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Source: Monika Bogner Photography

The magazine for every horse lover

HAT SAFETY . Does your hat fit? . Safety standards explained

. Care tips


7 Ways to keep your horse hydrated this winter


Perfect your groundwork with our instructor


All you need to know to treat them at home


Show-ready condition


Welcome At Equestrian, we know that winter’s short days mean swapping the saddle for those more indoorsy tasks, but we don’t think that’s a bad thing. This month, we’re using our time out of the saddle to check if our riding hats are still fit to protect us. Join in the conversation on page 4.

Even though exercise is a great way of helping your horse stay healthy, sometimes, sadly, it’s not enough; we are talking about common winter aliments in this issue to help you prepare for whatever winter throws at you. Find our article on hydration on page 22, and learn how to treat a hoof abscess at home on page 10.

If you’re still braving the weather to work with your horse, our instructor, Callum, is sharing his groundwork knowledge on page 16. Whether you are a lunging pro or would like to have a go for the first time, Callum’s pointers will inspire you to keep your horse occupied.

Until next month,


EDITORIAL Rebekah Tennant DESIGN Art Editor Rebekah Tennant Designer Rebekah Tennant PUBLISHING Publishing Rebekah Tennant Director Rebekah Tennant SUBSCRIPTIONS 07848815992 Annual subscriptions £45

Rebekah Tennant, Editor

Rebekah has been a member of the Equestrian team since day one. She has over a decade of riding and horse care experience, and currently owns a Connemara called Blake. Her fields of equine expertise are feet, feed and photography.

© Rebekah Tennant

Contents EQUESTRIAN November 2018


Ask the experts

Equine health


4 Hat chat Learn how to care for your riding hat and check if it still fits

10 The low-down on hoof abscesses Overview, causes and treatment

27 This month we love Equestrian’s favourite products

16 10 minutes with Tim Brier Groundwork tips for successful lunging

22 No More Water Woes 7 ways to keep your horse hydrated this winter


Ask the experts


Hat Chat Is your hat still safe? Use Equestrian’s guide to find what to look for in a well-fitting helmet, and how to care for it so it protects you for longer

Š Rebekah Tennant

Our expert Rebekah Tennant is a Champion-certified fitter of riding hats and body protectors. Since gaining her qualification, she has made it her mission to help more riders understand the mechanics of their safety equipment in the effort to reduce the number of serious casualties in riding accidents in the South East.



Safety first On average, 5 in 6 riders don’t replace their hats after a fall. Second to expense, the most common reason for this is one I dread to hear; because there is ‘no damage’. No damage might sound like a good thing, but it’s actually a killer waiting in the wings. Whilst riding hats (and skull caps in particular) appear to be robust, the internal liners are very delicate. Riding hats are made from polystyrene which contains a layer of tiny air bubbles. This means that whilst a helmet may look unscathed on the outside, the damage from a fall most certainly exists inside. Much like a crumple zone on a car, the internal liner of a riding hat is designed to take impact rather than deflect it. In doing so, the air bubbles inside the

shock-absorbent polystyrene pop, and thus, the liner has done its job. It no longer has the ability to protect you in the event of a fall, so it’s important to replace a hat after every accident – even if you’ve only dropped it off of the tack room shelf. If you aren’t involved in a fall, experts recommend replacing riding hats every 3 – 5 years, as materials begin to degrade after repeated use and so the level of protection your hat offers decreases. The same is also true of when a hat is exposed to heat; I see many riders leave their hats on parcel shelves in their vehicles, not realising that the air bubbles inside the inner liner are sensitive to high temperatures. A long time sat in the sun, or a few hours drying in the airing cupboard after getting caught in the rain, can mean the difference between a safe hat and a questionable one.

Cross-section of a Charles Owen Ayrbrush after impact Source:

Good to know Safety standards, quality symbols and the differences between them can sometimes be confusing, so here’s a list of the standards and what they mean: • EN1384/ BSEN 1384 is the basic minimum safety standard for all disciplines within equestrian sport - the testing for which includes an impact and

penetration assessment. The standard prefix can change according to which country the hat is tested in, so don’t worry if you see ‘DIN’ (Germany) instead of ‘BS’ (Britain). Hats with only this mark are no longer suitable for British competition or participation in BHS exams.

more on the next page

• PAS015: 1998/ PAS015:2011, also a safety standard, is slightly above that of EN, with hats in this category undergoing additional tests including stability, crush resistance and protection against injury when landing on an edged surface. • ASTM F1163: 2004a is the American equivalent of PAS015, but testing for this safety standard excludes lateral rigidity (crushing) and penetration. • Snell E2001, developed in America, is the newest and highest safety standard. All tests from ASTM and PAS015 are included in the assessment of hats in this category, but with higher impacts, both from sharp and uneven surfaces. • AS/NZS 3838: 2006, the Australasian safety standard, is the equivalent of EN1384, but includes a crush resistance test and excludes a penetration test. • The Kitemark is not a safety standard, but a quality symbol. It is the registered trademark of the British Standards Institute, which indicates that manufacturers comply with the relevant standards, for example, PAS015, and with the regulation and testing systems designed to asses if a product meets these standards.

• SEI is the American equivalent quality symbol of the Kitemark. You’ll see it on ASTM standard hats, which means they undergo the same batch and audit testing required under the Kitemark. • SAI Global, another quality symbol, shows certification of Australia’s version of the Kitemark. • CE is not a safety standard or quality symbol. This mark declares that a manufacturer complies with essential requirements under EU law, and is a way of ensuring all protective equipment entering European countries meet the basic safety requirements of Europe. Some riding clubs require a certain safety standard for participants and competitors, so it’s always advisable to check with your organisation before buying a new hat. Although EN1384 and BSEN1384 are no longer valid in British competition and most riding clubs without another quality symbol or safety standard, it is still by law, the minimum standard for children aged 14 and under riding on the road.

Source: bimplus



Source: wikiped

Choosing the right hat When buying a new hat, be sure to have it checked by a qualified fitter as your expectations of how it should feel can sometimes compromise the fit. It is important to remember that different companies produce hats in different skull shapes so, for example, a round helmet from Champion might be the

better choice for a rider who suffers headaches when wearing an oval-shaped Charles Owen. For this reason, I tell my customers not to shop for fashion. If a skull cap fits your shape more comfortably than a velvet-peaked hat, don’t be disappointed; hat silks are available in many different designs and colours, and are also washable.


Fit: what to look for • Suction: The key to finding this is in rolling the hat - rather than placing it – onto you head. Align the front of it with your eyebrows and as you roll it on, you should hear (and feel) suction.

• Levelness: Your hat should sit roughly an inch above your eyebrows and just above your ears. • Gaps: Space at the back of your hat is normal – but make sure there are no other obvious gaps. If you find one, it’s likely that your hat is too big.

more on the next page

• Temple space: You should be able to fit a finger or small thumb in the space in front of your temples. When your body temperature increases, this space allows for your temples to expand without giving you headaches. This is where skull shape comes in; if you have too much space, try an oval-shaped hat. If you have too little space, try a round one. • Tap test: Without securing your harness, give the back edge of your hat

a gentle push. Alternatively, move your head up and down and from side to side. Your hat should not move. • Harness: If your hat allows you to adjust the back of the harness, do this first as it will stop the hat from tipping forward. When it feels snug, adjust the part the goes under your chin, leaving only a finger’s width between the harness and your skin.

Take home tips Replace your hat every 3 – 5 years and after every fall Get it checked by a qualified fitter Protect it from heat Don’t shop for fashion - hat silks can turn boring skull caps into stylish accessories Source:


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Hat silk by Equetech




The low-down on

Hoof Abscesses Hoof abscesses are one of the most common ailments to affect horses in winter, so Equestrian have compiled an ‘all you need to know’ to help prepare you for the season ahead

The nitty gritty Hoof abscesses are an accumulation of white blood cells, dead material, and bacteria as a result of an infection in the sub-solar layers of the hoof. The initial infection occurs when foreign matter enters the hoof capsule, which can happen in one of the following ways: • During seasons where conditions are very dry, the hoof capsule can suffer tiny fissures or cracks which can soften in the arrival of wet weather and introduce bacteria to the sole-wall junction. • Sharp objects such as nails or rocks can puncture the sole, leaving an entry point for bacteria which then seals over. • When wet standing weakens the elasticity of the white line, dirt and small stones can become embedded. • Blood pockets from deep bruising can harbour bacteria circulating in the bloodstream and encourage it to reproduce. • In rare cases, incorrectly placed nails can puncture soft tissue during the shoeing process.



Spotting the signs Hoof abscesses are the leading cause of sudden-onset lameness, but the symptoms can differ in severity; each individual case can present anything from a mild lameness to a complete

Equine health

inability to bear weight on the affected foot. Fortunately, there are other signs to help you identify an abscess – look for heat in the foot or leg, and a bounding digital pulse (found on the left side of the lower fetlock joint).


Farrier or vet? Vets are sometimes called to attend in the place of a farrier, but this is usually down to personal preference. Both professionals are qualified and equipped to treat and advise on this aliment – which one you chose is up to you. However, in rare cases, infections can migrate deeper into the foot or leg which

may require antibiotics or anti-inflammatory drugs. This is when veterinary intervention becomes necessary. Be aware if your horse runs a temperature that doesn’t improve after two days, or if swelling is observed in the leg or in another part of the body. Contact your vet immediately if you have any concerns about your horse’s health.

Action plan When you’ve identified an abscess, you’ll need to notify your farrier or vet. He or she will use hoof testers to locate the abscess, before paring away the sole to establish drainage. This relieves the pressure in the hoof capsule created by the fluid, and will prevent the abscess bursting out of the weakest path of resistance – usually at the coronet band – which can prolong the healing process. If your horse is shod, your farrier or vet will remove the shoe to ensure the abscess isn’t trapped underneath it. This will also reduce the amount of bacteria present in the poulticing stage. If you have a wait before the farrier or vet can see your horse, you can use the time to get started on drawing the abscess out. To do this, you must first clean the affected foot. Use a hoof pick to remove impacted dirt and then scrub the sole and hoof capsule with a dilute antiseptic solution. Consider soaking the foot in an Epsom salt solution. Epsom salts are widely available and help to soften the sole to draw out the abscess. Soak for 10 minutes a day before applying a dressing – or not at all if drainage has been established.



Make sure you get into the groves either side of the frog to avoid harbouring bacteria when the foot is dressed

Dressing Now it’s time to poultice. Make life easier by preparing your tools first; Equestrian recommends fashioning a lattice of duct tape large enough to cover the bottom of your horse’s hoof and using a clip board

to prevent it curling or being blown away in the wind whilst you work. If you have a fidgety horse, lay a clean towel on the ground where you will stand him to prevent reinfection. Next, follow our simple steps for the perfect dressing.

The perfect poultice

• Cut a square of Animalintex or similar medicated poultice large enough to cover the affected area. If your vet of farrier has not yet located the abscess, ensure the poultice is large enough to cover the entire sole and the heel bulbs.

• Soak the poultice in previously boiled water. When it’s cool enough to handle, lightly squeeze out the excess water. Place the poultice shiny-side up on the sole.

• Use gamgee or a nappy to hold the poultice in place.

• Secure with a cohesive bandage, making sure to cover the hoof all the way up to the coronet band. • To waterproof your dressing, wrap with duct tape. This may not be necessary if your horse is stabled on a dry bed. • For turn out, try a poultice boot to keep the dressing dry and free from bacteria.


Top Tip: To prevent over-softening the sole, wet dressings should only be applied for a maximum of four days, unless otherwise advised by your vet or farrier.

Source: yo

Source: yo m


Time Change your horse’s poultice at least twice a day, assessing each dressing as it is removed; you should be able to identify puss – the yellowish fluid which constitutes an abscess. Poultice until this is absent and then continue protecting the sole until the hole has closed up.

If your horse is shod and the ground conditions allow, your farrier may be able to do this for you by using melted wax to seal the site - just be careful not to dislodge it when you pick out the foot. Otherwise, a simple gamgee dressing will do, as long as it is protected from the wet.

Prevention Maintaining a clean, dry stable and pasture is key to limiting the opportunistic bacteria that fills fissures and cracks in the hoof capsule. However, preventing these defects in the first place can be tricky in seasons of fluctuating wet and dry weather. During these seasons, Equestrian recommends rotating grazing where possible to prevent excess mud, and ensuring the population of animals per pasture is proportionate to its size. In cases where natural pasture drainage is poor, hard standings can be beneficial around gateways and feed areas.

Top Tip: Picking out feet regularly will alert you to any missing shoes, so you can take action before your horse can injure himself on them.

It’s also important your pasture management involves actively searching for debris. Fence wire, sharp stones, nails and lost horse shoes increase the risk of sole punctures and bruising, so regularly check for and remove these objects if you spot them.



Š Rebekah Tennant

Ask the experts


10 minutes with Callum Brier Equestrian’s instructor shares pointers for good groundwork Our expert Callum Brier is an instructor and lecturer at Callum Park riding school, Kent. He’s been teaching for over 25 years and regularly oversees competition at various levels of affiliation. He has two border collies, Chester and Ozzie, who are regularly seen at the foot of his horse, Isla, when out hacking. Source:

Why lunge? We’ve all seen instructors lunge in riding schools to help new riders focus on their seat without worrying about steering, but this simple groundwork exercise has many more benefits. Lunging is a great way to assess lameness, build top

line, or to keep your horse moving when riding is not always an option. Whether you are bringing your horse back into work after an injury, or simply need a way to exercise him in the short hours between work and winter’s long nights, these useful tips will set you up for success.


never wrap the lunge line around your hand.

“If you’re new to lunging, getting to grips with the line is the first hurdle,” Callum says, “so prepare it before you ask your horse to move off”. He shows his student, Amy, how laying the line in loops across one hand will prevent it getting under her feet. He explains you should hold the line in a way that allows Always wear you to drop each gloves and a riding loop when hat when lunging; skin widening the injuries and kicks can circle, and of happen even if you course, in a way are a pro. that allows you to let go if your horse is suddenly spooked. This is the same rule that applies to leadropes –

“If you’re going to use a lunge whip, hold the line in the same hand as the rein your horse is working on - if he’s working on the left rein, loop the line in your left hand, and vice versa.” Callum says you shouldn’t be afraid to drop the lunge whip if you get into a tangle; keeping an eye on what your horse is doing is much more important than fiddling with your equipment, as it will help you keep out of trouble.

Get moving Asking a horse to move forward makes some of us think of walking backward, but Callum tells Amy this method is incorrect; “If your horse finds groundwork exciting, it puts you at risk of getting kicked”. He walks the first circle with Amy and shows her how to ask her horse out safely – “Stay at his shoulders when doing so. Then, hold the line out towards the horse’s nose to


encourage him to step away from you”. Callum says: Make sure you use your voice to clarify what you’re asking. Some horses will work on voice alone, so if you’re working with a sensitive animal, don’t over-exaggerate with the line, or your hands.

© Rebekah Tennant

© Rebekah Tennant

The line

Warm up

© Rebekah Tennant

le Warming up on a wide circ

Positioning Callum explains that positioning will influence a horse’s way of going, so he runs Amy through the basics; “If you are using a lunge whip, think of the space between it, the line, and your horse, as a triangle. If you’ve dropped your whip, or don’t need one, it can help to imagine that it’s still there”. He positions Amy in line with her horse’s girth area, and reminds her to keep her hands low all the time her horse is working desirably. “When you need to encourage him into a quicker pace, or the next gait, you can drop behind the girth if he is difficult to motivate”.

Horses are just like people, so a good warm up is as important for them as it is for us. Allow your horse to walk gently on a wide circle before you start any serious work, and always remember that tight circles are particularly strenuous; take your horse’s fitness into account when asking him to work on tight circles.

A very sensitive horse will respond to a gentle lift of the hand, so Callum advises to take your cues from your horse when deciding the best way to ask for increased pace. “In the case you are working with a sensitive horse, it’s likely he will rush from time to time”. If your horse doesn’t respond to your voice, Callum explains that you can use your position to slow him down. He moves Amy a little forward of the girth area, but tells her to be careful not move into her horse’s eye line; “this can lead to him turning in towards you which can be a difficult habit to break”. © Rebekah Tennant

Try to work your horse evenly on each rein to prevent him from becoming one-sided.


© Rebekah Tennant

Turning in Although this is a habit often seen in young or inexperienced horses, it doesn’t mean an experienced horse won’t do it. If your horse is allowed to get away with turning in enough, it can become a problem. “In this case,” Callum says, “you must remember to treat your horse with patience; horses don’t know how to be naughty – they only know which behaviours make their lives easier. For this reason, you must also never accept defeat. Don’t let a stubborn horse make you leave the arena before you’ve moved him at least two steps away from you. Reward him immediately for any progress you achieve together.”

“To tackle turning in, respond in the same way you would when motivating a lazy horse; move your body slightly behind the girth area and use your voice to encourage him forward.” Callum tells Amy how she can use a lunge whip to follow her horse if this doesn’t work. “If you need to, you can flick it behind him, but don’t hit him with it – and never raise it above your waist. Your goal is to back up your voice aids, so be careful not to worry your horse in the process.” Callum explains that sensitive horses can be easily upset at the introduction of lunge whips, so he recommends exaggerating your voice aids long before you pick up any extra equipment. He adds, “be sure to desensitise him first”.

Warm down When you’ve finished working your horse, remove any training aids and let him stretch at a gentle walk. Before you begin gathering up the lunge line, make sure you look out for any signs that he is going to turn in. It’s always best to ask your horse to halt and to walk towards him, instead of him walking towards you.


© Rebekah Tennant

Warming down without side reins





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Water Woes

No more

Due to increased consumption of fibre in cold weather, horses need more water to keep feed moving through the hindgut. If water intake is not sufficient to play this role, a horse is at greater risk of developing impaction colic. We all know the saying you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink, but that doesn’t mean we haven’t successfully found ways to do this over the years. Here are some tried and tested methods to encourage your horse to stay hydrated this winter.

7 ways to keep your horse hydrated this winter

© Rebekah Tennant

Clean buckets



Make sure all your buckets are clean and topped up with fresh water daily. For those horses that don’t play or poo in their water, there is always a willing friend to help them; birds often defecate in water buckets, and their faeces can spread infections such as Salmonellosis to your horse, and also promote the formation of blue-green algae - at least 80 species of which can produce toxins poisonous to horses. A clean water source will be safer and much more appetising.

Equine health

Š Rebekah Tennant


Remove ice Studies have shown horses prefer water at a temperature of around 10°C, so colder temperatures make a difference to how much your horse is willing to drink. Not many yards have the luxury of running hot water and some don’t have electricity, but ensuring you remove all ice from frozen water buckets will keep your horse’s water source unfrozen for longer. Make sure you have some waterproof gloves, or a suitable net to do this.


Source: horsej-intellectsolutio.

Use a cosy

© Rebekah Tennant


Use a kettle On yards with electricity, a kettle is usually not far away. Dust it off, or bring one from home if you have to, and boil some water to top up your horse’s buckets. This will increase your horse’s willingness to drink, and prolong the time in which his water takes to freeze. Remember to check the temperature of the water before you leave it with your horse.



Covering buckets with an insulating material will keep your horse’s water warmer for longer and slow down ice formation. The Smartpak Insulated Water Bucket Cover is a 5-star rated product designed to do just this, but if you are creative, you can have a go at making an insulator of your own; just make sure it is secure so your horse can’t hurt himself if on it, and leave a large enough gap so he can still comfortably drink from his buckets. For worrisome horses, consider if a change to his water buckets might produce the opposite effect. Some horses won’t drink from buckets of a different colour or appearance to what they are used to, so if this sounds familiar, perhaps these next ideas are for you.


Beware of auto-drinkers and heated buckets Whilst heated buckets are available, they present a fire risk in barns and their electrical components don’t last forever. Beware of failing thermostats that can leave your horse with frozen or boiling water depending on the fault, and the time of year.


Automatic drinkers come with a different warning; not only is it impossible to gauge how much your horse is drinking, but because stable drinkers are rarely larger than 1.7L in capacity, they freeze over much more quickly than the average 15L bucket (even when pipes are properly insulated).

e: smartpakequine

Introduce soaked feeds



Soaked feeds are beet pulp products that require anything between 10 minutes and 24 hours soaking time before feeding. They expand to three times the size of the pellets or flakes they come as, providing a brilliant source of hydration for your horse. Such products are available in versatile low-sugar forms like Speedi-beat, or with added molasses (Sugarbeet), or added protein (Fibre-beet). They are very palatable and easily-digested.



Flavour water

There are a number of electrolyte products on the market intended to help your horse retain water. However, excess electrolyte consumption can be toxic which is why such products are best suited to competition horses. Horses in light to medium work should get enough electrolytes from high-forage diets, but you can add salt to your horse’s feed if you feel he needs a boost. Recommended daily sodium intake is 10g per 500kg horse.

Flavour and other additives should always be a last resort as some horses may refuse plain water thereafter


Source: cdn.shopify .com


If none of those options work for your horse, try adding a flavouring to make his water more palatable. Horse Quencher is very popular, but regular apple juice does the same job. Bear in mind that these have relatively high sugar contents so may not be suitable for laminitics or EMS sufferers. Seek professional advice if you are unsure whether a product is safe for your horse, and always introduce dietary changes slowly.

Š Rebekah Tennant

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month we

Take a look at our favourite products Artimud


Artimid is the latest clay-based hoof putty from Red Horse Products. Designed for shallow wall and sole cracks, its thick consistency means it stays put in mud, making it ideal for use in the wet seasons. Artimud’s non-toxic active ingredients, Zinc Oxide, Eucalyptus Oil and Bio-active Honey, successfully treat bacterial infections from thrush to white line disease. It also makes a superb barrier against microbial invasion to promote healing after abscesses and other hoof injuries.

£30.00 for 500ml


£4.50 for 750g

Want molasses-free?



Equilibrium Crunchits are molasses-free treats that at only 2.0% sugar, have a lower sugar content per handful than most feed products on the market. They are safe for laminitics, good-doers and sugar-sensitive horses, and are also free from naturally-occurring substances prohibited under competition law, which makes them a good addition to your kit for those long days at the showground. A bag of Crunchits includes Parsnip, Strawberry, Banana, Pea and Spinach, Carrot and Beetroot flavours with added natural antioxidants.





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