Sam is a professional coach who has spent over 35 years, coaching, training, grooming and generally working with horses. She has ridden and groomed internationally and works with grass routes riders and horses through to international horses and riders. She has started the 'Hot off the Hoof' Blog to help owners, riders, and grooms with their four-legged friends.
Well it’s been a bit of a week. Lolly has come through the ‘colic like’ symptoms last weekend and is improving day by day. She had her drain out today as there was a reasonable amount of liquid coming out when we had a look earlier in the week.
Jess Rees one of our vets was able to take the drain out today. She flushed the wound and was able to cover it. Hopefully, I will be able to dress it again on Monday and the stiches will come out on 1st April 2021. Lolly is coping well and she is on box rest with the chance to eat some grass in hand.
She is still on an anti-inflammatory and anti-biotics which she will stay on whilst the wound is healing. Lolly has started to bounce back straight away and she looks a lot brighter. Hopefully, she will progress to a small paddock when her stiches come out.
Here is a picture of her resting and taking the weight off her legs.
Here is our gofund.me link if you are able to help in these times. I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone that has donated so far. I would like to say if we hit our target and go past it I will be donating the rest to charity. I am looking at a charity that would help key workers that haven’t been supported. Our link is gf.me/u/znc8zr
Thank you. If you would like to see more about what is happening you can catch us on FaceBook, Twitter and Instagram.
Yesterday evening my heart sank. I walked up to Lolly’s stable and she was lying down looking uncomfortable. Having been in vet hospital for 3 days and 5 nights her routine has been totally turned up side down
She was looking at her flanks and generally uncomfortable. Sweating slightly at times. We listened to her gut and there were more noises on her right side.
Temperature was 37.2 and she had normal coloured membranes. We called the vet as you can’t muck around with colic.
Vet came and she gave her an internal everything seems OK, there were some droppings. She had some pain killers and we decided that as she is ok to handle taking her for a pick of grass would help her.
She was checked again at 9pm, 12 midnight, 2am, 5am, 7am and 10 am.
She had some bute and some more grass at 10am. She has wet hay and a small amount of haulage to help her eat.
It is always an extra emotional string to it when it’s your horse. When you work in the industry you are emotionally attached to the horses you work with, but you are trained to make the sensible decisions that help owners. When your horse is involved your mind goes from stable manager to owner and back again.
All her vital signs are normal and she is comfortable. From her laying down she is taking the strain off her injury and also she is tired from being in the vet hospital.
She is happily taking her medication and looking brighter every time I see her. Which is a good thing. She is also in season! Hey ho, bless her.
I’ll keep you updated and let you know how the drain removal goes.
Just when you are trying to keep everything going, life throws a spaner in the works.
I have been living with health issues for some years and still have some operations to come in the future. Then on Tuesday a friend was riding Lolly out and a freak stumble later she had hurt her knees and had to go to vet hospital.
Due to being off work with the pandemic and illness all my savings have gone and with Lolly now in her 19th Year we are not covered.
So, I have taken the leap and set up a gofundme link to help with the hospital bill.
If you are able please can you help this lovely girl. She has keep me going throughout all my illness and been my focus to keep going as I can assure you I have had some really dark times.
The days are getting longer and we are getting more light both in the mornings and evenings.
This allows us to get more done outside and we can start to think about what we can achieve in the future. With the uncertainties t the moment with the pandemic, we can still think about what we can do to make things a little easier as we get going.
Spring cleaning is a great time to look through all our bits and pieces and see what we have been hording in case! Start to look through your tack room or storage rooms and see what rugs we really need? Is it time for a clear out? If you are anything like me you have lots of clothes you don’t use and you can root through them to see what you really need.
You can then send some to a charity shop or if they are hardly used sell them as we all know it costs to keep our four-legged friends in the lifestyle they are used to!
We all manage to accumulate different saddle cloths and rugs. I have far too many and need to get organised and find homes for some. I have also got a lot of coats that could either find new homes or have new zips in and I could use them.
Also, have a think about what you would like to achieve this year. Hopefully, we will be getting back on track with the covid injections now on there way out to people and we can start to get on tract to what we would like to achieve.
Tiny, Tick able, Attainable, Targets! Think about what you would like to achieve and then work backwards in small chunks to think about what you need to get in place to achieve what it is that you would like to do.
Think about the fitness of your horses and ponies and how much you would need to do. Also, what do you need to do? How fit are you? Do you need to start to look at some more exercise that will help you achieve your goal? Can you add some cycling into your daily routine, running or walking, depending on what you are looking to do.
Another check we can do at this time of year are when do we need to get our horses or ponies Flue and Tet injections? It is a good time to look at your horse MoT ready for the coming season.
Whether we are going to get back to competition or not we can look at all the different thing that need sorting out.
When did your horse last have his wormer? What is your worming routine? It is a good time to check out which wormers you might need and when the need administering.
Get saddles and bridles checked over. It is a great time to go through the different tack you have and see what needs any attending. Look at the stitching and stirrup leathers might need stitching, is the leather up to scratch?
Where are you on your horse’s fitness scale, what have you been able to do over winter and what would you like to do. It might be worth looking at our fitness blog postwith fitness plan on it
Check out your horse and give him or her a spruce up. Now we have move time to check them over in the daylight it is a good time to give them a tidy up. All our horses are different and some will have more natural manes and tails and some will have pulled manes. Now is a great time to do this.
When are your horse or ponies flue and tetanus vaccinations are due? Check out your horse’s passport and see when you need to be thinking about factoring this in.
Depending on your exercise programme, it might be time to get there physio out or back person. All yourself time to get them back into work and work with your physio and start to get them feeling better.
When did they last have their teeth done? Most horse’s are about 9 months in-between visits. Check with your dentist and look at when this needs to be added to your programme.
You might have just done your last clip, so it will be time to get your clippers serviced and the blades sharpened. If you still need to do another clip we are on the edge of when it will effect your horses summer coats, so get it done and then the coat can come through.
It might be an idea to see if there are any on-line competitions or shows, this can give you something to work towards.
Have you got any clothes that you can give to a charity or sell on to help with finances?
Do you need to add some other form of exercise to improve your fitness when riding i.e. cycling, running or swimming when we can. Yoga and stretching are also brilliant and you can do this with on-line courses.
Get a diary or start one on your phone or computer, so you can track your progress.
How is your diet? Do you need to have a rethink about what you are eating and how it is impacting on your health.
Change up your routine to help motivate yourself. Just making a small difference can help.
Make sure you make time for yourself, so you can enjoy your horses.
Tiny, Tickable, Attainable Targets. Do things one bit at a time and it will help you feel like you achieving things even if it isn’t going out to competitions or rides. Just getting little jobs done can help us move foreword and feel better.
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When you think about feeding your horses it can be a minefield these days. There are a lot of different feeds and all horses are not the same. There are 10 golden rules of feeding that will keep you on the straight and narrow and help you keep your horses and ponies in good shape. In this post we will look at the rules and how they can help you with feeding your horse or pony.
1. Feed according to size, age, body weight, type, temperament, time of year, type of work to be done and the level of rider that will be riding the horse.
If your horse is overfed it can lead to any of the following: obesity, joint and leg problems, digestive disorders, laminitis, behaviour problems. We have so much available to the horse owner that some feeds are designed for the owner to like. It is necessary to make sure that all of the above are taken into consideration.
The ability of the rider has to be taken into consideration and a horse kept on livery needs to be quieter for their owner than possibly the professional rider that might school him. Also, you need to take into consideration when you are able to ride your horse or pony and adjust their feed accordingly.
Also, you need to take into consideration a horse that is underfed then it will not be able to perform well and will lose weight and possibly have issue like ulcers. So it is necessary to know the horse’s body weight as well as type and temperament so you can make any adjustments when needed.
2. Feed little and often.
The horse has a small stomach for his size, it is about the size of a rugby ball. The horse is designed to be a trickle feeder (i.e. to eat little and often). This is because he is designed to roam the plans and eat what grasses he can find and move if a predator happens to find them. So, he can gallop off when necessary and be able to move around. This means he needs to move and have feed available like hay when grass is not available. Also, with small ponies they are not bred to eat lost of grass as most breds are used to roaming mountains and moors.
3. Always feed good quality food.
Horses can be fussy feeders and this can cause them to loose weight and therefore, not be able to do their job. Also, feeding poor quality food can lead to digestive and respiratory disorders and can have less feed value. Most horses in their nature will be suspicious if something smells or tastes different. But, there are those horses and ponies that are happy to eat anything! So be warned.
4. Feed plenty of bulk food.
A horse’s natural feed is grass. This means that its digestive system is used to bulk and without this the digestive system cannot work efficiently and digestive problems can result. The horse’s digestive track works on bulk and when the system is working well it helps to keep the horse warm in winter. Lots of hay, grass and chaff are required and help the system working.
5. Do not make any sudden changes to the type of food being fed.
The bacteria that break down the food in the horse’s digestive system are ‘food specific.’ If you feed a lot of barley and a small amount of sugar beet the horse will have a lot of barley bacteria’ and a small amount of ‘sugar beet bacteria’. If you suddenly change to a large amount of oats there will be insufficient bacteria to break this down adequately. The most likely result will be colic. If you make gradual changes to the feed the bacteria have an opportunity to multiply. A horse with a healthy gut is a happy horse.
Horses are notoriously ‘fussy feeders’ and unclean utensils can put the off. You would not want to eat from a dirty plate. Also there is a possibility of spreading disease and if one particular horse has a type of feed or supplement it will not need to be passed on.
7. Feed a hard feed at least an hour and 20 mins before exercise, and longer for demanding work.
A horse’s stomach is located close to its diaphragm. When full, the stomach can restrict the movement of the diaphragm. Also, trying both to digest food and to produce energy for muscular action could overload the body’s systems. Most horses will eat a feed in approximately 20 mins., buy allowing an hour and 20 for hard feed this allows the food to move along the digestive system.
8. Feed regular feeding times daily.
Horses are creatures of habit and thrive best when they have a routine. So, if you need to move feeding times do so slowly and gradually move the times around. This will allow your horses or ponies to gradually get used to the times that you feed and therefore, not get too stressed when you are a little early or late.
9. Feed something succulent every day.
Apples, carrots and other succulents help keep a stabled horse happy. They add variety to the diet as well as providing extra vitamins. This is helpful especially in winter time and allows the horse a treat.
10. Water before feeding.
This is a must when for any reason a horse has been unable to drink. The rule comes from a time when horses used to be taken to a trough to drink and did not have constant free access to water. A horse would gulp down water rafter feeding and this would push food through his system before it was all digested. Nowadays, we know that horses should have free access to fresh water. We also know due to up to date research that water goes over the feed and that the inlet and outlet valves are high up in the design of the stomach to allow for this. Horses are 70% water and it is essential for life.
Taking into consideration all of the above rules will help you feed your horse and keep him/her healthy and hopefully a happy and sensible horse. Always remember that you need to start with roughage and build on that as your horse is designed to process roughage being a herbivore.
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It is always a good idea to have a veterinary kit available wherever you keep your horse or pony Even if your horse is on grass livery having some essential items available, just in case, is a good idea. In this post I will go through some items that are handy to have to hand.
It is a great idea to have a safe cupboard or air tight box with the items in. This was they will stay in good condition and be clean for you to use. It is also a good idea to keep any prescription only medicines in a locked cupboard. This is a necessity in a professional yard, riding school or business.
Here is a list of useful items to have around :
At least one roll of clean cotton wood
A commercial antiseptic solution for cleaning wounds.
Non-adherent dressing like melolin
Disposable nappy to use as an absorbent pad for wounds and poultices
An example of a pair of blunt-ended scissors. It is a good idea to keep these in a safe clean area. We have just put a pair on the background to show you an example.
These need to be kept sharp ready to cut gamgee, animalintex etc to size ready along with other wound materials.
Cotton Wool. Always good to keep a supply of cotton wool in case of any small cuts. I tend to keep at least 2 packets available.
Camrosa Ointment. This is a great addition and a balm that aids healing. It is very good with any wounds and scratches that are found on horses and pony’s legs. Especially if you are dealing with mud-fever etc.
Actilite or menoline is a great addition to any veterinary cabinet. These are great to have around in case you have to cover a wound or cut and do not want the cotton wool or gamgee to stick to the wound.
This also allows you to stop any treatment sticking to the gamgee as well.
Thermometer’s are great to have around. It is a good idea to take your horse’s temperature in the different seasons, so you can have a good idea what is their normal temperature should you need to tell your vet.
When taking your horse’s temperature make sure you have someone at their head, and you have Vaseline on the end of the thermometer. You lift your horse’s tail and in cert the thermometer into their rectum, but make sure you keep hold of the thermometer as they can get sucked into their rectum which can cause issues.
Intrasite gel is a handy addition in your veterinary kit. It is used for cuts to keep them clean and encourage healing.
Animalintex is a handy poultice that you can use dry, wet (both warm and cold water). Most will be used warm and will be applied to wounds that need to draw out any infection from the wound. It is usually a puncture wound that will use a poultice as most will have a small opening and then a larger area underneath it.
FrogMedic is a great addition to your veterinary kit. An application that helps with the care of your horse’s hooves.
Adhesive bandages are an essential addition to your veterinary kit. They are used in foot poultice application and to keep wounds covered along with gamgee.
Hoof tar is another very handy addition when you need to maintain your horse’s hoof health. Great to have ready for the winter season.
Gamgee is another essential which you can put under either you adhesive or normal bandages. It is handy to have around ready and can be cut in the size you require.
Insulation tape. This is an essential especially when the seasons are changing and in winter. Great for covering hoof poultices and keeping animalintex and gamgee in place.
Everyone will have their own additions that they like to have in their vet kit, but it is good to have some of the above items ready in case you need them. If you have enjoyed reading this post please feel free to have a look at the other posts on this blog and you can follow us at our FaceBook page Hot off the Hoof, or at Sam Goss coaching.
When we buy our horses they come with a passport. Also, they are now mircochipped which helps identify them. Most owners know the points of a horse, but not everyone will know the sizes and different terms that come along with the ‘horse world’.
The above picture shows the image that is used in passports to note any whorls, or changes in colour and scars. Most vets will also put any freebrand or brands on here as well.
The height of the horse or pony.
Horse and ponies heights have always been measured in hands. It is usual for a hand to be 4 inches. Now with metrication height can be registered in centimetres. The chart opposite will show you the difference between the two different measurements.
Horse are 14.2 hh and over, which is also known at 148 cm in most publications. Ponies are under 14.2 hh and some smaller ponies like Shetlands are measured in inches or centimetres.
It is a good idea to have a height stick available when trying to work out a horses height, but be careful as some horses and ponies find this a little unnerving when you try and take their measurements.
A lot of different breed associations will also required a height measurement certificate for showing and some show jumping classes and pony racing etc.
Different Horse Breeds.
For a horse to be accepted as a breed the horse of pony must be recorded in the stud register of that particular breed. or must have the qualifications for registration. If those qualifications are not met then the horse or pony may be refereed to as ‘of that type’.
So of the British Breeds are :
There are stud books for all of the above horses and ponies and the Thoroughbred is registered with Weatherby’s where you can find there racing information at well. We will be looking at the different breeds in another post at more depth. In the meantime if you are interested in any of the subjects on this blog, please feel free to look at the other posts or go to our FaceBook pages Hot of the Hoof and Sam Goss Coaching.
So, we have now been given the go ahead to travel to our horses, and start riding but, it depends on where you were at during this ‘Lock -down’. Some of us have been able to go and see our horses and with welfare of some horses the necessity to keep riding. So we have to look at each rider and each horse and take it step by step.
If your horse has been off work from the last 8 weeks you are going to have to start from the beginning. Also, if you haven’t been able to do much exercise and have not ridden, it is going to be a gradual return. We cannot expect ourselves, let alone our horses to just jump in and start without injury or incident.
So, with your horse you are going to have to do your pre-checks and make sure their shoes are ok, and that their skin is ok. Some horses will have been clipped and some with have just lost their winter coat. I have been lucky and have been able to brush their coat out over the last 8 weeks and have now a lovely summer coat.
Look out for any lumps and bumps and check out their breathing at rest. This will give you and idea where you are starting from. Now you need to think of a small ride that would be about 20 mins to half an hour and keep it straight and relaxed. Some horses might need to be lunged depending on their character, if you are lunging you need to make sure that your circle is not too small, so that you do not put undue pressure on their legs and tendons. Also, if at all possible keep it low key and try and not let them gallop about of spend too much time in the air!
If you are aware of that you are trying to achieve usually it goes to plan, but be aware horses can be horses. I have written a 12-week fitness plan in a previous post which you can adapt to where you are. Some have been lucky enough to keep a low level of exercise and if you look through the plan you will be able to adapt it to where you are.
10 things to check.
Make sure that you are aware of all your horse’s lumps and bumps.
Check out the condition of your horse’s feet and shoes, due you need to contact the farrier?
See what your saddle and bridle are looking like.
Make sure that your saddle cloths and pads are all clean and ready to go.
Depending on your situation this might be a good time to tidy your horse’s mane and tail.
Check the condition of their legs and start to know what areas have any swelling or old scares.
Double-check when you last had the saddler out, your horse’s muscles will have changed shape.
When do you need your flue and tetanus updating, It might not be straight away but it is a good idea to have the date in your mind.
When did you last worn your horses? Do they need a worm count or is a wormier due?
Do you need to contact your back person or physio for your horse?
Also, make sure you both have a structured plan to get back into work and start to slowly get ready for when we can go our and about again.
I have put a link into the 12-week fitness plan above and if you go to my Facebook pages ‘Hot off the Hoof’ and Sam Goss Coaching you can find the plan.
Well AMAZING is what I have to say about today. I have been incredibility lucky and thank’s to Julie Masters I have had the chance to sit in the new Aviar saddle ‘The Rook’. I have in my 35 plus career ridden in many saddles and I tend to like the Albion Saddles, but today I have sat in not only a saddle that allows you to stay in balance but allows your horse to work through their back and lets their shoulders have their optimum movement
This saddle allows you to sit comfortably and maintain balance whilst feeling what is happening to your horse. It also allows you to make the adjustments you need to make to allow your horse to work over the back and move though the shoulder. The design is mono flap which means you are closer to the horse and are able to make the slight adjustments needed to allow your horse to work forward and straight.
My horse was able to move and her shoulders where free to be able to express themselves within the balance and development they are working at. To be able to feel what your horse is doing and be able to use your aids with the chance to develop your horse to their optimum ability allows you to make the most of your training sessions.
I was smiling throughout the whole experience and felt that I could just use the slightest of movements to allow her to move. When you have spent as much time as I have riding different horses from all levels grass routes to Grand Pix, and helping many riders of all levels along the way, it is a great pleasure to be able to make the small adjustments that are needed to allow a horse at whatever level they are at make the most of their training session.
I feel this saddle is a must in anyone’s tack room, and would be an added bonus to a rider at any level wanting to improve not only their riding but the ability of their horse. You are able to move and stay in balance which allows you to ask the questions of your horse that you need to do.
They have taken on board what a rider would need and, also what allows a horse to perform at its optimum ability.
The Rook is one of the lightest saddles in its class, it weighs in at 5.8 KG (12.8LBS
‘The Rook’ is Aviar’s first release and it is the first saddle to have anatomically designed tree and the pressure relief system (PRS), the Click system which is interchangeable panels).
It has immaculately sculpted leather and subtle details. They have completely redesigned the saddles’s skeleton by rethinking the shape and materials used to produce it. The new saddle trees are extremely lightweight and anatomically designed. The materials used to make the new trees have enhanced the feedback that you get when you ride in the saddle. This allows you to get the ultimate connection between you and your horses.
Due to its sculptural form, it also provides a much lighter level of comfort for the horse in comparison to traditional saddle trees. The trees are made from a special composite blend and although this results in a hyper-flex, the saddle still remains extremely stable when you ride in it.
Aviar saddles are the first company to develop this technology and as I have said above this shows when you are riding and getting the optimum feel from your horse.
Well, the world today is a much different place than earlier this year and the time that the pictures where taken in this post. The Government has asked us the general public to not go out unless it’s for medical reasons, food, exercise once a day or essential work. This has left the equestrian world in many different scenarios. Due to the virus Covid-19 you could be on isolation, either unable to see your horse as your livery yard has shut it’s gates to outside visits, able to see your horse once a day, or if on private land the only person able to see and look after the horse/horses.
There is also the question of whether to ride or not. We do not want to put burden on the NHS (National Health Service) and this gives you the added welfare issue. Both my horses are older and need the exercise to keep them moving. So, I have been riding on the flat, in an area they know and also working from the ground. Using lots of different exercises to allow them to stay supple and keep their body moving.
Everyone will be in a different scenario, what is safe for one rider, might not be for another. Each rider and horse is different and you need to work out what works better for you and your horse in this time. What we need to do is look for the future and keep a plan in mind of what you would like to do when this is all over. So, if you are unable to ride, you might be able to do different exercises at home and keep your body fit, so when you return to riding it is not such a change. There are a lot of different exercises and fitness classes on line now and everything from Joe Wicks to a Pilates class to keep you supple and ready to get back in the saddle.
So, where are we 4 weeks in? You have properly been through a roller coaster of emotions, not knowing when to go out, what to do and where you are allowed to go. 4 weeks in I am now in a routine, self-isolating whilst looking after the horses. I know that I only go to private land where only one other person is and we wash hands a lot, have all areas washed down, in fact the same procedures as if you have ringworm, strangles or any other contagious disease on your yard.
If you are able to look after your horse or pony and you can still safely ride, it is a good idea to get into a routine and have different days for different exercises. If possible ride on the flat, have a day you can use poles on the ground, do some ground work and lunging. This is also a great time to go through all your tack and different items to see what you really need and wash and get around to all those jobs you haven’t done i.c. cleaning out your tack room and going through all your rugs, ready to take to the cleaners.
It is also a good time to give your tack a deep clean and double check all those keepers and buckles. What was also great to hear last week was that vets are not able to come out to sort out your horse’s annual vaccinations, so they can keep up to date. All welfare issues can be kept up so horses that need shoes can still have their shoes done and also any trims on bare foot horses.
Tips for getting though lock-down.
Keep a routine, make sure you have different things to do at different points in the day.
Exercise, allow yourself time to do something that you enjoy and/or find something different to do. Make sure you start a new type of exercise genitally and allow your body to get used to it.
Keep your time for breakfast, lunch and dinner and then you will not feel the need to keep going to the fridge. I hear a great idea the other day, Paul McKenna said his wife has put a large question mark on the fridge door! Something visual to help you to stop going to the fridge.
Slowly allow yourself to go through all those jobs you never get the time to do. Also, if possible allow yourself to do some of the ones you don’t want to and give yourself a treat after for doing them.
Allow yourself to do something that is fun, and make sure you allow yourself time to do things.
Look into the different courses that are on-line, find a new challenge and get stuck in.
Where possible use some of the local services to help deliver food to you and support local businesses.
Everyone, lets keep to the lock-down and help all the essential workers keep us safe. We will get though this and there will be life at the end of the lock-down.
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