Monthly Archives: September 2016

Annie Joppe – Another Good Result!

Another good competition result!  This time it was Chiara’s turn.  Whilst concentrating on Dilmun last month, Chiara’s training was perhaps less than I would have liked.

Although fitness work was complete, there was insufficient time to pay detailed attention to all the other things Chiara needed to perfect.  During fitness training I found that it was quite simply impossible to slow Chiara down when cantering using her hanging snaffle.  This was whilst working on our own so I dread to think how it would be when cantering in a group.  Rather reluctantly I reverted to her Dutch gag with the reins on the middle ring.  I truly hate using a severe bit but accept that sometimes it is necessary and when it is respected minimal pressure is needed for the desired result.

OK, so now I have the essential brakes BUT drinking en route is also essential and Chiara was still having some difficulty drinking with a bit in situ.  Of course it would, in theory, be possible on a relatively slow ride to periodically jump off, unclip the bit and let her drink but it is far from ideal and when we move onto race riding next year it would be impossible.  The issue is not getting her to drink but either giving her the confidence to try with a bit or to provide something so delicious that she will persist in trying to drink until she has cracked it.  With that in mind, I have changed the sugar beet I use to the molassed type in her sugar beet tea and this has definitely increased desire if not necessarily perceived ability.

It is also necessary to eat regularly throughout a longer distance ride.  Horses are ‘grazers’ and are designed to munch away for many hours a day.  We humans disrupt this in endurance by asking them to cover large distances over a long period of time therefore we must ensure that they eat as often as possible.  Now Chiara is better at eating with a bit in her mouth than drinking but, unlike most horses I know, she doesn’t automatically try to graze, pick at hedges etc once we have stopped.  Again encouragement is needed in the form of particularly tasty morsels to temp her appetite.  Yes, this works to a degree but horse cannot live on apples alone and more work needs to be done here!

Another thing that really needed practice was loading and travelling.  Unfortunately there was no time to practice this before our next competition so it was on a wing and a prayer that Chiara was loaded to travel to Barbury Castle in Wiltshire for her first 80 km competition.  Luckily she took just 5 minutes to load and travelled the 5 hours to Barbary pretty well even taking some water (and apples!) on board when we refuelled.

Barbury Castle was to be Chiara’s first sleepover; actually the first time in an electrified corral.  She aced it!  She was relaxed and happy alternately grazing and looking around her at all the other horses in their corrals.   After she had chilled out a bit I took her for a good walk to look round the vetting area, the hold area and the really scary cross country jumps near the start and the finish.

The following morning after a leisurely start, I took Chiara off to the pre-ride vetting.  I was hopeful she would be chilled (after our last experience at the Boconnoc ride) but alas it was not to be.  We had arranged to ride together with a friend and her horse who was at the same competitive stage as Chiara so we went to the vetting together;  big mistake.  Chiara saw ‘Norman’ doing his trot up whilst having her heart rate taken and flipped.  As it was a pre-ride vetting the vet kindly allowed us to wait until Chiara’s heart rate went back to normal, then the trot up which felt like flying beside a winged Pegasus!

Within half an hour we were tacked up, mounted, warmed up and ready to start; an exciting start negotiating the dreaded cross country obstacles (and we didn’t even have to jump them!) and attempting to stay cool and calm across the open grassland at the beginning of the course with other horses disappearing ahead into the distance.

Chiara and Norman soon settled down into a good rhythm and speed and the first loop passed fairly uneventfully with Chiara even managing a little sugar beet tea.

chi-at-barary-sept-16On we went to Chiara’s first vet gate.  I had decided in advance that this was all about a good experience for Chiara and not about how quickly we could present to the vet.  It was a very warm day but we had anticipated this and had plenty of ice with us to cool Chiara down (necessary to get her pulse down to below 65 bpm).  She drank a good quantity of water on entering the vet gate after her bit was removed, but was pretty fidgety whilst being cooled so we waited almost 10 minutes to present to the vet.  After the experience of the pre-ride vetting, the horses vetted together resulting in Chiara’s heart rate being acceptable.  Unfortunately Norman managed to strike into himself during his trot up and was temporarily lame so was not allowed to go out onto the next loop.

After eating rather sparingly we tacked up again and set out on the final 40 km on our own.  Chiara was such a little star leaving all the other horses and cantering off past all those scary jumps again.  We overtook several riders, opened and closed gates and maintained a steady pace, eventually catching up with 2 other riders in our class and proceeded steadily to the finish line.

The final vetting was similar to the halfway one with Chiara being fidgety and not really settling and the trot up was again rather on the fast side for my 80 km legs.  However, she passed the vetting and we had completed her first 80 km competition at a good speed and still with a very keen horse!

Chiara then had a good two weeks’ rest which was followed by some gentle schooling.  We now have some access to some large fields close to us now that the crops are off and we can do some canter work. The next competition planned is Chiara’s second 80 km, this time in Wales so hill preparation will be a must.dil-scrumping-sept-16

Meanwhile Wizard has had his shoes restored to him and to say he was delighted would be an understatement; he was ecstatic!  Although Wizard is now 21 he loves to work (not too hard) and, although he won’t be fit enough to do another competitive ride this season, he will do some light hacking and a little dressage.

Dilmun is now on holiday with Fantom and will have his shoes off in the next week or so and has access to much more grass where both he and Fantom can develop rather fat tummies. Both boys are lucky to be in the orchard and have access not only to great grass, but also to as many apples as they can steal over the electric fence.

Horse Of The Week – Copper.

copper-eveson-roberts-23This is Copper, he is 20 years old, and stands at 11.2hh, his owner Clare Eveson-Roberts explains: “I’ve owned Copper for 18 years he is a Blue Cross rescue pony, he was approximately 2 years old when he came into our care. He was so terrified that when you lifted your hand to scratch your head and would try to bolt through fear. It took a lot of time and patience to gain his trust but eventually he turned into a much more confident and happy boy, although it took many years before he would comfortably let copper-eveson-roberts-22anyone else near him!


These days he is a cheeky chappy who loves life… and food!”

“Copper likes to go hacking, and he has won rosettes through competing in local shows and in Horse Ability. Our future plans are for our children to continue riding and enjoying Copper, and for him to take part in more Horse Ability. Copper is a little superstar who has overcome so much in his life.”

“We have used Feedmark’s Benevit Advance for years and copper-eveson-roberts-15editthe results are fantastic. Copper is in fine fettle with a lovely coat, people often remark on how good he looks! As Copper is a little fatty he has to have a restricted diet but we are sure that Benevit Advance is the key to keeping him healthy, as it provides all of the vitamins and mineral he needs on a daily basis.”copper-eveson-roberts-17edit

A FREE tub of Benevit Advance is on its way to Copper for being our Horse Of The Week!

COULD YOUR HORSE BE THE NEXT HORSE OF THE WEEK? Each copper-eveson-roberts-7week, 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 – Percy.

percy-3Our Horse Of The Week is Percy. His owner, Dawn Taylor-Hawkins explains: “Witchcombe Purple Rain is now aged 10. Also known as Percy and at home, PP and “Perfect Percy” quite a lot of the time too! We have owned Percy for just over 2 years. I own Percy, but his Rider is my son Elliott Taylor-Hawkins aged 18 as of 17th September.”

“Percy is mostly Thoroughbred, a quarter American Paint percy-10Horse and a quarter Shire. We feel the Thoroughbred gives him his stamina and speed for a great Cross Country round within the optimum time. The American Paint Horse gives Percy the nobility and amazing presence he has. The Shire within him perhaps gives him the bone and percy-18sure footedness; continual soundness (touching Wood); possibly the marvellous “Teddy Bear” temperament; reliability; steadiness; and above all, the most incredible good attitude to work. Percy is black and a good 17 hands high. Lovely big fronted Event type.”

“An absolute Gentleman of a horse, his old owner contacted us just over 3 years ago, feeling percy-17that Percy would be the right horse for my son then aged 15 to start Eventing on, she felt the combination would be perfect. We turned her down at first as at 17hh, I personally felt he was too big for a teenage lad, we were looking for 16.2hh no bigger. A year later Elliott grew so much, it was clear at just over 6ft we would be needing a horse of Percy’s size after all! Elliott started riding at age 11, and he joined his local Pony Club, The Dartmoor Hunt. He did Triathlon, and all the usual wonderful Pony Club things including in the early days Mounted Games which was terrific fun on his little speedy pony. Percy was purchased with the view that he and Elliott would start off their percy-4Eventing career together, Percy had not competed significantly and was used as a Hunter before having a break when his Rider emigrated to New Zealand.”

“Percy has a natural air of nobility about him, the most beautiful black horse with just one tiny white sock. We really have found our very own Black Beauty! Percy loves everybody, he adores children and makes a big fuss of the Yard Cats. Mischievous in personality, playful Percy likes to make his presence known at all times, demanding attention and being so gentle and loving, he really is like a big, soppy, black percy-2Labrador!”

“After a bit of a settling in period, Elliott got to work on Percy, introducing him to flatwork, finding out very quickly that Percy’s least favourite discipline really is flatwork!

“We quickly found out that Percy has a really scopey jump as percy-6promised, but he lacked the basics, taking huge leaps and removing strides etc. So, Elliott and his instructor worked very hard taking things right back to the beginning. The dreaded trotting poles and grid work, including low poles to improve his basic technique. Cross Country is the real area Percy excels in, he is bold and fearless, he likes to get into a lovely natural rhythm, covering the ground easily with a super big stride. He is always focused, with an eye on the next viewable jump, helped no doubt by his early days Hunting on Dartmoor in all terrains and conditions. So, after percy-8months of preparation Elliott and Percy had their very first Event, a BE90 at Launceston in Cornwall. Being placed 6th gave them the encouragement to keep going, they were placed 3 times in 5 outings last season. Percy and Elliott also competed at the National Pony Club Championships at Cholmondeley Castle in August 2015, their Novice Eventing Team being placed 8th. What a wonderful, proud day for all, including the Mums!”

“This 2016 season, they have progressed within British Eventing to BE100 level. Five outings so far this season has seen them placed every time after consistent Double Clears! The highlight percy-15being 6th place at Bicton International. Whilst Percy still needs work on his Dressage, his Showjumping skills are very good and the hilly terrain, beautiful flowing course and technicality of the Cross Country at Bicton really suited him.”

“Elliott, Percy, and their team mates, Dizzy and Jas on their horses, came 2nd in the Pony Club Eventing Intermediate Areas 2016. Sadly, not quite high enough to get to Championships this year, but there is always next year! Elliott hopes by then he and Percy will be competing at Open Level. Elliott’s dream with Percy, is to compete at Badminton Grassroots 100 level, the Grassroots Regional Finals are late September 2016 in Dorset, just the week after Elliott turns 18 years of age. We have everything crossed for them that they will qualify, if not there is always next year!” percy-11

“There is loads of work to be done still with the Dressage, as Eventing success very much relies on a good Dressage score as well as a Double Clear of course. If Elliott and Percy are lucky enough to qualify for Badminton Grassroots they will then go right onto BE Novice level. Their next challenge. We are all so thrilled with Percy “a bit of low level Eventing” we thought! Whatever we ask of Percy he rises to the challenge and beyond. They really are on their way and it’s such early days too!”

percy-13Percy struggles at times with the necessary balance and flexibility at times within Dressage only, not at all visible within any other discipline. Our Physio who works with Percy regularly, recommended Feedmark’s ExtraFlex HA with Rosehips. She has used it with her own horses and has been very pleased with the results. We tried it, and after just a few weeks our Dressage Instructor noticed a real improvement. When we explained that we had started using the supplement she was amazed! We are very percy-1pleased with the results, in fact at one stage we had a gap from using the ExtraFlex HA with Rosehips and we definitely noticed a difference. We wouldn’t use anything else now. Although several people have suggested different brands that they rely on, we like to use the one we have tried and tested for ourselves and have definitely seen results with! The proof is in the percy-7pudding so to speak, after all. Thank you Feedmark!”

A FREE tub of ExtraFlex HA with Rosehips is on its way to Percy for being our Horse Of The Week!percy-9

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] .

Horse Of The Week – Beach Bum.

This is Beach Bum, who is owned by Ashleigh Jukes. Ashleigh told us: “His name is Beach Bum, beach-bum-2but we call him Val on the yard. He is now 15 years old and is a 17hh Sports Horse. We have mostly competed in local events and showing together, but the thing we enjoy the most is galloping on the beach!”

“Val has a past career of showing, but when he came to me three years ago he’d had a couple of years off and needed bringing back into work. He was underweight and seemed quite stressed when in the stable. Val was unresponsive to my leg aids and occasionally reared.”

“I tried Feedmark’s Gastric Comfort and within a few weeks you could see the results. Val is now pretty laid back most of the time (he still has his beach-bum-1moments but that’s the Thoroughbred in him!) and he is in perfect condition.”

“Val is currently having a year off to relax whilst I’m at university, as he has worked so hard the past few years. He really is my best friend and Gastric Comfort has helped to make him the gentle giant that he really is!”beach-bum-3

A FREE tub of Gastric Comfort is on its way to Beach Bum 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 send your horse’s details in to [email protected] .

Undercover racehorse not happy about latest arrival to the yard!

1Alice has asked me to take over the Feedmark Blog this month, as I do have the rather more impressive literary skills, naturally. For those who don’t know me, I am Hi Dancer, and I am a VIR (Very Important Race horse). An experienced age of 13, I am the heroic victor of 18 races, including a 9 length victory over hurdles this summer.

Anyway, it hasn’t been the easiest week for me. Now, I don’t like to brag, but I’m not stupid, so can only be aware of my rather ‘celebrity’ status on the yard. People know me, which tends to happen when you have been in the industry as long as I have. This also tends to lend me a certain standing here in the yard, and other yards are often heard admiring me, or asking after my well being – my Sedgefield performance this year was even known to have raised a few tears among the crowds. However, and much to my chagrin, I appear to have been rather overshadowed by the arrival of an extremely large animal, who goes by the rather incongruous name of Mr Mole (left) – I mean honestly! Yes, I know he’s won a Grade 2 (whatever!), run in the Champion Chase and had AP McCoy use his back to announce his retirement from – but really?! Does that even compare to 12 years of hard graft, combined with some rather impressive literary skills most equines do not possess?! The excitement buzzing around the yard when he arrived was frankly ridiculous, and I let Ben know my feelings when sulking heavily at Sedgefield on Thursday, certainly not putting my best foot forward in the hurdle race there – and I will proceed to do this until Ben recognizes who is still top dog around here!
Anyway, putting my own personal feelings on the subject aside, I do recognise (grudgingly) just how wonderful this is for the yard, and a huge thanks must go to JP McManus for allowing us this opportunity. He is clearly a very special horse (though from the way he is treated here you would think he is the Messiah!) and hopefully a change of scenery will do this very talented chap some good. We have also welcomed another very large chaser this week in the form of The Doorman, who is busy speaking in a strong Irish accent with Ever So Much. Lots to look forward to!
2Celebrities aside, the yard have been running well on the track, but sadly without quite winning – frustrating, but at least we are all in good form. Toby (Bourbonisto) (Right) found himself back in Scotland the week before last for the third time – he’s going to come back with an accent one of these days! – and ran a really good race under Dougie Costello to finish 3rd. The poor chap has had no luck in running this year, and got heavily boxed in at the wrong time before running on very well, and it is surely only a matter of time before he finds himself bringing home the spoils for owners Daniel and David!
3Bertie (Skellig Michael) and Percy (Prancing Oscar) (left) made the trip to Redcar for their respective debuts over 6 and 7 furlongs. The less said about Bertie the better – I have been berating him heavily since for being a complete embarrassment to the yard. Having never had a coltish thought in his life, he suddenly became excessively interested in fillies, losing the plot completely and failing to even try and come out of the stalls. He than proceeded to check out the entire of Redcar racecourse, before carting his jockey off into the distance once he got to the finishing line: too little too late! Needless to say, he has been put heavily to work at home since, and hopefully will be a little more streetwise next time – or else!
Percy rather redeemed the day in the Middleham Park colours, thank the lord. He looked as leggy as expected in the paddock – Supermodels watch out! – and nearly had Cam Hardie off over his head on the way to the start. However, he jumped the stalls nicely before going very green, and for a panicky moment I thought a repeat of Bert was about to happen – however he knuckled down beautifully in the final half furlong to run on very well into 5th in a decent looking race. He has been much more respectful at home since, and it has done him the world of good, but he is also going through yet another growth spurt. One to watch next year though methinks!

Op (Operateur) (below) and Moonie (Moon Over Rio) also ran very gallant races last week, foiled by well handicapped three year olds with feather weights. Op went off to Newcastle, where he was trying the all-weather for the first time in a very long time, and he hugely enjoyed himself under Paul Mulrennan to come a good 4th of 14. He was very pleased with himself, and will either go to his favourite track Hamilton or a hurdle at Uttoxoter next (I know which one he would prefer!)

4Moonie went off to Carlisle, and ran another very brave race for Graham Lee, who was exceptionally complimentary of her and quickly recognised the largest part of her is most definitely her heart! She is saddled with an awful lot of weight at the moment, and after looking like she was going to win a furlong out, just faded under it in the last furlong to finish 3rd. She may also head back over hurdles next, where hopefully she will be able to show off her dynamite jumping skills to their best effect.

Dursey (Dursey Sound) and Wibble (Man Of La Mancha) also ran races that boded better fortune may well be on the horizon. Richie McLernon rode a waiting race in the 2 mile 5 furlong chase at Sedgefield on one of our newer arrivals, Dursey, but just when he was about to make his move he slipped a little around the final turn. However, Richie felt the race gave him loads of confidence, which he has been lacking recently, and he jumped very well, so fingers crossed he’ll be finishing closer soon. Wibble was again a little frustrating at Newcastle, over 7 furlongs on the all-weather, looking like he was going to win before electing to hold his breath the last half furlong (helpful!) but he is getting stronger slowly and will be a better horse next year.

Until next time,

Horse Of The Week – Felix.

Felix 1This is Follow The Stars, whose stable name is Felix. Felix is an Appaloosa X Cob and he stands at 16.1hh. He is 7 years old and Emily Catherall has owned Felix for just over a year and a half.

Emily explains: “We bought Felix straight from the breeder as Felix 8a 5-year-old, after he had been backed and turned away. He has been produced slowly by myself since then. So far, we have achieved the following: he has been placed in the top 3 at every Riding Club Felix 9class he has entered, with fantastic comments from judges on his fantastic temperament and looks! Felix has been out competing in Dressage, never scoring less than 65% for Prelim tests and has recently started learning a few Novice level moves! Alongside this, Felix has been to the beach, and has been around farm rides proving incredibly brave over any fence.  He also loves a good hack, but only if we meet an ice cream van that he can poke his head into!”Felix 7

“Our plans for the future are to compete in some one day events, the first of which we are doing at Bold EC on the 17th September. I would also love to take Felix to some county shows in the next year or two as a Working Hunter. He is a complete gentleman Felix 3in every way (some may say a princess) and he absolutely adores children! He will stop for any child, wherever we are and stick his head on the floor where they can reach to stroke his nose.”Felix 12

Steady-Up Advance has given us both so much help when we go out competing and when I school at home. Due to Felix’s naturally nosey personality he had a very small concentration span and I found it draining to keep his concentration!
Felix 14Though now we can happily go out to new places every month and he always knows he is there to work. Steady-Up Advance has been a godsend to us and I can’t see myself getting rid of it for a long time! So, a huge thank you to all of the Feedmark team!”Felix 13

A FREE tub of Steady-Up Advance is on its way to Felix 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 Felix 5your horse to feature, then please send your horse’s details in to [email protected] .Felix 6

Our Euston Park Adventure – Katie Bedwin.

Euston Park is well known in the endurance world, with a championship style venue and fast track. So I thought we could turn a few heads and take my pocket rocket, Burfield Goodie Two Shoes for her second CEI 2* JYR 120km. Now for those of you that don’t know, Shoes, as she’s known at home, is my homebred 13.2hh part bred Arab – so yes she did stick out like a sore thumb amongst the rest of the field!

The first challenge for little Shoes would be the pre-ride vetting, as I said the venue is set up like championship – flags everywhere, undercover vetting, white roped vetting lanes, viewing areas…enough to blow any horses brain! Amazingly, she took everything in her stride and she was an instant hit with the vets and ground jury! She received A’s and 1’s on her vet card, and we were given the all clear to start in the morning!

The next challenge was the introduction of temporary stabling, again no worries from Shoes. She was eating, and drinking well and I swear she was saying to me ‘stop stressing mum, I’ve got this!’.

The next morning the first task was to get the transponder to fit Shoes’ head – harder than you would think, as they are not made for ponies! Once fixed, we tacked up and were ready for off! There were only 16 starters in our class, but that was a lot more than Shoes was used to, in addition to this we were in a large open field, flags galore…and drones! I will admit, I was nervous, very nervous! But I put that to the back of my mind, as I knew Shoes would need me.

3-2-1, we were off! Shoes settled nicely in canter, and we did our best to keep out of the way of the larger horses. We were always going to be a lot slower than the other horses, and I didn’t want to go too fast at the start – much to a certain little pony’s disappointment! Shoes settled on her own, and we even negotiated the river crossings without me getting too damp!

Shoes August 2016 EDIT

We finished the first loop well, but the vet gate environment took its toll on Shoes and her recovery time was not as quick as I would have liked, but she passed with flying colours and we were soon off on the next loop of 30km. I was conscientious that Shoes wouldn’t cope with the 16.5kph we did on the first loop, so we dropped down to 15.3kph. Half way around this loop we met up with another rider in our class, and despite the size difference, Shoes was very happy with her new friend.

In to the second vet gate, and Shoes was still very alert, so her recovery time wasn’t as normal but I wasn’t worried, she was just ready to go. The vets were pleased with her, and we were ready to set off on the penultimate loop – another 30km. Unfortunately, our friend wasn’t able to continue on this loop, so we were out alone once again. Shoes did the first 15km of the third loop well, but then started to struggle. I got off and ran with her and she was much happier. We slowed down to 13kph, and I had decided to see how she went through the vetting and then make a decision about the last loop.

We were so far behind the rest of the field now, the speed did not bother me, all I wanted was a sound and happy pony. She again flew through the vetting, and then ate and drank well. There was a compulsory represent at this vet gate, which pleased me because it allowed me to see if the recovery had been enough for Shoes, and whether she was capable for the last 20km. She was given the all clear to head out on the last loop.

I felt sick, at this moment the end of this 120km seemed like a life time away but if Shoes was sound and capable, then I had to make that last 20km the easiest it could be for her. By now, all the other riders in the 120km were long gone and I was the last horse out of the vet gate accompanied by one 160km horse. We went out of the vet gate together, but that was it, he was long gone! So little Shoes and I were once again alone, it can feel very lonely, but we sang, well I say we… I sang, Shoes listened! The last loop was hard because the majority was two ways, so Shoes battled on until we met the first horse on its way home. She just didn’t understand, typical pony attitude, ‘excuse me mum but that horse is going towards home, we could do that too and it would be much easier’.  But we bumbled on, albeit slowly and we met our crew – she drank well and we carried on around a small loop that would eventually take us back to our crew and then we would be on the way home…but try telling that to a stubborn, chestnut mare, who was insistent that we were still going away from home!

I will be honest; I have never cried so much whilst riding a horse! I ran with Shoes for someway and she was quite happy to canter alongside me – so I knew she was not done just yet, a little bit of taking the mickey I think! We made it back to our crew, and from there had 8km home. Let’s just say that 8km was done on Shoes’ terms, she was quite happy to trot, but at her speed. Well that said, her terms changed when we got within a 1km of the venue and she could see home! Well then she put herself into canter and pulled her way over the line!

We came back to a deserted vet gate, but the ground jury and vets were waiting for us. We cooled Shoes off and then just let her stand until we were happy. I was worried about her getting stiff, so we took her in to vet. I couldn’t watch. All our time and effort had gone into today, could she do it…we were so close and yet so far?

When the vet and ground jury said we had past I couldn’t believe it, it was all worth it! My little pony was qualified for the World Young Rider Championships 2017 – who’d have thought it!