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Dance the Racehorse Gives us a Christmas Update!


Can you believe it’s nearly Christmas?! I haven’t even started my present shopping yet, though I am considering not buying Ben anything as he keeps not turning me out on account of the ‘mud’ – unbelievable! We have been getting in the Festive mood here, with the yard Christmas party last week (I don’t have to buy Alice a present either actually, as she wouldn’t let me go!) Apparently a super evening was had by owners and staff alike at The Saddle Rooms, and judging by a few of the faces around here on Sunday, there were some well deserved sore heads. Serves them all right!

We were so hoping for an early Christmas present from George dec-2016-1(Epeius) (left) at Southwell, but sadly it wasn’t quite to be. Drawn right on the outside, it was the draw that beat him (especially as the fatty still seems unable to go round a corner) and he was just denied by a head and a neck to finish 3rd. The poor boy so deserves a win, and one cannot knock his consistency for the Trojan Horse Partnership. It is only a matter of time for him, and as Lynn and Gary said, there will be a big party when he finally gets his head in front!

The yearlings are absolutely flying, and we have added two more to the ranks in the shape of a couple of Sayif fillies from Llety Farms. The colts are loving their racing regime, and are now doing the same work the jumpers are doing, up the grass gallop dec-2016-2and around the Moor – not that it seems to tire them out even a tiny bit! I am having the time of my life leading them around the Moor, but am slightly annoyed that this lot seem to be able to keep up with me – that is quite unusual at this point of their careers! The Dandy Man (right) looks particularly sharp, and it is hard to remember he is a baby at times. Ben also seems very taken with the Lord Shanakill (below left), who is already taller than me but finding his work effortless, which is impressive for a big horse. The Camacho is also a lovely colt, and I am looking forward to taking them along even faster in the New Year.

The fillies are doing really well, going round the Moor as well which does them so much good. They tend to be left in the hands of a more ‘responsible’ lead horse (ahem!), but from what I’ve seen they wouldn’t struggle at my pace either! The Showcasing looks an absolute doll of a filly, dec-2016-3and she really loves her work. She is exquisitely behaved, which seems a real trait of the sire, and if she keeps going in the same direction will be a nice early type. The Champs Elysee, like the Lord Shanakill, is a big filly, but is handling it all with aplomb and looks a nice type for the future. The two Sayif fillies have just been backed last week, but are already going up the three furlong canter with lots of enthusiasm. Plenty to look forward to at the moment anyway!

Christmas day will be, as ever, a relatively normal day here with the added benefit of Mince pies, as we have The Doorman (below) running on Boxing Day at Wetherby. His confidence is coming back to him after a fairly awful run of things in Ireland, and hopefully the race this time will be run more to suit him than his latest outing at Doncaster, where they crawled before sprinting the last couple of furlongs – I can assure you that big black beast is NOT a sprinter! He is on very good form at home, and wouldn’t it be nice if he could give us something to cheer about at Christmas time.

The famously frustrating Mr Mole will be appearing the next day, also at Wetherby. He has so dec-2016-4much enthusiasm for the game at home still, and we have been tweaking things around with him, so hopefully we will see a glimmer of what we know he is capable of. Megan Nicholls, who knows him better than anyone, came and sat on him for us the other day, and was very pleased with how he felt, so fingers crossed we are getting there with this rather enigmatic lad. I am always very glad I don’t have any lots with him, as he takes two strides to every one of mine – I keep telling him unless he pulls his act together, I’ll be borrowing his engine from him for my next outing!

I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas, and get all the grass and carrots you could want!

Until next time,


Help Your Horse to Breathe Clearly.

Horses that spend so much time in the stable have greater exposure to challenging particles, generated by forage, bedding, dried mud, and scurfy coats. These particles are inhaled, and in a healthy environment they will be istock_000009943540_mediumtrapped by cilia and mucous in the upper respiratory tract, and removed. If the stable environment is too dusty the respiratory system is overloaded, which impairs usual function and causes irritation and inflammation, in turn restricting the airways, increasing the risk of coughs or other respiratory issues. If ventilation in your stables is poor or bedding/forage is dusty the risk of respiratory problems increases.


If your horse is stabled more frequently over the winter, following these tips can help to maintain optimum respiratory health:

  • The Stable: ensure your stable is well ventilated and keep top stable doors, windows and any vents open. Horses do not worry about draughts, and providing they are adequately rugged they will cope well even during bouts of bad weather. If you are worried about snow or rain blowing in, use turnout rugs to keep your horse warm and dry.
  • Forage: a lot of hay is too dusty to feed to horses dry. Soaking hay reduces dust particles, but will also reduce the nutritional value of hay as nutrients are leeched out into the water, notably sugars and water soluble vitamins. While ideal for very good doers and those istock_000005161892smallneeding low-sugar diets, for horses in hard work and poor doers this is not such a good thing- and soaking is also time consuming and can be messy and difficult in freezing conditions. An alternative option is to feed steamed hay, which reduces the amount of dust particles without nutrient losses, or you could consider feeding a good quality haylage, or a short chop fibre.
  • Supplement: feeding a respiratory supplement can benefit horses that are stabled often through the winter by helping to thin and expel excess mucous and hence remove harmful dust particles, soothing the airways.
  • Bedding: sealed rubber matting in a well-draining stable will help to minimise build-up of ammonia and can also help to reduce the amount of bedding needed. Choose a low-dust bedding which is also absorbent- there are various options available, so pick one that suits you and your horse, whether it is good quality straw, shavings or wood chips.
  • Mucking out: where possible muck out without your horse in the stable, and leave the dust to settle before bringing your horse back in. If you use strong disinfectants in the stable, follow manufacturer’s instructions, as incorrectly used these can also be a respiratory irritant.
  • Grooming: when grooming and rug changing, it is advisable to do so out of the stable to reduce the amount of mud and scurf particles.
  • Turn out: turn out is very important to help maintain respiratory, and mental health for your horse, so whenever possible get them out of the stable!



For any more helpful advice or feeding tips for horses that are stabled over the winter call one of our Nutritional Advisors on 0800 585525, email [email protected], or use our online chat service available at

Happy horse, happy owner – keeping you and your horse content over winter!

Winter often means that horses are confined to their stables for longer than usual, and in periods of bad weather, some horses may have to be stabled for days on end.

While some horses don’t seem to mind living in, for other horses it can be very hard to adjust to 24 hour stabling, and they can become very stressed- which in turn can lead to health and behavioural problems.

To help to reduce your horse’s stress levels, make sure they always have hay or haylage available, as this keeps this reduces the risk of gastric disturbance, the internal fermentation of forage helps to keeps them warm, and eating keeps them occupied. If your horse is a very good doer, use doubled up net small holed haynets to reduce intake, or feed little and often if that is possible.

Try to keep your horse exercised as much as possible, and if your horse is not being ridden as much as usual reduce the amount of concentrate feed they receive, so they are not consuming quick release energy that they can’t utilise. Continue with high fibre and high oil feeds, as these will help with gut fill and satisfaction.

Feedmark’s Nutritionist Olivia shares:

“When the weather means that my horses must stay in, I mpi_FeedmarkFibreBlocksoak a Feedmark Fibre Block in 5 litres of warm water for them- the warm water helps it to smell lovely, and it keeps me happy knowing that it is helping them to stay hydrated- especially as my older mare doesn’t always drink much during cold snaps. My other horse is a stressy type, so she gets Steady-Up Advance over the winter, which really helps to keep her ridden work more focused.”

It can help some horses if they can see a friend nearby, and stable mirrors may also help where this is not possible. If your horse enjoys spending time with you, extra grooming time may be enjoyable for them, and if they use a horse ball or a similar stable toy, let them play with it to help ease boredom.

If your horse is of a nervy disposition, is having to live in, or their behaviour gets worse over the winter we recommend adding our fantastic calmative Steady-Up Advance to their daily feed to help keep them calm and settled.


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.”





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.”

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.



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 and click on live chat or email us at [email protected]


Helping your horse cope with confinement

Bad weather, sodden fields and shorter daylight hours often mean that horses are confined to their stables for longer than usual over the winter months, and ensuring the horse has access to ample forage is essential to keep your horse happy and healthy through this.

Horses are designed to trickle feed, ideally needing ad-lib forage, or at least to be fed every 4-5 hours, so if they are stabled they need to be regularly supplied with fibrous food throughout the day to ensure that gastric or other digestive problems don’t occur. Access to forage is also important to keep your horse occupied and content, and in cold weather forage is vital to help keep your horse warm, as the fermentation of forage within the digestive tract acts as your horses own internal central heating system.


Here are some of the best ways to ensure your horse stays content through long periods in the stable:

  • Feeding from a haynet, as opposed to off the floor or from a haybar, has been shown to increase the amount of time it takes to eat the same amount of hay- one study showed that horses fed a certain amount of hay from the ground took an average 120 minutes to eat it, but those fed the same amount in a haynet took 193 minutes- suggesting that using a hay net will make hay last over 50% longer: ideal if you need to ensure that hay lasts as long as possible.
  • For slim horses, provide forage ad-lib, and for tubbier horses, feed little and often, making sure they get 1.5% of their body weight of hay daily. For good-doers soaking hay is advisable, as this reduces the sugar content of the hay, making it a cheap and easy way to help control your horse’s calorie intake.
  • Providing your horse with a pre and probiotic supplement, such as BioPro, helps to ensure that the microorganisms in the hind gut are healthy, especially when their routines or diets are being changed. Keeping the hind gut fully functioning ensures that the fibre you are feeding is being well utilised, and reduces the risk of digestive upsets.
  • If your horse is confined or not being ridden as much as usual, reduce the amount of hard feed they are getting to help reduce the likelihood of digestive problems, and hopefully help to limit excess energy!
  • Feeding Feedmark Fibre Blocks is also a great way to keep your horse busy – feed soaked with 5 litres of water to help keep your horse hydrated (cold water is known to put horses off drinking) or feed dry as a boredom breaker!
  • Encourage your horse to drink by supplying a rock salt lick and providing warm water, as equines have been shown to prefer warm water during cold snaps.
  • Try to exercise your horse as much as you can – if you can’t turnout or ride walk in hand, lunge, or use horse walkers to keep your horse moving as much as possible.

If you would like to talk to a nutritional advisor about any concerns you have with your horse, we are open 7 days a week. Call us on freephone 0800 585 525 or contact us via live chat at




What are Sarcoids?


Sarcoids are cancerous growths thought to be caused by a virus. Most sarcoids contain the DNA of Bovine Papilloma Virus (BPV),which causes harmless warts on cattle. For horses (who are not the normal host of the virus) this virus seems to have a more sinister outcome, but it is unsure how and why this may occur.

Small sarcoids with a slow growth rate can sometimes cause no problems, and professional advice may be toleave these alone but keep an eye on them.  However, if Sarcoids appear where tack or equipment could rub them they become more of an issue. Large or fast-growing sarcoids may be problematic too as they can split, leading to infections.

Sarcoids are the most commonly found skin tumour, with an estimated 5% of horses in the UK suffering from them. These growths are commonly found on the sheath, groin, under the tail, chest and face, but may grow anywhere on the body. They can differ greatly in size and shape, and there are different categories of sarcoid, some are wart-like or proud flesh, others are ulcerated, and some are skin-covered lumps

How can we help our horse with Sarcoids?

The reality is that we are not 100% sure what can help these horrible lumps and bumps. Even veterinary treatments such as abrasive creams, ringing and surgery have a fairly unknown prognosis. Recently, there has been a lot of anecdotal evidence that certain herbs and ingredients may help horses suffering from these unsightly blemishes, so it may well be worth trying some of these before invasive action is taken.

Olivia Colton MSc, Nutritional and Technical Coordinator

For more information about Sarcoids or any advice on what you should be feeding your horse, please visit our website or contact our Nutritional advisors on 0800 585525


The importance of clean air

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Olivia Colton MSc Nutritional and Technical Coordinator

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