Monthly Archives: February 2016

Horse Of The Week – Coby.

Coby 3Meet Coby, Feedmark’s new Horse Of The Week. Standing at 14.2hh, he is a 10-year-old Cob cross Trotter. Holly Coulton has owned Coby for six years, and explains: “We have done a bit of everything in our 6 years. In the past we have enjoyed local shows, and he has taken a very good friend of mine to her first Coby 1ever show and to pony club camp. Now we have a lesson once a week, we enjoy schooling and we like to hack out as much as we can. We are very lucky to have the beach on our doorstep, so we very often go there too.”

“I bought Coby as a newly broken 4-year-old. The first few years were not much fun; Coby was very unpredictable, and I found him hard to manage both on the ground and Coby 5when ridden. He liked to over react in situations, for instance if a bird tweeted he would be half a mile down the road and I’d be on the floor! He was just very on edge. A friend of mine has a hot headed warm blood whom she has on Steady-Up Advance, and suggested I try feeding it to Coby! I was happy to try anything so I went ahead and ordered it that day. It came the next day so I began feeding Coby 10it to him.”

“Within a couple of weeks of feeding it, I found Coby much more manageable. It was perfect for what we wanted as it seemed to take the edge off without taking away the energy, and it meant that I could do the things that I wanted to do. I’ve kept him on it ever since. However, I did actually take him off of it just to see how he would be. I noticed straight away that he Coby 8wasn’t as content as he is when on Steady-Up Advance, especially in and around the stable. I started feeding it again immediately, and he hasn’t been off of it since.”

“Coby is still on Steady-Up Advance now, I’m still happy with the affects and would recommend it to anyone who is having difficulty with their horse! I love how Feedmark deliver the next day for free. They do so many fab offers, and as owning a horse is so expensiveCoby 4 it’s very much appreciated! I have also used the instant calmer, MagnaFeed for things like shows.”

A FREE tub of Steady-Up Advance is on its way to Coby 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.Coby 12

Horse Of The Week – Clyde.

Clyde 3This week’s Horse Of The Week is owned by Sue Linacre, Sue explains: “This is my buddy, Clyde, his show name is ‘Every Which Way’ for anyone old enough to remember that film! He is a 16-year-old, 15.1hh Irish Cob. I bought Clyde as a 4-year-old, when he had just arrived from Ireland. This was way back in 2004, with what was left of my student loan after finishing university. He was my first (and only) horse and he certainly tested my horsey skills in his younger days, mostly by using his considerable size and strength to get out of whatever I was asking him to do! Despite his cheekiness, we had a go at a bit of everything from happy hacking to dressage (dressage was very entertaining for the spectators as we left the arena at speed – not really our forte!). Clyde really loved his cross country, along with sponsored rides and long hacks. Two hours was a short hack for us!”

“Sadly, in 2009, Clyde’s breathing became very noisy so we had to cut down our workload and Clyde 2stick to gentle hacking and schooling. In 2012 the vet advised retiring him. However, I felt that 12 was too young for him to retire so I started researching respiratory supplements and tried everything! We finally discovered Clarity after reading an article in Your Horse magazine and speaking to the lovely ladies on the Feedmark stand at Your Horse Live. We received some great advice and came away with a small tub. We started using Clarity in November 2013, and after 3 weeks I was able to ride him in the school for short periods and take him on little ‘ploddy’ hacks – even right through the summer when his breathing was usually too bad to do anything at all! Clyde absolutely loves Clarity and even started neighing for his dinner after the Clyde 1first few days, which he’d never done before – I must admit it does smell delicious! We visited the Feedmark stand at YHL again this year and came away with an enormous 8kg tub! Well worth the effort of carrying it to the car.”

“The vet is very pleased with Clyde’s progress and I’m so pleased that the Clarity supplement has allowed me to still spend time riding my boy. 10-15 minutes of gentle schooling or a plod round the block might not sound like much, but for a horse that was on the verge of early retirement I think it’s not bad! Who knew the power of the right blend of herbs? I highly recommend Clarity to anyone whose faithful friend may need it, and I’ve only ever heard good things from others who use it too – thanks Feedmark!”

A FREE tub of Clarity is on its way to Clyde for being our Horse Of The Week!

Each week, the Feedmark team select a horse of the week from reviews, letters and emails sent Clyde 5to 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.

Sweet Itch

SKIN CONDITION CAUSED BY ALLERGY TO FLY AND MIDGE BITES THEN AGGREVATED BY RUBBING AND SCRATCHING TO ALLEVIATE SYMPTOMS. DERMATITUS SORES ITCH SCRATCH BALD

One of the most common problems we get asked about over the spring and summer months is Sweet Itch- a skin allergy triggered by saliva from the Culicoides midge. Once an allergic horse has been exposed to this allergen, a reaction causes histamine to be produced, resulting in swelling and itchy skin. The horse will have an intense desire to rub, scratch or bite the area, which is upsetting for them and you, and often leads to broken skin and open wounds that can become infected. Some horses can be driven mad by sweet itch over the spring and summer, which will can have a detrimental effect on their quality of life, and so their temperament and rideability.

Luckily, there are various management techniques that can be adopted to help your horse. The most important thing is to keep up the preventative measures, as even one bite can trigger the reaction.

  • Midges are most active at dawn and dusk, so stabling your horse between 4pm and 8am can often help to reduce the risk of being bitten
  • Midges love to breed on damp, wet land, so ideally turn your horse out away from water
  • Midges can’t fly against winds, so chose the windiest field possible, and consider using a fan in the stable too
  • Using a sweet-itch rug that includes neck and stomach protection will help stop midges biting when horses are turned out
  • Lotions and fly repellents may also help to keep the midges at bay
  • Feeding skin health supplements can helps soothe the skin and keep it healthy- high inclusions of linseed have been shown to be especially beneficial to those suffering from Sweet Itch, and can reduce the size of the lesion caused by the midge, and work as an anti-inflammatory (O’Neill et al. 2002). Start feeding at least a month before midges start to appear to ensure skin is in prime condition before it gets assailed.

If you would like any further advice please don’t hesitate to contact our help and advice line 0800 585525 or www.feedmark.com.

 

Spring coat changes

As we leave winter behind and the promise of sunny days is beckoning, you may well notice that your horse is starting to shed their thick coat, revealing a sleek and smart summer outfit.

This shedding is mainly caused by longer hours of daylight. The increase and decrease in daylight hours triggers the production of hormones responsible for hair growth and shedding. This change of coats over the course of the year is mainly to help the horse with thermoregulation: during the winter a longer and thicker coat is required, and when cold weather hits these hairs are erected, so trapping a layer of warm air next to the skin. In the summer, a finer coat is needed so the coat can lie flat, allowing air flow across the skin, and a shiny, smooth coat will also reflect some heat from the sun.

In order for skin and coat to stay healthy and for effective shedding to take place, the horse must receive a balanced diet, with the correct levels of dietary fat (especially omega-3, which must be supplied in the diet and is essential for skin condition), protein, and vitamins and minerals, notably vitamin A, zinc, iodine, copper, biotin, and other b-vitamins. Too much seleniuiStock_000011938719Smallm, iodine or vitamin A is also detrimental, so don’t over feed these nutrients. Providing you are feeding either recommended amounts of a complete food or balancer, or toping up a fibre-based diet using a vitamin and mineral supplement, your horses should be receiving the necessary vitamins and minerals for healthy skin and coat.

To complement an already balanced diet, we suggest adding vital omega oils, additional B-vitamins and useful herbs into the diet. Chamomile is well known as a skin soother and helps to reduce irritation, while Burdock root helps to keep skin scurf-free. Clivers are also included for their high levels of silica, which strengthens skin and hair, and nettles promote coat dappling, and also have tonic properties, cleansing the blood.

By helping to keep your horse’s coat shiny and scurf free, and the skin healthy you can reduce the risk of problems such as sweet itch and mud fever, and keep your horse looking great- ideal for the show or sales ring!

 

Help your horse shed!

Groom regularly to help remove excess hair, and if desired use specialised shedding tools

Anecdotally those who are exercised regularly lose their hair more quickly, possibly to do with increased blood flow to the skin stimulating hair follicles

Feed supplements aimed at boosting skin and coat health to make sure that the skin and coat are in prime condition for shedding

Ensure your worming programme is up to date, as parasite burdens can affect coat quality

Wearing overalls can help you stay less hairy when grooming shedding horses- the hair will get everywhere, and fleece and wool jumpers can be particularly hard to remove hairs from!

 

FOLLOWING THE TIPS ABOVE AND YOUR HORSE IS STILL NOT SHEDDING?

If your horse is not shedding as normal, or the summer coat does not look as expected, especially if they are an older horse, take note: Delayed shedding, or growth of a long, wavy, thick coat is one sign that your horse may be developing Cushing’s disease. This coat growth is known as ‘hirsutism’ – and occurs due to enlargement of the pars intermedia in the pituitary gland, which in turn compresses the hypothalamus, the section of the brain which regulates body temperature, appetite and seasonal shedding. If you think your horse may have Cushing’s, consult with your vet, and for help regarding dietary changes that may be necessary please call one of our Nutritional advisors on 0800 585525.

Olivia Colton MSc

Nutritional and Technical Coordinator

 

 

 

 

 

Have you got a moody mare?

Normally good natured, obedient and willing, changes in hormone levels can turn your darling horse into an unpredictable, grouchy nightmare! While some mares barely change during their season and are able to be ridden and handled as normal, others really suffer, showing signs of discomfort and changes in personality. Some of these issues, such as raising the tail, urinating frequently, and ‘winking’, represent the mares desire to breed, showing the males that she is receptive to their advances. These behaviours are usually coupled with a lack of concentration, and your mare being less willing to co-operate: her mind is on other things!

Horse eating some hay and grass in a field.

Moody Mare?

The mare is typically in season for 5-7 days, and behavioural issues will become worse as the ovarian follicles increase in size and higher levels of oestrogen are produced. The raise in oestrogen levels triggers the mares to release an egg, which usually happens during the last 2 days of oestrus.  Once the egg is released, the mare starts producing more progesterone, the hormone which prepares the uterus for pregnancy. This stage is known as diestrus. At this point, the mare will no longer be receptive to the stallion.

If the mare is not covered, or is covered unsuccessfully, hormonal changes reverse the changes to the uterus, and start the cycle again.

 

Why don’t mares cycle all year round (and why some do!)?

The gestation time (period that the female is pregnant) for a horse is 11 months, so the mare will not usually cycle over the winter in order to avoid having a foal during the months where weather is likely to be bad. Most mares will start cycling in the early spring, typically in March/April, and this will continue throughout the summer until October or November. This cycling is largely dependent on daylight hours, and mares can also be affected by artificial lighting- which can be used to bring them into season.

 

Top tips when your mare is in season:

  • If your mare gets sensitive when she is in season, try to plan competitions, lessons or outings avoiding these few days.
  • For the couple of days where your mare’s behaviour is worst, it may be worth giving her a couple of days off, or doing low stress work- neither of you will enjoy a constant battle.
  • Feeding certain herbs can help to control oestrus-related behaviour during the spring and summer, providing a natural way of maintaining hormonal balance, and keeping both you and your mare safe and happy!

 

My mare is a pain all year round- and it doesn’t seem to be affected by seasons, what should I give to her?

To check to see if your mare’s behaviour is dictated by season, try keeping a diary to show you any patterns. If the behaviour is worse on similar days during her season, and this occurs on a 3-weekly basis, it is likely that hormones are causing the bad behaviour, and you should follow the tips above.

If the behaviour doesn’t seem to be cyclical, we recommend you look for another cause- checking to see if your horse is in pain, if their diet needs adjusting or if you could handle them differently to help them to cooperate.

Olivia Colton MSc

Nutritional and Technical Coordinator

At Feedmark all of our nutritional advisors are horse owners (though I am currently the only one silly enough to have mares!) and we are here to offer you feeding and supplement advice- either e-mail us at [email protected], or to have a chat to someone call the office on 0800 585525.

 

 

Woohoo- Spring Grass!

The wet and cold of winter is finally coming to an end and you have been given permission to turn your horse out onto their summer grazing paddocks, which are full of glorious green grass, what could be better?

229794_540593516993_2963931_nWell, while grass can be a fantastic nutrient source for your horse, lush spring grass can cause problems for some, especially those with metabolic disorders or horses that have had restricted grazing over the winter:

 

 

In warm, damp and sunny weather, spring grasses are able to accumulate high levels of non-structural carbohydrates, otherwise known as NSCs. NSCs found in grass can be split into sugars (fructose, sucrose and glucose), starches and fructans (chains of fructose). NSC levels will vary due to environmental and soil conditions, and the stage of plant growth. Eating large amount of these NSCs can be a risk factor for several digestive and metabolic problems.

NSCs are produced through photosynthesis- the process by which plants use sunlight energy to produce sugars. This can only occur during daylight hours, and then is used to fuel growth of the plants overnight. Usually NSC levels are at their highest at 3-4pm, having accumulated throughout the day, and are lowest early in the morning.

However, if temperatures are below 4.5 degrees at night, the plant is unable to utilise these NSCs for growth, and so they accumulate. The young spring grass is likely to contain high levels of NSCs, and contains less fibre than older grass, which makes it very easily palatable, and the horse is likely to eat a lot!

Consuming a high number of NSCs, especially if the digestive system is not used to it, can lead to many issues, including upsetting the delicate balance of gut flora, which can result in colic or laminitis. In addition to this, due to the high palatability of the grass, good doers are likely to put on weight!

Spring grass can be a particular problem for those who have suffered from laminitis previously, horses with PPID (Cushing’s disease) and EMS, good doers, and those who have gone from a predominately hay diet onto grass, so these horses may need special management when the spring grass flushes.

Even if your horse is not predisposed to laminitis, make any changes to the diet slowly, so if your horse has been on limited grazing all winter, make the change to being on lush pasture gradual. If necessary, restrict grazing, using muzzles, strip graze, or only turn your horse out for a few hours a day until they are used to the grass in their diet.

Field Grazing Muzzle

SPRING GRAZING CHECK LIST:

  • Slowly introduce your horse to spring grazing
  • Monitor your horses weight carefully
  • Provide your horse with supplements to help their digestive system cope with the change, such as pre and probiotics, which will support the good bacteria in the hind gut
  • Be particularly careful with horses/ponies predisposed to laminitis, including horses with Cushing’s disease (PPID) and IR and EMS:

o   If the temperature is below 5 ˚C at night, you may want to consider an alternative option to grass turnout (such as extra exercise, turning out in a sand school/ ménage, horse walker)

o   On bright and sunny days, where temperature is warm, consider turning out for a couple of hours in the morning only, where NSC levels in grass are lower. Wearing a muzzle during this time may also be recommended

o   Monitor your horse for any early signs of laminitis- it is a common misconception that only fat native ponies will suffer from this, in fact any age or breed of horse may be affected

 

Olivia Colton MSc

Nutritional and Technical Coordinator

If you would like any more information about how to feed your horse or pony or if any supplements can help them please call one of our experienced team members on 0800 585525, or look at our website www.feedmark.com.

Horse Of The Week – Willow.

Willow Denvir 6This is Willow our new Horse Of The Week, who is rising five years old. She is owned by Jacqui Denvir who told us: “When she was two-years-old, I started noticing that Willow was constantly scratching; and she was covered in blobby, dry and scurfy skin. She would develop rubs on contact with anything like a girth. I thought she had skin issues initially, but it turned out that she was just veryWillow Denvir 5 sensitive. I had tried loads of different things to help Willow, but Feedmark’s EquiDermis Plus is the first that has made any difference! After 5 weeks on the EquiDermis Plus, Willow’s skin was in great condition, and she even had a Willow Denvir 1shiny coat! I love it!”

“Willow’s father was a Warmblood and her mother was an Irish sports horse. She is approximately 16.2hh, and I bred her myself so have owned her from birth. I did show Willow Willow Denvir 2 CROPas a two-year-old, and she always won her in-hand classes. I had not attempted anything like that recently, but thanks to EquiDermis Plus that is now in the past! Willow is a little madam! She is very intelligent and quick to learn; but she is also extremely sweet and a lovely horse to work with. In the future I intend to do some eventing with Willow, and also some Working Hunter classes.”

Willow Denvir 4A FREE tub of EquiDermis Plus is on its way to Willow for being our Horse Of The Week!

Each week, the Feedmark team select a horse of the Willow Denvir 3week 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.

Our TOP five winter problems (via our help and advice line)

We know that winter can be a difficult time for horse management and we receive hundreds of phone calls to our help and advice line, via online chat and email.  Here are the top five problems horse owners have encounter this winter.

  1. iStock_000007607700_Small Over exuberance, spooking and generally highly strung horses and ponies. There are several main reasons to cause such behaviour and they usually stem back to regime and diet, commonly horses spend more time in confinement during the winter months putting strain on their mental and physical well-being, many horses in this situation are also being overfed or incorrectly fed. It is amazing what a few small dietary and regime changes can make to your horses overall well-being.

 

 

filled leg 2

 

2. Horses who are standing for long periods of time can be prone to filled legs, the filling is seen in 2 or 4 legs (either the front pair or the back pair or all four) this is caused by fluid gathering in the lower part usually due to the circulation and lymphatic systems becoming sluggish. Often owners bandage their horse’s legs to help reduce the filling, fluid will often disperse once the horse is walked in hand or turned out and feeding selective herbs are said to help horses with filled legs. Remember it is important to check out any unusual filling with your vet.

 

 

3. Many equines develop problems with their airways due to a number of reasons, dust, mould spores, lack of ventilation, poor quality hay or haylage. Horses often develop a cough or nasal discharge and it is always advisable to seek advice from your vet if the cough is ongoing. Making changes to your horse’s environment i.e. soaking hay, using dust free bedding, turning out as much as possible can all help to keep your horses airways clear. Certain ingredients can be fed to help clear excess mucus.

 

iStock_000003461943_Small

4. We receive calls during the summer months when the grass is sparse regarding sand colic but this winter we have seen a dramatic increase in the number of cases especially here on the Norfolk/Suffolk coast. With the very wet weather we have experienced this year grazing is very poached and it appears horses are ingesting more sand particles which gradually build in the horses gut causing the horse to colic. If you live in a sandy area and you are concerned about your horse’s health, speak to your vet or ask for a sample of your horse’s poo to be sent off of analysis.  Many vets recommend a short course of Psyllium husks which can be added to the horses feed.

 

hormonal mare5. Grumpy horses including those who are sometime aggressive around feeding time and may also show signs of stomach discomfort, a dislike to being girthed, rugged or groomed and if ridden may feel cold backed or buck. If your horse displays one or more of these actions it may be a good idea to talk to your vet about suspected gastric ulcers, they are very common in horses and often can be more obvious to the owner whilst the horse is stabled for long periods. If ulcers are suspected then it is good practice to feed a high forage and fibre diet, try and avoid any cereal or starch and allow as much natural grazing a possible to help increase the horses saliva prodcution. Feeding other ingredients which help to coat the stomach lining and neutralise acid may also help with your horse’s discomfort.

Our Freephone advice line is open 7 days a week so if you would like any further information regarding any of the above mentioned problems or a totally different problem then please don’t hesitate to contact us on 0800 585525 or visit www.feedmark.com and click on live chat or email us at [email protected]

 

Place your bets! – Ben Haslam Racing

Image 1We are a small racing yard based in Middleham, North Yorkshire (right, the yard set in the grounds of Middleham Castle), a village steeped in racing history. Picturesque, it’s a wonderful place to train, with beautifully kept gallops and essentially plenty of turnout for our equine athletes!

Racing is a game of margins, and one is always looking for that extra inch at the finishing line. The obvious factor is getting the horses as fit as possible, as every muscle is tested to its maximum. However, their health is equally as important, which is why we have turned to Feedmark for help in giving them all the minerals and vitamins they need to enable them to feel and perform at their best. Every one of them has a Rock Salt Lick in their stable, and they adore them – a very easy way to incorporate essential minerals into their diet. Electrolytes are also very important in the rehydration of racehorses, and not even our fussiest eaters refuse Replenish!

image 2We have had a relatively quiet winter, having mainly flat horses in training here, and most of our jump horses preferring summer ground. The yearlings – now two year olds – have been keeping us from getting bored! Young horses who are growing daily, they particularly adore there salt licks and I have to replace them far too often! We tend to buy our yearlings from Tattersalls in Newmarket around October time, and they then come home where they chill out for a couple of weeks before the education starts. They all took to saddle and rider very quickly this year (with only one or two rider athletics!), and with the warm (sort of…) weather we have had, they are all very forward and going up the canter with great aplomb. We have some very nice types, so let’s hope they do us proud this year! 2 year old are lots of fun to work with – they love to play and enjoy their work so much. We are very careful not to push them if they aren’t ready, but we have two colts (nicknamed Henry and Toby, who is pictured above strutting his stuff) who are finding it effortless, so hopefully they will be out early on once the flat season starts.

Image 3We had a great start to the year with Whisky Marmalade nd we are hopeful she will be giving them more opportunities to open the champagne! One of our first runners since starting with Feedmark, it looks like those winning inches are starting to kick on, so we’ll cross our fingers the luck continues into 2016!

If you want to check out who we have in training, have a look at our website www.benhaslamracing.com!

 Until next time!

Horse Of The Week – Bentley.

Bentley 4Our Horse Of The Week is 27-year-old Bentley, a 14.2hh Arab crossed with a Quantock Pony. He is owned by Michelle Seymour and has been since 1997. Together, the combination often hack out, work on schooling, and compete in Veteran Showing classes.Bentley 5

Michelle explained: “Bentley was born in June 1988, and I have owned him since he was 9-years-old. Back in his day, he has competed in local show jumping classes. He was excellent at this, and very fast in the jump off! We also affiliated in Dressage and got to Medium Level. Bentley has been a star in all the years that I’ve owned him, and I will be hard pushed to find another horse like him. He is scared of cows, but he has become braver over the years! For the last three years we have qualified for, and won, the Golden South West Veteran of the Year.”
Bentley 2“Bentley has a cheeky character, he is very vocal at feed time and knocks his stable door for attention. He knows the sound of my car and my footsteps, which is scary! He knows I’m there before he has even seen me!”

“Bentley has been on ExtraFlex HA with Rosehips for over 10 years and he is still sound and flexible. ExtraFlex HA with Rosehips has given him the ability to continue to be the sprightly thing that he is. Comfortable for all of these years, he will be 28 in June this year, and still looks amazing.”Bentley 1

“My future plans are to continue to love and look after Bentley. I will keep him ticking over to the best of my ability whilst feeding ExtraFlex HA with Rosehips. I’d like him to be around for as long as possible, as long as he is happy.”

A FREE tub of ExtraFlex HA with Rosehips is on its way to Bentley for being our Horse Of The Week!
Bentley 3

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.