The UKâ€™s No.1 Equine Health, Management and Training Magazine
Feeding as Winter turns to Spring
is it all in the breeding?
Competition Clothing what to wear for when
Dealing with Complicated Wounds
Equine Physiotherapy your questions answered
ways and means
Stirrups, Saddles, Balance and Behaviour
Healthcare - Insurance - News
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16 - 27, 44
1, 31 - 33
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Field & Stable
2, 26, 46
Animal Communication 4 Tack & Turnout
4, 37 – 40,
6, 9 - 16, 45
16, 18 & 25
34 - 36
Front Cover: Adrian Sinclair - 07939 272791 - firstname.lastname@example.org
Giveaway- Tri-Zone Boots 42 Directory
Monty Roberts is back! The ‘From My Hands to Yours’ February 2012 Tour Whilst February is often a difficult month for riders, still battling with the short days, muddy fields and freezing weather, there is something for us all to look forward to – the Monty Roberts February 2012 Tour!
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Actor and writer Martin Clunes has just been announced as Monty’s special guest at the Somerset demo. Martin’s love of horses was very evident during his top rating ‘Horsepower’ documentary, and he will be bringing along his two lovely Clydesdale youngsters, Ronnie & Bruce, to work with during the evening.
Sat 11th February Bury Farm Equestrian Centre Slapton, Bucks Fri 17th February Henfield Equestrian Centre Henfield, West Sussex Sat 25th February The Hand Equestrian Centre Clevedon, N Somerset
Win a lesson with Prolific Working Hunter Champion Louise Bell The forever imaginative team at www. equine-careers.co.uk want to shout from the roof tops to celebrate their sponsorship of the Working Hunter Classes at the Royal Bath & West Show 2012, in order to do so they are offering one lucky rider the chance to win a lesson with the Queen of Showing – none other than Louise Bell.
10th of the preceding month Available on the 1st of the month Equi-Ads is published monthly by:
to Yours’, and Monty will be sharing his secrets and vast experience of how to create a safe, light and willing horse.
Louise has competed at the top of her sport for over 15 years and has numerous accolades to her name including many Royal International and Horse of The Year Show Honours. Entries to this exclusive competition open on 1st March 2012 and can be made via the Equine Careers website. Full terms and conditions are also available www. equine-careers.co.uk Entries close on Saturday 31st March 2012, with the winner chosen at random and announced shortly afterwards.
Monty is back in the UK for 3 dates across the south of the country, ready to inspire with his kind but effective methods for dealing with whatever issues are presented to him at the demonstrations. Working alongside Monty will be his UK representative Kelly Marks. Each night they will be helping local horses with problems such as napping, spooking, refusing to load, or perhaps just a nice young horse ready for its first saddle and rider.
Monty Roberts has helped countless leisure and professional riders alike, in various disciplines from Dressage, Eventing and Show Jumping to Racing. Why not find out for yourself how he can help YOU improve your performance and relationship with your horse, both in and out of the saddle? There is an ‘Early Bird’ ticket price of £25 (a saving of up to £10), and tickets are available online at www. intelligenthorsemanship.co.uk or call 01488 71300.
For the romantics amongst us, February is the month associated with finding love. If you have a horse that you think Although we can’t necessarily guarantee Monty might be able to help, please to find your true valentine (!), you will call the Intelligent Horsemanship office definitely be able to learn how you can on 01488 71300 for the chance to be produce your own perfect equine partner! selected. TheADCOL_20 theme for this tour is ‘From My Hands Aylesbury 100x75:ADCOL_20 Aylesbury 100x75 30/06/2011 10:11 Pag
but not everyone knows we do horse and horsebox insurance.
Call 01296 436142 for a quote or pop into the office to talk to Virginia Stollery & Simon Parker at NFU Mutual Office, 1 Alton House Office Park, Gatehouse Way, Aylesbury, Bucks, HP19 8XU. Agent of The National Farmers Union Mutual Insurance Society Limited.
We do right by you
February 2012 - Equi-Ads - 1
Field & Stable - Healthcare - Livery - News
Townend tickets on sale Tickets are now on sale for Countrywide’s jumping clinic and evening demonstration with Oliver Townend being held on Friday 17th February 2012 at Hartpury College. Tickets are being sold on a first come first served basis and are available to buy exclusively online at www. countrywidefarmers.co.uk/olivertownend “Events such as this are always very popular and I would encourage anyone who wishes to attend to buy their tickets as soon as possible,” comments Rebecca Barningham, Marketing Manager, Countrywide. “Oliver is a very talented rider who is happy to give advice and share his experiences in the saddle through special one off events such as this. “Hartpury College provides the perfect location with world class facilities and is close to the Gloucester and Ledbury Countrywide stores, which offer a diverse range of equine products and expert advice from the equestrian specialist in each store.” The 4 Jumping clinics will be available to horse and rider combinations over 4 different heights; 2ft 6”, 2ft 9”, 3ft and 3ft 3”. Each clinic will have 5 places available, priced at £50 each to include two free viewing tickets worth £5 each. Those wishing to view the jumping clinic can sit in the viewing gallery of the International indoor arena at Hartpury College learning from this top rider throughout all 4 clinics for just £5.
Global Herbs Blog Stars and Sponsored Riders nominated for Equestrian Social Media Awards. Global Herbs, the veterinary based herbal service are delighted to announce that Global Herbs Blog Stars and Sponsored Riders, Becci Leigh Harrold and Laura Keeley have been nominated and selected as finalists for an equestrian social media award.
Countrywide will also be hosting an evening demonstration with Oliver where spectators will gain an exclusive insight into how Oliver trains his horses for events to include warming up, dressage and jumping. The evening demonstration, also being held in the new indoor arena complex at Hartpury College will cost only £10 per ticket. “We are delighted to offer this event to our customers and look forward to announcing further activities in conjunction with Oliver as part of our ongoing sponsorship agreement with him,” comments Sara Blackshaw, Countrywide’s Equestrian Category Manager. All tickets and clinic places are on a first come first served basis from 2nd January 2012. Visit www.countrywidefarmers.co.uk/ olivertownend for more information and to purchase tickets.
The PagePlay ESMA were designed to allow fans and followers of UK and Irish businesses, brands and professionals to shout about who they felt really flew the flag for the equestrian industry.
To find your nearest stockist of Global Herbs product visit www.globalherbs. co.uk or call 01243 773363.
Both Becci, a 20 year-old event rider from Derbyshire, and Laura, a nineteen year old event rider from South Lincolnshire have become finalists in the Amateur Rider category of the awards.
Freeze out thieves!
Nothing stops thieves more than freeze marks Freeze marking has long proved itself as an excellent theft deterrent and yet now many owners think they are safe because they have a micro chip in their horse or pony. As Mary Awre of Freezemark states – “After all the years freeze marking has given so many people peace of mind and great protection, it amazes me there are some who discard freeze marking because of the microchip. Why? You can’t see a microchip and neither can thieves so why should it stop the thieves stealing your horse? However, as soon as a horse or pony has been stolen, owners then immediately want their animals freeze marked and
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To vote for the Global Herbs sponsored riders, or in any of the other categories, visit the Global Herbs facebook page and follow the link. Just type “Global Herbs” into the search bar on facebook.
although they have a microchip, they know they need a visible mark!” As Mary says – “There is a place for both methods of identification, but there is a necessity to scare off the thieves from the start and you will only do that by having something on your horse that they can see”. February is a great time to freeze mark, as the marks will then be showing clearly by Spring and Summer – a time when horses and ponies are more accessible to theft. Call Freezemark now on 01295 788226 or visit www.freezemark.biz
Competition - News
February 2012 - Equi-Ads - 3
Animal Communication - Tack & Turnout
Is Animal Communication really possible? Two members of the Equi-Ads team recently decided to investigate further with Animal Communicator Kristin Kosowan and the help of their animals, James (horse) and Jess (dog). Firstly, Kristin explained, “I suppose we (humans) communicate mostly in the ‘language of the tongue’, however, body language can be very telling in both humans and animals as well. Contrastingly, communicating with animals is spoken in the language of stillness. I merely act as a channel giving your animal “a voice”, which in turn facilitates greater understanding between an animal and his/her guardian. When I communicate with an animal it is not censored, they communicate exactly what they want me to know, hear or see. They are upfront and honest. Individual characteristics surface ~ some have a sense of humor, some are very private and cagey and others are nonstop friendly chatterboxes. Animals who are very unwell can be sad, depressed and find communicating very comforting. As we all know, communication is not a substitute for trusted veterinary advice, which in such cases should always be sought. Communication is never diagnostic but can comfort and support an animal through difficult times in many ways. Asking questions focuses the communication to more specific concerns you may have or would like to know. After a communication, I discuss (on the telephone) exactly what I have received with no judgement, editing or ego. This is my personal mantra. This empowers the animal to teach, express and resolve confusion between you and your animal. It is a very personal, subjective experience that helps you both gain a better understanding of one another on many levels”. These are extracts taken from communications with James and Jess, after which Kristin spoke at length with the owners on the telephone discussing the communications with their animals in the consultation and which went into far more detail and answered any other questions that came up. James: James’ character instantly came through as being laidback, grounded, stubborn and defiant at times. Not insecure at all but liked to play games to test his rider. His ‘present’ very positive forward
thinking outlook came through strongly as well. Communication with James: I like it when Liz tells me I’m ‘a good boy’ it makes me feel special. Others used to call me naughty. I don’t like standing in my stable for hours on end and understand that mud makes me very dirty but I love rolling in it. It’s a lot of work to get it off me and I know Liz hates it. I’d like to be out more if I could. I really like the view from my paddock and watching everyone come and go. I like things going on around me, it’s exciting to watch. I’ve been in a yard where nothing went on and was very bored and lonely. I’ve made new friends where I am now and am very happy. I prefer haylage to hay and hate wet hay! I prefer polo mints to apples. Liz is a very energetic person with a fun character, I like being around her. We are a good balance. She’s no nonsense and I’m cheeky & mischievous...a bit of a trickster. Owners Comments: I have to say I was a bit of a sceptic when it came to this kind of thing but I was pleasantly surprised. His character description is spot on. You couldn’t pick more suitable words to describe him. With regards to his communication there were valid points too, whether general or specific which make sense to me. I do tell him he is a good boy when we are working – a lot! Also, due to his weight he has to come in at night; he’s that type that just has to look at a blade of grass to put weight on. I am also sure he would like to be fed an endless supply of haylage as well as being lavished with polo mints on a daily basis although what horse wouldn’t. His field also sits up on a hill, giving him a millionaire’s view of Perthshire and the rolling hills. I am very energetic, often riding at 6am before work and he is most definitely a bit of a trickster! Communication with Jess: I was in confinement, well it felt like that, I never had true freedom. My last owner/carer always thought I’d run away because I used to cower and hide from her.
She was very neurotic, not stable. I was always worried about her. She stayed indoors a lot. We never had regular walks and never off the lead. I love walks. She always kept me on a lead. I felt trapped and imprisoned. Yes she fed me but it was like she was afraid of me. So I stayed out of her way. Then one day she took me to a rescue centre and I never saw her again. She never said goodbye but then I didn’t care that much as I wasn’t happy with her at all. I trust Mary immensely. She loves walking and lets me off the lead to run and enjoy myself. We often play ball. I trust she will not abandon me because she spends time with me and allows me to lie by her feet when she watches telly. I was never allowed to do this with others. I feel relaxed but sometimes get flashbacks, which worries Mary but they aren’t as often as they used to be. It is difficult to truly receive love now but I’m starting to feel more trusting. I like my dry food but particularly like when Mary gives us chicken bits in our food. Owner’s comments: Jess came from a rescue centre 9 month ago, having been with them for 4 months. They advised me that she had already been re-homed once but was brought back after a week because she had fear aggression issues. She had also been in their care on 2 previous occasions, once when she had been lost and once abandoned in an empty house! The staff advised me not to try and touch her but let her come to me, which she did and we went for a walk, or more precisely she dragged me, almost choking herself in her desire to run free! When she first arrived home she was inclined to growl a lot if there was too much contact but this has almost stopped completely and she now likes to sit by my feet when I am relaxing. We go for long walks every day through the woods where she is always off lead and we play ball when we get back. She gets dry food at night and meat with it in the morning. I am still getting to know Jess but everything that was said does fit in with what I know about her! So is this good guesswork or is there something more to it? We will let you decide.
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If you would like Kristin to communicate with your horse or other animal, then please email a clear headshot of your animal with 3 questions you would like to ask to: firstname.lastname@example.org An hour communication session will cost £60, (shorter sessions cost less) but 2 lucky readers will qualify for a refund if their communication is selected to be published in Equi-Ads, with their agreement. For more information see www.whatanimalswant.com
Tack & Turnout - Transport - Parelli Giveaway
February 2012 - Equi-Ads - 5
Feeding - Healthcare
Introducing Silvermoor Lite New Easy to Use Verm-X Pellets for Horses and Ponies Horse owners will now find Verm-X even easier to use as the new packaging contains five individual sachets which provide natural control of intestinal hygiene and boost everyday health.
Verm-X Consultant Vet Nick Thompson explains: “Having such a powerful and effective product containing only herbs for supporting the intestines during periods of challenge, and that promotes health, is a revelation.
The sachets eliminate the need to measure pellets and can be added to feed or fed as a treat straight from your hand. One sachet to be used every day for five consecutive days each month, and horses just love them.
“People using Verm-X can be confident that they are providing their animals with a natural and effective product free from harsh chemicals.”
The new packaging also carries a ‘Veterinary Approved’ logo and an acknowledgement of the Veterinary Medicine Directorate’s (VMD) acceptance to the marketing of Verm-X which differentiates Verm-X from the illegal marketing of any unlicensed products in the market place.
‘lite’ the newest addition to join the Silvermoor stable of premium quality haylage is a unique and exciting new product.
Silvermoor grass is managed to ensure it meets strict nutritional criteria which makes lite unique as it is the first haylage product with a guaranteed protein and sugar content of less than 10% .
A 250g box of Verm-X Pellets for Horses & Ponies (containing 5 x 50g sachets) retails at around £11.95. For further information please contact Verm-X on 0870 850 2313 or visit www.verm-x.com.
Why lite? A totally natural product that is the perfect solution for those horses and ponies that need a lighter diet. The reduced level of protein and sugar content and increased fibre make Silvermoor lite an ideal and safe forage to be used as part of the management of laminitics, good doers and horses at rest. (as endorsed by Lesley Barwise-Munro BSc, BVM&S, CertEP,MRCVS) At Silvermoor farm, amid the beautiful rolling Northumbrian countryside, Ralph Thompson and his family are dedicated to producing the very best haylage
Prevention is better than cure! Dr Keith Foster Since the beginning of the industrial revolution CO2 levels in the atmosphere have increased dramatically owing to the burning of vast quantities of fossil fuels. As a consequence of this, rain has become much more acidic owing to the fact that it adsorbs CO2 from the atmosphere as it falls. Higher levels of acidity and rainfall have begun to unbalance the pH of the soil (pH being the acid alkaline balance), and this is having a profound effect on the flora and fauna at ground level. Last autumn there were several newspaper reports dealing with the increase in fungus across the land, mushrooms and fungus being the “flowering” of vast underground webs of mycelium as part of their breeding cycle. This surge in fungal activity is a clear indication that the land is becoming more acidic and out of its natural balance since otherwise these acid loving species are held somewhat in check by the natural alkalinity of the soil. In recent years there’s been a noticeable increase in such illnesses such as laminitis, colic, mud fever and worm 6 - Equi-Ads - February 2012
burden, many of which maladies have their roots in a weakened immune response. Dr. Otto Warburg who received a Nobel Prize in the 1930’s, noted that alkaline bodies adsorb up to 20 times more oxygen than acidic bodies. He also found that bodies prone to disease were always acidic with pH below 7 and that those with an alkaline pH were not. Working with over 40 species of animals, Warburg was able to induce cancer into otherwise disease resistant tissue simply by acidifying the body, thus driving out oxygen. As the earth becomes more acidic and the grass becomes more acidic, so the bodies of horses become more acidic through the food they eat and this renders their immune system more prone to a range of minor illnesses. Faced with the consequences of such rapid environmental change, it would appear, on the surface of things, to be little that we can do to help our animals under these conditions. However, there is a solution and that is to render the creatures food intake less acidic by the simple addition of a small quantity of “Happy Tummy”TM charcoal
from their own ryegrass leys, carefully nurturing the whole process from seed to bag.
which both carries extra oxygen into the horse’s system and takes CO2 out. In this way “Happy Tummy”TM charcoal helps the horse’s immune system to regain its natural balance of pH which thus enables it to throw off most illnesses. As is so often the case, a basic understanding of science and a good dose of commonsense in regard to feeding practices will often prove a viable alternative to expensive veterinary intervention.
The lite benefits: • Can be fed to horses/ponies prone to Laminitis and metabolic syndrome • Less than 9% protein • Less than 10% sugars • Dust free • Provides all the nutrition required from a forage • Ideal for horses at rest and good doers • High in fibre • Deliciously tasty & sweet smelling • Value for money as no wastage • Reduction in hard feed cost • Consistent quality – every bag guaranteed The perfect product that your weight conscious steed has been waiting for to help them slip back into that little black rug. Let them be a ‘black beauty’ once again! www.silvermoor.com
Bedding - Directory - Feeding - Healthcare
February 2012 - Equi-Ads - 7
8 - Equi-Ads - February 2012
Restricted grazingwhy and how? Dr Derek Cuddeford, Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, University of Edinburgh
Why do it? There are a number of good reasons why horse owners wish to restrict their animal’s access to grazing. Usually the intention is to improve the animal’s welfare in some respect but unfortunately, in every case, one aspect of welfare will be compromised. This is the animal’s ability to perform its normal behavioural repertoire which demands continuous access to grazing. However, I think it is probably the case that restriction of grazing is the lesser of two evils! Obesity is a common problem across companion animal species and their owners and worryingly, this is now surfacing as a problem amongst
children. The cause of obesity is simply the consumption of energy in excess to need so prevention is equally simple, eat less or, expend more energy or both. In most cases it is unrealistic to get horses/ponies to expend significantly more energy because of the way in which they are kept and because of their role in their owner’s life. Thus, the only real option is to reduce the amount of energy that the animal can consume. This may be achieved quite simply by changing the nature of the grazing from good to poor but in most cases this is not possible and the amount of grazing must be limited to significantly reduce energy intake. Everyone now knows that obesity predisposes horses/ ponies to laminitis and thus it should be avoided but even so, non-obese animals can still contract the disease so this is a very good reason to restrict grass access because we know that laminitisprone animals are at risk when large amounts of grass are available. Another situation when grazing access should be restricted is when those animals such as cobs that are categorised as “good doers” are being kept at grass because they seem to get fat on fresh air! The consequence is that these animals can become obese very quickly. The native ponies, such as the Exmoor, Dartmoor, Shetland and Highland, each have a natural home range that is characterised by severe environmental conditions together with very poor
quality grazing. It is no surprise that when these animals are placed on rich lowland pastures they become obese and often laminitic. There are something like 12,000 Shetland ponies in the Netherlands existing in a heatherfree environment; incidentally, “The Exploding Shetland Ponies” is a Dutch indie rock band and one wonders what happened to “The Laminitic Shetland Ponies”!? How to do it! There are a number of ways in which one can limit the grass intake of a horse or pony, not all of them welfare friendly! The ease with which an animal can ingest grass affects its total intake over a 24 hour period thus, the greatest intake would be possible on a pasture with a high density of grass. Reducing the quantity of grass available to a free-grazing animal would probably be the “kindest” approach. This may be achieved by cutting and removing the grass (conserved as hay or haylage) so that only a fibrous grass stubble remains which will be of low nutritional quality and difficult for the horse to eat a lot of. Alternatively, the pasture could be pre-grazed by horses/sheep or cattle to remove excess herbage. In order to prevent regrowth, other animals can be used to co-graze the pasture. These may be other horses, cattle or sheep but each species will create specialist fencing requirements. The advantage
of this type of approach is that the “subject” of concern (the animal you wish to restrict) can graze 24/7 but will obtain very little grass and thus maintain appropriate condition during the grass-growing season. There are variations to this scheme that can be applied. For example, if the grazing area is subdivided into paddocks, most easily with movable electric fencing, then a leader-follower system can be employed, whereby other species or horses with high energy requirements precede the “subject” defoliating the pasture so that the latter is confronted with a “bare cupboard”. Alternatively the pasture can be strip-grazed providing daily allowances by using an electric fence in front and behind the “subject” although this requires regular fence movements. The use of electric fences can, with a little imagination, be used to increase the voluntary activity of the “subject” and thereby increase energy expenditure; long narrow strips of pasture with water at just one end forces the animal to do more walking. Create a pathway around the outside of the field rather like an athletics track with an abundance of grass in the middle to buffer shortages caused by drought etc. If grass is in really short supply a little hay at the end furthest from the water will ensure several trips back and forth! Prefeeding an animal prior to grazing with a high fibre feed such as oat or barley straw will help to cont. on p.10
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: email@example.com www.nupafeed.co.uk February 2012 - Equi-Ads - 9
Feeding cont. from p.9
fill it up and thus reduce grass intake. This should be used in combination with turnout onto sparse pasture. None of the foregoing may be possible because you have only one horse/pony and no other means of controlling grass growth. So what are the options? A traditional method that is widely adopted is to keep an animal indoors away from grass or, on a grass-free all-weather surface such as concrete (!) or a sacrifice area and then allowing limited access to grazing. The latter can be achieved by limiting the area of grass available or, limiting the time available for grazing on an unlimited area of pasture. But does this work? Some recent studies would suggest that animals can, to a certain extent, compensate reduced access time to grass by eating more per unit of time once they have had time to adapt to their circumstances. For example, in the first week of a study, ponies only consumed 0.49 percent of their bodyweight during a 3 hour period of grazing but, by the sixth week of the study they consumed 0.91 percent of their bodyweight in the same period of time. One can conclude from this work that as time passes restricting grazing time on a daily basis becomes a less effective strategy in terms of reducing grass intake. Furthermore other work has demonstrated that ponies consumed 40% of their daily dry matter intake (DDMI) during just 3 hours of pasture turnout! This has been confirmed by others who showed that pasture dry matter intakes by ponies grazing for 3 hours averaged 0.8% of their bodyweight. This is equivalent to between 50 and 66% of the DDMI allocation. In animals restricted to 8 hours of grazing in the morning or afternoon, the horses consistently consumed more grass in the afternoon probably because of its higher sugar content. Thus, it
would be wise to turn out animals only in the morning but beware of the fact that the greedy little chaps can still consume a lot in relatively little time! Another way one can limit the grass intake of a horse or pony is to fit it with a grazing muzzle which allows the animal to drink as well as to consume small amounts of grass as well as wander over a large area of grass. The question no one has addressed is “are grazing muzzles welfare friendly”? There must be an element of frustration as the natural ingestive behavior of the animal (the use of the lips to move grass towards the teeth) will be compromised; imagine how fed up you would get trying to eat spaghetti without any knives/forks/spoons/fingers to put the food into your mouth! Anyway, in terms of reducing grass intake they work. A study conducted over a 3 hour period with ponies muzzled or without showed that muzzling reduced grass intake by a mean of 83% such that they only ate 0.14% of bodyweight compared to 0.8% without a muzzle. However, it is worth remembering that there was a lot of variation day to day and between ponies so the previous figures might be considered as a guide only. In conclusion, I think the animal’s welfare is best served by clever management of the grazing resource such that the animal is unfettered (I have deliberately not considered tethering) and it can move freely and eat normally from a restricted grass resource. In addition I would recommend the provision of ad libitum oat or barley straw so that the animal can satisfy its normal drive to eat 14/16 hours out of every 24 without becoming rotund.
Feeding from winter to spring Field & Stable Block As the spring grass begins to appear, many people reduce or stop feeding their horses and ponies conventional hard feed. Whilst this might make sense from a calorie/weight point of view, it’s important to remember that horses still require vitamins, minerals and trace elements. This is where a product such as Rockies’ Field & Stable Block can be incredibly helpful. The 10kg lick is formulated to meet the needs of horses and ponies in Western Europe, with the ingredients chosen to help counter deficiencies in grass and hay. It’s produced under controlled pressure to ensure longevity, whatever the conditions, with a light coating of molasses to ensure palatability. The lick’s hardness also prevents excessive intake. It’s a great product for people who own more than one horse, as, when placed in a communal area, many horses and ponies can enjoy its benefits. It’s incredibly cost effective too, costing from 3p per day per horse. The Field & Stable Block retails at £13.79. LaminShield For horses and ponies prone to or at risk of laminitis, LaminShield is a high quality, calorie free lick containing bioavailable Magnesium and additional carefully selected minerals. Magnesium can be used to help combat fat deposits in overweight animals, for body tissues, circulation, 10 - Equi-Ads - February 2012
and it helps a number of other body processes. When the diet is supplemented using LaminShield, there’s no worry about adding extra calories to the diet, as the lick is calorie free. Because of this, it can be offered in a free access manner. LaminShield is available in 2kg and 5kg blocks, where prices start from £9.45. LaminShield Pure is also available, which is a powdered supplement, supplied in sachets, which means that a premeasured dose can be added to the horse’s feed ration. For more information, see www.rockies.co.uk or call 01606 595025.
February 2012 - Equi-Ads - 11
Spring is coming Need condition without high starch? My horse requires condition but cannot tolerate high starch feeds, what would you recommend? Feeds containing high levels of starch that are digested relatively quickly by the horse produce fast release energy, which is the type of energy that can cause some horses to become over excitable. With no cereals and a very low starch and sugar content (under 1% total sugar) Solution Mash is suitable for horses prone to excitable and unpredictable behaviour, as well as being well suited for feeding to horses that suffer from Laminitis, Cushings, Insulin Resistance and EPSM. With a high fibre content Solution Mash helps to encourage better digestion within the hindgut, being particularly valuable for horses that suffer from colic and gastric ulcers requiring a diet that is sympathetic on the digestive system. This combined with a high oil content will not only help
improve condition and weight gain but will also provide an excellent source of slow release energy that will help prevent this over excitable behaviour occurring whilst improving stamina. Super high levels of Vitamin E are also included helping support the immune system and maintain healthy antioxidant levels along with Yeasacc 1026 for optimum fibre and mineral digestion. Natural herbs spearmint, garlic and fenugreek are also added into Solution Mash along with a high specification vitamin and mineral supplement, providing your horse with all the essential nutrients needed for a fully balanced diet. For more information contact Rowen Barbary Horse Feeds on 01948 880598 or visit www. rowenbarbary.co.uk
Finally the days are getting a little longer and there is a slight glimpse of spring on the horizon. Spring can be a worrying time for the horse owner, with the arrival of fresh spring grass, excitable horses and the threat of laminitis. A lot of horse owners may be tempted to reduce their horses feed if they become ‘fresh’ in the spring months but it is vitally important that the horse still receives the correct vitamins, minerals and nutrients on a daily basis as a lack of these, especially magnesium, can actually aggravate the problem. Feeding Blue Chip Original feed balancer will ensure your horse is getting their daily requirements of the essential vitamins, minerals and nutrients, and will be better able to digest the forage he is eating. If your horse is a ‘good doer’ or laminitis prone then Blue Chip Lami-light is the ideal balancer, this diet feed balancer will still ensure your horse is getting everything they need on a daily basis without the worry of increasing condition or weight. Blue Chip balancers are a small pellet that can be fed on its own or alongside good quality fibre. All the balancers in the Blue Chip range are now whole cereal and molasses free, ensuring very low sugar and starch levels. The new specification balancers have an increase in overall nutrient density, with higher levels of key vitamins and minerals. Utilising advances in modern nutrition, Blue Chip is proud to bring a revolutionary new and proven ingredient to the equine world: nucleotides. Nucleotides are essential nutrients, as they are the building blocks of DNA and RNA. They are present in the horses natural diet, but at low levels and cannot be stored by the horse. Nucleotides often become ‘limited’ during periods of strenuous activity or stress, and therefore there are real benefits to adding purified nucleotides to the horse’s diet. EQUIGEN is a specific blend of purified nucleotides designed to balance the lower levels found in the diet. There are three main advantages to including EQUIGEN in Blue Chip feed balancers; • Nucleotides aid cell replication, which is particularly important for the performance horse and for recovery after exercise. • Nucleotides increase the length and surface area of the intestinal villi to aid nutrient absorption. • Nucleotides act as immune facilitators aiding the immune cells response when infection or disease is detected. Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant which is very beneficial at this time of year as horse’s immune systems can be compromised during the winter
12 - Equi-Ads - February 2012
months. Blue Chip only uses natural, fruit-derived Vitamin E in its balancers; the fruit-derived form used by Blue Chip is up to six times more bioavailable to the horse than the synthetic form found in other feed balancers. If your horse is getting a bit ‘fresh’ with spring in the air, and due to the reduced amount of magnesium in the spring grass, look at feeding a natural calmer, like Blue Chip Karma. This quickly absorbed magnesium, liquid based calmer can be used on all horses and ponies on a daily basis, ideal for spooky horses on hacks, or ones that find it difficult to concentrate in the school. With 100% natural ingredients, Blue Chip Karma can be safely fed to all competition horses. If your horse is going to get particularly stressed use Blue Chip Applecalm or Carrotcalm which come in a convenient syringe and are easy to use. They are ideal for immediate use and come in the flavours that your horse will love. So to ensure your horse has the best that modern nutrition can provide and like thousands of delighted horse owners, put your trust in Blue Chip and unlock your horse’s true potential. For more information on any of the Blue Chip range visit www. bluechipfeed.com or call 0114 2666200.
February 2012 - Equi-Ads - 13
As Winter turns to Spring Nicola Tyler, B.Sc. (Hons), Nutrition Director, TopSpec As Spring develops the major part of a horse’s diet changes from conserved forage to fresh, young grass growth which is usually more nutritious. This means that we may have to gradually alter the hard feed we give a horse to reflect the change in his forage supply. The changes we may need to make also depend upon what horses we have, what condition they are in and what plans we have for them over the spring and summer. All of this is made more complex if we also change forage quality or quantity by, for example, changing fields. Last Autumn scientists gathered at the European Equine Nutrition Conference to listen to eminent speakers and discuss the latest findings in feeding horses. It was interesting to hear how in some cases research appeared to endorse what progressive feed companies have been practising and preaching for some time. Although fundamental research into equine nutrition is greatly hampered by legislation in the UK there is much to be learnt from applied research and from seeing how products work in practise. For example several feed companies in the UK have worked hard to reduce the starch levels in their compound feed, some even eliminating cereal grains, the major source of starch, from their formulations entirely. It was interesting therefore, to hear leading scientists recommend halving their recommendations for maximum starch intake from 2g to just 1g per 1kg bodyweight per horse per feed. This means that the way performance horses were fed in the seventies and eighties, with cereal forming a high proportion of their hard feed, was far from optimal and the hope is that improved nutrition will lead to longer, healthier careers in the future. At the opposite end of the scale laminitis, and conditions predisposing horses and ponies to it, continued to interest the scientific community. Every
year research explains a little bit more of the puzzle but often leaves some tantalising questions unanswered. The range of circumstances that effect how we manage our horses and ponies as Winter turns to Spring are many and varied but let’s pick just three, starting with the aforementioned laminitis uppermost in our minds. Example 1. Harry, a 12hh, 9 year old, Welsh Sec A, First Ridden pony gelding with a history of laminitis. Harry’s owners are determined not to let him get laminitis again and so have controlled his weight carefully during the winter by soaking his meadow hay in ample cold, fresh water for 12 hours before feeding. Soaking hay in this way reduces its sugar content but not its fibre content, so important for the healthy function of Harry’s hindgut. Harry’s owners did this throughout November, February and March to reduce Harry’s calorie intake but avoid the freezing conditions of deep winter when soaking hay is a nightmare. Harry also received two small feeds a day consisting of 125g of a pelleted multi-supplement designed for ponies prone to laminitis and 300g (approximately 1 Stubbs scoop) of an unmolassed straw/alfalfa chop. The latest research shows that a rise in insulin levels in a horse’s blood can directly cause laminitis. As a rise in insulin level follows a rise in glucose level in the blood it is advisable not to feed a horse or pony susceptible to laminitis a chop with any form of added sugar e.g. molasses or a ‘low sugar coating,’ as these will cause a rise in insulin levels. It is not uncommon for a traditional chop to contain 40% molasses, which should be avoided. Levels equating to less than 10% ‘Water Soluble Carbohydrate’ (predominantly sugar/starch) are relatively safe. Research also explains that one reason Harry may be susceptible to laminitis
is that his breeding means he may be Insulin Resistant. This means he has to pump out more and more insulin to reduce the glucose levels in his blood to healthy levels, placing him at greater risk of a laminitic attack.
There is no significant way to reduce his sugar/starch/protein intake from hard feed therefore, regrettably, his intake of nutritious spring grass has to be controlled to maintain strict control of his overall diet.
So as Winter turns to Spring the only change Harry’s owners need to make is to severely control the amount of young, fresh grass he can eat, and maintain an element of hay in his daily diet to maintain his fibre intake.
Example 2. Romance, a 16hh, 4yo, Irish Sports Horse.
There are many different approaches to controlling grass intake but it is a good idea to think of time spent on spring grass as ‘meal times’. This is because Harry can consume a significant amount of nutrients in his time at grass. In twenty minutes he could consume up to 0.5kg of grass (fresh weight). Two or three periods of twenty minutes at grass per day will pose a much lower risk of laminitis to Harry than one longer period. This is because the microbes in his hindgut will have smaller amounts of ‘high-sugar’ feed to ferment, which therefore reduces the risk of a major upset in the microbial balance. Harry’s hard feed need not be altered at all because his winter ration already supplies minimal starch and very little protein but optimal micro-nutrients.
The improved quality of grass growth will help Romance to gain condition but as her owners want to handle her more they are going to keep her in overnight. This means that she will only receive conserved forage, in the form of hay, for 15 hours out of every 24 (5pm until 8am the next day) so, after allowing for an hour’s handling, accustoming to tack and long-reining every day, the Spring grass will only be available to her for 8 hours a day. However, given that Romance can put away up to 3kgs (fresh weight) of spring grass every cont. on p.16
Haylage supplier ready to ship Drysdale Contractors, haylage suppliers to the Royal Highland Show have a quantity of bales ready to be shipped throughout the UK and Ireland. The haylage is top quality, has been treated with Biostable and the bales are double wrapped for safety. They can supply to large yards, small
14 - Equi-Ads - February 2012
Romance has spent the winter out at grass as a store. She has received no hard feed, just a limited amount of hay and is looking a little poor. As she is going away to be broken-in, early in April, Romance’s owners want her to gain a little muscle and topline to cope with the demands that will be made of her.
yards and retailers, they are also happy to deliver small quantities or you are welcome to collect them yourself from their premises. It may be worthwhile getting together with a friend to share a load. To find out more telephone Sam Drysdale on 01592 882117
December 2010 - Equi-Ads - 15
Feeding - Health Care - Worming cont. from p.14
hour, which equates to about 5kg of dry matter during eight hours, her daily turnout onto good spring grass will still allow her to gain overall condition. Her hard feeds will not need to be highly calorific therefore but should be rich in micro-nutrients and provide a small amount of high quality protein to balance the hay she eats overnight. A twice-daily feed of 250g of a nutrient dense, cereal-grain-free, top quality feed balancer designed for light work, mixed with a double handful of an unmolassed chop will make an ideal ration for six weeks before sending her away to be educated in good condition but on a ‘Non-Heating’ hard feed regime. Example 3. Justin, a 16.2hh, 7 year old, TB/WB cross, Eventer. Justin has flown through the ranks, despite never being rushed crosscountry, and his owner hopes to compete him at Advanced level by the end of Spring. Justin has been in since the New Year and is already working hard to increase his fitness levels. The gradually improving nutritional content of grass will help to meet Justin’s increasing requirements but because he is only out for four hours a day will not have a major impact on his total diet. Getting the right level of protein and calories into Justin’s diet to balance his increasing workload is a work of art,
especially given the varying quality of the grass Justin eats and the work he does. His owner finds it best to base his diet around a top specification feed balancer designed for hard work. She does not appreciate being bucked off so chooses a ‘Non-Heating’ product but one that she can rely on to provide a top specification of vitamins, minerals, amino acids and yeast products. This means she can therefore use her own skills to vary the amount of a performance blend that she then adds to his feed, according to his condition. She does this knowing that Justin’s condition will reflect the quality and quantity of feed he eats, his workload, environmental conditions, etc. Early in the year Justin was receiving two feeds a day, each consisting of 275g of a feed balancer, 300g of an unmolassed chop and just 500g of a cereal-grain-free performance cube. As the quality of grass improves, and raises the level of nutrients that Justin receives from forage, his owner still has to increase the amount of performance cubes he receives because of his greatly increased work load. Because his hard feed is so nutrient dense Justin still only needs two feeds per day but these now consist of 250g of feed balancer, 300g of unmolassed chop and 1.75kg of performance cubes. A totally ‘Non-Heating’ diet, low in starch but highly nutritious and nutrient dense. Once Justin starts to compete
at Advanced level he will probably have to increase his nutrient intake. As large feeds are now known to cause many problems for horses his owner is planning to increase to three feeds a day, despite the high grass quality.
Editor’s note: - You can contact Nicola on the TopSpec Multiple-AwardWinning Helpline: 01845-565030.
New TopSpec Digestive Aid TopSpec Digestive Aid is designed to optimise digestive health and stimulate appetite in horses. It is particularly effective for horses that are working hard, on high concentrate/ low forage diets, or stressed. It contains high levels of pure protected probiotic yeast and prebiotic MOS. TopSpec Digestive Aid is ideal for competition horses and horses that are travelling or away from home. It can also be used after antibiotic/worming treatments
which can upset the microbial hind gut balance, and helps to maintain firm droppings. TopSpec Digestive Aid has an appetising aroma, with added mint making it very palatable, and includes B vitamins to stimulate appetite. 3kg TopSpec Digestive Aid £26.95 For further information please contact the Multiple AwardWinning Helpline on 01845 565030 or visit www.topspec.com
Putting a spring in their step – essential advice for the season ahead. Spring is here and after a long, dark winter spent stabled your horse will be more eager than ever to kick up their heels in grass-filled pastures. However spring can bring with it its own health challenges especially with the risk of laminitis at its highest so hooves should be top of your agenda this month.
moisture levels. The external hoof layer expands when it absorbs moisture and shrinks when it dries out. Supplementing can help maintain hoof moisture levels so is a must this spring.
By investing in an on-going care programme, alongside regular use of high strength nutritional supplements you can ensure your horse stays healthy throughout spring, ready to welcome the summer ahead. John Foster BVSc CertVOphthal MRCVS, veterinarian for VetVits, shares his top tips for keeping your horse ‘on the hoof’ this spring:
• Consistent nutrition is imperative to promote healthy hoof growth from within but there is no quick fix so it’s important to be committed to supplementation. An essential hoof supplement like EquiHoof contains all the key ingredients needed such as biotin, zinc and methionine to help ensure year round hoof health.
• It’s peak season for laminitis so introduce your horse as gradually as possible to the pasture again and continue feeding hay and limit grazing.
To learn more about the VetVits range which includes joint and veteran supplements or to see what customers have to say about our products please visit www.vetvits.co.uk or call Freephone 0808 100 40 80. All orders include Free P&P and a no quibble refund if you’re not 100% satisfied.
• Hoof moisture helps provide the hoof with elasticity and shock absorption but the unpredictable spring weather can wreak havoc with hoof
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So perhaps Spring is not always as obvious as it seems.
• Exercise promotes blood flow and is one of the best ways to keep hooves and joints supple this spring.
Feeding - Health Care
February 2012 - Equi-Ads - 17
Health Care - Ulcers - Worming
Equine Ulcers – Not just for Christmas Ben Sturgeon, BSc, BVM&S, Cert EP, MRCVS Back to normal yet? Didn’t think so, I’m down to my third chin. All that rich food, quaffing of vino, lazing around, any wonder my stomach has turned into a gut? Still, at least I can do something about it. If only it were the same for our horses with just the same problem. What could the following three situations all have in common? • You return home from a horse show. Your horse did not place well. He occasionally flank watches and appears uncomfortable. • You have a young filly that was weaned. Normally robust she is now uninterested and won’t eat her grain. • Your gelding that lives on lush pasture went through a mild bout of laminitis. He’s always been stoic and rarely shows pain. Now, his hair coat is dull, and he seems “depressed.” What might be surprising is that whilst these clinical signs could point to a number of problems, all three of these horses could be diagnosed with the same condition: equine gastric ulcer syndrome. History and Signs Equine gastric ulcer syndrome includes not only ulcers found within the stomach (in the oesophageal region, or upper stomach portion), but also in the duodenal part of the small intestine (closest to the stomach). Ulcers occur when the pH of these areas becomes too acidic, and the lining cells are damaged. The primary acid of digestion, hydrochloric acid, is produced and released continuously into the stomach of the horse, unlike in humans, where it is produced only when food is present. Horses produce about 1.5 liters/hour because they have evolved as trickle
feeders. A definitive diagnosis is made by gastroscopy, involving placing an endoscope into the stomach of the horse, to view the lining. However, there are some subtle signs that a horse might be experiencing gastric ulceration. Some of these, on their own, might not indicate a problem, but you should be “thinking” if you observe more than one at a time. Foals suffering from gastric ulcers, for instance, might show poor appetite, bruxism (teeth grinding), excessive salivation, diarrhea, and even lying on their back. Adults may show some of these signs such as anorexia, but they often also exhibit weight loss/poor body condition, wind sucking, a dull or rough hair coat, behaviour changes, poor or decreased performance, a tendency to lie down, and mild, chronic, or intermittent colics. Causative Factors There are a variety of factors that can predispose a horse to ulcers. Some can be managed, while others are more difficult or even impossible to control. The most common causal factors of ulcers are: Feeding regimen, including type of feed and frequency of feeding and is probably the most important factor. Horses fed only a few meals a day, with grain or concentrate feeds high in soluble carbohydrates comprising a large percentage of their diet, are most susceptible. Since the stomach empties fairly quickly after a meal (30-60 minutes), the stomach lining is exposed to the acids for several hours before the next meal. Understandably then horses that graze continuously or are fed ad-lib hay tend to have a lower incidence.
Training and exercise may contribute to an increased incidence. Horses involved in strenuous exercise have a higher incidence of gastric lesions, and intense exercise causes an increase in the hormone “gastrin” promoting acid secretion. Decreased blood flow to the stomach during exercise, as well as the increased abdominal pressure resulting in “sloshing” of acid against the sensitive cell lining are also important and interesting management factors. Box confinement has been a suggested factor for some time but ulcers are likely more related to a horse’s feeding routine than confinement alone. A recent study found that racehorses that spent part of the day on pasture had the same incidence of ulcers (89%) as those box-rested. Some medications are well recognized as causing ulceration. The most common group of medications implicated are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), which impair mucosal blood flow and compromise the mucusbicarbonate barrier of the stomach, a layer which generally would protect the stomach lining from the acid. Treatment Histamine antagonists (H2 blockers), such as cimetidine and ranitidine, block hydrochloric acid secretion. Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), omeprazole also prevent hydrochloric acid secretion and are longer-acting than H2 blockers. Of the two, PPIs are more efficient at increasing pH (decreasing acidity) in the stomach but it takes about three days for these to have maximal effect. Often then I will recommend giving one of the H2 blockers concurrently with the PPI for the first few days because, although they do not decrease acid to the same extent, they will act more rapidly and will block secretion until the PPI takes full effect. Antacids, which contain magnesium hydroxide or aluminum hydroxide are cheap alternatives and can be bought over the counter. Whilst these can cause rapid increase in pH and might eliminate some clinical signs quickly, most only provide relief for a few hours so need to be used frequently (the stress of which is often counterproductive). Protectants (sucralfate) are also useful
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in combination with other therapies. This forms a gel in the stomach that coats and binds to the ulcer surface preventing enlargement and promoting healing. In severe cases this “third line” of treatment (with PPIs and H2 blockers) can even be life saving. Changing the Diet Diet modification is vital for all affected horses. Diets higher in forage content and lower in grain will promote an appropriate pH. In addition, having small amounts of feed present in the stomach for significant parts of the day, mimicking the natural feeding, will help buffer acid. Forage in the diet also essentially “traps” the acid in the lower portion of the stomach, thus protecting the upper regions that are more prone to ulceration and hence it is recommended that all susceptible horses be given a small fibre feed before being ridden. Horses that require more calories can have fat added to the diet. Corn oil is recommended as it will decrease stomach acidity. Some oils, such as oat oil and rice bran oil, can also be used as they contain polar lipids, which are water-soluble fats that help transport nutrients into the bloodstream and are thought to support a healthy gut lining. Prevention Ideally horses would be kept in a management situation where ulcers are not even a possibility, because ulcers are essentially a management disease. However, the reality is that even horses maintained under the most perfect conditions can suffer. For example, in a 2007 study of ulcer incidence in 62 Thoroughbred broodmares that were kept on pasture, more than 70% had ulcers, no one causal factor was isolated. Some of the methods used to treat horses with ulcers can also be used to prevent recurrence, or even occurring in the first place. The best thing you can do is provide maximal pasture turnout, offer a forage-based diet, and divide the horse’s daily diet into multiple small meals. For horses that must be confined, use the newer hay nets available that have smaller holes. Whilst complete cure can be difficult, and occasional use of medication is necessary, with appropriate management, the clinical effects can be reduced to an absolute minimum.
Feeding - Health Care
February 2012 - Equi-Ads - 19
Physiotherapy Problem Page Maeve Grant
My horse constantly struggles to strike off on the correct canter lead on the right rein. I have had him checked by my vet who didn’t find anything wrong. I have had his back checked and treated. This improved things for a few days but then the problem just came back. My instructor says it is a schooling problem but it doesn’t seem to be improving at the moment. Could physiotherapy help? In a word; yes. The most important thing is that we get to the bottom of why this is a problem for your horse. Horses struggle to strike off on the correct canter lead for a variety of reasons. We need to work logically through these reasons to find your horse’s issue and then fix that. Clever though they are, horses do not suddenly decide they don’t want to strike off correctly on one rein! Canter is a three beat gait, meaning there are three periods of footfalls within each canter stride. In order to strike off on the correct canter lead on the right rein, the leg which initiates the movement is the left hind. This is followed by the right hind and left fore landing together and then the third canter beat is the right fore (the ‘leading’ leg). Anything that blocks the movement forward of the left hind will influence the horse’s ability to strike off on the correct canter lead on the right rein. This is highlighted on a circle as the left hind is on the outside of the circle and has further to travel to be the initiating leg. In order to reach far enough under your horse’s body, the horse’s back must lift to clear space for the left hind to come under. Many factors can block this movement including pain in the leg (lameness), restriction or stiffness in the back and pelvis, ill fitting saddles or a rider that sits unbalanced. If we work through the reasons in a logical manner we can find where the issue lies for your 20 - Equi-Ads - February 2012
horse and begin to improve it. If your vet has already been out and ruled out lameness then we can eliminate that as a reason. Put your horse on a lunge line without the saddle and look at his paces on the left and right reins. See if the canter strike off is better without the saddle and rider. Watch your horse carefully or have someone video him so you can look back at it. See if the canter on each rein is the same and is smooth. Watch how far the initiating hind limb travels under your horse on each rein. Often if a horse is stiff through his ribcage then he cannot bend well on a circle. This forces him to fall in through his shoulder or out through his quarters to balance on the circle. He may also turn his head out to keep his balance. If he has to do this to balance then he will block the forward movement of the outside hind leg and then either strike off incorrectly at canter or disunite. If this is the case with your horse then he will benefit from an assessment by a Chartered Veterinary Physiotherapist. Your Chartered Physiotherapist will assess how your horse moves in a straight line and in a circle and do a full palpatory examination to highlight any pain, restriction or stiffness that is blocking the horse’s ability to move well. If your horse can strike off correctly in a straight line but not on a circle then it is likely a movement dysfunction and physiotherapy will improve that. Remember the initiating hind leg will have to travel much further when your horse is on a circle than if he is in a straight line so any mild restrictions in movement will be highlighted when he is on a small circle. Usually I find that horses with stiffness or an inability to bend through their ribcage are stiff at walk and trot on one rein and at canter on the opposite rein.
If you have lunged your horse without a saddle on and he can strike off easily and smoothly on each rein in canter then the problem may lie elsewhere. Now the problem may either be the saddle or the rider. If the saddle is sitting more to one side or tipping up at the back it can block the movement forward of the hind limb. Get someone to lead your horse away with his saddle on and see if it swings evenly to each side. If it is swinging more to the right then it will be hitting in to your horse’s left side of his back. When this happens the horse will tense the muscle there to reduce the pain he is feeling. This tension will restrict the movement in this area making it very difficult for your horse to lift his back and clear enough space to bring his left hind under him. A Chartered Veterinary Physiotherapist will be able to treat the restriction and get your horse moving better but the problem will almost certainly come back unless the source of the problem, the saddle, is improved. An appointment with a Society of Master Saddlers qualified saddle fitter is a necessity to stop the problem from happening again. It is important to use a qualified saddle fitter, and they should assess the saddle fit in standing and with the horse moving and with you on the horse.
with their seat, as well as absorbing the horse’s movement with their body. As beginner riders we absorb the horse’s movement in the vertical plane, which is why beginner riders bounce up and down a lot. As we become more experienced riders we tend to absorb the horse’s movement in the horizontal plane, which is why the top dressage riders look like they move as one with the horse. To be able to absorb the horse’s movement in the horizontal plane we must be able to move each hip and each side of the pelvis individually as the horse moves each hind limb forward. This is the key to achieving a good seat. If we cannot do this, through injury, pain, weakness or asymmetry, then the movement has to come from elsewhere in our bodies. This can throw us off balance, therefore to stay on board we need to ‘cheat’ and hang on in some way. I find the more experienced the rider, the more adept they are at hiding this ‘cheat’! Many of the ‘cheats’ that rider’s develop actually block their horse’s ability to move properly. If your horse can strike off correctly in canter with a different rider then you need to have a rider physiotherapy assessment to find your ‘cheat’, treat it and then improve your flexibility, strength and stability so it doesn’t come back.
If your saddle has been checked and is not the source of the problem then the issue may lie with you, the rider. If you cannot move your pelvis evenly on both sides then you can block the movement forward of the horse’s hind limbs. If you slouch and round your lower back you will also block the movement forward of your horse’s hind limbs. If your instructor is always picking at you for dropping a hip or gripping up with one hand or shoulder then this is also an indication that you will be blocking your horse’s ability to move well. This is your ‘cheat’; how your body has adapted to compensate and keep you on your horse. You will benefit from a physiotherapy profiling appointment designed for horse riders. As all Chartered Veterinary Physiotherapists complete a degree in human physiotherapy before going on to complete a masters level course in veterinary physiotherapy, many offer a rider assessment service. In this appointment they can assess a series of functional movement tests, all related to your ability to move with the horse.
So to conclude, an appointment with a Chartered Veterinary Physiotherapist will help your horse as they will be able to release the restriction and allow your horse to move better and then get to the source of the problem and stop it from happening again.
The rider needs to be able to control and optimise the horse’s movement
Maeve Grant, Chartered Veterinary Physiotherapist. BSc Hons Physiotherapy, PgDip Veterinary Physiotherapy, MCSP, ACPAT Cat A. Tel: 07815839790 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.animalphysioplus.com Based in Edinburgh, covering Central Scotland. For more information on Veterinary Physiotherapy or to find a Chartered Veterinary Physiotherapist in your area go to www.acpat.org The physiotherapy problem page will be a regular feature in Equi-Ads. If you would like an answer to any problem you may have with your horse please e-mail: email@example.com
February 2012 - Equi-Ads - 21
Health Care - Wounds
Dealing with complicated wounds Eleanor Chruscikowska BSc (Hons) BVM& S MRCVS Gem, an Arab mare with a stunning foal at foot, was sent to stud to be covered. When she returned home it was obvious that Gem had come back with a bit more than she had bargained for and it turned out that she had sustained an injury whilst in the paddock at stud. Gem had a dressing covering her leg when she was unloaded from the lorry but it was only when the dressing was removed that we realised the full extent of the damage. There was a nasty smell coming from the wound and it was oozing with pus. The bulb of the heel could be pulled back to reveal deeper structures of the foot, although it did not appear that there had been any severe damage to any important structures at this stage. The site was still heavily contaminated with dirt and needed to be cleaned to allow better examination.
untreatable disease and one that she would have been at very high risk of contracting. Despite Gem being extremely tolerant of her nasty wound being examined it was important to remember that she was in a great deal of pain. She was given an injection of Metacamâ„˘ to provide some pain relief and the wound was cleaned and flushed with saline.
comfort levels could be monitored closely. Casts can occasionally cause pressure rubs and cause a lot of discomfort so it was important that Gem was assessed regularly. She was given a course of intravenous antibiotics whilst at the clinic and before long she was able to be discharged to continue her recovery at home. Gemâ€™s owners checked her cast every day to make sure that there was no evidence of discharge or swelling. They also kept a close eye on Gem herself
Sutures out and cleaned up
After the cast removal The initial wound
Gem had been given an antibiotic injection on the day of travel by a vet who saw her. She was also up to date with her vaccinations and was therefore covered against Tetanus which is an
more thorough cleaning of the wound.
It became clear that due to the longstanding nature of the wound and the heavy degree of contamination that surgical investigation was warranted to ensure that no important structures had been damaged and to enable a much
Despite Gem being an emergency case I decided not to send her to a clinic immediately. It was 11pm and I felt that since the horse had just got off the lorry, and had a foal with her, it would be more sensible to wait until first thing in the morning before sending her to a clinic. She spent the night resting with a supportive clean dressing on and then set off to the clinic in the morning, arriving before lunchtime. On arrival she was taken straight to theatre and the surgical team checked that her coffin joint and her tendon sheath had not been penetrated. They then removed all the dead tissue from deep within the foot and then flushed the wound again with saline. They then placed a cast around the foot up to the fetlock to try to stabilise all the structures within the foot which would allow faster healing without the development of excess amounts of scar tissue. Gem stayed at the clinic for a few days so that her
and were looking out for any signs of depression or any inappetance that may indicate that an infection had reestablished itself. Approximately 2 weeks after being discharged from the clinic Gemâ€™s owner noticed that some yellow coloured fluid had seeped through the cast and there was a strong smell coming from the foot. We re-examined Gem and decided that the cast needed to be removed urgently despite Gem looking very well and comfortable. Despite some swelling the wound was healing nicely and looked very healthy. The foot was re-dressed so that the pastern was provided with some support and to absorb any more discharge from this site. We also wanted to make sure that the wound was kept completely clean and that no bedding or dirt could become stuck to the site. Gem continues to do well and is having regular dressing changes to ensure that the wound continues to heal well.
22 - Equi-Ads - February 2012
Bedding - Health Care
February 2012 - Equi-Ads - 23
Quality, is it all in the Breeding? Fiona Reed How important is quality when we are planning to breed, or even when we are looking to buy a youngster whether a weaned foal or a newly broken four year old? How much does the breeding affect the future ridden career?
is highly unlikely. Equally you can breed a champion mare to a champion stallion but there is certainly no guarantee that the ensuing offspring will be better or even as good as either parent. It is this uncertainty that attracts so many to breeding, yet scares so many others.
Firstly we perhaps need to define what we might mean by quality. This could of course mean different things for different disciplines; although there are many aspects we should look for regardless of the proposed intention for the youngster.
Some stallions are tremendous stock improvers, always, or almost always producing stock considerably better than the mares they are bred from, and equally some mares can consistently produce winners regardless of the stallion she is sent to. These are truly advantageous to breeders but will of course take a few years and many offspring because this pattern emerges.
For example, quality in a show horse or pony will concentrate on correct conformation, straight and elegant movement, a trueness to type and great presence, whereas quality in a show jumper whilst also requiring correctness of limb for soundness will show more of a leaning towards power and scope, and a dressage horse will need uphill, extravagant movement as a priority. Genetics and breeding are truly fascinating, but most certainly not an exact science. A superstar can indeed be bred from uninspiring parents, but it
The feed balancer improves the amount of nutrients a horse can extract from his total diet meaning that breeding stock can receive optimum nutrition from reduced levels of hard feed, with many resulting benefits. TopSpec Stud Feed Balancer greatly
Once your mare has an honest appraisal and you know the purpose for which
cont. on p.26
Look carefully at the qualities of your
improves hoof, skin and coat quality, whilst helping to maintain appetite, moderating the effects of stress on horses and helping to maintain a healthy immune system. Price – 20kg bag £27.95 For further information contact the Multiple AwardWinning Helpline on 01845 565030 or visit www.topspec.com
Everyone needs a Foal Hugger! If you are expecting a foal this year then a Foal Hugger should be on your shopping list! The Foal Hugger is a revolutionary new training aid that has been developed as an effective way to teach foals how to lead, used by both professionals and less experienced handlers. Training takes place as you carry out daily activities such as turning out and grooming, ideal if you’re short on time. The Foal Hugger makes foal training much safer because pressure is first applied to the base of the foals neck not their delicate head and poll area; this is achieved by the neck halter. It allows you to gradually progress to leading your foal with a head collar and lead rope, by way of a 5-stage process (comprehensive booklet included). Sarah of Foal to Horse says: “I believe that most of the anxiety and dangerous behaviour I am often faced with as a trainer of young horses
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you are breeding then the search for a prospective sire can begin. Good conformation should be an important consideration and not just for showing. Soundness comes from correctly put together conformation. A stallion should have good feet, correct straight limbs, a good length of neck and shoulder, strength over his back, depth through his chest, good quarters and second thigh, straight action and a good temperament. Other more specific attributes are also important if you are breeding a pure-bred where a stallion must also be true to the breed standard.
In this difficult economic climate, it is essential that any breeding plan is carefully thought out to breed a foal that will be a marketable product or if to be retained will be good enough to compete in its chosen sphere to be worthwhile of the many years of investment in time, emotion and money to produce, school, register and travel to competitions.
TopSpec Stud Feed Balancer TopSpec Stud Feed Balancer is designed for broodmares, youngstock and stallions. The formula will promote superb muscle and skeletal development without providing excess calories resulting in overtopping.
mare. These need not necessarily be impressive competition results at a high level, but could include trainability, good temperament, soundness and the level of pleasure that she has brought at her own level and chosen field. Then think about the plans and purposes you would wish for her offspring, being realistic and not overambitious – if your mare jumped confidently at 3’ but struggled at 3’6”, she is highly unlikely to breed a Grade A show jumper even if put in foal to an Olympic Gold Medalist.
could be avoided if correct training is implemented from day one. I am passionate about providing every foal owner with the tools to train their foal safely and easily.” For more information and testimonials visit our website http://www. foaltohorse.co.uk
Breeding - Health Care - worming
Breeding Horslyx provides all breeding stock, including broodmares, foals and stallions, with optimum levels of vitamins, minerals and trace elements to balance the deficiencies in forage and grazing, whilst also including biotin, chelated zinc and methionine to encourage healthy hoof growth for the years ahead. Foals and youngstock need the correct levels of protein to build up muscle mass, ensure a healthy immune system and support their growth. Horslyx provides the correct ratio of calcium to phosphorus and contains amino acids - the building blocks of protein – in the form of prairie meal which when combined with the fat from the mare’s milk - or when they are older high quality forage – provides the perfect foundation for healthy development.
encouraging a healthy digestive system and keep them out of trouble for longer periods of time! The high oil content ensures a healthy, glossy coat leaving them blooming with condition and ready to face the challenges that lie ahead. The cost effective, no fuss and weatherproof licks are available in four formulations, Original, Garlic, Respiratory and Mobility. Feeding Horslyx costs from just 28p per day when feeding 80kg Original Horslyx at the recommended intakes for an average 500kg horse*. Horslyx is available in 5kg, 15kg and 80kg tubs and start at £9.95. For further information tel, (01697) 332 592 or visit www.horslyx.com. *Prices correct at time of printing.
Modern day forage and grazing does not always contain the ideal levels of vitamins and minerals, so supplementing a high fibre diet with free access to Horslyx helps ensure optimum amounts of magnesium, zinc, copper, iodine, selenium and vitamin E are incorporated. Horslyx includes copper and zinc in a chelated form – as they would be found in nature – making them more efficiently digested and the nutrient rich lick is weatherproof enabling it to be used all year round at grass or in the stable. Offering inquisitive youngsters a palatable, easy to digest product such as Horslyx will help promote the natural trickle feeding pattern – aiding in
February 2012 - Equi-Ads - 25
Field & Stable - Health Care - Holidays - Stud cont. from p.24
It is also an advantage, but by no means essential, if a stallion competes successfully in the discipline that you are interested in. Also research stock by the stallion and how successful they may be if of competition age and what type of mares they are out of. A stallion may have attracted a large book of top mares yet their youngsters may only be competing at a mediocre level whereas the progeny of another may be winning consistently at a moderate but not highest level when out of very ordinary mares. Finally, once you have drawn up your shortlist of prospective husbands, and hopefully after you have managed to see them in the flesh if at all possible, look to see where they could help strengthen your mare’s weaknesses. Finances should also be taken into consideration, always try and find an
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extra little bit of money if the stallion you feel is a perfect match is just a little bit over your budget, it will be negligible over the time your foals take to get to its ridden stage, but equally, the higher the stud fee doesn’t always mean the more suitable the stallion will be for your purposes. If you are breeding with the intention of selling the foal on, then a stallion whose offspring make good prices and sell well, or a stallion in his first season that is attracting interest are worth considering. Also think of your mare too and anything you could do to make her more marketable and attractive. If you do not have her full breeding try to track down her history and trace back to try and fill in any gaps, put together her competition history, always easier if she competed at affiliated level and consider grading her to give her a lifetime approval by a breed society. In
many cases successfully graded mares will be awarded a service voucher to use against the cost of the stud fee of that society’s stallions. The better quality of young horse you breed the sounder it should remain, the more disciplines it could potentially be successful in, the easier it will be to sell if you choose to do so, the more valuable it will be and ultimately whether you compete it yourself or whether you watch someone else riding it, then the more pleasure and pride you will derive. Some people are wary of breeding in these difficult times, but good horses will sell, mediocre ones won’t. It is also a long term plan, and any foals conceived in the forthcoming season won’t be coming out under saddle until 2017 when this recession will be a bad memory and there will likely be a
shortage of young horses to buy. So, good luck to all those of you making exciting plans for this breeding season, remember that “Quality will Out” and that after careful, calculated considerations at the end of the day we “Put the Best With the Best and Hope for the Best” but however you cannot make a “Silk Purse out of a Sow’s Ear”
February 2012 - Equi-Ads - 27
Healthcare - Schoolong
Schooling Exercises – Jumping Rowan Tweddle BHSII (SM) B.Sc Hons, Exercise 1 – Getting it right from the start Jumping can be great fun for both horse and rider, and as jumping correctly encourages the horse to use it’s topline, can be seen as a useful training exercise - even for riders who aim to improve their dressage! The success of the jump depends almost entirely on the correctness of the approach. When linking fences together to make a course, the getaway from one jump becomes the approach to the next, so in this exercise we focus on introducing a jump in such a way that we can progress easily to more complex options. • Place 3 heavy poles about 5 meters in from the wall at either E or B. The poles should be 1.35 meters apart for a horse of 15hh or over – about one and a half normal human strides. You can make them a little closer together for ponies (about 1.1m). • Ride in an active trot around the arena. Turn down the line towards the poles and maintain your rising as you go over them. Focus on riding as straight a line away as you did on the approach,
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and ride all the way to the end of the arena before making a balanced turn at the wall. On no account must you allow the horse to fall on the inside shoulder and cut the corner after the poles – if you do this you are teaching him to be unbalanced after a fence which could cause you great problems later on! • When your horse is trotting rhythmically over the poles and moving straight on landing, you need to get your jumping muscles warmed up! As he trots over the poles balance in your jumping position. Have your stirrups 2 or 3 holes shorter than normal and fold at the hips so your bottom is just hovering out the saddle. Move your hands up the horse’s neck as you do this so the rein is allowing – it can help to grab a bit of mane more than half way up his neck to start with. Keep your head up and your eyes looking to the end of the arena. • When you can do this easily, it’s time to build a cross pole where the last trot pole is. (Red cross pole on diagram). Use the last and middle pole to create a cross pole as high as you are comfortable – about 65cm at the sides is usually ok. The first trot pole should now be about 2.7m, or 3 human steps,
from the jump. Leave it there – it is now your placing pole, which will help make your take-off point over the jump predictable. • Ride positively towards the obstacle exactly as on all previous occasions. At the placing pole stop rising and let your horse move over the pole in trot or canter as he wishes. He is now in the perfect place to take off over the jump – fold and go with him. He will probably land in canter – make sure you ride straight to the end of the arena and ride a balanced turn. Don’t worry too much about canter leads at this point – you can change the lead through trot on the turn as you progress – but for now the straightness is the most important thing. • Return to trot on the long side of the arena, re-balance and have another go!! You can increase the height of the cross pole, but don’t put the ends higher than about 1m – the angle of the X is then too steep for horses and riders starting out. • If this is all going swimmingly, and you’re keen to do more, then add a pole on the ground about 6.5m from the cross pole. (Marked blue on diagram).
Your horse needs to land from the cross pole, take one canter stride, then jump over the pole (shorten the distance a little if he’s taking one and a half strides and the cross pole is very small). When he’s doing this happily you can make the pole into an upright fence of about 60cm. Don’t make another cross pole – it may feel more inviting, but if you fail to stay dead straight you’ll end up jumping a high side!
February 2012 - Equi-Ads - 29
Property - Tack & Turmout
Training Aids The subject of training aids can be a controversial one. When does a training aid descend into the realms of being a ‘gadget’? The answer to this partly lies in the motive for its use. If it is being used to quicken the training process, instead of relying on the slow but sure, methodical training methods, then I would say it is definitely a gadget. However, things are not always black and white and a good trainer should always assess the needs of each individual horse. Bona fide training aids have been recognised in classical training for many years. Some of the well established, best known ones are:• Lungeing whip • Long training whip for in-hand work • Schooling whip for flat work riding and short whip for jumping. • Lunge cavesson for lungeing • Side Reins for lunge work • De-Gogue mainly for lunge work but can also be used when ridden • Chambon for lunge work • Martingales These are the best known and, when adjusted and used correctly, the most useful of training aids.
30 - Equi-Ads - February 2012
There are, however, a plethora of additional ‘aids’ on the market these days, which are not so horse-friendly and can, in many cases, be downright harmful.
‘A Chambon - illustration courtesy of Lesley Skipper - www.black-tent.co.uk’
Draw Reins You will notice that I did not include draw reins in my list above. This is because they are very rarely used in classical training and in most cases are extremely damaging to the horse. Draw reins consist of a single long rein with loops or clips at each end. They pass from the rider’s hands, through the bit rings, and then fasten to the girth in between the horse’s legs. As you can imagine this gives the rider a very strong lever action when the rein is applied, pulling the horse’s head down and inwards.
This is a very controversial subject and when draw reins are applied for more than a few seconds at a time, result in the over-bending of the head and neck, also known as hyperflexion or Rollkur, which has been strongly condemned by good horsemen and women all over the world, including the British Horse Society and the Federation Equestre International (anyone interested, who has not read the FEI statement, please contact my email address and I will be glad to send you the appropriate extract).
horse’s head pulled in towards his chest, and this has been commonplace now for many years. Because of the damage that this does to the horse, I, along with many other like-minded people, joined Sylvia Loch and the Classical Riding Club, back in 1995/96, in a quest to obtain an outright ban on their use. We gained many thousands of signatures for our campaign, but sadly they are still mis-used today, but possibly their use is not so widespread.
Having said all this, the use of draw reins may be justifiable or even useful, in very exceptional circumstances, and when used by extremely experienced, sensitive trainers. These cases may be for horses who cannot otherwise be controlled at all and have become a danger to themselves as well as others. In these cases the draw-rein should be fitted in conjunction with normal reins coming straight from the bit; the draw rein only being picked up by the rider at moments when all else fails.
These are very similar to draw reins in that they pass from the rider’s hands through the bit rings in the same way as draw reins, but instead of fastening to the girth between the legs, they fasten to the girth at each side. Running reins do not exert quite as much leverage as draw reins and do not force the head downwards as much, but still bring the nose inwards and can seriously restrict his movement along the neck, back and shoulders.
The likelihood of draw reins being misused is great in my opinion; probably about 99.9% of riders mis-use them. I have often seen young girls hacking on the road using draw reins, with the
It could be said that they are the less harmful of the two options, and if absolutely necessary could be of use by an experienced, sensitive rider, who is capable of releasing the tension on the running rein the moment the horse has
Health Care - Worming stopped either pulling or throwing his head up. As is the case with draw reins, running reins should only be fitted alongside ordinary reins attached only to the bit. The secondary draw or running rein can then be used momentarily as and when needed.
“Arabian mare Fanci, owned by Shana Young, being lunged by classical trainer Dr. Thomas Ritter. These side reins are correctly fitted for the stage of training of the horse (they should be a lot longer if the horse were less advanced). Note there is no resitriction and the head is not being pulled inwards.”
The Effects of Hyperflexion The harmful effects of hyperflexion, caused by the use of draw reins,
or indeed by many other modern gadgets as well as by strong use of the hands, are well documented. Dr. Gerd Heuschmann’s book ‘Tug of War: Classical Versus Modern Dressage’ gives clear evidence of this damage. For us non scientists – briefly the effects are damage to the neck muscles, muscles and ligaments over the withers and along the back; sometimes this damage is irreversible. If anyone tells you that holding the horse’s down builds up the back muscles – think on. When the head is brought down at a standstill, then the back rises. However, when the horse is asked to move in this position for any length of time, the back is held in tension. The hind legs are unable to step forward and through as they should. This type of tension does not build up muscle tone but damages it. The back is built up by the horse being encouraged to use himself correctly and naturally, creating a supple, swinging back, epitomised by a freely swinging tail and good engagement of the hind legs. Horses may be encouraged to stretch down and outwards with their cont. on p.32
Insure for Peace of Mind in Tougher Times Improvements in veterinary sciences are seeing the cost of treating equine illness and injury rising, making insurance an important consideration for any horse owner. Insurance gives you the peace of mind and financial security that in the event of an accident or illness you can get your horse the best possible treatment without having to worry about the cost. However in these tough economic times we all want to be sure we’re getting the best deal for everything we buy, so when it comes to insuring your horse, make sure you get value for money.
Also, compare the extent of cover – does the insurer, like Petplan Equine, cover diagnostics, alternative treatments and older horses for illness as well as injury? Find out if lost or stolen tack is replaced with new and finally but vitally, choose an insurer like Petplan Equine that offers a number of activity levels that allows you to only pay for cover you need. Getting the best deal is important for all of us – but getting the right type of cover is just as important as the overall cost, which will likely save you money in the long run. For further information, visit www.petplanequine.co.uk or call 0800 980 3905.
Choosing the right equine insurer can be confusing but there are some simple guidelines to help you make the best choice. Select a specialist equine insurer for the most relevant and flexible cover. Specialists are able to process claims more quickly and easily as they know horses, the issues you face and speak your language – Petplan Equine settles 90% of claims within five days, will pay the vet direct and have a team of equine specialists who are all riders and a lot also have equine qualifications. ‘Smartie was insured by 20, covered until 25’
February 2012 - Equi-Ads - 31
Tack & Turnout cont. from p.30
head and necks during training, but should not be forcibly held in this, or any other position. To cap it all, when held in hyperflexion the horse cannot see where he is going, but can only see the ground just in front of him! Prolonged work ‘on the forehand’, whether in hyperflexion or not, will inevitably lead to premature wear on the joints of the forelegs. Here is a brief description of some of the training aids which I believe are most helpful:Whips Whips in general often suffer from bad press. Indeed many horses do suffer from the bad use of whips and the recent furore in the racing industry is one such case where I believe that their use should be severely restricted. However, the correct use of the whip is one of the kindest aids available to us. A tap with the schooling whip just behind the rider’s leg is so much kinder than continual banging or squeezing with the leg. A touch of the whip near the quarters to ask the horse to move over in a lateral movement is very helpful. This should not be seen in any way as a threat or a punishment by the horse, but as helpful guidance. Providing the horse has never received unfair punishment or pain from the whip then he will accept it in the manner it is intended – an aid.
“The de Gogue is encouraging the horse to stretch down, but remember that this type of work, whilst sometimes helpful, does put more weight onto the forehand. Therefore it should be undertaken for short durations only - Photo courtesy of Lesley Skipper - www. black-tent.co.uk”
The same applies to the lunge whip. This is invaluable as a guide to the horse to either move forward or outwards on the circle. It can also be used, as training progresses, to encourage the horse to bend. This is done by pointing the whip, and sometimes gently touching the horse just behind the girth area where the rider’s leg would lie. Lunge Cavesson A good quality lunge cavesson consists 32 - Equi-Ads - February 2012
of a jointed metal nose-piece, padded all round, with a metal swivel ring on the front of the noseband on which to clip the lunge rein, and side rings to clip the side reins onto. This is an invaluable piece of equipment to lunge an untrained horse. A snaffle bridle may be used later in training, when the horse is well acquainted with work on the lunge and is used to accepting the bit, but could damage an untrained soft mouth if not used with the utmost of discretion, or damage could occur however sensitive the trainer is if the horse were to ‘throw a wobbly’. Side Reins for Lunge Work As with all training aids, the benefit or otherwise of their use, depends on the skill and understanding of the trainer; not only to know how to adjust them but whether to use them or not. I believe that they should be gradually introduced to a young horse and they are a great help to indicate a more upright way of going. Of course he should always be warmed up without them, allowing a down and outward stretch, as well as a stretch down in walk at the end of the session.
The Chambon and The de Gogue Both the Chambon and de Gogue are used for lunge work and resemble a type of running martingale, the purpose of which is to prevent the horse from throwing his head up too high. They should be adjusted so that they do not interfere in any way with the horse’s normal way of going, and there is no potentially backward pull as there could be with side reins, running reins or draw reins, or indeed many other gadgets used for lungeing. The Chambon has a soft pad at the poll, where the device does exert pressure, but this should, if adjusted correctly, be very gentle. The de Gogue has a potentially more powerful effect than the Chambon and the poll pressure is more direct. Great care should be taken to adjust it so that the horse still has almost complete freedom of his head and neck and the de Gogue will only come into play if the horse throws his head up beyond a certain point. The de Gogue can also be used in ridden work. Martingales
However, there are some elderly, arthritic horses whom I would never lunge without side reins; as they need all the help they can get to keep their weight back so as not to overload their front legs. With this type of horse I would merely walk for five minutes without any side reins to warm up, before attaching them, or walk in hand if even this encourages too much weight onto the forehand. The length and height of the rein is obviously of great importance. Many side-reins when initially purchased are not long enough for the long necks of some young horses. These should be lengthened before use. A young horse should only just be able to feel the rein, thus giving a hint of a framework for him to work within, but not to restrict him. As the horse’s training progresses, his natural head carriage changes as his back develops and his hind leg joints strengthen. This is when the side reins should be shortened to accommodate his new posture, but should still not be restrictive. Side reins can be attached to the girth of a saddle, but I always prefer to attach them to a lunge roller, since the rings on a roller give a better height to the rein; more in keeping with the hands of the rider. As training progresses, many trainers like to adjust the inside rein a hole or two shorter than the outside one, to encourage the horse to bend correctly to the inside. If you do this, be certain to change the length each time you change the rein.
Martingales are used in ridden work generally for the same purpose as the Chambon or de Gogue when lungeing, i.e. to prevent the horse from throwing his head up too high. Their severity depends entirely upon the way in which they are adjusted and should never come into play when the horse’s head is in a natural position. Running martingale – This consists of a strap attached to the girth, which passes through the front legs and then divides into two. Each end is fitted with a ring which each rein is passed through and it is supported with a neck strap, which can be very useful for an inexperienced rider to take hold of in an emergency. Care must be taken with the fitting of this martingale. When the head and neck are in a normal position, the martingale should not have any effect. It is intended to have a steadying effect on a horse with an unsteady head carriage and to ensure that the reins reach the bit from the right direction, which may be useful for novice rider’s whose hands are not yet steady, but it should not be used as an excuse for bad hands which accompany a non independent seat. Standing martingale – This is fitted in a similar way to the running martingale, in that it attaches to the girth and is supported by a neck strap. When the strap passes up through the front legs it does not divide but remains one and is attached to the underside of a traditional cavesson noseband, which should not be tight (there should be two fingers’ width between the horse’s under jaw and the noseband).
This martingale should be adjusted in such a way that it has no effect when the head and neck are in a normal position, but prevents the horse from tossing or throwing his head up to a dangerous degree. A NOTE OF CAUTION:I have nothing against any of the above (Chambon, de Gogue, side reins or martingales), providing that they are adjusted correctly and, more importantly – they are not seen as a means to an end in themselves. I cannot stress enough that if a horse perpetually tosses or carries his head in an exaggeratedly high position, then THE REASON SHOULD BE SOUGHT. His back, teeth, bit, saddle and so forth; as well as rider ability, should all be checked before any further schooling is carried out. Other training aids are widely used today, many of which I do not approve. These are mainly for the purpose of lungeing, where the horse’s head is held in a specific position for a long time. They usually encompass more straps which fit behind the horse, banging on his thighs/hind legs at each stride. The idea behind this is to encourage him to ‘step through’ with his hind legs; but how can he do this with his head pulled down and inwards? With the head pulled down, the horse has no option but to put more weight onto the forehand and stepping through from behind becomes extremely difficult. In my opinion these straps which bang on the hind legs do not encourage the horse to work more from behind. Instead he is encouraged to ‘snatch’ his hind legs up and the movement usually translates into a jarring at the front end. As said previously, when the horse chooses to stretch down and out, it is usually only for a matter of seconds at a time, which is totally different from being held there. Conclusion Above are examples of some of the training aids available today. There are many more, but I would need the space of a book to explain them all. Some of the aids of which I do not disapprove are still not essential. Nothing can replace the patient, correct, painstaking classical training which should be the grounding for any horse in any discipline. Anne Wilson, who is based in Bedfordshire, is a Classical Riding Trainer trained by Sylvia Loch. She is an author and co-publisher of TrackingUp, a quarterly independent equestrian magazine, obtainable by subscription (see the advert in this issue). Also author of ‘Riding Revelations – Classical Training from the Beginning’ – www. black-tent.co.uk Anne can be contacted on Tel: 01234 772401 website: www.classicalridingannewilson.com
February 2012 - Equi-Ads - 33
Horse Behaviour - Training
Stirrups, saddles, balance and behaviour Part 15 in a series by SUSAN McBANE discussing equestrian principles from the viewpoint of equine psychology and behaviour STIRRUPS are known to have been in use during the second century AD so were probably around before that. At first they were just loops of hide or rope to assist mounting, but once it was realised that, during riding itself, the rider could be much more comfortable, versatile and effective with the feet supported, a flat base (tread) was introduced. The modern stirrup is hung from the saddle over the stirrup bar which, in today’s saddles, is recessed to remove the painful lump of bar plus buckle under the rider’s thigh which was normal on older saddles. Stirrup leathers are available which have their buckles down near the eye on the stirrup to further reduce bulk under the thigh, although these have never really caught on as they can be difficult to adjust from the saddle. The technology of saddle design and fit continues apace, the advent of various sensor devices now giving us precise information on the pressures applied to a horse’s back and ribcage by the saddle, and also the girth which is often overlooked, in his different gaits. This
technology shows clearly that, in many saddles, too much pressure is generally experienced by the horse in the area just below and behind the withers, mainly under the points of the tree and the stirrup bars which are all close together in the same areas. Generally uneven pressure is a common fault, with many modern saddles ‘bridging’ (exerting too much pressure at front and back but little in between). Discomfort Behaviours If a horse is uncomfortable anywhere in his body, he will not be able to concentrate on his work but be preoccupied with trying to avoid the discomfort or pain, and abnormal muscle use and skeletal function, plus soft tissue injuries, can result. The behaviour the horse is forced into due to a faulty saddle, back pain or a poor rider includes altered movement using inappropriate muscles, faulty, shortened gaits, squirming around, going crookedly, not being able to ‘go forward’ or ‘round up’, holding his head high and his hind legs out with a dropped back, kicking out, humping his back, bucking and other unwanted
and potentially dangerous behaviours. These may be seen as evasive, but are not to be punished as they are natural, normal and a clear sign that the horse is in difficulties. Saddle Design and Fit If the saddle has been fitted by a properly qualified saddle fitter (not just a qualified saddler, with respect) holding the Society of Master Saddlers fitting qualification, it will have been chosen for good balance, adequate clearance all along the gullet, correct width and length for the back of the horse concerned, a central dip to the seat where the rider’s seatbones should go, a wide enough tree and points (unless treeless) to prevent concentrated pressure, an under-seat panel which accords with the shape
cont. on next page
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of the horse’s back so that it touches evenly throughout its bearing surface, and stirrup bars set correctly for the discipline concerned – basically fairly forward in a jumping saddle, further back for flatwork. (Obviously, there is a great deal more than this to finding a saddle which fits the horse and the rider.)
Linda all that you need to know before you set out on a ride, then how to put your new found skills to use on the spot when you need them most. These three new courses are packed with information to help you be safe, have fun, and advance your horsemanship skills in an exciting new topic-specific format. Each DVD features instructional demonstrations, thorough education, and enthralling and humorous stories. Also available in Blu-ray format. Game of Contact DVD or Blu-ray: Savvy Club members - £179.95 / Nonmembers - £239.93 Colt Starting DVD or Blu-ray: Savvy Club members - £159.95 / Non-members £213.27 Hit the Trail DVD or Blu-ray: Savvy Club members - £99.95 / Non-members £133.27 For further information contact the Parelli UK team on 0800 0234 813 or visit www.parelli.com
Training It is not only the design of the saddle and girth (see below) and the way they fit or don’t fit a particular horse but also how they are positioned on and secured to the horse which can make or mar his comfort, behaviour and performance. In my experience, they are often put on too far forward with a view to keeping the rider’s weight off the horse’s loins and directly above his centre of balance. Commendable in theory, this often leads to the saddle being tilted up at the pommel and down at the cantle which makes the rider slide back, and concentrates her weight too close to the loins (well known for encouraging horses to buck and sustain injuries). As the tops of the shoulder blades (right up near the withers) rotate back and forth with each step, they are blocked by the front of the saddle pressing on them, annoying the horse and restricting his forehand and head and neck function. This also pushes the saddle from side to side with each step. As a good guide to position, you should be able to fit the side of your hand between the top of the shoulder blade and the front edge of the saddle and, at the back, the bearing surface should be no further back than the horse’s last rib. The number of girth straps available for positioning and securing the girth varies, three being usual. The girth needs to be far enough back from the elbows (say, a hand’s width) to prevent it digging in behind them when
each foreleg in turn comes back as its partner goes forward. This is a very common cause of horses being unable to offer free, forward movement, let alone lengthen their stride, leading to their being branded ‘lazy’, ‘stubborn’ and ‘hard work’. If a horse or pony is too fat, even slightly, or very rounded in the ribcage, the saddle can be pushed forward during movement and pull the girth forward with it, creating the problems just described. If you have three girth straps to choose from, to help keep the saddle back use the front two. If your horse is rather lean or even rather slabsided, as it is called, use the back two to help keep it forward. I dislike point straps as they give the saddle a tighter feel at the front, where a horse needs freedom. Some riders and fitters claim that they make the saddle more stable, and perhaps they are a help on a horse or pony with low withers, but on one of good riding horse conformation and action, normal withers and good shoulders, I am sure they create discomfort and malfunction. With a well-balanced saddle properly fitted on a horse with decent riding conformation, they are unnecessary and can create problems, I find. Girth Design The design of the girth is crucial to a cont. on p.36
Students graduate with MSc Equine Science by distance learning The Equine Science programme at the University of Edinburgh’s Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies is moving the boundaries of teaching and learning by delivering world-class education on a global scale, providing a stimulating educational experience for students looking for flexible, career-enhancing education. Students can opt to study for a Certificate (one year), Diploma (two years) or an MSc (three years) through part-time online distance learning. November 2011 saw the first cohort of online distance education students graduate with Equine Science qualifications from the University of Edinburgh. Thirteen students graduated with the MSc, three students graduated with the Diploma and five students graduated with the Certificate.
said, “We are extremely proud of our first set of graduates from our online Equine Science programme and are so delighted that these students can undertake all aspects of their studies online, including graduating.” Applications for this programme, which will commence in September 2012 are currently being taken and interested students are encouraged to apply now. To join one of the leading research and teaching institutions in the world, or for further information, please contact: Bryony Waggett Tel: +44 (0)131 650 8783 Email: Equine.Science@ed.ac.uk Twitter: http://twitter.com/eqscied Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ EdinburghEquine W: www.ed.ac.uk/vet/equine-science
Below is pictured Jayne Roberts, 37, Georgia, USA who was among the first set of students to graduate by taking part in an online graduation ceremony, the first time that a student from the R(D)SVS has graduated in this way. Dr Jo-Anne Murray, director of the MSc in Equine Science programme
February 2012 - Equi-Ads - 35
Horse Behaviour - Training cont. from p.35
horse’s comfort. A horse with a natural girth groove on the breastbone is a real boon and this is definitely a feature to look for when buying a horse. Others are: elbows whose points lie well in front of an imaginary vertical line dropped from the highest point of the withers, withers of reasonable height to help prevent the saddle sliding sideways, and a flattish back rising
gently to the loins. A horse with a girth groove plus this forehand and back conformation is said to be able to ‘carry a saddle’. The saddle will stay in place naturally, removing the need to girth up too tightly (you need to be able to just get the flat of your fingers between it and the horse – not too tight or too loose). On a well-conformed horse wearing a well-fitting and balanced saddle, there is no need to have a very tight girth. This, in itself, increases the
horse’s comfort greatly. A girth ‘cut-away’ immediately behind the horse’s elbow is a further advantage as it gives room for the forelegs and shoulders to move freely. The final, to my mind essential, comfort feature is for it to have firm, elastic inserts at both ends so that it will stretch and recoil evenly with the horse’s ribcage as he breathes. A single insert at one end causes the girth to ‘give’ at that end only, pulling the saddle over to the other side where there is no give, then shift back again, with each breath, creating sideways friction and pressure. A single insert in the middle can create uncomfortable bulk on each side of the breastbone and/or behind the elbows, where it is stitched into the girth. Girths with crossing and/or sliding arrangements of the buckle straps, and/ or made of materials which are claimed to have a little inbuilt stretch, do not, I find, make any significant improvement to the horse’s comfort and ability to breathe freely and effectively. Elastic inserts at each end of the girth plus ‘cut-aways’ level with the elbows are comfort features. Short dressage girths can be a handicap as they often create bulk right behind the elbows in the form of the buckles and the integral hard leather shield between them and the horse. Stirrup Design Even the stirrups themselves can affect your horse’s behaviour because they affect the way you ride. Modern designs offer flexibility, safety features, hinged treads, stirrups with torque (twist) and various other features which make the stirrups flexible and supportive. If your feet are held in an uncomfortable position your feet and ankles may
become stiff or painful, a very common complaint, I find as a teacher. This makes it difficult for a rider to ride softly which affects the whole of her balance and riding technique. Her aids, her horse’s understanding, comfort, performance and behaviour are all adversely affected. Try to test as many types of stirrup as possible to find something comfortable. Always wear proper, sturdy boots with a heel and use stirrups about half an inch or two centimetres wider than the widest part of the sole of your boot. This helps prevent your foot going right through the stirrup which can mean that you could be dragged and seriously injured or killed in a fall. Also for safety and comfort, ride with the ball (the widest part) of your foot/boot on the stirrup tread and aligned with it. This allows your ankle to flex properly and helps keep your foot correctly positioned. Deep-tread (from front to back) endurance stirrups are much more comfortable for long rides than the usual sort, and you can investigate stirrups with hinged treads or branches, those with an element of ‘twist’ or flexion, safety stirrups with a forwardcurved outer branch and other features. Heavy stirrups are easier to find again should you lose them in action and rubber or synthetic treads, if not built in, help you maintain your foot position. I wish someone would invent treads of tough foam to help reduce pressure on our feet and increase comfort. Whatever type you choose, the object is both safety and comfort because if you are not comfortable you will not ride well, and your tension and lack of correct balance will stiffen you up, prevent you moving properly with cont. on next page
Horse How To Academy Horse How To Academy is what the equestrian world has been waiting for. Training for you and your horse has at last become accessible and affordable. You can now train at a time that suits you and in the privacy of your own home. In these tough economic times many people are having to forgo their training sessions so their riding progression plateaus. Here at Horse How to Academy we have courses suitable for every level from your first riding lesson through to advanced dressage. Horse Care, Tack and Equipment, Young and Green Horses, Groundwork and Confidence Building are some of the courses available so there really is something for everybody. Every course has written guides, videos and a forum so that you have support and friendship every step of the way. All of the courses are delivered by an experienced, qualified coach using a 36 - Equi-Ads - February 2012
variety of horses and ponies so you can trust the information that you are receiving. If you have any problems pop on the forum and she will answer your questions personally. When watching a Horse How to Academy video it is not just a “fly on the wall” video it is an actual training session explaining how to do it, what it should look like, what it looks like when it isn’t correct and how to make it correct. It is like having your own personal trainer. To make Horse How to Academy accessible for everybody each course is only £10 for a whole year! When you sign up for a course you continue getting access to new content for the whole year of membership at no extra cost. So what are you waiting for go to www. horsehowtoacademy.co.uk to join the equestrian worlds fastest growing community.
Horse Behaviour - Tack & Turnout your horse, reduce the quality of your performance and quite possibly cause your horse anxiety, annoyance and poor balance and movement. This distracts him and can lead to all the problems described in this article. Rider Technique How long should your stirrups be? The length of your leathers depends on four things – your discipline (shorter for jumping, longer for flatwork), your leg length, your seat and your skill. For general riding such as most flatwork and low jumps, when your legs are dropped down naturally without stirrups the tread of your stirrup should be level with your ankle bone, as a good guide. Before mounting, you can gauge the length of the leathers by putting your fingertips on the stirrup bar, straightening your arm and seeing if the tread fits into your armpit, as it should. There seems to be a belief that the longer your stirrups for flatwork the better rider you must be. This is rubbish. Tip-toeing around trying to keep your stirrups won’t help your seat any more than will too-short leathers which push your seat and your weight back towards the cantle. If you are going for a spin across country in a fast canter or gallop, or jumping sizeable fences, you will need your stirrups a few holes shorter than for flatwork, and maybe a jumping saddle, or you will not be able to balance at speed over the horse’s centre of gravity or negotiate the fences well. This will result in poor, dangerous riding and a horse who loses his trust in his comfort and your security. For ordinary active hacking, low to moderate jumps and most other kinds of riding, the length described above
should be suitable. Pressure on the horse’s back in the points/stirrup bar area is partly caused by riders relying too much on their stirrups which transfers most of their weight via the leathers to the bars, and by their not taking enough weight down the insides of their thighs and acquiring a deep, classical seat which spreads their weight and increases their security.
(visit www.equitationscience.co.uk). Author of 44 books, she is co-publisher with Anne Wilson of ‘Tracking-up’ (see advert this issue). Susan teaches in Lancashire and neighbouring areas: for
lessons, ring her on 01254 705487 or email her on horses@susanmcbane. com. Her website address is www.susanmcbane.com.
The more accomplished, deeper and more secure your seat the longer your stirrups will become. The acquisition of such a seat has been dealt with more than once in this series, but basically you need to widen your seat and thigh bones by gently and slightly rotating your hips out and forward – left hip rotates clockwise and right hip anticlockwise. As well as naturally turning your knees and toes in a bit without effort, this gives the part of your seat under your torso more contact with the saddle and a deep, moulding feel which gives confidence to you and your horse. It enables your thighs, which are also part of your seat, to drop further down your saddle flaps, increasing your security and effectiveness even more. This usually requires stirrup leathers one hole longer than your norm. If you practise riding without stirrups, with a relaxed seat and dropped legs, in this position you’ll develop an adhesive, balanced seat centred on your seatbones, not your buttocks, which is comfortable and reassuring to both you and your horse. SUSAN McBANE is a classical teacher and trainer, holding the Classical Riding Club Gold Award and an HNC in Equine Science and Management. She also uses the principles of Equitation Science and equine learning theory in her work
The art of communication If the communication with your horse is distorted by “noise”, e.g. the irritation of a poorly fitting saddle, you cannot even start talking. It is also a well known fact that as horses progress with training they change shape and so do we as riders. Therefore, at MindBUZZler, we have opted for traditional German brands of saddles, which incorporate the newest technology. Passier and Kieffer are equipped with fully adjustable trees whilst Stübben relies on the stuffing of the panels to allow a perfect fit. Mindbuzzler also retails Massimo, which specializes in saddles for the cob type horse. Whereas Passier, Stübben and Kieffer offer as standard tree width up to 32cm Massimo offer as standard up to 42cm. Mindbuzzler also aim to keep up to date with the newest technology and so stock the Passier
Compact saddle for short-coupled horses and also carry the Stabbed jumping saddle fitted with the Biome technology. These are all ready for you to try. Apart from a perfect theoretical fit for both you and your horse they will also ensure that both of you are comfortable. Some riders prefer a deeper seat and more defined knee rolls and would feel insecure in a flat seated saddle. Mindbuzzler encourage everybody to try the saddle of your choice on your horse and will travel to you across Scotland. For those further afield they will post out the saddle and recommend that you involve your local saddler. Mindbuzzler also caters for long distance, Icelandics, Western & Australian Stock saddles. For more information contact Kirstin on 07404143526 or 01337 870489 February 2012 - Equi-Ads - 37
Competition Clothing - Tack & Turnout
Competition Clothing Caldene offers readers advice on what to wear for each discipline, so you always look the part and never get it wrong. With so many do’s and don’ts on what you can and can’t wear whilst competing it can often seem hard to make sense of it all. This guide to competition clothing is designed to help those rider’s who are a little confused on what to wear for their chosen discipline. British Eventing British Eventing has strict rules on dressing for the sport, not only because
of the safety aspect but to keep in line with the sports original dress code which was based on traditional hunting attire. Dressage Phase In the Dressage phase of Eventing, hunting dress is permitted. When competing at Advanced level in three day eventing or Intermediate and above at one day events rider’s must wear a Black or Navy tail coat and top hat.
At all other levels riders are encouraged to wear either a Black or Navy show jacket, similar to the Caldene Kempton show jacket or the Wessex Hunt Coat. When wearing Black or Navy, it is correct protocol to sport a white stock, and buff or fawn breeches. These can be worn with plain black leather long boots or full grain smooth black gaiters and matching jodhpur boots. Competing at Novice level or below riders are permitted to wear a plain tweed coat similar to the Caldene Belvoir Tweed with a smart coloured stock or tie, and black or brown full length leather boots or gaiters. Gloves must be worn but colour is down to personal preference. If you struggle to keep your hands still whilst riding it is advisable to steer away from light coloured gloves, as this will only draw more attention them. BE Show Jumping The show jumping phase of Eventing requires Advanced level riders and those competing at Intermediate Championships to wear a Black, Navy or Red Coat. Now becoming more popular in the
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show jumping world, quite a few clothing companies design red jackets, Caldene has produced the Maidstone jacket with this in mind. At Intermediate level and below, or except where indicated, Black, Navy and Tweed Coats are allowed. This to be teamed with a plain stock shirt and stock, or shirt and tie with tweed. Similar to Dressage white, buff or fawn breeches are permitted. As with all physical sports it is important for riders to remain comfortable whilst looking stylish. Often breeches or jodhpurs can look great but don’t deliver on performance. Caldene have a heritage in designing fashionable and functional equestrian attire, devised from years of research and tried and tested designs pushed to the limit. Caldene’s mix of fabrics used in their breeches ensures rider’s are given complete freedom of movement and are not restricted in any way. BE Cross Country The most dangerous and thrilling section of Eventing, safety must come first in Cross Country. cont. on p.40
Arenas - Field & Stable - Holidays - Insurance
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Tack & Turnout cont. from p.38
Hats must conform to the required standard and rider’s will be required to have their hats checked by officials before they are allowed to compete in the cross country phase.
The new Sydney shirt from Caldene is proving hugely popular amongst rider’s with its’ combination of stylish, yet traditional appearance it is bound to be a winner.
A visible British Eventing checked symbol, such as the yellow tape, must be visible and the harness correctly fastened at all times.
The semi fitted design and unique puff sleeves, brings a slight twist to equestrian fashion. It is compulsory for all riders to wear a hard hat and if a crash hat is worn hat covers must match your competition jacket.
Body protectors are obligatory for this section and without one, riders are not allowed to compete. A sweater or shirt is required with breeches and boots or gaiters. Many riders still wear a stock across country and it was traditionally worn to support the neck should the rider fall off. Gloves are designed to help and offer extra grip, take care when choosing your cross country gloves not to go for ones made from all leather. In wet conditions leather gloves do not grip the reins so choose cross country gloves with care. British Dressage When competing in Dressage the riders appearance should be elegant. There are strict guidelines that rider’s have to adhere to with the overall look to appear seamless and classic. In Advanced dressage tests a uniform or tail coat with top hat is the preferred choice for many. A beautifully tailored Black or Navy coat is also allowed. No matter what colour jacket you wear each rider is required to wear a correctly tied white or cream stock with hunting cap, bowler or crash cap. If you are competing in Preliminary to Advanced, riders are allowed to wear a uniform or plain Black or Navy jacket with plain white or cream stock. Many riders opt for pure white breeches but cream or beige are also allowed. Often competitors match the colour of their stock and breeches to their saddle cloth in a bid to create a smart look for both horse and rider. Caldene has a wide range of breeches suitable for the dressage arena available in white, beige and cream with numerous ‘sticky bum’ or plain seat designs, Wensley is very popular. Tweed jackets are also permitted in the dressage arena but are very rarely seen with Navy jackets appearing to be the ‘ones to wear’. Many riders also take great care when choosing their stock shirt, as many warm up their horses in hot weather without their jackets. 40 - Equi-Ads - February 2012
Gloves must be worn at all times with the most popular colours being white or cream, while those riders who wish to draw less attention to their hands often go for a brown shade.
ShoeSecure the horse shoe shield. Invented designed and manufactured in Scotland, ShoeSecures have received “rave” reviews from happy horse owners from as far afield as, New Zealand, Italy, Denmark and from throughout the UK. These have come from owners who have saved money and their horse’s feet not to mention gaining peace of mind about not missing training or competitions due to horse shoe loss.
The updated design allows for easier fit and a greater range of shoe size. Visit www.shoesecure.com to read the many reviews or phone 07836740557. ShoeSecures can be purchased on line through the web site.
To complete the look, long leather black boots are required with many luxury brands offering great designs at the moment. Brown boots are also allowed along with gaiters and identical jodhpur boots. To create a truly professional look, plain black leather boots are recommended. British Show Jumping All riders must follow the British Show Jumping Dress code, but unlike any other, this discipline provides riders with many ways of showcasing their individual style. Like other organisations, it is mandatory for all members to wear a protective helmet manufactured to the required standard. Traditionally, tailored jackets were worn in the ring in dark colours (black, navy, green, brown, burgundy, grey or red) with the exception of British Team colours, but there is now much more range in the colours including lighter colours. The Grove jacket looks great in the arena. Only white or pastel coloured shirts with white collars and ties or hunting stocks are allowed. Many companies provide stock shirts with diamante buttons, puff ball sleeves or pale pin stripes for a truly unique look. As with other disciplines, all breeches and jodhpurs should be white, pale yellow or fawn and ideally fit well with the rest of the outfit. This season there are a number of modern boot designs seen on many top riders with unique styles and colours. Or you can opt for the ever popular plain long black leather boots or gaiters and jodhpur boots. For further information on any of the items mentioned please contact www.caldene.co.uk or 01274 711101
www.midkinleith.com Wide range of quality tack & clothing at bargain prices Spend over £50 for FREE Delivery
Insurance - Livery - Magnetic Massage Therapy
Spring in to Style for 2012 WITH Spring just around the corner, looking stylish whether in or out of the saddle helps everyone to feel better after the colder winter months. In this issue we provide top fashion advice from the team at EquestrianClearance.com and what’s hot and what to look out for in the style stakes throughout Spring 2012. “Spring/summer 2012 will no doubt see the return of the famous Union Jack colours in support of London 2012,” says Katie Farmer. “Colour ways such as navy, red and white are sure to be a big hit. Brands will be offering a large variety of items that you can mix and match to create the perfect outfit. “The summer celebrations for 2012 are very exciting and everyone will be wanting to make the most of this great opportunity. “Other colours such as pinks, greys and yellows including lemon will make a return to brighten up your wardrobe and give that feminine touch with gentle stripes and subtle spots. “How you look whether on the yard or nipping in to town can make such a difference to your overall well being so mix and match tops and bottoms until you find a look that really suits “Items such as fitted and belted jackets will remain a firm favourite for their
elegant style. Padded gilets have been a huge hit and will see lightweight versions added to lines with the warmer weather fairing. “Classic polo shirts are a must have and form the basis of any riders wardrobe whether out of the yard, riding or as part of your everyday casual dress. They are a classic, timeless piece that always look great with jeans or jodhpurs. “In terms of riding wear, jodhpurs will continue to deliver practicality along with a comfortable feel, whilst offering a stylish European design. “Many brands will be offering new colour ways to original designs adding a splash of colour fit for the warmer weather, so there will be plenty of choice to find your favourite gear.” For hassle free shopping and many great bargains visit www. equestrianclearance.com
Ride-Away goes mobile! Ride-Away, one of the UK’s leading equestrian and country stores, has launched a mobile website to make shopping on the move easier than ever before. The company is based in York and, despite having a 15,000 sq ft superstore in Sutton-on-the-Forest, is well known across the UK and beyond for the exceptional range of products offered online. “We’re really pleased with our new mobile website,” says Angela Clark from RideAway, “We know how popular smartphones are and how many use them as computer substitutes. We’re a forward thinking company and we’re always looking at ways that we can improve our service and make it easier and quicker for our customers to do what they need to.” The mobile website is simple to use, just access www.rideaway.co.uk from any smartphone and you’ll be presented with a list of categories.
Simply select the most relevant and the website will quickly and efficiently guide you to the area you require. Special offers are also available through the mobile site, so visitors can benefit from all the promotions available on the standard website. “We’ve designed our mobile site to be easy to navigate, without the need to zoom in and out between pages,” says Angela. “So many people choose to shop online now, and shopping when you’ve got a few spare minutes but no access to a computer makes sense- we hope people use and enjoy it.” To use the mobile website, just visit www.rideaway.co.uk from any smartphone. To find out more about Ride-Away, visit the website, phone 01347 810443 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
February 2012 - Equi-Ads - 41
Competition Gear - Giveaway
Competition gear from Toggi Miramar ladies stock shirt (right) The Miramar stock shirt offers unparalleled levels of comfort, style and performance.
Bringing a dash of elegant, modern style to the dressage arena, leading German brand Cavallo have launched a new tailcoat for the 2012 competition season.
Made from highly technical and yet super soft jersey Coolmax® fabric which is designed to mimic the action of the skin and actively take moisture away from the body, the Miramar incorporates an innovative 3 in 1 Collar system. This system allows the shirt to be worn alone, with a stand collar, or a hunting stock, both of which are included free along with a stock tying guide to ensure the finished look is as perfect as it feels. Colour: White Sizes: 8 – 18 Price from: £30 Maveric Breeches These exquisite, premium quality breeches from Toggi combine style with comfort for unrivalled performance and feature a full seat in imitation suede for superb grip. Colours: Beige, Black, Chocolate, Navy Sizes: 24” – 34” Price from: £77.50 Apollo breeches The gents Apollo modern fit breeches are made from a super lightweight fabric for supreme comfort and style and feature a pleated front, slanted welt pockets and self fabric knee patches.
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CAVALLO Competition clothing 2012 - Dressage
The Girasol Select is a double breasted, 6 button classic, tailcoat with beautiful Dove Grey tips and collar in a luxurious Cavasoft fabric. Fully lined with a weighted tail it is a slim flattering cut that looks great in the saddle. Silver logo buttons and a small embroidered logo on the tips are quality finishing touches. Colours: Beige, Black, Navy, White Sizes: 28” – 38” Price from: £77.50
It is available off the peg in a variety of modern colours including Marine and Grey whilst other specific options are made to order.
Andorra gloves A simply stunning leatherette competition riding glove, perfect for when elegance, style and grace are called for. Colours: Black, White Sizes: S-L Price from: £15
The jacket is made from 54%Wool/44%Polyester/2%Lycra mix and is machine washable. It comes in a variety of UK sizes from 8 to 20.
For more information, contact Toggi on Tel: 0113 270 7000, or check out www.toggi.com.
Worn with white Champion Breeches full seat (as shown) RRP £169 and Cavallo Grand Prix Plus Riding Boots with inner zip RRP £379.
Girasol Select RRP £549. A men’s option is also available from £559. For further information: Zebra Products: 01352 763350 www.zebraproducts.co.uk
Monty Roberts Tour
February 2012 - Equi-Ads - 43
Winter Itching Mystery – Ruggle-it Rescues Tiddler! Tiddler, a tiny pony rescued by an East Sussex family in October 2010 was struggling. She clearly suffered from sweet itch during summers but also from dramatic hair loss and itching in winter. During that winter it was just about trying to manage the mystery issue, build a trust bond and keep her warm (see the before photo). Trying to get near her very sore ears/poll was challenging – with violent rearing and teeth-baring! Despite no flying bugs in December, she was rubbing her legs on buckets, doing the ‘doggie drag’ with her bottom on the muddy ground, viciously rubbing her face, neck and rear end on fences, and rolling a lot. A close look confirmed her skin had almost instantly transformed into flakes and scurf; small crusty lumps with other patches of hard scabby areas, her skin was pink and hot and she was very grumpy. So what was it? There were no lice or midges and whatever was bothering her so much was completely invisible. Answer – “Millennium” Mites! Mites are tiny, parasitic creatures that can be found almost anywhere – in bedding, bales of hay and straw as well as in fields and hedgerows. They are a fact of life. But in the Millennium’s unusual climate, they have become mostly invisible to the naked eye. For example, did you know that from August 2010 without any break whatsoever, invisible “Millennium” mites have savaged our animals (horses, dogs, cats and alpacas)? And when it snows or is very cold, they get more, not less, active! Culprit No.1. ● Many of us know that the Chorioptic mite is found on lower limbs (often hiding in feathers or heavy coats), but nowadays they can attack even Thoroughbreds with fine coats (also found on pets). ● Very importantly, it seems they breed AWAY from the legs – in the armpits, groin and all across the belly. From there they can migrate down all legs, go between the back legs and into the tail, from the armpits up the shoulder and often into the mane and ears, and sometimes even between the jawbones. ● In our current climates, they can be active 365 days a year. A little known fact is that
they can thrive in frosts, snow and extreme cold. ● Common signs can be some or all of the following - stamping, nose and rear end rubbing, itchy heads, chewing and biting the legs, biting the belly sides and under the stifle, rolling, ‘doggie dragging’ as well as tell-tale crusty, scaly and scabby skin. Culprit No.2. ● Another mite is the Trombicula autumnalis (Harvest Mite) that can cause chaos in the late summer/autumn to horses, large animals and all pets.● It attacks the lower limbs, muzzle and if the animal lies down, basically anywhere that it can grab a hold. Whilst it’s feeding on the victim’s blood it’s not itchy – only when it drops off does the site become itchy.● It can be hiding in grass, hedgerows and even in forage and bedding. But again, it’s one of Mother Nature’s creations and part of someone’s food-chain! ● With Millennium weather patterns, it seems to survive well beyond the Autumn months these days. What to do. a) Once you see the itching, you need to act fast to: b) Kill off those that are feasting on the skin to stop them breeding. Deter further attacks by leaving a “No Entry” sign impregnated into the skin or hair follicles. Tiddler was treated with the diluted element of the Ruggle-it 100% natural vegetable oil mixture and the pioneering soap-free, low lather shampoo. The really clever bit is that you do NOT have to bath (although results will be quicker if you do), and you then just slap on the diluted oil mix which uses mostly tap water! Almost instant soothing can be experienced and often after just three days, you then only need to top up with the diluted mix just once weekly. Whilst it can look a bit untidy initially, because it works fast, your horse will adore you and in no time, you will only need to apply it once a month, saving you money and time. Happy horse means the purse stays shut and you both sleep better! So it’s not only fast-acting but cheap as chips too. Whilst Ruggle-it has proven hugely effective against living mites, lice, midges and most other biting critters, it Before
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also helps retard eggs from hatching AND leaves the all important “No Entry” sign afterwards. However, if there’s a hiccup and itching starts (like Tiddler did suddenly in December 2011), do not panic! Just slap on some diluted oil mix in the key breeding zones (all clearly explained in the Application Notes) and watch it soothe almost instantly. Or for pets, just spraybath them with the shampoo – no need to wash out!
cost, Tiddler did not have sweet itch in 2011 either, and for the first time in years, grazed happily all summer with hardly a fly on her and not a frizzy mane, tail or hair in sight (her rescue centre said she used to live in her shelter 24/7 trying to hide from flies and mosquitoes). So whether you want protection from “Millennium” mites, winter and mystery itching or sweet itch, Mother Nature’s Ruggle-it has got it covered.
The dramatic ‘Before’ and ‘After’ photos from October 2010 and May 2011, speak for themselves on how Ruggle-it helped Tiddler beat the winter itching naturally.
For an impressively long list of testimonials and photos, plus more information on all the Ruggles & Stopitall Ltd product ranges visit www. karenruggles.co.uk or call 01823 259952
As an extra bonus and for no additional
Feeding - News
One million signature petition proves overwhelming support for shorter journey times for horses transported to slaughter
A petition pushing for a reduction in journey times for live animals transported for slaughter across Europe has now received more than one million signatures, reinforcing World Horse Welfare’s long running transportation campaign. Overwhelming support for the petition reinforces our own calls for the introduction of a maximum journey limit, which forms an integral part of our campaign to end the long-distance transportation of horses across Europe to slaughter or for fattening. Current EU legislation makes it possible for animals, including horses, to be transported for 24 hours or more without rest, leading to immense suffering. We back Animals’ Angels latest action and believe that any push for change is a positive move and hope that this will put more pressure on the Commission to re-think the current totally inadequate legislation. The European Commission’s own scientific experts support the introduction of a finite maximum journey limit for slaughter. However, despite all
the evidence, the Commission have not proposed any changes to the legislation. Campaigns Officer at World Horse Welfare Hannah Lynch said: “We were deeply disappointed at the end of last year when we found out that the Commission wouldn’t be adopting our recommendation for a 9-12 hour maximum journey limit. But the Animal’s Angels petition proves that there are many, many people in different countries who feel strongly towards a change to the current EU legislation. “We were happy to support the petition which is another call to the Commission that something needs to be done and that a maximum journey limit is needed. If the current legislation remains unchanged all animals, including horses, will continue to suffer.” Read more about World Horse Welfare’s campaign and download a copy of the charity’s latest Dossier of Evidence, which outlines the suffering these journeys cause: www. worldhorsewelfare.org/takeaction
Virbac Equine SQP of the Year Finalists 2012 are announced Virbac Animal Health are pleased to announce the six finalists of the Virbac SQP of the Year Award 2012.
place on Sunday 19th February at BETA International, and the winner will be presented with their Award.
It was in 2011 that the Virbac Equine SPQ of the Year Award was instigated in recognition of the important role played by SQP’s in offering sound and well balanced advice on worming issues to horse owners, and in recognition of the hard work and training undertaken by SQP’s to achieve this level of competence.
‘We are delighted to announce the final six in the 2012 Virbac Equine SQP of the Year’ said Virbac Equine Product Manager Tom Blacklock ‘our finalists have already been ‘mystery shopped’ and we have some excellent candidates in the final six, so I am sure that the panel will have a tough decision to make to find a winner’.
During the past year horse owners and colleagues have been nominating their local SQP who, in their opinion, go the extra mile to offer help and advice. From the many nominations received six finalists have been invited to attend BETA International, where, after undergoing a final interview from a distinguished panel of judges that includes the 2011 winner Suzi Law, they will be acknowledged in a prestigious presentation that will take
The finalists are .... Ann - Marie Brown - Farmway, Harrogate Mandy Dawkes - Wynnstay, Denbighshire Sarah Gardhouse - WCF, Carlisle Toni Wise - Dovehouse Farm, Beds Claire Sellors - Sellors LTD Nottingham, Dafydd Lewis - WD Lewis Lampeter For more information contact Virbac Animal Health on 01359 243243 or visit www.3dworming.com February 2012 - Equi-Ads - 45
Directory - Field & Stable - News
World Horse Welfare help police dramatically reduce costs and improve safety World Horse Welfare has been working together with Hertfordshire Constabulary to successfully reduce injury to horses, their officers, and cut their equine-related costs by thousands of pounds. In 2007, Nick White joined our charity as a Field Officer covering the Hertfordshire area, and at the time, the constabulary were spending a great deal of time and resource dealing with stray horses on the roads and illegal grazing. As a result, Nick White was asked by the constabulary to help advise on
how they could best deal with dangerous and time-consuming issues.
Clarification of location and relevant dangers by call takers.
At the time, equine-related costs were as much as £60,000 a year for Hertfordshire Constabulary, but over the past 18 months they have now been reduced to around £2,000. This has been achieved through a ‘Greenyard Procedure’.
Dispatching of unit to the scene. When the horses are located and have been contained safely, as soon as the location has been made safe, officers will attempt to contact the owners or persons responsible for them to arrange removal. Owners who allow their horses to stray onto the public Highway may be liable to prosecution under The Highways Act 1980 depending on the circumstances. If owner or persons responsible cannot be traced, horses on the public Highway will be removed to a place of safety i.e. a greenyard.
The procedure works as follows: An incident where horses are loose and straying on the public Highways is reported to Hertfordshire Constabulary.
Horse & Pony Cremation Genuine Individual Cremation. Leyland & Cheshire Pet Crematorium. Tel: 01772 622466
Brittany & Normandy Cardyke Overseas Properties Properties suitable for horses at a fraction of UK prices. Tel: 01775 630 008
South East Andrew Reilly Saddlers Spoods Farm, Tinkers Lane, Hadlow Down, East Sussex TN22 4ET. Tel: 01825 830484.
East Regular worm egg counts can save money! 6-8 weekly spring through autumn £5 each. Church Farm FEC email@example.com or 01728685638
The Haylage Co. A cost effective alternative to hay. Based South Hertfordshire, we deliver to locations nationwide. Telephone: 07836 514 435 or 07831 454 166 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website- www.poloforage.com
Stay style savvy this season! Winter seems to go on forever these days, and even in early spring it is not uncommon to see a ground frost! It is possible for fashion and technology to go hand in hand, and as proof, Ariat have brought out two luxurious garments to help you stay snug, whilst still looking stylish this season. The new Kloster Down Jacket and Kloster Down Vest from Ariat demonstrate fashion, function and performance, and both products enable you to say goodbye to heavy, cumbersome winter coats and welcome cosy, light as a feather, goose down insulated additions to your wardrobe. In addition, the Kloster Down duo offer all the practical precautions you require in our ever changing climate including a water repellent, mini-herringbone outer to protect you from the inevitable spring showers! With a choice between the fun and funky Kloster Down Jacket or the super smart Kloster Down Vest, you can clinch the style award, whilst also staying snug! Both items feature a striking quilt lining, side entry pockets, zipper, snap 46 - Equi-Ads - February 2012
closure and mock collar to help retain heat, all of which add the perfect accents to a duo of items that look good in the saddle, on the yard or when hitting the high street! Available in two different colour choices; classic navy and dazzling magenta, the Kloster Down Jacket and Vest are both available in ladies sizes XS – XXL. Priced at just £99.95 for the Vest and £134.95 for the Jacket, Ariat really is a girl’s best friend this winter! For more information about Ariat’s products or to view the comprehensive range of apparel available, visit: www. ariat-europe.com or telephone: 0845 600 3209.
The Safer Neighbourhood Team (SNT) will lead enquiries to trace the owner. If the animal is not claimed within 15 days then the rights of ownership will pass to the greenyard and they have authorisation to sell or rehome the horse/s as appropriate. If the horse is not claimed then Hertfordshire Constabulary is only liable for costs up to the 15 days. Nick White commented on the partnership working by saying: “It has been extremely rewarding to play an instrumental role in improving the way the constabulary deals with horse-related issues which has also lead to a huge reduction in costs for them. One of the key changes as a result of the Greenyard Procedure has been
the increased awareness and training of officers so they know how to deal with a horse if they come across one. “Stray horses on the roads are a real danger, often very frightened they sometimes resort to their flight instinct. They may cause accidents, close major highways for hours and put public lives in danger. Horses on the public Highways are a police matter but if a horse is injured or suffering then the relevant welfare organisations such as World Horse Welfare would be contacted to assist.” The Greenyard Procedure has been recognised for its success as Hertfordshire Police have been nominated for a Tilley Award 2011 for their efforts. Inspector Duncan Grieves from Hertfordshire Constabulary said: “Hertfordshire has the largest population of horses per square mile compared to any other county in the country. Therefore, we were seeing a rising number of incidents of horses straying from their enclosures onto public highways and land, leading to increased danger. But with the Greenyayd Procedure the amount of time officers have to spend dealing with actual incidents of recovering stray horses has now been greatly reduced. The availability of the greenyard allows officers to move on quickly to deal with other incidents.”
Bedding - Field & Stable
February 2012 - Equi-Ads - 47
Cobbetts Q&A - News - Transport
The pitfalls of purchasing Competition Stallions a horse and the Guide Launched at the Implications of the Sale of British Breeders Dinner. Goods Act 1979 For potential owners wishing to buy a horse, there are a number of requirements that should be taken into consideration. Richard Coates, head of equine law at Cobbetts LLP comments on the potential issues faced when buying horses. Research on the seller is a must! You need to decipher whether they are a private seller or a horse dealer. When purchasing from a horse dealer who is selling in the course of business, they are bound by additional provisions set out in the Sale of Goods Act 1979 (the “SGA”), which will provide potential owners with more legal protection in the event of a dispute. The same provisions do not apply to purchases from individual sellers. If the seller is a dealer selling in the course of business, a buyer is entitled to a horse of ‘satisfactory quality’ and ‘fit for their purpose’ in accordance with the SGA. If one of these terms is breached by the dealer, a buyer is usually entitled to reject the animal and request a refund provided he does so within a reasonable time. However, a buyer who purchases a horse from a private individual does not have this type of recourse. In this case, the SGA only implies into the agreement that the horse corresponds with the description given in the sale advertisement or given verbally by the seller. However, if a buyer can show that the horse does not correspond with the description given by the seller, they may have a misrepresentation claim if a seller has withheld or concealed information. Q: I purchased a horse for £3,000 without a vetting. It has turned out to have a severe case of navicular syndrome. The vendor says she is a private seller and not a horse dealer. However, she has advertised more than ten horses over the past year. I want to take out a claim against her, but my court case hinges on proving that she is a horse dealer, as obviously I have more rights. It is important to have a pre-purchase vetting when buying horses to try and prevent this situation.
48 - Equi-Ads - February 2012
When deciphering whether a seller is a dealer, the only definition that is important is the seller selling in the course of business. If someone is acting in the course of a business with a view to making a profit, or a history of a course of dealings can be shown, then the SGA will apply. This seller’s adverts are good evidence of a course of dealings. Providing proof of a brief period of ownership by the dealer may also support the intention to sell for a profit. If the seller is a horse dealer, the main provisions of the SGA can be relied on ie that goods should be of satisfactory quality and fit for their purpose. A dealer is bound by these terms otherwise they may be liable for breach of contract. Sellers, therefore, try to avoid being deemed a horse dealer believing that this means they will escape liability for breach of contract. However, if a horse was sold as suitable for hunting, for example and does not match up to this term, this can form the basis of a claim whether it was a business sale or not. If you are looking at purchasing a horse, it is recommended that you seek appropriate legal advice from a solicitor specialising in equine law to assist in addressing these requirements. Cobbetts is a leading national law firm with offices in Birmingham, Leeds, London and Manchester. Its equine team is committed to providing commercial, proactive and practical advice on all types of equestrian law, including equestrian property transactions, sale and purchase disputes, health and safety regulatory issues, tenancies, personal injury, professional negligence, equestrian contracts, employment law advice, business advice, family and matrimonial. Cobbetts is the appointed solicitor to The Pony Club. The equine team is headed by Richard Coates, an associate based at Cobbetts LLP’s Birmingham office. He is a keen horseman with a particular passion for hunting and advises a wide range of equestrians and equestrian business. For more information on the services Cobbetts LLP offers, please contact Richard on: richard.coates@cobbetts. com or 0845 404 2301 or www. cobbetts.com/OurServices/Equinelaw.
A new book has been launched to help British Breeders select the best stallions for their mares. The Competition Stallions guide supported by British Breeding brings together pedigrees, progeny information and photographs in an easy to use reference directory. The guide received an enthusiastic welcome when it was launched at the British Breeders Dinner in London on 7th January. This guide is the brainchild of Jane Skepper director of Horseit.com who has a wealth of experience in breeding competition horses. It is a compact yet comprehensive guide containing useful information about nearly 100 graded and approved competition stallions who have met the stringent British Bred Sports Horse Stallion Eligibility criteria. Jane, who runs her family’s Heritage Coast Stud in Suffolk, said “we have noticed increasingly over the past few years that whilst there are niche stallion guides for particular breeds, there was a huge gap in finding comprehensive and concise information under one umbrella for competition stallions. We have worked closely with British Breeding, the Stallion Showcase and other Industry specialists to produce this guide”. The guide includes details of the included stallions breeding, several photos of each stallion, competition record and a section on progeny of note. It is both detailed and informative with full contact details for each owner and
a clear index to easily find a particular stallion within the guide. This guide is not just aimed at mare owners as there are also several pages devoted to statistics and useful information such as dates and details for all the main stallion gradings for 2012 and leading BEF Futurity sire rankings. Leading sports horse breeding vet Jane Hastie (nee Nixon) said “there is a helpful section that has details of recent updates on embryo transfer and semen freezing. Information is easily sourced by cross reference of name and discipline of the large variety of stallions, including ponies”. The guides will be widely available from stallion parades, breeding events, all major competition horse sales, selected stands at Badminton and Burghley and will soon be available online at www.competition-stallions. com