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PROUDLY SOUTH AFRICAN | Handcrafted in Cape Town, SA


Welcome! It’s lovely to have you with us for this, our sixth edition of HQ Digital. With another print edition next month, there’s a hive of activity here at the HQ Office. So much to do and so little time! To add to the busy-ness, the weather is just so wonderful that we can’t resist riding ALL OF THE TIME. We know it will be super-hot soon, so we’re making the most of it. We have a wide variety of content in this issue, from a review of the spectacular Callaho Auction to top tips for keeping your horse cool when the weather does heat up. We look at muscles, dentition in the older horse, the use of the inside rein and why stretching is so important. All in all – it’s a jampacked, fun-filled horsey escapade, and we hope you enjoy reading through it. On another note entirely, we’ve been asked about downloading the digital issues and whether this means you will retain access to the copy. The answer to this is a resounding yes. Downloading the issue not only allows you to keep it on your device forever but also allows you to read it whenever you wish, entirely data-free! Then the other question we have received is regarding the print editions and the availability of subscriptions. As we’ve explained previously, the magazine is now free to all those who wish to read it, and this has been made possible through the generous support of our advertisers. As a token of our thanks to them, we have made them the exclusive stockists of our magazine across the country. If, however, you would like to receive a copy of HQ and do not live close to one of these stores, please get in touch, and we will find a solution that works for you! All that then remains is again to extend a huge thank you to all of our advertisers and of course to you, our readers. We couldn’t do this without you! With much love,

Lizzie and xxx the HQ team Dr Lizzie Harrison | Editor


Designer: Mauray Wolff





06 Capital Stud 2021 Collection Try-Out Teasers

58 If not the head… Then what

14 The United Aviation South African Derby 2021 With Graham Winn

64 A weekend at Horizon Horseback Our intrepid explorer investigates

22 Back to Basics With RotoVetti

72 Rainy season Your horse’s hoof health

26 Stretching it out

76 Anatomy Part 3 Skeletal muscles

34 Accuracy Make the egg-shaped circle a thing of the past

80 EQUAAN 1000 Supreme joint maintenance

42 The inside rein To turn or not to turn

86 Hot to trot Managing the heat

46 Canter circles An exercise

92 AskHQ

48 Optimising your psychological performance Part 2: Mindfulness

104 Products we love

52 Attunement The secret to a good relationship

107 Pridey’s Piece



| 19th November


| 20th November

17:00 - Join us for an under-saddle

presentation of our auction horses.

9:00 - Buyers’ registration and viewing

9:30 – 10:30 - Young stallion presentation 11:00 - The Capital Stud 2021 Auction


Kasane was electric - Johan Lotter 28 CAPITAL KASANE

With the Capital Stud Hybrid Auction fast approaching on the 20th of November, the response to the Capital Stud 2021 Collection has been overwhelming. With fully-booked try-outs the energy and excitement is palpable. The Capital Stud Team have handed over the reins of their 2021 Collection, and the results have been remarkable. These outstanding young sport horses have really stepped up to show just what they are capable of. HQ chatted to a couple of the riders who had attended the try-outs to hear just what they had to say about their experience of these young athletes. We’re sure you’ll agree that just these few insights start to whet the appetite for what is to come on the 20th of November. To find out more about the horses, view the Capital Catalogue online here 6


24 CAPITAL RUFINA RENDEMENT X GUIDAM X ZEUS 18.11.2016 | Mare | Chestnut | SAW | 159,5cm

I love a fast horse, so for me, Capital Rufina is a stand out mare. Although smaller, she stands over ground, has a big step and is super athletic. She does all the right things with her body at the jump, and feels to me like she already knows

how to win. - Zdenek Muchna


Kamora is lovely! She has a sweet and gentle nature but with a fighting spirit and nice energy as well as a lovely jump! - Jade Walsh (nee Hooke)


Raelynn is a beautiful, big mare with great adjustability. She gives the rider confidence. She’s calm, relaxed and very rideable - Johan Lotter


Claribel is the perfect definition of class!! She is the whole package - scopey, careful and rideable!

- Leona Van Der Merwe

Claribel is beautiful to ride. She’s soft and easy with a big, powerful jump and yet so light on her feet. When we cantering around you could hardly hear her footsteps. It’s like she was floating. She’s a lovely horse. - Johan Lotter


There’s a horse for everybody on this auction. It’s a great crop of horses. Congratulations Capital Stud! - Dominey Alexander

Heartly is a powerful but elastic mare. I like this horse. She’s got serious chutzpah and I like that. - Johan Lotter


I really rate all the Rendement babies highly. Big or small, they’re all smart, forward thinking jumpers that are light on their feet, rideable and keen to work.

- Zdenek Muchna

I like Rohan very much. He feels very rideable. He can already extend and come back to you and hold himself. He has a lovely temperament and a powerful jump. - Johan Lotter

All that remains is for HQ to wish Capital a wonderfully successful auction on the 20th of November. At the time of going to ‘print’ there are still a few seats remaining for the live component of the auction, so snap these up while you have the chance. If you cannot attend in person, the event will be live-streamed for all those at home. This is a special collection of horses – don’t miss out on being part of the action.

BIDDING ON THE AUCTION To bid on the auction please sign up at or, if you are attending in person, you can sign up for a bidding card at the venue on the morning of the auction. For any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Henning on 076 5195 308 or to email Chelsea on


A NOTE ON THE HYBRID AUCTION FORMAT The Hybrid Auction Format allows bidders to either bid online (either from home or at the event) or live in-person at the event. The programme is as follows: PROGRAMME Friday 19th November 17:00 - Join us for an under-saddle presentation of our auction horses. Saturday 20th November - Look forward to an eventful day! 9:00 - Buyers’ registration and viewing 9:30 – 10:30 - Young stallion presentation 11:00 - The Capital Stud 2021 Auction




Lisa and Campbell





The United Aviation South African Derby 2021 WITH GRAHAM WINN


was fortunate enough to catch up with Graham Winn in the wake of the biggest event on the equestrian calendar – the South African Derby. Graham needs no introduction, having previously competed in the Derby himself on his trusty steed OB, and being one of the country’s top eventers and a legendary coach. No surprise


then that he was selected to co-commentate, with Aiden Lithgow, on this year’s United Aviation South African Derby on SuperSport. Those who tuned in, whether seasoned equestrians or new showjumping enthusiasts, were captivated by his storytelling, his detailed explanations, and his insights into the competitors and their mounts.



With the event still fresh in mind, here’s a Derby debrief with Graham Winn… HQ: What is it that makes the South African Derby so special? Graham: The South African Derby really is a special event on the South African equestrian calendar. It is the only event of its kind. Its traditions and long history continue to capture the imagination, not only of horse lovers but of the general public too. What makes the event unique is that the course requires high-levels of fitness from both horse and rider. It is a long track with 23 separate efforts over a course of 18 obstacles. It requires enormous physical stamina and mental focus, from both horse and rider. It is also the only track all year that the showjumpers jump that is on undulating ground. We’ve become so spoilt with the magnificent fibre and all-weather surface arenas at the World Cup Qualifiers, that jumping on grass and moving up and down inclines to obstacles is new for most horses and riders. The Derby course is also presented so differently to a regular track. The obstacles are unique on the South African circuit: the course includes steps, a bank, a dyke,

and the table, while other more familiar obstacles are presented in unusual guises. The majority of the distances are big and unrelated, which is also odd to showjumpers. Then, just to add to the excitement, the Derby had a wonderful new sponsor this year, which made the event extra special. United Aviation really upped the prestige and exposure for the riders. HQ: So tell us a bit about the significance of the sponsorship? Graham: The sport has been in a difficult position with the pandemic, and with the Derby being cancelled last year for only the second time in its history, many thought that it would not happen this year, or that it would happen on a much smaller scale. United Aviation arrived at a crucial time for the sport. They were absolutely committed to making the Derby the best event it could be in the circumstances, despite the lack of spectators, and they over-delivered. Honestly, the atmosphere on the last day of the Derby was spectacular and the recognition the riders and sport achieved is something we have to be so grateful for. Excitingly, as the sponsorship continues next year, more spectators will be able to be part of this amazing event. From this year’s success, the sport will gain real

Gail Foxcroft has won her fair share of Derbies.




Lisa and Campbell were the only clear round this year.




Ray Korber, the defending champion, came in tied second place.

momentum. We have a lot to thank United Aviation for; they have re-ignited an optimism in the sport that we haven’t felt for some time. That’s invaluable. HQ: And how did you feel about doing the commentary? Graham: To be honest, I was nervous! I don’t usually do anything like that, but I did enjoy the whole experience. Aiden is fantastic, and sets you up perfectly. He’s a real pro! He also makes sure that the names are pronounced correctly, which was a big source of anxiety for me going into the event! HQ: Tell us about the big Derby this year? Lisa and Campbell storming to victory was wonderful to watch, wasn’t it? Graham: Absolutely! Lisa and Campbell are just a class act. Campbell isn’t a stereotypical ‘Derby horse’, so to see him and Lisa fly around the track as they did was really inspirational. They have a very special partnership. Lisa is a top rider, Campbell is a brilliant horse, and together they make a spectacular team.

Ronnie Healy and his wife’s horse Eldo.


HQ: What would you describe as a typical ‘Derby horse’? Graham: Generally it is not your classical showjumper. You need a brave horse who is keen and loves the challenge. Showjumping breeding today is heavily influenced by the course-designers and what they build. The turns are getting tighter, the cups are getting shallower and the distances are



getting shorter in traditional showjumping. So you need an athletic horse that is quick to turn and super-careful. But a Derby track is always different. It is longer, there are bigger distances between the fences, and the fences can be a little sturdier. It is not always your best arena showjumper that wins in a Derby. HQ: What were your overall observations this year compared to previous years? Graham: I think the biggest difference this year was actually the fact that a lot of the riders hadn’t thought the event was going to happen so hadn’t trained for it as they normally would. This split the field a bit with some horses getting visibly tired in the last quarter of the track. Normally you’d want to be preparing to jump Derby from months in advance, so with short notice it is hard for riders to get their horses ready. HQ: How far in advance do riders need to be starting their Derby preparation? Graham: There are various schools of thought on this.

If you ask Barry Taylor this question, he’ll say to start in April to be ready six months later. Other riders might suggest only half that time. Gail Foxcroft might say that the preparation begins when the horse is four years old! It all depends on how you train your horse. Gail can be found jumping banks and hedges with all of her youngsters, and she firmly believes all horses can be Derby horses. Barry has very specific training leading up to the event. Both have won their fair share of Derbies, which just shows how difficult it is to gauge. HQ: What about the fact that there was just the one clear round this year and no jump-off? What are your thoughts on that? Graham: I asked Anna-Marie Esslinger how she was building this year and she said that she wanted just one clear round. As she said, the horses weren’t super prepared due to the short notice, so she didn’t want them necessarily to jump a second round. She clearly got her building absolutely perfect because Lisa and Campbell were that one clear round!

Desiree Davidson and her special Le Cadeau.




Gail advises preparing your horse for Derby from four years of age!

HQ: And the three tied in second - can you speak a little about them? Graham: Ronnie Healy, Ray Korber and Desiree Davidson jumped wonderful rounds. They are three top riders. Ronnie was incredibly unlucky not to go clear. He’s one of the best riders in the country and has jumped in both the Hickstead and Hamburg Derbies. His time will definitely come! Ray Korber, the defending champion, is just so calm and focused and such a talent that he will always stand a chance of winning. I honestly don’t think he sees or hears anything else when he is with his horses. You never see him get emotional or lose his focus. He is absolutely consistent. Desiree Davidson’s round was magical. She is so humble, and always deflects praise to Le Cadeau, but she rides beautifully and her hard work is really paying off. She really shows what a bond with a horse can achieve. Le Cadeau is not a typical Derby horse and yet he went around that track with his ears pricked, and loved every minute performing with his rider. These two are going to go a long way together. Her story is wonderful, and she deserves this success completely. HQ: Tell us about your Derby experience? What are you thinking as a rider going around that track? Graham: The year I first competed in Derby I only just qualified. I was nervous but jumped a clear on the Sunday and was delighted with OB. Although riders walk the course, and so should know what to expect, the experience


Le Cadeau loved every minute.

of riding it is quite unique. The first few jumps normally allow the nerves to settle and the horse and rider to get into the course, but then the big jumps and the distances really start to take their toll. The jumps begin to feel bigger, and the horses start to get tired. Often at this point you’ll see riders start to get busy, and do too much. They try to hold the horse together or encourage with lots of leg. The rider thinks they are helping, but the horse then loses confidence and starts to ask questions. My feeling, and this is something that Desiree did brilliantly, is that you have to encourage, not demand. It’s a serious test for both horse and rider, and you need to be in it together to stand a chance of getting around. The biggest obstacle at the Derby is actually putting it all together on the day. HQ: Finally, if you could jump Derby on any horse, alive today or not, who would it be? Graham: It would have to be Capital Don Cumarco. He was an exceptional Derby horse!


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are delighted to have teamed up with Rotoflo and Kelly O’Connor to provide a series of exercises for riders of all levels. Rotoflo produce the RotoVettis that are used for this exercise, and we can highly recommend getting yourself a few sets of these cost-effective and versatile training tools. Stay tuned in later issues for more from Kelly and the team.


AIM OF THE EXERCISE To keep the horse and rider in a straight line while executing a downward and upward transition. WHAT YOU WILL NEED • Two poles • Between two and five sets of RotoVettis.



Click here to watch videos of Kelly O’Connor riding these exercises with the special 6 year old Capital Kamron kitted out by Erreplus South Africa and Espoir.

SETUP In a straight line down the centre of your arena, place your two poles mounted on RotoVettis 18 steps (1 step = 0.9m) apart (or as many steps as your arena allows). In the middle of your two raised poles, place two Rotovettis with enough space between them for your horse to go through and once again, at each end of your line, place two more RotoVettis with enough space for your horse to go through. WHAT TO DO Novice: Walk straight down the centre of your line, and in-between your RotoVetti beacons, do a downward transition to halt. Keep your eyes up and your leg and hand even. Proceed with an upward transition to walk and walk over your raised pole. Once again, when you pass the RotoVetti beacons in the middle, do a downward transition to halt. Then, again do an upward transition to walk and walk over your raised pole. To finish off your exercise, do a downward transition to halt between your last RotoVetti beacons. Medium: Trot straight down the centre of your line, and in-between your RotoVetti beacons, do a downward transition to walk. Proceed with an upward transition to trot and trot over your raised pole. Once again, when you pass the RotoVetti beacons in the middle, do a downward transition to walk. Then, again do an upward transition


to trot and trot over your raised pole. To finish off your exercise, do a downward transition to halt between your last RotoVetti beacons. Advanced: Trot straight down the centre of your line, in-between your RotoVetti beacons do a downward transition to halt. Proceed with an upward transition to trot and trot over your raised pole. Once again, when you pass the RotoVetti beacons in the middle, do a downward transition to halt. Then, again do an upward transition to trot and trot over your raised pole. To finish off your exercise, do a downward transition to halt between your last RotoVetti beacons.

IMPORTANT THINGS TO REMEMBER • Be gentle but accurate when doing transitions; the more you practice them, the better they will become. • Keep your leg on during downward transitions to prevent your horse from collapsing into the transition. Having your leg on encourages your horse to stay active with their hindquarters and use their core to hold their body in the transition. • Keep your fingers closed during transitions, so your horse doesn’t pull the reins out of your hands. You must also keep your weight in your heels and your core engaged. This will allow you to keep a soft elbow but not be pulled out of your saddle by your horse. HQ|156C

Brightly coloured, lightweight and interlocking fillers that can be used as walls or cavaletti jump blocks.

South Africa: 082 880 4976 | | International: +31 6 27 90 65 42 | |



tretching is often a neglected aspect of flatwork, but really is a great way to end off a session.

A QUALITY STRETCH A quality stretch has your horse’s body in a convex shape with his poll the lowest point, his back lifted and withers raised. A quality stretch does take time to achieve and usually involves keeping contact, rather than dropping your horse entirely. Of course, stretching can also be great at the start of a session, but if your horse is not keen to stretch you must not force the issue. Horses naturally want to stretch over the topline when they have been using their muscles and the muscles are beginning to tire. Spending lots of time at the start of a session trying to achieve a stretch, when your horse does not readily offer it, can ultimately be counterproductive, as it removes the key element of stretching, which is relaxation. ‘Forcing a stretch’ really


NOTE To improve your horse’s stretching ability from the ground it is worth practicing your stretching routine using carrot stretches. These really do help to improve suppleness and reduce the risk of soreness. They can be done before and after a session but remember not to ask too much before a session, when your horse’s muscles are still ‘cold’!

will only create tension and is unlikely to have any physical benefit for your horse.

TOP TIP A stretch can tell you a lot about the quality of your horse’s movement and conformation. A super-supple horse with correct, uphill conformation will find it much easier to offer a soft and rounded stretch than a horse lacking balance or with downhill conformation. Do not despair, however, if your horse struggles to stretch but instead know that as your horse becomes more supple and stronger in his work you will see his stretch deepen. His poor stretching ability now is merely the starting point from which you will improve! HQ|156C

Are you lucky enough to own your own horse? Anita Jacobs: Yes! We have 7, with one being pregnant. One is at a home-lease, though. Amy Augustyn: So lucky. Lauren Gerhard: I wish Roelene de Beer: Yes Monique Swanepoel: Yep, my rescue girly Gemma De Gaye: Love this beautiful girl of mine.


Tammy Silva: Yes, two miniatures which I waited 32 years for. Big responsibility but so very rewarding too!

Tracey Blignaut De Kock: I am blessed to own two – one being my daughter’s ginja ninja.

Carina van Niekerk: Yes!

Miriam Waldeck-Sinclair: Yes – 2 rescues that I adopted.

Lee Young: Nope

Celine Prins: No

Lizle Loots: Very lucky indeed x

Angela Moore: Yes



DID YOU KNOW? Clicking of a joint in a horse is similar to the noise produced when we crack our knuckles. Providing the horse is not showing any signs of pain or lameness, this is normal and is caused by gas moving around the joint.





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onky circles and crooked halts all lose valuable marks in the dressage arena, and yet many of us fail to focus on these basics, instead preferring to perfect our ‘fancy tricks’ in advance of the show. However, spending that time honing the accuracy of your shapes, turns, transitions and paces, is far more likely to boost your mark in a meaningful way and see you heading in the right direction in your dressage career.




EXERCISE 1 Riding an accurate 20m circle is more challenging than it might sound, so make sure you’ve practised this endlessly at home and know your markers. To do this: 1. Remember that there are four ‘points’ to a circle, so as well as your two arena letters, use a visual aid to mark how wide your 20m circle needs to be. To help with this, it can be a good idea to use cones. 2. Next, count how many walk, trot or canter strides it takes to do one half of the circle and then see if the other half matches.


EXERCISE 2 The sides of the arena are your friend when riding a 20m circle, but things can, quite literally, go a little pear-shaped when you are asked to ride a 10m or 15m circle. To practice these different diameters: 1. Work on the same principles as in Exercise 1 and set yourself up with some visual aids to help gauge how big the circle needs to be. 2. For the 10m circle, put a cone at X to show how deep the circle needs to be. Ideally, use another two cones to mark out the other ‘points’ of the circle. 3. You can do the same at the halfway point between X and the arena side to mark your 15m circle boundary. 4. Again you should count how many walk, trot or canter strides it takes to do one half of a circle and then see if the other half matches. 5. Smaller circles are hard work for your horse, so do them in the walk first and aim to get your horse wrapped around your inside leg.




Look up in the direction you want to turn!

EXERCISE 3 Shallow loops off the track are another common area for inaccuracy. To train for this: 1. Pick where you’re going to ride your shallow loop and then place a cone 5m in from the track (for a 5m loop) or 10m in from the track (for a 10m loop). 2. Do the same on either side of the arena so you can practice shallow loops on both reins. 3. Use your corners well to prepare and the arena markers as a guide. 4. Be strict and make sure you reach your marker every time. NOTE: The importance of the outside rein in the above three exercises cannot be overstated. Your outside rein limits the bend and allows you to keep your horse’s outside cheek in line with his outside shoulder. You don’t want to see your horse’s nose bobbing to the inside, as this tends to be when loops and circles become misshapen.

EXERCISE 4 A square halt and a good ride down the centre line are often two of the most challenging parts of the test. To practice: 1. Use poles down the centre line and place cones at X, or your intended halt destination, to help you to develop an eye for where you need to go and stop. 2. If your approach is not straight, you cannot hope to achieve a straight halt, so choose your line and stick to it as you ride down the centre line. 3. F inally, ensure that you are sitting straight by asking someone to watch from the ground. If you are leaning to one side or another, you will unbalance your horse, and he will be unable to travel straight down the centre line or offer a straight and balanced halt.

Stick the markers – don’t get distracted by the boxes of flowers!




EXERCISE 5 Riding into your corners is a crucial part of a good and accurate test. To practice this: 1. Put markers just outside the track on the corners to ensure you do not fall in and cut the corner. These serve as a visual guide so you can accurately assess how deep you went into the corner. 2. If necessary, when practising at home, bring your horse back a gait for the corners to ensure you ride them properly i.e. if you are in trot, walk the corners. This avoids you and your horse doing a ‘motorbike with hair impression’ each time you encounter a corner. 3. If your horse tends to anticipate the corners and rush around them, instead bring him to a halt in the corner, and perhaps perform a turn on the haunches or turn on the forehand to go back on the opposite rein i.e. do not go through the corner. This teaches your horse to listen to you and avoids the risk of ‘corner anticipation’ which can lead to rushing.





Watch Charlotte Dujardin’s test from the Olympics, and you will see how well she uses corners to give her the maximum amount of time to set Gio up for the next movement. Corners are important even at the top levels of the sport!

EXERCISE 6 Another central area that loses riders marks is their transitions. If you are asked to return to walk at K, you need to return to walk at K – not two strides before or two strides afterwards. To practice: 1. Use the arena markers to execute accurate transitions. Use each marker to perform either an upwards or downwards transition. The aim here is to be absolutely precise. This also helps to teach your horse to be very responsive to your aids. 2. Once you have mastered this, you can start skipping one marker to make the pattern a little less predictable. You can also start skipping a gait in the transition i.e. performing a walk to canter transition or a trot to halt transition.




In our world of horse and rider, teamwork comes naturally, to us all. As together is better Working as a team really does make big dreams work. That’s one of the reasons we are proud to grow trusted brands such as Epol Equine and Equus. At Epol we work to ensure that we are sustainably equipped to be better and stronger in form and performance. Every bag of every brand in our business matters. We stand together united in our passion for excellence.

For feeding advice and further information contact: Leigh: 083 998 6824 | Hannah: 073 423 5491 | Debbie: 076 755 5164


DID YOU KNOW? An increase in respiratory noise can be heard in overweight horses due to the excess tissue around their neck putting pressure on the throat. These horses are termed ‘thick-winded’ horses and, with a training plan to improve fitness, the noises should improve and eventually disappear.








hen starting out in horse riding, every instructor worth their salt will tell you ‘not to turn with the inside rein’. In fact, the idiom ‘inside leg to outside rein’ will soon be something you’ll find yourself chanting in your sleep. And yet, starting out in the sport, many of us will be a little confused by all of this. To add to this confusion, it is absolutely undeniable that using the inside rein turns our horse. So why on earth is this the ‘wrong’ thing to do? Why would we use our outside rein when we can simply turn our horse with our inside rein? This very brief explanation hopes to clear some of this up.

THE REASON FOR THE OUTSIDE REIN The benefits of turning on the outside rein are really all about efficiency and avoiding our horse ‘falling’ on the inside shoulder through the turn. EFFICIENCY If turning with the inside rein, we turn the head, which ultimately causes the shoulder, then the body and then the hindquarter to turn after that. Essentially, it’s a bit like turning an articulated lorry – slow and relies on a hinge effect in the neck/withers junction. Turning using the outside rein, on the other hand, skips the head/hinge stage and instead turns the shoulder, allowing the body and hindquarter to follow. This, thereby, increases the efficiency of the turning, tightens


the turning circle and keeps the horse more balanced throughout the turn. If you don’t trust us, try it for yourself, and you’ll quickly see that the difference in the smoothness and tightness of the turn you can achieve is quite remarkable when the outside rein gives you your steering, rather than the inside.

AVOIDING THE LEAN Another reason for utilising the outside rein for the turn is to avoid dumping all of the horse's weight on the inside shoulder. If the weight is on the shoulder, the horse is heavy and leans on the reins, creating an unbalanced feeling for the horse and an unpleasant motorbike-esque feeling for the rider. Moving in this way is bad for the horse’s joints over the longer term, may lead to spookiness and bucking due to the imbalance and will not score very highly in a dressage or equitation test. Instead, turning with the outside rein helps to keep the horse balanced through the turn, with his weight more equally distributed over his four legs. In essence, he turns rather than collapses to the inside. THE VERDICT It seems that whilst intuitively we may want to turn our horses with the inside rein, the outside rein really is the better option! HQ|156C

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When a horse starts a new fitness regime, the goal is to create a fitter horse with lean muscle. However, a big misconception is that fat needs to be laid down before a horse can build muscle through the new regime. This often results in overfeeding when the exercise level goes up in the hope that the horse can convert fat into muscle. Whilst it is certainly true that it is much harder to build muscle when a horse is in a calorie deficit, it is impossible for horses to convert fat cells to muscle, and once the fat is there, it’s very difficult to get rid of. The key to a weight loss/fitness programme is to focus on the long-term goal. No weight loss or muscle gain will happen overnight, and a gradual loss/gain is much healthier in the long run.



A fantastic addition to the Zandonà Therapeutic Line, specifically designed for convenient application of cold/heat therapies directly to the horse’s tendons and joints. Made of Neoprene with inner Aluminium Thermal-Coating to better insulate and prolong the cold/hot effect, it also includes a 3D-Mesh lining to protect the horse’s skin, allowing optimal transfer of cold/heat. Regular use of the THERMOBOOT for short periods (20-30mins) after intense exercise can help preventing small injuries and/or traumas to ligaments, tendons and joints as well as reducing localised swelling, heat and pain. Tel: (011) 468 1824 or 0861 midfeeds Emergency: 082 499 8684 Email: Address: 63 Karee Rd, Cr of Main Road, Blue Hills, Kyalami.


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his is a wonderful exercise that can be adapted to suit most horses. It helps to develop rhythm and balance and a disciplined approach to working in a confined space. Normally ridden in a canter, the exercise can be performed at a trot for very young horses that have not yet established their canter or those who are unfit or physically unable to perform the circles correctly at a canter.

even games horses. This exercise should, over time, improve your horse’s ability to lengthen and shorten as required. In short, it will make him more adjustable. • Generally, a novice horse should be able to work around three to four poles, the intermediate horse around two to three poles, and the more advanced horse circles around one or two poles.

PRINCIPLES OF THE EXERCISE • Aim to maintain the rhythm throughout the circles, and only move on to a smaller circle once you and your horse are ready and able to do so. Remember that the smaller the circle, the more collection is required to keep balanced. • Developing a well-balanced collected canter through these exercises will help build the hindquarter, allowing the horse to become lighter on the forehand. • Seamless lengthening and shortening, as practised as the precursor to this exercise, is vital not only for showjumpers but for dressage horses, polo ponies and

TO RIDE THE EXERCISE • To set up, place six poles 3 metres apart down the centre line of the arena. • After finishing your trot warm-up, canter around all six poles maintaining rhythm and balance. For young or lessexperienced horses, continue the exercise at the trot, rather than attempting canter. • Include some lengthening and shortening of the canter around the six poles to help your horse to be adjustable on the smaller circles. Note: Lengthening and shortening refer to the length of the stride, not the speed. • Then to start the exercise, circle around the middle four








CHECKPOINTS • D on’t try to force the horse to work in a circle that they are uncomfortable on or unable to perform correctly. Instead master the larger circles first before moving on to the tighter and more collected circles. • R hythm and impulsion are key! Be aware of your seat and legs, and don’t be tempted to use too much inside rein to ask your horse to bend. • B alance is more important than speed, and it is important to remember that lengthening and shortening have nothing to do with going faster or slower, respectively. Lengthening and shortening refer only to stride length, not speed. • T his exercise will highlight on which rein the horse is stronger and on which he is weaker. Don’t be tempted to overwork the weaker rein – with time your horse will become stronger. • W hen riding the exercise at a canter, be aware of the following: is the horse falling into the circle? Stiff on one side versus the other? Does the horse bend incorrectly or dis-unite at the canter? You can also use this exercise to check yourself – are you stiffer on one rein versus the other? Stronger on one rein versus the other? • If your horse finds circles on one rein consistently difficult with no improvement over time, you should consider if there is perhaps another reason other than general stiffness. It could be that your horse is suffering from back pain or dental issues or that his saddle does not fit him correctly. As always, check with the relevant professionals if you have concerns.


3 poles. Establish an active canter, maintaining the correct rhythm, bend and balance. Once your horse is comfortable circling around four poles, attempt the circle around fewer poles. • As you move around smaller circles, remember to maintain the rhythm and impulsion while asking for collection. Initially, one small circle may be sufficient before moving back onto the larger circle. • This is quite a strenuous exercise, so be careful not to overdo it – three or four repetitions on each rein should be sufficient.

FINAL THOUGHTS As with any new exercise, it is important for the horse to work correctly and in a relaxed and calm way. Technique and accuracy are more important than riding the smallest circle possible. Build your horse up over time, and always end each session on a good note. Finally, don’t forget to cool down sufficiently and have fun!





e continue our series on practical psychological techniques to improve your athletic performance, with one of the most powerful techniques in modern psychology – mindfulness. Mindfulness has become a particularly prominent technique in recent years; the United States military has made mindfulness a mandatory course for soldiers, yoga practices build mindfulness into their design, and mindfulness has been hailed as the new wave in therapy for an array of psychological conditions. The second part of this series aims to equip you with a fair understanding of mindfulness, and teach you practical techniques that can be used to improve your psychological performance in the arena. This specific mindfulness technique works hand-in-hand with the


practice of coherent breathing, which was expounded upon in the October edition of HQ so if you haven’t yet, I would recommend reading that article first.

NOTE There are a number of ways to practice mindfulness, and which one you subscribe to is entirely based on your desired outcome. The technique discussed in this article is largely sport-specific, tailored to the equestrian environment, and designed to integrate into the other two components of this series – coherent breathing and mental imagery.


OUR EXPERT Ryan Tehini (BA, BSocSci (Hons) Psych, MA Research Psychology (cum laude)(UP)) For Psychological Skills Training for sports’ competitions, please get in touch with me:, or 073 567 7387

BEING PRESENT Mindfulness is the practice of being consciously aware and existing solely within the present moment, in a nonjudgmental way. While this seems easy enough, the act of present moment awareness, is in fact, in stark contrast with most of our daily lived experience. We perpetually catch ourselves letting our mind wander or operating on autopilot: how often do we arrive somewhere with little to no recollection of the drive there, or find ourselves in the kitchen, unable to remember what we wanted? Studies have concluded that we spend approximately 47% of our time with our mind wandering, and that a wandering mind is a strong predictor of unhappiness. In spite of these deceptively simple definitions, mindfulness far from represents an easy and palatable practice. It is the culmination of a cornucopia of various actions, perceptions, values and practices. It is about selfknowing, observing one’s own emotions and perceptions, and overall it is a practice designed to train and strengthen the mind and cognitions. A common association for most people is that relaxation is the opposite of stress and anxiety, when in fact this is not the case. While relaxation has shown to help, the mind often continues to wander even when relaxed; this causes rumination which actually fuels the anxiety. This is why we are often stressed or anxious even though we are relaxing, or on vacation. While mindfulness is usually attached to meditation practices, therapy, yoga and the like, the intention for this mindfulness training is slightly different. Mindfulness, when used correctly, can have significant and influential results in a wide sphere of activities. In a sporting context in particular, aspects of mindfulness allow for the growth of performance enhancing virtues. I have hand-picked aspects of mindfulness that pertain particularly to sporting performance enhancement for this training. As such this training focuses on the following aspects: - Overcoming distraction; - Improving focus and concentration; - Curating selective attention (the ability to tune out noise, and single-mindedly focus in on one selected aspect); - Outlining a process of self-regulation; HQ|156C

- Tackling adversity; and - Handling pressure/utilising pressure to thrive.

HOW IS IT DONE? Mindfulness is a complex technique, and to summarise how to do it in one paragraph would be jeopardizing the quality significantly. So instead, I am going to teach you how to do three important aspects of mindfulness, specifically for your ride. The three pertinent aspects of mindfulness are intentional breathing, grounding, and objective gentle observation of thoughts. Intentional Breathing: The coherent breathing technique from last month fits in perfectly with mindfulness, and therefore, the best way to begin is by doing the coherent breathing technique. As always, aim for the 6 second inhale and exhale with a priority on overall rrelaxation. Do this for a few minutes to induce subtle relaxation and bring focus to your breath. This is the most important aspect of mindfulness; as you go through the process, if you begin to find it difficult, always return to the coherent breathing technique, and focus on your breath. Grounding: Grounding is the process by which we begin to self-regulate and gain control of our thoughts. It is designed to bring you into the present moment in a practical way. Close your eyes and bring your attention to the sensation of touch. If you are on your horse, run your hand through their mane and focus only on what you are feeling. If not, then just touch the chair you are sitting on and focus on how it feels. Now open your eyes and find 5 things you can see; focus on their shapes, their colours, and anything else you need to focus on in order to keep your attention on the visual targets. Completing this task within your present surroundings forces your mind to think only about what is happening right now, and is the first step towards intentional focus. Objective observation of thought: While we have laid the foundation, the next step is to begin the training of your mind, and, like any training (fitness, strength etc.), this



can be a tedious process, but the results are impressive. Begin by returning focus to your breathing, now let yourself think by letting your mind wander for one minute. Once the minute is up, continue to focus on your breathing and try to think only of your breath. When your mind drifts to other topics gently observe that your mind has wandered off and guide your focus back to your breath. When this happens do not get angry that you got distracted, because it only makes the anxiety worse. You can do this for as long as you’d like, but ideally longer than 5 minutes. We are training your mind to recognise distraction, and select not to attend to it, subsequently reconditioning your mind to focus intently. Grasping this construct leads to strong abilities to selectively attend to information, resulting in increased focus and reduced performance anxiety. As you move through this process, you can begin to combine these aspects as you get better at each individually. Whenever you find yourself distracted, remember to bring the attention back to your breathing, and go through your grounding if need be.

WHY DOES IT WORK? Mizndfulness is posited as being a cushion against stress. The training has an abundance of neurological studies backing its efficacy. The two main ways that mindfulness impacts your brain are: 1. by increasing activity in select parts of your brain that are responsible for your body’s stress response, mindfulness reduces perceived stress, and prevents the triggering of psychological performance inhibitors that are


caused by stress; and 2. by decreasing activity in other areas of your brain, mindfulness slows the fight-or-flight response. The majority of athletes are somewhat familiar with the flow state, otherwise known as being “in the zone”. Recent findings in the field of psychology suggest that this flow state shares significant similarities with mindfulness. Being in the zone can be seen as representing a state of total absorption/immersion in the task at hand and is thought to be the underlying psychological state during times of peak performance. The main feelings experienced by the athlete and arising from this state are that of focus, energy and enjoyment. Similarly, the essence of mindfulness can be summarised as a present moment focus. Essentially, it is posited that mindfulness is so effective in a sporting context, because it trains your mind to get into the zone and stay there, on command.

HOW CAN I USE IT FOR MY RIDE? The above mindfulness technique is intended to train you to focus and selectively attend to tasks while ignoring distractions. Much like any other training, it takes time, and cannot be done in haste immediately prior to the ride. The techniques discussed will definitely help calm you before a ride, but it is far more effective when thought of as a training programme with ever increasing benefits. Think of it this way – you don’t do push-ups right before you enter the arena, you do them for weeks in preparation for competition. This mental training can be thought of in much the same way. HQ|156C





he concept of attunement is making waves in horsemanship and therapeutic communities, and for good reason. Based on psychological theory, attunement has been described by UCLA professor of psychology, Dr Dan Siegel, as the sense of ‘being seen’ and ‘feeling heard’. In other words, attunement can be thought of as the sense of feeling understood. Attunement is often used as a predictor of relationship success, both romantic and platonic. A person that does not feel seen, heard and understood in a relationship will likely not be willing to stick around.


ATTUNEMENT IN HORSES So, what does this have to do with horses? Everything! Everyone knows that horses want to be around other horses. We see it daily when a horse that is separated from his friends begins to panic, only to return to complete relaxation the moment he is reunited with his companions. Some horses have been trained to cope well on their own; however, give these horses a choice, and they will likely choose friends over solitude. You might be wondering what it is about their friends that is so comforting? Is it not merely about ‘safety in numbers’? Nope, it goes deeper than that. HQ|156C


SHELLEY WOLHUTER From Libratum Equus | Balanced Horse Facebook: Libratum Equus Instagram: @libratum_equus

The answer lies in attunement. Horses are hyper-aware of every movement, expression, intention and emotion of the horses, people and other animals around them. Their companions will notice every muscle that moves and vice-versa. It is this hyper-awareness of each other and their surroundings that keeps them safe from danger. They do not need to sense the ‘lion’ (bird, dog, packet…) themselves, as long as one of their companions does, and alerts them to it immediately. If they are alone, they need to be on the lookout for any potential dangers all of the time. I sometimes imagine this awareness as invisible threads connecting each horse to the horses around it, with constant information being sent back and forth. What is remarkable is that horses never stop paying attention to this web of messages, not unless they need to sleep deeply. In which case, they will rely on a companion to watch over them. That moment of relief you might observe when you return your horse to his companions comes then about through the thought, “I am back with ones that can hear me”. In the past, I have questioned why my horse can’t trust me like he trusts his friends and conspecifics. The honest answer to this question is that I have not yet earned that trust. Yes, there may be a basic level of trust where your horse does simple things that you ask them to, but true, unconditional trust comes from proving to your horse that you see and hear them, i.e. you are attuned to them. If your horse knows that you are watching out for them and see their fear, discomfort, anxiety, etc., they will trust you more and be more relaxed in your company. If, however,


SLEEP DEPRIVATION – A SAD REALITY Horses in a stabled environment who cannot see each other easily often do not feel safe enough to sleep. Horses that feel safe enough will lie down and sleep, and those who do not will only snooze standing up. Contrary to popular belief, horses cannot sleep deeply or achieve REM sleep standing up. They can only snooze. Therefore, horses that do not lie down at all eventually become sleep deprived. This is a subject for an upcoming article, but suffice to say, if a horse feels ‘alone’ and that he has to watch out for himself, he will not be well-rested and able to perform at his best.

your horse knows that their opinion holds little weight with you and that you will force them into situations that scare them, regardless of their response, they will never trust you.

THE DANGERS OF ANTHROPOMORPHISING It is important to discuss the difference between seeing things for what they are, understanding our horse’s responses and reactions, and seeing your interpretation of what things are. In other words, we must learn not to anthropomorphise with our horses. This means we must not assume that they think and feel like we do and interpret their behaviours in a human context. Their brain structure is different to ours. Their thought patterns, priorities and needs are different to ours. So, we must learn to remove our judgement and interpretations from what we see and just observe.



Let’s illustrate an example. You are riding out and your horse spooks at a hadeda and remains jittery for the rest of the ride. This situation can be interpreted two ways: 1. My horse spooked at a hadeda and lost his mind. It is so frustrating because he’s seen hadedas before! Then he was so naughty and just wouldn’t relax. Our hack was ruined. 2. A hadeda surprised my horse, causing a spook. He was rattled beyond return. Example 1 is the judgemental version. It may be accurate to some extent but assumes the horse was in the wrong. Example 2 is an observation without judgement. In this version, things happen, but no one is blamed, except possibly the bird. Maintaining this factual observation of events lends a more forgiving and empathetic perspective for our horses. We can then commit to giving our horses the benefit of the doubt and try to see things from their perspective, which might sound like:


‘The hadeda came out of nowhere. You weren’t expecting it. You were already a little nervous about being away from home or your companions. The hadeda confirmed your worries, and now this place feels unsafe. You are unable to calm yourself down. I get it.’

NOT JUST ABOUT BEING SYMPATHETIC However, practising attunement is about more than simply being considerate towards your horse and sympathetic to his responses. It is about committing to paying very close attention to your horse and grabbing any opportunity you can to prove to your horse that you noticed what they were trying to communicate. The onus is on us as humans to prove that we are attuned because we are the ones who have been switched off to our horses and their communications for so long. Displays of attunement can take many forms. A very common one is observing your horse for their favourite itchy spot and spending extra time there when grooming if it is what they seem to want. Or, it could be noticing that flick of the ear, swish of the tail, shifting of weight, widening of the



eyes, or curl of the nostril when you approach with fly spray. It doesn’t mean you can’t use fly spray, but it does mean you can pause and acknowledge your horse’s concern and maybe go a little slower if your horse seems very worried. Showing your horse that you pick up on their methods of communication and acknowledge their opinion means they can trust you more and have the feeling of being seen and heard. On top of this, horses have had to learn how to ignore us and the ‘noise’ we make. A lot of the things we do in their presence mean nothing, and then every so often, we’ll give an aid that is meant to make them jump to attention or risk punishment. This causes a lot of horses to switch off in order to cope. If we’re honest with ourselves, we know that we make a lot of noise around our horses, give inconsistent messages, and do a lot of things that have no meaning. We might be chatting to a friend on an outride and then suddenly give a leg aid. Our horse is magically supposed to know at this point that now is the time to respond,


despite being ignored for the last 45 minutes. Or we might be waving our arms around gesticulating wildly to a friend and then expect our horse to understand that we are now pointing for them to move out on the lunge and no longer talking to the friend. It is hard for horses to know what to ignore and what not to ignore, and this stress can cause them to tune out. Being conscious of what we do around our horses is, therefore, another part of the attunement process. Making sure that what we do has meaning or that we are clear with our horses about when we need their attention and when we don't, can make communication easier and improve the sense of 'being understood' that is so key for attunement.

TAKE-HOME The better we get at practising attunement with our horses, the deeper our relationship will go with them. After all, it is the key to developing a genuine two-way relationship built on trust and understanding. Who wouldn’t want that?!


CONGRATULATIONS to our EquiGold Ambassadors who competed at the SA Derby 2021 Photography: Hilary O’Leary








ur previous issue told you not to fixate on your young horse’s head position when training, so now what? Do we just leave our horses alone and hope for the best? Of course not! Riding is never quite so simple. There are many schools of thought when it comes to young horse development, but here we break down the most important aspects to focus on first and how they can result in your youngster developing the right muscles in the right places. When this training is executed accurately and patiently, your young horse will naturally start to flex at the poll and carry themselves correctly with very little ask on your part. Please note: Whilst it is perhaps more important to get this right when training young horses with developing skeletons, this article and training style should be implemented with any horse starting out on his schooling journey.

WHY IS THIS SIGNIFICANT? The goal of training is to improve your horse’s biomechanics or way of moving. As discussed in our previous issue, young horses mature in a way that is natural for them, and their head and neck position is dependent on the tasks they need to perform. In an ideal world for young horses, these tasks include a lot of grazing and a lot of playing. When we add a rider into this mix, we put a whole new series of demands on our youngsters. Firstly, we load their spine in a way that they are not used to, and then if we are not perfectly balanced, we can unbalance them. Then we like to put them onto circles, which are highly unnatural movements for the horse to perform. HQ|156C


Watch your young horse on the lunge (ideally free lungeing) to get an idea of his natural rhythm.

If we then, on top of all of this, try to dictate where they put their head, we are really asking too much of the young horse. By doing this: • We can overface them mentally, causing sourness or fear. • We can overface them physically, causing pain and evasive behaviours. • We can create a lack of confidence in the horse and their work with humans. We must never forget that just like any athlete, a horse’s musculoskeletal system has to have time to adapt to new demands; conditioning takes time!

SO, WHERE TO START? The first and most important step in training a youngster is achieving relaxation. A horse that is mentally and physically relaxed is much more able to use their body correctly.


A NOTE ON RHYTHM BEFORE CONTACT Touching on rhythm again, an important benchmark of training is the improvement in rhythm and coordinated gaits. This should be the goal before contact is picked up. If contact is picked up before the horse has developed coordinated paces, the horse may seem in the correct frame, but if you look closely, he will often shorten up his stride and not step under with his back legs correctly, having previously had little issue with this before. You can also feel the change in rhythm from the saddle. This shows that the rhythm was not sufficiently established before asking for contact and that now brace has developed. If you reach this point, give with your hands and start the process again with relaxation and then rhythm being the focus. You can come back to working on the head carriage when your horse is more established in the basics.



Getting a horse moving freely with a rider on his back is no small task in the first place, so letting your horse find where he is comfortable is a great starting point. If you try to correct head posture at this stage, you are likely to create bracing and evasion. Once your youngster can move around in a relaxed fashion with you on his back, you can find ‘his rhythm’. If you watch your horse move in the paddock or free in the lunge, you will see that he has a natural rhythm. You need him to establish this again with you on his back. This rhythm can be manipulated at a much later stage in training, but in the beginning, it is just about finding where your youngster is happiest to work so that you can start to build his confidence, strength and skill level. Try not to interfere with his head and neck and just let him move in all three gaits. SPICE IT UP When it comes to training youngsters, a little bit of creativity is often involved. We do not want arenasour five-year-olds, so try and remember that your horse’s training does not have to be done solely in an arena on circles. If you are battling to pick up a canter lead on a circle, which is extremely difficult for a young horse, practice nice strong rhythmic cantering on a gentle hill in a straight line. Reward again by releasing the pressure and telling them how clever they are. This is much easier for your horse and should give them ample confidence. Modifying your work in this way is ultimately the best way to keep your youngster stimulated and happy.


Provided you are reasonably balanced in the saddle, you might find that he stretches down naturally. This is a sign that he has found his rhythm and is moving in a relaxed fashion within it. Rewarding him when he drops his head in this way is a good way of starting to work on head carriage. Note: It is also essential to work on your gaits in a way that is sympathetic to your horse’s level of readiness. When working on relaxation and rhythm, it is important to attempt to perfect one gait before moving on to the next. Rushing into canter before they have mastered the trot or walk is an easy way to get the 'wrong answers' from your youngster. Karen Rohlf puts it brilliantly “A horse’s willingness to oblige doesn’t automatically give us the right to demand.” There is absolutely no shame in going back to the walk and trot if the canter is feeling unbalanced and chaotic. Once you are pretty confident that you and your horse can find relaxation and can quickly arrive at a comfortable and consistent rhythm, you can consider moving onto the next steps.

Training outside the arena can help to avoid your youngster becoming arena-sour.



Give lots of praise for even the slightest try!

Once you are confident that your horse is moving freely and rhythmically and enjoying his work with you, you can start to think about the head carriage. The important point to note here is that horses cannot hold any kind of new frame for a long time due to muscle fatigue. Ever done a squat hold on the wall for more than a minute? How do your thighs start to feel as you get tired? It isn’t pretty, and can get quite painful, especially if you are not as fit as you would like to be! When a horse has worked in a certain frame in increasing amounts over time, they will be able to maintain the posture much more easily as their strength and endurance have improved. In the early stages, however, it is extremely important to reward even the slightest try by releasing the pressure (i.e allowing them to stretch down or move their head and neck in a frame they find comfortable) when they start to drop their head and neck. As they figure out the right answers for your questions, they will hold the correct position for 62

longer. Horses like to please, but they need to know they are on the right track! Start with tiny asks – to begin with, even a slight drop of the head should prompt a break and reward – don’t worry about the exact height of head carriage or the degree of flexion at the poll at this point. Over time you will be able to get more specific in what you are looking for, but start small and build confidence.

SUMMARY Young horse training is not an exact science, and there are many different schools of thought about how things should be done. The bottom line is that we want happy and healthy athletes. The above method is one we have found to work and develop our youngsters gradually over time, but we are, of course, aware that there are other strategies. If you have a particular technique for training young horses, we’d love to hear from you. Please get in touch at HQ|156C










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A Weekend At Horizon Horseback






n any given day, I’m keen to jump into a car and drive a few hours away in search of an incredible experience, hopefully with some horses thrown in. So naturally, I did just that a few weeks ago and headed off to Horizon Horseback in the Waterberg. Horizon Horseback, Waterberg is a specialist horse safari lodge covering hundreds of hectares of land. It offers the opportunity to see a massive variety of game on horseback, from eland to buffalo to aardvark (if you’re lucky). The South African lodge isn’t home to any big game or predators, so it’s the perfect escape for riders who are looking for a bit of relaxation. However, the brave amongst us can hop over the border into Botswana and pay a visit to Mashatu, where you can find lion, elephant, and leopard all in a single ride.

THE HORSES Our urban horses (as I like to call them) will spook at a gust of wind, a long patch of grass, and sometimes their own shadows, but bush horses are solid. I can’t deny that I clenched my bum quite tightly when we came across a flock of ostrich on the plains, but no antics were to be had! Can you imagine your ‘urban’ Thoroughbred spotting a charging ostrich? Not only are the horses solid in the bush, but also surefooted; the reserve is home to many elusive aardvarks who like to dig holes under the moonlight, leaving an excellent obstacle course for your morning canter. Horizon’s guides are pretty adept at yelling HOLE to give you enough forewarning but still – the horses are very good at knowing where their feet are. With a herd of close to 90 horses in South Africa, Horizon has the perfect match for riders of all riding abilities. When filling out my riding skill and horse preference forms, I always ‘um and ah’ about using the words ‘experienced,’ ‘likes a hot horse,’ or ‘keen on some spice.’ But I put the 'ums and ahs' aside and write all of these ridiculous things anyway! Of the twenty or so horses I’ve been lucky enough to ride overtime at Horizon, not one has put a foot wrong. Shenanigan did once perform an animated leap into the air when she saw a particularly scary aardvark hole, but lifting her feet in the air was – quite honestly – a reasonable response. I, therefore, encourage you to fill out your horse preferences with the vigour and bounce-ability of an 18-year-old rider, because once you’ve gone on your first ride, that’s exactly how you’ll feel.










Riding horses who are not easily alarmed allows you to take in the game and the views, and even as a South African, your heart will skip a few beats when you catch sight of that kudu bull a few feet away. There is no experience quite like cantering through a herd of eland who tower over your horses or sneaking through the bush to get closer to a journey of giraffe for that perfect picture. And (because I know you’re thinking about this right now) Horizon uses Liversage trail saddles for their horses which are couch-level comfy. However, your bum bones may still feel it after a few hours in the saddle, so don’t say no to a bumnah if you’re offered one.

THE ACTIVITIES AND TRAILS Our first evening spent at Horizon included a beginners polocrosse game, followed by sundowners. You’d be forgiven for not understanding a single rule of the game at first and surprised when you turn into a professional on the pitch, galloping from post to post with the ball in your racket. It is much harder to catch and pick up the ball than you’d think, but it’s an excellent sport to try if you’re looking to do something fun with your horse. I won’t tell you if my team won or lost; all you need to know is that we had gin and tonics. The next morning we got up at the crack of dawn and watched the horses coming in for breakfast along the dam wall. Then, finally, we headed out on our first trail ride. The trail length varies depending on the heat and the path chosen, but they average around 2-3 hours and between HQ|156C

5 and 25kms. The terrain decides the pace, and the rocky outcrops are really where you’ll see your horse’s fitness shine. Barefoot, confident, and nimble, they go from rocks to sand to water, and you don’t feel a bump. We headed off that morning with the aim of game viewing, so our pace was slow and steady. Luckily for us, we found kudu, zebra, giraffe, impala, and a gorgeous fish eagle. The sand tracks within the reserve are soft, long, and winding, which is the perfect combination for a smooth, easy ride. You can canter for 5-10 minutes without any roadblocks, barring the odd striped bum. Most of the trails have the odd jump dotted alongside them, which is great for a small adrenaline boost and my favourite part of the ride. If you’re a keen jumper, be sure to request a trail with a jump track so you’ll have chance to do some crosscountry amongst the impalas. Depending on which route you take for your ride, you may have the opportunity for a bush gallop, which is exhilarating! I won’t ever forget being full speed on Zara, racing through waterbuck, sable, and ostrich (clenched bum, again). Something really special that you have the opportunity to do after a morning ride is swimming with the horses in the dam, and this is the part that will make you feel 18 again! I hopped off after the trail, put on a cozzie, and got back on Hot Tamale bareback. The horses love the water, and Tamale walked right in up to her neck and happily ate the water grass. We ventured a bit further to get all four of Tamale’s feet off of the floor and had a proper swim. If you’re like me, and you’re worried about creepy things in



the water touching your feet, then stay with your horse! It’s also worth mentioning that the Horizon dam has three resident hippos, but they frequent the upper part of the dam as they’re not so keen on swimming with the horses.

THE GUIDES Your activities and trails are guided by one of Horizon’s three lead guides, Silas, Singai, or Owen. Each has decades of riding experience under his belt, along with a wealth of knowledge on the flora and fauna of the bush. You’ll pick up on their specialities and quirks after just a few rides. Silas is exceptional at building confidence in riders who are a bit nervous, and he’ll tailor the routes to make sure everyone feels comfortable. Your favourite phrase will soon be, “Shall we do the canter?” Shingai is the resident bundu-basher, so you’ll need to keep an eye out for low hanging branches on those bush canters. Be careful of him offering you a “creme caramel” to sniff while out on a ride; it’s actually a hyena scent-marking…! Owen likes to go fast, and he has a signature move that I like to call ‘the elbows,’ where he does a quick glance back at his riders, flaps his elbows once, and heads off on a speedy canter down the trail. Aim to spend at least a few days at the lodge so you can experience the magic of a ride with each of them. THE FOOD Oh, the food. I cannot say enough about the food! Being plant-based, I always assume that I’m going to starve because people don’t know how to feed me, but Horizon’s chef, Rhino, prepared easily the best vegan food I have ever


tasted. I enjoyed homemade veggie pies, pastas, soup, phyllo parcels, roulade, stuffed mushrooms, caramelised pineapple, and SO much more. It’s become an inside joke that I only go back to Horizon for the food! For those with meatier cravings, you’ll be treated to salmon and asparagus, game meat and delicious roasted veggies, kebabs, schnitzels, ample pastas, and some of the best slap chips I’ve had. You’ll leave fat and happy.

2 WHEELS OVER 4 FEET For those of us with non-horse riding partners or family members, both Horizon locations offer impressive biking trails. The mountain biking pace gives you an opportunity to spot animals that can be missed from horseback, including jackals, slender mongooses, and a huge variety of birds. If you plan correctly, your riding crew can meet up with the biking crew for sundowners on the plains and watch the sunset through the ears of some wildebeest. I don’t know about you, though, but I’d rather have 4 feet than 2 wheels when facing a buffalo. MEET ME AT HORIZON Like many hospitality businesses, Horizon has been hard hit by the lack of visitors due to the pandemic, and as a result, are currently running a special offer for South Africans. The entire experience is second to none, and I would jump back into my car tomorrow for another weekend adventure. To find out more, visit As South Africans, we should take the opportunity to explore this incredible country, and what better place to do it than on horseback.


We are dedicated to socks. You won't want to wear anything else. Our riders agree.






t's been raining the last few days and finally, when there is a break, and the sun comes out, you head over to the yard, excited that you can finally have a ride. While tacking up, you give your horse's feet a good clean out to get rid of any excess mud and debris that may have collected in there while he has been frolicking in the rain. Suddenly you gasp in horror; his frog just came right off!

TIME TO PANIC? Surprisingly, you don't need to panic. This will happen once or twice a year, usually as we enter the wet season and sometimes again when we enter the dry season. It is entirely normal and natural, and probably even necessary, although nobody really


knows exactly why it happens. Where I live, it's mostly very dry with sporadic rain, and my horses' frogs will shed every time there is significant rain after a good dry spell. In response to this unique environment, they have become very good at quickly growing back thick frogs. At the same time as this is happening, you may see white crumbly stuff as you are cleaning out your horse's feet. Some people mistake this for thrush; fortunately, it is just harmless crumbly sole that is shedding along with the frog. There is a good chance that at your horse's next trimming appointment, your hoofcare provider will gain deep satisfaction from removing any leftover built-up dead sole that is ready to come out.



Hoof with freshly shed frog and sole

NUTRITION CHECK This is also an excellent time to test out how solid your horse's nutrition is. If your horse's feet literally fall apart before your eyes every rainy season, he probably needs his diet looked at. A diet high in roughage with minimal low-sugar concentrates is imperative for growing strong walls, even on horses who aren't naturally genetically gifted in this department. In South Africa, our soils are lacking in copper and zinc, which directly affects the integrity of the walls. For this reason, it is important that our horses are supplemented with these minerals in the correct proportions.

LEARNING FROM THE PROCESS The process of frog and sole shedding can, however reveal a few interesting things. Sometimes your horse, who is known to have very strong walls, may suddenly get a big chip out of his hoof. This usually means that the dead sole he was building up over the dry season needed to be taken out sooner. Your hoofcare provider must be able to identify when the right time is to do this as the dead sole can end up flush with the too-long walls creating a false impression that the walls are the correct length. HQ|156C

TOP TIP Before embarking on a ride, or in order to help your horse to feel more comfortable when he has to stand on three legs for your hoofcare provider, clean out his feet thoroughly if your horse's paddock is muddy. Mud and debris gather in your horse's hooves, putting excess pressure on the sole, and causing discomfort.

Breeds such as Friesians, Draft horses, Saddlebreds, Arabs and Boerperd typically have very strong walls and are predisposed to the above-mentioned issue. Some horses in these breed categories are unfortunately also bred to have upright feet unless the breeder puts in a good effort to avoid this by not risking breeding with mares and stallions with this issue. These breeds are also often really good at growing a lot of excess frog height over the dry season. This can confuse the hoofcare provider as the heels may look like they need to come down, but the frog is very thick, and one doesn't want to leave the frog standing proudly above the heels. While barefoot trimmers usually don't trim much frog or sole, these are two instances where one definitely needs to know when to trim these two structures to avoid these horses ending up with hooves that are much taller than necessary. Horses with normal heels may also run into trouble in rainy season if the heels aren't addressed correctly by the hoofcare provider. With the absence of the normal frog height, after shedding, one might be tempted to lower the heels too much. It is important not to do this but rather to acknowledge that the horse needs a bit of time to grow his new frog back to its normal height after shedding the old one.

This frog can be safely trimmed



Frog in process of shedding after rain

WIN We are giving away three "Ultimate Hoofcare Kits" to the three worst thrush, contracted heels or seedy toe cases to help you get your horse back on track. This includes a 1l Hoof Hygiene Hoof Spray, 500ml Hoof Hygiene Hoof Clay, 1kg Back2Basics Immunohoof and R200 off a Scoot Boots order. How to enter on Facebook or Instagram:

Facebook: 1) "Like" our page on Facebook https://m.facebook. com/CaballoBarefootTrimming/ 2) Post your photo under this link and tell us why you need our products 3) Tag three friends who also need our products Or Instagram: 1) Follow us on Instagram @caballobarefoottrimming 2) Follow HQ magazine on Instagram @hq_magazine 3) Upload your horse's nasty thrush picture and give @caballobarefoottrimming a mention 4) Tag three friends who also need our products Social media and competitions, not your thing? All Hoof Hygiene Range orders in November enjoy 10% off. For ordering information visit www.caballo. The competition closes 30 November 2021

COPING WITH RAINY SEASON So, during this process, what can you as an owner do to help your horse get through it swiftly without a problem? 1. One of the biggest things we can do is to watch out for thrush and treat it as soon as you spot it. Of all the times for a horse to get thrush, the worst is when his frog is trying to grow back. If your horse's environment is dirty and he is on a high sugar diet, there is a good chance that his frog won't grow back into anything very robust, and he may end up with contracted heels. The frog has numerous important functions, including traction, proprioception, thermoregulation and blood circulation, so it needs to be large in relation to the rest of the hoof, healthy and contacting the ground in order to be strong and functional. 2. Another regular occurrence during the rainy season is abscessing so if your horse is sore get the vet. While the odd abscess isn't too much to worry about, a horse who abscesses repetitively may have something more sinister going on in which case one would want to rule out any liver, kidney and gut issues.



Part 3

Anatomy 76

Skeletal muscles T

here are, in reality, three types of muscle in the horse’s body. These are skeletal muscle, which is what most people typically think of when hearing the word muscle; smooth muscle which is not under conscious control and plays a role in blood vessels, the respiratory system and the gut of the horse; and finally cardiac muscle which makes up the heart. In this article, we will look at skeletal muscle which is used to move the horse’s body and is under conscious control. As the name suggests, skeletal muscles connect bone to bone. They generate movement, but they also stabilise the joints of the limbs, allowing the horse to remain stable and even to sleep standing up.



ATTACHMENTS Each skeletal muscle attaches to a stable part of the skeleton at its point of origin, with the other end connecting via a tendon (a strong cord composed of collagen fibres) to the bone to be moved. ANTAGONISTIC PAIRS Most muscles operate in pairs, which have the opposite action to each other. These pairs are known as antagonistic pairs. Working together, they can bend, pull forwards, pull backwards or straighten a joint. An example of an antagonistic pair in the human is the triceps and biceps in the upper arm. The triceps straighten the arm and the biceps bend it, creating an antagonistic relationship. They are, therefore, an antagonistic pair of muscles. In order to operate the joint, one muscle must, therefore, contract to pull on the bone whilst its partner relaxes and lengthens to allow movement. When the horse is resting, the antagonistic pairs of muscles and tendons act together to stabilise the joint. HQ|156C

The muscles which bend the limbs are known as flexors and those which extend the limbs are known as extensors. The extensor muscles and tendons are situated at the front of the legs and the flexors at the back. A NOTE ON TENDONS Many of the horse’s muscles, particularly those in the limbs, are attached to the bone at their lower end by tendons. These are strong fibrous cords that are composed of many fibres running parallel to each other. The fibres are made of collagen. These fibres are not particularly elastic but can stretch up to 4% of their original length without damage. If overstretching occurs, the fibres don’t spring back into shape, resulting in a sprained or ‘bowed’ tendon. If the injury is severe, several collagen fibres may rupture. The tendon then repairs itself by laying down scar tissue, which is much less elastic than the original collagen. This leaves the structure weak and susceptible to injury.



COMPOSITION Muscles are made up of thousands of muscle fibres arranged into bundles held together by connective tissue; these bundles are arranged in overlapping sheets. It is the contraction and relaxation of the muscle fibres that activate movement in the muscle. Muscle fibres can be divided into two types: slow-twitch (Type 1) and fast-twitch (Type 2), and every muscle will contain a combination of both. These fibres have different functions; one type or the other will be used by the muscle depending on the exercise being performed. Slow-twitch fibres, as the name suggests, contract and relax slowly. These fibres are utilised when the horse is working at a fairly slow rate, i.e. when stamina is more important than speed. Activities such as hacking, long-distance riding and dressage will use predominantly slow-twitch fibres. Fast-twitch fibres contract much more quickly than slow-twitch. They are used for activities needing acceleration and speed like showjumping and eventing. Although both fibre types will be present in every horse, with different distributions and proportions in different muscles, the overall proportion of one in relation to the other decides in which particular discipline the horse is most likely to thrive. Thoroughbreds have a very high proportion of fast-twitch fibres, so they will have speed and power rather than stamina. Warmbloods and other horses with a higher proportion of slow-twitch fibres will have excellent stamina but reduced speed. FINAL THOUGHTS To give our horses the best chance of performing well, we need to help them to have healthy and trained muscles for the role they need to perform. If your horse is a top showjumper, going on endless hacks is not going to get him to get his fast twitch muscle fibres primed for show day. Similarly, taking your draft horse for a gallop on the track every other day is not going to be overly beneficial if you are looking for the muscles to perform slow and controlled movements in pulling a carriage. As owners and trainers we need to tailor our training to suit our horse’s job, and their muscle fibre composition, so that their muscles can be optimally primed and ready for action! Similarly, we need to understand that unworked and cold muscles are more likely to experience injury as their attachments are fixed. Making sure that we adequately warm-up our horses before we exercise them, in order to get their muscles firing optimally and moving well, is thus a crucial part of training to reduce the risk of injury. So, whilst anatomy may seem a little dry as an isolated topic, there are real practical applications for us in the learnings we can derive from it!







he EPVSA RegenSportsMed product EQUAAN 1000 has been used for many years by the top competitive riders here in South Africa to keep their horses in prime condition. As an FEI legal product that is cost-effective and receives rave reviews by those who use it and multiple vets, many more riders are using the product than ever before.

WHAT IS EQUAAN 1000? EQUAAN 1000 is the only Polysulphated Glycosaminoglycan


(PSGAG) product available on the South African market. It is used for monthly joint maintenance and therapy for injuries through its role in improving the hyaluronate metabolism in joints. Specific uses include the treatment of degenerative joint disease, osteoarthritis, sidebone, tendon injuries, ligament injuries, and the latest research shows benefits for myofascial health and integrity. As a nutraceutical, it does not need to be prescribed by a vet, so it can be purchased directly by the horse’s owner.



POLYSULPHATED GLYCOSAMINOGLYCAN (PSGAG) PSGAG is similar to the glycosaminoglycans already present in cartilage. It is thus easy for PSGAG to integrate itself into the cartilage. In vitro studies have shown it to inhibit the enzymes that degrade cartilage and bone, as well as suppress inflammation and stimulate the synthesis of replacement cartilage.




WHAT EQUAAN 1000 CAN DO FOR YOUR HORSE • Acts as an anti-inflammatory: EQUAAN 1000 suppresses the inflammatory response in joints, reducing pain and improving mobility. It is most beneficial for joints subject to high loads, including shoulders, stifles, knees, and fetlocks. • Protects cartilage: EQUAAN 1000 assists with limiting the enzymatic breakdown of cartilage and bone by anabolically stimulating cartilage synthesis. It has its greatest impact on diseased cartilage, allowing injured joints to begin the process of recovery. • Repairs collagen: EQUUAN 1000 aids the repair process by anabolically stimulating new collagen production. • Aids in tendon repair: EQUAAN 1000 inhibits the enzymatic degradation of tendon matrix components, allowing the tendon to repair and reducing the risk of any further damage.

• Increases joint metabolism and fluid production: EQUUAN 1000 stimulates the repair of the synovial tissue in the joint by optimising metabolism. It also improves the quality and viscosity of the joint fluid, creating enhanced cushioning and support for joints. • Absorption: EQUAAN 1000 has a 100% absorption rate via the rectum, where it is absorbed in 2-4 minutes. Its bioavailability is a massive 80%, compared to the approximate 20% absorption rate of orally ingested supplements. • Acts as a preventative against osteoarthritis: EQUAAN 1000 can also be administered to younger horses where it serves to protect against or delay the onset of osteoarthritis through the effects mentioned above. Please note: In the older horse, EQUAAN 1000 has a big role in repairing damage. However, in the younger horse, EQUAAN 1000 serves in a more protective role. This means

Open Showjumper Amelia Campbell-Horne had the following feedback after putting her stunning stallion Geloven BB on EQUAAN 1000 a few weeks ago: "I have felt such a HUGE improvement in my stallion from being on EQUAAN 1000, that I want to move my other two open horses onto it too. My mom rode my stallion a few weeks back after having not ridden him for a while and CAN'T believe he is the same horse. I have had them all on a highly reputable joint product before moving my stallion to EQUAAN 1000, and the difference between my stallion now and the other two horses is HUGE. Please may I order more?"




“Keeping performance horses sound, happy and injury free, is a skill on its own. Sport horses are expensive to keep and take years to school and build relationships with. This is why it is so important to preserve them for as long as possible. EQUAAN has been a game changer for me. The horses feel great on it and knowing that I do what I can to preserve their careers is a comfort for me as a rider. Giving back to my horses is important to me” - Belinda Martin, Penbritte Equestrian Centre.

BEWARE CLONES OF THE PRODUCT Please ensure you purchase the original imported product, not the locally manufactured unlabelled clone.

that the effects of the suppositories in the younger horse may not be initially as noticeable as in your older horses. As described by the team, the ‘wow’ effect felt in seniors after the use of EQUAAN is reduced when the horse is younger due to the different role the active ingredient plays in younger vs older horses.


BENEFITS • Administering EQUAAN 1000 is as easy as taking your horse’s temperature. No vet required! • Rectal absorption is far higher than intestinal absorption and eliminates any potential risk of ulceration of the stomach.



• It eliminates the risk of under-dosing due to lost product in the administration process. • It eliminates the loss of efficacy due to ingredients being exposed to air or moisture as can happen with some supplements. • It is a non-doping product as verified by the FEI Prohibited and Banned Substances list.

WHAT MAKES EQUAAN 1000 DIFFERENT? EQUAAN 1000 is a very specific combination of PSGAG incorporated into a fat base, which specifically melts at body temperature for rapid and complete absorption. The rectal administration route means that the active ingredient bypasses first-pass metabolism, avoiding loss of valuable product to the liver. Rectal absorption of 100% also allows an above 80% bioavailability, as opposed to the average of 20% bioavailability achieved with oral supplements. This means that your horse obtains far more of the active ingredient from EQUAAN 1000 than from other similar supplements administered orally. CAN YOU USE EQUAAN PRE-SHOW? Yes, PSGAG is a non-doping substance and is FEI legal. The only relevant regulations are those of the individual


“Right from the start I could feel the enormous difference that EQUAAN 1000 made to my Friesian’s performance and recovery. This is a product that I believe every horse at every level of competition deserves” - Alida de Jager and Gerbrant van Mooikloof.

show i.e. FEI CDI shows or South African Championships, where you need to declare supplements and may need the treating vet to administer your EQUAAN for you. EQUAAN 1000 is great as a pre-show boost in getting your horse to feel his best prior to his performance in the ring. Horses generally do best if they are on a maintenance programme with EQUUAN 1000 and then receive a loading dose in the lead up to the show. This regime primes the body for the rigours of competition.

INFO For more information or to order EQUAAN 1000 contact: Kerry on 072 914 8870 or Mandy on 084 552 0003 or Alternatively visit their website at


EQUAAN 1000 - The one to BEAT!

“Keeping performance horses sound, happy and injury free, is a skill on its own. Sport horses are expensive to keep and take years to school and build relationships with. That is why it is so important to preserve them for as long as possible. EQUAAN has been a game changer for me. The horses feel great on it and knowing that I do what I can to preserve their careers, is a comfort for me as a rider. GIVING BACK TO MY HORSES IS IMPORTANT TO ME” - Belinda Martin

NO MESS, NO FUSS, NO WASTAGE - Assists in the prevention of osteoarthritis - Acts as an anti-inflammatory - Protects cartilage - Increases joint metabolism and fluid - Increases quality and viscosity of joint fluid - Only one ovule a week for maintenance - 3 ovules is a pre show boost - 1 ovule aids post show recovery - Safe for ulcer prone horses - Assists with the integrity, nutrition and health of soft tissue and fascia







ith the weather warming up again here in South Africa, preventing our horses from overheating becomes a concern. Most horses will cope fine with hot weather, but older horses, young horses, horses with health issues such as heart disease, equine asthma, Cushing’s and laminitis, or horses that are colic-prone or overweight may not cope so well. Horses that compete in certain disciplines that require a lot of effort, such as racing, endurance and eventing, can also struggle to manage their work in the higher temperatures without becoming dangerously hot.

COOLING THEMSELVES Horses normally cool themselves down by sweating, with the sweat evaporating from the skin to create a cooling effect. Similarly, a horse’s breathing can also indicate their temperature and is another mechanism that they employ to drop their body temperature. There is a misconception that when horses breathe hard after exercise, they are struggling to get enough oxygen, but this is usually not the case. In fact, by the time a racehorse stops after a race, his blood oxygen is back to normal levels. What drives the high breathing rate is instead their temperature and a need to cool themselves down. Cooling is critical as if the body temperature stays too high for too long, heat exhaustion can result. In extreme cases, this can lead to brain damage, organ failure and other serious, potentially deadly problems. LOWERING TEMPERATURES ARTIFICIALLY The quickest way to cool down a horse is to continually pour cold water on him. Whether this is from a hose pipe or HQ|156C

THE MYTH OF SCRAPING Scraping water off your horse will not help to cool him down. It is far more effective to leave the water on the horse. Conduction removes heat significantly faster than evaporation, so when you scrape the water off your horse, you reduce the capacity for conduction losses. Instead, leave the water on your horse on hot days to help him get cool quickly and stay cool for longer.

other water source, the issue is really about the volume of water you can get onto them. The temperature of the water is less important overall than the amount you use. Of course, the cooler the water, the better, but don’t fixate on getting the water colder – instead, try and get more water onto him in as short a time period as possible. Studies show that continuous application of water in this way helps to remove heat through conduction – the direct movement of heat from the horse into the water. This happens due to the difference in temperature between the horse and the water. The only exception is if the water is, in fact, the same temperature as the horse, in which case the cooling effect will only come about through evaporation which is much slower than conduction.

KEEP WATERING Spraying horses with the hose briefly or pouring a bucket of water over them before they get turned out can help keep them cool briefly through evaporation, but this is not effective for rapidly cooling a hot horse. You instead need to keep cooling until you start to see recovery signs in the



Just beware the inevitable post hosing shake!!

A NOTE ON HUMIDITY Humidity can play a big role in the cooling of horses. The higher the humidity, the less evaporation of sweat there is. This means that horses in humid conditions are uncomfortable for more extended periods of time, recover much slower and have an increased risk of heatrelated illness if left to cool naturally when hot. Cooling by continuously applying water becomes more critical in these hot and humid climates, like ours, because the horse can only cool itself to some degree by evaporation. Conduction for heat loss is vital when it is humid!


horse. The best way to tell if your horse has lowered his temperature is to check if his breathing has returned to a normal rate. You can also check other vital signs such as heart rate and temperature, although rectal temperature often lags behind other signs of recovery. This is why it’s important to know what your horse’s vital signs typically are so that you can notice when they are higher or lower than average. The great thing about ‘watering’ your horse is that you can’t over-water. Obviously, if your horse starts to shiver, you’ve probably made him a bit too cold, but you can’t really over-cool. The other aspect of ‘watering’ is providing water to drink as part of the cooling process. Horses tend to have a strong will to drink after they have finished exercising. Don’t offer them really cold water (below 10 degrees Celsius) or really warm water (above 35 degrees Celsius) in this instance. Horses generally prefer to drink water at around 25 degrees Celsius. It doesn’t hurt them to drink warmer or cooler water, but it just tends to be that they prefer water at average temperature after exercise and will thus drink more of it.

ELECTROLYTES In hot weather, horses will sweat more and lose more electrolytes. It is essential to replace electrolytes as most horse diets are deficient in sodium. For a 500kg HQ|156C


It isn’t just exercise that can cause a horse to overheat. Horses can get very hot in situations such as when they are stuck in a horsebox or stable on a warm day.

SIGNS OF HIGH BODY TEMPERATURE INCLUDE: • Sweating • High respiratory rate • Ataxia (a wobbly gait) • Feeling hot to the touch • Excitability • Stress • Depression and lethargy.


Horses are usually VERY keen for a drink of water after an exercise session!



COOLING MYTHS – BUSTED From giving horses heart attacks to making them hotter by leaving water on them, many myths do the rounds about cooling horses. Here we dispel a few of the more common ones: Cooling horses with cold water does NOT: • Cause muscle damage • Cause laminitis • Induce shock • Give horses heart attacks • Prevent horses from cooling by constricting the blood vessels in the skin Water left on the horse does NOT: • Insulate and prevent heat loss • Cause horses to overheat It is NOT more effective to: • Start at the feet and work up • Focus on large blood vessels • S crape water off while cooling (as it actually causes horses to warm up!) • Cover the horse with wet towels


horse, it is commonly advised to add 25ml of salt a day and, according to the level of work, a balanced electrolyte. You need to provide electrolytes in the balance that they are lost in the sweat. It is best to give in excess than not to have enough, as the horse’s kidneys will sort out the excess. If you are considering feeding electrolytes but are not sure where to start, consult with your vet or equine nutritionist.

IN SUMMARY: FIVE EFFECTIVE WAYS TO COOL YOUR HORSE Help keep your horse comfortable in hot weather by doing the following: • If you have brick stables with ventilation, then horses may be better in than out in scorching hot weather. However, if you have wooden stables that can get very hot, horses may be better out, particularly if shelter is provided in the paddocks. • Unless you are specifically trying to acclimatise to the heat, avoid riding in the hottest parts of the day. • Clean water with no additives must always be available for horses. There is an increased risk of impaction colic if water intake is reduced. If your horse is a poor drinker, then adding 1 x 25ml salt to the food should help to encourage drinking. • If your horse or pony seems uncomfortable in the heat, hose them off and allow them to dry naturally. Don’t scrape the water off. You can do this three to four times a day. • If you see a horse or person or dog with heatstroke, cool them down by hosing/spraying water onto them. It doesn’t have to be ice cold to be effective – just put a lot of water on! HQ|156C



My horse recently experienced an episode where he tied-up. I’d like to know if I can improve his diet in some way to make his muscles function a little better. What principles should I follow for doing this?


Tying-up, the common name for exertional rhabdomyolysis, is a broad term used to describe a wide variety of muscle disorders that affect the performance horse. Several specific disorders fall under this umbrella term. Typical signs of



tying-up include a horse who becomes stiff, sweats and doesn’t want to move. When a horse is in the acute recovery phase after tying-up, he needs high-quality hay and a fully balanced diet low in starches and sugars. For horses in light to medium work, a good-quality balancer is a great option. However, to make sure that you still match his current needs and workload without providing too much starch and sugar – especially if he is in heavy work – you may need to add alternative energy sources like oils and proteins and digestible fibre like sugar beet. Another option for horses in heavy work would be a compound feed that is low in starch, providing less than 1g per kilogram of body weight per meal in starches and sugars. In a horse who weighs 500kg, this means less than 500g starch per meal, so if you feed food made up of 10% starch, at a feeding rate of 100g per 100kg of body weight, your horse will get 50g of starch.


A feed containing natural antioxidants can also support muscle health. The two most relevant antioxidants in these horses are vitamin E and selenium. It is important to make sure that your horse receives enough of these to support his muscle health and to mop up any by-products of oxidation that can be harmful to muscle tissues. The doses of vitamin E and selenium need to be calculated quite carefully, so it may be worth speaking to your equine nutritionist or vet to work this out. Selenium is particularly toxic if given in excess, so you need to be careful with this. Finally, supplementing your horse’s diet with electrolytes, which are needed for most bodily functions, will also help most horses in this situation. Electrolyte imbalances can cause dehydration, fatigue, muscle weakness, and general poor performance, which can exacerbate tying-up symptoms. Speak to your vet or equine nutritionist, but it is advisable to give these horses electrolytes daily in most cases.



My horse brings his hindquarter into the inside in the canter, and I was marked down for it in my last dressage test. How do I fix this? Cantering in this way, with the quarters in, is usually a strength issue. Building strength is therefore vital in helping your horse to straighten up. However, it is also worth noting that if a horse gets ‘used to’ cantering in this way, the movement patterns can become entrained into his nervous system. This means that even when strength is improved, and the horse can canter more correctly, he may still choose to canter with his quarters in, simply because his muscle memory is accustomed to this. The good news


is that schooling can fix this. The bad news is that this takes time. To work on strength, you need to do lots of cross-training with your horse. You’ll need to do hill work, pole work, lots of transitions, and possibly even a few gymnastics. Then, in terms of the reschooling, you will need to work on riding from the outside rein. You do not want to be pulling on the inside rein, as this will make the issue worse. You need to feel as though you can move the horse’s shoulders as you canter using the outside rein. You want to be able to move the shoulders off the track to the outside (i.e. into counter-flexion) to try and rebalance your horse and cause him to work more correctly from the hindquarter. Similarly, you can help him undo the old movement patterns by using the

outside rein to help him canter in shoulder-fore. This can help to reset the movement patterns and engage the hindquarter effectively. Then, in terms of tailored strength work for the quarters, you can try and teach your horse the countercanter. At first, you will need to help him by keeping him flexed over his leading leg until he gets used to this. Then, over time, you need to see if you can flex his neck to the inside (away from the leading leg). This is difficult for the horse, so you need to practice it in short yet frequent bursts. Once you easily have control of the shoulders with the outside rein, and you know that your horse is strong and engaged behind, you should find that the problem improves significantly, if not disappears entirely.



What are the different kinds of flocking in saddles?

a soft, flexible and even weightbearing surface. The air system is inserted into the panel and gives There are several types of the saddle a flexible layer of shockflocking that are commonly absorbing air. These bags can each used in saddles. Below are be individually adjusted at any time. the main types: • In addition to flocking, many • White wool has long fibres, is saddles nowadays have a panel softer and settles more quickly lining. Materials used for the lining than other kinds of wool. However, include foam or felt, which help to it needs more regular checks and provide a softer feel for your horse. more regular top-ups than the Saddles should be checked every other variants because it settles so six months or whenever you notice quickly. a drop in the performance or • Grey or brown wool is another condition of your horse. Generally, very popular long-fibre flocking and they need reflocking every two tends to settle more slowly. years, but this does depend on • Synthetic wool is another option, the level of use and the flocking but, like with white wool, the saddle chosen. During the two years, will need more frequent checks and the flocking that is present in more regular top-ups as it settles the saddle can be redistributed, quickly. Synthetic wool should never removed or supplemented but, by be used with pure wool in a mixture. the end of two years, the flocking is • Air flocking generally refers to a typically compacted and in need of system of four airbags that provide a full replacement.


Is it okay to turn my horse out in overreach boots? It’s very common to see horses turned out wearing overreach boots. If your horse is prone to overreach injuries or the pulling of shoes, then these boots are a straightforward way of reducing the cuts to the heels or lost shoes. However, in order to allow your horse to be turned out in overreach boots, you must make sure that the fit is correct and that the boots will not rub him. You will also need to choose a sturdy pair with strong Velcro tabs that will stay in place. All overreach boots, wherever they are worn, must be removed at least once a day for a few hours to check for any rubs or injuries and, importantly, to allow the hoof some exposure to the air.



What should my horse’s manure look like?

A horse’s manure can tell you a lot about his current state of health. Manure should be made up of firm, well-formed balls. Very loose droppings or very dry droppings are always a cause for concern and should prompt a call to your vet. Horses generally pass manure every couple of hours, so if your horse goes for a few hours without passing manure, you should again consider giving your vet a call. It is also worth checking manure for undigested food, as this can be a sign that your horse is struggling with his digestive system in some way. It could be that his teeth need some work; that he is receiving too much food, so it is passing through too quickly to get adequately digested; that his gut is intolerant in some way to the food he is getting; or that he has a digestive issue that needs looking at. The other thing to look out for is visible worms. Sometimes, although rarely, worms can be visible in the manure and, in these cases, you really know that the worm burden is high and that action needs to be taken! Basically, if you notice any change from the norm when it comes to your horse’s manure – get it checked!


What is the Horse Grimace Scale?

The Horse Grimace Scale is a pain assessment tool that identifies six facial expressions of a horse and scores them on a scale of 0 (not present), 1 (moderately present) and 2 (obviously present). The actions are: • Stiffly backwards ears – the horse’s ears are held stiffly and turned backwards, causing the space between the ears to appear wider at the top than the bottom. • Orbital tightening – the horse’s eyelid is partially or entirely closed. Any closure that reduces eye size by more than half is coded 2 (obviously present).

• Tension above the eye area – contractions of the muscles in the area above the eye cause the underlying bone to appear more prominent. • Prominent strained chewing muscles – this is due to increased tension above the mouth. • Mouth strained and pronounced chin – a strained mouth is clearly visible when the upper lip is drawn back, and the chin appears more pronounced. • Strained nostrils and flattening of the muzzle’s profile – the horse’s nostrils look strained and slightly dilated, and the profile of the nose flattens with elongated lips. The overall score gives an indication of the degree of pain a horse is experiencing.


Shelley Wolhuter, from Libratum Equus is a Kyalami-based Horsemanship Instructor, with a special focus on:

• Connection, relationships and partnerships with horses

Libratum Equus where science, compassion, mindfulness and philosophy meet to shape a mindset dedicated to imp improving the lives of horses.

• Problem solving in horses, with a particular focus on anxiety issues.

@libratum_equus Libratum Equus 0711896938

For more information, please contact Jan on 082 880 2353 or email him on

If you are riding a horse or pony you love, you have already won.

WHAT DO WE DO? Here at EquiConnect, we specialise in finding the right equine partners for the right people. We take extreme care in matching our buyers to the most suitable and appropriate horse or pony for their needs and abilities. We also acknowledge that the role of the seller is a difficult one. Moving on a much-loved partner to the next chapter in their journey with a new owner is often both challenging and emotional. We, therefore, commit to investing our time and effort in ensuring that the horse or pony being sold goes to the best possible home, where he or she is secured a happy future.

A selection of our horses and ponies for sale Seeis Katrina Age: 13 Gender: Mare Breeding: Warmblood Current level of performance: Jumping 1.10/1.20 and has the points to go Medium in dressage For sale: R190,000 About: Seeis Katrina is a very bold and willing schoolmaster. She is currently showjumping at the 1.10/1.20 level with definite potential to jump in the open classes. She has also competed successfully in dressage, having now acquired the points to go Medium.


Rideability: Katrina is a lovely horse to ride with a fantastic jump. Bold and willing, she will suit a novice or experienced rider looking to move up the grades with a talented and dependable partner.

Baccarat Boy Age: 13 Gender: Gelding Breeding: Thoroughbred Current level of performance: Jumping 90cm For sale: R150,000 About: The gorgeous Baccarat Boy is a great all-rounder and comfortably jumps at 90cm. He also has lovely movement and could easily succeed in dressage.


Rideability: Baccarat Boy is forward going, bold and ultimately a schoolmaster who can instil confidence in his rider. There’s a lot to love about this striking Thoroughbred.

Dramatist Age: 6 Gender: Gelding Height: 16.2hh Breeding: Thoroughbred Current level of performance: He’s jumped 90cm at a few training shows. For sale: R110,000 About: Dramatist has a wonderful temperament. He is a curious horse, with a desire to learn and please his rider. Rideability: He is easy to ride, moves very well, is very willing, and would suit any rider keen to grow and develop him up the jumping grades.


Quest D Age: 6 Height: 15hh Gender: Mare Breeding: SAW Current level of performance: Jumping 90cm competitively For sale: R110,000 About: Quest is a lovely little mare that has been brought on by a pony rider and jumped up to 90cm competitively. She is brave, careful, and very enthusiastic. She’s quiet and easy on outrides and loves cross country jumps. She can be a little feisty under saddle but is an absolute sweetheart in the stable. She would be suitable for a child rider, small junior, or young rider who would like to produce her further.


Waterside Love Story Age: 16 Height: 147cm Gender: Mare Breeding: Welsh x Warmblood For sale: R85,000 About: Waterside Love Story is a consistent winner at the Horse of the Year showing events in Working Hunter and Working Riding. She is a good dressage pony and also has a nice jump. Love Story is very experienced but does require a less novice child, looking for a second pony. She can then be relied upon to bring home the rosettes. Love Story has bred a few foals in recent years and is now firmly back in work!


Rideability: Love Story is a very well-schooled pony. She is forward going, bold, brave, and very willing. Her ‘naughtiest’ trick is a small buck every so often, but with a more experienced child, she will be easy to handle.

Waterside Sienna Age: 15 Height: 142cm Gender: Mare Breeding: Welsh x Thoroughbred For sale: R85,000 About: Waterside Sienna is a competitive pony. She has won lots of showing classes, is great at stadium eventing and has done Elementary level dressage.


Rideability: Sienna is a forward going and bold pony with plenty of experience. She is very safe, sweet and trustworthy. She can occasionally get strong and is certainly a little playful if she is too fresh, but with regular work, you couldn’t find a more reliable pony.

Waterside Sunshine Age: 13 Gender: Mare Height: 138cm Breeding: Welsh For sale: R70,000 About: This pony has a heart of gold. She is a pure-bred “Section B” Welsh pony and has been highly successful in Working Hunter classes. She’s kind and sweet and will make an ideal first pony. Rideability: There aren’t enough wonderful adjectives to describe this lovely little mare. She is currently used in the riding school and will make a great first pony for the child lucky enough to find her.


Waterside Dollar Girl Age: 13 Gender: Mare Height: 141cm Breeding: Welsh x Thoroughbred For sale: R80,000 About: Waterside Dollar Girl has wonderful movement. She has been successful in showing and has won titles at Horse of the Year, including in the Working Riding events. She is a solid, bold prospect that will thrive in dressage and showing. Rideability: Dollar Girl is an experienced pony who knows her job. She is fairly sensitive, so not a first pony, but with regular work will be a charming partner.


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Dear readers and steeds, After celebrating another magnificent Halloween yesterday, full of all the tricks for my mother, and all the treats for me, I thought it would be worth giving any future horses that may come into contact with my mother, or similarly neurotic humanoids, a few of my top tips for ‘scaring your human’. I apologise that I will not be addressing this note to my human followers this time, but I’m sure you’ll agree that there are plenty of humans out there in need of a good scare… I have, over the years, naturally developed a real talent for giving my mother the heebie-jeebies and see it as my duty to equip my fellow equids with my tricks of the trade. So, without further ado, here are my top five ways to terrify your human (if of course your human is not one of my much-loved readers): 1. Limp. Not often and not every stride. Just when the mood takes you… This really scares them, particularly if you can do it in the warm-up before the show. NOTE: There is of course a risk with ‘crying wolf’ that you may not get the vet or farrier when you need them, but judge each human on a case-by-case basis. My mother phones the vet if my eye twitches, so I’m never worried she’ll fail to call in a crisis. If your human is a little more robust, perhaps jump to number two… 2. Scan the environment during a ride and when you are positive that there is absolutely nothing left to spook at – SPOOK! This one gets them every time. For at least a week they’ll be pondering what you saw, and by the next time they ride they will have a phobia of some totally innocuous object that they are CONVINCED was the origin of the problem last time. Hilarious. 3. Spin a full 360 degrees and then continue in the same direction as if NOTHING happened. This one can


A NOTE TO ALL THOSE PLANNING TO TAKE PART The main trick here is not to pull any of these pranks too often, or with any kind of regularity, as it’s the unpredictable nature of them that really sends these control freaks flying Neck = Marked crest – very wide and firm. Fold of fat. really disorientate them and make them question their sanity - “did he REALLY just spin?” NOTE: This takes a bit of practice…Spend some of that relaxing paddock time perfecting this one. It’s worth it. I promise. 4. Escape from the stable late at night, steal a piece of your rider’s equipment and stamp on it furiously. Then return to your stable as if nothing happened. I did this with my mother’s helmet, and it gave her the creeps for weeks. While she saved up for a new one, I also got a niiiiceee long holiday. 5. For those who jump, I can highly recommend the ‘grab the bit and fly’ approach. I particularly enjoy calmly jumping the previous fence, landing and developing the stride of a gazelle in full flight…What should be five strides becomes three… Then I return to the picture of rhythm after the fence. Again, this really boggles their brains and leads to lots of anxiety and confusion - a real win in my opinion. For those of you who are ridden by my readers, be kind. For those who know their humanoids don’t so much as glance at my pages, go wild. It’s all fair in love and war. Over and out, Pridey xxx



1st December 2021

Lose a hobby, gain a paion

Merlynn Trichardt 079 317 4556 |