry! They accurate! use the word lameness to mean Saddle trees can be twisted, and ‘uneven movement’. Think of all the flocking/panels can become the humans you know, how uneven. So ask your fitter to many are truly ‘sound’? It’s the check them too. same for horses. So, take a deep Your fitter will be happy to work breath and carry on reading. It’s closely with your vet and physio interesting. Well, I think it is! if necessary. In 2012, with a study at the And don’t forget to look after Animal Health Trust, Greve & yourself and consider your Dyson found that often ‘subtle’ physical health. There’s no point and ‘low grade’ hind limb in getting your horse poked, lameness are the cause of saddles prodded, clicked, rubbed and slipping. When the horses were crunched into tiptop physical nerve blocked (diagnostic condition if you resemble a stale anaesthetic) and therefore 100% slice of last week’s pizza. sound; the saddle slip was Links to the full research paper completely eliminated in 97% of are available on Poppy Webber’s cases. NINETY SEVEN PERCENT. social media. Search for That is truly incredible and goes #adayinthelifeofasaddlefitter to show what a huge part the www.peeweesaddlery.co.uk

BY POPPY WEBBER, QUALIFIED SADDLE FITTER FOR THE SOCIETY OF MASTER SADDLERS, COVERING CAMBRIDGESHIRE, LINCOLNSHIRE, NORFOLK AND SURROUNDING AREAS. SHE ALSO WRITES REGULAR ADVICE POSTS ON PEEWEE SADDLERY’S SOCIAL MEDIA. addles that slip. ’Saddle slip’ is not uncommon, especially on the more barrel-like horses and ponies; and it’s thought it happens for a variety of reasons. Riders often blame their own wonkiness, or wonder if their saddle is uneven… and whilst both of these things can play a part in saddles slipping, it’s thought the HORSE is usually the main cause. Many riders will comment on a horse’s physical asymmetry (for example, one shoulder being ‘bigger’ than the other) but more recently we’ve been looking at the hind limbs as the cause of saddles slipping. There has been lots of excellent research undertaken, which indicates that the vast majority of saddle slip occurs due to (often unnoticed) hind limb


Photo: Abbi Grief Photography






posted them back to clients. The first week I spent mostly at home, contacting clients and making sure we had the food and medicines needed for the extended period of lockdown. “Luckily my workshop is on a private farm and under strict control measures with no contact, so I have been able to ESSEX-BASED MASTER SADDLER AND get in most days. I have tried to REGISTERED QUALIFIED SADDLE FITTER, keep a fairly regular routine of some days at work and the KAREN LEWIS, TELLS US ABOUT LIFE IN weekend at home. LOCKDOWN AND HOW SHE’S LOOKING TO “The farm also has an allotment that I make use of in the THE FUTURE summer for planting vegetables Tell us a bit about daily and over winter bedding plants life before Covid-19? in their poly-tunnel. I always “Daily life pre-Covid-19 was just plant baskets and pots outside starting to get busier after the the front of the farm each year wet winter with clients looking my landlord jokes it is like forward to warmer weather and Chelsea Flower Show! more riding. My saddle fitting “I have managed to complete a diary was booked from March few projects in the workshop until May with regular clients that I never would have had measure bridlework and ready for saddle check and new time to do, making patterns for leathergoods. Spring is typically horses purchased waiting for a hunting canteens copying the time that clients start to fitted saddle. antique originals and just order new show bridles or “I travel to clients four days a perfecting my box and case replace tack that hasn’t made it week and spend two days at the work! I have also made leather bench in my workshop carrying through the hard work of winter. head collars, bridles and am “I had also been busy planning out repairs and made-todemos and lectures to be carried more than halfway through restoring a Mayhew side-saddle. out later in the year with both “I do not have horses anymore private groups and public so have been missing the demonstrations. I work with contact with them. other professionals to deliver “Moving forward I have rethese demos, vet physios, instructors and human physios.” arranged my workshop and created another work bench. My How has routine sister used to come in weekly to changed for you? help me and of course I will need “Due to the restrictions and to ensure we can work whilst warnings I chose to see my last distancing. I have also been client on March 20th just writing up some instructions for before we were advised to a pupil to home stitch a head lockdown. I had some collar as she cannot come to see final repairs to finish in me for tuition!” the workshop and


What, if anything will you be doing different in the future? “I am now preparing to go back to work with safety precautions in place - ensuring I have sufficient stocks of gloves and washing facilities, and sending clients a pre appointment risk assessment and information form so they are prepared and know what to expect. “I imagine that the way I visit clients will stay at the distancing method for some time yet to come and do not expect to be able to see so many clients in a day as I could before. I am looking to work in much closer arrangement with a local physio to prescribe exercise and posture improvement to a lot of horses who will have had a prolonged period away from regular work.”

Will you change the way you work? “I would like to spend more time at the bench going forward as I have enjoyed getting some more in-depth projects completed and I have a few clients who would love to be able to come and do some short leatherworking courses, so that is something I am also planning for later in the year. “I would be keen to attend some harness making courses as this is something I have enjoyed making but have not done in recent years. I wish to spend some more time designing my own saddlery items and am looking at new saddle designs coming onto the market for my clients. I may also taking on an apprentice next year to share the skills I have.”

Your Questions Answered... IN THIS ISSUE SOCIETY OF MASTER SADDLERS’ REGISTERED MASTER SADDLE FITTER, HELEN READER, ANSWERS A FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTION ON SADDLE FITTING. “My horse has changed shape since coming back into work and I’m worried his saddle isn’t fitting him as well as it used to. What are some areas to consider when assessing good saddle fit?”

ANSWER: “Comfort of the horse is the first consideration when assessing a good saddle fit, followed by the comfort for the rider. When a horse first comes back into work after a break the saddle often sits differently. Consider first why the horse has been off work; shape can change even in a short period. “Lack of work can cause lost condition and muscle over the withers and along the back. Turnout on good grass can add to weight gain creating fat pads around the shoulder area. Lameness or injury may result in a horse becoming asymmetrical, which could cause the saddle to slip or twist. “The balance of the saddle is first assessed by placing the saddle on the horse’s back and checking that the deepest part of the seat is parallel to the ground. A balanced saddle will sit the rider upright keeping their pelvis in the correct position. Tipping back will cause the rider to sit in an ‘armchair’ position increasing pressure at the back of the saddle and tipping forwards will cause the rider to pivot over the pommel causing increased pressure at the front of the saddle. “Adequate clearance under the pommel is required with the saddle girthed up. The horse should never be ridden if the pommel is touching the withers. Too much height above the withers and it is likely that the seat will also be tipping backwards. “The front of the panel should not be causing pressure behind the shoulders as this may cause the horse to shorten its stride and can conversely be caused by a saddle that is both too wide and too narrow! It is recommended that the saddle is checked by an SMS Registered Qualified Saddle Fitter at regular intervals whilst the horse is returning to full work.”

TWICE PRESIDENT OF THE SMS, LAURENCE PEARMAN ANSWERS A QUESTION ON FLOCKING. QUESTION: “I’ve heard that saddles can be filled with different kinds of flock. What are the benefits of each type of flocking?”

ANSWER: “There are mainly two types of pure wool used in wool flocked saddles. White wool, the best to use for flocking having a long fibre/staple and the grey or brown wool again sourcing the long fibre/staple. “The pure white wool is softer in texture and will settle more quickly than the pure grey or brown wool and so will require a recheck for fit and maybe topping up some weeks before the grey or brown wool. “There is also synthetic wool which is found in some saddles. The same procedure is followed with regards to topping up and re-flocking but due to the differences between the natural wool and synthetic they should not be mixed. It is also better not to mix the white and grey or brown wool as the textures of each are different. This will also apply to a saddle when a complete re-flock is done. I would recommend a complete re-flock being carried out every two years (depending on saddle use). That way the saddle will always be firm enough to support the rider and soft enough to be comfortable and forgiving for the horse. “During those two years the flocking can easily be adjusted for the horse’s requirements, after this time the wool may become compacted. “Sometimes you will hear the term air flocking; this refers to a system of four air bags which provide a soft, flexible and even bearing surface. This air system is inserted into the panel and gives the saddle a constant flexible layer of shock absorbing air and these bags can usually be adjusted individually at any time. “In addition to the flocking many saddles now have a panel lining. Materials used could be foams or plastizotes or felt which all help to have a softer feel for the horse’s comfort. “There are other panel fillings but in general they are not termed as ‘flocked saddles.’” www.mastersaddlers.co.uk





riends, Bev Lynn and Carol Wright, of Clacton-on-Sea, achieved the coveted Gold Award in the British Breeding/Baileys Horse Feeds Futurity Evaluations with their 2-year-old colt named Crocket. A real highlight of this year’s Futurity evaluations, this colt by Quantensprung from the breeding of Nicola Burton of Wrestow Stud, Crocket is owned by the Prix St Georges rider Bev Lynn along with her friend Carol Wright, who purchased him as a foal. Crocket caused a stir at the 2018 Futurity evaluations when he scored a highly impressive 9.36 Elite, making him the highest scoring dressage entry that year across all venues and ages. This year he returned as a 2-year old, and did not disappoint, having grown into a tall and imposing horse with excellent paces destined for the very top, and scoring an overall mark of 8.95, just shy of an Elite. Highly valued for his large frame and excellent temperament, Quantensprung is by Quando Quando whose sire Quattro B was internationally successful in dressage and showjumping. His mother provides the proven



combination of Donnerhall and Lauries Crusador XX. All of this is an excellent combination with Crocket’s mother who offers the popular Dutch performance lines of Jazz and Flemmingh. Bev told us that she and Carol opted to buy a colt because, “Sadly our one and only attempt to breed resulted in a still birth and we just couldn’t go through that heartache again. We had been up and down the country looking at others, but none were quite right. When Crocket came up for sale, we went to see him and fell in love straight away, he had real presence and paces to die for. Carol and I made the decision there and then.” Bev tells us that Crocket went home to Essex with her and Carol at 6-months-old and stayed there with their mare for a further six months. He is now in a herd of colts, living a wonderful life while he matures. Crocket is a striking big horse


who fills the eye and has true star quality. His owners Bev and Carol have big plans for him and he is one to look out for in the future. Gold awards qualify horses for pre-selection into the first ever Futurity Elite Online Auction, which will be held in September this year in cooperation with ClipMyHorse.TV. However, Bev and Carol have no plans to sell Crocket as Bev hopes to ride him when she returns to dressage after an eight year break and ultimately they would love for him to be a stallion standing in the UK for British Breeding.

Stamford Horse Breeder, Kelly Hetherington achieved the coveted Gold Award in the British Breeding/Baileys Horse Feeds Futurity Evaluations after entering for the first time with her 3-year-old gelding Britannia Rocks. The 3-year-old gelding achieved a score of 8.125 for its eventing valuation from the panel of international Judges, who commented that he was a very harmonious and powerful horse with a very attractive frame and good natural balance, they said he was a very nice prospect for the future. Britannia Rocks is by the stallion


Stamford Horse Breeder, Kelly Hetherington

By Rachel Hartopp

Britannia’s Mail, the motherline of this very harmonious young horse is equally interesting. The dam sire Negro needs no further introduction, and behind comes the Oldenburg mare family that produced the influential stallions Welt Hit I and Welt Hit II. In the direct motherline we find some well-known horses, such as the Grand Prix mare Die Callas. Kelly said, “I am thrilled with this gold award because I am a complete amateur and bred Britannia Rocks, stable name Charlie, from my own eventing mare A Rio Negra. I chose the sire because of his ability to cover the ground, temperament, style and rideability. Having seen him go round Badminton, ridden by a younger rider I felt that his offspring would suit someone of my ability. “Charlie has all those the traits and hasn't put a foot wrong, including since we have backed him. He has been so good even when we were taking the videos for the Virtual Futurity. My friend Kerry Varley, helped me

with all of this, on and off the ground I would never have had the confidence to even enter the competition if it wasn’t for her!” he team in charge of the British Breeding Baileys Horse Feeds Futurity series have entered a partnership with ClipMyHorse.TV The Futurity Elite Online Auction will feature on the auctions.clipmyhorse.tv To be held in September 2020, the auction will feature the best Futurity entries of the year in the disciplines of dressage, eventing and showjumping and will promote them to ClipMyHorse’s global audience. British Breeding and ClipMyHorse.TV will cooperate on a weekly broadcast series of highlights from the BB/Baileys Horse Feeds Futurity Evaluations. www.british-breeding.com


elcome back to our Berry Fields blog. We want to thank our clients and followers for their continued support through the recent challenging times. Our youngest member of the Berry Fields Team at only 9years- old attended their first British Scurry Driving and Trials Camp. Solo and Isabella-May were both supported by their fabulous instructor Nicola. We would also like to thank Oddball Photography for the amazing images they captured at this event.


Stable Club has been growing in popularity and going from strength to strength. Children have enjoyed developing their horsemanship knowledge, skills, as well as having fun. The children always receive a rosette, sticker, and certificate and get to celebrate on the podium after every visit. Nathan Salter our amazing farrier visited again in August

taking the time to talk and demonstrate skills to our Stable Clubbers. He also gave them all a lucky horse shoe. The children really enjoyed this new experience. www.berryfieldsanimal assistededucation.co.uk




t was an elated team from Norwich High School that took their lap of honour at the NAF Five Star British Showjumping National Championships when they won the 90cm Just For Schools Team Final. The team made up of Tilly Marcantonio, Kate Barrett and Bethany Barrett all jumped clear in at least one of their rounds to pull their team three fences ahead of the Berkhamstead Team who took second. This was the first time that Norwich High School have claimed the trophy making their win all the more special for them when they finished on just a total of eight penalties across the two rounds with Berkhamstead finishing on twenty.


Photo: 1st Class Images

t was an elated Lorraine Lock from Braintree in Essex that won the National Winter 7-year-old Final with the homebred Artisan 1. Bred by her grandfather Peter Lock, the 7 year-old chestnut gelding Artisan 1 (Cevin Z x Premium de Laubry) put in two


foot-perfect clears to return home in a time of 40.19 seconds. This saw them some five seconds ahead of Angel Tough who took second place with her father’s homebred gelding Righteous (Luidam x Hors la Loi II). Third place went to Kim Barzilay’s homebred gelding Kimba Casino ridden by

Emma-Jo Slater. For British Breeding this was a showcase at its very best with all three having been homebred along with a number of other fifty-two strong field who came forward to contest the 1.30m class which had been sponsored by Al-Shira’aa. About Artisan, or Alvin as he is called at home, Lorraine said, “I couldn’t be happier. Showjumping has been in our lives for three generations and it is my grandfather who bred Alvin. We broke him in ourselves and have produced him up through the age classes; I’m the only person that has ever competed him which makes today’s win all the more special. “He’s very special to us and we just hope that he will carry on progressing up through the grades as well as he has done so far.”

Photo: 1st Class Images


NORFOLK’S JONATHAN EGMORE WINS THE NATIONAL 5-YEAR-OLD TITLE wned by Nicola Withey and bred by M D Peters, the 5year-old Kartina van het Maaskantje (Cidane x Cardento) took the National 5-year-old Championship. Ridden by Jonathan Egmore from Diss, Norfolk they posted a foot-perfect double clear in a time of 40.39 seconds to give them a fraction of a second lead to take the title.




eating Germany by a single point, it was a win for Great Britain at the Dutch Youngster Festival in Wierden recently. Riding under the title sponsorship of Team NAF, who support all GB’s Nations Cup Teams, it was a jubilant squad of four that took their place on the winners podium having finished on a score of just eight penalties. Opening for the team was 15-year-old Hannah Barker with Ammanvalley Santino. A touch at the first element of the combination, a vertical,


Photo: DigiShots

saw them pick up four penalties in what was otherwise a faultless round. Their second round saw them post a clear. Megan Li was next to go for the Brits with her father Alex’s 17-year-old gelding Harry. It was the same fence, that required a turn back to it, that caught Megan along with a front pole of an oxer to see them collect eight penalties. Their second round also saw eight penalties accrued. For Elissa Herrmann, aged 14 from Winchester, with the 10-year-old dun gelding Lapislazuli, it has definitely been a debut Pony Nations

Team NAF Ponies L-R: Elissa Herrmann, Megan Li, Claudia Moore & Hannah Barker

Team NAF Young Riders L-R: Antonia Platt, Will Edwards, Jodie Hall-McAteer and James Winter Photo: DigiShots

Cup show to remember. Posting a double clear, one of only three delivered throughout the entire competition, she certainly made her presence felt at the show and her performance was instrumental in the team’s final placing. Anchor rider Claudia Moore, aged 15 from Brentwood in Essex also posted a stylish foot-perfect clear in the first round with Elando van de Roshoeve, a 16-year-old bay gelding owned by her mother Katrina. Looking set to deliver another clear, it was the vertical on a turn towards the last line home, that caught them to see four penalties allocated when a top pole lowered. Their round was still enough to see them push ahead of Germany by one point who therefore had to settle for second place on their score of nine penalties. Third place went to the Netherlands who finished a fence behind Great Britain with Belgium taking fourth with a score of seventeen penalties.


n Friday afternoon at the Festival it was a joint second Nations Cup finish for the Young Riders. The win came from Denmark who, with a jump in hand, finished on zero penalties to push themselves ahead of GBR and Germany who with their four penalty score each shared the second position spot. The four riders representing GB all put in some terrific rounds and it was 20-year-old Jodie Hall McAteer with Hello M’Lord, that achieved the sole double clear for the team that gave them the final push up the line-up. The three other riders also looked as equally impressive with each of them posting a clear apiece. For 18-year-old Antonia Platt from Chelmsford, the fortunes were reversed when four penalties in the first round were collected before coming back in and posting a superb clear in the second with Marvin van de Waterhoeve, a 9-year-old bay gelding. James Winter, aged 20 from Chepstow was unfortunate to collect eight penalties in the first round with Garande. They put this behind them though in the second round when they came in confidently to break the finish line clear within the time allowed to bring home another zero penalty score for GB.




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