Monthly Archives: October 2015

The importance of clean air

Winter is a time to keep a close watch on our horse’s respiratory health as changes to their management can cause problems.  Winter requires many horses and ponies to spend more time in the stable or field shelter however research has shown that this stable environment contains greater air contaminants than the external environment.  Bedding, forage, feed, dried mud, scurf, and hair and coat dust all generate particles that can enter the horse’s respiratory tract and cause irritation.

These particles are normally caught and removed from the respiratory tract by the tiny hair-like cilia and mucus lining.  The stable environment can overload the system and impair normal function, causing irritation and inflammation of the respiratory mucus membranes.

This irritation and inflammation leads to excessive production of mucus that restricts the airways and leads horses to develop a cough, laboured breathing or nasal discharge, problems that can reduce the horses capacity for exercise.

iStock_000009943540_MediumReducing this air contamination and respiratory irritation can be achieved by making adjustments to normal management practices.  Haylage and soaked hay produce fewer dust and mould particles and dried short chopped forage is an excellent dust free alternative to feeding long forage.  Whatever the forage choice feeding from the floor, a hay bar or a large rubber bucket reduces air contamination even further and aids natural clearing of the respiratory system.  Selecting dust free bedding and feeds that have been either steamed or micronized in their production, also reduces dust horses are exposed to during eating.  Grooming and changing rugs outside of the stable is also a simple change that can dramatically improve the stable environment.

Adding Clarity to your horses diet will aid soothing and help to expel dust, pollen and excess mucus from the airways.. Clarity contains

  • Coltsfoot leaves: to help with soothing the throat and expelling mucus and catarrh
  • Elder flowers: to help maintain a healthy internal defence system, thought to combat pollen and dust within the airways
  • Liquorice root: to help soothe membranes within the respiratory tract and loosen and help expel mucus
  • Garlic: to help optimise normal respiratory function; thought to cleanse the lungs and expel mucus
  • Lemon: rich in vitamin C and antioxidants, used to help ease mucosal build-ups
  • Oregano: highly aromatic, helps to expel mucus from upper respiratory tract
  • Sage: an aromatic. Helps maintain a healthy mouth and soothe the throat.

Q: My horse’s legs get puffy when they are stabled, is there anything I can do to help?

filled leg 2A: Filled legs are a common problem when your horse is stabled for longer than normal periods of time. This is often due to a collection of fluid, which would ordinarily be pumped around the horse’s body when the horse moves. When the horse’s movement is restricted, such as when confined to their stable, this fluid can collect in the horse in stalllower limbs causing the legs to fill. Where possible, walking the horse (in hand or using a walker) will help to disperse this fluid. We would also recommend feeding No Fill to support the lymphatic and circulatory systems, to help keep legs slim, and make your horse more comfortable when stabled.

Olivia Colton MSc Nutritional and Technical Coordinator

For more information about No Fill please see our website or call 0800 585525 to speak to one of our nutritional advisers.

My horse is prone to colic, and often gets attacks over the winter- how can I help him if he has to be confined?

SONY DSCQ:           My horse is prone to colic, and often gets attacks over the winter- how can I help him if he has to be confined?

A:            Horses that are on box rest due to injury or weather are more prone to digestive issues, commonly impaction colic. To help to reduce the risk of this, increase your horses hydration by providing them with clean, fresh water at all times (warm water is shown to help increase drinking when the weather is cold!). Give your horse a rock salt lick in their stable, and add table salt or electrolytes to their feed to encourage drinking. Feeding soaked hay and soaked feeds will also help your horse to stay hydrated. As mentioned above, reduce hard feed and provide ad-lib hay or haylage to help keep the digestive tract moving. In addition to this, those with colic worries are wise to add BioPro to their horses feed during and after periods of confinement. This provides your horse with probiotics- the good bacteria needed by the hind gut to digest fibre, and maintain a healthy digestive system, and prebiotics, which are not used by the horse, but feed these good bacteria, helping to maintain the right balance of gut flora in your horse.

BioPro is a pre and probiotic containing high levels of both Yea-Sacc1026 and FOS, which support the beneficial micro-organisms within the horse’s gut.  See page

My horse goes mad if he has to be stabled for more than a day!

iStock_000009943540_MediumQ:           My horse goes mad if he has to be stabled for more than a day- he becomes very angry and difficult to handle, is there anything I can do to help him when the weather is so bad he has to stay in?

A:            While some horses are happy living in, for other horses it can be very hard to adjust to 24hr stabling. If your horse is stressed by being confined, they often react by being difficult, angry or bargy. To help to reduce your horse’s stress levels, make sure they always have hay or haylage available, as this keeps them satisfied, and eating gives them something to do! If they are a very good doer, double net small holed haynets to reduce intake! Reduce hard feed, if your horses are fed a chaff, keep feeding this it helps with gut fill and take your horse much longer to eat, and consider using a horse ball and a few nuts to keep your horse occupied. It can help some horses if they can see a friend nearby, and stable mirrors may also help. Try to avoid high sugar licks and treats while your horse is cooped up, and concentrate on slow release energy sources.  If your horse is of a nervy disposition, we recommend that you feed our fantastic calmative Steady-Up Advance to your horse while they are stabled, and when first turned out to reduce stress.

Steady-Up Advance is a unique feed supplement that helps to maintain calmness in horses and ponies without reducing performance.

Horse Of The Week – Jaffa.

This 26-year-old Thoroughbred, stands at 16.1hh and is called Jaffa. Jaffa 2She is owned by Alison Richardson and has been since she was 4-years-old. Alison purchased Jaffa at Ascot Sales as an unbroken, rejected racehorse.

Jaffa 7PAlison explains “I used to show jump with Jaffa, but she was such a live-wire in the collecting ring. We then moved on to novice one day eventing, cross country and pleasure rides. Nowadays though, we just hack around the village twice a week and occasionally I take her up to the forest for a spin around the leafy lanes. Jaffa has an inquisitive nature and really enjoys getting out for a ride. She grabs the bit from my hand whenJaffa 8P I tack her up, and is still able to throw in the odd buck for a bit of fun! Let’s just say she has mellowed with age!”

 

Jaffa 9P“I plan to keep riding Jaffa as much as we possibly can. This is a horse for whom retirement is not an option. She just loves being handled, and is well known for tearing down the field whinnying and whickering when she sees my car.”

“As she aged Jaffa’s coat was becoming very thick which lead to her frequently overheating. She seemed Jaffa 6Pdepressed and lost the spark of life, it was almost as if it was all too much trouble. I had a chat with the Feedmark nutritionist, who suggested the supplement C-Plus which was new at the time. After only a few weeks on C-Plus, Jaffa was back to her bright, cheery self! Her coat eventually seemed to right itself and she was back to chasing around the field with her 6 year old boyfriend, Dylan. Once she was on the C-Plus, Jaffa also managed to maintain her weight.”

Jaffa 4A FREE 3kg tub of C-Plus is on its way to Jaffa 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.

Remember, remember the fifth of November!

 

 

Horses are flight animals, and as such anything out of the ordinary has the potential to cause an adverse reaction, making the horse distressed. This can be dangerous to the horse itself, to other horses and to the people around them. We are often able to desensitise our horse to a situation that worries them, but fireworks are in general not common, and it is hard to recreate the bangs and cracks of fireworks, bright colours lighting up the sky and burning smells associated with bonfire night!

 

Whether planned events that you have been notified about, or a neighbour having an impromptu party, there won’t be many horses that get through the 5th of November without seeing fireworks! This year the 5th falls on a Thursday, so be especially aware the weekend preceding and after fireworks night

While we can’t stop fireworks, we can help to keep our horse calm around this date:

BEFORE FIRE WORKS NIGHT:

  • Ask friends and neighbours to inform you of anything they have heard of or have planned themselves
  • Monitor local papers, radio stations and shops to see what events are coming up!
  • Check stables and fields to make sure they are secure and there is nothing the horse can injure themselves on should they get excited
  • Ensure you have adequate 3rd party liability insurance, in case your horse does escape and cause damage or an accident
  • If there are lots of local events or your horse is particularly nervous consider feeding a daily calmer for a couple of weeks prior to the first display, and continue over that period.
  • Have a ‘fire’ plan in place- make sure if there is an emergency there are enough people to remove horses to a safe place
  • To help drown out noise, get your horses used to a radio being on in the yard

ON THE DAY

  • It is normally advised to keep to your horse in their normal routine- if your horse is normally stabled at night it is probably best to leave them in, but if they are used to being out this may suit them better
  • Give horses ad-lib hay or haylage to help to keep them occupied
  • Leave on the radio to help drown out sounds (acclimatise your horses to this first, if not the radio itself may worry them!)
  • Leaving lights on makes flashes less obvious
  • Check on the horses after the fireworks display has ended to ensure they are not overly distressed
  • If you horse is in, pop them in rug that will help them keep warm and will also wick sweat away. If they live out, it may be worth putting a wicking rug under their usual turnout, so they don’t get wet and cold if they do decide to run around
  • If there are just one or two local displays, it may be worth using a calming syringe of MagnaFeed to help keep your horse steady on these occasions
  • Shut exterior gates where possible- stressed horses may push through stable doors or jump out of fields

THE DAY AFTER

  • Thoroughly check over your horses in daylight to make sure there were no injuries or problems missed
  • Before you turn out, look over your horse’s field for any stray bits of firework or debris that could lead to accidents

Olivia Colton MSc Nutritional and Technical Coordinator

To find out more about the calming options available to you please call 0800 525585 to speak to one of our nutritional advisors, or see our website.

Seasonal Pasture Myopathy – Be aware

12_sycamoreOver the past few years, there has been an increase of the amount of horses that have died from Seasonal Pasture Myopathy in the UK. Seasonal Pasture Myopathy is a disease caused by neurotoxins in sycamore seed trees, which are picked up by horses when grazing. These neurotoxins attack the horse’s central nervous system, and can lead to a painful and distressing death.

In the Autumn of 2014, strong winds lead to higher than usual contamination of pastures, as more seeds were blown in, and data from the National Equine Health Survey recorded 4 times more cases than in previous years.

Risk Factors:

Often horses that suffer from Seasonal Pasture Myopathy are kept in paddocks with little grass, with an accumulation of dead matter, and without alternative food sources such as hay.  Sycamore seeds themselves are not overly palatable, but horses low in alternative food sources can often eat these in high numbers.

Symptoms:

  • Problems breathing
  • Lethargy
  • Shivery/twitching
  • Sweating
  • Inability to stand
  • Dark urine

If your horse is displaying one or a combination of these symptoms, call your vet immediately, and it may be worth taking other horses off the potentially affected pasture until a diagnosis has been reached.

Advice from the British Veterinary Association and the British Equine Veterinary Association is to:

* Restrict access to seeds by using temporary fencing.

* Ensure horses have access to good quality uncontaminated pasture.

* Move horses off pasture at times of risk.

* Provide supplementary feed in the field to minimise the risk of horses being tempted to ingest seeds.

* Avoid leaving wet hay on the ground where it will rot and potentially trap seeds.

* Discuss the risks and how to identify early clinical signs of SPM with your veterinary surgeon.

* Be aware that a field without sycamore trees can still contain seeds spread by high winds or flood water.

* Not prune seed laden sycamore trees as this can lead to massive pasture contamination and further increase the risk to horses.

 

 

Horse Of The Week – Tommy.

Tommy 2Meet Tommy, a 22-year-old Thoroughbred gelding whom is loaned by Kathy Clarke. Kathy explains: “I do lots of hacking with Tommy, he has come to me for semi-retirement and to keep my other horse company. He’s a real pleasure to have around, and is always pleased to see me. He is ever so gentle with my granddaughter too.”

“Tommy is great to hack out, forward going but not at all spooky. However, I noticed that his joints were starting to click and he didn’t seem to be striding out as much as he had done previously. As he is already on the Benevit Advance I thought I would give the ExtraFlex HA with Rosehips a go. The difference within a couple of weeks was amazing, he certainly has a spring back in his step!”

“He will now be on the ExtraFlex HA with Rosehips for the rest of his days, as I know it will help Tommy 1to support his joints in his old age along with the Benevit Advance to ensure he is getting everything that he needs. Also, look how shiny his coat has become too! Thanks Feedmark.”

A FREE 1.35kg tub of ExtraFlex HA with Rosehips is on its way to Tommy 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.

Horse Of The Week – Opporto.

This Belgian Warmblood is 18 years of age, and is called Opporto. She stands at 16.1hh and has been oOpporto 5wned by Nicole Cruse for 15 months. The combination have been competing in Pony Club and Riding Club Team Eventing. Together, they came first at the Area 14 Riding Club Qualifier out of 52 people and then went on to compete at the Aston Le Walls Championships. Opporto very recently won the Puissance at Broads Equestrian Centre, breaking their record at 135cm.

Nicole explains: “Opporto is a Grade B Show Jumper, however has not competed in Opporto 1British
Showjumping since 2011. Having had around ten or more owners, she is fairly high mileage. When I got her she had never done any eventing over 80cm, but I began at 90cm to 1 metre and she was brilliant. She was always slow in the field, and when getting her in I had to pull her along! During these last few months Opporto had been getting much worse, and she had begun stopping at jumps of only 90cm. She had not been schooling well at all and felt extremely stiff. She would go against my hand, and seemed to go wooden after 30 minutes.”

Opporto 3“I then decided to take Opporto off of NAF Superflex as I felt this had no effect on her whatsoever. I then started feeding Feedmark’s ActiVet, and after a month she is like a different horse! She is much more active in her field and even bucks with excitement and also gallops around with the other horses (something that she would never have done before!). She is now jumping and schooling better than ever before! She is moving much more freely and more forward, and wants to work correctly through her back. After being in tears and thinking that she could not carry on competing because of her age, this supplement has now changed everything. Especially after she has just won the Puissance! I can’t thank Feedmark enough for giving my mare a new lease of life!”

“Now I feel that Opporto can carry on competing, I will show jump with her and hopefully Opporto 2affiliate to British Showjumping myself. She just looks fantastic now, with such a shiny and healthy coat.”

A FREE 1.7kg tub of ActiVet is on its way to Opporto 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.

Things Are Looking Up For Annie Joppe!

Watergate Endurance is back!

It is now nearly three weeks since we (Robert, Kiwi, Fantom and I) drove up to Keysoe where we met up with our third crew member, Jo.  This was the culmination of a rather large amount of strategic training with Fantom to get him totally ‘racing’ fit to contest the FEI 2* race.  When I look back over the weeks of preparation involved to just get to this stage after such a devastating summer with ‘the cough’, I cannot believe how we’ve managed to turn it around although the Clarity which both Fantom and Dilmun have been on has restored their respiration efficiency and well and truly seen off the last remnants of the cough.
We arrived at the College Equestrian Centre early afternoon after a 7 hour drive.  Fantom was installed in his corral, which works better for him than stabling, crew tents were erected, the vetgate crewing areas were set up and we duly checked in.  After Fantom had stretched his legs, had something to eat and naturally rolled, we tacked him up and I took him for a stroll over the first part of the course where I could check the going and the marking.  On return the pre-ride vetting which passed without incident and we were fit to start the next morning.Annie Joppe 2

A civilised start time of 7.30 am and it had been light for ages!  Kiwi fed Fantom at approximately 6.00 am and commenced walking him out in hand.  We tacked up at about 6.45 and Kiwi and Jo continued walking him.  I climbed on board about 20 minutes before the start so that I could work him in at all three paces to ensure that he was thoroughly warmed up, supple and, most importantly, listening to me!

After so much preparation the start was something of an anti-climax.  Was everybody afraid of the start line?  We went off in front, allowing a couple of others to catch up but shortly after the start there was a slight blip when we missed a marker and went the wrong way letting someone else take over the lead.  However during that loop we gradually overhauled the leader and Annie Joppe 3passed them at a crewing point.  Three of us went on together to the first vetgate after this 40 kms loop.

Fantom presented first, but only just, so we left the vetgate in the lead but continued on with the other two until one lost a shoe and fell behind a bit until a shoof (temporary hoof boot) was fitted.  Into the second vetgate Annie Joppe 4after another 40 kms loop and again we presented first but with another rider close behind. The horse and rider who were just behind us at the vetgate failed the recheck for lameness which meant that we would be on our own for the next two loops.

The thought of riding alone for the next two loops was not appealing but, as luck would have it, the leaders of the 80kms race ride were leaving for their last loop at about the same time so I tagged along with them.  This was a much shorter loop, only 20 kms and it flew by, albeit with me going a little faster than I would have liked at this stage of the race, but we made it safely back to the vetgate and vetted through quickly and efficiently also passing the vet check just before heading out on the last loop.
This time we really were alone and it was mentally tough for both of us having to repeat the Annie Joppe 5Esame loop and maintain a steady rhythm throughout.  Nevertheless we did just that and even managed a little burst to cross the finish line.  Vetting at the end of a race was, as ever, a tense affair and the feeling of relief on passing was fantastic, quickly followed by euphoria.

 

The following weekend was the turn of HS Chiara and Wizard as her nanny.  This was a rather different occasion, low key, local and surprisingly relaxed.  Chiara loaded and travelled well with Wizard and, after some 45 minutes we arrived at the venue.  Eyes on Stalks!  Little Chiara could not believe all the horses, trailers and people all over the place when she arrived.  Wizard just appreciated the lovely grass in the venue field while Chiara got over her initial excitement.  Off we went to vet which just comprised a trot up as this was a pleasure ride.  What a good little girl she was and even stood fairly still to be tacked up afterwards and allow me to climb aboard.

The route was mostly quiet lanes with a short stretch over the moors.  I spent most of the time trying to keep Chiara in a slow steady trot and our speed down.  On the moors there were some extreme hazards: sheep which popped up all over the place and strange dark shapes in odd places (boulders) which Chiara found rather daunting.  Just where the photographer was standing was a particularly scary boulder and we found ourselves heading off at speed towards a Bodmin Moor bog just when we were having our picture taken!Annie Joppe 1

Chiara again was good at the vetting and loaded perfectly back into the trailer afterwards.  All in all, a pretty successful first outing.  Wizard, I think, was rather frustrated by the lack of cantering and the fact that he had to go behind most of the way.

Coming up is an outing to Dartmoor to act as an escort for the Dartmoor Derby, a 2 day 160 kms race ride in Wales and a mammoth trip up to Boston for a 1* with Dilmun.