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! WrIN u o n t

Jock Paget reveals "I'm not guilty!" The top eventer speaks out

tu h wort u r gs !


BE A BETTER RIDER, get the best from your horse

Your winter hacking guide ✓ Discover new routes ✓ Enjoy all weathers ✓ Conquer tough terrain

february 2014

Rogue traders Exposed!

How to find experts you can trust


made easy With Jason Webb Amazing recoveries

The horses who beat giant abscesses & deadly infections

12 hours in

Equine A&E Top vets take us behind the scenes

t Beahill c the nd you

i We f osiest c the ets for k jac iding r

Our Total Confidence series returns! Improve control and your position with Sylvia Loch

Bounce back from injury with Natasha Baker

Ride confidently in open spaces with Lucinda Green

Rescued, close to death, by World Horse Welfare, Basil is one of the charity’s success stories

your horse FEBRUARY 2014

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Real life rescues

From heartache to happiness We meet three horses who made the news for all the wrong reasons, and reveal how the former rescue cases are now happy, healthy and enjoying life Words Andrea Oakes

Basil’s sad story hit the headlines just before Christmas in 2010, when World Horse Welfare (WHW) field officer ‘Jacko’ Jackson rescued the cold and hungry youngster from the tiny field he’d been abandoned in. “The weather was bitter – it was minus four with freezing fog,” recalls Jacko, who had been tipped off about Basil and arrived to find him frozen to the bone. “Basil had no supplementary food and the only water available had turned to solid ice. The poor little chap was shivering and icicles were hanging from his coat. He was as close to hypothermia as a horse could get.” According to Jacko, the emaciated colt was no more than two years old. “Basil was a sorry-looking sight and stood quietly while we waited in the cold for the police, the vet and transport,” he says. “He had no spirit – it was as if the fire in his eyes had almost gone out.” The wretched youngster quickly regained his character and health once in the care of WHW at Hall Farm in Norfolk. Now a strapping four-year-old, Basil is full of life and is enjoying the company of four equine companions – as well as pigs, poultry and rescued Labradors – in a new home. “Basil fitted in straight away and soon reshuffled the pecking order,” explains his new owner Marilyn Keymer. “He bosses around our elderly Shetland, my Quarter Horse filly and my daughter’s Thoroughbred, but he w w r hor se .co.u k

Basil (left), now happily re-homed, was found emaciated three years ago

doesn’t bully our cob mare as she’s the matriarch. Really, though, they’re all the best of friends. “My daughter got Basil going under saddle last summer and he has been very straightforward,” she adds. “He’s pretty traffic-proof and solid on the ground, although we haven’t done too much with him yet and plan to fit him with a proper saddle next year. He’s nearly 15hh already, but we’ll give him the winter to grow a little and fill out.” With a full mane and tail and a magnificent moustache, Basil is developing a proper gypsy pony appearance. “We’ll keep him looking traditional,” says Marilyn, who explains that with his wonderful fluffy winter coat he never needs rugging up. “Basil will never be anything whizzy, but he’s lovely and will make a perfect family pony for us all to ride,” she adds. “He’s the same age as my grand-daughter Georgia, so I hope the pair of them can grow up together.”

Basil waits for the rescue teams to arrive

Photo: World Horse Welfare

‘The fire in his eyes had almost gone out’

It’s a world away from Basil’s early years, when he was left to fend for himself in the harshest of conditions. “When I saw him some months after his rescue, I didn’t recognise him,” says Jacko. “He’s a completely different horse now.”

Turn the page for two more heart-warming rescue stories FEBRUARY 2014 your horse

Total Confidence Each month our Total Confidence series will help you conquer everything from bonding with your horse to riding happily cross-country, so vow to put your fears and nerves behind you and let 2014 be your year to shine Coming up this month

meet OUR confidence coaches

Lucinda Green is an eventing legend and top trainer who runs ‘XC the safe way clinics’.

Rosie Jones is a Recommended Associate of Intelligent Horsemanship.

Sylvia Loch is one of the UK’s leading classical dressage riders and trainers.

Natasha Baker is a double Paralympic dressage rider and European Gold Medalist.

Charlie Unwin is an Olympic sports psychology coach with a special interest in riders.

Find out more about our coaches at

24 Lucinda Green helps you tackle open spaces 26 Sylvia Loch hones your position 26 Natasha Baker helps you come back to riding with confidence after a fall or injury 27  Charlie Unwin builds your inner confidence 30 Rosie Jones shows you how to win your horse’s trust

Tackle open spaces The thought of cantering across the countryside can be terrifying for many riders but there’s no feeling more exhilarating when you do it. Here Lucinda Green helps you enjoy the great outdoors Having a blast across the countryside, enjoying a steady canter out in the open or even riding cross-country can be a daunting prospect for many riders and the fear of losing control can keep you trapped in walk or inside the arena. Fortunately, building your confidence to up the gears out in the open is perfectly doable with a little work and patience. Use the advice below to gain control in canter outside the arena, and my tips (right) to progress to jumping cross-country fences.

Dare to venture out

Riding in an enclosed field or paddock gives you some security while replicating an open space

Before you even think about going cross-country or opening your horse up for a gallop while hacking, you need to feel confident enough to stop and start your horse outside the confines of an arena. Here’s my advice to help you do it. Out in the open you don’t have a perimeter fence to turn your horse into to stop, so you must be able to stop confidently on your own. If you’re frightened your horse will take off with you, your first step is to master your stop and start gears. Knowing you can stop will immediately step your confidence up a notch. Horses are much calmer in a school

or arena situation and you’ll need to excite him a little in order to replicate how he might behave in a crosscountry environment or out in the open on a hack, so start your ‘stop/ start’ work in an enclosed paddock or field. That way you have a fence or hedge as security, but you’re creating more excitement for him than you would in an arena. Practise riding round your enclosed paddock in different paces, asking him to stop and start – remember to release your contact when he does as you ask. If you constantly pull on his mouth and use it to balance, he’ll become dead to your aids. If you pull and release, you have a better chance of getting him to listen to you, and ultimately stop. Don’t fall into the trap of only riding in an arena

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Total Confidence

Go for it, get jumping! Once you’ve mastered stopping and starting in your enclosed paddock, you can put up a few small fences to build your horse’s excitement even more. Using either wings and poles or smaller cross-country fences, practise jumping then halting after each fence to ensure you’re in control. Once you have his cooperation and respect, you can string the fences together like a course and increase the size of the area you ride in until eventually you’re in a completely open space.

Still not happy? If you’ve tried all this, but find you’re still being affected by your nerves, there’s no shame in going back to basics and asking a friend to lead you round. If you feel more comfortable having someone you trust walk on the ground with you on your first few outings, then build your confidence gradually. You could build up from being lead to being lunged, and gradually get further and further away from your leader.

Gain confidence out in the open and you’ll soon be able to give cross-country a go

Tina Fletcher does dressage

Show jumping legend Tina Fletcher kicks her jumping roots to the kerb as she realises her inner dressage diva


Meet our instructor Dan Greenwood is one of Britain’s leading dressage riders and trainers. He teaches riders of all levels up to Grand Prix level.

ina Fletcher is a selfconfessed dressage virgin, but with the help of Dan Greenwood and his wonderful steed Angelo, she’s about to experience what it’s like to switch disciplines and become a top dressage rider working at Grand Prix level. More au fait with oxers, related distances and combinations, Tina’s about to get to grips with half-pass,

passage and medium trot just for our entertainment, oh, and to see if there’s anything she can learn from it that might help when jumping. So prepare to see Tina as you’ve never seen her before, with all four feet firmly on the ground, and find out what she thinks of life in the flatwork lane. Could we have another dressage convert on our hands?

Meet our rider Tina Fletcher This lady needs no introduction – show jumper extraordinaire Tina Fletcher has never ridden dressage before.

Meet our dressage horse Angelo is an eight-year-old Dutch-bred horse currently working to Grand Prix level. Dan says he’s got a great work ethic.

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Better Riding Tina gets used to Angelo’s powerful movements

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FEBRUARY 2014 your horse

Winter hacking special

Enjoy winter!

Easy ways to make every hack fun, safe and effective whatever the weather – so you and your horse can trot into spring a better, more confident partnership

U OUR EXPERT Sharon Hunt is an Olympic event rider who rode Tankers Town to a team bronze medal at the Beijing Olympics in 2008. Find out more at

OUR EXPERT Vikki Hayton is a BHS Instructor and Examiner, a British Dressage (BD) judge, and a National Accredited Trainer for BD and British Eventing. Visit www.

s riders like a challenge, and winter certainly throws a few our way. Flooded roads, muddy tracks and icy conditions see us heading for the arena, but there’s lots to be said for braving the elements out on a hack. Not only does it give our horses a mental break from the monotony of the field-to-stable-then-back-again commute, it plays an important role in upping their fitness levels and keeping their minds occupied. Not to mention the benefits for us – hands up who really wants to spend the next three months staring at the arena fence line when there’s so much fun to be had in the great outdoors? To prove just how valuable – and enjoyable – winter hacking can be we’ve enlisted the help of Olympic eventer Sharon Hunt and top dressage and eventing trainer Vikki Hayton. So read on for their tips to inspire you to get out and about this winter, and get set for a productive few months as you build your horse’s fitness, test your effectiveness as a rider, tackle challenging conditions – and enjoy winter to the max.

Rain? Sleet? Bring it on! “Winter throws every kind of weather our way – last year the ground was frozen for what seemed an eternity, whereas some years it’s very wet and

your horse FEBRUARY 2014

muddy. I always watch the forecast and plan my week to make the best use of the conditions,” says Sharon Hunt. “I’m lucky in that I can ride during the day, but even if you can only squeeze in 25 minutes first thing in the morning, be clever about what you do when. “It may be tempting to stick to the arena over the winter months, but you can overdo it and I don’t think it’s healthy for horses to do too many tight circles. If a good day’s forecast I’ll make that a hacking day, and go in the arena when it’s too foggy or wet to ride out safely. But it has to be useful hacking. I’ll focus on working the horse in straight lines, with plenty of slow, steady work to build his fitness. I’d rather walk and trot up and down hills, making sure he’s nice and round over his back, than bomb about.”

Learn as you hack “If you’re struggling for inspiration this winter I’d say think of every ride out as being an educated hack, not just an amble,” adds Vikki Hayton. “Go out with a theme in mind. Test how long you can stand in your stirrups for, in walk and trot, or hack out with your stirrups in jumping length and practise riding in a jumping seat. There’s so much you can focus on away from the arena – and so much fun to be had!”

Play about with schooling moves

Position checks Easy ways to test your position while out on a hack, from top trainer Vikki Hayton: Test your horse’s suppleness by asking him to move his inside shoulder away from the pavement or edge of the track


Try riding one-handed and see if there’s any change in your horse’s straightness – and whether you can turn a corner one-handed


Go from rising to sitting trot. Does your position change? Does your horse stay relaxed and forward, or does he stiffen?


See how your horse reacts when you speed up or slow down your rising in trot. Can you speed up and slow the trot just using your seat?


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Better Riding

Use every hill, track and field this winter to boost your horse’s fitness and escape the arena

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FEBRUARY 2014 your horse

Dodgy dealer

Fraudulent farrier

How to steer clear of rogue traders Following warnings from equine professionals about the risks of fraudsters in the horse world, we explain how to avoid dodgy dealers, dentists, farriers and back specialists so you can rest happy in the knowledge that your horse is only ever in the very best hands Words Andrea Oakes


ere in the UK we’re lucky enough to have some of the highest standards of horsemanship in the world, along with an army of well-qualified and caring professionals to keep our horses healthy and happy. At the recent 2013 BEVA (British Equestrian Veterinary Association) Congress, emphasis was put on the importance of always using qualified professionals to treat your horse. But in most areas of life there’s always someone trying to make a fast buck – and sadly the horse world is no exception. Log on to any online equestrian forum your horse FEBRUARY 2014

Don’t part with cash unless you know your expert is qualified

and you’ll find horror stories of ‘rogue traders’ at work. Masquerading as bona fide health practitioners or reputable dealers, these unscrupulous individuals are masters at persuading people to part with their money for a second-rate service.

Being ripped off by a rogue trader can leave a painful dent in both your pride and your finances, but where horses are involved the consequences can be far more serious. Unqualified dentists, farriers and back specialists can do untold damage to your horse’s health, while dishonest dealers selling unsuitable animals can cause heartbreak and even danger to those unfortunate enough to buy them. Read on for some real-life stories from those who’ve fallen prey to bogus traders and find out how you can keep yourself and your horse safe. w w r hor se .co.u k

Avoid rogue traders

Dishonest dentist

The dodgy dealer

Bogus back specialist

Ask the right questions, and

get everything in writing, to The word ‘schoolmaster’ caught Gemma ensure a sale goes to plan Macdonald’s eye when she was searching for her very first horse to buy. The dealer showed her a part-bred Cleveland Bay gelding and assured her that the horse was suitable. “I wanted something sensible,” she says. “Although he was a little underweight, I was happy with his behaviour. The dealer put me under pressure to put down a deposit for him and I rather naively agreed.” It wasn’t until the horse arrived home with his passport that the truth emerged. He was in fact a Thoroughbred ex-racehorse who had had hardly any schooling. “It turned out that he’d been passed from pillar to post,” says Gemma. “One previous owner told me ‘when he’s muscled up he has For buying advice, no respect for human life’. It and details of the seemed that he’d been BHS helpline, visit underfed to keep him docile – unpredictable. But we have seen and that the dealer had lied to an increase in complaints in me though his teeth.” recent years where people feel Of course, there’s always the they’ve been mis-sold.” chance that a new horse-rider partnership Lee recommends doing some homework won’t gel, but what if an unscrupulous seller about who you’re buying from, but cautions tells a pack of lies about the horse’s age, taking a balanced view of any complaints background and temperament, as in you might find. “There are always people Gemma’s case – or even sedates it to mask its who have bought the wrong horse and will true personality? blame the dealer,” he points out. British Horse Society (BHS) director of So how can people protect themselves policy Lee Hackett advises: “Buying a horse during the buying process? “We would has always been a risk, whether it’s from a advise against rushing into any decision – dealer or a private seller, as horses are

seek advice

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always visit the horse at least twice,” he says. “And keep a printed copy or a screenshot of the original advert, as they’re often taken offline very quickly once the horse is sold. “If things do go wrong, seek legal advice from a solicitor,” says Lee, adding that the BHS legal helpline is a good option for members. “Then alert the Trading Standards office nearest to where the horse was sold. A civil case is a further possibility, but there are costs involved so it’s not an option for everyone. Sadly, we do see people stuck with horses that they didn’t want and can’t sell.” FEBRUARY 2014 your horse

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Worth over


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The Editor says

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february 2014 your horse

Jock and Clifton Promise remain resilient and determined in the face of looming legal issues

your horse february 2014

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The Big Interview

“I’m not guilty and I want to shout it” Event rider Jock Paget opens up about his rollercoaster year, from his epic wins at Badminton and Burghley Horse Trials to the ongoing doping scandal he finds himself embroiled in Words Larissa Chapman Photography Matthew Roberts


ith most Big Interviews I usually start by setting the scene and laying down my interviewees’ successes and accolades, but sitting down at my computer to introduce Jock Paget isn’t quite so straight forward – that elephant in the room refuses to be ignored. Undoubtedly one of the most talented event riders on the circuit, Jock shot to success seemingly from nowhere. As 2013 draws to a close he should be celebrating the end of one of his most successful years to date. Having conquered and beaten the best in the business at two of the most prestigious four-star events in the world

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– Badminton and Burghley – he should be reflecting on his extraordinary year and contemplating world (or at least eventing world) domination. But all this success has been tainted and future plans halted after his victorious ride, Clifton Promise, tested positive for a banned substance during a drugs test at Burghley in September 2013. Since the scandal went public it’s fair to say Jock has been living in a nightmare. An interview with this gifted New Zealander has always been on the cards for Your Horse magazine. Even before the drugs issue hit the headlines, we were keen to find out more about this rider from down under who brought ‘dapper’ and ‘debonair’ to the riding game. But with the rumour mill in overdrive and speculation mounting, we decided now was the perfect time to broach this subject and find out more about the man behind the headlines. And here you have it… Jock Paget, in his own words, on what makes him tick, what he likes and dislikes, his most embarrassing moments, his plans for the future and of course, the impact the drugs scandal is having on his life. So hold the front page and pause before you draw your conclusions – it’s time to set the record straight!

february 2014 your horse

Back to Basics

Equine design explained



Good conformation can support performance and soundness, but as there’s no such thing as a perfect horse here’s how to work with what you’ve got


OUR EXPERT Sue Palmer is a chartered veterinary physiotherapist and equine behaviour consultant. Her instructional ‘Horse Massage for Horse Owners’ is available as a book, DVD or one-day course. Find out more at www.holistic

ow a horse is put together has a huge impact on his life, from the type of work he finds easiest to his long-term soundness and health. In basic terms, good conformation means a well-proportioned horse with clean, straight legs and a free, straight and balanced movement. Chartered veterinary physiotherapist Sue Palmer says: “Good conformation allows the horse’s body to work as efficiently as possible, improving the chances of his working life being long, successful and pain-free.” If you’re aware of your horse’s conformational issues you can ride and care for him appropriately. “Poor conformation causes stresses and strains, and leads to your horse compensating by using parts of his body for work that they didn’t evolve for. This creates greater potential for injury and long-term damage, so being aware of any issues and acting accordingly helps avoid problems.”

Throat Facial crest


Muzzle Mouth

Base of neck Point of shoulder Breast Knowing the points of the horse will help you assess his conformation


The equine head and neck

OUR EXPERT Nicky Jarvis is the senior veterinary surgeon at equine charity Redwings. She’s particularly interested in the care of the veteran horse and regularly speaks on the topic. Find out more at www.

A horse’s head should be in proportion with his body, with a strong jawline with plenty of space for good respiratory function. Sue says: “The length of the head and neck, and the angle at which the head is set onto the neck, will affect how easily a horse is able to work in an outline – horses with short necks and thickening behind the jaw will find it more difficult to ‘round’.” A shorter neck can make a rider feel less secure too. “In addition, a short neck will tend to mean that a horse is less flexible

and less well balanced,” says Sue. Inside the mouth, conditions such as parrot mouth, where the top teeth overhang the bottom, or an undershot lower jaw which protrudes, can also affect a horse and will require more regular attention than a normal mouth. “A horse’s freedom of movement is affected by tension through the jaw and poll. Conformations that affect the alignment of the teeth could contribute to this tension, as the jaw may not able to move in the way in which it is meant to,” adds Sue.



A thicker neck behind the jaw can cause problems with rounding (A), while a more upright shoulder makes a short neck appear longer (B)

Proud sponsors of Horse Care Back to Basics your horse February 2014

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Horse Care Body

The equine body and shoulders The trunk of a horse’s body houses all his internal organs, connects his front end to his back and his legs to his body. A deep chest allows good cardiovascular function, and well-sprung ribs give a good body shape. Sue says: “The skeleton provides the framework for muscular attachment. The better aligned a horse’s skeleton is, the more evenly weight can be distributed through it, meaning there’s a better chance of him staying sound.”


A sloping shoulder will make the horse’s movement smoother and also give the rider greater security in the saddle. “An upright shoulder gives a shorter, choppier stride which leads to greater concussion,” adds Sue, so avoiding excessive work on hard surfaces can help. Poor shoulders may lead to problems with the saddle moving, and a horse with excess flesh (known as loaded shoulders) may struggle to move well, be tricky for saddle fitting and be wide to ride.



Point of croup

A deep body and chest give the heart and lungs room

Croup Point of hip Dock Hindquarters

Point of buttock

Patella Brisket


Stifle joint



Cannon bone


Second thigh Point of hock

in need of help? Your vet, physio or instructor can all help when it comes to assessing conformation


Flexor tendon Fetlock Wall of hoof


Bulb of heel

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february 2014 your horse

The Ultimate Horse Care Guide OUT NOW! The Equine Body | Skeleton

the ultimate

Horse Care Guide

Page 6

Page 10

the equine skeleton

Page 16

Caring for his joints

Page 21

Inside his jaw

How his muscles work

The Equine Body | Skeleton

Understand the equine skeleton Bones are the foundation of your horse’s conformation orthopaedic vet roger smith explains their supporting role



sacral vertebrae

Coccygeal vertebrae

our horse’s skeleton provides protection for all of his vital organs. Its major role is to provide structural support and a means of movement using jointed bones, together with muscles, tendons and ligaments. “The skeleton has developed to provide maximum strength with minimal mass, and the shape and size of each bone is determined by both genetic and functional factors,” says our expert, Roger Smith. “The demand for energetic ability is greater in animals like horses, who are built for speed. Your horse is born with certain genetic capabilities but it’s up to you to nurture and work him appropriately to help him achieve his full potential.” Remember, with genetics comes limitations and certain horses won’t be able to achieve certain goals, no matter how good the nurture or training.

OUR EXPERT RogeR Smith is Professor of equine orthopaedics, equine vet and european specialist in equine surgery.

Cervical vertebrae

lumbar vertebrae

thoracic vertebrae

Mandible scapula rib cage Humerus

Ischium Pelvis Patella Femur Fibula

IllustratIons: samantha J elmhurst Ba hons,

tibia olecranon (point of elbow)

tarsus (hock)

ulna radius

long pastern

splint bone

Proximal sesamoid bone short pastern

Forecannon Carpus

Distal sesamoid (navicular) bone

Pisiform bone

Pedal bone

The UlTimaTe horse Care GUide

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The UlTimaTe horse Care GUide

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The Equine Nervous System | Shivers

No rein-back

symptoms are provoked by making the horse move backwards

Nerve damage

Most experts agree that the cause is neurological - but theories abound as to how the nerves get damaged

Don’t panic!

shivers is thankfully a rare condition and sufferers can often continue in some form of ridden work

Tail signs

horses with shivers may raise and quiver the tail simultaneously


OUR EXPERT Charlie Tomlinson is an equine vet based in Wiltshire and director of Cadence Veterinary Rehabilitation, which specialises in equine acupuncture and chiropractic care. She is team vet for the GB Endurance Development squad.

OUR EXPERT Gil riley is a partner at Pool House Equine Clinic in Staffordshire and former Petplan vet of the year. He enjoys helping owners make small changes that make significant differences to their horses.

expert advice on how to spot the signs and manage this mysterious condition


f there’s one thing you can say for certain about shivers, it’s that nothing’s for certain. It’s a nervous abnormality, or dysfunction of the nerve, that manifests largely in the hindlegs, which twitch and ‘shiver’ when lifted. There’s no definitive known cause, no known cure or treatment, and while draught-type breeds tend to be most commonly affected, finer Thoroughbred types can suffer, too. It’s a progressive condition, with symptoms usually worsening over time, but the severity and rate of progression varies – some horses are able to lead a full and active life for several years while others deteriorate fast. When the horse is on all four legs he may appear perfectly normal, but each case is different and it’s the vet’s job to work with the owner to develop ways to manage the condition.

The veterinary check list

Who’s the daddy?

✓ Symptoms

horses with shivers will typically snatch up a hindleg when asked to lift it and hold it to the side as it trembles

Although yet unproven, many experts believe there’s a genetic link to shivering, so don’t breed from an affected horse

In large amounts

usually the bigger the horse, the more likely he is to suffer with shivers

✓ Cause

No known cause, but theories include trauma, disease and physiological abnormalities that affect the nervous system

Working from behind

usually both hindlegs are affected

Hard to diagnose

✓ Prevention

symptoms are often intermittent, making a diagnosis difficult in milder cases

currently it cannot be prevented, though research hints at a genetic cause

✓ Treatment

A sympathetic farrier who allows extra time will play an important role in a sufferer’s management

The UlTimaTe horse Care GUide

No foot no horse

As it gets harder to pick up the hind feet, the horse becomes more prone to problems like thrush

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The UlTimaTe horse Care GUide

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Vital Organs | Heart ILLusTRATIons: samantha J elmhurst Ba hons,

Aorta Vena cava Pulmonary artery Pulmonary valve Aortic valve (obscured here by pulmonary artery)

The heart of the matter

Pulmonary veins

RIght atrium (horse’s right)

Left atrium (horse’s left) Mitral valve Chordae tendinae

Tricuspid valve

Find out how your horse’s heart works and why our experts say you don’t always need to be downbeat in the event of a problem

Left ventricle Interventricular septum

Right ventricle

The UlTimaTe horse Care GUide

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The UlTimaTe horse Care GUide

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The Equine Foot | Navicular


A major cause of lameness in horses, there’s a lot you can to to prevent and treat navicular syndrome, as our expert reveals




nside our brand new book, The Ultimate Horse Care Guide, you can brush up on your everyday management and horse care skills, as well as learning new ones, and read up on everything from Cushing’s and laminitis to the equine skeleton and muscles. This vital care guide is packed with in-depth illustrations and advice so it’s perfect to

keep at the yard or to swot up on at home so you can be confident you’ll be ready to handle anything that happens. Enjoy 11 great chapters covering everything from the equine nervous system and senses to practical advice to help you handle infections, wounds, equine disease and more - all you need to keep your horse happy and healthy, for life!

avicular syndrome is a debilitating condition responsible for more than a third of chronic lameness in horses. But if your horse is diagnosed with navicular, don’t despair, there’s so much you can do to manage a horse with the syndrome and research into this troublesome condition is progressing at a rate of knots. The more we understand about the underlying processes, the more able we’ll be to treat navicular successfully, giving affected horses the best quality of life possible. Here we’ve got the best expert advice and all the information you need.

Navicular bone

Long pastern bone

This bone prevents overarticulation of the joint of the pedal bone as well as maintaining a constant angle of insertion of the deep flexor tendon into the back of the pedal bone

The function of the long pastern is to increase the flexibility of the fetlock joint and reduce concussion. The length and slope of the bone strongly influences the gait

Coffin joint

Short pastern bone

This is a hinge joint that comes under tremendous stress from the structures above. changes in the coffin joint are common, leading to lameness in many horses

About one half of the short pastern bone is in the hoof. The rounded ends of the bone allow the hoof to twist or move from side to side to adjust to uneven ground

The pedal bone

The veterinary check list

Deep digital flexor tendon

Provides strength and stability to the hoof, and acts as a framework to hold other structures in place, and to provide protection to blood vessels and nerves

This flexes the joints of the lower leg. Damage to its insertion on to the pedal bone is common and is sometimes mistaken for navicular disease

✓ Symptoms

horses with navicular will show lameness in one form or another – call your vet if lameness persists


The team at Your Horse magazine brings you horse care advice from the best experts around and now we’ve even created a jam-packed book just for you

Charlie Tomlinson is an equine vet based in wiltshire and director of cadence Veterinary rehabilitation, which specialises in equine acupuncture and chiropractic care. she is team vet for the GB endurance Development squad.

✓ Cause

Numerous structures are involved, making navicular a complex syndrome that needs careful treatment

✓ Prevention

can be hard difficult as there are so many structures involved

✓ Treatment

There are lots of treatment options including ranging from drugs to a new surgical procedure

The UlTimaTe horse Care GUide

Navicular bursa

Collateral ligament

Impar ligament

supports the navicular bone and, together with the impar ligament, forms the suspensory apparatus of the navicular bone. Damage contributes to navicular syndrome

This joins the navicular bone to the pedal bone. It’s a very strong ligament providing stability to the navicular bone. This, with the collateral ligament, forms the suspensory apparatus of the navicular

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This lies between the deep digital flexor tendon and the navicular bone. Navicular disease often begins as an inflammation of the bursa

The UlTimaTe horse Care GUide

Buy your copy of The Ultimate Horse Care Guide online for £14.99 at

Horse Care Mind

Let’s stick together! If the bond between you and your horse has gone a bit stale, follow our expert’s tips to help you feel the love all over again Words Andrea McHugh

W OUR EXPERT Tracy Allin-Baker is a freelance BHS instructor, qualified equine behaviour consultant and part-time college lecturer. She runs Greenacres Equine Training Centre where she holds a variety of clinics and short courses. Visit www. trainingand behaviour

Don’t let your relationship deteriorate – take the time to ensure bond remains strong

hen a relationship between horse and rider deteriorates it can be distressing, but the key to re-building your bond is understanding why you’ve hit a snag – and what you can do to reconnect with your horse. “There are many reasons why a relationship can break down,” says expert Tracy Allin-Baker. “Sometimes the issue can start due to a change of environment, such as moving to a new yard, or changing the turnout group. Not all yards suit all horses, and some can be too busy for many horses, who won’t always settle well. “In an established turnout group the horses will already have figured out where they all stand within the group. This is known as a dominance hierarchy, is a normal part of horse behaviour, and helps prevent aggression within the group. If all the members know where they stand, it removes the need for constant fighting. This keeps them safer in the wild, as a lame horse would be the first one to be targeted by a predator. It also strengthens the group, whereas fighting divides it. “If a more dominant horse is removed from a herd there can be a change of relationships within the existing one. A horse in the middle might rise in rank, making them more socially ambitious and confident. This horse may previously have been absolutely fine with his owner, but if he gets this kind of confidence boost he can start to challenge his relationship with his owner. This can be unsettling, particularly if he’s been

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FEBRUARY 2014 your horse

Open C

Exclusive horse care a

Every issue the Your Horse Open Clinic delivers vital equine behaviour, management and vet advice, absolutely free and this month our experts help you tackle: ✦ Mounting made easy p89 ✦ Winter-proof your yard p91 ✦ RAO explained p92 ✦ Stabled health Q&A p94 ✦ Coping with ethmoid hematoma p98

instant advice online To ensure you’ve got access to vet advice whenever you need it we’ve teamed up with the free online symptom checker service This clever service, run by qualified vets, is easy to use and totally free. To give it a try, just visit our website at for free, on-the-spot expert vet advice.

How it works

You’ll be asked to select from a drop-down list of symptoms, then given immediate advice on if and when you should call the vet. It only takes seconds and it’s all part of our Open Clinic service!

4 top ways to learn Join live web chats with our experts and ask them your horse care questions Watch our how-to videos to help you learn whenever you see this symbol Spot the signs of a problem early with our handy symptom checker Got a question for an expert? Simply email it to us at

Mounting needs to be a safe, calm process



advice from the UK’s top experts

Gil Riley is managing equine vet at Pool House Equine Clinic

Jenny Ellis is a top groom with over 30 years of experience

Jason Webb is a behaviour pro who runs Australian Horsemanship

Get on top of mounting Getting on should be easy, but if your horse messes about it can become scary and even dangerous. Behaviour expert Jason Webb explains how to teach your horse to stand like a rock


orses who are tricky to mount tend to mess about because their attention span is short and their mind is elsewhere. They can also play up because they’re worried by some aspect of being mounted, so remember to move smoothly when mounting and land gently in the saddle. Or they may lack respect for you – they know what you want and know they can stop it by moving away. Whatever the reason that causes your horse to play up, stay safe and confident by resolving it using my tips.

Desensitise him Before you even approach the mounting block it’s vital to check your horse is fully desensitised – can you pull the stirrup leathers down and make a noise, can you tighten the girth? If any part of the process worries your horse he’s probably a little too reactive, so do some desensitising with him. Repeat each movement over and over until he stands still calmly while you do them.

Jason’s method one The simplest solution to mounting woes is to work on your ability to move your horse around. When you’ve tacked him up, instead of taking him to the mounting block give him a little lunge. Then bring him to the mounting block and let


Stay in control As you mount, bridge your reins in your left hand, so if your horse walks off you can bend him by rotating your wrist, which bends his head towards you and disengages his power. With repetition, this will teach him there’s no point in walking off.

him rest – the idea is that he learns standing by it brings him relief, so repeat until he’s happy to stand still. If your horse is mucking about because he’s got a bit of an attitude he may get worse before he gets better. If he gets more fidgety or jumpy when you ask him to stand, persevere and keep putting him back by the mounting block for his breaks – often horses will mess about then suddenly ‘get’ what you’re doing. When your horse understands, you’ll notice he’s resigned himself to the spot and will relax. Make sure he’s stood for a minimum of 10 seconds before you attempt to mount. If you move and he moves, you need more desensitising – it’s all about repetition.

Chill out! Jason helps you calm a stressed-out horse

Jason’s method two If your horse swings his quarters away or walks forward when you get on the mounting block, step off and rather than stop him moving forward, bring his head towards you and push his hind end around, creating a little circle. Follow this with a small circle in the other direction, with this figure of eight movement ending with him standing back beside the mounting block where he started. You stay in pretty much the same spot – it’s your horse moving, not you! By repeating this every time he plays up he’ll soon realise there’s no benefit to moving. ● Find out more at australianhorse

february 2014 your horse

12 hours in equine A&E Find out what it takes to work at a busy equine hospital as we spend 12 hours with the vets and their patients at a top veterinary clinic


ost horse owners return home from leaving sick or injured horses at the vets to wait anxiously for news. However carefully their vet has explained what’s going to happen, it’s inevitable they feel upset and worried about what’s going on. So we decided to send Your Horse writer Larissa Chapman and photographer Matthew Roberts to join one of the teams who care for our hospitalised horses and experience a typical day. This is Larissa’s report of 12 hours at Fellowes Farm Equine Clinic in Cambridgeshire. 7:45am

Running and working in an equine hospital takes some serious organisation. Patients are admitted to the clinic each day, emergencies rushed in with very little warning and the vets are out and about on call across the region. We arrive early in the morning on a day when the team has to deal with a wide range of problems from ulcerated eyes to a suspected colic. Our guide is veterinary surgeon David Rutherford. As with all good mornings, the day starts with a coffee, so David gets some caffeine organised, then takes us to join the vets who gather to check on all their

Every morning, the vets visit each patient in the hospital to discuss theirtreatment

patients. Just as a consultant does his hospital rounds, the vets go round each patient to discuss the best course of action. “It’s a great way to bring all the brains together to bounce ideas around,” says equine veterinary surgeon Stuart Thorne. Patients on the equine ward this morning include a horse with an ulcerated eye who’s receiving treatment through a tube fed

Watch online To check out a video of our action packed day at Fellowes Farm Equine Clinic visit www. vethospital The vets sort out the medicines for each patient

your horse february 2014

directly into his eye and a horse who was operated on for kissing spines a few days ago. Once the discussions are over, the vets go to the treatment room to gather the appropriate medicines for each horse. 9:00am

The first patient to be treated is the horse with an ulcerated eye who was admitted because he needed a constant supply of eye drops. Vet Sunil Thanki, who has a keen interest in eyes, is overseeing this case. He examines the eye using a special dye that allows him to see the ulcerated area and whether it’s improved. Thankfully the eye looks as though it’s on the right track and Sunil’s hard work is paying off. “When I first visited this horse he could hardly even open his eye and he was extremely sensitive about it being touched, but today he seems much brighter and I can see that it’s looking a lot better,” he says. After a quick look and some drops, the horse is taken back to his stable for some rest and Sunil heads out on some visits away from the clinic. 9:30am

Next a young racehorse is brought in. He was pulled up at a race in Huntington the day w w r hor se .co.u k

Vets at work A patient with an ulcerated eye is given treatment

Vet David listens to a horse’s gut

Thanks! With thanks to the wonderful team at Fellowes Farm for letting us spend the day with them

Vet Sunil checks the progress of a patient with a sore eye

before and needs an X-ray. Vet nurse Emma Key fits him with a catheter to give him his painkillers so he doesn’t have to endure multiple injections. I was amazed at the sheer number of elements needed to fit a catheter, but Emma makes it look easy. The vets suspect he has a hip fracture, but can’t be sure until he’s X-rayed. Once the painkillers and sedative have kicked in, the lights are dimmed and the X-ray machine warmed up. Before Matthew w w r hor se .co.u k

Vet nurse Holly assists veterinary surgeon David with X-raying a horse’s injured hip

and I can witness this process, we have to don lead aprons to protect our vital organs from the harmful radiation. Vet David instructs his veterinary nurse Holly Reeve to place a special board beside the area that needs to be X-rayed. The board picks up the light from the X-ray and is then transferred into a machine that transmits the image on screen. After three different X-rays, the problem still isn’t clear so David calls the owners to

check they’re happy to proceed with a bone scan in the morning. “I knew it would be hard to see anything on the X-ray but it was worth a try as it’s a much cheaper option than a bone scan,” he says. 10:45am

David has another patient to deal with, but it’s time for us to head out on a call with Stuart. We’re going to check on Malvaz, an OAP who escaped from his field in the dark february 2014 your horse


Expert advice on buying wisely

A good hat, to the right standards, is your best friend for safety

your horse FEBRUARY 2014

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Page 111

New gear in the shops

Page 113

Page 114

Perfect layers

Stay warm this winter

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Jackets on test

Use your head Your riding hat is the most important piece of equestrian kit you’ll buy so, if you’re in the market for a new one, our handy buyers’ guide will help you make the safest choice


orses, as we all know, are extremely unpredictable and riding is never going to be risk free. Head injuries present the most serious danger, so make sure you’re safe, not sorry by wearing a protective hat to the latest standards for riding and preferably when handling your horse too. When it comes to safety there should be no compromise but developments in materials and designs mean that most hats on the market now are lightweight and well ventilated – perfect for keeping your head cool and comfortable as well as protected. When you buy a new hat, you need to consider what you do with your horse. If you compete, you’ll need to make sure your new hat meets the requirements of governing bodies such as British Eventing or British Showjumping. Always check the rules before buying.

Check your hat meets the required standards if you’re competing

don’t buy used There’s no guarantee a secondhand hat is damage free so always buy new

Understand hat regulations There are several different standards of riding hat available. The most important current standards are BS EN 1384, PAS 015 and Snell E2001, with PAS 015 and Snell E2001 providing a higher level of protection than BS EN 1384. Snell is the highest equestrian helmet safety standard in the world and includes a test that simulates a rider falling into a fence rail, or having a secondary hit by a horse’s hoof. Many hat manufacturers also submit their products for further testing by the British Standards Institute, where the tried-andtrusted Kitemark is awarded. A Kitemarked riding hat offers additional safety reassurance as it’s tested on a continual basis. Every batch produced passes through the BSI’s rigorous testing system for each of the four main areas of testing: penetration, shock absorption, harness strength and stability. Many riding organisations, such as British Eventing, require you to wear a hat that carries the BSI Kitemark, so this is important to look out for. w w r hor se .co.u k

Getting the right fit Comfort and fit are essential and, as different brands offer varying styles and fittings, it’s important to use a qualified hat fitter to help you find a hat that suits your head. After all, only a properly-fitted riding hat will provide you with the maximum level of protection in the event of a fall. You want to be sure that your hat fits your head snugly, cupping your entire skull with the front of the helmet no more than about 1½in or two fingers above your eyebrows. If it can be easily dislodged when the chinstrap isn’t fastened, it’s too big for you.

Time to change

The protection offered by any riding hat diminishes over time as the padding becomes compressed, so you should replace your hat every three to four years. And following a severe impact such as a fall or being dropped onto a hard surface your hat should be replaced immediately. Even if no signs of damage are visible, your hat may no longer provide the protection it should.

February 2014 your horse

Next month in

On sale 23 Jan Escape the daily grind!

Better Riding ●P  lan your perfect

riding holiday ●Q  uick guide to long-reining ●E  scape the confines of the school

Horse Care ●T  he benefits of a break

●H  elp a stressed horse relax ●E  asy, suppling stretches

Buyers’ Guide ● Equine magnetic therapy

●W  aterproof overtrousers

tried and tested ●T  he top three winter gloves


Incredible equine jobs! ● Meet the people who gave it all up for horses and find out how you could do it too!

February 2013 issue 382  

Take a sneaky peek inside our February issue of Your Horse magazine...