Monthly Archives: August 2016

Horse Of The Week – Tornado Tilly.

Tornado Tilly 3Meet Tornado Tilly, a 9-year-old Dartmoor Hill Pony. She is 11.3hh and has been owned by Kelly Faulkner and her family for six years. Kelly explains: “Tilly was bought for us by the in-Tornado Tilly 10laws as a project, and she was only semi-backed.”


“Tilly is mainly our Show Jumping Pony, but this year my youngest daughter Caitlin has had a lot of success in
Dressage which has won her the points league at Codham Park Equestrian Centre. Tilly and Caitlin have also Tornado Tilly 7had a win in their first ever workers class, and they do well in Young Handler as they are both so cheeky. Tilly has also competed in Jumpcross, and is generally an all-round superstar!”

Tornado Tilly 2

“We were recently at the Equine Sports UK Championships, as Tilly and Caitlin had qualified to do the 60cm and 65cm Championship Showjumping. They jumped on the Saturday and qualified for Grand Prix on the Sunday, where they came 3rd and 5th overall. Whilst we were there, Caitlin and Tilly competed in Tornado Tilly 1the Young Handler and came 2nd, qualifying for the Championship where they placed 3rd overall.”


“Our future plans are to continue enjoying Tilly as Tornado Tilly 8much as we do now, and getting out to a variety of competitions as often as we can.”


“Tilly’s only problem was her disgusting habit of
eating her boyfriend’s poo when out in the field with him. Her Tornado Tilly 17boyfriend is Fudge (aka Jammy Dodger 2), an 11-year-old Thoroughbred cross Trotter. We discussed this with Feedmark, and they suggested that we feed BioPro to Tilly, to help support the bacteria in the hind gut.”Tornado Tilly 16


“Tilly has now stopped picking at Fudge’s poo, and is Tornado Tilly 5generally much happier and more settled.”

Tornado Tilly 12

A FREE tub of BioPro is on its way to Tornado Tilly for being our Horse Of The Week!


COULD YOUR HORSE BE THE NEXT 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 Tornado Tilly 18send your horse’s details in to [email protected] .

Ben Haslam Racing Update.

August 1Things have started getting a bit busier again here at Castle Hill Stables, though we have had the normal frustrations of horses running well, but not quite hitting the top spot.

Moon Over Rio (left) probably produced the best performance of the last couple of weeks, when finishing a good 3rd in a competitive race at Thirsk over 1 mile 4 furlongs, despite being drawn on the wide outside and the ground being firmer than ideal for her. She will hopefully head to Carlisle next week, where with any luck her good form will continue!

We have a few 2 year olds out and about at the end of this week, including Bourbonisto at Hamilton, who is looking very well at home, and Skellig Micheal and Prancing Oscar (right) at August 2Redcar, who will both be making their racecourse debuts. This is always a nerve wracking time for all involved, as one is never quite sure how they are going to behave: luckily, they often surprise us and rise to the occasion well. Fingers crossed these two will make a good first impression on the racing public!

Unbelievably, we seem to have somehow got back to the time of year when we are frantically running around the yearling sales, looking for next year’s stars (we hope!) Sales season kicked off for us yesterday at Doncaster, where Goffs put on a heavenly display of horses, and one feels a bit like a kid in a candy shop: sadly, they cost a little more than your average sweet!

We were delighted to come back with two good looking colts, striking early on by buying Lot 4, a August 3lovely looking son of Camacho (left). A half -brother to a Group 1 winner, he looks a good buy and looks sure to grow plenty  over the next couple of months. We had to wait until Lot 92 for the next one to catch our eye, and we were very pleased to secure an extremely strong, good looking son of Dandy Man (below, right). He looks ready to rock and roll now!

It is always nice to be able to get a couple of the young ones in early, as it means we can start them off whilst the weather is nice and warm, rather than in gale force winds and snow! We spend a couple of August 4months lunging and long reining them, and introducing them to a rider, before they have a little break to consolidate what they have learned and allow them to grow further. It is quite extraordinary to stand a racehorse yearling next to another breed of the same age and see how much physically stronger they are! Anyway, the riders will start taking there brave pills now, as breaking season always has its fair share of entertainment watching the babies bunny hopping their way around the gallops!

Annie Joppe – All About Dilmun.

Well this time it’s all about Dilmun. Well, almost!

Fantom is supposed to be on holiday to recover from all the little stresses his legs must have received after his 160kms race.  Nobody told him he was on holiday!  Big mistake I have a lunatic on my hands.  He has at present his own paddock area next to Dilmun, both of which are extended on a daily basis to allow the boys to receive a measured amount of fresh grass each day.  Dilmun’s paddock is slightly closer to the stables to it seemed obvious to move his fence first – NO, WRONG DECISION!  As soon as Fantom saw this all hell broke loose and to avoid the kicking, snorting and galloping I had to flee.  He is sooooo precocious.

Focus turned to Dilmun with his imminent second 1* coming up; this time at the College Equestrian Centre at Keysoe.  Dilmun had been here once before for the final selection for the World Equestrian Games whilst Fantom had been here twice before, both times winning the 2* – a lucky venue for me.

I have to say that Dil didn’t relish his training so much for this 1* and it all seemed rather hard work.  Not so much fitness-building was required this time as he still had a good fitness base from the race at Euston Park at the end of May.  Instead I concentrated more on schooling and interval training which seemed to go down a lot better than prolonged canter sessions.

Filming with Spotlight AUGUST 2016 1A couple of weeks before we were due to go to Keysoe we were contacted by BBC Spotlight South West to arrange some filming.  This duly took place on Perranporth Beach with me accompanied, of course, by Dilmun.  We had good weather, arranged the time to coincide with low tide and it was all systems go.  As usual I rode Dilmun down to the beach taking about an hour this time as we walked all the way to preserve his ‘hairstyle’.  We met a very impressive Janine Jansen who lugged all her equipment onto the beach on her own, interviewed us, filmed us cantering on the beach and then took her equipment almost vertically up the dunes to film us doing our interval training.  I must admit I think we both (Dilmun and I) felt more tired after this than after a full workout!

After Dilmun had his special shoes with pads fitted and a luxurious massage from Kate McCarthy, we were on our way to Keysoe.  I had chosen not to stable there but, as it was forecast to be very hot, to corral instead.  This time it was just one crew; my wonderful husband Robert, so everything had to be organised like a military operation:  corral set up, check in, set up vet gate, attend briefing, recce of crew points around the course.  Pre-ride vetting was in the morning from 6:00 am but the start wasn’t until 8:45 am so there was a lot of time to fill to good use.  Lots of walking followed, grazing in hand, breakfast for humans, last minute things put in the vetgate and the crew car and careful tacking up and warming up in all three paces.

Well there was a good-sized International field and the weather was fantastic (at least if you wanted to lie on a beach).  We rode out with the leaders and maintained a good pace around the first loop of 40kms.  However, coming into the vetting area it was apparent that Dilmun was so hot even with iced water poured over him.  As soon as you present to the vets the clock stops and no more crewing is allowed.  The vet area was over 30 degrees and we had a pulse of 66 bpm which meant we had to represent costing us at least another 6 minutes.

On the second loop we had to start well behind the leaders which was a little demoralising, but Dilmun soon picked up again when we had company and we passed a fairly uneventful loop.  Dilmun at Keysoe AUGUST 2016 2Again, though, our presentation was slow, partly I think due to the heat and partly because we needed another pair of hands.  This meant that we had to start the last loop all on our own in the hottest part of the day.

By now Dil was really feeling the heat and we were passed by a couple of riders, eventually coming home in 12th place.  Lessons have been learned – Dilmun is not a hot weather horse, you need more than one crew on a race ride however well-behaved the horse is and, in retrospect, with the forecast being so hot, it might have been better to have withdrawn and saved our efforts for another day.  However, no harm done and a solid completion gained.

Dilmun’s piece on the beach aired on television, facebook and twitter, and had almost 20,000 views and nearly 100 shares on facebook alone; such is the power of television.  Good for raising endurance’s profile.  This is a sport just begging to be an Olympic discipline with over 30 different countries participating and events taking place all over the World. It is inclusive and open to all and embraces the Olympic ethos.  Unfortunately horse sports are not popular in the Olympics and there currently is no question of a 4th equestrian sport being added; indeed it is debatable how long equestrian sport as a whole will remain part of the Olympics. Equestrians, we need to promote our wonderful sports far more effectively!

Horse Of The Week – Jez.

Jez 2Our Horse Of The Week is owned by Jemma Snow, who explains: “This is my flea-bitten grey ex racer, called Slow To Part (aka Jez). Jez is 19 years old and stands at 16.2hh. He ran 47 races under rules, then went in to Point-to-Point, before ‘retiring’ to aJez 1 field for a year. At the time I wasn’t actively looking for a horse, but I was gifted Jez, by a friend, on Valentine’s day four years ago. What better gift could a woman want!”

“At first, Jez was very regimented, only having been on race yards previously. I’ll never forget the first time he spotted a Shetland. Having never seen one before he had no idea what it was! He soon stole my heart and that’s when our story began.”

Jez 6“He is now my best friend and 99% of the time he gives back 100%. Although, being a seasoned ex racer he knows all the tricks in the book, which accounts for the other 1%! He has really helped my confidence and he always makes me laugh with his cheeky ways!”Jez 3

“I started him on ExtraFlex HA with Rosehips a couple of months ago to help with his stiffness, and it has helped tremendously. I would highly recommend this fabulous supplement! It has enabled us to continue to go out competing and attending clinics most weekends.”

“Jez has even been mistaken for a 4-year-old with his new bouncy ways. We look forward to continuing to enjoy our time together! Thanks Jez 4again for making such a fabulous product.”

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

COULD YOUR HORSE BE THE NEXT HORSE OF THE Jez 5WEEK? 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] .

Horse Of The Week – Bas.

Mr Basil B 122-year-old Bas is our new Horse Of The Week, and has been owned by Angie Jones-Moore for the past five and a half years. Angie explains: “My horse Mr Basil B is a 15.3hh, veteran thoroughbred, and a very lively one at that. We primarily hack and take part in low level dressage, and we often have lessons with a local trainer to keep us both switched on.

I took Bas to the beach before he was unwell and it was fabulous. Galloping with no restrictions was the most exhilarating experience, no need to pull up quickly because of gates either! Bas has taken part in eventing in the past, his previous owner took part in an awful lot of dressage when he was younger, he has won all manner of competitions and was supreme champion on one occasion.

Last year Bas had a problem that lead him to be put on box rest.  Unfortunately, after this Mr Basil B 4period his legs would get very fat when kept in; and as he is a very good do-er, I keep him stabled at night all-year-round, to restrict him from feeding his face non-stop!

I took it upon myself to have a look on the internet and I found No Fill, being completely natural I felt confident that I could try Bas with it and even if it didn’t do any good the supplement certainly wouldn’t do any harm. I am always nervous to try new supplements because he is so sensitive, I don’t like to upset his well-balanced gut.

The tub was a lot bigger than I thought and I soon realised why when I opened it, the herbs smell great and are not mashed into powder or granules, they look like dried herbs should. Bas ate the No Fill with ease and I increased the quantity to the recommended amount over a number of days.

Mr Basil B 3After feeding for a month, I have to say I have noticed that Bas’ legs have seemed normal for a while now. I will continue to feed No Fill and I am going to try Bas for a short period in the stable with no leg wraps, to see how his progression goes.

Bas is well loved and part of our family, we became ‘Team Bas’ when he was poorly, my husband and two children are all very good at bandages and leg wrapping now! I see Bas twice a day, every day and we have a very close bond, we ride anywhere and everywhere with no trouble at all. I trust him and he trusts me too.

I am really pleased with the results so far; they can only keep getting better! I am building Bas’ fitness at the moment, we have been restricted to walk for almost a year! I hope to enter some local dressage competitions before summer is over, and with the help of No Fill his legs will be more than up to the job!”

A FREE tub of No Fill is on its way to Bas for being our Horse Of The Week!Mr Basil B 2
COULD YOUR HORSE BE THE NEXT 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] .

Will’s Winning Ways

WF 3In eight years, Feedmark’s sponsored rider Will Furlong has gone from completing his first BE event to winning double gold at the 2015 FEI European Young Riders team championship. We catch up with him to find out the secrets of his success. (S)

Q You’ve come a long way since your Pony Club days and you’re still only 21 years old. What are your ambitions?

A In the short term, defending my European title in September. In the long term, I want to make Nations Cup teams. Following this, I hope I’ll get a call-up for the British senior team – that’s a little way off, but it’s always good to have something to work towards!

Q You achieved straight As at GCSE and A-level at school, so was it difficult to choose whether to go to university or focus on an eventing career?

A I was never attracted by the prospect of university. My school was very academic and I was about the only person in my year group not to go to uni, which the staff found very odd. I was keen on pursuing physiotherapy or something similar at first, but I’m no good at coping with blood and the thought of a year’s work in a hospital didn’t float my boat.
However, I wanted to do as well as I could academically so that if I was injured or decided to change career, I had good grades to fall back on. Some of my school friends graduated this year and though they’ve had a great time, I don’t regret the choice I made.

Q You started eventing through the Pony Club, which even youngsters who don’t own ponies can join. What did you get out of it?

A I started in the East Sussex branch of the PC when I was about ten and stayed until I was 16. Being a member of the PC or an affiliated body such as BE or BS is much more than just learning to ride and competing. I’ve played a lot of different sports to high levels but equestrian sports are unique in that men and women, pros and amateurs compete and train with each other. There seems to be much more of a community, rather a family-like feeling, within the equestrian world that makes it so special. It is the people that you meet along the journey, in what is a very up and down, tough sport, who remain your friends for many years to come.
I look back on my Pony Club days fondly; from PC camp to competing as part of the team for the first time. Whether you want to ride professionally or just to have fun, it sets you up with valuable tools for the future.

Q Why eventing rather than, say, showjumping or pure dressage?

A I had a fantastic little 13hh pony that I did a lot of hunting and working hunter classes on. I got a real buzz out of going fast and jumping hedges bigger than my pony and got into eventing that way. The cross-country phase is the main reason people decide to go eventing.

Q You’re based at the family business, Ingrams Eventing, in east Sussex and have fantastic facilities and horses. Does this make life easier or add to the pressure?

A Much easier – in my opinion. I appreciate it’s not for everybody and some people aren’t as fortunate as I am in terms of facilities; but I have a great relationship with my Mum, Lou, who is incredible supportive, and it works for me. It gives me more scope to do what I want on the yard, without having the restrictions of any landlords or tenants – and, of course, not having any rent is pay is a huge advantage.

Q Ingrams Eventing is also focused on breeding and bringing on event horses of the future. Do you have favourite breeding lines?

A We’ve just started out, so are very much learning along the way. Obviously event horses have to have a higher percentage of Thoroughbred blood, but it’s very hard to find ones that move and jump at the same time. You’ll have to come back to me in a few years on that one!

Q Tell us about some of your horses.

A We have a wide range, from youngstock to advanced eventers. We have tried to breed a couple of foals each year so are slowly filling up with mares and their babies.
My top ride, Livingstone II, is a 13-year-old gelding whom I’ve had for about five years. We won both individual and team gold at the Young Rider Europeans last year, along with the national under-21 championship twice and an eighth place in our first 3* together. I’ve got a new ride, Collien P 2, who is very exciting and will hopefully be aimed at the 8/9 year old class at Blenheim.

Q Does it help to be riding horses at all different levels? Do you enjoy bringing on young horses and shaping them the way you want them?

A It’s very difficult to keep your eye in, especially at the top levels, with just one horse. I feel that my riding has improved massively from riding different types of horses. You have to adapt to each one and we try to treat them as individuals, as they all have different traits and personalities.
One of the most rewarding things is seeing young horses develop, especially when you’ve had them from such a young age. The other benefit of starting a younger horse is that you can make them go exactly how you want them to; you don’t have other people’s ‘problems’ which can take a long time to eradicate. On the hand they can be a bit more testing at times and often pick up bad habits much quicker!

Q You’ve done well competing on mares. Do you have a different approach to riding/training mares or are all horses individuals?

Mares are great when they are on side, not so good when they aren’t. The brain and temperament are the most important thing for me in a mare. When you find one like that, she will try harder and dig deeper than any gelding will.
You have treat each individual horse differently. What works for one horse might not work for another. In general, you have to be a bit more sympathetic with mares, but I think there is a traditional and unfair image of all mares being horrible to deal with and difficult to ride. It’s worth spending more time on the ground with them to develop some more trust, something I do with all my horses. I don’t necessarily go out looking for mares but I think that in general, people should be more accepting of them.

Q Who do you train with?

A Alongside help from the UKSport National Lottery Funded World Class development programme, I have help from Sam Ray for dressage and Chris Burton for jumping.

Q You work hard on your fitness and were a member of England’s under-16 hockey team. Do you have a sporting hero or heroine?

A It has to be Jonny Wilkinson, the former international rugby union player. He suffered some career-threatening injuries during his playing time but always came through stronger. Having pretty much single-handedly won the World Cup, he was extremely dignified and modest in his achievements. He has now retired from playing but is giving so much back to the game by offering his experience and helping others. In my opinion, there aren’t many like him – in any sport.

Q How did you get involved with Feedmark? What do you like about the company and what are your favourite products?

A I’ve been using Feedmark supplements for ages now. I was already using them when I approached the company three years ago, asking whether they would help me in my bid to make it to the top. The Feedmark team is incredibly supportive and I hope that I can continue to pay back their generosity!
Feedmark has an incredible range. The nutritional advice is extremely helpful and your order will arrive the very next day! I’m a big fan of the Performance range and also like Hardy Hoof Formula.


Steph 2Patience and painstaking management for ulcers is paying dividends for Feedmark customer Steph Taylor and her horse

Steph Taylor’s plans for her dressage horse, Dazzling Knight, didn’t get off to the best start. But with patience and a careful management routine, they’ve become perfect partners and Steph’s dream of getting the 14-year-old gelding to Grand Prix level may yet come true.

“I’ve had him for two and a half years, but when I got him, he injured himself in the field and had to have a year off,” she explains. Then she faced another challenge: Dazzle was diagnosed with Grade 4 bleeding ulcers and needed veterinary treatment.

Eventually, endoscopy showed that treatment was working. However, dietary management remained key and Steph’s vet suggested that as well as ensuring that Dazzle had a low-starch diet, she should look at nutritional support.

“My vet suggested I should put him on Feedmark’s Gastric Comfort,” says Steph. “I’ve used other Feedmark products and always been happy with them, so I was pleased that she suggested this particular one.”

The careful regime Steph has created for Dazzle has paid off. “He’s much happier,” she says. “He’s much more forward and he’s got more stamina. I’m much more aware of the risk of ulcers and before I ride I always give him a scoop of fibre so there is something in his system to absorb the acid.

“He’s quite a sensitive soul and is very much a one-to-one horse – he’s not the sort who would be happy with several different people riding him and he has to know you to trust you. If you’re not feeling 100 per cent, he will pick up on it.

Steph 1“He’s not very good at coping with change, so we make sure he has good routines. He goes out every day for half a day, because if he stays out for longer he paces about and wants to come in. At shows, we always do the same warm-up routine so he knows what’s going to happen and doesn’t get stressed.”

Steph has two horses and two ponies: Dazzle; Perugia, a six-year-old from Holland whom she hopes will go on to top level dressage; her first pony, a New Forest; and a Shetland.  Over the years she’s become a real fan of Feedmark products. “I had a French Trotter who was a real fruit loop and Steady-Up Advance was great for him,” she says. “I’ve also used EquiDermis Plus and Hardy Hoof Formula successfully.”

Steph is very happy with Feedmark’s ordering and delivery service. “It’s a really easy process with quick delivery,” she says. “The products are protected so well by the packaging, it’s easy to choose the delivery option when you order – and I love the special deals.”




Horse Of The Week – Buzz.

Buzz 1Our new Horse Of The Week is Buzz, a Thoroughbred, who is owned by Kathy Boothman. Kathy explains: “My boy is eighteen years young, and is an ex racehorse. His racing name was Save The Pound, but everyone knows him as Buzz. I bought him as a project, on the end of a lunge line at 3 years old, so I guess he is a long-term project! We have had our fair share of blood, sweat, and tears but I love him to the moon and back.”Buzz 4

“We have done all sorts together, from riding club area competitions to getting placed at riding club championships. We have also competed in a 1* event, which was a dream come true to wear top hat and tails. These days, we compete mainly in ROR jumping classes. This year, we went to Windsor for the final where pilot Buzz 2error cost us a prize, however, we have qualified again and will be back in 2017!”

“I use ExtraFlex HA with Rosehips as part of Buzz’s diet, at his age it can only help and he does deserve it!”

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

COULD YOUR HORSE BE THE NEXT 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] .

Colic in horses is every owner’s nightmare – Helen Whitbread BVetMed CertVR MRCVS

COLIC – You can start the day as normal with your lovely horse and by the end of the day, despite best veterinary care and your efforts, suddenly your horse is gone.

colic2Colic simply means abdominal pain and this can vary in case from simple indigestion to life threatening twisted gut. Horses react to a “painful belly” in different ways, some will become quiet and shut down, whilst others will be more dramatic, getting up and down, rolling, striking out, kicking at their belly. Profuse sweating and a disregard for people and no sense of self preservation (ie they will chuck themselves on the concrete or bang their heads as they crash against the stable wall) are usually signs of severe pain and in particular a colonic torsion (twisted gut).

Signs of colic

  • Not eating
  • Rolling
  • No droppings
  • Sweating
  • Dog sitting
  • Frequently getting up and down / unsettled
  • Pawing the ground
  • Kicking at belly
  • Looking round at belly
  • Depression
  • Self-trauma

There are many causes of colic, but this article is going to explain why sand is an important consideration when dealing with a case of colic.

iStock_000003461943_SmallHow does sand get into the gut?

Horses eat it. Some horses will eat dirt – perhaps because they are salt deficient. On poor grazing, horses may pull up roots and ingest sand with the grass or when turned out in a sand school they may ingest the sand with the hay or through boredom. There is definitely an individual variation related to each horse’s grazing pattern because not all horses on the same paddock will accumulate sand in the gut. We often see an increase in the number of sand colics following a certain weather pattern – after a period of dryness, heavy rain will cause the sand from the soil to splash up onto the grassy leaf and therefore it is impossible to eat the grass without the sand.

Why is the sand a problem in the gut? 

Sand is quite rough and can irritate the gut wall as it is dragged along, but most of the problems we see are caused by an accumulation (collecting together) of the sand within the gut.

The horse’s gut is about 30 metres long from mouth to anus (bottom). Its’ design involves at least 3 hairpin bends and other dramatic changes in diameter – some parts of the gut are only 4cm in diameter (width of tube that food passes through) whilst other parts have a diameter of at least 10cm. These design faults of sudden changes in size and angle of gut make the horse more susceptible to colic.

sand impaction

Sand impaction of the large bowel

Because sand is heavy it sinks as it passes along the gut and it starts to collect at the bottom of the gut forming a layer. This layer of sand stops that piece of gut moving correctly (peristalsis is the technical name for the way your gut pumps food along). Over time this layer gets deeper and quite a “weight” of sand can collect as the rest of the food/liquid just moves along over the top of it. The sand can also accumulate at the hairpin bends in the horse’s gut.  The weight of the sand can affect the horse’s performance – imagine trying to be athletic with a sandbag strapped to your belly!

The accumulation of sand and slowing of gut mobility can lead to an impaction (sand blockage).

If you have ever tried to wash sand away (for example, clearing up after a beach outing) you’ll have noticed how persistent the sand is at hanging around and blocking the plug hole! This blocking effect is exactly what can happen in the horse’s gut too.

Because sand can affect the gut in different ways horses suffering from sand accumulation can be ill in different ways.  Here are some examples:-

  • Diarrhoea
  • Normal dung with squirt of fluid at the end
  • Intermittent low grade colic
  • Heavy (in weight) heaps of dung
  • No dung passed
  • Bloated/pot belly
  • Slow when ridden
  • Depressed or just a bit quiet
  • Grumpy
  • Laying down
  • No signs
  • Straining to pass dung
  • Any other ‘colic’ signs

How do you find out if your hose has any sand accumulation in the gut?

  1. Test the dung – anything more than ½ teaspoon of sand could be significant.
  2. Bucket of water – add generous double handful of dung and STIR.
  3. Leave 10 minutes and stir again.
  4. Wait one minute and tip out the water and dung and see how much sand is left in the bottom of the bucket (1/2 teaspoon requires action).   This is known as a sand dung test.
  5. Test weekly.

So how can we remove this sand?

Psyllium-HuskPsyllium husks are part of the seed of the plant “plantago ovata” grown mainly in India and Pakistan. These husks are indigestible and are used as dietary fibre in man to help in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome, constipation and diarrhoea. When psyllium is mixed with water these dry husks turn into a gel (very similar to wall paper paste!). As it passes through the horse’s gut this gloopy gel picks up particles e.g. sand as it passes through and steadily removes the sand via the dung. In severe impactions / sick horses vets will stomach tube large quantities of psyllium at least twice a day – Vets often use other products too in severe cases and, very importantly, provide pain relief. If you are worried about your horse or anything you have read please contact your veterinary surgeon.

Psyllium can also be used regularly in a preventative fashion to prevent accumulation. The rate and regularity of using psyllium should be planned with your vet and structured according to your sand dung test results. Test all horses, not just one! Psyllium should be fed dry or on top of damp feed to avoid a slimy mush that your horse may refuse to eat.

sand after heavy rain on clay soil (Small)East Anglia has recognised sandy areas east of the A12 similar to Holland where sand colic is also a problem.

Please note heavy clay soils also contain SAND – see photo of clay field after heavy rain showing lots of sand  – Test your horse even if your soil seems heavy!




Please feel free to look on our website or contact me for further details.

Helen Whitbread BVetMed CertVR MRCVS, Deben Valley Equine Vet Clinic, Birds Lane, Framsden, Suffolk IP14 6HR.  (01728) 685 123.


ex-racehorse Millbrook

Turning a stressy ex-racehorse into a star has been a real challenge for Feedmark customer Kathy Boothman – but it’s been worth every minute

Two years ago, Kathy Boothman had a phone call from her old boss, racehorse trainer Peter Niven. “The first thing he said was that he had a horse for me,” she recalls. “The second was that if I couldn’t do anything with him, I had to shoot him. So, no pressure!”
If you get the chance to watch the Retraining of Racehorses’ fabulous musical ride, you’d never guess that one of the lead horses – a stunning 16.3hh chestnut called Middlebrook – is that horse. Today, they and other members of the ride showcase the potential and versatility of re-trained racehorses and Middlebrook has also competed in BE90 eventing, dressage and showjumping with Kathy.

13672610_972668802830634_284459130_nIt hasn’t been an easy road to success, though. “He was tricky,” Kathy admits. “When I got him, he weaved all the way home in the lorry, then when I put him in a stable he galloped round it until he was dripping with sweat. I thought: what on earth have I done? I turned him out in the field because I thought he was going to hurt himself and he was much better.”
Middlebrook had made it clear that he didn’t like racing and he also made it clear that he didn’t like being stabled. What he did approve of was working, and by managing him in a way that he was happy with and doing everything she could to take the edge of his stress, Kathy has kept him happy.

13866627_972668822830632_929407687_nShe had already fed Feedmark’s Steady-Up Advance to another horse and decided that Middlebrook might benefit from the same nutritional support. Since then, it has been part of his feed regime.
“He comes off it when he has a short break in winter, but I always start feeding it again when he comes back into work,” says Kathy. “The Feedmark service is out of this world, I order it and it’s there the next day. You can’t go wrong – and there are some fantastic offers.”
Kathy has a real affinity with Thoroughbreds and is passionate about getting the message across that steered into the right jobs, with the right people, ex-racehorses have so much to offer. The RoR musical ride is an inspirational way of getting that across and is testament to the riders’ dedication.

13874600_972668796163968_64213328_n“There are eight of us, all amateur riders,” she says. “One lady didn’t start riding until she was 50 and another had never ridden outside a school. We’ve got a new routine coming up which includes jumping, so hopefully people will enjoy it even more.”
She has qualified Middlebrook for the RoR dressage championships and also competes another ex-racehorse, 18-year-old Buzz – who is another Feedmark customer, this time for ExtraFlex HA with Rosehips. “I bought him when he was a three-year-old,” she says. “He was meant to be a project, but he’s still here!”



Middlebrook still isn’t a fan of being stabled, but has mellowed enough to settle indoors on winter nights. He will also stay in the field while Kathy rides Buzz and is a perfect gentleman towards her six-year-old daughter, Grace – even lowering his head to make it easy for Grace to put on his headcollar.

“He’s very special,” says Kathy. “As soon as his tack goes on, he’s happy because he knows he has a job to do.”