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What signs tell you your horse is in good health?

We all know when we feel happy about what our horses should look like, but sometimes it is a good idea to put it down on paper so you know that you have covered all the different aspects.

So here are the signs of the horse in Good Health:

  1. The horse should be well covered or ‘well furnished’.  This means having enough muscle and fat on his or her body to cover its skeletal frame in such a way that there are no prominent bony areas.
  2. Your horse should be alert, with his ears being mobile, listening to what is happening around him.
  3. They should be eating and drinking normally with no problems chewing or swallowing.
  4. Their mucous membranes should be salmon-pink in color.  This is the area on their gums and around their eyes under their lids.
  5. They should have a shine to their coat.
  6. With no abnormal heat or swelling in their limbs.
  7. Their droppings should break as they hit the ground, and be green or golden in colour depending upon the feed eaten.  Horses pass droppings approximately 10 to 15 times during a 24-hour period, depending upon the diet fed.
  8. Their urine should be pale yellow to look at.
  9. They should have a normal temperature: 100 -101 F, or 38 C at rest.
  10. A normal pulse 35-45 beats per minute, high for foals, varying between 50-100 beats per mins at rest.
  11. They should have a normal respiration of 8 – 12 in-and-out breaths per minute at rest.
  12. They should be able to carry their weight evenly on all four feet.
  13. No sign of discharge from their nose or eyes, with their eyes fully open.
  14. When a skin recoil test is made (that is, the skin on the neck is pinched between the thumb and first finger), the skin should recoil immediately, demonstrating its elasticity.
  15. They should have a normal response to capillary refill test.  This is tested by pressing the gum with your thumb, which restricts the flow of blood.  When you remove your thumb, the capillaries should immediately refill with blood.
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Laminitis is everywhere this year.

I like many people this year for the first time have been caught out with laminitis.  I have a horse that is now in her twenties and has never had a problem, and we got caught out.  In fact, the reason that I have not blogged for the last couple of weeks is that I have been managing her routine and this has taken up a lot of time.

A big factor has been that the weather this late winter/early spring has been as you know snow and rain, followed by hot humid weather and this has brought the grass on in leaps and bounds.  Also, in my case, my horse has got older and she is more susceptible to the disease.  Everywhere I have spoken to different people have been touched by the condition and are having to make adjustments to their routines and help their horses.

In a recent review of research one of the authors, Cathy MacGowan spoke to British Horse about the different findings and discussed the different findings. The paper – ‘Paradigm shifts in understanding equine laminitis’ is a review of many studies and a summary of where that research has changed the practical position on laminitis.

A clinical Sign.

One of the first things that came out of the paper is that laminitis is a clinical sign of a systemic disease.  This means that it is a sign of something going wrong in the systems of the horse.  In 2007 a group of scientists led by Cathy MacGowan realised that insulin directly caused laminitis.  I know that in the past laminitis has always been thought of a disease in the own right.

Their findings showed that it was the grouping of different diseases – a symptom of a disease or clinical syndrome caused by a number of diseases.



There was finally an understanding of the link between insulin and laminitis and that laminitis was a clinical syndrome associated with systemic diseases such as endocrine disease, sepsis or systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS).

Endocrine Laminitis.

It was also found that people were confused by the most common form of laminitis, which is a pasture-associated form of laminitis, which is fat ponies out on the lush grass. There had been a lot of research on the link with tummy upsets Endocrine Laminitis is now recognised as the most common form of naturally occurring laminitis in horse and ponies.

An earlier misconception was that laminitis was predominantly associated with sepsis or SIRS. This misconception was highlighted in a study in the US that showed that grain overload, retained placenta, colic or diarrhea accounted for only 12 percent of cases of laminitis. The remained where associated with dietary problems or obesity, or where of an unknown cause.  Also, more convincing studies identified the endocrine disease in 90 percent of cases of laminitis in horse and ponies presenting with lameness.

The main equine endocrine disorders resulting in laminitis are Equine Metabolic Syndrome and/or pituitary pars intermedia dysfunction (PPHD – also known as Cushings Disease) the former characterised by obesity, insulin resistance dysregulation, and laminitis.

Check Insulin Levels.

Another key finding was that we can induce laminitis simply by infusing insulin into a horse. It is insulin that causes laminitis not the fructans in the grass. Fructans are less likely to cause metabolic disturbances than glucose and all the other non-structural carbohydrates or carbohydrates in the grass.  It is to do with the sugar content in the grass.

It is important that not all ponies and horses are prone to laminitis and it is the abnormal metabolism or insulin dysregulation that makes them prone to it. It’s a bit like saying that any child under the age of 10 can’t eat sweats otherwise they will get diabetes. That just isn’t true, every child has a different metabolism so you would need to check that first. The only way to really determine which child would have a problem would be to do a test to see how each child reacted to sugar in their body.

It’s the same with ponies, you shouldn’t remove them from pasture because it is frosty until you have done a test. If you would like to know if it is the sugars in the grass that are going to cause a problem, first you need to know if the animal is metabolically normal – has it got normal insulin sensitivity? If you want to know if it is the grass that is affecting your horse, put the horse on the grass and then test their insulin levels to see how they react to the grass.

We call it insulin regulation or dysregulation because some animals have tissue insulin resistance which means the insulin isn’t working properly and the body responds by producing more insulin to make sure the blood glucose is maintained at normal.  Therefore, high insulin is causing laminitis.

There is also a subgroup of horses who, when they eat, carbohydrates or any sugars or amino acids, get a higher spike of insulin directly from a gut-derived insulin exerting agent and the effect are much more severe.

It’s the same with diabetic people – it is not a problem until you feed them sweets, and it’s the same with insulin resistant horses – there’s not a problem until you give them the sugars.

Ways to test.

There are two ways of testing for insulin dysregulation in your horse.  The first is where you get your vet to perform a baseline insulin test, usually before breakfast, (but not fasted too long – this is another mistake people make, staving their horses for hours before the vet came and then wondered why the insulin was really low, and it wouldn’t have been an accurate test of whether they are going to be laminitic or not). It is a single blood test and the easiest to perform.

The second test is where we give a ‘carbohydrate challenge’ which is like an endocrine system stress test.  It picks up subtle insulin resistance that can be missed with fasting glucose and insulin. A high carbohydrate meal is given and blood samples are taken at certain intervals to measure glucose and insulin levels.  Any abnormality in any of these parameters points to the underlying cause of the dysfunction in carbohydrate metabolism.

The third option is more of a management tool than a diagnosis and it tests what the horse is going to be eating in the future.  It checks how they react to the food you are giving them, so if they are having a response to it, you can change their diet to suit them better and not have such an insulin response.

Tests were done on haylage versus hay, and although the sugar content in haylage is lower than hay because it has all be fermented away, it produces a bigger insulin response to hay.

Elongation of Lamellar Cells.

Something else they found was that insulin directly damages the cells in the hoof.  In the past, the picture of laminitis that had been taken were of severe inflammatory cases and the horses’ pedal bone dropped out of the hoof very quickly.  Thos picture didn’t really expain what was going on inside the hoof from endocrine laminitis.

By looking at the naturally occurring (endocrine) laminitis, we realised that what insulin was doing was causing damage to the cells that hold the pedal bone and the hoof wall together.  The key here is that they lose their cellular skeleton and instead of being nice round balls, they stretch.  So if you have stretched cells and you walk around on them a lot, they can break.  Think about an elastic band – they are either nice, firm, tight little things, or they’ve stretched and lost strength.  It explains why the pedal bond drops in the foot because the cells have stretched and moved down.

The other finding is that these cells can be damaged and stretched but get better again, and when that happens, you get a laminitic or divergent in the hoof.  We have countless horses that have rings down their hooves but have never been lame. What that shows us it that is that these rings are a pre-clinical, pre-laminitic phase that opens up a huge window of opportunity to tread these animals before it becomes painful.

The ring grows out from the coronary band and the pedal bone can be retracted with the right farriery and as long as the structures haven’t come too far out of alignment.  The key is to get there before the horse goes lame.


By understanding more about how laminitis works, we can make better judgments on how to treat and manage our horses and ponies. If we can get our owners to realise and accept these changes in understanding, we will save a lot of horse and ponies from a lot of pain.

Owners should ask themselves, has my horse recently been very unwell, did he suddenly have non-weight bearing lameness or does he have an endocrine disease? If yes, get the vet to check insulin levels.

Let’s understand what causes laminitis, understand the role of insulin and make sure we monitor that so that we can efficiently manage the condition.

All of the above information has come from an article in British Horse’s April 2018 addition and the work of Cathey McGowen and her colleagues.  I wanted to make sure that our readers have chance to see the information and be able to understand what has been found.

If you have enjoyed this article and would like to know more about what we are looking at please feel free to sign up at our website or Sam Goss Coaching’s Facebook page.


Thank you.

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2nd Part of Poisonous Plants

In our last post, we covered Sycamore Trees, Acorns and Ragwort.  In this post, we will look at three more poisonous plants. Foxglove, Hemlock, and deadly nightshade.



Foxglove (Digitalis)

You can recognise the Foxglove for their wonderful flowers and colour. Horses will not normally eat Foxgloves, but if it gets cut in a hay crop by mistake it is more palatable and can get eaten.

Just 100 g can prove fatal and symptoms of foxglove poisoning are contracted pupils, convulsions and breathing difficulties.  This is followed by death after only a few hours. Prevention is better than cure and pulling up and foxgloves including roots and burning away from your horse’s paddock or hay crop.


Hemlock looks a little like cow parsley and can get mistaken for it. You can find it in borders, hedgerows and the banks of streams.  It smells of mice when crushed and it is the smell and taste that limits the likelihood of being eaten unless the grass is very short.

It is possibly addictive and 1 kg (2 1/2 lbs) of leaves will kill a horse. Nicotine action first stimulates then depresses the autonomic ganglia – paralyses motor nerve endings.


Dilated pupils, weakness, staggering to loss of consciousness, breathing paralysed and death.

Deadly Nightshade.


Deadly Nightshade

Deadly nightshade can be found on woodland and scrubland.  Luckily it is now uncommon to find this plant.  The active principal ingredient is Glycoalkaloids, e.g. atropine and scopolamine. This plant is very rare but lethal.


Dilated pupils, and inflamed mucous membranes of mouth and nose. Excited, inco-ordinated, not quickly lethal.  The central nervous system is affected.


Remember with any suspected poisoning from poisonous wild plants call the vet straight away.

If you have enjoyed reading this please feel free to like my page Sam Goss Coaching and keep up to date with what is going on and any information we have. Thank you.



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What do you know about Poisonous Plants?

As the weather is getting better all the different plants start to grow and it is a good idea to get out and about in your paddocks and see what is ‘springing’ up!  Here are some of the poisonous plants to look out for.

Sycamore Trees.

Otherwise, know at the Acer or pseudoplatanus poses a high risk for the acute muscle disease atypical myopathy (AM).  The broadleaf deciduous tree which can which can be very colourful in autumn can shed helicopter-like seeds and these spring up into tall seeding plants.

Acer or Sycamore Tree

All parts of the sycamore are dangerous to eat with the highest risk from the seeds and the seedlings.  A toxin called hypoglycin A causes a breakdown in muscles, notably the muscles linked to cardiac, respiratory and renal failure.

Prevention is better than treatment and once the signs are showing. Early treatment of AM lessens the already very slim chances of survival. Look for signs of mild to moderate colic, depression, reluctance to move, weakness and dark urine.

Wherever possible avoid pastures surrounded by acres in autumn and early winter and if necessary supplement if grazing is sparse.  Pull up any seedlings in spring, collect and burn any seeds in autumn.


Oak trees shed acorns in Autumn and in some years you can get a bigger crop. Look out for shinny pods amount fallen leaves.  When horses eat the pods the tannins inside the pods are broken down into toxic elements.  These bind to proteins and cause damage to the gut wall and kidneys and cause diarrhea and colic. You will find that some horses are keener to eat them than others.


Severe illness can occur in less than 12 hours, with death within another 12 – 24 hours,  There is no specific treatment so speed is of the necessity if you suspect acorn toxicity.  Intensive treatment will save some horses, although if there is blood in a horse’s poo it is usually too late.

Make sure you prevent a horse from grazing whilst you remove the acorns from the pasture.


Leafy clumps known as rosettes will appear in spring at ground level, then grow into taller plants up to 2 meters in height over the summer and produce clusters of daisy-like yellow flowers. It is more difficult to identify in hay when dried, so it is a good idea to pull up all plants before making hay and use gloves as it is an irritant.



Most horses dislike the bitter taste and one-off exposure is unlikely to have an effect, but long-term exposure to dry ragwort in hay as toxins can be active and cause liver damage in the long term.

Signs of liver damage are subtle but can cause weight loss or diarrhoea. With supportive treatment, certain cases can recover liver function.

Dig up plants and their roots and search ‘ragwort’ online at to find information about safe removal and disposal.

We will be covering other poisonous plants in our next blog, so keep an eye out next week.  If you have enjoyed reading this please feel free to go to our Facebook page Sam Goss Coaching and like our page to stay up to date with what is going on.  Thank you.


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Haylage the Alternative to hay.



A bag of haylage.


As hay becomes harder to find and increasingly expensive, each winter starts to bring more people to become first-time users of this similar, but definitely different, forage.

Haylage is not a complete feed. It’s halfway between fully air-dried hay and wet big-bale wrapped silage – and it’s easier to make than hay because it doesn’t need the (rare) three or four days of blazing sunshine to dry the grass.

Its biggest advantage over hay is that haylage is generally “dust free”. Any spores are swollen by the presence of moisture, and “stuck” to the grass stalks, so they are eaten rather than breathed in.

This means that you don’t have to soak haylage, but equally, you mustn’t let it dry out or buy an overly dry supply, or the molds will again be free for inhalation.

Well-made haylage is sweet and very palatable. Horses can gobble up their allowance, and then stand around bored. Recent research showed horses fed haylage were four times more likely to develop a stereotypical behavior than those with access to hay or grass.

Haylage has been around for at least 25 years. Early versions were very rich and so horses became fat or unruly – this gave rise to the myths that haylage should be limited, or that it causes tying up.

These are not wholly true. Swapping weight-for-weight hay for haylage could cause such a drop in fibre intake that the horse might colic or tie up, but well-managed feeding of the right quality haylage should not cause these issues. And the haylage analysed over the past couple of years has tended to be lower in energy and protein.

Making the switch
Once it is open, use a bale of haylage within four days or the moulds you have sought to prevent will start to grow again.


  • Haylage contains at least 25% more water than hay so you cannot make the change on a weight-for-weight basis without causing problems. Feed about 1¼ times as much haylage as hay.
  • Quality is everything. Always ask for an analysis of the batch you are buying. All large bales should be covered with at least eight layers of plastic.
  • Check for holes, bird or rodent damage in the packaging. These will start mold growth before you want to feed the haylage and will ruin the product.
  • Avoid gritty or soil-contaminated bales: these carry the risk of diseases such as botulism or listeriosis.
  • Complement haylage with a short-chop fibre to extend eating times in stabled horses. In working horses, cubes and mixes high in fibre balance the potentially reduced fibre supply from the haylage.


Haylage can be an alternative for some people and if you take all of the above into consideration, it can help you and your horse.  If you have enjoyed reading this, please feel free to go to the other posts in my blog and our Facebook page Sam Goss Coaching. If you like our page you can keep up with all that we have going on.


Thank you.



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Hey, know your hay!

There are two types of hay available to horse owners, seed hay and meadow hay.   Of these two types, different farms will have different swards (the type of grasses used) and also where the hay has been grown will have an effect on the type of grasses in the sward.  I have known some racehorse owners and trainers import the best quality seed hay from as far afield as Canada or the USA,

Seed Hay.

Timothy grass


Seed hay is a sward that is intentionally sown for a hay crop.  Usually, these crops have grasses like timothy and ryegrass in their sward.  The grasses will have good nutrients and will have a sward that is beneficial for horses. Perennial ryegrasses are used throughout the United States as turf grasses and as high-quality pasture grasses for livestock. Despite its agricultural uses, perennial ryegrass isn’t related the rye plant that produces cereal grain.




The other grass that can be found in a seed hay is cock’s foot.  Its correct name is  Dactylis species are perennial grasses, forming dense tussocks growing to 15–140 centimeters tall, with leaves 20–50 cm long and up to 1.5 cm broad, and distinctive tufted triangular flowerheads comprising a panicle 10–15 cm long, turning pale grey-brown at seed maturity. The spikelets are 5–9 mm long, typically containing two to five flowers. The stems have a flattened base, which distinguishes them from many other kinds of grass.


Cocksfoot grasses.


Above are just three of the main types of grasses that can be found in seed hay, each farmer will have his own mix of seeds and as we said above will sew the crop for horses.


Seed hay.



Meadow Hay.

Meadow hay is just that, it is a hay that is cut from a permanent meadow or a seed hay crop which has been sewn for three years in the same field and herbs and different types of grasses have started to come into the sward.

Meadow hay tends to be a softer hay and has finer grasses in it.  You can see below it is usually slightly greener in appearance and will have a greater mixture to it.


Meadow Hay.

You can still get some timothy, rye and cocksfoot grasses in the meadow hay, but there will not be such a greater amount of them.  You will also have the natural herbs from the pasture.

The types of grasses you may find a meadow foxtail, crested dog tail, meadow fescue and red fescue.  These grasses will not have so much feed value in them but would be a good source of hay for horses and ponies that are good-doers.

Meadow Foxtail grasses are a common plant is found on grasslands, especially on neutral soils. It is found on moist, fertile soils, but avoids waterlogged, light or dry soils. The species forms dense swards leading to low botanical diversity.


Meadow Foxtail Grass.


The crested dog tail grass is a short-lived perennial grass in the family Poaceae, characterised by a seed head that is flat on one side. It typically grows in species-rich grassland. It thrives in a variety of soil types but avoids the acid and calcareous extremes of pH, and prefers well-drained soils.


Crested Dogs tail grass.


The grasses in meadow have tended to give meadow hay it’s softer feel and look.  It does look more palatable, but different horses like different types of hay, what is important is that you have the correct feed value that you need for your type of horse.  Meadow hay as we have said above is usually good for good doers, cobs, and ponies.  Whereas competition horses tend to have seed hay.

I hope this blog post has been of interest and if you have enjoyed reading this please feel free to go to the other posts on this site or our facebook page Sam Goss Coaching and like our page or leave your email address and we can keep you up to date with what will be happening.


Thank you.




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The ‘little Gem’ on the edge of the Forest.


New Hunt Horse’s Equestrian Shop

New Hunt Horse’s Equestrian Shop is the ‘little gem’ on the edge of the forest.  Sue Mason has built up the business from a desire to help people when they were buying a horse from her to an extensive facility that has 50,000 lines in store.

Sue started small and but slowly built up the shop by focusing on what her clients required and developing the stock to help different riders and owners of horses and ponies.   What started as wanting to help by making sure the horses she was selling would have the equipment they needed with their new owner, to putting everything back into the business and listening to her customers and looking at what they wanted for their horses and ponies. Now she just focuses on the equestrian shop and developing the different lines they have in store.


The hallway into the shop.

Sue goes to ‘BETA’ the British Trade Association’s annual trade show which runs in February each year and finds out from suppliers what sizes and colours are available and how she can serve her clients.  Sue has a great team with Chloe, Shirley, George, and Lisa who can help the clients with what they are looking for and when the customer asks are able to provide a personal shopping service.

The team at New Hunt Horses can help you look at all the different items and find clothes and equipment that can fit.  Sue would like her customers to be able to leave the shop and have clothing, hats, and boots that fit and are going to do the job they are made for.   By being there if a customer would like help and being able to give advice and suggest the different stock that is available, allows you as the customer to focus on what you need and can use.


Some of the clothing range.

Some customers come for the sales at different times of the year and find that there is so much more to look at and have a browse through.  It is a good idea to allow yourself at least an hour to look at all the stock.  There is saddlery, equipment for your horse and dog, different supplement, shampoos, studs, grooming kits, rugs, head collars, items for equestrian presents, boots for your horse, boots for you, all different prices and ranges and a large clothing and boot section.

What is also great is that Sue has looked at the different sizes that are required by ladies in the equestrian world and provides for all sizes large and small.

To be honest, every time I go to the shop I find something else that I missed last time!  Sue,  also supplies horse feed and bedding and can send your clippers and blades off for sharpening.


An Aladin’s cave.


What is a lasting testament to Sue, is that her customers come from Devon, Welsh Valleys, Bristol, Herefore, Leominster as well as local.  If you haven’t had a chance to pop in the shop is well worth a visit as it is now open seven days a week from 12 noon to 7 pm Monday to Friday and 10 am to 4 pm on a Saturday and Sunday.

You can contact Sue at the shop on 01452 830441 or email  Sue also has a Facebook page New Hunt Horses where you can find the latest deals or sales that are going on.

You can find New Hunt Horses Equestrian Shop at New Hunt Farm, Newent Road, Huntley, Gloucestershire, GL19 3HH

Easter Opening hours this Easter 2018 are Easter Friday 10 am – 5 pm, Saturday 10 am – 4.30pm and Easter Monday 11am – 4 pm.

So if you haven’t had a chance to, go and have a look around as it is a great place to find something for not only yourself but a present for a friend.  If you have enjoyed reading this blog please feel free to go to my page Sam Goss Coaching and see what we have going on or leave your email address and we can keep you up to date with what we are doing.  Thank you.







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Everyone tucking into hay.

Well, yet another weekend snowbound.  I was able to get out and about yesterday but I know that friends were trying to keep going throughout the snow.   It seems that even though it is March the weather has decided to stop several competitions and this has a knock on effect to all involved.


Keen riders having to finish as cross country training was brought to a stop by the snow.

The picture above is from Tweseldown where Warren Lamperd was training with some very keen riders and the weather stopped play! Everyone got home ok and all were safe, but it shows how much people are ready to get going and the snow is stopping us.

These conditions are halting the everyday rider, competitions, training and all things equestrian at the moment.  The problem is getting transport out safely and keeping horses and people safe.

Most might have a school they can get to on their yard, but again it depends if it hasn’t frozen and if you have been able to clear a path to the school or walker.  Most can turn horses out, greasing their feet and heals.  It is heavy duty lard, but it does stop the snow balling up in the horse’s feet.

Here are some pointers to help with the weather:

  1. If you can clear all areas that will ice up and grit so that people and cars can get in and out of the yard or stables.
  2. Keep all taps and hoses wrapped up and if at all possible keep the hose in a warm barn or area having had all the water drained out of it.
  3. If you have a stopcock drain the water back to that and hopefully it will make it easier to get water through when you need it.
  4. Horses usually love the snow as long as they are dry and warm.  If you can have spare rugs so you can keep a check on their warmth changing them when necessary and they will be ok in this weather.
  5. Have a small ball (tennis ball) in your water troughs so that it can help you break the ice and make it easier to keep water available.
  6. If you are having to travel take flasks of hot water and supplies with you in case get stuck and need a warm drink.
  7. Keep an area clear that you can use to work undercover if you are going to be down your yard field for long.
  8. Make sure someone know’s that you have gone to do the horses and take a mobile with you so that you can contact someone if you have a problem.

Take care everyone and I hope that you all survive our latest snow day.  If you have enjoyed this blog post please feel free to look at the others and our Facebook page Sam Goss Coaching.  Here you will be able to see what we are up to and feel free to sign up and leave your email and we can keep you in touch with what we are doing.


Thank you.




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Lets go cross country!

Cross country riding can be seen in British Eventing competitions, hunter trials, hunt races and any competitive competitions where the fences are solid and usually natural in construction.

The equipment for your horse will consist of items that can help protect the horse from injury and support the horse.

Cottage Cracker at Stockton Lovell Horse Trials.

As you can see from the picture above you can come across different types of fences, drop fences like this one, water fences, table fences etc.  They will all be solid with some frangible pins on the back rails to help if necessary.

Therefore, if you are going cross country you will need a forward cut saddle, bridle with a bit that helps with a stronger pace from the horse and boots for the horse and studs in their shoes.




Lolly with her cross country kit on.



Most riders will have a forward cut jumping saddle and ride shorter in their stirrup length than even their show jumping stirrup length.  The picture above has a K2 jumping saddle which is an Albion make.  I happen to like this make as it has a sensible length with the stirrups shorter and allows the rider’s thigh to be balanced and in place when jumping.  I am a taller rider at 5’11” and as I have said before it is a personal thing that a rider will like a certain type of jumping saddle.

Some saddles have longer girth straps and have a shorter girth like a dressage girth.  The idea of this is that you do not have all the buckles under your legs.  Again this is a personal preference.

Over Girth.

An over girth can be seen in the picture above but it is not done up.  You can keep the over girth undone until you have the normal girth at the correct tension ready and then you can put the over girth in place.   You have the over girth fitted over the saddle, under the stirrup tabs and through the loop in the breastplate where the normal girth goes through. The over girths are used in case the girth fails.

Prolite performance pads.

Prolite performance pads help when you are going cross country as they can take some of the strain of the rider having to move more in the cross country phase. Again it is the personal preference of the rider and trainer as to which make you might use.

Bridles and Bits.

Bridles and which bits to use depends on the combination of horse and rider.  I have known a horse go cross country in a snaffle with no problem.  It is usually the case that you have a slightly stronger bit for cross country, but again it depends on the rider and the horse and their ability and balance.  The rules in British Eventing will tell you what types of bit you can use and what is not allowed.


The Ace of Spades II with a hunting breastplate on.

A lot of horses wear a hunting breastplate, but others use a breast girth or a five-point breastplate.  The five-point can be seen below and again it is a personal preference with the shape of the horse and what the rider and trainer are looking to achieve.

5-point breastplate with a close contact saddle and stud girth fitted.



The top picture of ‘Lolly in her cross country kit’ has the new cross country boots which have cooling slots in them for air to flow through and keep the legs cooler.  The hind boots also have a higher cover so that when the horse is galloping it cannot hit its self.

As you are riding as speed it is also a good idea to put overreach boots on your horse as well.  This way they will have protection and stop any overreaches on their heel area.

Eventing Grease.

Eventing grease can be applied to the forearms of the horse’s front legs and the stifle area of the hind legs.  This will allow the horse to slip over a fence if he gets too close when jumping.

Studs for the horse’s shoes.

I have already written a blog post on different types of studs which you can access by clicking on the link here in this sentence.  It is a good read and will give you some idea of the different types of studs for different purposes.


If you have enjoyed reading this blog please feel free to visit our page Sam Goss Coaching on Facebook and see what we are up to this month.  You can also leave us your email address and we can keep you up to date with what we are up to.  Thank you for reading.


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What equipment you need when Show Jumping your horse.


Amelia Campbell-Horne and Rico.

The thing about show jumping is that it is a little less restricted with the use of different bridles, nosebands, martingales and boots for your horse.  Unlike dressage, as you are asking the horse to jump over obstacles and sometimes covering uneven ground (grass arenas) you need to support your horses.

In this blog post, I hope to cover some of the more used equipment and tack so that you can get an idea of what is used.


When working with your horse or pony it is a good idea to try and keep it simple, but there are some combinations of equipment that go well together.  Most horses will wear a snaffle bridle with a different noseband, martingale and a stronger bit that you would possibly use in dressage.

Grackle Nosebands.


Amelia Campbell-Horne and Cordi.

The horse in the above picture is wearing a Mexican Grackle and a pelham bit with rubber bit rings.   Russell Guire from Centaur Biomechanics has found that there are fewer pressure points on a grackle than with the flash noseband.   The grackle can be used to help stop the horse from crossing his/her jaw both above and below the bit.  The Pelham Bit has a curb chain and can be used with a stronger horse and a rider with good hands.  The horse about is a big horse working at 1.40m with an experienced rider.

Flash Noseband.

Amelia Campbell-Horne and Rico.


Flash nosebands help when the horse can try and open or cross the jaw below the bit.  It is a cavesson noseband and a flash strap that goes under the bit. These nosebands became popular in the 1980 and have been used for some time now.   If you have a cavesson bridle you can get a flash attachment and turn a cavesson noseband into a flash noseband which can be a cheaper alternative to buying a new one.

Drop Nosebands.


Amelia and Cordi with a Drop Noseband.

In the picture above, Cordi is wearing a drop noseband with bit rings on the bit.  Drop nosebands have an effect on the nose bone and the lower jaw.  They are a more established type of noseband that has been around for a long time.

Bitless Bridles.


Bitless bridles are sometimes used by themselves or as a combination with a bit.  There may be a time that you have to try one out as you might have a small problem with your horse’s mouth or a tooth.  The bitless bridle works on the nose and the poll area of the horse and some horses are happy with this action and some horse are not.  It can be of great use to you when there is a problem.

The bitless bridle is also known as a Hackamore bridle.



In the picture above you can see the use of a breastplate and a running martingale attachment.  You can use different breastplates there are the hunting breastplates, 5 point breastplates, and a breast girth.  Any can be used and it is a personal preference to the rider, horse, and trainer as to which they prefer to use.

Open fronted tendon boots.

Open fronted tendon boots are quite often used for show jumping horses and ponies as they allow the horse to ‘feel’ the fence if they touch the pole.  They also support the tendons on the horse’s legs.

These boots can be seen in several of the pictures above and you can see how they support the leg and allow the horse to touch the pole if they get a bit close to the fence.

You can use the open fronted fetlock boots on the hind legs and these have the same effect on the horse’s hind legs.

Jumping Saddles.

Charlie and I at the Burley young event horse class at Badminton.

Jumping saddles allow the rider’s hip, knee, and ankle to close the angle so that the rider and horse stay in balance whilst jumping.  There are many different types of jumping saddles on the market, but I prefer an Albion K2 jumping saddle as I have found it very comfortable and secure.

Like I said before it is a personal preference between the rider, horse, and trainer and what both the horse and rider feel comfortable and safe with.

Another consideration with jumping is if you would use studs in your horse’s shoes and we have a stud post about this called different types of studs.  You can get to this post on that link in the previous sentence, which will give you information about different types of studs.

All the rules and regulations for showjumping at British Eventing competitions can be found on the link in this sentence and the rules for British Showjumping are in this link as well.

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