Let's face it, to the human eye, horses look much smarter clipped but do you think horses stand around at a competition or hunt meet going 'OMG, don't look now darling, but Archie hasn't been clipped this winter and looks a real fright, no, don't let him see you looking, we don't want to embarrass him!'

four rear facing horses clipped and well turned out at hunt, three greys and one chesnut

I'd always clipped my horses over winter as they did quite a bit of work including competition and hunting. Like most people I didn't just clip for aesthetic reasons but because I'd been taught that it was healthier for a horse in medium to hard work.  But then I met Natural Horse Management expert, Lucinda McAlpine and started to re-think the way I managed my own horses, particularly regarding clipping.

close up of unclipped long hair rear end of pony

Lucinda believes that the horses coat is a good fitness and stress gauge as a horse will sweat heavily when he is anxious or has done too much for his fitness. A slight dampness to the coat will indicate that he has done enough for the level of fitness he is at and so you can stop before pushing too far. A full coat can also provide an indication of our horses health - recently I took one of our horses to the vet and she immediately picked up on his coat as an indication that his system might be out of balance. And a muddy full coat, according to Lucinda, will reveal areas of muscle tension. If mud brushes off easily then the skin and muscles underneath are healthy but if mud really sticks to the coat then that means the fascia and muscles underneath are tight.

It's amazed me how controversial this no-clipping decision is though - people really are snobby about an unclipped horse, it's the equestrian equivalent of walking around the supermarket in dressing gown and slippers! And when you leave a horse out in winter without ten duvets on, you're often seen as being cruel. It actually does take a leap of faith not to treat horses according to how we feel when the temperatures plummet but it still surprises me that once their coat is established horses, including thoroughbreds, will happily stand out in the snow even if they do have a big barn shelter they can walk into. Give them lots of hay over winter and this acts like an internal radiator. A heavy rug on the other hand flattens a full coat and stops it acting as it should.

side of full coated unclipped horse with rider leg and boot in stirrup

The big sticking point I have is whether to clip for hunting from a health point of view. When our young horse went out for the first time this season we didn't clip him as it might not be a regular thing. Anyway, he did sweat a lot, probably a mix of excitement and exertion - he wasn't super fit so only did a few hours. I imagine a lot of the clipped horses still sweated but it's just less noticeable because it evaporates off more quickly. And after galloping when horses stand around for sometimes long periods with the cold wind whipping their exposed flesh, which horse is worse off? Will the unclipped horse with a sweaty coat get a chill or the clipped horse whose muscles cool down too quickly get tight and sore? Our horse was then cooled down gradually with a hack back to the horsebox and overnight in his stable, as he was still slightly damp, we put him in a cooler rug, thatched with straw underneath as our main concern was that he might catch a chill.

The good news is that he certainly looked good the next day and hadn't dropped any weight.  BUT I'm still sweating over whether to clip or not to clip if he goes out again! What do you think?


 

Published in Trot On Blogs

Trot On member, Kaitlin Woods, continues her blog sharing her journey - the ups and the downs, with her new ex-racing thoroughbred steed, Freddie. Here, in this posting, (originally written back in October last year), Kaitlin explains how she's had to deal with a dramatic loss of condition in Freddie shortly after his arrival.

Well that has flown by! 2 whole months and one week my boy has been home and it's honestly been amazing but a hell of a journey already...

If you haven't read my first blog posting, my lovely new ex racehorse came home on the 14th August, but with a superficial digital flexor tendon injury (more info on the blog, go have a read!) Since arriving home I've been ensuring Freddie remains as calm and sane as possible as to not damage the leg further by dancing and running about. The leg has continued to not show any signs of heat or swelling so fingers crossed he is fixing well. 

Our first hurdle to overcome arose a week and a half after Fred came home. He came to me in amazing condition, which as we all know with racehorses isn't always the case. I believe that if a horse is well on the inside, he will shine on the outside. Well fed, very loved and cared for and there you have it, a magnificent looking animal. Marie Mcguinness, Freddie's old trainer honestly adores her horses and my god does it show. (I believe that is why Freddie is one of the kindest horses I have ever met, he has been loved and cared for like a true king.) However, once Freddie came home, he had a bit of an adrenaline shock, I think it all hit him (as many ex racehorses out of training experience) - a new home and environment and a completely different routine, and he drastically lost condition and almost sagged... 

Freddie when he arrived                                                                                             Freddie 1 week in

Freddie 2 months in

He has lost back muscle from no work but his overall condition really fell. Very worrying that a horse can change so much in such a short space of time… Time for operation feed that can help! One problem… feed really isn't my thing, having had the pony for 8 years that really did not need feeding I was stuck on where to even begin! Thankfully help was on hand at my local country and feed store, a lady who had thoroughbreds too helped me to decide on what was best for Fred. He hasn't been confirmed for ulcers but being a racehorse and their high sugar, low fibre diets and the fact he was windsucking after eating his handful of high fibre nuts (although he does windsuck out of boredom too), I have gone for a molasses free chaff, in particular the Dengie Alfafa A one as well as Coolstance Copra meal which is well known for being a weight gaining feed especially used by many thoroughbred owners. What a transformation this has given! Freddie is looking so much better, I’m very pleased. However, with Freddie hopefully coming into work very soon once he’s been scanned I am slightly dropping his feed as he is feeling quite well from an oil based feed and I don’t want unnecessary fizz in the early stages. I’ll keep you updated on what he’s eating and how we are getting on!

Freddie has continued to be hand walked daily to strengthen the leg and see the world. He’s been such a good boy, even in the worst of weather conditions and traffic he has maintained a very cool and level head and I’m so proud of him for that. We have the odd excited moment but overall a very good boy, it’s honestly like walking your dog! Long may it continue when I’m on board him!!

Over the last 3 weeks Freddie has been moved into a bigger paddock, finally no more squares! He’s so happy bless him, the first time I turned him out I was expecting a bit of an explosion but he just walked the perimeter of his new field before giving me a little glance of approval and then of course got straight down to business… eating! He does have the occasional play about but no heat or swelling appears from the leg and unfortunately he cannot be bubble wrapped forever! He is definitely a food boy though, and as long as there is good food the excitement soon passes so he can munch away again. 

The other big step we took was to turn him out with Inky, the other ex-racehorse who is a true gentlemen and looks after everyone. All being well all three will be turned out together full time after we know whether the leg is ok and so an introduction to Inky seemed a good idea. It was like dropping my child off at school!! “Be nice, don’t hurt anyone and don’t hurt yourself!!” They loved each other, a little trot around in excitement and then settled straight down to eating the same blade of grass… bromance blossoming!

We have also reduced the length of time that Freddie is wearing his stable bandages, from 24/7 when he was on complete box rest to only at night when he came home. I then started to apply the bandages every other night and so on. He now doesn’t wear them at all and there has been no swelling at all. Good sign!

I did notice about a month in that he had a slight cold and snotty nose, I took it a bit easy on the walking in case he was feeling a bit under the weather. But he was soon fine and I didn’t have to have snot wiped over me when I was trying to lead him! Always a bonus  

Freddie also has a new medium weight rug for the chilly winter nights as I will be keeping him out mostly as they have a large field shelter which we bed down with straw. I also love the detachable hood and ‘atlantic blue’ suits him rather well don’t you think?!

So that’s it for our second update! I fall in love with him more each day and can't wait to see what the future holds, it’s not always easy but a very good journey never is! Just over one week to go until his scan and then fingers crossed the real fun can begin, mega excited!

Thank you for reading and stay tuned for more news on Mr Fred. 

kandf 250

 

 

 

 

 

Kaitlin and Freddie xxx

Published in Member Blogs

Trot On member, Kaitlin Woods, continues her blog sharing her journey - the ups and the downs, with her new ex-racing thoroughbred steed, Freddie. Here, in this posting, (originally written back in October last year), Kaitlin explains how she's had to deal with a dramatic loss of condition in Freddie shortly after his arrival.

Well that has flown by! 2 whole months and one week my boy has been home and it's honestly been amazing but a hell of a journey already...

If you haven't read my first blog posting, my lovely new ex racehorse came home on the 14th August, but with a superficial digital flexor tendon injury (more info on the blog, go have a read!) Since arriving home I've been ensuring Freddie remains as calm and sane as possible as to not damage the leg further by dancing and running about. The leg has continued to not show any signs of heat or swelling so fingers crossed he is fixing well. 

Our first hurdle to overcome arose a week and a half after Fred came home. He came to me in amazing condition, which as we all know with racehorses isn't always the case. I believe that if a horse is well on the inside, he will shine on the outside. Well fed, very loved and cared for and there you have it, a magnificent looking animal. Marie Mcguinness, Freddie's old trainer honestly adores her horses and my god does it show. (I believe that is why Freddie is one of the kindest horses I have ever met, he has been loved and cared for like a true king.) However, once Freddie came home, he had a bit of an adrenaline shock, I think it all hit him (as many ex racehorses out of training experience) - a new home and environment and a completely different routine, and he drastically lost condition and almost sagged... 

Freddie when he arrived                                                                                             Freddie 1 week in

Freddie 2 months in

He has lost back muscle from no work but his overall condition really fell. Very worrying that a horse can change so much in such a short space of time… Time for operation feed that can help! One problem… feed really isn't my thing, having had the pony for 8 years that really did not need feeding I was stuck on where to even begin! Thankfully help was on hand at my local country and feed store, a lady who had thoroughbreds too helped me to decide on what was best for Fred. He hasn't been confirmed for ulcers but being a racehorse and their high sugar, low fibre diets and the fact he was windsucking after eating his handful of high fibre nuts (although he does windsuck out of boredom too), I have gone for a molasses free chaff, in particular the Dengie Alfafa A one as well as Coolstance Copra meal which is well known for being a weight gaining feed especially used by many thoroughbred owners. What a transformation this has given! Freddie is looking so much better, I’m very pleased. However, with Freddie hopefully coming into work very soon once he’s been scanned I am slightly dropping his feed as he is feeling quite well from an oil based feed and I don’t want unnecessary fizz in the early stages. I’ll keep you updated on what he’s eating and how we are getting on!

Freddie has continued to be hand walked daily to strengthen the leg and see the world. He’s been such a good boy, even in the worst of weather conditions and traffic he has maintained a very cool and level head and I’m so proud of him for that. We have the odd excited moment but overall a very good boy, it’s honestly like walking your dog! Long may it continue when I’m on board him!!

Over the last 3 weeks Freddie has been moved into a bigger paddock, finally no more squares! He’s so happy bless him, the first time I turned him out I was expecting a bit of an explosion but he just walked the perimeter of his new field before giving me a little glance of approval and then of course got straight down to business… eating! He does have the occasional play about but no heat or swelling appears from the leg and unfortunately he cannot be bubble wrapped forever! He is definitely a food boy though, and as long as there is good food the excitement soon passes so he can munch away again. 

The other big step we took was to turn him out with Inky, the other ex-racehorse who is a true gentlemen and looks after everyone. All being well all three will be turned out together full time after we know whether the leg is ok and so an introduction to Inky seemed a good idea. It was like dropping my child off at school!! “Be nice, don’t hurt anyone and don’t hurt yourself!!” They loved each other, a little trot around in excitement and then settled straight down to eating the same blade of grass… bromance blossoming!

We have also reduced the length of time that Freddie is wearing his stable bandages, from 24/7 when he was on complete box rest to only at night when he came home. I then started to apply the bandages every other night and so on. He now doesn’t wear them at all and there has been no swelling at all. Good sign!

I did notice about a month in that he had a slight cold and snotty nose, I took it a bit easy on the walking in case he was feeling a bit under the weather. But he was soon fine and I didn’t have to have snot wiped over me when I was trying to lead him! Always a bonus  

Freddie also has a new medium weight rug for the chilly winter nights as I will be keeping him out mostly as they have a large field shelter which we bed down with straw. I also love the detachable hood and ‘atlantic blue’ suits him rather well don’t you think?!

So that’s it for our second update! I fall in love with him more each day and can't wait to see what the future holds, it’s not always easy but a very good journey never is! Just over one week to go until his scan and then fingers crossed the real fun can begin, mega excited!

Thank you for reading and stay tuned for more news on Mr Fred. 

kandf 250

 

 

 

 

 

Kaitlin and Freddie xxx

Published in Trot On Blogs
Thursday, 07 December 2017 11:51

Calming Signals and Pain | Anna Blake

First, last, and always, make sure your horse is sound. 

That’s the warning that any decent equine professional gives before practically anything we do. It’s the common disclaimer; we almost skim over it as a formality before getting on to the training issues. In other words, we get complacent to chronic pain messages because it’s easier to train sometimes than it is to track down some nebulous pain. We should know better.

It’s the first question every rider should ask from the ground every day. Is my horse sound? Learning to read pain takes perception; it’s complicated in the beginning. It isn’t that we don’t care. We might not be sure and that means a vet call. We usually have a plan that day. Even if it’s a trail ride, we don’t want to cancel. If it’s something that involves money or hauling or inconveniencing other people, we usually think it’s not so bad and go ahead. We should do better.

There’s also a disclaimer that we should hear from horses –first, last and always. They are prey animals. Their instinct is so interwoven into their behavior and personality, that it’s inseparable.  Prey animals aren’t forthcoming about pain.

If your horse is stoic, he’ll grit his teeth, sometimes literally, and keep trudging on acting like he’s fine, until it’s too late. If your horse is more reactive than stoic, he’ll act aggressively hoping that bravado will pass for strength. They aren’t okay.

It’s common sense if you’re a horse. Prey animals hide their pain to survive. They are born knowing that the wolves kill the slow, lame members of the herd. Showing weakness, even within the herd, could mean less access to hay. It isn’t good or bad; it’s nature’s plan that the fit survive. We throw a wrench into that cycle when we domesticate animals so, at the very least, we must listen much more carefully.

Most of us can read enough herd dynamics to know that shy old gelding might need to eat separately. We proudly list each horse’s position in the herd as an affirmation that we know our horses. As if it’s some kind of equine astrology and now that we know the horse is a Sagittarius that explains everything.

I’ve been teaching calming signals for the last few years as a way of understanding small messages from our horses before they become huge issues. It’s fun to have a non-verbal conversation with a horse. I always give the reminder about soundness but often we’d rather have a conversation about challenges, like standing still at the mounting block. What if the mounting block represents the beginning of what hurts and your horse resists it because he’s smart? Not a training issue at all.

It’s about now that we have to ask the hard question: Is it my lousy hands or is he in pain for another reason?

How is his saddle fit? If you aren’t having that checked at the very least once a year, things have changed and he feels it. Maybe he has a rib out or his withers are a bit jammed and he needs a chiropractic adjustment. Maybe he’s in his teens and you have repressed the idea that his back might be getting arthritic.

I don’t blame people. Checking for soundness is an affirmation of our horse’s mortality. Ick. Lameness can be hard to diagnose, even with radiographs and ultrasound. And I think there are pains that horses feel that we just can’t find, even with the best help. Vet science is still an art.

If lameness weren’t complicated enough, the existence of ulcers can distract us from questions of soundness. Ulcers are a huge issue for horses. Between 60% and 90% of horses have them, and worse, they sometimes mask lameness issues. It isn’t uncommon to treat a horse for ulcers and then perhaps find a stifle problem underneath them.

For all our horse’s anxiety about pain and not showing it, and for all our anxiety about the same, we have to start by getting past our emotions, fear, and love for a moment. Stand away from your horse, take a breath, and watch with quiet eyes. These are calming signals that could also be signs of pain:

• A tense poll, elevated head.

• Ears back or one ear back and one forward.

• Tight muscles around the eye.

• Exposed white of the eye.

• Intense stare or partially closed eyes.

• Clenched lips or nostrils.

You’re right. Those are symptoms so common. Some are even contradictory. We see them all the time, it’s easy to be complacent about them. They could be calming signals to ask you to cue quieter or that they need a moment to think. Or they could be signs of pain.

It’s that experience where you type a couple of your own symptoms into Google to try to self-diagnose, only to find you could have one of twenty life-threatening issues. How many times do we think we’re just depressed but it turns out that depression is a symptom of twenty other terrifying life-threatening issues?

And suddenly playing with calming signals is less fun. If you have a stoic horse, then cut that minimal fun in half. Can we ever trust what a stoic horse relates? Are so many nebulous and negative unknowns looming large enough now that you doubt everything you used to think you knew?

Perfect. You’re not supposed to think you know everything.

Instead, work on having an open mind and good intention. We must be willing to see “bad behavior” as a message and not a training issue. Be willing to listen, but also be willing to hear things we don’t want to hear. Even embrace the idea that our horses might be in pain. I don’t mean that we all become equine hypochondriacs but how can we help them if we don’t almost welcome the idea?

Positive training, asking a horse to volunteer, is more than kind. It has a distinct advantage for the horse. He gets what he wants from a leader. He gets to be heard when he hurts.

First, last, and always, make sure your horse is sound. 


annaprof150 Anna Blake is a horse advocate, equine professional, award-winning author, and proud member of the herd at Infinity Farm, on the Colorado prairie. She trains horses and riders equine communication skills and dressage, and writes parables about horses and life. | Relaxed & Forward: AnnaBlakeBlog

 

Books By Anna Blake

annab150

Published in Trot On Blogs
Thursday, 26 October 2017 09:40

Bend and Stretch

Archie’s health is of the upmost importance to me and so getting him seen by an equine physio who I trusted was one of the very first things I did when he joined our family. I was incredibly lucky that Samamtha Bardill-Bobyn was already looking after many horses locally and she has been keeping Archie in tip top shape ever since. She has been working for the past seven years as a veterinary physiotherapist, lending her healing hands and knowledge to both horses and dogs. Sammy started out in physiotherapy after completing her degree in animal science and further training with competition horses, giving her impressive breadth and depth of knowledge. Her rapidly expanding business is juggled with lecturing in equine physiology and anatomy, working with veterinary physio students, spending time with her family and riding her gorgeous mare Ruby. Despite her busy schedule Sammy is always happy to help, and goes out of her way to support her clients, turning up at the drop of a hat in an emergency and investing both time and emotion in their horses.

This is the first of many blogs which will feature Sammy's advice, but to start with I asked her what her top tips to the everyday rider would be, for keeping their horses in the best musculoskeletal condition possible;

A well fitted saddle

We can all be guilty of forgetting about our saddles, thinking we had it checked last month when it was actually a year ago. Horses change shape and keeping your saddle fitting correctly is vital in keeping your horse comfortable.

A strong core

A horse’s impulsion comes from its hindquarters, and to be working powerfully and effectively their abdominal muscles and core need to be strong. This allows them to work over their backs and lift up to support themselves.

Flexibility

Flexibility and suppleness mean that the horse can move freely and without restriction. This freedom of movement helps avoid stiffness and tension creeping in. Simple exercises such as a carrot stretches to the side and between the front legs help to improve both flexion and core strength. Think of it like Pilates for horses.

I am overjoyed to announce that Sammy and I have come together in a new partnership this year, and as I would have always recommended her services, without a moment’s hesitation, I am delighted to now be able to represent her and her business. On top of this we will be bringing you blogs featuring her tips and advice on how to keep your horse healthy throughout the year.

Learn more about Sammy at: http://www.facebook.com/sambardillvetphysio/


joae150 As it says on the tin, this is a personal blog about the journey Archie and I are taking in discovering the world of eventing. Archie is a 6 year old Irish gelding, and I am a 26 year old horse addict. I didn’t grow up in a family with horses, and Archie was the first horse I ever owned, having loaned for over 20 years. I hope that we can show other riders who perhaps don’t feel that they can achieve their dreams, that anything is possible!

 

Re-published by kind permission of Journey of an Amateur Eventer|Blog

 

 

 

Published in Trot On Blogs
Monday, 02 October 2017 13:39

Did You Know? All About Melanoma

Did you know that 80% of grey horses will get melanomas at some point in their life?

A few months ago we made the startling discovery of a few small black lumps over Archie’s tail, around his bottom and on his sheath. Being grey he is of course at significant risk of developing melanomas in his lifetime but being 7 years old I was surprised to see so many. My first instinct (after a confirmed diagnosis from the vet and initial consultation regarding treatment options) was of course to head straight online to investigate the existing evidence for various treatments. Simply put melanomas in grey horses are benign, although they can become malignant, and usually cause local issues due to pressure or damage to surrounding structures. They can often result in problems with fitting tack, particularly if they are on the face. Single or large problematic melanomas are often removed surgically, however for horses with multiple small melanomas there are some exciting new treatment options.

Archie was carted off to Oakham veterinary hospital after I read about the “Oncept” melanoma vaccine. A relatively new treatment for horses, the vaccine was originally created for dogs who also suffer with the same issue of benign melanomas. So how does it work and above all does it work?

The vaccine targets tyrosinase, a protein found in melanoma cells. This protein is the enzyme which is the “rate-limiting step”, i.e the limiting factor, which controls production of melanin (the pigment produced by melanoma cells). The vaccine acts by triggering the horse’s body to produce an immune response again the protein. This means that the horse’s own immune system targets the abnormal cells, both those that are visible and those that you cannot see. As a fairly new treatment the data available regarding long term effectiveness and side effects and is limited, but in an area of equine medicine where there is little else of proven benefit it is an exciting new option in the battle against melanomas.

I am delighted to say that Archie responded well to the course of injections, and although it’s early days in his treatment we are full of hope that we have stopped this tricky beast in it’s tracks.

A huge thank you to Oakham Veterinary hospital, and in particular our friendly vet Mark, for their support and kindness during the treatment.
 
If you are looking for further information on Oncept or Melanomas theses links can get you started… (Please always consult your vet for diagnosis and advice)
 
 
Re-published by kind permission of Journey of an Amateur Eventer|Blog
Published in Trot On Blogs
Tuesday, 05 September 2017 10:06

It's a Horse's Life!

Horses Rule Okay?

I treat my horses better than I treat myself.

In fact they have me pegged as their domestic servant, and I think they’ve nailed it.

Pedicures

They have a regular pedicure, performed by a professional. The closest I get to beauty treatment is discussing the possibility with the farrier.

“How much  does it cost for women to get a pedicure these days?” he asked while rasping at Charlie’s toes.
"No idea, the horses have one, I don't."
"Well I'll do one for you," he offers.

"I don't think your tools are up to the job!"

Beauty Products

Years ago I painted one of my horses feet with Stokholm Tar. He was bare-foot (like ours are now), as he was terrified of being shod. Horses have nail varnish after pedicure. I’m lucky if my nails see a nailbrush once a week.

Nourishment

The horses have all the food they need roaming 70 acres. Their menu consists of many different types of grass to fulfil all their dietary needs. They drink spring water from the creek.

We drink plastic tasting rain water from the new tank, which is sometimes smokey-flavoured when we've had the fire on and the smoke has 'flavoured' the roof (we catch all our own water).

As far as food is concerned, sometimes we find time to stuff two-minute noodles down our throats.

More Beauty Treatment

The horses are groomed, mane and tails are combed, we scratch their itchy spots and they’ve even received a soft massage from Noel (he’s a trained masseur).

​It’s pretty rare for me to brush my hair more than once a week. That’s all I’ll say on that topic!

Treats

Carrots are a big favourite here. They are regulated and only given after schooling as a reward. Our treat is a big Saturday where we may just manage to stay up to 8:30pm

Love

The horses receive pats, rub downs, plenty of praise and a lot of love.  They are told they are good – (particularly hard to do when Charlie takes twenty minutes to catch sometimes). Noel’s endearments to me are in the form of “pesky” or “nutcase”. And occasionally we’ll get to have a cuddle.

Dental Treatment

I check their teeth and they are rasped when necessary.

There is no dentist for us unless we are in screaming agony and about to die of pain.

Healthcare

The boys receive appropriate jabs to maintain their health and well-being. The closest we’ve come to this is injecting coffee.

Work

At the moment the horses are living a life of riley. Fortunately, our land is hilly and they enjoy a few good gallops each day. They walk many kilometres, up and down, selecting the best grazing each day.

When Noel is chopping wood for the fire, they stand in the sun and watch. When I’m using the Trimmer-on-Steroids (the Trimmer, not me!) to kill the bracken, they wander off to another part of grazing, quite put out that I am working where they want to eat.

Endearments and Encouragement

The boys are encouraged to try something new (I’ve just started in-hand schooling) – with lots of ‘good-boys’ and pats and 'you're so handsome!'

I can’t remember when I’ve said to Noel he looks nice, although I did tell him his hair needed a cut the other day.

Yup, they’ve got it all – health, care, food, love, fun – regularly and top-notch stuff. Whereas I seem to stumble from one disaster to the next, with hunger pangs.

But their hoof-beats are my heart-beats, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Hoof Beats are my Heart Beats T-Shirt by UnravelTravel

jp150Read more about our boys... A Standard Journey: 5 horses, 2 people, and 1 tent, take a look HERE.

At least 50% of profits from this story are donated to horse charities, see HERE for more information.

If you have any questions about trail riding, or anything else please do contact me, Jackie Parry here on Trot On.

Facebook: For the love of horses

 
 
 
 
 
Published in Trot On Blogs

The unusual protein-rich sweat produced by horses may help keep them cool, but it can spell a lot of trouble for allergy sufferers.

Horses lather up when they sweat, and it’s all because of a special protein in the sweat appropriately named latherin.

This protein-rich sweat is an unsual adaptation to meet the challenges of keeping cool, with the latherin being a key component. It produces a significant reduction in water surface tension at low concentrations acting as a wetting agent to help evaporative cooling through the waterproof pelt of horses... READ MORE
 
Published in Articles
Thursday, 31 August 2017 17:30

To Give Up Or To Give It One More Shot?

With every challenge or obstacle in life, there is always the underlying question as to whether you should give up or give it one more shot when times get tough. I recently read ‘Forever Amber’ by Katy Dixon, and as it so truthfully says

“When the impossible is your reality, be prepared to fight harder”.

Whether you are a child trying to learn to ride your bike and can’t quite grasp the concept without stabilisers or you’re trying to perfect your canter or jump your biggest course, there are times in life when giving up feels like the only option. It’s impossible, I can’t do it. It’s just easier to walk away.

Now this isn’t a sob story, oh no, see I want this to be a motivational post to anyone whose facing a difficult time or situation and just feels the need and want to give up. I want everyone to realise that there is always a glimpse of hope in any situation and that this should be your foundation on which to grow. As most of you will have seen on my profile, I recently got a new horse called Freddie! He’s 16’2hh with the biggest pony personality and honestly one of the kindest horses I have ever met. He’s such a food addict for a thoroughbred but we could work with that, after all it’s better than a worrier! So the countdown began from the 21st May for my new superstar to come home once I’d finished my A Level exams. However a phone call on the 15th June was one of those heart sinking moments where to give up or give it one more shot became real. 

Freddie was staying at the racing yard he’d retired from which is a stone’s throw away from where my horses are kept now, which meant I could still visit him even though he wasn’t with me full time. On the 15th June 2017 I got a phone to say that Freddie had contracted a swelling on his near fore tendon. I was heartbroken and so worried as a suspected tendon injury as we all know could jeopardise a horse’s future and wellbeing altogether. It was also awful timing with a history exam the very next day! But nevertheless the vets were contacted and Freddie was due to be scanned the following week. 

Wednesday 21st June Freddie travelled down to Whitelodge Veterinary Clinic. He got off the lorry happy as larry, even in the sweltering heat and was such a good boy standing impeccably the whole time. I was so proud of him. We had the best man on the job, Phil our vet is honestly the best in the South West, especially anything leg related, his advice and verdict was to be crucial. After carrying out the X-ray Phil confirmed our worst nightmare, Freddie had injured his superficial digital flexor tendon. To be precise he had created a complete hole, more than likely caused in his last race but had come to the surface a few weeks later, Phil classed it as a 3/10 injury. I was heartbroken, my darling Freddie was injured and there was nothing that could be done. I tried to remain positive and held onto the thought that Freddie was not lame or actually feeling any pain, he was as happy as ever eating away, not a worry in the world! Phil explained a rehab plan which included:

4/5 months of complete controlled rest 
Ice treatment for no more than one hour at a time for around 2/3 weeks until swelling reduced
Bandage both front legs- gradually after 3/4 weeks begin to take bandages off for around 4 hours and then if no swelling or heat appears keep bandages off for longer etc.
NOT complete box rest- a controlled environment (small paddock + stable) – must not gallop! 

Walk him gently and gradually 

 A lot of discussions were now needed with my parents as to what we were going to do.

This wasn’t the same as purchasing your average horse. Freddie has lived a million stories, he’s battled through the good and the bad and having been at a national hunt yard from age 4-9 and then the point to point yard for the last two seasons, he sure has given it his all. Freddie was a horse that deserved this chance, no it wasn’t ideal, it sounded completely obscured to most people. But from the very first day I met him I had the biggest dreams for him and they still stand, I know he will be a superstar. My amazing parents agreed that I could give Freddie this chance and after agreeing it with the owner of the pony which I ride and where Freddie would be staying, the countdown began again! 

 

14th August 2017- 84 days since my countdown began back in May, after trying and falling in love with Fred, he finally made his way home. To say he was excited was an understatement! Being a 4 minute walk down the road to his new home, it was much easier than fussing about with travelling! After over 8 weeks on confined rest, he saw his bridle and thought “Yeehaaa!” So I walked my 18hh+ stallion home clinging to the reins for dear life and thinking “Oh dear god what have I done?!?!” But Freddie being the Freddie I knew settled immediately, happily snacking away on his haynet and poking his head out to talk to his new friends! Definitely time for a cuppa by this point! 

Freddie has been such an angel since, he’s been walked out in hand, behaving so, so well and has begun to go out by day in his little paddock. He’s as happy as anything as his ‘all-inclusive holiday’ has continued! Not sure when to warn him he’s not retired …!! I honestly feel so lucky to be able to keep my boy with my other best friends, they all get on so well which is so important. For now its lots of care for his leg, lots of good food to keep him looking and feeling well and lots of kisses and cuddles! (He’s getting bored of these already!!)  

I know Freddie will be a superstar, and I have the biggest of dreams for him. One day I hope everyone will have heard of OHIO GOLD, for being the true champion he is. I love him dearly and can’t wait for the real adventures to begin. But for now, that’s our story, chapter one I like to call it of a book that I am sure will be a rollercoaster journey but whether it be up or down, to have my lionhearted best friend by my side means the absolute world to me. 

 
Stay tuned for more updates! 
Kaitlin & Freddie xx
Published in Member Blogs

One of the 21 ceremonial horses set loose from a military base in Melton has had to be put down as a result of the injuries he suffered.

The animals, of the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment, which provide the daily Queen’s Life Guard, bolted, terrified after locks on gates at the Melton base were snapped.

The horses were released from the RAVC Defence Animal Training Regiment, in Asfordby Road, Melton, formerly known as the Defence Animal Centre, at about 11.15pm on Friday, August 4.

Local people helped round up the frightened animals, some of which had run six miles.

Several of the horses were injured after being involved in collisions with cars.

Today the base released a statement saying one of the horses, Paddy, which was still in training, developed complications secondary to the injuries he received on the night and had to be euthanised on Monday.

All the other military horses are said to be making a steady recovery at the base.

The statement said:

“Despite receiving the best veterinary care from MOD and Nottingham University veterinary clinicians, the severe bruising and inflammation in Paddy‘s hind feet developed into irreversible laminitis.

“This condition, which is extremely painful, involves the bond between hoof wall and underlying soft tissues separating and the bone of the foot sinking through the sole of the hoof. 

“Paddy had been receiving 24-hour care since the incident from the Army‘s veterinary and farriery team, but nothing could be done to reverse his condition and it was decided that he should be spared further suffering by putting him to sleep.”

All the horses who galloped along the tarmac roads have suffered from sore feet to varying degrees.

One of the horses also has a deep chest wound and another has a laceration to one of his hind legs.

Both horses, however, are expected to make a full recovery... READ MORE
Published in Articles
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