Monthly Archives: March 2015

Horse Of The Week – Glen.

Kathryn and Glen, at a parade which commemorated the onset of the First World War.

Kathryn and Glen, at a parade which commemorated the onset of the First World War.

Glen is a 14-year-old Irish Draught, and is owned by Kathryn Jobber. In February 2013, Glen suffered from a serious accident. Being heavily built, and standing at 17.2hh, his recovery could have been complicated.

Kathryn immediately started feeding Feedmark’s Extraflex HA with Rosehips to support his recovery. Between November 2013 and April 2014, Kathryn then started riding Glen again, on a tightly controlled programme of exercise. Gradually she built up the time that she spent in the saddle.  Kathryn says that she and Glen have had a fantastic summer together, and in November at the final review, it was confirmed that Glen had made a full recovery!Glen (Week 15) 2

Kathryn explains: “I truly believe that his recovery has been due in no small part to the use of your supplement, which has supported the healing of the tissues. For a horse of his age and type he has made a fantastic recovery. I shall certainly continue to add Extraflex HA with Rosehips to Glen’s feed and would highly recommend this supplement to anyone else who has a wants to support their horses tendon or ligaments”.

A FREE 1.35kg tub of Extraflex HA with Rosehips is on its way to Glen for being our Horse Of The Week!

Each week, the Feedmark team select a horse of the week from reviews, letters and emails sent to them. If you would like your horse to feature, then please send your horse’s details in to [email protected] or go online and write a review.

Equine Gastric Ulcer Syndrome

What are Gastric Ulcers?

The horse’s stomach is divided into two sections: a non-glandular ‘squamous region’ and a glandular region. These are separated by a fibrous divide known as the Margo Plicatus. The glandular section is protected by a thick mucus layer, containing glands which secrete active enzymes called pepsins, gastric acids that aid digestion by breaking down food, and bicarbonates and mucus, which protect the stomach lining. The non-glandular section has very little protection from the gastric acid, apart from the buffering action of saliva and certain foods.

Gastric Ulcers (also known as Equine Gastric Ulcer Syndrome or EGUS) occur when there is an imbalance between protective buffering factors and the aggressive gastric acids within the stomach. EGUS affects both parts of the stomach, but due to lack of protection ulcers are more likely to be found in the non-glandular region, with 80% of ulcers found here (Nadeau & Andrews, 2009). The term EGUS covers all levels and severities of ulcer, from thickening of the stomach lining to lesions and deeper ulceration.

iStock_000011578248Medium All equines are at risk of gastric ulcers. Recent studies have shown that up to 90% of racehorses, 67% of competition horses and 58% of show horses display some level of ulceration, probably due to inadequate nutrition and management. Just weaned foals are predisposed to this condition due to thin, easily eroded mucosal lining, affecting almost 50%. EGUS is also not uncommon in adult pleasure riding horses. If you think that your horse may be suffering from ulcers, call your veterinary surgeon. They may diagnose the problem through clinical signs displayed by your horse or by using an endoscope to view the stomach lining.

Horses suffering from gastric ulceration will usually display some or all of the following typical symptoms: colic, abdominal pain (usually shown through a dislike of being girthed, groomed, the rider applying leg aids or being touched on their sides), a poor appetite, weight loss, and a rough and dull coat. These issues will in turn often result in poor performance, and grumpy, antisocial behaviour.

 Why do horses get gastric ulcers?

There are many factors which may contribute to or increase the risk of gastric ulcers.

Horse Treats, Hay And GrainA common culprit is feeding large amounts of starchy feeds, such as high carbohydrate mixes, cubes and straights. This is particularly common in competition horses and those with heavy workloads. Feeding diets high in starch means the horse has to chew less than if fed the equivalent amount of forage. This has a couple of effects; the horse’s stomach is full for less time, so acid levels rise. Less chewing means less buffering saliva is produced. At the same time, more acid is produced from the higher levels of carbohydrate fermentation. This means that the stomach has less buffering, alkaline materials in it, less food bulk and fibre to help protect the delicate lining, and becomes more acidic. In fact, An average horse fed over 1 kg of concentrate feed per day (only one Stubbs scoop of a mix!) have been shown to have ulcers twice as severe as those on forage diets.

Similarly, feeding a diet low in forage is also a risk factor for ulcer development, all forages have a buffering action, and produce higher levels of saliva. In addition to this, certain forages such as alfalfa are high in calcium, a natural antacid!

Unlike humans, horses stomachs continuously produce stomach acid, and ideally horses should be given forage adlib, or at the last every 5 hours to reduce risk of ulceration. If this doesn’t happen, which commonly occurs when people are trying to make horses lose weight, no buffering food or saliva is present to counter the acid production. In addition to this, if a horse is exercised on an empty stomach, the acid is more likely to splash around, harming the non-glandular region.

As well as the nutritional causes, stressed and anxious horses are also more likely to develop ulceration, as stress inhibits the production of bicarbonate secretions in the stomach. Excessive use of NSAID drugs will also compromise the stomach mucosa, as will Devil’s Claw.

How to reduce risk of ulcers, and manage those who have been diagnosed

With any medical or behavioural issue, prevention is better than cure, and ensuring that horses are given the correct diet, stresses and medication with side effects are controlled.

SONY DSC Giving your horse sufficient access to forage is an easy way to reduce risk of ulceration- horses need at least 1.5% of their bodyweight in forage per day, which should be split and fed at least every 5 hours, if ad-lib forage is not an option. If your horse hasn’t eaten for a few hours, it is advisable to feed a scoop of chaff prior to exercise. If possible, feed an all forage diet, and if additional calories are needed oil is a great addition.  However, if your horse needs concentrates due to their work, split into as many feeds per day as possible, and mix generously with chaff. Alfalfa and Unmolassed sugar beet are particularly useful feeds for horses prone to ulceration, as they are both high fibre also high in calcium, which acts as an antacid.

In addition to this, feeding a supplement aimed at helping to keep the stomach environment healthy is often beneficial.

Oliva Colton MSc -Nutritional and Technical Coordinator

For more information about EGUS, or if you have any other nutritional questions please call 0800 585525 to speak to a nutritional advisor, or go to




Annie Joppe – training in full swing!

fantsquad4Over the last few weeks I have been living and breathing training: Fantom, Dilmun and myself.  We have been so fortunate with the weather for the last two or three weeks that the ground has dried out enabling variety to be introduced into the training regime.

Wizard had his first ‘endurance’ outing of the year in the shape of a 16 kms training ride around the westerly tip of Cornwall.  The route took us past the mines and moors filmed in Poldark which was screening the first episode that night on BBC 1.  However, visibility was a little limited with the mist swirling around us giving tantalising glimpses of the sea crashing against the cliffs hundreds of feet below us: awesome!

Wiz St JustThe following week I judged that the ground had dried out sufficiently to venture up onto the moors for the much-needed distance training for Fantom.  Here the idea was not necessarily to go fast but to use all the wonderful steep tors for hill work and to up the distance.  In places the moorland was almost like a race track but care had to be taken with the still-sticky bits whilst looking out for the treacherous bogs that have been rumoured in bygone days to have swallowed horse and rider whole!  It was a blissful training session with the sun shining and not a human in sight.  Fantom started off steadily but, as is his want, got keener and keener as we progressed.  We managed to do about 45 kms at an average of about 13 kph which included photo stops, pauses to get bearings and a chance meeting and chat with another endurance addict we happened to bump into in the middle of nowhere; all in all a very pleasant and profitable day.

Fant training 15That weekend Fantom and I went to another training ride quite local to us.  This time the idea was to do two circuits of the 17kms track to increase speed and cardio vascular efficiency.  This was a quite different type of training ride, capitalising on the steep wooded hills and large open fields with no roadwork at all thereby minimising concussion.  Again the sun shone on us, the going was almost perfect and we flew around the first circuit as quickly as we could safely go.  I was happy with Fantom’s recovery rate at the end of the first circuit and, as we rode this alone, he was sensible putting in the minimum amount of effort needed for the desired outcome.  The second circuit we rode with friends at a much more sedate pace but Fantom found this just so exciting and put in far more effort for less result – will he never learn?

In the meantime we had two good training sessions using the 3.5 kms round field just 40 minutes trailer ride away.  The first time was a little soggy, making Fantom work quite hard but by the second session the ground had dried out and we flew round covering 21 kms at over 21 kph with a heart rate of 63 as soon as we could get the stethoscope on him after halting.  He is such an amazing little horse.

Wiz St Just1Fantom has become very picky about his feeding, often leaving half of each feed so I’ve put him on Gastric Comfort which he seems to adore and is now polishing off his feed at the usual speed.

Horse Of The Week – Kitty.

Kitty, with her foal Zebedee when he was 4 months of age.

Kitty, with her foal Zebedee when he was 4 months of age.

Kitty is a 15.1hh, 9-year-old Cob, who has been owned for the last two and a half years by Sue Riley. Sue bought Kitty in August of 2012, and at that point her temperament was lovely. She later found out that Kitty was in foal, and she gave birth to Zebadee on 19th April 2013. After Kitty had foaled, Sue says that she turned into a monster.

Sue explains: “After finding Feedmark products, I ordered some Hormonease and I have not looked back since! Kitty settled down within a week of feeding her the supplement and she is still on it now. Without Hormonease she would have been completely unmanageable. I am 51 years-old and I’m no athlete, but she plods around with me a happy horse. Thank you Feedmark!”

Sue's friend Tracy Robshaw, on board. They were at Kitty's first ever dressage test, that "she took all in her stride".

Sue’s friend Tracy Robshaw, on board. They were at Kitty’s first ever dressage test, that “she took all in her stride”.

A FREE 1.25kg tub of Hormonease is on its way to Kitty for being our Horse Of The Week!

Each week, the Feedmark team select a horse of the week from reviews, letters and emails sent to them. If you would like your horse to feature, then please send your horse’s details in to [email protected] or go online and write a review.

Will Furlong -2015 season gets underway!

WF22015 is my second year of young riders and I hope to go one better than my first reserve spot from 2014 by being selected for the Europeans in Poland later in the year. I’m also hoping to qualify for the U25 National Championships which are held at Bramham Park at the beginning of June. With 13 horses in at the moment there was no time to rest and recover – rather time to get cracking to get ready for the season ahead! I’ve got 7 horses to compete this season at the moment but a couple of them will be for sale at some point in the near future. Livingstone, Deli Star Hero, Pioneer Silvie, Esprit, Funny Boy Fortuna and 2 new rides; Elstar and El Limit ( both 6 year olds ) – so there will be plenty to keep me busy! At the end of January I had my first world class training session which was a fantastic experience. We took Livingstone + Deli Star Hero and had lessons with Gill Watson, Angela Tucker and Nick Burton. It doesn’t finish there though, we had video analysis saddle fitting sessions, physio and strength + conditioning just to name a few. It was a pretty packed schedule but I learnt lots.

WF3All the horses had their first outing to combined training at Felbridge after that. New girl Elstar was star pupil winning her class on a 20 dressage. She came over from Holland and is very green at the moment but hopefully will be one to watch in the future.
All of them were pleased to be out and about – a little too much when one spooked and quickly span round, throwing me on the deck… A tad embarrassing to say the least!! First event of 2015, first fall of 2015 – it can only get better surely!?

The beginning of February saw another trip to the Unicorn centre for our jumping world class training. All 3 horses ( Deli Star Hero, Pioneer Silvie and Elstar ) jumped really well and will have learnt lots from different exercises. As well as the training I had check-ups from the physio, strength and conditioning, nutritionist and doctor so it was certainly busy enough. The goals are set for the forthcoming season – fingers crossed all goes to plan and we meet those goals.

WF5This was followed by another couple of trips back to Felbridge and a trip to Littleton Manor for a World Class training day with Gill Watson. She was really happy with how Deli Star Hero had improved in his neck carriage compared with the first training – obviously doing something right! The horses have all had their first gallops of the year and we went up to Aston Le Walls for their first cross county session on the all-weather arena. If you want to keep more up to date then you can follow my progress on social media; Twitter – @will_furlong  Facebook – Will Furlong Eventing ).

wf1Both Pioneer Silvie and Deli Star Hero had great first runs at Isleham just in the ON. Pioneer Silvie jumped double clear on a 30 dressage, whilst Deli Star Hero just had one down after scoring 25 in the dressage. Both ran slowly cross country as it was only their first run and at this early point in the season confidence is the most important thing! Those 2 next run in the OIu21 at Aldon in a couple of weeks’ time, then Munstead the week after with the younger horses.

WF4I’m delighted to be supported by Feedmark for the upcoming season. All the horses performed so well on their supplements last year I can’t wait to get cracking for the rest of the season! If you aren’t sure on something or need some help then don’t hesitate to get in touch; their nutritional help is fantastic and there’s a supplement for pretty much anything. Thanks to Feedmark, I know my horses are getting the support they need and subsequently will be able to perform to the best of their ability… Happy horses – Happy rider!

Horse Of The Week – Arrow.

Arrow with rider and owner, Lisa.

Arrow with rider and owner, Lisa.

Arrow is a 15.2hh, 15-year-old Connemara owned by Lisa Wacey. Lisa has owned him for 8 years and says that Arrow is a very special part of the family, and that he has a very unique and cheeky character! Lisa describes Arrow as a great all-rounder, and says he particularly loves his jumping. He is now getting back up to full fitness after a long, tough battle to keep his hooves and overall self healthy. Lisa is hoping to take Arrow show jumping again this season.

Lisa explains: “I started feeding Arrow Prolamin, following a recommendationArrow (Week 13) from a friend. He has been fed it for just over a year now, since we almost lost him. I believe it has really helped his recovery and now adds the necessary nutrients to his restricted diet. I am now riding him again, and hope to be competing again very soon! I would just like to say a big thank you to our vet Ann (from Westover); our Farrier Ian; and my family; as without their help and support Arrow would not be with us today.”

A FREE 1.5kg tub of Prolamin is on its way to Arrow for being our Horse Of The Week!

Each week, the Feedmark team select a horse of the week from reviews, letters and emails sent to them. If you would like your horse to feature, then please send your horse’s details in to [email protected] or go online and write a review.

Rebecca & Blaze

RC 1I have struggled with maintaining weight on my dressage horse due to the fact she is on a high fibre, low sugar and starch diet as she is prone to laminitis.  She is in full training and sometimes lacks energy and muscle tone.  Since feeding Feedmark’s Condition & Shine I have had so many compliments on how well she looks and she has definitely built up a lovely top line without becoming overweight! She has become stronger in her physique, more athletic and willing in her work. Perfect!!

RC 2 RC 3 RC 5

Horse Of The Week – Peter Pan De Solzen.


Peter PanPeter Pan De Solzen is a 12-year-old Thoroughbred who stands at 15.2hh. This gelding has been owned for the last 6 years by Glynis Killington, and her daughter Laura. Laura told us: “Originally bred in France, Peter is an ex-hurdler and was trained by Ferdy Murphy. He is a very sensitive soul and has really taught me so much, including how to ride correctly. Peter has had a number of back issues due to his tension when being ridden. Through working together he is now past this, and I have learnt to ride him softly the way that he needs to be ridden.”

“I have competed him in cross-country and showjumping at places such as Burnham Market, Easton College, and Blackwater Farm. Recently I have been focusing on Dressage as I now have the ‘bug’ for it! Peter is amazing, I wishPeter Pan 9 I had been more keen sooner. We came second at our first event last year, but I do plan to compete mostly in Dressage in the future. Every time that I ride Peter, I have to ice his back afterwards and also perform his carrot stretches. It has taken a lot of time and patience to get where we are now, and due to his many problems I will have him for life! Also, he likes to pull funny faces!”

Peter Pan 5Glynis explains “I have been using Opti Muscle on Peter for the last year, to help to his back muscles relaxed. Since being on Opti Muscle, Peter’s chiropractor now reports our boy to be as good as he has ever seen him. I tried taking him off of the supplement, to try another make, but he soon went badly down hill. I am not a great believer in supplements, however Peter struggled again after a month without Opti Muscle.”

A FREE 1kg Opti Muscle is on its way to Peter Pan for being our Horse of the Week.

Each week, the Feedmark team select a horse of the week from reviews, letters and emails sent to them. If you would like your horse to feature, then please send your horse’s details in to [email protected] or go online and write a review.

Peter Pan 4

Is your horse at risk of Sand colic?

It is very uncommon for horses or ponies to intentionally eat sand. However, horses that eat hay from the ground, or graze sandy pastures especially during the summer months when grass is short, or the winter months when on wet pasture may end up with sand burdens in their digestive tracts.

When sand is ingested it will usually pass through the digestive system with food and be excreted out, but its abrasive nature can irritate the intestinal lining, which may lead to loose stools, weight loss and colic. In the worst cases sand will accumulate, slowing down passage of food, and it may cause an impaction.

Some horses have sand burdens without it causing a medical problem, but for lots of horses it becomes a clinical issue.

How can you help to prevent Sand Burdens?

  • If you need to feed hay or haylage in the field, provide it on rubber mats or concrete pads that can be easily swept to remove dirt or sand
  • Try not to over-graze paddocks: ingestion of sand and soil is much higher when grass length is less than 2 inches!
  • Many vets receommend the use of Psyllium husks is a well-recognised way to reduce sand burdens within the gut- these fibrous husks swell, forming a gel like mass once digested and travel through the digestive tract picking up sand and excreting it in the horses dung.
  • psyllium_husk_454_xIf your horse is grazing sandy soil or you are feeding hay from the ground, regular feeding of Psyllium husks, for consecutive days every two months will help to maintain a clear digestive tract. This product should be fed dry, if necessary, layer between dry feed.


Olivia Colton MSc

Nutritional and Technical Coordinator,


Why add oil to the diet?

Grooming horse

Oils are an energy dense food, providing high amounts of calories in a small volume (over twice as much energy is produced from metabolism of fats such as linseed oil than from carbohydrates in cereals) this allows calories to be easily added to the diet, ideal for those needing to gain condition or performance horses.

Oils are also beneficial for performance in another way. Oils can only be broken down to produce energy when oxygen is being supplied (aerobic), which occurs during low intensity exercise, such as when walking and trotting, and slow cantering in fitter horses. In faster work, when oxygen is not available at a rate to produce enough energy to sustain the movement, anaerobic (without oxygen) break down of glycogen and glucose occurs to meet energy requirements.

It has been shown that by gradually conditioning a horse to a high oil diet, they start to use oil fuel preferentially for aerobic exercise. This means when the horse starts to perform higher intensity exercise, which requires breakdown of fuels without oxygen, they have a ‘full tank’ of glycogen ready to be broken down, hence can perform for longer, and recover faster from intense work.

What are Omega oils, and why are they important?

Omega oils are fatty acids which are not made within the body. For this reason they are known as ‘essential’ fatty acids as they must be included in the diet. Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids have many roles within the body, so a dietary supply of these is essential.

Omega 3 has anti-inflammatory properties and is important for development within the womb. Even short term supplementation has been shown to help the skin and coat and have anti-inflammatory effects. Long term addition to the diet also helps the respiratory tract, joint health, bone density, has been shown to increase fertility of stallions, and support the immune system of foals feeding from an omega-3 supplemented mare.

Conversely, Omega 6 is a pro-inflammatory, so it increases inflammatory responses. While this seems negative, Omega 6 is still necessary in the diet, as this action is needed to heal wounds and battle infection.  It also has other roles in the body, such as in hormone production.

As with most aspects of nutrition, balance is the key!  Oils such as Sunflower Oil and Rice bran are not recommended to be fed to horses as they have high levels of Omega 6, without the Omega 3 to balance it. Oils such as Linseed oil are considered beneficial, with a 1;4 Omega 6:3 ratio.

What else do I need to consider when feeding Oils?

Adding oil to the diet needs to occur gradually, as it is broken down using bile.  In humans, the gall bladder stores and releases bile. Horses do not have a gall bladder, as they have not evolved to eat a high fat diet.  Instead, the liver produces a steady trickle of bile, and can gradually be trained to produce higher levels to allow a higher fat diet to be utilised by the horse.

 When feeding a high oil diet, it is advisable to also feed an anti-oxidising supplement as during the break down of oil to produce energy, free radicals are released. If these are not stabilised by antioxidants, they can cause damage to cells, which may lead to muscular issues.

To find out more about the best way to feed oil to your horse call us on 0800 585525 and speak to one of our friendly and knowledgeable team, or use our online chat service at