Monthly Archives: May 2015

Horse Of The Week – Flynn.

Flynn the Thoroughbred.

Flynn the Thoroughbred.

Flynn is a 14-year-old Thoroughbred who stands at 16.1hh. He has been owned by Kay Walker for just over a year. Kay told us that she most often works Flynn in the school, and hacks out with him. The pair also compete in Dressage.

Kay explains: “I have used Fly Formula for the entire summer in 2014, and this year. I honestly believe it has made a difference. Flynn has not been plagued by flies, compared to the other horses on our yard that have been. Combing Fly Formula, with Feedmark’s Blue Bottle Fly Spray has been a very effective deterrent to flying insects. His overall health and his coat have been super all summer!”Flynn 2

“Since owning Flynn we have used both Fly Formula and Hardy Hoof, both with brilliant results. I am a firm believer in the success and effectiveness of Feedmark Products and am a complete convert!”

A FREE 3kg tub of Fly Formula is on its ways to Flynn 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.

Help to Make the Flies Buzz Off This Summer!

Horse with fliesFlying insects are the bane of many horse and owners’ summer months. For some horses, flies and mosquitoes are more than just a general annoyance- horse’s performance can suffer due to lack of concentration, head tossing and stomping; some horses may come out in hives due to insect bites, and even kick at and injure themselves due to irritation. These reactions to flies can be dangerous to both horse and rider.

While we will never be able to completely get rid of flies, by following certain management practices you can really help your horse to get through the summer months without being driven insane by flying insects!

 

Horse Scratching

 

  • Graze away from muck heaps during summer months (breeding hot spots!).summer_horse
  • Graze away from rivers, ponds, or other water sources.
  • If this is not possible consider stabling during the day.
  • Empty unused buckets or tanks of water, as flies and mosquitoes love stagnant water!
  • Poo pick as often as you can- daily is ideal!
  • Fly rugs can be helpful if your horse is prone to sweet itch, or bad reactions to fly bites but make sure rugs are clean- poo, urine or sweat will attract flies.
  • Use fly spray, such as our Blue Bottle. Reapply every 12 hours for the best effect.
  • Help to Repel flies from the inside out by feeding our Fly Formula – a blend of garlic, fenugreek, peppermint,  and other aromatic herbs which are excreted thorough the skin, repelling flies. It also contains soothing Omega-3 and Chamomile to calm any bites or itches.Buzz-Off-FN-Mask-2767FlyFormulaBlueBottle

Horse Of The Week – Cheyenne Warrior.

Cheyenne Warrior, also known as Chey, is a Thoroughbred cross Irish Cob. He will be 20-years-old this year and he stands at 16.2hh. He is owned by Amanda Sole who bred him at home. Amanda says that in his younger days, Chey competed in Show Jumping, Cross-Country, and he also dabbled in Western too.

Cheyenne Warrior munching some grass.

Cheyenne Warrior munching some grass.

Amanda and Chey have had plenty of success when competing. Amanda explains: “Our first achievement was at his first ever outing as a two-year-old. We entered three In-hand classes at the Wayland Show, and came away with three 1st place rosettes. Since then he has won many rosettes, and every single one is something to be proud of”.

Amanda continues: “Chey had an accident to his hock a few years ago which means that he is now a happy lawn mower. However, a couple of years ago he became listless and dull, and started to self-mutilate. I had a specialist come to see him and they suggested that he needed to get his digestive system back in good order, and hence recommended Feedmark’s Bio-Pro. When I started to add the supplement, he didn’t even think about refusing to eat his feed. After being fed the supplement Chey looked amazing, his coat gleamed and there was a real sparkle in his eyes. I could see that he had a new zest for life. I have to say, hand on heart, that Chey is so much happier in himself. He shines all year round and he is still so bright-eyed. I have even managed to sit on him for 10 minutes a week and have a little wander around. He loves life again, thank you Feedmark for a great product”.

A FREE 1.25kg tub of Bio-Pro is on its way to Chey 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.

What you need to know about grazing muzzles…

Needing to control the diet is a common issue that we are often quizzed about, as many horses are overweight or require a diet low in sugar and starch. It is very easy to restrict what hay and hard feed our horses receive, and we can tailor these parts of the diet to be ideal for your horse’s needs. However, when out at grass it can be very difficult to know how much your horse is eating, and it is  thought a horse can eat as much as 5% of its body weight per day when at pasture. For horses requiring calorie control, or those who need low levels of sugar in their diet, restricting grazing can be vital to ensure full health, and at this time of year too much grass can be particularly detrimental due to high NSC (sugar) levels in the plant.Field Grazing Muzzle

There are a few ways that you can restrict grazing; by strip grazing, using sheep to graze a field down, or by using a turnout area with no grass. For many people, these are not an option, and so we often recommend using a grazing muzzle.

Grazing muzzles, when used correctly, are a very handy bit of kit, allowing your horse to be turned out as normal, so they can keep moving around in their field and importantly socialise with field mates, whilst not being allowed to gorge on grass. Studies have shown that by using a grazing muzzle on a horse they will consume between 50-86% less grass than those without!

So using a muzzle really can be a great way to restrict the grass that your horse is eating, but do ensure that you are aware of the following before you turn your horse out:

 

  • It is suggested that you do not use a muzzle for more than 12 hours at a time. Ideally, bring the horse into a stable or turnout without grass for the other 12 hours, and supply with either soaked hay or use our low starch and low sugar Fibre Blocks to allow the horse to meet their daily fibre needs. Taking the muzzle off also allows you to check for any rubbing or sores.
  • Make sure that your horse can drink through the muzzle- some horses take a while to adapt!
  • If the grass is growing very quickly and the muzzled horse is not losing weight as required, it may be that you have to remove them from grazing completely.
  • Some horses like to remove grazing muzzles so do keep an eye on your horse the first few times they are turned out with one on!
  • If your horse is on a restricted diet providing vitamins and minerals in a condensed pellet, such as SlimAid, is an ideal way to ensure that they are getting all their nutrient needs.

 

Moy Muzzle

See, we do practice what we preach!

I used a grazing muzzle on my old mare for the first time last year, and now won’t be without one! A combination of being out at night with a muzzle on and in during the day with a couple of fibre blocks made such a difference to this mares weight, which for the first time didn’t massively increase over the summer!

 

 

 

Olivia Colton Msc.

Horse Of The Week – Definitive.

Charlotte Forbes riding her own, Definitive (Finn).

Charlotte Forbes riding her own, Definitive (Finn).

Definitive was born in 2002 and is a Thoroughbred cross Warmblood. This 13-year-old stands at 16hh, and has been owned for the past 3 years by Charlotte Forbes. Charlotte schools and hacks out with Finn, his stable name, and also enjoys jumping with him. The combination have competed in Dressage at Novice and Elementary levels, and are hoping to get back to competing soon.

Before owning Finn, Charlotte says that she had a horse with whom she completely lost her nerve. Now, Finn has rebuilt her confidence, and Charlotte is very much enjoying riding and whatever life has to throw at the pair!

Back in 2002, Finn was bred by a friend of Charlotte’s whom lived locally to her. He was later sold on as a weanling and moved out of the area, as Charlotte could not afford to buy him then. They then lost touch for a few years. Charlotte told us however: “I was then looking through Horse & Hound, as my old boy was nearing retirement, and the photo just jumped off of the page at me! My friend still owns his full sister, and so there was no doubt that it was Finn!”

Charlotte and Finn jumping.

Charlotte explains: “Finn has his quirks, he hates to be left in the stable when his neighbour goes out to the field, in fact he is a real herd animal. However he doesn’t like anybody invading his space either! If anyone comes near to me he gets very protective! He also hates to be kept waiting, even while I just go to get brushes or boots. He then whickers at me as soon as I come back in to sight, even if I’ve only been gone for 30 seconds! He thrives on a varied schedule, but equally if I can’t ride for a while he is still a perfect gent. He has been a real soul mate to me in the last few years and I hope we have many more years together to come”

Charlotte explains: “Hardy Hoof is a brilliant product! My farrier is very impressed with the quality of Finn’s hoof growth and the strength of his hooves.”

A FREE 5kg tub of Hardy Hoof is on its way to Finn 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.

Windsor is looming – Annie Joppe

Fant training 15  Haywood Oaks, and Fantom’s attempt at gaining a 3* qualification, has now been and gone. The endurance gods were not smiling on us that day!  After the start in the dark, Fantom began to settle into a steady canter mostly taking the lead but then disaster struck: a slip on the still-sticky earth and our race was over.  It’s now time now to revert to Plan B.

In the meantime, Dilmun has recaptured centre stage.  I learned yesterday that our entry for Royal Windsor 2* has been successful in the ballot so we’re in!!

Windsor is less than three weeks away and training is now in earnest.  He is still a little too well-padded but just on target fitness-wise.  At the weekend we completed a 50 kms ride successfully.  Here we were aiming to keep a good, steady rhythm up and down the hills; this was somewhat hard to manage as many of the hills in the woods were pretty short and steep, both up and down, but we did our best to keep the speed even.   A distance of 50 kms is probably one of the hardest on the horses as, although not a great distance, there are no breaks for food or rest just very quick crew stops along the way for water and cooling. 

Dilmun’s training prior to this ride, involved a 20kms canter session at approximately 20kph over undulating grassland in the company of two other horses.  Although he pulled his customary faces at the other horses, he managed this 20 kms followed by about 1 kms at a good gallop, with ease and a reasonably good recovery rate.  This was followed a week later by another long canter session of 25 kms at just over 20kph and was rewarded by a much better recovery time and a much ‘keener’ horse.
fantsquad4Strengthening work has been done on the dunes where the demands of, firstly cantering uphill through deep sand repeated several times, then a few kms of cantering over undulating grass-covered dunes, can be quite challenging.  Dilmun is not a fan of hills and finds this sort of work much harder than sustained cantering; nevertheless it is necessary for the all-round fitness required for the long race rides and to reduce the risk of injury by thorough conditioning.

Tomorrow Dilmun will have another long canter session aiming to complete 30kms at between 21 and 22 kph.  He will continue to have three canter sessions a week plus some schooling in between and hopefully a session on the moors to complete his conditioning.

This week saw the arrival of a temporary ‘guest’ in the shape of Flo a foal who was born here four years ago and has come back to be started.  Work has commenced almost straight away with Flo receiving her first pair of front shoes; her face was a picture afterwards as she was obviously bemused by the ‘clompy’ things on her feet.

Another bit of excitement is that I’m horse shopping again.  I shall be looking for a youngster to bring on for WEG in 2018.  Now this is a somewhat bold statement and relies on an awful lot of luck as well as hard work and finding the horse with the right attitude and conformation.

As to Fantom and ‘Plan B’ this is slightly uncertain, it may be the Golden Horseshoe National Championships or we may have another go at doing our 3* qualification at the end of May.  Competing at Horseshoe will require a different form of training but this might well suit Fantom better, time will tell.

Mega thanks to Feedmark’s nutritionist, Olivia Colton, who designed a feeding regime for Fantom to ensure that he is settled and can work to the best of his ability.

Horse Of The Week – Benjji.

Benjji, no longer needs weave bars on his stable door.

Benjji, no longer needs weave bars on his stable door.

Abergwaun Amendment (Benjji) is a fourteen-year-old Sports Horse. This gelding has been owned by Lyn Byatt since September of 2013, and he stands at 16.1hh. Lyn very much enjoys owning Benjji, schooling and hacking out with him, she also hopes to start competing with him this year. Lyn now describes Benjji as a very happy and contented horse.

Benjji having a relaxing snooze.

Benjji having a relaxing snooze.

This has not always been the case when considering Benjji’s behaviour, who has changed ownership every two years, assumingly without time to settle. After buying him, Lyn soon realised that Benjji was a very anxious horse and extremely stressed. Lyn says: “I could do very little with him. He had to have anti weave bars on his stable door, and riding was incredibly stressful. I was unable to tie him up on the yard and the slightest little thing or noise would send him into a complete panic. Frustratingly Benjji is extremely capable but was held back by his anxiety”. Lyn has taken time to bond with Benjji and allows him plenty of time to settle without any pressure.

Benjji in the school with rider and owner, Lyn Byatt.

Benjji in the school with rider and owner, Lyn Byatt.

Lyn explains: “Steady-Up Advance has been key to our success. Once I began feeding the supplement he seemed to calm within a very short period of time. I now only feed him a maintenance dose. Benjji is no longer anxious, the weave bars have been removed from his stable door, and he is a very happy horse. I am sure that this is due to the Steady-Up Advance, I would highly recommend this product”.

A FREE 2kg tub of Steady-Up Advance is on its way to Benjji 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.

Does your horse react to pollen?

During spring and summer, many people suffer from awful hay fever – making their eyes itch, noses run, and generally feel run down.

These symptoms are caused by an allergy to pollen, and just like humans horses can also suffer from pollen allergies, leading to coughing, head shaking, lethargy, poor iStock_000012944531_Smallperformance and can lead to issues with concentration and behaviour.

Pollen allergies are very common in horses of all types and ages. Every spring and summer billions and billions of tiny pollen particles are released from grass, plants and trees. The function of the pollen particles is to fertilise other plants, but many are inhaled by animals and for those who are allergic to them, trigger reactions. Scientists are unsure why some horses (and people) are more sensitive to allergens, but it is clear what happens when the body is exposed to them!

The horse’s nose acts as an air filter, with hairs stopping foreign particles entering the lungs. If there is a high pollen count, these hairs will be trapping lots of pollen particles. If the horse doesn’t have a pollen allergy, this is a very good defence. However, when a horse has a pollen allergy, the pollen triggers a reaction as if a harmful substance is present, nerve signals cause blood vessels to dilate and inflammation occurs, which leads to the coughing and head shaking we associate with the problem.

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 Normally the horse will have a specific pollen that they are allergic to, and by identifying the problem pollen you can try to avoid it, for example, if your horse is sensitive to Oilseed rape pollen (this allergy usually is seen from the end of March to mid-July, peaking in June), try to avoid hacks near rape fields where possible, and chose competing venues that are not surrounded by the crop.

In addition to this, there are certain management steps that can help your horse, such as using a pollen net or face mask to help ease coughing, nose itching and head shaking while riding, and stabling during the day and turning out at night can sometimes benefit horses with pollen allergies. In extreme cases, do not ride on days when pollen counts are high and where possible try not to go into the vicinity of the offending pollen.

Olivia Colton MSc

Nutritionist at Feedmark.