tips & links
Us girls all love all things sparkly, but here at IH we like to balance the trend for sparkly hoof oil and pink wheelbarrows by highlighting some genuinely beneficial products. We believe these companies are doing a great job to help promote naturally happy and health horses and they deserve as much support as possible. The information, products and services they offer have been of use for us in caring for our own horses and we hope you’ll take a few minutes on a rainy night to see what they have to offer.
Whether you’re new to an area or just wanting to get to know your home patch a bit better, the Ordnance Survey now offers customised OS maps centred on any post code in the UK.
This is a great way to see what is located within riding of the centre of the universe (aka your stable yard). Simply pop in the post code of the desired map centre, pick your map scale and format (folded for fitting into saddle bags, or flat for the tack room wall), design your own cover and they offer free delivery to. It’s a great excuse to add some adventure to your hacking, so tack up and explore those green spaces around your yard.
Riding is a delicate agreement between gravity and motion negotiated between horse and human, often each with their own ideas on the present state of this contract. For those times when gravity wins out, the RS-tor can quite literally fight gravity. This safety device attaches to your stirrup bars and offers a movable flexible handle giving you that little extra security when needed. Whether flat work or jumping, or hacking out alone, it could offer just that little extra security needed to help keep you in the saddle in a tight situation.
Anyone who has spent a fair amount of time around horses will know they have a nose for trouble, they are always coming up with new ways of giving us minor heart attacks whether rolling against the fence in a 23 acre pasture or auditioning for a place on the Olympic gymnastics team by managing to get a hoof through the noseband of their head collar when your back is turned outside the tack room.
They have a near gravitational attraction to mishaps. Most can, thankfully, be taken care of at home, and those rare more serious misadventures sorted out by a skilled vet. But there are instances of truly catastrophic injury, when you and your vet may step back and wonder what do next. For those situations when hope is slim, we highly recommend getting in touch with Dr Jolly of Step Ahead Farm, his site is not for the sensitive (or when eating your lunch) but his work in the treatment of extreme equine injury to help horses heal and return to a functional life is something to be commended.
This US vet offers a simple and easy to implement concept for healing, and his essentials for the treatment of injuries are a must in the first aid kit of all yards and barns no matter how small. Even for horses with long term injuries that were either left untreated or where treatment has been unsuccessful there is a chance that his methods for revitalising old injuries could be that answer to helping your horse return to a health active life.
This is one site we really recommend you bookmark, and one we have given to our own vets, hopefully you and your horses will never need his help but should the worse happen his consultation could be what you and your vet need to help your horse heal.
Horses spend between 16 to 18 hours grazing; whether chomping on hay or nibbling on grass your horse will consume on average 2.5% of its own body a day, no mean feat when you consider the average horse is about half a ton! But have you ever stopped to wonder what your horse is actually eating? Grass roots draw up nutrients from the soil to grow strong stalks and leaves, but just because you grass is lush and green doesn’t necessarily mean it’s providing your horse with the right balance of minerals. If the pasture is deficient or heavy in one or other mineral then the grass will reflect that imbalance. While horses can tolerate a wide range of mineral imbalances with no obvious outward signs many of the nagging horse issues for granted as ‘usual’ in horses such as sun-bleaching, tendon/ligament/joint stiffness, immune system imbalances, muscle and nerve problems, poor fertility, bone problems, and hoof issues can all have a nutritional component.
Before you rush off to the feed merchant and reach for the pretty label on the shelf its worthwhile investing in a bit of detective work to find out what you’re up against. ForagePlus offers an analysis service of both your pasture and hay/haylage. This is a small investment which will save you in the long run, benefit your pasture and most importantly your horse. A field analysis offers you a road map to your horse’s basic diet and allows you to adjust your feed plan accordingly. If you need a little help digesting all this data they also offer a great personalised feed plan to help you keep your horse in top form.
Kathy Watts has a wealth of information on her site SaferGrass on pasture and nutritional management of horses for both the prevention and treatment of laminitis, carbohydrate intolerance, insulin resistance, equine metabolic syndrome, cushing’s and cushingoid in horses as well as practical guides to help horse owners ensure they do what can to prevent their development.
Inadequate forage, stress, worm damage… these are a few causes of an unhealthy gut. Gastri -x by Hilton Herbs is extremely effective in addressing some of the symptoms such as bloating, girthing discomfort, and “footiness”.
For more extreme gastro-intestinal issues from inflammation of the gut to ulcers we have tried it all, while most products offer some relief the bag you will find in our treatment box is GastroPlus, we’ve seen significant improvement in horses, both young and old, where everything from over-the-counter to prescriptive treatments have failed. It’s not the cheapest product on the market but it has worked where everything else has failed.
For horses who have experienced international travel or suffered colic of any kind its well considered putting them on a bag or two.
If you suspect gut sensitivity there some simple non-evasive tests you can carry out at home using acupressure, Mark DePaolo, DVM has produced a very useful clip to help guide owners in ulcer detection.
We all like nothing better than to see our horses glowing with health; feed and supplement companies make millions of pounds a year selling us the promise that their product will keep our horse in the pink; but how often do we stop and actually take a good look at what’s really in that feed bag? Most modern horse feeds are packed full of unnecessary nasties and laden with sugars to give them that nay factor when you open the bag, your horse feed may not be as healthy as you might think. Whatever you choose to feed your horse, whether interested in keeping your horse naturally or just wanting to keep your horse in top form it’s important that as horse owners we have a good basic knowledge of what’s inside that bag. Next time you sit down with a cuppa why not take ten minutes to spend a bit of time reading up on what’s going on inside your feedbag?
Dr Deborah Carley (biochemist, nutritionist & horse owner) of Thunderbrook Equestrian Feeds produces a horse feed with no fillers, binders, pelleting agents, molass, wasted by-products from wheat or oat milling or sugar refining, preservatives, synthetic vitamins & minerals or refined vegetables oils and according to Blue it tastes good to! Deb offers advice freely with no marketing and jargon. There is no fancy advertising this feedbag sells by virtue of its contents not it’s packaging.
Whether you’re dealing with your vet, EP, chiropractor, osteopath, physio or dentist, don’t be intimidated by their experience, take full advantage of their knowledge, ask questions and keep asking until you understand! Most equine professionals will gladly take the time to explain to you the how’s and why’s of their treatment for your horse, but it’s up to you to take a proactive approach to horse management and ask! It’s the very best way to learn.
We check our email about as many times in a day as we think about horses, well just about. Equine Science Update, offers you a welcome addition to your inbox, their monthly enews mail. It’s a great resource of the most current scientific developments and research into all on all things equine. The articles are well written, informative and unlike those glossy equine mags, won’t cost you the price of a bale of hay as it’s free.
When you’ve only got time for a quick read why not try Dr Juliet Getty’s Feed Your Horse like a Horse tip of the month. These little snippets of information really are food for thought!
Whether thinking about going barehoof or stuggling with foot issues, don’t mess about go to the professionals. The Equine Podiatry Association (UK) has a registry of all qualified EPs and EP students in the Great Britian. If there isn’t an EP yet in your area why not contact them to see if there is a student local to you that needs horses for case study and if not whether there is an EP prepared to travel out to you.
Whether you’re dealing with your vet, EP, chirpractor or dentist, don’t be intimidated by their experience take full advantage of their knowledge, ask questions and keep asking until you understand! Its the very best way to learn.
If you horse remains footie even on a managed diet or you arrive at the yard to find the sudden warm weather has trigged low grade laminitis in your horse, try Roger Hatch’s P45 formula, it has been known to stop an episode in its tracks.
Needing a fresh start? We all like to start a fresh after over-indulging, and while the ideal is to keep everything in balance for your horse, there are times and situations when we have to compromise. Detoxing can be a useful way to help lessen the impact of changes to diet or offer a fresh start following illness and medical treatment. Global Herbs, Restore, and Trinity Consultant’s L94 formulas offer organic and FEI legal options for helping your horse shine from the inside out.