The UKâ€™s No.1 Equine Health, Management and Training Magazine
Tailor made feed plans Insurance - getting the right cover Winter ailments products for the first aid kit
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Healthcare • Tack & Turnout
Contents Identify Your Horse’s Personality Profile thoroughbreds and warmbloods. Over the years he has learnt that just like people, horses have different temperaments and personalities, and this can determine how they respond to certain situations.
Health Care 1, 6, 25 - 41 Tack & Turnout 1, 4, 46 - 48, 49 Arenas 2 Bedding 6 Colic 9
To help owners discover more about their own horse, Michael alongside Petplan Equine, has devised a horse personality test, which is a selection of multiple choice questions that help you
Feeding 2, 8, 9 - 21 Tailor Made Feeds 16 - 21 PC Horse Giveaway 20 Paddock Care 22
work out your horse’s character and how to train him accordingly. The test is now available on the Petplan Equine Facebook page. So, if you want to find out if your horse is more of a worrier than a cocky sort, or perhaps he’s lacking inspiration, take part in Michael Peace’s Horse Personality Test, by visiting the Petplan Equine Facebook page www.facebook. com/PetplanEquineUK
Field & Stable 2, 8, 22 - 24 Training 24 & 40 Respiratory Disease 25 - 29 Physiotherapy 30 Worming 31 Winter First Aid 32 – 38 Horse Behaviour 38 Heart Disease 41 Insurance 42 – 45 Schooling 46 Chestnut Horsefeeds Giveaway 49 Horses for Sale 50 Property for Sale 52 Euthanasia 55 - 56 Directory 56
Leading UK specialist equine insurer, Petplan Equine has teamed up with problem horse trainer and behaviourist Michael Peace to help horse owners across the UK understand their horse’s unique personality so they can get the best out of the relationship. Michael, who top jockey Frankie Dettori once called ‘the curer’, is renowned for his exceptional training methods which quickly teach problem horses that there is a better path.
Front cover image by Jim Crichton - www.jimcrichton.com
Keep in Touch!
Michael works with every type of horse, from native ponies to
Don’t miss out - keep up to date with all the latest news and events by following us on Facebook. http://www.facebook. com/pages/Equi-AdsLtd/114650251907111
10th of the preceding month
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November 2012 1
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is made and they can’t see the source. Since Highlight was installed, if there is a disturbance outside, the horses can see what’s happening and are a lot less spooky. It’s a magical product and I’m hoping to get round to installing more in the future.”
But at Lucinda McAlpine’s Bowhayes Farm, Culmstock, Devon, an innovative ventilated wall has transformed the indoor arena into a more natural, open environment. Instead of the usual wooden walls and year-round fluorescent lighting, she has installed perforated metal wall sheeting called Highlight on three sides of her indoor school.
the last few panels to a side that was half completed and put another whole side in.” The sheeting is colour coated, so it doesn’t rust, and is 25% voided in the form of tiny holes, which allow plenty of light and air through, but keeps out wind and rain. Although it appears to be ordinary cladding from the outside, it gives perfect visibility on the inside, giving a feeling of riding outdoors without the weather.
Page 62 As the days grow shorter, riders are increasingly confined to indoor schools, which can make them – and their horses – feel a little cooped up.
Feed • Field & Stable
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Tack & Turnout
New study shows saddle slip may be early indicator of lameness environment this winter A new study has identified a significant link between hind limb lameness and saddle slip, showing consistent saddle slip in some horses with hind limb lameness, even when the lameness is fairly subtle and difficult to detect. Saddle slip in sports horses is a wellrecognised problem that can occur for a variety of reasons, including asymmetry in the shape of the horse’s back, riders sitting crookedly and ill-fitting saddles. Sue Dyson, Head of Clinical Orthopaedics at the Centre for Equine Studies at the Animal Health Trust, had also observed that saddle slip may occur because of hind limb lameness. The intention of the study, therefore, was to find out more about the interrelationships between the horse, saddle and rider and to document the frequency of occurrence of saddle slip in horses with hind limb lameness compared with other horses. The research was undertaken by Line Greve, Intern, and Sue Dyson, at the Animal Health Trust, Newmarket
and was presented at the British Equine Veterinary Association (BEVA) Congress last month. It is thought to be the first study of its kind, and was supported by the Saddle Research Trust (SRT). The SRT is a charitable organisation, aiming to facilitate research and provide support as well as advice on the influence of the saddle on the welfare and performance of horses and riders. The study assessed 128 horses of varying size, age and type. The degree of lameness of each horse was graded; back shape and symmetry were measured and saddles assessed for symmetry and fit. Each horse was ridden by at least two riders and rider straightness plus weight were recorded. The grade of saddle slip, whether it occurred with more than one rider, and whether saddle slip was influenced by the direction of movement or the diagonal on which the rider was sitting were also noted. The saddle consistently slipped to one side in 54% of horses with hind
limb lameness, compared with 4% of horses with fore limb lameness, 0% with back pain and/or sacroiliac joint region pain and 0% of non-lame horses. Diagnostic analgesia was subsequently used to abolish the hind limb lameness and this eliminated the saddle slip in 97% of cases. Sue Dyson said: “Our findings emphasise the need to educate owners, veterinarians, physiotherapists, trainers, riders and saddle fitters that saddle slip is frequently an indicator of lameness,
not necessarily a manifestation of an ill-fitting saddle or asymmetric shape of the horse’s back. Detection of saddle slip provides an opportunity for the owner, riders and trainers to detect low-grade and subclinical lameness, with important welfare consequences.” For further information contact Anne Bondi on 07775 912202 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Bedding • Healthcare
Create a healthy, hygienic environment this winter
The environment your horse lives in has a huge impact on their health and wellbeing. As winter creeps closer the amount of hours our horses spend stabled are undoubtedly increased and not only is that tough on our pockets, but also at times on the horse’s welfare. A healthy, hygienic environment is vital to ensure a healthy, content horse and Belvoir Bed provides the ideal solution to help minimise the stress of stabling. A traditional straw bed can provide a cosy and comfortable bedding for our horses but often comes with a high level of dust.
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Based on the finest available grass meal to closely mimic the horse’s natural diet, it is bursting with health and vitality improving coat and hoof condition. No other nutritional supplement will be required.
Inhaling this dust can cause the cells lining the respiratory system to secrete mucus in an attempt to lift and discharge the dust particles, resulting in your horse blowing and coughing which can lead to long term damage and breathing difficulties. Belvoir Bed provides an alternative to conventional bedding combining the natural use of straw bedding with modern technology as the wheat and rape straw composition of Belvoir Bed is chopped, dust extracted and treated to offer a state of the art yet super-soft bedding. Hygiene is important in addition to comfort and alongside being virtually dust free, Belvoir Bed is treated with a unique formulation containing non-
irritant and non-toxic plant extracts. Lemongrass and Cade Oil are included in the bedding and help to prevent moulds and bacteria from developing and being inhaled. The addition of these plant extracts enhances the aroma of your horse’s bedding and offers antiseptic, antiparasitic and anti-fungal properties improving the hygiene and conditions of the whole stable environment. Belvoir Bed is also highly absorbent allowing you not only to muck out quickly and easily but to remove wet bedding efficiently preventing your horse inhaling ammonia, a known irritant to the respiratory system. Looking at the bigger picture, choosing a quick rotting product such as Belvoir Bed is vital, as the highly absorbent chopped straw minimises wastage and the little bedding that is removed rots down rapidly, providing a 100% natural fertiliser which can be safely spread on fields. Prices start at £4.90 + VAT and Belvoir Bed is only available to purchase direct, enabling prices to be kept to an absolute minimum helping to reduce customer’s costs this winter. For more information tel: 01254 677 786 or visit: www.belvoirbed.co.uk
Anxious pets calmed thanks to soothing animal solution This supplement supports inner health. It is a balanced, broad spectrum, blend of vitamins, minerals and trace elements, together with cod liver oil to optimise health and well being. Pet and horse owners looking for an organic instant calming solution for anxious pets have been offered a helping hand thanks to online retailer Forest Farmacy. The organic-based brand has launched “Soothing Animal Solution” as an antidote for troubled dogs during the upcoming
Solution” is suitable for regular use with no drowsiness or side effects.
fireworks season. Safer than sedation, the calmer offers pet owners an organic alternative to traditional chemical-based products and offers instant relaxation for stressed animals thanks to the unique blends of flower essences and aromatherapy. The “Soothing Animal Solution” can be used either orally (sprayed into water and feed) or sprayed around the horses/ dog’s coat and surroundings, with effects lasting between 4-6 hours. Thanks to the natural properties, the “Soothing Animal
The calming effects of Soothing Animal Solution has been verified by several veterinary practices with Northumberland-based veterinary surgeon Eric Nelson commenting; “I use it in the surgery on a daily basis, spraying the table to help keep animals calm. The biggest advantage is the ease of use - you don’t have to put pills down their throat.”
Holly Llewellyn, founder of Forest Farmacy said of the product; “Each year, fireworks displays become bigger and bigger but many people forget the impact they have on our pets. Our “Soothing Animal Solution” is a genuine alternative for pet owners wishing to calm their animals without resorting to the use of chemicals and drugs and is safe enough for use on puppies.” “Soothing Animal Solution” is priced at £10.99 and can be bought online at www.forestfarmacy.co.uk. For more information, phone 0800 970 9421.
Feed • Field & Stable
New and improved Eezhay As the winter months creep up and stable time increases, maintaining a natural trickle feeding pattern has never been so important. Advocates of a natural feeding stance, Eezhay, have re-launched their popular Hay Feeder to offer a truly ergonomic design ensuring your horse stays comfortable, healthy and happy this winter. Eezhay Hay Feeders not only protect your pocket from wasting valuable hay but also ensure your horse does not develop unnecessary problems from pulling at a haynet. By feeding at a lower level the correct muscle tone is developed, respiratory and digestive problems are avoided and the teeth are not worn inappropriately. Quality and durability is guaranteed with Eezhay and the design of the hay feeder has now been evolved to follow the contours of your horse’s body when they are happily munching their hay or haylage. This new appearance not only provides comfort benefits for your horse, but it looks smarter and sleeker in the stable and stands up to heavy wear and tear.
Eezhay Hay Feeders make your time on the yard as efficient as possible by negating the need to spend time filling hay-nets or clearing up spilt and wasted hay, especially from your horse’s bedding! The easy-clean Eezhay Hay Feeder is a true investment for your winter management routine and helps you feed naturally and economically. The Eezhay Hay Feeders are available in a range of colour choices in two sizes, pony and full. Every Eezhay comes with a full oneyear manufacturer’s guarantee and prices start at just £52.99 Now Eezhay also offer a brand new Horse Treat Feeder to help alleviate boredom and ensure a trickle feeding pattern is maintained. The Horse Treat Feeder is made from a robust plastic to ensure durability and is available in four colours, priced at £16.99. For more information about the Eezhay stable accessories, visit www.eezhay.net or telephone: 01246 240099
The Grass is Even Greener at Northern Crop Driers A new 500kW biogas plant has come online at Yorkshire equestrian feed manufacturer Northern Crop Driers in September. Commissioning is complete on the anaerobic digestion plant, which will generate renewable green energy. Maize and grass silage grown on the Melbourne site will be fed into the system, together with slurry from sister company Melrose Pigs. Pam Dear, one of the Directors at Northern Crop Driers, said: “Drying horse bedding and grass to produce feed is pretty energy intensive so we’ll be using some of the electricity for that, while the surplus will go into the grid. “From September our Graze-On product range and Megazorb bedding will be produced using our own 100% renewable electricity.” The green credentials don’t end there. The biogas plant also produces a digestate as a by-product. This is an excellent green fertiliser and will be used on the farm, replacing the need for traditional manufactured fertilisers. Initially, the plant will only produce electricity, but the team at Melrose Farm
is considering using the heat generated to help with crop drying in the future. Pam said “For our business the biogas plant is a win-win and demonstrates to our customers and the local community that we are committed to sustainability. “We’re proud of our reputation for producing 100% natural horse feeds and bedding and to be able to do this using our own home produced, renewable electricity is particularly exciting.” For more information go to www. northerncropdriers.co.uk
Colic • Feeding
Feeding to avoid colic Dr Derek Cuddeford, Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, University of Edinburgh liver (bile). In contrast, large intestinal obstruction causes a gas-induced colic because the fermentation processes result in the production of large volumes of gas that can be trapped. It is outwith the scope of this article to consider all the various causes of these obstructions but rather we must focus on the role of nutrition in terms of the causation and thus, the prevention of colic.
What is colic? It is a term used to describe any disease process that causes abdominal pain. Babies frequently colic and as a result cry due to the pain that results. Picking them up and “winding” them over your shoulder results in at best a loud burp and at worst a stream of vomit down your back. Clearly this form of treatment is not an option for a horse! This type of colic represents probably one of the simplest forms and is due to an accumulation of gas, a condition not unknown in adult humans. Unfortunately horses can suffer from other causes of colic as well. Generally any obstruction will result in colic. Small intestinal colic can arise if the small intestine becomes blocked and material (digesta/chyme = food + liquids) accumulates. This problem is exacerbated by the large inflow of liquids into the small intestine from the stomach (gastric juices + saliva), pancreas (pancreatic juices) and
Feeding and feeding management are but part of the overall basic management of a horse. For example, an effective worming programme is a key feature of basic horse management because excessive worm burdens are often implicated in the cause of a colic episode. A worming programme together with a workable monitoring strategy must be evolved in close collaboration with your veterinary surgeon and adapted to your horse’s circumstances. This will exclude worms as a risk factor and will mean that you are feeding the horse and not the horse plus passengers. A worm-free horse needs less food than one carrying worms. Another basic management practise is tooth care. Apart from imperfect dental architecture and malocclusions which would eventually lead to the death of a horse in the wild, tooth care is important for horses fed “unnatural” diets. Grass is high in silica which is abrasive and thus leads naturally to tooth wear. Reduced consumption of forage can lead to cont. on p.10
Neddy’s Nibbles It’s that time of year when our cravings for stodge and sweets increases, making up for the loss of summer; not that this summer was up to any great shakes! And of course, if we up our own treats, we almost certainly will up our horses’ treats. Hickstead Feeds Neddy’s Nibbles are the treat of choice once the clocks change and the nights draw in. They are a delicious handy nutritious treat containing a high fibre formulation, which together with low sugar content make it a perfect option for all types of horse and pony. Neddy’s Nibbles comes in two flavours, apple and herb which make it a healthy, tasty treat or reward.
our website www.hicksteadhorsefeeds. co.uk where you will find Neddy’s own page, with games and fun for the children. We also have a competition to find the best Neddy look-alike, so if you own your very own Neddy, send a photo to us at info@hicksteadhorsefeeds. co.uk or to our facebook page: Hickstead Horse Feeds, and you may win a prize! For any information on Hickstead Horse Feeds products, or for nutritional advice of any sort, please feel free to contact us on 0845 0250 444. We really are very friendly and would love to hear from you. email@example.com www.hicksteadhorsefeeds.co.uk Facebook: Hickstead Horse Feeds.
Check out all about Neddy’s Nibbles on
Feeding cont. from p.9and impaired comminution overgrowth
of food with the result that forage particles are swallowed that are too long and can more easily result in a blockage followed by colic. Apart from this, nutrient extraction is less efficient. Not surprisingly, wormy horses and those with poor teeth are often in bad condition. To consider the role of food and feeding management we must remind ourselves of how horses naturally feed themselves when allowed. Horses will feed/graze for up to 16 hours out of every 24. Thus, they will feed little and often on relatively high fibre feed, the bulk of which will be fermented in the
large intestine, rather than digested in the stomach and small intestine. The gastrointestinal tract (GIT) of the horse was “designed” with this in mind and thus does not represent the best in terms of simple plumbing principles. No plumber would install a system where small pipes enter large ones then go around 360 degree bends and back into small pipes; there are plenty of “bottle necks” in the horse’s GIT that moderate the flow through the GIT. Of course, as the horse would naturally consume low dry matter, high fibre food over an extended period of time the resulting material would be very liquid and as we all know liquids will pass easily through any poorly designed plumbing. In the
Winter Likits tingling. Designed to be used in conjunction with Likit Stable Toys, Likit refills can also be hand-held and used as a reward or distraction, when loading or shoeing for example. Three additional Likit flavours have been introduced especially for the winter months. Available in both Likit and Little Likit refills, new Candy Cane, Cinnamon and Gingerbread flavours will add a bit of variety to life in the stable and are sure to set your horse’s taste buds
To find out more visit the new Likit website where you’ll find more product and research information, informative articles and links to Likit social media activity, as well as a stockist finder. Contact Likit Products on 01655 750523 or visit www.likit.co.uk
UK, grass can contain as much water (or if you prefer dry matter) as milk so the addition of digestive juices (saliva and so on) merely dilutes the grass dry matter more!
strategy in the way described, food passes rapidly (some within 30 minutes and all within 3 hours) through the small intestine and into the large intestine. Now consider what we do. We not only alter the nature of the food fed
Because the horse evolved its digestive
cont. on p.12
Treat them well with SPILLERS® this Christmas Treat your horse or pony to a bag of their favourite SPILLERS® Treats this Christmas. With five different types to choose from there’s a Treat to suit every equine appetite, including some with special added benefits to help support joint and hoof health. SPILLERS® Treats are always a welcome reward for your horse. The chunky pellets are easy to keep close to hand as you can stick them in your pocket without them crumbling and making a mess.
Herb, SPILLERS® Spearmint or SPILLERS® Apple, to give your horse his favourite flavour this Christmas. All SPILLERS® Treats are available in 1kg bags from your local SPILLERS® stockist and make the perfect stocking filler for your favourite equine friend. For friendly feeding advice contact the SPILLERS® Care-Line on + 44 (0)1908 226626, email careline@spillers-feeds. com or visit www.spillers-feeds.com. You can also join Team SPILLERS® on Facebook.
For health support choose from SPILLERS® Meadow® Herb with added Biotin, to support healthy hoof growth or SPILLERS® Meadow® Herb with added glucosamine, to support healthy joints. Alternatively you can choose original SPILLERS® Meadow®
Feeding • Horsebox • Tack & Turnout
Colic • Feeding
Avoid Colic Colic is one of the leading killers in horses and there are many things that can be done to help avoid this debilitating illness. Some major factors to consider are;
cont. from p.12
to the horse but we also dramatically change the way in which it is fed to the horse. To complicate matters further, we confine our horses so, instead of ranging over large areas, they are kept in paddocks at best and in stables at worst. Everyone knows that physical activity shifts “wind” and it is a natural way of getting rid of unwanted gas. Confinement enables gas accumulation in the GIT as evidenced after a night’s sleep when flatus occurs naturally on rising..............Gut motility will be less in a confined horse than in one actively grazing. In order to mimic the natural process of little and often feeding it is imperative to supply forage ad libitum. Infrequent meal feeding (episodic feeding) is the worst thing you can do for your horse in terms of gut health. Not only does it increase the risk of colic but it can also be a significant risk factor for the formation of gastric ulcers. But then I hear you say my horse does hard work and must be fed concentrate in the form of straight cereals or as compound or even as a mixture of both. OK! Then it must be provided in very small meals, ideally based on a maximum of 1g starch/kg body weight. Thus, a 500kg horse fed a compound that contains 30% starch should receive no more than 1.6kg/meal. Remember that your horse has evolved to deliver food relatively rapidly to its large intestine for fermentation so giving too much in a meal will result in undigested starch arriving in the caecum with potentially dire consequences, colic perhaps being the least of them. For horses that require energy dense diets to support high work outputs manipulation of dietary components can reduce the risk of compromising large intestinal function. Starches and sugars can be reduced in the diet by including oil and highly fermentable fibre sources such as soya bean hulls or sugar beet pulp. An obvious strategy to reduce the need for concentrates is to buy the very best quality forage which is naturally higher in energy. For example substitute haylages for conventional hay. This is a “win win” situation as not only will haylage contain more energy/kg dry matter, it will normally have higher
hygiene status and a lower dry matter thus taking longer to eat and also providing more food water. This conveniently brings me to the role of water! It is often not given the status it deserves. Adequate water intake is crucial in the prevention of colic. Just consider the change in water balance of a horse being moved from grass to being housed and fed just hay. If we assume a 500kg horse eating just 2% of its body weight as totally dry food/ day then when grazing, it will “eat” 45 litres of water. It will not need to drink because if we assume it needs 4litre/ kg dry food that would only equate to 40 litres daily. Contrast this situation to that of the hay-fed horse. This horse would only “eat” 1.6 litres of water and would have to drink 38.4 litres to meet needs. It is easy to understand how a newlyhoused horse might colic simply by underdrinking. It is crucial to maintain “liquidity” not just at the Bank (check out our European neighbours!) but in the horse’s GIT to reduce the risk of catastrophes such as impactions (or in the case of the EU, bankruptcy). Please remember that a horse will drink less when the water is very cold or, when it is very hot. The latter is often causal of colic in horses kept in the Middle East where water storage devices (often on rooftops) are exposed to radiation from the sun at ambient temperatures of 40+C. Sudden severe frost can also cause problems for outwintered horses or those kept in unheated buildings due to water supplies freezing up. A modern approach to eliminating dietinduced colic is to adopt the practise pioneered by dairy cow farmers who traditionally feed very high levels of concentrate to support high milk yields. They use “mixer wagons” and put all the ration ingredients (different forages, concentrates, vitamins, minerals, etc) into the wagon and then mix them together to produce a total mixed ration (TMR). Thus, the cows cannot select out ingredients and each mouthful has the same composition so that the gut always receives the same substrates for the organisms present to ferment. Food is available ad libitum and is consumed on a little and often basis avoiding the “feast or famine” situation
Reduce concentrates and feed little and often – Horses have not evolved to eat large quantities of ‘hard feed’ and this can be a major factor in impacted and spasmodic colic. This is why feeding a high quality feed balancer such as one from the Blue Chip range makes so much sense. All the balancers in the Blue Chip range are whole-cereal and molasses free and contain an EU approved probiotic to aid nutrient absorption and promote gut health. Blue Chip feed balancers are nutrient dense, so only require a small amount to be fed to benefit the digestive system of your horse, helping you to reduce the amount of hard feed needed. Maximise forage intake - Horses have evolved to ‘trickle feed’ and eat a mainly fibrous diet in small quantities over a long period of time. This enables the gut to function efficiently, and constant chewing produces saliva which acts as a ‘buffer’ against the build up of stomach acid. The horse’s digestive system works most efficiently when consuming roughage on an almost continuous basis. The EU approved probiotic found in all of the Blue Chip balancers has been proven to double the digestibility of fibre within the diet, also helping to reduce the amount of hard feed required. Increasing turnout time – Constant moving around the field encourages digestive health, and can be hugely beneficial for ‘normal behaviour’ and the prevention of stereotypical behaviour and stress.
well as possibly causing the horse to become unsettled and stressed. Worm regularly and remove droppings from fields – Worms can be a major contributing factor to colic. Samples of droppings should be sent off for analysis to ascertain a worm egg count. This will enable you to only worm when required, helping to avoid build-up to a resistance to a particular wormer/drug group as well as helping to maintain your horse’s digestive health. Applying an up to date worming plan and keeping fields clear of droppings can help to eliminate this factor. Ensure regular dental checks are made – This is especially important in the older horse or pony where dental checks are needed more frequently. Blue Chip balancers consist of very small pellets so are suitable to be fed to foals from 3 weeks of age and are ideal for the older horse or pony that may have dental problems. Provide fresh drinking water Dehydration can be a major factor in colic cases and this is especially true in winter when horses aren’t inclined to drink as much, particularly when water is colder than normal. The maintenance level of fluid requirements for an adult horse is 50ml/kg of bodyweight per day. Encouraging fluid intake can be done by offering slightly warmed water and if your horse or pony is still not keen to drink, try wetting the feed or using a high water content source of fibre such as unmolassed sugar beet. www.bluechipfeed.com
Be consistent with feed times – Horses get used to being fed at a certain time and their digestive system becomes accustomed to getting certain types of feed at certain times of the day. Changing the routine can have a negative effect on the beneficial bacteria in the horses gut, as
that confronts many horses. TMRs have been adopted in parts of Scandinavia for feeding horses and there is at least one stud in Scotland successfully using this system. Dietary change, if sudden, can precipitate colic. Thus TMRs eliminate change within a day (sudden concentrate meals) and can be used to gradually introduce new ingredients into the diet over a period of days so that the population of microorganisms in the GIT remain stable. In conclusion, feed and feeding
management play key roles as risk factors for colic. Prevention is simple! Follow best practise as advised above and if you cannot do so then you risk your horse’s health. A horse owner that cannot feed their horse more than twice/ day because of other commitments such as work etc compromises their animal’s welfare. These things should be carefully considered before assuming the responsibility of horse ownership....................it might be better to get a cat, goldfish or both!
Feeding • Horsebox • Tack & Turnout
Specialist Diet with Solution Mash Containing under 1% total sugar but with 150gm of oil in every 1kg, Solution Mash is designed for poor doers that suffer from a starch and sugar intolerance such as Laminitis, Cushing’s, Insulin Resistance and EPSM. The high levels of oils backed up with additional nutrients including super high levels of Vitamin E help ensure efficient oil utilisation, encouraging conditioning and controlled weight gain. This combined with a 26% fibre level provides a very high fibre content designed to help support slow rates of digestion throughout the hind gut and is particularly valuable for horses requiring a diet that is sympathetic on the digestive system. Yeasacc 1026 is also added for optimum fibre and mineral digestion.
Designed to be fed soaked as a soft textured mash it is extremely palatable and is very useful to use to help maintain ample water intake. This is crucial to the health and well being of your horse during cold weather as low water intake is directly related to the increased incidence of impaction colic. Fully balanced in essential vitamins, minerals and trace elements and with added herbs spearmint, garlic and fenugreek Solution Mash is ideal to feed this winter to help keep your horse in good condition. For more information contact Rowen Barbary Horse Feeds on 01948 880598 or visit www.rowenbarbary.co.uk
TopSpec Super Conditioning Flakes TOPSPEC Super Conditioning Flakes are full of naturally oil-rich ingredients and are very palatable. ‘Naturally oil-rich ingredients’ contain intracellular oil which is oil that occurs within the cells of a plant. Feeding intracellular oil is a very palatable and highly-available way of providing oil in the diet. These calories are balanced with high quality soya as a protein source and with available sources of calcium and salt added. TopSpec Super Conditioning Flakes improve condition, provide
balanced calories and protein for performance, provide a balance of fastreleasing energy with oil for stamina and reduce the weight of current hard feed intake without reducing performance or condition. They are particularly beneficial for show horses and ponies, bloodstock being prepared for sales, hard working horses that need high levels of calories without excessively large feeds and elderly horses that struggle to maintain condition, particularly in winter. For free nutritional advice please contact the Multiple AwardWinning Helpline on (01845) 565030 or visit www.topspec.com
How Nupafeed MAH® Can Help You This Winter It is widely known that horses are vulnerable to magnesium deficiency, often resulting in stress related behavioural problems. The lifestyle and feeding of the domesticated horse means that magnesium intake is often well below requirements. The winter can be problematic; cold weather and being stabled increase magnesium requirements while limited grazing and wet soil limits availability. Nupafeed MAH® Calmer is a unique magnesium liquid, originally developed for human medicine, it is so effective because it provides levels of absorption
far beyond that of regular forms of magnesium. This means that it is capable of overcoming the problems of modern diet and increased stress levels and will keep your horse settled by allowing normal nervous function and preventing the excessive release of the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol. The result is a healthier, easier to manage horse without the need for sedative herbs or tryptophan which merely mask the underlying problem. For more information, advice or to order please contact us or go online: Tel: 01438 861 900 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org www.nupafeed.co.uk
Feeding • Horsebox • Tack & Turnout
Tailor Made Feeds
Tailor made feed plans: what to consider? Dr Teresa Hollands, BSc (Hons) MSc (Nutrition) PhD R.Nutr Whilst many of us struggle to find time to serve up a healthy meal every night, it doesn’t stop us salivating over ‘The Great British Bake off’ which has developed a cult following of its own. In fact the programme shows nicely what we might be trying to achieve when we talk about tailor made feeding plans for our horses. Contestants are given a product to cook such as tarts and they have to produce their own bespoke version. The end products all look different and only some pass the ‘technical and taste test’ Those that keep to simple rules and understand the science behind the creativity are more likely to succeed; - being ‘over fashionable’ often ends in trouble. Inspired by the programme many of us are attempting baking but following more straightforward, tried and tested recipes that are achievable by the average person providing us with all the nutrition and satisfaction we need.
So using the human analogy, how do you put together a recipe/feed plan for your horse? Like recipes, there are basics (ingredients) that we need to gather on all horses whether they are a treasured, retired child’s pony or Sophie Wells’ amazing Pinocchio (our Para Olympic team gold and individual silver medal winner) The recipe Ingredients: Horse Management Exercise Forage Hard feed Supplements Before starting to gather the ingredients, prepare your utensils. You will need; • weightape, (make sure it is scientifically validated)
The natural goodness of grass all year round
There is no better feed for horses than the natural goodness of grass. But as the temperature falls and winter pastures become less nutritious why not try the next best thing?
With a feed value virtually identical to that of high quality fresh grass, GrazeOn provides an excellent source of digestible fibre to keep horses in great condition and maintain a healthy digestion.
The Graze-On range is manufactured from 100% natural home grown grass that is flash dried to lock in valuable nutrients including essential amino acids and antioxidants not present in hay.
Graze-On is available in two formats: Short chop - sealed in compact easy to handle 15kg bales and pellets available in 20kg bags.
• set of kitchen scales (to weigh feed) and a Digital Weighing Hanging Scales for Fishing/luggage (for weighing forage)available for £4 on ebay • sample/freezer bag • forage analysis form ( D&H website) • pair of scissors • fat score card or Right Weight leaflet (D&H or WHW) • hard back notebook or smart phone/ tablet for recording the info • Name of brand, feed and supplements Step 1 Combine together all your horse’s information; height, age, breed, fat score (neck, middle and bottom), and bodyweight. Teresa’s tip. Don’t guess their bodyweight, our research shows that 60% of us underestimate bodyweight.
Make sure that you use the tape correctly; they do differ as to where they are placed. Be-aware that if your horse is fat score 3.5 or more on his neck, middle or bottom, then the tape will under-weigh him; so he is actually heavier than the tape! Note these down and set aside whilst you prepare the next set of ingredients Step 2 Over a typical week, monitor your horse’s exercise. How many hours is he ridden, what % is walk, trot, canter. Do you compete? How much schooling does he get; how often does he sweat and come back blowing? Do you have lessons or jump? How long and far do
cont. on p.18
Baileys New High Fibre Complete Nuggets Baileys New High Fibre Complete Nuggets are a chunky alternative to a standard high fibre cube and ideal for horses and ponies whose calorie requirements are low. They are fully balanced with vitamins and minerals and contain natural fibre sources, including superfibres, for slow release energy, and a splash of oil to enhance coat shine. The great thing about High Fibre Complete Nuggets though, is their large
size making them easy to feed on the ground, to encourage natural foraging behaviour, as well as in “boredom balls”. Designed to keep horses and ponies chewing, they do, however, soften down easily in water or with wet sugar beet pulp to make an easy-toeat high fibre feed for the dentally challenged older equine. For more information, contact Baileys Horse Feeds on 01371 850247 or visit www.baileyshorsefeeds.co.uk
Cost Effective Feeding
Feeding cont. from p.16
Weigh out the hay or haylage you give your horse and send a sample for analysis.
you ride? Add this information to the ingredients you gathered in step 1 Step 3 This is the equivalent of flour in our cake recipe......it’s the base ingredient; we need to measure the forage that your horse eats; everyone knows this is the foundation of his diet. Teresa’s tip: - it doesn’t matter how ‘tailor made’ the diet is, this step is the same for every single diet plan. Forage or fibre should be the foundation/base of everything that follows. If your horse is grazing then it is useful to know how much nutrition is coming from his grass. Don’t be conned, the sample is but a snapshot as the nutrition changes daily, but it will give us an idea if he has access to rich (chocolate gateau) or less nutritious grass (plain digestive) Obtain a representative sample of grass by walking a W across the area that your horse eats, take a cutting at each of the top and bottom of all the W, place in a freezer bag, label and send to D&H with the hay straightaway. Make a note of how many hours your horse grazes, how many horses share his field and how long is the grass.
Step 4 Line a number of buckets with small freezer bags. Empty the exact amount of each individual ingredient/feed into separate bags. Place each bag onto your kitchen scales, weigh, note this down. Do you feed this amount twice a day? Step 5 Now it’s time to measure out the equivalent of the currents and little extras that you add to the cake to personalise it......or rather supplements when it comes to our horse’s bespoke diet. Make a note of the brand, the daily recommended intake; check how much you are adding.
followed regardless of the individual.
Step 6 This is the icing on the cake, what is unique to your horse? Are there any clinical issues to add to the mix; e.g. laminitis, tying up, poor performance, hoof quality? Any general concerns that you have e.g. travel anxiety, lethargy at shows, fizzy behaviour, laid back, good doer; what makes your horse unique!!!
Firstly, provide enough calories to maintain a fat cover at 3 and for work, (some horses eat between 2 and 4X their calorie requirements from grass, -----not fresh air!!) As a rule of thumb, leisure horses need 90% of their total feed as fibre whereas research indicates that performance horses need no more than 50% of their total feed as fibre.
We use this evidence to be objective, resist being influenced by opinion!!!. All horses are mammals, they share similar biology and biochemistry, and as with cakes there are basic steps, based on scientific principles, which need to be
Teresa’s tip. Many people talk about restricting fibre intake to 1.5 or 1.25% of bodyweight to control weight gain. CALORIE control is more important; you can keep bulk intake above 1.5% but halve calorie intakes by soaking hay for
Your horse’s individual plan is based on evidence and science.
12hrs or replacing some of the hay with oat or barley straw. Secondly balance the fibre to ensure we are providing enough protein, vitamins and minerals. Many leisure horses are overfed calories (energy) but are undernourished in terms of nutrients. In this situation consider a good vitamin and mineral supplement but don’t add to their calories. Thirdly if your horse needs extra calories pick a feed from the correct range. Don’t feed a leisure feed to a competition horse. Fourthly make sure your horse is nourished by checking that his vitamin and mineral intakes are balanced. cont. on p.20
Insulin resistance? Cushing’s disease? At the Laminitis Clinic we have been dealing with these problems for years, with an enviable success rate! We use NoMetSyn to combat insulin resistance and Vitex4 Equids for Cushing’s Disease. The two products can be successfully used in combination. Blood insulin and glucose concentrations can normalize within 60 days of starting to feed NoMetSyn. NoMetSyn also has the unique ability to stop the exuberant growth of laminar horn so that the deformed hooves of insulin resistant chronic founder cases will return to a normal shape and no longer require frequent specialist farriery. Follow this link for a convincing demonstration; www.equilife.co.uk/NoMetSyn.htm Vitex4 Equids is our preferred method of dealing with Cushing’s Disease. Vitex4 Equids is highly palatable and most effective. Follow this link for information on the Laminitis Trust trial; www.equilife.co.uk/Vitex.htm
Equi Life Ltd Tel; 01249-890784 www.equilife.co.uk (secure online ordering available) 18
Health Care cont. from p.18
Tailor made diet plans Fred and Tilly’s current diets can be calculated using PCHorse and the 2 graphs show what the actual diet provides. Tilly is eating 9.5kgDM, 2% bodyweight; Fred is eating 11.4kg, 2.4% bodyweight All feed manufactures offer a nutritional helpline to help you put together a tailor made plan for your horse, there is no magic solution. There is usually a best way of providing the tailor made plan; based on practical experience and an understanding of nutrition and science, so just call them if you have any queries. Step 1
Fat score Neck/mid/bum
Adjustment to/tailored diet
TB x ID
2.5% of BW = 11.8kg feed/day
Possible calorie adjustment, depends on work load
TB x ID
2.5% of BW= 11.8kg feed/day
Needs a reduction in calories
Adjustment to/tailored diet
6 days / 45 mins; every wk; 1.5hrs/ other day; plus day hack
@ home once/wk
BE intermediate/ advanced once a month
Type will depend upon horse character
Once a month
Unaffiliated and riding club monthly
Once a fortnight
Adjustment to/tailored diet
Haylage 7kg/day (5.25kg dry matter)
2hrs/day 1.3kgDM intake which provides 11% of her feed intake
Good (been analysed)
44% of feed intake is haylage providing 47% of her calories
Ideally feed 50% of feed intake as fibre; alfalfa chaff contributes to this and brings fibre up to 52% of intake
All day (7hrs) Eats around 0.65kg grass (DM)/hr
Average (been analysed)
59% of food intake is hay which provides 49% of his calories; 39% of feed intake is grass which provides 44% of his calories
Soak hay for 12hrs to reduce calories; think about a muzzle when grazing
Adjustment to/tailored diet
Is eating 70% of recommended intakes of Comp Mix, and 52% of Build Up, which provides 34% of total feed intake but 52% of the calories (energy)
As Tilly starts to move up to Advanced, she will need more calories (energy). Increase both mixes as work increases but not haylage so that she starts to receive a higher % of her total feed intake from concentrates (don’t go above 50%)
Pasture Mix 1kg
Pasture Mix is providing 11% of his calories. Overall food is providing an excess of calories as is fat on neck and bottom
Fred is overfed but undernourished as is receiving excess calories but not enough nutrients. Cut out Pasture Mix and Hi Fi Lite
Step 4 Hard feed
Alfalfa Chaff Competition 1kg Mix 2kg
Build Up Mix 2kg
Safe & Sound Handful (100g)
Hi Fi Lite 2 double handfuls (300g)
Electrolytes after hard work and when travelling more than 2 hrs
Red Cell for energy
Might need to consider just a supplement due to weight issues
Step 3 Forage type Tilly
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Adjustment to/tailored diet
Diet is tailored to Tilly’s needs and no further adjustments are needed.
Fred is lazy because he is carrying too much weight
Cut out Red Cell and replace with a good Daily Vitamin and Mineral supplement or EquiBites to provide nourishment but no extra calories
Field & Stable • Paddock Care
Pristine Paddocks throughout winter After a very wet summer, horse owners are busy preparing for the winter. With paddocks, still trying to recover from the rain, Peter Hunter shares his advice on maintaining fields throughout the colder months and how to improve them in spring.
After the wettest summer on record since 1910, grass has gone from drought to saturation. This means that grass has suffered, resulting in many grasses becoming weakened, with some even dying out. Added to this many fields and paddocks will have been badly poached. As a result grass, hay and haylage are likely to be poor quality and may run into short supply due to the summer weather. Autumn is both the beginning and the end of the grassland year. It is the beginning because September is the ideal time of year to reseed worn out paddocks.
It is also the end because grass stops growing at the end of October and hibernates until the spring. It is important to keep maintaining your paddock so that it remains in good condition. Autumn jobs such as reseeding, mowing and harrowing the paddock will help the grass grow well and keep it tidy. Paddocks also need time to recover after so much wet weather. Oversowing to poached or damaged areas stops weeds invading these areas. Grass seed can be spread by hand, drill or fertiliser spreader. The seed mixture should provide a short, dense sward that will cushion the
horses’ feet, when the ground is hard. It should also be palatable and remain thick in the bottom.
from the roots they need to be burnt. It is also important to continue picking up droppings.
A horse’s grazing is important to his health and well being and provides a huge amount of nutritional goodness. If the preparation is right then the maintenance and upkeep of your paddock is easy.
Daily fencing checks should be carried out, to ensure all is secure. Quality horses need quality fencing to ensure they are kept in the boundaries of the paddock and are safe. Post and rail fencing is ideal, with electric fencing surrounding the paddock to create added security. Wooden fencing needs treating so it lasts, doesn’t go rotten or gets chewed. Barbed wire and sheep mesh are dangerous, hedges tend to have gaps and dry stone walls can fall apart. Also confirm the height of the fencing is appropriate for the size of the horse.
With this in mind, there are still ways to prepare and manage paddocks over winter, trying to avoid extremely flooded boggy fields. The first thing to consider is whether the paddock is an adequate size with sufficient grass for the amount of horses or ponies it is for. If there isn’t enough room the field will become very muddy and churned up. With little grass an alternative fibre source will need to be provided. It is always advisable to have one field resting, divide the paddocks up to allow one paddock to rest, while one is being used. This will enable a rotation system, to help avoid paddocks getting too badly damaged over winter. Check your paddock regularly for poisonous plants, Ragwort has been a big problem this year. Others are hogweed, laurel and yew. They should either be hand pulled or spot sprayed to stop them spreading, once removed
Make sure there is plenty of shelter, this is especially necessary if the horse is living out. Trees may lose their leaves, but dense hedges are great wind breaks all year round. If you have a field shelter, check it is safe. Is it water tight, with no leaks? Look out for sticking out wire, nails or iron that could cause injury. Make sure if the shelter is made of wood, it is treated and maintained. Vitally important is the fresh water supply to the paddock, whether it is a water trough or buckets these need checking and re-filling. Troughs need monitoring for rust and damage and should be cleaned regularly. Buckets can tip over and need to be constantly checked. Is your paddock secure? Put chains and padlocks on gates if necessary. To help poaching, don’t always feed in the same place and think about putting a second gate in so that one gate way can always be rested and have time to recover. If gates start to get muddy, cont. on p.24
Field & Stable
Keep Your Poultry Warm For Winter Got chickens? Why not try easichick’s newly launched poultry bedding which offers a warm and comfortable environment for your birds this winter.
• Dust free • Bacteria free • Biodegradable • Easy to use • Warm & comfortable
Made from clean recycled white wood fibre, easichick is not only soft for your hens to house on, but the thermal properties of the wood fibre means it helps them stay warm overnight too.
It is also treated with organic additives, making it a bio-secure bedding, further helping to protect the health of your birds. So not only is easichick good for your birds, but it’s also good for the environment as well.
easichick has been used in the commercial poultry sector for years, and now – after many requests - it has been launched to the consumer market in handy 10kg bales. The bedding is wellknown and loved for being:
easichick’s website can be found at www. easichick.co.uk and includes a list of UK stockists. You can also follow easichick and the antics of its mascot Chip the chick at www.facebook.cm/ easichick. Or for more information call 0161 370 2360.
• Absorbent and free-draining
Verdo Bedding - Tried & Tested I have been using Verdo Bedding for just over a month. It’s the first time that I have used wood pellets and have been very much won over. The Bedding arrived with an easy to follow instruction leaflet which was very helpful. The bedding forms a lovely dense supportive base for your horse and is exceptionally absorbent and very economical, only needing to remove
a small amount of bedding meaning there’s no excess waste and to the envy of everyone else on the yard my mucking out time has more than halved. If you are looking for a comfy cost effective bedding then I can’t recommend trying Verdo Horse Bedding enough! To find out more go to www.verdorenewables.co.uk
Field & Stable cont. from p.22
options can be putting down straw, sand or specialist matting. Moving gates yearly can prevent long term damage. Through the winter months we should follow these pointers, but there is not a lot we can do with our paddocks in regards to the grass, until the weather improves. Top 10 Tips For Keeping Your Paddock In Good Condition 1. Poached land can be rescued, but timing is very important. If the ground is too wet using a tractor will make a real mess. If the ground has dried out too much then the hoof prints and ruts will not roll back, leaving you with an uneven rough field which is not suitable for riding on. 2. Start renovating work in March or April when the land should be drying out and warming up. 3. Harrow the field. This will tear out
old feg and moss, and make a partial seedbed. 4. Oversow poached or damaged areas as weeds may invade these areas. Grass seed can be spread by hand, drill or fertiliser spreader. 5. After the seed has been sown, lightly harrow then roll. 6. Choose your grass seed carefully. A good paddock mixture should be hard wearing and provide a thick and relatively short sward. If your field needs a complete reseed, March, April, August or September is a good time. 7. If the preparation is right then the maintenance and upkeep is relatively easy. Topping stops the grazing sward from getting leggy and encourages horses to graze the entire field, not just parts of it. 8. Pull out weeds when you see them and don’t leave them to spread their seeds. Harrow as a matter of routine, particularly if the droppings are not being collected. 9. Feed in different parts of the field to avoid poaching and spread by hand a little seed in those areas each time. 10. Put in an extra gate. This will prevent poaching and allow one gateway time to recover.
Peter Hunter Seeds offers advice on all aspects of grassland management and supplies grass seeds for the equine and agricultural industry. For more information please contact Peter Hunter Seeds on 07831 442415 or visit www.hunterseeds.com
Respiratory Support Air Power Booster Cough Mixture Air Power Booster is a reliable and easy to administer cough mixture for horses that can help alleviate coughs and clear blocked air passages. Air Power Booster is available in 500 ml and 1 L bottles, and prices start from £8.95. Clear Breather Supplement Clear Breather Supplement is a high specification respiratory supplement that can be used for horses with congestion and other respiratory issues. Clear Breather is available
in 700 g and 1.4 kg tubs, where 700 g will last the average horse for 25 days, and has a RRP of £25.80. Golden Garlic Flakes Equimins’ Golden Garlic Flakes are a great way to help promote a healthy respiratory system in an entirely natural way. Golden Garlic Flakes are available in 1 kg and 2.5 kg bags, and prices start from £4.65. For more information see www.equimins.com, email email@example.com or call 01548 531770.
Richard Davison to appear in ‘Olympic Dressage and Eventing Training Methods’ Masterclass at Bishop Burton College
Former British National Champion, British number 1 International Dressage Rider and European silver & bronze medallist Richard Davison is the star of an evening event at Bishop Burton College, Beverley, on Wednesday, 21st November 2012. The event, run in joint partnership with leading synthetic surface manufacturer Martin Collins Enterprises and Bishop Burton College, concentrates on ‘Olympic Dressage and Eventing Training Methods’. The evening will also feature exciting rising star and young Chinese eventer Alex Hua-Tian, Richard’s wife, Gillian, a successful Grand Prix dressage rider in her own right, and Richard’s son, Tom, who coaches many show jumpers and event riders. Bishop Burton College hosts a number of high-profile affiliated competitions in all disciplines throughout the year, as well as clinics, workshops and seminars with some of the UK’s leading trainers and coaches. The College has a longstanding relationship with Martin Collins Enterprises – the company provided the footing on all three outdoor competition arenas (installed in late 2009, prior to the College hosting the 2010 FEI Pony European Championships), and its waxed Ecotrack is laid on one of the indoor arenas. The College has also been successful in its recent bid to host the FEI European Eventing Championships for Juniors in 2014, following a wonderful FEI Pony European Championships in 2010. Martin Collins Enterprises has been at the very forefront of synthetic equestrian surface development for over thirty years. They were awarded
the Royal Warrant in 2008, and are the only equestrian surface company to hold this prestigious title. In addition to manufacturing and installing synthetic surfaces, they also construct arenas and undertake projects all over the country which range from building an arena for the single horse owner ‘at home’, to larger commercial projects such as the construction of gallops and racetracks. For many years now, they have been the official surface supplier to the Royal Windsor Horse Show and the London International Horse Show at Olympia. In 2010, they provided a new surface for the Spanish Riding School in Vienna, the first time in the school’s history that the surface had been replaced. For enquiries and tickets, call Bishop Burton College on 01964 553087. Tickets are £20 in advance and £25 on the night (subject to availability) and are available from the college direct. Tickets will be available to collect on the night, and can be purchased over the phone by credit card, or by postal application to the college. The college website address is www.bishopburton. ac.uk/equestrian.
WIN VIP TICKETS For your chance to win two VIP tickets to the event please email kate@ martincollins.com with the subject line ‘Win tickets to an Olympic Training Event at Bishop Burton’. Please offer your name, address and contact telephone number in order that we can inform the winner. This winner will be selected at random by 15.11.12 at midday.
Airway Disease Recurrent Airway Obstruction (RAO), also known as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) or “Heaves” is one of the most common airway diseases in the horse. It is characterised by episodes of overreactivity of the immune system leading to inflammatory disease of the lower airway, resulting in a reversible obstruction to the airways. Clinical signs include wheezing, coughing and laboured breathing. Sometimes horses will also have a nasal discharge. RAO is an inflammatory reaction of the lower airways caused by an immune reaction to an allergen. These allergens are normally dust particles or pollen particles which are commonly found in bedding and feed, particularly hay and straw. Due to this RAO is more common in the winter, when horses are stabled for more of the time and are therefore exposed to more potential allergens but this does not mean that symptoms aren’t seen at other times of year. Another form of the disease, Summer Pasture Associated RAO is triggered by pollens and dust in paddocks causing horses to display symptoms when turned out. The dust particles are inhaled deep into the lungs, where they are recognised by the immune system and cause physical irritation. Once the immune system has recognised a potential threat it responds by producing many more Neutrophil white blood cells to combat the problem. These immune cells are “primed” by the body, and so react much more vigorously to
Peter Fenton BVM&S, MRCVS
the dust particles in the lungs. The immune system also causes mucous to be produced by the lungs in an attempt to trap the dust particles. This excessive mucous production overwhelms the normal balance of the lungs making breathing much harder for affected horses. This mucous also promotes a cough reflex as horses try to remove it from their lungs. Finally the muscle in the walls of the airways constricts, narrowing the airways and greatly increasing the effort required to inhale. All of these responses lead to dyspnoea, or shortness of breath. In some mild cases this may only be apparent during strenuous exercise, but in some cases the immune response is so severe that horses present with severe dyspnoea at rest. This is a veterinary emergency and all horses showing signs of breathing difficulty at rest should be examined by a vet as soon as possible. While you are waiting for your vet to arrive make sure you take your horse outside into the fresh air, away from any dust. A soft, moist cough is also a common finding which is usually associated with exercise or eating. A wheeze may also be audible. In chronic cases a “Heave Line” may be visible running along the abdomen. This is caused by enlargement of the muscles used to inhale air, and is the body’s response to long periods of increased respiratory effort.
auscultate (listen to) your horses’ chest with a stethoscope, listening carefully for any unusual noises associated with the breathing. These can take the form of wheezes (commonly caused by excessive mucous) or crackles (caused by collapsed alveoli “popping” back open again.) If the breathing noises are very quiet then a re-breathing bag may be used to increase respiratory effort and make these noises more apparent. In some cases your vet may recommend endoscopy of the upper airways to inspect them for signs of inflammation. This involves passing a small camera into the trachea, and can also allow samples of mucous to be taken for bacterial analysis. Once RAO has been diagnosed treatment can be started.
RAO can be improved primarily by management changes. These include; • Maximising turnout to avoid dusts in the box. • Changing bedding to rubber matting or shavings. • Soaking all hay for 30 minutes, or changing to haylage. • Ensuring the stable is well ventilated (A helpful hint here is to look for cobwebs as spiders won’t spin webs where there is a draft, therefore a
To diagnose the problem your vet will
cont. on p.26
Respiratory Disease cobwebby stable is a poorly ventilated one!)
can also be given intravenously in emergencies.
In more severe cases your vet may prescribe certain medicines to reduce the symptoms of the disease.
Commonly only a single course of medicines will be needed to control RAO before the management changes take over, but some horses with persistent clinical signs can be managed on longterm steroid inhalers successfully.
Examples of drugs which are commonly used are; • Bronchodilators (Clenbuterol) This drug works by relaxing the muscle around the airways, increasing their diameter and making breathing much easier. Dilating the airways also allows horses to clear the excess mucous more easily. Clenbuterol also has antiinflammatory effects so actually reduces the amount of mucous produced. Clenbuterol is commonly administered orally, but can be given intravenously in life-threatening cases. • Corticosteroids (Prednisalone, Beclamethasone) These drugs work by reducing the effect of the immune system in the lungs, preventing the influx of immune cells and mucous production. They are strongly anti-inflammatory and work very well when inhaled, but
RAO is a life-long disease, which can reduce the exercise tolerance of affected horses. However, if diagnosed promptly it can normally be successfully controlled with simple management changes. Unfortunately, if left untreated some horses will develop scarring on their lungs from constant increased respiratory effort, and while this is not usually life-threatening it will greatly decrease their ability to work.
Every horse with difficulty breathing should be examined by a vet quickly as respiratory distress can be lifethreatening.
Breathe Easy Respiratory Horslyx is a nutrient rich lick containing menthol, eucalyptus and aniseed, all of which assist in keeping the airways clear of mucus whilst soothing any respiratory irritation. The unique combination of ingredients helps horses to breathe more easily and reduce the stress caused by respiratory compromise. Respiratory Horslyx is supported by a high specification vitamin, mineral and trace element package, which includes generous levels of the powerful antioxidants selenium, Vitamin C and Vitamin E, together with a unique healthy hooves package, offering a
simple, cost effective, all-year-round forage balancer. Respiratory Horslyx is available in 5kg and 15kg weatherproof tubs, priced around £12.85 and £24.90 respectively. Customers now have the option of feeding their Horslyx in the exclusive re-usable 5kg or 15kg Holders. For further information tel, (01697) 332 592 or visit www.horslyx.com
Airway Products on sale at Aivly Country Store Looking for a new way to open your horse’s airways, then Aivly Tack Shop & Country Store may have the answer. The store not only stocks a range of feeds to prevent allergies and supplements to support the respiratory system either by boosting the immune
system or soothing a cough or cold but also offers a wide range of dust-free bedding including shavings infused with eucalyptus to aid easy breathing. Visit Aivly Country Store, Crow Lane, Ringwood, Hampshire BH24 3EA. www.aivly.com. Or Tel 01425 472341.
Steaming hay transforms horses and owners health Dressage rider Fiona King’s yard on the Isle of Man has gone under a huge transformation since they started to understand the advantages of using steamed hay more than two years ago. Read on to find out more... “Instead of buying in haylage we now make our own hay. Wilma has shown the most improvement since being on steamed hay. She is currently working at Medium Advanced, with the aim to do Prix St George this year.
Fiona King had struggled to find a solution to stop her horses coughing and with her husband unable to help due to an allergy to hay, she was desperate for help to overcome the issue. Now two years on Fiona’s daily routine has been transformed thanks to the hay she feeds being steamed with a Haygain HG-1000 hay steamer. Having ridden since a child Fiona currently owns two horses, the 10-yearold dressage mare Wilma and 18hh youngster Donald, plus two other horses on the yard. Fiona shares her experience: “Since having the hay steamer the yard has undergone dramatic change. Originally we were feeding haylage. This worried me as I was unable to feed as much as I wanted as it caused the horses to get very fresh and it didn’t stop the coughing.
“It has made the most dramatic change to Wilma, who is really susceptible to tying up. She is on a cereal-grain-free diet, steamed hay and is out all day and in at night. Fingers crossed this diet is really working and we haven’t experienced any problems since, as a result she is proving a real star in the dressage arena. “When we travel to a show, we steam the hay in advance and take it with us and the horses are always on steamed hay. “Steaming hay is so easy and it really fits into our daily routine. I don’t know what we would do without it. The horses all look so well and there is no coughing. My husband can now handle the steamed hay without any allergic reaction with is incredible.” For further information please contact Haygain on (0333) 200 5233 or visit www.haygain.com
“The hay steamer now allows me to happily feed as much hay as I want and it doesn’t blow the horses’ brains and the coughing has stopped completely.
Bedmax Virtually dust free, BEDMAX is a completely natural bedding with no additives and is the original shaving made specifically for the purpose of bedding all stabled horses. Absorbent and extremely easy to use, BEDMAX is made in strictly controlled conditions ensuring the same high quality in every bag. Screened to remove dust that causes respiratory problems the flakes are designed to produce a deeper more aerated bed, increasing drainage, and offering far more cushioning for the horse’s feet and joints.
BEDMAX has a Royal Warrant of appointment to Her Majesty The Queen, for the supply of shavings to the Royal Stud at Sandringham. For stockists and further details visit: www.bedmaxshavings.com or 01668 213467
The shavings are made predominantly from British Pine and scientists are beginning to confirm the old belief that pine has natural antiseptic properties.
LITTLEMAX is produced from sustainable sources of primarily British pine, cut specifically for shavings and not as a bi-product. Once cut, the shavings are dried to a carefully controlled moisture level and rigorously screened to remove dust.
stable and praised its quality, low dust levels, ease of use, and absorbency LITTLEMAX branded is distinctive, 20kg green and cream bags is available throughout the UK.
Recurrent Airway Obstruction or RAO, previously known as COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) which affects many horses and ponies, has much in common with human asthma. It is thought to be an allergic condition that is worsened by trigger factors such as pollen, dust and mould, which can be found in poor quality forage.
It contains no chemical additives or mould inhibitors, and comes with a 100% quality guarantee. It is the only forage on the market to have NOPS FEMAS certification which means that all the ingredients are fully traceable and has been manufactured under the highest industry standards.
Always choose a forage you can rely on, such as HorseHage dust-free bagged forage, as prevention is always better than cure, even with those who show no sign of RAO.
Respirator Boost provides unrivalled, fast acting, nutritional support to help keep your horse’s airways clear, and, support the integrity and normal function of the capillary blood vessels surrounding the lungs. Furthermore, NAF have such confidence in the product, it comes with a 48 hour money back guarantee!
Extensive LITTLEMAX stable trials have been conducted with all sectors of the equine industry and Horse owners, who took part, liked the way it looked in the
Think Clear – helping your horse breathe more easily…
HorseHage is made from selected grasses and is available in four varieties – Ryegrass, High Fibre, Timothy and Alfalfa, offering a choice to suit all horses and ponies, including laminitics.
HorseHage is high in naturally occurring antioxidants and these play a positive role in supporting lung health. Horses prone to RAO have been scientifically proven to show improved lung function and reduced airway inflammation following supplementation. Horses suffering from RAO should be fed HorseHage from the floor to allow free drainage of the respiratory tract. For further information telephone the HorseHage Helpline on 01803 527257 or visit www.horsehage.co.uk
Respirator Boost the powerful natural alternative for healthy lungs…
LITTLEMAX shavings offer the antibacterial properties of pine, minimal dust and maximum absorbency, comfort and protection.
Think Clear from Brinicombe Equine is a fast acting formula combining natural ingredients which produce an extra-strong formula that works in three distinct ways: antioxidants help to build the body’s natural defences, specially selected herbs to clear the airways, while minerals and MSM help to repair the sensitive lining of the respiratory tract. It is therefore not just masking the symptoms, but actually reaching the root cause to help your horse breathe more easily. Think
Are you struggling to find good quality hay or haylage this winter? The wet summer affected many harvests and so there is likely to be more bad quality hay around than good this year.
The severity can range from no symptoms (except for changes evident on endoscopic examination) through varying degrees from a single cough to nasal discharge, reduced exercise tolerance and in severe cases, an inability to work.
Littlemax LITTLEMAX shavings are produced specifically for horse owners who prefer a small flake shaving. LITTLEMAX is dust free, very durable and absorbent and easy to use. This is a very high quality, fine horse bedding with a light appearance.
Choose HorseHage – A Partnership You Can Rely On!
Clear starts to work straight away and results can be seen in as little as five days and is recommended for all sensitive horses who are exposed to a dusty, dry environment. Available in 1kg tubs priced RRP £32.99, which will last a horse for up to 33 days. For further information please contact Brinicombe Equine on Tel 08700 606206 or visit www.brinicombe-equine. co.uk
Respirator Boost is a powerful liquid supplement formulated from tinctures of ingredients particularly beneficial to the respiratory system. Utilising tinctures enables the product to work very quickly, they are combined with Echinacea to support the immune system, highly concentrated antioxidant nutrients - to mop up and flush away toxins, essential oils of clove and eucalyptus to help clear the airways, plus soothing ingredients such as honey, peppermint and lemon. Feed Respirator Boost and see a clear difference in your horse’s breathing within 48 hours! For a full and powerful effect, we recommend
you feed Respirator Boost for 2 weeks, to establish the nutrients within the system. Follow this by feeding Respirator powder as part of your horse’s daily diet to maintain the clear benefits seen. RRP’s: Respirator Boost: 500ml: £14.95. 1 litre: £26.75 - 2 litres: £47.95. Larger sizes available. . For further information please call the NAF Freephone Advice Line 0800 373 106, email: firstname.lastname@example.org or go to www.naf-uk.com
***GIVEAWAY*** 5 up for grabs! 500ml Respirator Boost.
To enter, please send a postcard with your name, address and telephone number to Equi-Ads Ltd. (Respirator Boost Giveaway) Office 1, Tayview Estate, Friarton Road, Perth PH2 8DG or email your entry to info@ equiads.net with the subject: Respirator Boost. Closing date: 30th November 2012.
Physiotherapy Problem Page
I have been out and about with my horse quite a lot this year attending regular lessons and we have also been to some one day events. She doesn’t have any problems that I am aware of but I know I always feel a bit stiff and sore after a day eventing. Should I get her checked by a Physiotherapist or not worry unless she has a problem? It is always a good idea to get a Chartered Veterinary Physiotherapist to give your horse a check over once or twice a year even if you think they are
fine. Horses are very good at ‘getting on with it’. They are a prey animal so naturally try and hide any pain or stiffness so they don’t get singled out of their herd as the easy dinner. These minor problems become evident when we ask them to work harder and you notice they don’t bend on one rein as well, or they start to refuse bigger jumps. Often the horse is able to complete the tasks we ask them without showing signs of a problem. If they continue to work with stiffness or pain this can then begin to show in their training so they do not perform as well. Have a think about how often you notice a stiffness or sore muscle in yourself and don’t do anything about it, or just get on with your day. It can be easy to ignore a minor niggle, but if you keep moving in a certain way to avoid it, or keep using the same postures for your work it can end up being a real pain. The same advice applies to you as a rider/horse owner as it does to your horse. Don’t ignore the little things! A Chartered Veterinary Physiotherapist is qualified to look at you as an individual and as a rider, and also to assess your horse. They have extensive training in human and animal anatomy, physiology, biomechanics, injury
prevention, treatment and rehabilitation. This also gives them a strong understanding of how a horse and rider affect each other’s movements and how to treat this. After completing a full assessment of posture, movement (in hand and ridden) and palpation (how muscles and joints feel) they will be able to identify any tense areas, muscle trigger points, altered movement patterns, weaknesses etc. that have the potential to escalate to become a performance problem if left untreated. They will be able to treat any issues that they find for you and your horse and will also provide you with an exercise plan that will help to prevent them from re-occurring. You
your horse (and you) a routine ‘checkup’ with your local Chartered Veterinary Physiotherapist. This will help to minimise injury and time off work, and keep you both moving well and able to train, compete and enjoy yourselves. Anna Armstrong, Chartered Veterinary Physiotherapist BSc (HONS) Physiotherapy MSc Veterinary Physiotherapy MCSP ACPAT Cat A
Rider Assessment Assessment of spinal rotation
will also be able to get advice on useful warm up and cool down exercises and stretches for you and your horse to help reduce muscle soreness when you are eventing. It is also helpful for your Chartered Veterinary Physiotherapist to see you and your horse when you are both working well. This lets them build a picture of what your normal movement and performance are like and will help inform them of what has changed if you do have a problem/injury in the future.
Tel: 07711584314 Email: email@example.com Web: www.vetphysio.org Based in Aberdeen, covering Aberdeenshire, Orkney and Shetland. For more information on Veterinary Physiotherapy or to find a Chartered Veterinary Physiotherapist in your area, go to www.acpat.org
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Winter First Aid
Winter ailments and items for the first aid kit Anne Wilson There are a number of other ailments which are much more prevalent in winter; here are some of them:CRACKED HEELS AND/OR MUD FEVER Mud Fever If your horse suffers from mud fever then turn-out in the winter can be a real problem. There are many products on the market which are produced for the treatment of mud fever, so it is best to keep something readily available to apply at the first onset of the disease.
Every season brings with it a whole host of problems for the horse owner. The main problems in spring/summer are the rich grass, flies and heat. Now we begin the season where the goodness dies from the grass and those of us with good-doers, horses with a propensity to colic from grass sensitivity, and those prone to laminitis, can begin to relax a little
when we turn our horses out. However, a word of warning; occasionally during a very warm and wet late autumn or an early spring the grass can catch us out in say October/November or March and can be a lot richer than expected, so my advice is to take nothing for granted. Judge by the state of the grass and the weather, not by the calendar.
Mud fever causes the skin to become tender and scaly. It can spread up the legs and under the belly and even cause a fever, so it is best to prevent it altogether if possible. Horses who have suffered from mud fever in the past are far more likely to succumb to it again. However, because it is caused by bacteria in the soil, not all soil conditions will harbour it. At the beginning of the wet and cold season, your horse’s legs should be clean and free from infection, so the aim is to keep them that way. There are some really good turn-out leg wraps on the market. These are stretchy so should not be uncomfortable nor restrict movement. They should be well shaped and fit snugly into the heel right down to the coronet and shaped to cover the bulbs of the heel. Obviously if your horse is standing in, or walking through a lot of wet mud, some muddy water can seep up underneath, so a generous
application of a good barrier cream in this area is essential. If your horse does contract full blown mud fever, then it is usually best to clip the hair off the legs completely to facilitate daily treatment. The legs must be washed in warm water daily and thoroughly dried, before applying the patented mud fever remedy. It is sometimes possible, if the horse is not upset by it, to use a hair dryer to make sure the skin is thoroughly dry. It is worth spending some time to accustom the horse to this procedure, since it will save you a lot of time and trouble in the long run, as towel drying is not easy. If the condition does not improve fairly quickly, or if it is severe, then you need to call your vet. Cracked Heels Any horse can suffer from cracked heels if the skin at the back of the fetlock is subjected to a lot of wet and cold conditions, in the same way as our hands can become chapped and the skin can crack. Once again, prevention is better than cure, and the same principles apply as to the horse prone to mud fever – leg wraps and barrier creams are the order of the day. To clip or not to clip? When it comes to horses who have a lot of feather on their legs and long hair in the heels; whether to clip this hair away or not is a source of controversy. cont. on p.34
Win An Equi-N-Ice Stable Pack To celebrate the launch of the new stable pack, Equi-N-icE is offering two readers the chance to win one of these handy cooling packs. Each Equi-N-icE stable pack contains two reusable cooling bandages and 500ml of reactivating coolant contained in a handy zipped case. Leading Event rider Jeanette Brakewell uses Equi-N-icE to help keep her competition horses in training: “Reducing heat from tendons and joints after training is always a challenge. Equi-N-icE cooling bandages are a simple and effective solution, even on sensitive thoroughbred legs. They
can even be worn while my horses are working!” Question - Which leading event rider uses Equi-N-ice? Send your answer and entry to EquiN-ice Competition, Office 1, Tayview Estate, Friarton Road, Perth, PH2-8DG or email your answer to liz@equiads. net. Entries close 30th November 2012. Equi-N-icE cooling bandages cost from £8-99 to £24-99 for the new Stable Pack - www.equinice.co.uk / 02076300491
NaturalintX - the new name in equine first aid. NAF, pioneers in natural horse health, have turned their expertise in natural equine care to first aid, with the launch of NaturalintX… Within the new NaturalintX first aid range you will find a choice of veterinary approved, 100% natural dressings for wound management, together with naturally formulated applications to support the healing of minor wounds, cuts, abrasions and strains. The hero product of the range is the NaturalintX Poultice A 100% natural, veterinary approved poultice for use on minor wounds and abrasions. The NaturalintX Poultice is formed from multiple layers of 100% natural cotton wool, with a low adherent, non woven wound facing to help minimize disturbance and trauma caused to the wound when the dressing is changed and a fine polythene backing sheet to help retain the moisture and warmth of the dressing and serve as a protective barrier against external contamination. The Poultice comes as a single 41 cm x 21 cm pad which can be cut to the precise size and shape required to ensure maximum comfort and protection. It can be applied in three different ways depending on the nature of the wound to be dressed – either as a hot, cold or dry poultice dressing – and secures with a NaturalintX Wrap.
Poultice - a 100% natural, veterinary approved poultice for use on minor wounds of the foot; and designed to comfortably fit your horse’s hoof, reducing preparation time and enabling ease of application. RRP: NaturalintX Poultice: £4.99 NaturalintX Hoof Poultice: (Pack of 3 dressings) £5.99 NaturalintX is the new name you can rely on to care for your horse, naturally… For more details about the new NaturalintX natural first aid range please go to your local NAF stockist or visit the website www.naturalintx.co.uk or alternatively call the NAF Freephone Advice Line: 0800 373 106.
3 up for grabs! NaturalintX Poultice and Wrap
To enter, please send a postcard with your name, address and telephone number to Equi-Ads Ltd. (Naturalintx Giveaway) Office 1, Tayview Estate, Friarton Road, Perth PH2 8DG or email your entry to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject: NaturalintX. Closing date: 30th November 2012.
Also available is the NaturalintX Hoof
First Aid Arnica & Witch Hazel Gel Equimins’ Arnica & Witch Hazel Gel is soothing gel that can be used for bruising, sprained joints and muscle soreness, making it a first aid kit essential.
aid product that can be used to help wounds that require drying as this product works as a blood coagulant.
Arnica & Witch Hazel Gel is available in 250 g and 500 g tubs, and prices start from £5.99.
Total Care Wound Gel Total Care Wound Gel combines a hydrating wound gel with silver ions that have been shown to kill 99% of bacteria.
MSM Cream MSM Cream is an antibacterial, soothing cream that helps to soothe minor skin irritation and soreness, but can also be used to help aid hair regrowth and to provide a barrier between the mud and the horse’s legs. MSM Cream is available in 250 g, 500 g and 1 kg tubs, and prices start from £6.95. Wound Powder Wound Powder is an easy to apply first
Wound Powder is available in 125 ml puffer bottles that have a RRP of £6.00.
Wound Gel is one of the most recent products to join Equimins’ first aid range. Wound Gel is available in 100 ml airless dispenser bottles and has a RRP of £7.15. For more information see www. equimins.com, email sales@equimins. com or call 01548 531770.
Winter First Aid cont. from p.32
I believe that it depends on the circumstances. If the hair is really long and the horse has a good amount of natural oil in the coat, then that is what nature has provided for the purpose of keeping the skin dry and clean and we should leave well alone. If, after being turned out in muddy conditions, the wet muddy hair can be parted to show clean and dry skin underneath, then the legs should be left alone. The mud can be brushed off later when it is dry. If you start washing the mud off, you will only succeed in wetting the skin which was previously dry, and probably washing some of the mud onto it! My particular pet hate is the routine practice of cold hosing the legs in winter – not only does this add to the problem of chapped skin but it is detrimental to the joints. In my opinion this is a contributory factor in the onset of arthritis in many horses; it certainly cannot help, just ask anyone who has arthritis! If the horse is walking through or even standing in watery mud, say half way up the cannon bones, then it is possible that it will eventually seep through the hair onto the skin. In this case it will then be necessary to clip the hair away and protect the skin with leg wraps and barrier creams. For some horses who have particularly sensitive skin and/or mud fever, it may
be sensible to keep them away from the worst of the mud, at least until the cracked heels or mud fever has healed. In the worst of the wet weather this may mean not turning the horse out, but of course this is not ideal and the horse will need daily exercise. It may sometimes be possible to turn out into a sand area, but I would advise against feeding hay to horses on treated silica sand, since some equestrian silica sand treated for the purpose, is particularly poisonous. When I changed my arena surface from ordinary sand, which was not silica and therefore not good for riding; instead of disposing of the sand I had it tipped into a small paddock, which is now invaluable for turn-out in wet weather. SOFTENED FEET Horses can suffer with softened horn in the foot when standing in wet conditions for prolonged periods. There are good patented treatments for this condition, which should help to prevent it, as well as treat it. Your Farrier would be able to advise on the best one for your horse. RUNNY EYES Strong wind can cause the eyes to water. These tears should run down the nostrils, but if the watering is excessive or the tear ducts become blocked, it runs down the face and can
cause chapping. Barrier cream similar to that used for the heels can prevent chapping, but providing good shelter in the field is advisable for many reasons. When applying barrier cream, make sure you rub against the lie of the hay to put the cream onto the skin, then again downwards to lay the hair back again. COUGHS AND COLDS Viruses which cause coughs and colds are always more prevalent in winter and if your horse lives in a big yard where there are horses coming and going to and from competitions and other yards, then the likelihood of these bugs being passed around is far higher than where just a few horses are kept. However, some viruses such as equine influenza can be wind borne. It is therefore important, if you think your horse is at risk, to make sure his flu inoculation is up-to-date. Tetanus is not necessary every year, but it is even more important that he is kept protected from Tetanus since it is a most horrible disease – check with your vet as to the required booster date. Equine flu is not always 100% necessary if your horse does not come into contact with lots of other horses, unless of course you are competing, or taking him away, in which case you will be required to keep his vaccinations up-to-date. The degree of risk from flu will depend on the horse’s age and how
many vaccinations he has had to date. As mentioned above, keeping him in a stable ‘herd’ with a few other horses will not always protect him from the airborne virus, but it will drastically cut down the likelihood of him contracting it. In my experience many horses have a bad reaction to the flu vaccination, so if you do not need to have his passport vaccinations up-to-date but want to protect him against the disease, it is worth giving him homeopathic protection. This will not be recognised by any competition authority but it should give him protection without the bad effects of the vaccination. Equine flu homeopathic nosodes can be obtained from a qualified vet who also specialises in homeopathy. Vets specialising in this treatment can be found on the Internet. The Herpes virus is another thing which it is sometimes advisable to vaccinate against; but only if it is prevalent in the area that particular year. Here again, protection against this disease can also be given homeopathically. The best protection against ordinary coughs and colds is to keep your horse as healthy as possible. Try to protect him from the worst of the winter weather with good rugs, keeping him dry and warm, but not too hot. A diet cont. on p.36
Winter First Aid
Dealing with Winter Ailments Robinson Animal Healthcare continues to lead the way amongst equine healthcare specialists. A successful manufacturer of a wide range of quality, innovative wound care and first aid products, the company’s wealth of knowledge stems from more than 170 years experience, since the founding company Robinson and Sons first started in 1839. Mud Fever and Rain Scald Dermatophilus congolensis, the bacterium that causes mud fever and rain scald, forms spores that are capable of surviving for many months, even years. If not effectively removed, the condition can recur at any time. The skin and underlying tissues become inflamed and lead to the skin swelling, stretching and weeping; the skin starts to crack, hair falls out and hard scabs form. Mud fever and rain scald can affect hair re-growth causing uneven patches. Rain scald damages the hair follicle and secondary bacterial infection can occur as the hair starts to grow back through the scabs. The skin will need to be kept soft to help new hair grow back and prevent colour change as it re-grows. Inflammation may be present in severe cases of mud fever or rain scald, in such cases horses will need to be treated under the direction of a vet. They may recommend initially poulticing with Animalintex® to help remove the scabs and may also prescribe a course of antibiotics. If it is known that an individual horse is prone to certain winter skin conditions then preventative measures should be
taken. For example, horses prone to mud fever may benefit from a barrier cream or regular treatments with an anti-bacterial cleansing wash such as Activ Wash®. Hoof Abscesses An abscess is a cavity containing pus, which is a collection of dead cells, bacteria, and other debris resulting from an infection. As the amount of pus increases in a foot abscess it becomes painful as the hoof continually bares weight and it is unable to swell. Foot abscesses are more common in wet weather because horses’ feet are softer and it is easier for foreign objects or dirt to penetrate the foot. If a horse is standing in mud there are more opportunities for dirt to get under the shoe, or into the foot of an unshod horse. Hoof abscesses are commonly caused by dirt or gravel penetrating the white line (weakest area on the sole of the foot) or when a sharp object penetrates the hoof sole. Infection then rapidly develops, with a build-up of pus within the confines of the hoof, which is extremely painful for the horse. Abscess treatment needs to commence quickly to halt the abscess finding its own exit point - often the coronary band, but of course if it does this, then it
has destroyed sensitive foot structures along the way. A vet or farrier will need to locate the abscess and drain the pus. Once the pus has been drained the foot must be cleaned, Animalintex Hoof Treatment®, secured with Equiwrap®, is ideal for drawing out any remaining pus. Over winter owners should check and clean hooves daily. Xeroderma Xeroderma is a generic term for dry skin. Symptoms may include scaling (the visible peeling of the outer skin layer), itching and cracks in the skin. Excessive bathing may cause the skin to lose moisture and it may crack and peel. Xeroderma can also be caused by a deficiency of vitamin A, vitamin D, systemic illness, extreme overexposure to sunlight (sunburn), extreme underexposure to sunlight, or by some medication. UV Rays enable the skin to synthesise Vitamin D which is vital for absorption, transportation and metabolism of calcium and phosphorus. Vitamin D is critical to proper growth. It is fat soluble, so some amounts are stored in the liver and fatty tissues. If horses receive very little natural light over the winter they may become deficient in Vitamin D, although this is unlikely as
Vitamin D is added to most feedstuffs. However, it is desirable that horses are exposed to natural light daily during winter. Ectoparasites Lice, mites and other ectoparasites must be eradicated as they are usually itchy and uncomfortable for the horse; they are also capable of transmitting numerous diseases. In winter there are three main ectoparasites that are not uncommon – lice, mites and some ticks. This is because their life cycles occur entirely on the animal. It is important to remove rugs daily and to groom horses so that you can check the coat and skin thoroughly for infestations. A period of isolation may be necessary if a horse is suffering from a contagious infection e.g. ringworm or has an infestation e.g. lice. Rugs, tack, grooming and stable equipment can spread contagious skin diseases or repeatedly re-infect the same horse unless you eliminate infectious agents by disinfection and cleaning (veterinary surgeons can advise on suitable products that will not harm your horse). For more information contact Robinson Animal Healthcare on 01909 735000 or visit www.robinsonhealthcare.com
Winter First Aid cont. from p.32
with plenty of fibre to keep him warm from the inside out, alongside a good balance of vitamins, minerals and trace elements, steering clear of excess sugar, will go a long way towards keeping him fit and healthy, with good quality muscle without too much fat. All this will help to keep his immune system working well, so he can fend off most winter ailments. Whilst your horse is well take his temperature for several days at different times of the day. A normal equine temperature is around 38 degrees centigrade, but this can differ slightly with individual animals and vary at differing times of day. It is good to know what is a normal temperature for your horse at a given time of the day. Then if he shows signs of being unwell, when you take his temperature you will know whether this is significantly raised or lowered. Either way a call to your vet would be advised. A normal breathing rate would be 8 to 12 inhalations per minute at rest. This can be counted by watching the flanks from behind. A normal pulse rate is 36 to 45 beats per minute. This is more difficult to
take, but the easiest way is to place two fingers (not your thumb as this contains a pulse itself) under the top of the lower jaw, gently pressing the facial artery against the inner surface of the bone. Many winter coughs are caused by a dusty stable atmosphere, which can be prevented by keeping his bed as dust free and clean as possible. That does not mean he has to live in an aseptic stable. In fact in my experience a good shavings deep litter bed, where the droppings are picked up regularly and the surface it topped up once or twice a week with dust extracted shavings, is often a lot less dusty than a bed which is regularly completely replaced. New bedding gets kicked around the stable every time the horse moves which unavoidably causes dust in the atmosphere, whereas a well kept deep litter bed is more static and does not fly around. Hay can be fairly easily ‘dunked’ in water an hour or so before feeding, thus taking out the dust and rendering it damp when fed. This removes a great deal of dust from the atmosphere and is well worth the trouble. Haynets can be filled and ‘dunked’ into a large bucket of water in the morning and hung up ready to be fed later in the day. If they have
A horse’s psychological well-being also has a great effect on his physical health. It is a well known fact that stress lowers the immune system. A regular routine which suits him as an individual, adequate turnout with friendly horses, as well as adequate exercise; will all add to his contentment. This does not mean he has to be out in the field all day in bad weather. The good horsemaster should adjust the routine according to the requirements of his particular horse, as well as weather conditions. Here are some suggestions for products to keep in your first-aid box all year round, but particularly in the winter:Products for Cracked Heels/Mud Fever & Softened Horn • Turn-out type leg wraps • A good quality mud fever remedy in case you are unable to prevent it. • Antiseptic cream – to be applied in the stable to cracked heels when dry – not for use as a barrier.
• Udder cream • Vaseline • Zinc and Castor Oil cream • Patented preparation for protection of feet in wet conditions General First-Aid Box • Poultice Dressing • Poultice boot or duct tape to cover and secure poultice dressing • Bandages – stretch type for securing poultice or for leg support • Gamgee or similar for use under bandages • Cotton wool • Surgical tape • Salt – for saline solution – application and cleaning of minor injuries • Scissors • Stockholm Tar – for foot infections • Veterinary thermometer Anne Wilson is a freelance classical riding trainer, based in Bedfordshire; trained with Sylvia Loch and holder of the Classical Riding Club Gold Award Certificate – Phone 01234 772401 or email:- annewilsondressage@hotmail. co.uk www.classicalridingannewilson.com
Suggestions for effective barrier creams:-
A UK product, the ShoeSecure is manufactured in Scotland, the bespoke studs made by SupaStuds in England
lead to corns and problems associated with impaired foot balance, including collapsed heels.
Losing shoes is not just a nuisance disrupting training and competition schedules - it can lead to difficulty with shoeing, lameness and serious hoof injuries. Horses that persistently lose shoes often have deficits in the hoof wall that can lead to separation and white line disease, as well as making placement of nails difficult. The hoof wall may need to be build up with resin to hold nails, or glue-on shoes used as a last resort. Farriers may be tempted to leave the shoe short at the back, tucked under the heels, so that potential for the shoe to be hooked off on fencing or caught by a hind foot is reduced. But this can
dried out in the wind, then a quick spray with the hose can re-damp them very quickly without making them drip.
ShoeSecure prevent these problems by enabling shoes to remain in place and allowing normal hoof growth between shoeings. There is minimal disruption to training and competition programmes. Proper foot balance can be maintained, allowing adequate support of the heels and minimising risk of lameness. Gait Analysis has shown that the
wearing of the shoe shield does not alter the loading of the limb during the
weight-bearing or stance phase of the stride. Furthermore, it has no significant effect on the flexion/extension of the forelimb joints during the swing phase of the stride. This means that there is no impact of the ShoeSecure on biomechanics of the equine limb during both weightbearing and movement. The ShoeSecure along with the thickness of the stud heads also gives some degree of elevation. This elevation helps maintain a correct hoof pastern axis and reduce tension on the tendons and ligaments in the distal (lower) part of the limb. Together with the cushioning effect of the shield, these properties help reduce concussion and compression of the heel, thereby preserving good hoof conformation and balance and protecting against heel pain and associated lameness. Dr Tim Watson BVM&S, PhD, MRCVS Using Shoe Secure allows the farrier to maintain the normal balance of the hoof, providing appropriate support
to the back of the foot without fear of the shoe being pulled off. This in turn helps promote a healthy conformation to the heels, helping protect against concussive injuries and palmar foot pain. Without ShoeSecure, the farrier is forced to ‘hide’ the branches of the shoe under the heels and this eventually leads to collapsed heels and lameness due to corns and other forms of palmar foot pain.
David Varini AWCF David adds that ShoeSecures are easy and quick to fit.
Health Care â€˘ Winter First Aid
Tried & Tested- Net-Tex Mini Marvels Range My Grey Highland lives out all year with access to a shelter but with all the recent heavy rain the ground has become very wet and muddy and in turn I have had a real problem with mud fever. I have found the Net-Tex Mini Marvels Range to be fantastic in treating these conditions. By using the products in 3 simple steps you not only help treat and sooth the mud fever symptoms but also help prevent further attacks. Step 1- Muddy Marvel De-Scab; Step2-
Muddy Marvel Disinfect; Step 3: Muddy Marvel Barrier Cream. The three products work in harmony to soothe, disinfect and assist in skin and hair re-growth. The bottles are a perfect handy size and are fantastic value for money. The products did exactly what it says in the description and I soon had her Mud Fever under control. Very much recommended! For more information go to www.net-tex.co.uk
Horse Behaviour • Winter First Aid
Speaking the Language, Part 6 A series by SUSAN McBANE explaining equestrian and scientific terminology in relation to equine behaviour and psychology, and its effects on horses and training. (THIS series is based on a glossary of equestrian and scientific terms presented at the First International Equitation Science Symposium, 2005. The glossary description is given in inverted commas, followed by Susan’s discussion.) AGONISTIC BEHAVIOUR: ‘Pertaining to behaviour associated with conflict between individuals.’ Agonistic behaviour can occur between horses, between horses and other creatures and between horses and humans under saddle or in-hand. It is usually regarded more as involving apprehension, fear and self-defensiveness rather than actual aggression. If horses have a normal upbringing among other horses and are not solely bottle-reared with no equine contact, they learn very early in life what certain body postures mean and can judge finely just what another horse is communicating. Although mares and foals are, to a large extent, an independent social unit even within a herd, mares often let their own foals get away with murder as far as acceptable behaviour goes. If the mare-foal unit does not mix with others, this can lead to the foal not fully understanding or accepting messages from other horses or ponies, not learning how to respond and to being injured or frightened as a result. Bottle-reared foals with no equine company suffer more severely from this upbringing than those raised only with their dams, and often never learn to socialise properly with other equines. Because horses mainly react to what humans do to them or to what they have come to associate with them (expect from them), aggressive behaviour in which the horse actually attacks a person or other animal apparently
without provocation is less common than agonistic behaviour in which he or she either expresses distress or behaves defensively. Of course, aggressive behaviour does occur sometimes. Because conflict and agonistic behaviour are practically the same thing, I am going to deal with conflict behaviour, which is also a topic in the glossary, in this same article. (The words in square brackets are mine, intended to add clarity.) CONFLICT BEHAVIOUR: ‘A set of responses [by the horse] of varying duration that are usually characterised by hyper-reactivity and arise largely through confusion. In equitation, confusions that result in conflict behaviours may be caused by application of simultaneous opposing signals [aids] (such as go and stop/ slow/step-back) such that the horse is unable to offer any learned responses sufficiently and is forced to endure discomfort from relentless rein and leg pressures. Attempts to flee the aversive situation result in hyper-reactivity. In addition, the desired response to one or both cues [aids] diminishes. Conflict behaviours may also result from one signal eliciting two or more responses independently, such as using the reins to achieve vertical flexion independently of the stop/slow/step-back response, or using a single rein to bend the neck of the horse independently of its previously conditioned turn response. Similarly, conflict behaviour may result from incorrect negative reinforcement, such as the reinforcement [reward] of inconsistent responses, incorrect responses, no removal of pressure [aids] or no shaping [gradual progression] of responses. Often referred to as evasions and resistances.’ Conflict and, therefore, agonistic behaviour between horse and human
both in-hand and under saddle seems to have become generally more common than in previous decades, partly because of the more confrontational style of riding which has developed and become widely adopted. Riders today are not so light-handed and light-seated (as Sylvia Loch of the Classical Riding Club puts it) as in the past. There is a fashion, fortunately just starting to decline, of firmly holding in horses’ heads and necks along with riding them constantly up to the bit, which modern scientifically-rigorous studies have shown conclusively can adversely affect the horse’s body and action and cause confusion, distress, fear, discomfort and actual pain. True classical riders and other sensitive horsemen and women have always known this, and it is good, for people and organisations who insist on scientific proof of something before taking action, that the clear proof is now available. Unfortunately, even that is not enough for some. (Interested readers can find the research sources by visiting the website of the International Society for Equitation Science at www. equitationscience.com and taking it from there. I have dealt with inappropriate riding techniques in earlier articles in this series, available in the Archives section of the ‘Equi-Ads’ website, so will concentrate in this article on describing the subtle and not-so-subtle signs of agonistic and conflict behaviours, which are not always recognised. Here are some examples of agonistic behaviour indicating apprehension, fear and self-defence: APPREHENSION may be shown by general stiffness, tension and a nervous type of alertness. Under saddle, the horse may feel like an unexploded bomb
and be less responsive than usual to aids. He may be spooky, try to run away which is his natural reaction, then turn to look at whatever is worrying him. The head and neck and the tail will be up and held stiffly, and the horse may snort and prance. At liberty where the horse is free to move away, he will probably trot some distance away from the object with jerky movements before turning to look again. If in a confined space such as a stable, he may back into a corner, flare his nostrils and prick his ears at whatever is bothering him (such as the vet, clippers and so on), toss his head, and perhaps begin to sweat. Excitement is often closely related to apprehension. We humans often think of excitement as being a good thing, an enjoyable emotion for a horse, such as being excited at being at a show, but in reality an excited horse is most likely showing apprehension and this can soon escalate into a level of fear. This is why many horses and ponies behave ‘badly’ at shows. We should not think that because we, too, are excited in a good way at a show or some other event our horses are too. Horses who break free and run around the showground are sometimes described as ‘having a great time prancing around’ or as being ‘really naughty about being caught’ but are probably to some extent frightened. If such a horse has a good relationship with a particular human, he may well cont. on p.40
Net-Tex adds Muddy Marvel products to its Mini Range For horse owners, the winter months can be a bit of a worry, with ailments such as mud fever and rainscald being a constant threat. Net-Tex’s three products from the Muddy Marvel range offer an effective approach to these conditions, and the great news is that they are now available in the Mini Range, helping customers to save money throughout the winter months. In just three simple steps using the three products below you can banish Mud Fever and other winter skin ailments. Muddy Marvel De-Scab: 100ml RRP £3.60 If mud fever does take a hold, then help
is at hand from Muddy Marvel De-Scab, which softens scabs allowing them to be removed more easily. Simply apply this product to affected areas and let it penetrate for a few minutes, then wipe away the softened scabs with sterile gauze pads. Softening the scabs makes the whole removal process much quicker and kinder for the horse, and no bleeding makes scabs less likely to reappear. Muddy Marvel Disinfectant: 100ml RRP £3.60 Once scabs have been removed, Muddy Marvel Disinfectant can be applied to quickly kill the bacteria on the exposed skin. This product also helps to promote
rapid healing, so mud fever and other wet weather-related conditions, such as rainscald, can be knocked on the head for good. Muddy Marvel Barrier Cream: 300ml RRP £8.99 Acting as a preventative tool, Muddy Marvel Barrier Cream stops the skin cracking keeping the bacteria that cause mud fever out. This highlyeffective product, which lasts for up to seven days, is breathable and moisturises the skin to keep it in the best of health. After seven days, you simply wipe away any mud or
residue before applying another coat, without any need to wash the legs in between applications. Muddy Marvel Barrier Cream contains chlorhexidine that fights bacteria, and unique skin soothers and disinfectant. Thanks to Net-Tex’s clever Mini Range, horse owners can try out these products for themselves at an affordable price. Net-Tex – Performance products that really work and now available in a more cost-effective way www.net-tex.co.uk 01634 257150
Horse Behaviour • Training cont. from p.38
approach them if he can recognise them, but if a horse refuses to be caught by his usual handlers we have to ask why. FEAR is the next stage on from apprehension and genuinely frightened horses will do all they can to escape and run away. The muzzle may become tense and distorted, with an elongated upper lip. The eyes will widen and sometimes take on a triangular shape. The signs of apprehension will be exaggerated and the horse, if cornered, may begin to pull desperately on his leadrope to get the freedom of his head, rear or half rear, charge around the box, or, if people are trying to restrain him, try to leap and plunge. People often describe this as badness, disobedience, naughtiness, devilry, stubbornness and so on, but really the horse is probably frightened of whatever is happening or that he is expecting to happen. It is unlikely to be just that he does not want to co-operate. A terrified horse fighting for his freedom to run is extremely dangerous and unimaginably strong, so no matter how much you may want to pacify him, it is usually best to stay away. During air travel when, of course, it is impossible to stop the plane, some such horses have had to be put down in their compartments to prevent a disaster. Much depends on circumstances, but in a domestic situation, try to remove whatever is the problem or, if possible, take the horse away.
Running, or riding at a fast pace, after a loose, frightened horse will make him worse. The ideal is for a person with whom the horse gets on well to approach him slowly with a strong, quiet demeanour, with hands and arms down, saying only the odd word so he has a chance to recognise the voice, to stand still if he seems about to run again, to have something like a handful of hay that he can see and, if possible, wait for the horse to approach, then quietly take the reins or rope and stand still with him for a few moments before leading him back. Terrified horses seem to have no sense of anyone or anything nearby and are taken over by panic. If able to run, they may do so ‘blindly’ and can run into buildings, trees, fences, across or down roads, into the path of vehicles, into deep water and over the edge of quarries or cliffs. If a ridden horse is becoming really frightened, it is always safest to regard discretion as the better part of valour and ride away from the problem or situation. It is always important to monitor carefully your horse’s life in the field with his field mates, as constant exposure to another horse of which yours is genuinely frightened can adversely affect his mental and physical health and certainly his well-being. This also applies in stables even where the two cannot touch. Stable, and keep, them well away from each other. Signs of fear under saddle are often overlooked or misunderstood. The same
physical signs already described are relevant but, because the source of fear is on top of the horse and probably applying to his body all sorts of ‘aids’ which are causing the horse distress, there are some extras to mention.
plenty), or a ‘strong-minded’ mare may strike out with a forefoot, but a defensive horse will probably precede this with a stamp.
The ears are always a good sign of how a horse is feeling and they are generally pricked in the direction of whatever has the horse’s attention. If they are softly pointed backwards this means the horse is paying attention to the rider but if they are stiff and flatter the horse is fearful. (Ears really flattened hard back and down, with other facial features, show an angry, aggressive horse.) The horse’s body will be tense and firm and may well tremble. The lower tail hair will swing as it is loose, but not the dock which will be held stiffly – a sure sign of a horse who is anything but relaxed and content. A thrashing tail, a known sign of anger, can also mean considerable fear. The muzzle may be distorted and mobile, the nostrils drawn back and up with their upper edges wrinkled, the horse may grind his teeth, froth too much at the mouth, and his whole face and head will show taut skin and tension. These symptoms together are clear signs of a horse in anguish which, tragically for horses, most people do not recognise.
Most experienced horse people know that horses are not particularly vocal. They certainly do not vocalise their warnings to us except in rare, extreme cases of aggression, but they do use their voices to call out to others, for instance when missing them or when left alone. A horse running around a field whinnying and neighing is alarmed at being without company, or at least preferred company, such as when a friend is out working, even though other familiar horses may be in the field with him. He is not doing it for fun. And if anyone has ever heard the roars and screams of two stallions fighting, they will know it as unmistakable and spine-chilling. Sometimes horses of any sex will squeal during play, but they usually limit their vocal exertions to us to nickers or soft whinnies. Whereas a dog will usually growl in warning of a bite, or cry or whimper if frightened or in pain or distress, horses will not usually make a sound. Their warning and communication comes from physical signs.
SELF-DEFENCE is often taken for aggression, and horses used to being badly treated can take to attacking people or other animals to keep them away. Self-defence involves, obviously, a degree of fear as otherwise it would not be necessary, so the signs already described may be present at some level, but if these warnings are ignored by the person or animal on the receiving end, the warnings will rise to threats to bite or kick. The ears will flatten back, the eyes look angry, the lips may reveal the teeth and the horse may wave his muzzle about to make his warnings very clear. He may actually nip, if he feels it necessary, but may then immediately retreat in fear of a slap on the face (which will not stop a nipper or a biter). A truly aggressive horse, however, will usually really bite hard, often without warning, and keep coming. If a defensive horse turns his hindquarters towards you, he may wave a hind foot in the air as a warning, whereas an aggressive one might kick straight away. A stallion, or a gelding with stallion tendencies (and there are
Books which will help readers learn more about the truth of equine communication and agonistic and conflict behaviour are ‘Inside Your Horse’s Mind’ by Lesley Skipper, ‘The Horse’s Mind’ by Lucy Rees, ‘Equitation Science’ by Paul McGreevy and Andrew McLean and ‘Horse Watch: what it is to be equine’ by Marthe Kiley-Worthington. (The Equine Behaviour Forum published the full glossary in its magazine, ‘Equine Behaviour’. For your copy, send a cheque for £3.50 payable to ‘Equine Behaviour Forum’ to the Editor, Dr Alison Averis, 6 Stonelaws Cottages, East Linton, East Lothian, EH40 3DX.) SUSAN McBANE has an HNC in Equine Science and Management, is a Classical Riding Club listed trainer and Gold Award holder and a Practitioner Member of the International Society for Equitation Science. She co-publishes ‘Tracking-up’ with Anne Wilson (see advert this issue). For lessons and clinics in and near Lancashire, ring 01254 705487 or email email@example.com.
Equestrian Directory • Heart Disease
Poor Performance and Heart Disease Ben Sturgeon BSc, BVM&S, Cert EP, MRCVSDisease A very common presentation is a horse just “not-doing.” Fading, not starting, lethargic. It is also very common to blame the heart or more generally, the cardiovascular system. Despite this belief there is something wrong, the main causes are lack of ability and inappropriate training. Only once these have been discussed and objectively highlighted can we move on. Next on the list is respiratory and orthopaedic disease and again not until these are ruled out can we focus on the cardiovascular system. Importantly, simply laying on a stethoscope will not be sufficient for diagnosis. A review of any medical history should be made to ascertain if any previous cardiac abnormalities, such as murmurs (leaky valves audible with a stethoscope) were present. Then listening to the resting heart can give an indication of heart rate and rhythm and also identify any audible murmurs.
in an unco-ordinated fashion. The most common of these is Atrial Fibrillation. The atria of the heart are effectively the loading chamber of the heart feeding blood to the ventricles before it is expelled to the body. At rest when cardiac demands are low the weak, atrial dysrhythmic atrial contractions have little clinical effect. However, with exercise the effect is obvious. Depending on the training regime, the problem may not be apparent at home. If fibrillation occurs suddenly during a race, the horse may pull up in extreme distress, recovering after a few minutes. In hunters, performance problems are seen during intense exercise usually up hills. Signs of compromise are generally less obvious in dressage horses, show jumpers and hacks even when fibrillation is present and sustained.
In cases we can divide causes into 3 main groups:
Fibrillation can be present in isolation (lone AF) or with atrial enlargement (i.e. with valve leakage) and even heart failure. Here ultrasound is important to differentiate between the two because lone fibrillators will be far more responsive to treatment and should return to normal previous exercise. Those with significant predisposing cardiac disease are generally not treated because of lower success rates and a higher recurrence. In some horses, recurrence is a problem or treatment cannot be tolerated. Here an alternative less demanding career is entirely appropriate.
This is the commonest cardiovascular cause of poor performance in horses. However, the true incidence is low with approximately 1% of National Hunt Thoroughbreds affected rising to only 3% in the older mixed population. Various dysrhythmias occur affecting different heart chambers either speeding up their contraction, slowing them down or making them contract, fill and empty
Heart murmurs are very common yet rarely affect performance. A large study of 586 fit racehorses with valve dysfunction assessed by ultrasound and auscultation found no association with Timeform rating (an index of UK racehorse quality) in any of the age groups.
Irrespective of findings, an ECG both at rest and exercise, is the following step providing important information on heart rhythms, or their abnormalities (arrhythmias). Last on the diagnostic list is ultrasound (echocardiography) to evaluate the significance of any murmurs and their possible effect as causal factors in arrhythmias.
disease progressing to heart failure is always associated with poor performance. Most commonly this is specifically “mitral” valve leakage (regurgitation) often in combination with secondary atrial fibrillation. More common, though of less clinical significance is leakage of the “aortic” valve in “aortic insufficiency.” This is most common in middle aged to older horses (>10y) but is the least common murmur in race and sports horses. It is usually a low grade (1-2/6) murmur and progresses very slowly. Due to this slow progression (along with perhaps a decreased expectation of older horses) performance is rarely affected. Indeed many pleasure horses perform normally despite severe insufficiency and ventricular chamber changes. The main importance is in their monitoring. An enlarged or dilated ventricle has an increased oxygen requirement. In aortic insufficiency, oxygen delivery to the heart muscle is compromised increasing susceptibility to ventricular arrhythmias that can result in sudden death. Hence, these horses should receive an ECG and scan biannually so they can be retired before severe ventricular dilation develops.
Whilst our knowledge of blood vessel disease is expanding, realistically only one condition is recognised – Aortoiliac Thromboembolism. This is effectively a blood clot deposited in the major blood vessels in the hind limbs. It is more common in males and occurs in any age group and can be a persistent, transient and even localised problem. Symptoms then vary from mild hind limb stiffness that reduces performance to a more severe unilateral or bilateral hind limb lameness. Since the clinical signs are variable a single examination may not identify the condition and multiple exams incorporating ultrasound is important. Commonly, when writing these pieces I feel a doom-monger or scaremonger. When viewed from a Homo Sapien perspective, heart disease is debilitating and scary. But as Crimewatch would say, the incidence in our horses is acceptable, low and awareness and understanding of the processes involved in diagnosis is all you need to sleep easy.
Although uncommon, severe valve
Welcome to The Equestrian Index An industry dedicated source of business and service contacts for all your equestrian requirements. Online at www.equestrianindex.com listings appear under different headings so that the companies providing your needs can be easily found. Keep an eye on the website and Facebook page for prize give aways and competitions starting in November! The Hard copy will be sent out next year to all BHS members free of charge. It is designed to live in your tack room so that all your contacts can be found on
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Insurance - getting the right cover Fiona Reed Insurance always causes a heated debate, whether it be to insure or not, cost, claims, companies and the stress that can often go alongside an already emotional situation if you have suffered the loss, illness or injury of a horse. We will all insure our houses as this is part of the mortgage contract, and we all insure our cars and lorries as we are legally obliged to do so. Most insurers cover horseboxes on a Comprehensive basis, and there is often very little saving in Third Party, Fire and Theft only. If not standard then it a good idea to cover for any driver rather than just policyholder only as the horsebox and horses will need to be driven home from a competition if you are unfortunate enough to be injured and unable to drive. Although there is no legal requirement to insure your trailer, the majority will be covered for theft with many insurers offering a better deal if tied in with horse insurance. A fitted wheel clamp and effective hitch lock will usually be a condition of cover. In many cases horsebox insurance (and less frequently
trailers too) will include breakdown and rescue cover. This may seem like an extravagant extra, especially if you never travel too far from home and feel you and your horse could be retrieved by a friend or member of the family. However, if your horsebox was to suffer a breakdown requiring a tow, this could end up being very expensive and also very difficult to arrange while sitting on the roadside. The peace of mind offered by this cover is as valuable as the financial aspect. Check what the policy is for payment of parts however, as some cover will bill you at a later date, whereas others will require you to have enough finance on your credit/debit card to pay for parts at the roadside, although the labour/tow/stabling/transporter etc will be covered by your rescue policy. Moving on to our precious horses and ponies themselves and we come across a huge diversity of cover and policies and an even wider choice of companies. Policies are very tailored these days, starting with the basic “loss” cover based on the horse’s value and often
level of activity, with further ‘bolt on’ additions to the policy if required, for vets fees often at your choice of amount of cover per incident/annum, loss of use, tack & equipment, disposal, personal accident and public liability. Some companies will also include as standard Legal Advice service, 24 hour Equine Rescue, diagnostic and complimentary treatments (as recommended by vets) . Choose your insurance company with care, speak to friends and particularly your vet. They deal with claims on a daily basis on behalf of clients and can advise you on those companies that are easier to deal with and pay out on claims quickly and without argument. The cheapest policy is not necessarily the best value, look carefully at the small print and compare with other similar policies, and ensure that your requirements are definitely covered. To ensure your cover is valid and to avoid any problems with a full settlement on any claim, you MUST be honest about the value of your horse and its previous
veterinary history whether claims were made on any illness or injury or not. If you over-insure the value of your horse you may need to justify the value in the event of a claim and settlement in all cases will be the insured value or the market value which ever is the LOWEST. Remember to alter the value of your horse each year on renewal of your policy, it may have gone up due to competition success or down due to older age, retirement or injury. We live in an increasingly litigious world, and even if you opt to carry the risk of loss or vets fees on your own horses, it is essential we all have third party insurance and indeed many event organisers will not accept your entries unless you have adequate cover. Some Societies memberships will give you automatic cover, although some only while participating in their events. Insurance gives us peace of mind, but we all hope we will never actually need it.
Consider your needs when choosing insurance. When it comes to insuring your horse, it’s vital that you are properly covered but how can you make sure you get the best deal? Petplan Equine Marketing Manager and horse enthusiast, Isabella Von Mesterhazy, offer our readers some advice: With so many options available from different insurance companies, perhaps the most important recommendation I can give is to use a specialist equine insurer. This way, you are likely to be offered more flexible cover to suit your
needs and specialists tend to be more able to process claims quickly as they will know the issues you are facing. For example, at Petplan Equine, our claims team is staffed by trained specialists who are, themselves horse owners so if you tell us that your horse has a hock spavin, we will immediately know exactly what you mean. As a result, we pay 90% of our claims within five days and can pay the vet direct. When choosing a policy, check what is covered to be sure it gives you the
peace of mind you’re looking for. For example, not all insurers will cover alternative treatments or diagnostics, and, unlike Petplan Equine, many will only insure horses against illness up to the age of 16. We offer illness and injury cover for horses, up to the age of 25 as long as the policy is taken before its 20th birthday, alternative treatment is covered providing it’s recommended by a vet and we do not place a limit on the proportion of the vets’ fee allowance that can be spent on diagnostics.
At Petplan Equine, we recognise that everyone is different. That’s why we have seven different activity levels and a range of options allowing you to tailor the right policy for you and your horse. Getting the best deal is important for all of us – but getting the right cover is just as important as the overall cost. For further information, visit www.petplanequine.co.uk
Are you covered? Horse ownership is a complex matter and insurance is even more so. How an owner chooses to cover their horse is up to the individual and should be looked into carefully but one thing both horse owners and riders should seriously consider is Public Liability insurance. Public liability cover is for accidental damage to a third party or their property. For instance, if you were out hacking and your horse accidently damaged a car and you were found legally liable then you would need Public Liability insurance to protect you from any financial burden, with the risk of losing your home and assets should a claim be made against you. The British Horse Society’s Gold Membership package includes Public Liability insurance* as part of its many benefits. This insurance also includes no excess fee. Insurance Claim Procedure
Although each insurer is different (be sure to check your own policy carefully for exact claim procedures) there are some key things to bear in mind in the event of a claim: • Report the incident as soon as possible This enables the Insurer to carry out an investigation into the circumstances, in preparation for the letter of claim being received from the third party. The insurer may choose to appoint a loss adjuster to investigate the claim on their behalf. Delays in reporting the claim could prejudice the Insurers’ position and this may result in them being unable to provide assistance. You could then be required to cover the costs of the claim. SEIB, who provide Public Liability insurance under the BHS membership package, provide a 24-hour helpline for members to report any incident that
A look at Vet Fees For most horse owner’s vet fee cover is the main area for which they choose to insure their horse but it is also the area of cover that can vary the most between insurance companies. It is therefore important when choosing your insurance to consider carefully what you are looking to cover.
There are a few core features you should think about to ensure you are getting the cover that is right for you: • Excess - amount you will have to pay before the insurer will start to cover the costs. • Incident limit - the amount you can claim up to for each separate incident. • Complimentary treatment and hospitalisation costs – if included it will normally be limited to a set amount. Not all cover will include this option. • Any Policy Limitations - some policies may carry additional restrictions, such as the amount that can be spent on
KBIS offer nine different levels of vet fee cover, depending on your horse’s age and class of use. The cover ranges from cheaper options on their leisure policy, with incident limits up to £3000 and higher excess options, to more enhanced cover on their riding and competition cover, including incident limits up to £5000, colic surgery cover up to £7500 and additional cover for complimentary treatment.
Generally you get what you pay for and a cheaper policy will often mean there is a higher excess and/or a lower incident limit. You will therefore have to be prepared to cover more of the costs yourself.
For further information or to obtain a quote and take out cover visit www.kbis.co.uk.
could lead to a claim in line with the policy conditions; so as soon as there is an incident it should be reported. • Keep records of what happened Take photographs and ask for contact details of any witnesses. This could be very important should the incident lead to a claim. • Time Scales The Limitation Action 1980 puts time constraints on when people can make a claim. The time a claim takes can be dependent on various things; how quickly the Insured reports the incident and responds to queries and questions and how long it takes for the third party to make or document their claim, or again respond to queries. The insurance company will then review the case and decide whether there are issues over liability and how best to proceed. Major claims can take several years to settle. This period of time starts from the date of the incident or when the claimant became aware it was linked to the incident. This is known as the date of knowledge. Once this period has expired they have no legal right of claim and their claim becomes time (or also known as statute) barred. This does not, however, apply to minors or claims involving industrial disease. Insurance Case Studies The instances below provide great evidence as to why BHS Gold membership is key, as it demonstrates how the insurance benefit has helped many members: • In April 2010 a member’s horse in Wiltshire escaped into the neighbour’s property and went for a dip in their swimming pool. Unfortunately, the insured had left a gate open causing the horse to escape. The cost of this incident to the insurer was in excess of £5,000. • In November 2011 a member’s horse in Northampton was not tied up and fenced in properly. It escaped onto a road and was hit by an oncoming
vehicle. The driver was not injured but the insurance company covered the cost of the repairs and for the hire of another vehicle. The cost to the insurer was in excess of £8,500. • In February 2012 a member’s horse trod on a dog owned by another person in Scotland. Sadly the dog suffered a fractured skull and also lost an eye. The insurer settled the veterinary fees for the dog and the claim came to more than £2,200. Join the BHS Today! Gain peace of mind by joining today and enjoy a wealth of superb membership benefits, including: • Insurance (Public Liability up to £10million and Personal Accident up to £10,000 for Gold Members)* • Free and comprehensive equestrian advice • Free legal advice • Bi-monthly magazine • Ad hoc offers – including a free ticket to the Royal International Horse Show at Hickstead • Local committees dedicated to organising events in your area and campaigning on local issues important to you Your membership fees will also greatly help support the charity to continue to improve the lives of all horses and riders through its work in safety, welfare, access and education. Joining the BHS could be the best decision you make; you never know when it might save you an awful lot of money. For more information or to become a member of the charity, visit www.bhs.org.uk or call 02476 840506. *Insurance is only activated when you become a Gold member of the BHS and you have paid your membership subscription. Terms, conditions and territorial limits apply. The British Horse Society is an Appointed Representative of South Essex Insurance Brokers Ltd who are authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority.
NFU advise on insurance Virginia Stollery from NFU Mutual offers some advice on insuring for your horse or pony:In these days of recession and cost cutting, it is more important than ever to insure your horse against the rising cost of vets fees in particular. Veterinary treatment is becoming very sophisticated with many alternative methods available to treat your horse. Always make sure the policy will cover for alternative treatment or specialised
shoeing if this is recommended by your vet. As with all insurance, phone your insurers and advise them of a potential claim immediately. They can then talk the problem through with you and advise you on how to proceed. All too often, policyholders ring us when they have made a decision without reference to the insurance company and prejudice payment of the claim And finally - read the small print!
Schooling • Tack & Turnout
More circles Right back in January we looked at how to ride a “perfect” 20 metre circle. Correctly ridden circles promote symmetry and suppleness throughout the horse’s frame, and of course, gain you marks if you are competing in dressage. As the horse’s training advances, smaller circles can help to improve his balance. This is because on a smaller circle the horse’s forehand is coming more “around” the riders inside leg, and the horse’s inside hind leg has to carry more weight – a bit like a human holding weights whilst doing squats! Of course this only works if you adhere to the principles of correct riding – turn the horse’s forehand with your body and contact on both reins, asking for a little flexion with the inside rein. Often you see riders turning small circles by pulling the horse’s head and neck around with the inside rein – usually this results in the horse falling out through the shoulder and the hind quarters are disengaged. A useful trick is to imagine there is a torch strapped to the front of your horse’s chest - the beam of the torch needs to light up the line of the circle, not the arena wall! You can ride circles anywhere, but the diagram may illustrate a useful plan to start with. You may ride these circles in all three paces depending on your
Rowan Tweddle BHSII (SM) B.Sc Hons
horse’s level of training. Once your horse is warmed up, ride onto the 20m circle between B and E. A 20m circle is quite generous so make sure your horse is going positively forwards. Ride this circle a couple of times. 2.5m
Go large to A and ride onto a 15m circle (red). In order to actually be on a 15m circle, not 14 or 18, you need to be crossing the centre line 5 metres from X, and be 2.5m away from the wall on each side. Again 2 or 3 circles is adequate to start with. Go large, freshening up the pace if need be down the long side. Then balance your horse on the corner and prepare for the 10m circle at C (blue). Here you need to be 10m away from X and 5m away from the walls. You will probably need to slow down a little to ride this circle. That’s fine – just don’t stay on it for too long – twice is fine – and then ride back onto the 20m circle in the middle in a strong pace again. Keep using the big circle to keep the activity in the pace, and gradually you will be able to ride the smaller circles with more energy too.
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Tack & Turnout
Just for cold feet sufferers Why do we get cold feet when wearing leather boots?
the airflow moving through your boots and you end up with damp cold socks which is very uncomfortable. With Equitector Climate Control Technology there is no such problem. Equitector boots are very different. They are not thermal but insulative. High technology Space Blanket heat reflective foil is part of the lining. Due to the foil there is no longer the cooling air flowing through the foot compartment in your boots. The foil also reflects and spreads your body heat evenly around the foot.
Everybody prefers boots that are made out of leather because it breathes. This is great in summer, but what about winter? Because leather breathes it is not air tight. Thus when you are walking or riding there is a gentle airflow moving through your boots. That gradually cools down your feet and when they are already not that warm then they soon become really cold. There are many yard and riding boots on the market that aim to keep your feet warm in wintry conditions. Most of these have thermal linings. Whilst this will help to keep your feet warm when it is really cold outside, the disadvantages of this in certain conditions are not always understood. They stimulate body heat and counteract the cooling effect and this works very well when it is consistently cold during day. But in our climate it can be -2 º C at 8 am and by 11 it has warmed up to 9 º. Because thermal linings generate heat continuously irrespective of the outside temperature, all is fine when at minus 2, but when it has risen to 9 º C the feet become overheated and you start to perspire. This body moisture then cools due to
Just imagine having your foot in a vacuum flask. Your body heat is trapped inside the boot and it cannot escape. The lining itself does not generate or stimulate heat. Your own body warms the foot compartment and because heat is trapped inside your feet stay warm. The system works in any temperature. In the cold you do not get frozen feet and in summer in temperatures of +30 it keeps out the heat. In hot weather the foil disperses your body temperature evenly around the feet and this prevents them overheating and you will not perspire. That makes the Equitector system perfect for the UK climate. In comparison to thermal boots with Equitector boots in winter, when the temperature rises from -2 to +9 you will not get damp socks and cold feet. In fact you will remain comfortable whatever the temperature is outside. They can be worn all the year round. For more information about Equitector boots www.equuitector.com Tel: 0208 0904029
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Top professional riders, including eventer Victoria Bax and Para- Dressage rider Natasha Baker, also use Golly Galoshes. Helping to keep boots and bandages pristine, clean and dry both for schooling and out hacking.
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Lee Hackett, The British Horse Society’s Senior Executive (Welfare) offers some guidance on the toughest decision a horse owner may have to face. The topic of euthanasia can be very difficult for horse owners. For many people, their horse is seen as a member of the family, and making a decision when that difficult time comes can be upsetting. Unfortunately, very few horses quietly pass away in the field or stable. Usually, the owner or keeper has to make the decision to have the horse put to sleep. This decision can be easier with an older horse that is no longer able to enjoy a good quality of life, or with a horse that has suffered an injury or disease warranting euthanasia on humane grounds. Other situations, such as permanent lameness or severe behavioural problems, may arise where it is not so easy to know what to do in the best interests of the horse. Horses are expensive animals to keep as pets, and owners in this situation face the dilemma of whether to keep the horse, re-home it, or have it put to sleep. Whatever the situation, the present and future welfare of the horse must be the paramount consideration and an owner should take all reasonable steps to prevent unnecessary suffering, pain or distress. It may be that having the horse put to sleep is the only way to safeguard its future welfare. It is easy to put our emotions and feelings first; however, these must be put to one side and only the horse’s long-term well-being should be considered EUTHANASIA Most horse owners don’t think about methods of euthanasia or disposal until it becomes necessary. Having a horse put to sleep is an extremely upsetting time for an owner, but this can be made easier if they have considered the options prior to the event. When the time comes to make the decision, there are a number of people to whom you can turn for advice. A vet that knows the animal well is usually best placed to help you decide, and they will be able to talk through methods of euthanasia and disposal options most suitable for your situation. Alternatively, there are a number of organisations who
can discuss these options with you, such as the Welfare Department at the BHS. METHODS OF EUTHANASIA There are two methods of euthanasia used for horses which should produce a quick and painless death. These are the free bullet pistol and the lethal intravenous injection. The lethal injection can only be carried out by a veterinary surgeon, whereas the free bullet pistol method may be undertaken by a veterinary surgeon or by persons who are trained and have a licence in this technique, such as a knackerman or hunt kennel man. Captive bolt humane killers are not recommended for equine use. Lethal Intravenous Injection A lethal overdose of anaesthetic drugs is injected intravenously into the horse (usually via the jugular vein). This method is generally quiet and painless, and with the use of modern drugs, death is almost instantaneous. The horse can collapse suddenly or slowly, and some horses may twitch involuntarily after the heart has stopped beating, due to relaxation of the muscles. The vet will ensure that the horse’s heart has stopped beating. The horse may be sedated prior to the lethal injection being administered to avoid any distress. Options for disposal are limited following this method, as the carcass is unfit for human or pet consumption. Free Bullet Pistol Humane destruction by a free bullet pistol is instantaneous and painless. Some people are reluctant to use this method because they think it may be distressing for the horse. Unlike humans, horses do not associate guns with pain and so a veterinary surgeon raising a pistol to the horse’s forehead is unlikely to induce a fear response, unless the horse is extremely head shy. After the horse has fallen to the floor there may be some bleeding from the nose and twitching, due to involuntary movement of the muscles after death. Although this method is not distressing for the horse, the noise from the pistol and subsequent bleeding can be distressing for the owner. There are greater options for carcass disposal following euthanasia with a free bullet pistol. CONSIDERATIONS BEFORE EUTHANASIA Location Where possible, it is preferable for the horse to be put down in familiar surroundings, ideally at home, as this will help minimise stress to the horse. If you do decide to have the horse euthanased at home, make sure
there is suitable access to the field or stable for the collection vehicle. If possible, warn others at the yard when the horse is being euthanased. A quiet grassy area with good vehicle access is ideal. There may be occasions when it is not possible to have a horse destroyed at home, but if there are any doubts as to whether a horse is fit to travel, a veterinary surgeon should be called to examine the animal. Only once the horse has been certified as fit to travel should it be moved. In such circumstances, the horse should be taken to a local veterinary hospital, licensed slaughterhouse that deals with equines, or arrangements made for the horse to be collected by a local knackerman or hunt kennel man. Where a horse has been moved to other premises to be euthanased, it is advisable for the owner to check that the horse has been put to sleep. Handler Safety And Restraint The method of euthanasia used should not put handlers or members of the public at unnecessary risk. There should be sufficient room for handlers to safely move away from a falling animal and any individuals not involved should be cleared from the surrounding area. The only restraint usually required is for a handler to hold
the horse and possibly distract him with food to keep him calm. Some owners may wish to stay with their horse, but others may find it too distressing and prefer to have a friend hold the horse. If an owner is likely to be distressed, it is better for them not to be present when the horse is euthanased as they may unsettle the horse. Cost Of Euthanasia The use of expensive drugs makes the lethal injection a more costly method of euthanasia than the free bullet pistol. The average cost of euthanasia by free bullet pistol is around £80; the average cost of euthanasia by lethal injection is around £100 (plus VAT and call out). Insurance Where possible, advice should be sought from the insurance company prior to the horse being euthanased. In an emergency situation it is NOT necessary to contact the insurance company prior to euthanasia. However, they should be contacted as soon as possible afterwards. Owners should be aware that a number of insurance companies state in their terms and conditions that a post mortem examination must be conducted before they will pay a claim under the death (all
Cont. on p56
Directory • Euthanasia • Transport Cont. from p55
risks of mortality) section of a policy. This may not apply to all insurance policies and the owner should certainly check their policy before arranging disposal of the horse’s body. The cost of a post mortem is usually borne by the owner and can be as much as £750. Other Horses When a horse is euthanased, thought should be given to any close companions.A close companion may be distressed at the absence of the other horse. In cases where the euthanased horse was part of a very strong pair bond, it is sometimes advisable to allow the companion to see the horse after euthanasia and even leave them in a
field together for a period afterwards. CARCASS DISPOSAL Whatever method of humane destruction is used, there are costs and practicalities for disposal of the carcass that must be considered. The options for carcass disposal should be considered before euthanasia, as it may affect the method chosen. When a horse dies that is not intended for human consumption it must be disposed of in accordance with the Animal-by-products regulations 2005. This means that the carcass must be delivered to premises approved under the regulations for proper collection and disposal (such as hunt kennels, knacker yards or incinerator operators).
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In November 2004, the government set up The Fallen Stock Scheme. It is a voluntary scheme that aims to assist farmers and horse owners in complying with the Animal-by-products regulations, which restrict the burial of carcasses. Horse owners can register with the scheme for an annual fee and, in return, are given access to approved collectors offering a reliable, low cost means of disposal should an animal die or be euthanased. In certain instances, when an equine is considered to be a ‘pet’, they may be buried on your own land, but you need to gain permission from the Local Authority Environmental Health Department. Cremation And Incineration If the horse is euthanased by lethal injection, or has been administered certain other drugs, the carcass must be cremated, incinerated or buried, as it is not allowed to enter the food chain. The average cost of individual cremation can be £500-£700; shared incineration costs can be £150-£450. Costs will vary depending on the size of the animal, whether ashes are returned, the type of container they are returned in, and any travelling costs to collect the carcass. Hunt Kennels And Zoological Parks Many hunts now charge for removing fallen stock and some hunts take equines that have been euthanased by lethal injection for incineration. Hunts may be able to come out to euthanase
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a horse by free bullet pistol, and then remove the carcass. If the horse is shot and free from drugs, the cost of disposal is likely to be lower as the meat can be fed to the hounds. An approximate guide to cost is £100-£300, depending on the individual hunt’s facilities and method of euthanasia used. Zoological parks also take equine carcasses to use the meat for animal consumption. Knacker Yards Knacker yards produce meat for the pet food industry and not for human consumption and a knacker man may put down the horse and remove the carcass of the dead animal. Some knacker yards also offer a cremation service. There will be a charge for some services or they may pay you for the animal, depending on the individual circumstances. Slaughterhouses/Abattoirs There are a small number of slaughterhouses in the UK that are licensed to take horses. This meat is normally sold for human consumption abroad. Payment may be given to the owner based on the meat value of the animal. Do be aware that if an owner has signed Section IX of the horse’s passport, stating that the horse is not intended for human consumption, it cannot be sent to an abattoir or slaughterhouse. Many people feel that sending a horse to an abattoir is inhumane. However, the slaughtermen are experienced and death is usually instantaneous. Care is taken to ensure that the animal is not distressed prior to euthanasia and, if at all possible, animals are prevented from seeing other animals being destroyed. Under no circumstances should a horse be sent abroad for slaughter. Equine Passports – After 28 February 2005 a valid passport, in which the declaration is signed stating that the horse is intended for human consumption, must accompany any horse entering a slaughterhouse. When an equine dies, the passport issuing organisation should be notified and the passport returned to them.
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