What do Vitamins and Minerals do for your horse?

August 26th, 2014 by Emma

What are they?

 

There are a number of vitamins and minerals that humans and animals use on a daily basis. They are required in such small amounts that it is easy to forget how important they are. Vitamins are categorised as fat or water-soluble depending on how they are absorbed and if they are stored in the body.

 

Fat soluble vitamins are stored in the horse’s liver or fat tissue where as water-soluble vitamins cannot be stored after absorption into the bloodstream. Excesses of water-soluble vitamins are excreted out in the urine, therefore over feeding of vitamins and minerals is ineffective and can actually have adverse affects.

 

The saying ‘he lives off fresh air’ is common among owners of good doers, although it is important to make sure they are receiving the correct amounts of vitamins and minerals, as grass or forage alone are unlikely to provide the daily requirements. Copper, Zinc and Selenium are most likely to be lacking in a forage only diet. It can be difficult, particularly in the summer months to ensure that your horse receives adequate nutrition without gaining weight. This is where balancers and supplements can be very useful.

 

Although there are set recommended daily allowances (RDA’s) for vitamins and minerals, these are the recommendations set to avoid deficiency; some vitamins have been proven to be beneficial in increased amounts. This is particularly true of Biotin in horses; elevated levels have been seen to improve hoof health, quality and growth. Vitamin C and E can also be beneficial when fed in elevated amounts. However care must be taken to not feed excessive amounts.

 

What do they do?

 

Fat Soluble Vitamins:

A – important for vision, growth, reproduction, bone development and immune function.

D – required for the absorption and regulation of calcium.

E – a  powerful antioxidant that is important for immunity and muscle health.

K – needed for blood clotting and protein synthesis.

 

Water Soluble Vitamins:

B -complex – required for enzyme components and energy metabolism.

C – an antioxidant required for respiratory and immune health.

 

Macro Minerals:

Calcium – needed for muscle contraction, regulation of enzymes, cell membrane function, blood clotting and bone and teeth structure.

Phosphorus – required for bone and teeth structure and energy metabolism.

Sodium – a vital electrolyte, necessary for normal function of the nervous system.

Magnesium – needed for muscle contractions, activation of enzymes, energy metabolism and bone and teeth structure.

Potassium – also a vital electrolyte that is important for muscle contraction and nerve function.

Sulphur – important for skin, hair and hoof structure.

 

Micro Minerals:

Zinc – necessary for enzyme activation, immune function, tissue function and skin integrity.

Copper – important for immune and nerve function, connective tissue structure and the utilisation of iron.

Iodine – required for the production of thyroid hormones.

Selenium – an antioxidant that combines with Vitamin E and is important for immune and enzyme function.

Iron – necessary for oxygen uptake and storage.

Manganese – important for the metabolism of carbohydrates and lipids as well as cartilage formation.

Cobalt – is a component of vitamin B12 which helps to keep the body’s nerve and blood cells healthy.

 

Hopefully you have found this informative and have learnt something new about vitamins and minerals.

 

What’s On – September 2014!

August 19th, 2014 by Sammi

International:

 

4th – 7th – One of the much-anticipated events in the eventing calendar, The Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials is set in the beautiful grounds of Burghley House, Stamford, Lincolnshire and is one of only six competitions of its type around the world. Many top riders from all over the word will be coming to take on this difficult test for both horse and rider, set over four days including the three traditional events, dressage on Thursday and Friday, Cross Country Saturday and the pinnacle Show Jumping on Sunday. As well as all the top-class equestrian action there is also an abundance of shopping, refreshments and other events over the course of the competition, so you can shop till you drop, then stop and enjoy some of the delicious food on offer! Burghley is a real gem in the Lincolnshire countryside and the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials promises an action packed weekend with the world’s best riders battling it out to take the prestigious title! 

The Cross Country Phase at Burghley Horse Trials

The Cross Country Phase at Burghley Horse Trials

 

 

19th - 21st – The Autumn Whatley Manor Hotel International Horse Trials is held in the beautiful Gatcombe Park set in the very heart of the Cotswold, where riders from all over the world will come to compete in the Dressage, Cross Country and Show Jumping across the three days. As well as the top class riding to keep you entertained there are many trade stands to satisfy your desire to shop, for you, your horse or dog. There are also plenty of great places to get a bite to eat including quick crepes, Rico’s Pizza Shack, home-made burgers and more, so you won’t get hungry! There will be lots taking place during the event and plenty to keep you entertained, so why not go along and enjoy the atmosphere.

 

National:

 

4th - 7th – The All England Jumping Championships at Hickstead takes place in the prestigious International Hickstead arena, offering riders of all levels the opportunity to gain invaluable experience at this top-level venue. There are events for riders of every calibre on offer with two separate sections for amateur riders, supporting riders right from grass-roots. This event was established in 2011 and has received a very warm welcome with enormous support, with riders of all levels showcasing their skills and riding ability. As well as all the equestrian action there are numerous trade stands so go along and support this wonderful grass-roots national competition.    

 

6th – 7th - The BRC NAF National Championships is held at the Lincolnshire Show Ground offering riders from all over the country, the chance to compete in Dressage, Show Jumping, Riding Tests and Style Jumping. In the dressage classes both teams and individuals can compete with events for juniors and seniors, catering for riders of all ages and abilities. If you have not qualified and are not competing then why not go along and show your support and watch the variety of events throughout the two days.     

 

22nd – 28th – The Arena UK Festival of Show Jumping is the UK’s largest national championship and takes place across the whole week with many riders from all over the country with over 1500 competitors coming to compete against each other in this big Autumn event. There are many events across the week to keep you entertained, with classes for riders of all levels on offer.

 

Local:

 

Sissons Farm Equestrian Centre, Peterborough

 

Wednesday 3rd September – Unaffiliated evening show jumping

Wednesday 10th September – Unaffiliated evening show jumping

Saturday 20th September – Pleasure ride (to be confirmed)

Saturday 20th September – Peter Hales show jumping clinic

Sunday 21st September – Unaffiliated show jumping

Tuesday 23rd September – Unaffiliated and British Dressage

Sunday 28th September – Unaffiliated Dressage

 

Sheepgate Equestrian, Boston, Lincolnshire

 

Tuesday 9th September – Affiliated British Dressage

Wednesday 10th September – Affiliated British Dressage

Sunday 14th September – Unaffiliated Dressage

Monday 15th, Tuesday 16th September – Dressage Clinic with Darryl Thickitt

Saturday 27th September – Indoor Dressage

Sunday 28th September – Have a go show!

 

I hope you’ve seen something you’d like to go to during September whether to compete or to watch the amazing spectacle of top-class riding. If you are competing during September Good Luck and if you’re planning a visit to one of these amazing premier International events then have fun and enjoy!

 

Summer travelling tips and essentials for your horse!

August 12th, 2014 by Sammi

It is important to ensure your horse is comfortable, settled and relaxed when travelling, and this can be a little more difficult during the summer months when the temperatures rise. Trailers and lorries are not always known for having the best ventilation so the environment inside can get very warm and uncomfortable, particularly on long journeys, so try to do everything you can to help your horse this summer.

 

We have a few tips and essential items that you can use to keep your horse more comfortable and make journeys a little more enjoyable.

The Comfortable Masta Soft Waffle Weave Rug - Ideal for Travelling!

The Comfortable Masta Soft Waffle Weave Rug – Ideal for Travelling!

 

Summer travelling essentials:

 

1. Water containers - these are essential at any time of the year but particularly during the warmer summer months.

2. Water Buckets - you will need a few water buckets, one for drinking water, another for washing down and a spare.

3. Relaxing wash - a relaxing wash is ideal in the summer to cool your horse down and soothe muscles after exercise.

4. Wash down sponge and scraper – so that you can wash your horse off on arrival and after the show to cool them down.

5. Electrolytes – particularly for long journeys and before and after strenuous workloads.

6. Lightweight cooler rug - make sure any rug your horse travels in, is breathable and wicks away moisture.

7. Fly sprays - will be required more for when you get to the show to keep those pesky flies at bay.  

 

Summer travelling tips:

 

1. Hydration is key – Make sure your horse is well hydrated before long journeys, perhaps you could try feeding water holding feeds such as beet pulp or mashes for the week running up to the journey.

 

2. Soak hay – Soaking your horse’s hay if you don’t already will help to keep your horse hydrated, increasing their water intake through their food to make sure they have adequate fluid levels to last the journey.

 

3. Allow ventilation – Make sure you have all the windows you can open in your trailer or lorry to allow ventilation and a cool flow of air to circulate through, which will help to keep the temperature down and your horse cooler.

 

4. Find the shortest way – Try to plan the shortest journey possible to your chosen destination, but make sure it is suitable for the vehicle you are using, e.g. avoid narrow country roads in a large horse lorry.

 

5. Factor in stops – If the journey is going to be more than a couple of hours make sure you plan in at least one stop or more for very long journeys, giving your horse the chance to stretch their legs and enjoy a refreshing drink. Most horses don’t like to drink in the trailer or lorry so planning a stop will give your horse the opportunity to have a rest and replenish water supplies.

 

 6. Use a suitable rug – Consider what rug your horse will be using or if they need one at all whilst in the trailer or lorry. If your horse travels well then you could leave them without a rug. If you feel your horse does need a rug when travelling whether it be for a little extra comfort and/or protection then choose one that is lightweight, breathable and wicks away moisture incase they begin to sweat, such as a fleece cooler or waffle weave rug, to keep your horse cooler and more comfortable.

 

7. Fill water containers - Before you head off on your journey fill up a couple of water containers to ensure you have enough water for your horse not just for the journey but also during the show too, as many horses will not drink water that is new and tastes a little different, so be prepared just in case.    

 

8. Travel early – If you can, try to travel early in the morning when the temperatures are still cooler and avoid the hottest times of the day between the hours of 12pm-3pm wherever possible. Leaving early even if your time is not until later in the day, will at least give your horse the time to settle when you arrive and also means you do not have to rush, which could make you forget something important.  

 

9. Find some shade – Once you get there if possible try to find somewhere shady to park so that the trailer or lorry doesn’t get hot in the sun and is a more pleasant temperature to start with before the journey home.

 

These are just a few ways you could help to keep your horse more comfortable when travelling during the summer, but don’t forget all the other things you need when travelling whatever the temperature outside, including tack, boots, grooming kit, tail bandage/wrap and your first aid kit! Don’t forget yourself either and make sure you have plenty of fluids and enough food to keep your energy levels up, so that you can both perform to the best of your ability.

 

We hope this guide has helped when travelling and coping with the rise in temperatures, let us know if you have any other great summer travelling tips or advice and how you keep your horse cool by commenting below. Thanks for reading and safe travelling!

 

Fly Masks – Staff Product Reviews and Testimony’s

August 4th, 2014 by Emma

It is currently the time of year when we are sharing the warm weather with a large number of flies. Flies can pester your horse and cause irritation. They are attracted to the moisture in the eyes and will often gather around your horse’s face causing their eyes to run. A fly mask can protect your horse’s face from the pestering flies. Some horses with pink noses that are prone to sunburn may benefit from wearing a fly mask with UV protection in it.

We asked our staff to tell us about the fly masks they use for their horses and why. Here are the results we found:

 

Bridleway Fly Mask – Full Face

Georgie, Becky and Gill all use this fly mask for their horses.

Ease of use: This mask is easy to put on and take off with two velcro straps.

How effective is the product? It fits well and protects all of the face including the nose and ears from flies, dust and dirt. They wash well and are durable and long-lasting.

Practicality of the design: The design offers full visibility, stands clear of the eyes and features a fleece browband and edge making it comfortable and preventing rubbing. The velcro fastens securely, keeping the mask in place. The touch and close fastenings allow for up to 10cm adjustment ensuring a good fit and it is difficult for horses to remove. The material and mesh are both breathable, helping to keep your horse comfortable on hot days.

Overall: 9/10 – this mask does come up a little big for size, therefore it may be necessary to have a size smaller than usual.

 

Bridleway Fly Mask

Bridleway Fly Mask

 

Shires Fine Mesh Fly Mask with Ears and Fringe

Rose uses this mask for her horse Jake.

Ease of use: This mask is easy to put on and take off with two velcro straps.

How effective is the product? This mask features a fringe across the nose rather than a fixed nose. It still works to effectively keep flies, dust and airborne particles away with the fringe swishing when the horse moves their head. Jake suffers from allergies and seems to get on well with this mask. The velcro fastens securely keeping it in place and offers up to 10cm of adjustment. The masks with fixed noses can become quite dirty as they are dragged along the floor and the horses breathe through them, the fringe on this mask does not become so dirty, therefore this mask will need less frequent washing than other styles of mask. This mask is flexible and strong.

Practicality of the design: The fine mesh is even easier to see through than the normal mesh. The mask stands clear of the eyes with the help of a fleece browband and shaping, it is comfortable and does not rub with a fleece edge. It has airstream fabric ears  and is breathable, keeping your horse comfortable.

Overall: 9/10 – this mask is slightly small in the ears for some horses.

 

Shires Fly Mask

Shires Fly Mask

 

Equilibrium Field Relief Max

Laura-Jane uses this mask for her horse Phoenix.

Ease of use: This mask is easy to put on and take off with two touch and close velcro fastenings. The edging is elasticated ensuring a close and comfortable fit.

How effective is the product? This mask covers the whole face including the ears and nose and blocks 80% of the sun’s UV rays, offering protection against sunburn. The mask is shaped and soft padding on the nose and brow area ensure that it sits above the eyes and does not rub. The nose is detachable and adjustable allowing you the choice of whether or not to use it. The nose is likely to need washing more often than the rest of the mask, therefore it is handy to be able to wash it separately.

Overall: 9.5/10 – this mask is more expensive than several of the others, however it is very well designed and comes in a large range of sizes making sure there will be one to fit every type of horse.

 

Equilibrium Field Relief Fly Mask Max

Equilibrium Field Relief Fly Mask Max

 

Equilibrium Field Relief Midi

Rose uses this mask for her horse Diamond.

Ease of use: This mask is easy to put on and take off with two touch and close velcro fastenings. The edging is elasticated ensuring a close and comfortable fit.

How effective is the product? This mask is available with or without ears depending on the level of protection you require for your horse. It screens out 70% of the sun’s UV rays. It offers great protection from flies, dust and dirt. There is soft padding in the nose and brow area and the mask is shaped to ensure a good fit. This mask is great for horses that suffer most from flies getting to their eyes and not their muzzles. Again depending on your horse you can decide whether the mask with or without ears would be the most suitable. As this mask does not cover the muzzle it is unlikely to get to dirty from being dragged along the floor.

Overall: 9/10 – similarly to the Max this mask is more expensive than some of the others but is incredibly durable and comfortable for your horse.

 

Equilibrium Field Relief Fly Mask Midi

Equilibrium Field Relief Fly Mask Midi

 

We stock a wide range of fly masks not limited to those featured above; come in and have a browse and you are sure to find the perfect fly mask for your horse.

 

 

What’s On August 2014!

July 28th, 2014 by Sammi

International:

 

14th – 16th – Marks the start of the eleventh leg of the Longines Global Champions Tour, which takes place in London at a new venue - The Horse Guards Parade Ground in the heart of the city. It promises a very exciting event as the world’s top riders gather to compete against each other in this end of season Show Jumping spectacular. On the Thursday evening you can also enjoy the City Polo London International Polo Match. For more information and to book tickets for this amazing event follow the link to the Longines site.    

 

15th – 17th – The FEI European Junior Eventing Championships are being held at Bishop Burton College in East Yorkshire for 2014, where young riders from all over Europe will compete for the title of this prestigious event. This promises to be an exciting event with top junior riders showcasing their excellent riding abilities.

 

23rd August – 7th September – Are the dates for the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games 2014, which are being held in Normandy, France. This is the home to 8 FEI official events including Jumping, Eventing, Dressage, Driving as well as Para-Dressage, Vaulting, Reining and Endurance, showcasing the world’s top riders from over 60 nations to create the biggest range of Equestrian disciplines in one event. They also have two extra demonstration events on offer with Horse-Ball and Polo. As well as all the amazing Equestrian events you will have an abundance of places to eat, shop and endless entertainment across the two week spectacular. For more information or to book your tickets visit the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games website.     

 

National:

 

1st – 3rd August – The Festival of British Eventing will be taking place at Gatcombe Park, Gloucestershire and incorporates the British Open, Intermediate and Novice Championships with top riders in the country competing for the title. As well as all the top-class Eventing action, you can also shop till you drop and enjoy the shopping village as well as the entertainment attractions, with plenty on offer to provide an action packed weekend. For more visit the Festival of British Eventing Website.

 

21st – 24th August – Blair Castle Horse Trials take place in August with numerous classes taking place over the four days at Scotlands leading equestrian event. A wide range of riders and horses compete at the wide range of classes held at Blair Castle Horse Trials, in events such as show jumping, mounted games, in-hand and ridden show classes, providing something for everyone. As well as all the equestrian action you can take a break and visit the many stalls and trade stands for delicious refreshments or a spot of shopping. For more information about Blair Castle Horse Trials follow the link.

 

8th – 24th August – The Pony Club Championships take place throughout August. Take a look at the dates below and visit the Pony Club Website for more details,and if you are not already taking part then maybe you could go along to show your support and watch the event.

The Audi Pony Club Polo Championships - On 8th – 10th August, held at Cowdray Park , West Sussex.

The Weatherbys Private Banking Championships - On 15th – 18th August, held at Cholmondeley Castle, Cheshire.

The Pony Club Tetrathlon Championships – On 19th – 21st August, held at Bishop Burton College, Yorkshire.

The NFU Mutual Novice Championships - On 23rd – 24th August, held at Kelsall Hill, Chesire.

 

Local Events:

 

Arena UK, Willow Top Farm, Grantham, Lincolnshire

 

2nd August – UK Riders Event

3rd August – Riding Club Show

8th,9th,10th,11th August – Arena UK Pony Festival of Show Jumping

13th August – British Dressage

20th,21st,22nd,23rd August – British Show Pony Society Summer Championships

28th,29th,30th August – Coloured Horse and Pony Society Championship Show (CHAPS) 

 

Sissons Farm Equestrian Centre, Peterborough 

 

2nd August – Peter Hales Show Jumping Clinic

3rd August – Unaffiliated Show Jumping

6th August – Unaffiliated Evening Show Jumping

13th August – Unaffiliated Evening Show Jumping

16th August – Peter Hales Show Jumping Clinic, Laura Riddlington Dressage Clinic

20th August – Unaffiliated Evening Dressage

23rd August – Unaffiliated and British Dressage

24th August – Laura Riddlington Give it a go Dressage Clinic

30th August – Peter Hales Show Jumping Clinic

31st August – Unaffiliated Show Jumping

 

It looks like August is set to be an action packed month with many equestrian events all over the country and abroad. Hopefully you have seen something you would like to go to or maybe there’s a local event you’d like to take part in, whatever events you go to in August, have fun!

 

Pony Club Camp Essentials!

July 21st, 2014 by Sammi

If you planning on going to Pony Club Camp over the summer holidays, then it may be a good idea to start getting together all the equipment you will need or at least making a plan so that you don’t forget the essentials! Some of the items will be weather dependent, so nearer the time it is a good idea to check what sort of weather you will be having to decide whether you are more likely to need coats and wellies or caps and sun cream, but with the Great British weather you could be as well to plan for both!

 

Take a look at our list of the main things you will need for both horse and rider, even use it as a checklist if you want to and be prepared.

 

For the rider…

 

Day visits!   

 

• A suitable riding helmet - it needs to be approved for pony club use, featuring the CE mark and a quality symbol such as the BSI Kitemark, SAI Global Symbol or the official Snell label and number, and meet one of the main safety standards PAS 015, BS EN 1384, Snell or the AS Australian standard. For all information on riding helmets that are permitted for use at pony club camp visit this link – http://www.pcuk.org/uploads/HAT_RULE_2014_revised_June_2014_v2.pdf

Charles Owen Young Riders Jockey Skull

Charles Owen Young Riders Jockey Skull

A suitable body protector - it is not compulsory to wear a body protector at Pony Club apart from for all cross-country riding and pony racing but it is advised to have one with you should you need it and particularly for mini and juniors when jumping. Ideally the body protector should be approved to BETA level 3 safety standard but for more information on what body protectors are allowed follow this link – http://www.pcuk.org/uploads/BODY_PROTECTOR_RULE_2014.pdf

The Airowear Reiver Body Protector meets BETA level 3 safety standard.

The Airowear Reiver Body Protector meets BETA level 3 safety standard.

 Beige jodhpurs – these are part of the dress code of most Pony Clubs unless stated otherwise, but only very traditional colours will be allowed. Check with your Pony Club’s individual rules.

Smart beige jodhpurs are required.

Smart beige jodhpurs are required.

 Riding boots and chaps - you can choose either long or short riding boots with or without chaps and black or brown boots are acceptable, but again be sure to check with your Pony Club rules. Brightly coloured chaps will NOT be allowed. If you are not using chaps then be sure to bring along your jodhpur clips with your short boots.  

SMart brown or black short boots with or without chaps are ideal.

SMart brown or black short boots with or without chaps are ideal.

Shirt and tie or polo shirt - this will depend on the rules of your individual Pony Club as some are more strict on the dress code and will require a smart white long-sleeved shirt, the pony club sweatshirt and the pony club tie, whereas others do not mind you using their own more casual polo shirt and sweatshirt.  

 

Riding gloves - these are not always a necessary requirement but if you usually wear gloves when riding then it may be a good idea to bring some with you. Make sure they are a traditional colour such as black or navy.

 

Other items you will need…

Hair nets (for girls)
Medical armband
• Named drinking bottle
• Notepad pencil/pen (for taking notes)
• Coats and wellies (depending on the weather)
• Suncream (depending on the weather)
 

 

For camping and staying over!

• Camp bed and sleeping bag – accommodation is normally supplied at most Pony Club Camps in the form of a marquee/tents but a bed and bedding will still be needed.

• Shower things – a pair of flip-flops and trunks or swimming costume is a good idea for showers and don’t forget a towel and shampoo etc.

• Toiletries - that includes all your usual overnight toiletries such as toothpaste and tooth-brush, wash kit and hair brush etc.

• Casual clothes – these will be needed for the evening activities. You will also need pajamas and underwear! 

 

For your horse/pony…

 

Day visits!

 

Horse Passport – you need to bring your horse’s passport with you, it is a necessary requirement whenever you transport your horse and compete.  Make sure all vaccinations are up to date!

Saddle and bridle - make sure your saddle and bridle are complete with the correct girth, bit, numnah etc. You will also need a martingale or neck strap, so makes sure you have one of them with your tack too. Give your tack a clean before hand to make sure it looks good for camp.

Bandages and boots - if your horse requires bandages or boots when travelling or working then you will need to bring those with you. If you are going cross-country then boots are usually required.

Head collar and lead rope – this will be needed to safely tie your horse up between activities. Make sure the lead rope has a spring hook and is in good working order so that your horse will be safe when tied up.

Grooming kit - bring along your full grooming kit for the stable management activities. Your kit should include: Dandy brush, body brush, curry comb, water brush, mane and tail comb, hoof pick, two sponges, 2 stable rubbers and hoof oil with hoof oil brush.

• Tack cleaning products - you will need to bring this with you to take part in the stable management activities so perhaps pop your saddle soap, cloths and conditioner in your grooming kit so that you don’t forget!

Plaiting equipment - make sure you have your plaiting equipment, bands or thread, needle, comb, plaiting gel (if required) and any other equipment you require.

Buckets - make sure you have at least one bucket for tack cleaning and two for offering your horse water, you may also need to have one for washing down your horse after riding.

Hay - if your pony club camp do not supply hay or your horse has specific feeding requirements such as haylage then you will need to bring your own supply with you.

 

For camping and staying over!     

• Feed and feeding buckets – bring with you some pre measured feed for the duration, often best bought in a dustbin to keep it safely stored and free from contamination.

• Mucking out tools – you will need to bring with you either a shavings fork/shovel and any other mucking out tools you require depending on what bedding your horse will be using. To save you bringing everything maybe liaise with your friends and bring different things between you and share them whilst you are there.

• Bedding – this is often provided but if your horse has allergies or specific bedding requirements then you will need to bring your own with you. Check with your pony club to see what bedding they provide.

• Rugs – if your horse requires rugs during the evening/after exercise, then you will need to bring them with you also. This may depend on the weather, which can be very unpredictable in the UK so check closer to the date and if unsure bring them anyway.  

 

These should be most of the items you will need for Pony Club Camp but be sure to check with your individual clubs requirements to make sure you have all the correct equipment! It is very important to clearly name all of your equipments so that you don’t lose anything or get things mixed up, as you may find someone has something the same or similar to you. Most important of all we hope you have fun at camp! 

 

Small Pet Summer Care Tips!

July 18th, 2014 by Emma

With the current warm weather we are having some of our smaller animals, particularly those with thick fur may be struggling with the heat. Animals kept outside or somewhere where a lot of sunshine comes through may suffer the most. It is of vital importance for your pets health that they have adequate shelter and protection from the sunlight. If your pet is too hot, try to bring their body temperature down gradually as rapid changes in temperature can be harmful. Small animals can suffer from heat stroke at this time of year. If you suspect your animal may have heat stroke contact your vet immediately and do everything possible to keep your animal cool as it can be fatal.

 

Fly strike can also affect small animals so it is important to keep them and their cages clean. Flies are attracted to droppings and lay their eggs on the animals. From the eggs maggots hatch and then burrow into them eating their flesh. Regular bathing with an anti-bacterial wash and keeping their enclosures clean and disinfected will help minimise the risk of fly strike. Using pet trimmers to trim long fur can help to keep a range of small animals cooler. Keeping a thermometer in your pet’s enclosure will allow you to monitor the temperature and ensure they are not overheating. AnimAlarm have designed an alarm for dogs to monitor the temperature in the back of a car. This may be suitable for monitoring the temperature of small animal enclosures too.

 

Below we have some tips for Rabbits and Guinea pigs, although a number will be transferable for a range of small pets.

 

Rabbits:

In the wild rabbits live in underground networks or burrows. When they are too hot they can head into these to cool down and regulate their temperature gradually, the depth of the burrows keep them cooler than the outside temperature. In a cage or hutch this is obviously not a possibility. Rabbits do not sweat and therefore unlike people cannot regulate their body temperature this way. In really warm weather consider setting up a fan over their living area. In the early summer months rabbits moult, regular grooming will assist in removing excess hair and help to keep your rabbit cooler. In addition, similarly to cats rabbits groom themselves and can suffer from hairballs, regular grooming will help to minimise this. Your rabbit is likely to drink more in the warm weather therefore it is important to offer them plenty of fresh clean water. Ice cubes can be placed in their water bowl or bottle to keep the water nice and cold. Frozen treats such as peas, carrots and chunks of apple can be another way to keep your rabbit cool.

rabbit

Keep your pet rabbits cool and comfortable this summer!

 

Guinea Pigs:

Guinea pigs naturally have a much higher body temperature than humans, therefore warm for us is hot for them and it is important to keep them cool and comfortable during the summer months. Placing a frozen water bottle in a sock can offer a guinea pig a cool object to lie on. The sock will prevent them from becoming too chilled. Similarly to rabbits ice cubes can be placed in water bottles or bowls to keep the water cold. Chilled plates and ceramic tiles can offer somewhere cool to serve food on and once they have eaten a cool resting place.

guinea pigs

Make sure your small animals are comfortable in the hot weather!

 

Take a little time to make sure your smaller pets are cool and comfortable this summer, as they cannot always easily find a place to cool down and escape the heat. We hope these simple tips and advice have given you a few ideas on how you can help your small animals during the hot weather.

 

Equetech – A Look at Our Products!

July 14th, 2014 by Sammi

History of the brand!

 

Equetech has become synonymous with high quality performance materials and their dedication to superior equestrian clothing, becoming one of the leading suppliers of equestrian apparel in the UK. They were established in 1992 so are a relatively young company in comparison to a number of businesses in the equestrian industry, yet they have achieved a lot in this short time. Equetech have put a lot of time into finding the very best advanced fabric technologies, testing them to ensure they can withstand regular use and outperform other materials on the market.

Equetech now have a wide range of equestrian products and riding accessories including competition jackets, jodhpurs and breeches, shirts, tops, gloves, socks, stocks, ties and much more. They combine quality, style and forward thinking design to create high performing equestrian clothing that enhances comfort and support for the rider. Equetech started and still remain a family run business today, sticking to their core values and dedication to equestrianism, improving the clothing on offer for riders of all levels.

 

Why do we stock Equetech products?

 

Here are some of the keys reasons as to why we stock Equetech products: 

• They offer a wide range of high quality equestrian clothing, for riders at all levels in a range of disciplines.
• Use only high quality performance materials to ensure comfort and durability. 
• A UK-based company that are proud to still make approximately 40% of their products in the UK.
• The products are designed by Liz Hayman (Equetech Director) – a fellow rider who uses her own knowledge and experience to make sure Equetech clothing offers what the rider needs.
• Forward thinking company that concentrate on providing high performing riding wear using high quality performance materials. 

 

Our pick of some Equetech Products!

 

Equetech Grip Seat Breeches - These stretchy and highly comfortable breeches are ideal for everyday riding yet smart enough for competition use too. They feature a rubber spotted grip pattern on the seat designed to help keep your bottom in the saddle and enhance security in your seat. The Grip Seat Breeches are available in a range of classic colours, including beige, navy, black and champagne, to suit a wide range of riding outfits for both general and competition riding. They have a very flattering fit with double-stitched flat seams, a comfortable waistband and contoured seat for a great overall fit. A great value pair of breeches!

The Collection of Grip Seat Breeches!

The Collection of Grip Seat Breeches!

 

Equetech Pearl Stock Pin - This classic simple stock pin comes in either 9ct gold-plated or silver plated with a beautiful faux pearl centrepiece for a timeless look that will complete a wide range of competition outfits perfectly. It features a safety clasp at the back for easy fixing to your stock and looks great in any discipline. The Pearl Stock Pin can come out year after year at competition time, giving your outfit that beautiful finishing touch.

The Equetech Pearl Stock Pin!

The Equetech Pearl Stock Pin!

 

Equetech Stocks - Equetech boast a wide selection of stocks to suit riders in all disciplines and at all levels, from the easy ready-tied stocks to the self-tying designs in a variety of colours and materials. They use only the best cotton and woven jacquard fabrics to ensure all of their stocks will look great for competition after competition. The ready-tied stocks are a one size fits all, featuring a Velcro fastening at the back to provide an instantly smart and classic look that is sure to catch the attention of the judges. We stock some of the Equetech stocks online but to see a more comprehensive range of colours and styles come and visit us in store.

The Equetech High Quality Brocade Stocks!

The Equetech High Quality Brocade Stocks!

 

Equetech Ties – They make a wide selection of ties for adults and children in a variety of colours and designs, from the plain and simple coloured ties to the more detailed designs including, spotted, herringbone, stars, solitaire, stripe and more! If you are looking for a high quality stylish stock for a showing or show jumping outfit then Equetech will have a tie to suit you. We have a selection of ties on our website but why not visit us in store to see all the styles available!

 

Equetech also produce a comprehensive range of competition clothing including shirts, jodhpurs, breeches and jackets, from beautiful tweed jackets to classic competition jackets and dressage tails, made from high quality materials and finished with those extra details to create high performing timeless clothing for all disciplines.  

 

If you are looking for a key item to update your showing outfit or a special accessory to complete the look then take a look at the Equetech collection and find the perfect piece to get you noticed in the show ring!  

 

Keep a look out for these countryside changes!

July 11th, 2014 by Emma

We are well into summer and a number of changes are taking place in the countryside. A lot can be seen from the car, although we recommend you get out for a walk on your own feet or perhaps with your horse to get the most out of the great outdoors!

 

Farming Fields:

With the wet start to the year followed by a lot of sunshine, currently crops are thriving and many are almost ready for harvesting. A number of hay fields have already been cut and baled. Next the rape seed will be harvested followed by the barley and wheat. It is important for farmers to get as much of the harvest in dry conditions to prevent excess drying costs.

Barley field

Look out for harvest time!

 

Wild Flowers:

There are a number of wild flowers that flower throughout the summer – too many to name all of them! However we have spotted a few common ones as you probably have too. Whilst there are plenty of pretty and harmless wild flowers there are also several flowers that are more like weeds. For example cotton thistle seems to be out with a vengeance this summer – it is very good at catching your legs whilst out dog walking. Mature Ragwort plants flower from May to October and when they die and dry out the seeds spread rapidly. Due to this it is important to ensure it is pulled up or sprayed and removed accordingly; particularly as it is poisonous to horses and cattle. A much more pleasant flower to look out for as we come into August is the sunflower.

sunflower picture

Look out for the beautiful flowers this Summer!

  

Fruit and Vegetables:

Keep an eye out on fruit trees. We have spotted and sampled some very tasty cherries and the apples are currently growing and ripening. Blackberries will be ripening as their season runs from June to November. Perhaps you have planted some fruit and veg in your own garden – Strawberries, Raspberries, Courgettes, Carrots and Tomatoes  should all be currently thriving. If you have found some good high up fruit bushes and trees it may be a good idea to take a container so you can pick some and bring them home and make fresh fruit puddings.

Blackberry picture

Look out for those delicious Summer fruits!

 

Birds:

There seem to be a huge number of birds around at the moment. Birds are starting to pair up in preparation for the mating season and babies are leaving or preparing to fledge the nest.

pair of swallows

Look out for young birds and any unusual species!

 

 

We hope you have spotted some changes in the countryside, please let us know of anything interesting you have come across.

 

Choosing a comfortable numnah for Summer!

July 7th, 2014 by Sammi

Your horse is inevitably going to sweat more during the summer months with the warmer temperatures and the heat generated from the saddle and exercising, but you could help by choosing a more suitable type of numnah for Summer. No numnah is going to work miracles and be able to keep your horse completely cool and comfortable, but if you take a little time to think about the material, colour and fit, it could make a difference to the comfort of your horse this Summer.

 

Take a look at these few things you could use to help you choose a more comfortable numnah for those warmer summer days. 

 

Materials

It may seem the obvious choice to go for the thinnest numnah on the market but if your horse requires a little padding under their saddle, then this may not be very practical. If that is the case and I said to you, no problem chose a wool lined numnah for summer, would you think I’d gone mad? Wool for the summer? Yes actually wool has a lot of very beneficial qualities that make it great for use during those warmer summer days. It needs to be wool not sheepskin (the difference being the skin is still attached with sheepskin), as sheepskin doesn’t cope well with getting very wet so would not be ideal when your horse is hot and sweaty. Wool on the other hand can actually help to promote a cooler feel allowing air to circulate between the long fibres and has excellent water absorbing qualities, being able to absorb up to 30% of its weight in water.

Another great material would be cotton, with its natural breathable and comfortable feel to help your horse feel a little cooler. It is also great at wicking away some of the moisture from your horse’s skin, so if choosing a thin lightweight numnah try to choose one with a high percentage of cotton. Sticking to these natural materials is usually best for summer riding, as they have some great natural benefits and feel comfortable next to your horse’s skin.   

 

Colours

It may help if you use a numnah that is white during the summer, as in the laws of science this naturally reflects light including infrared and ultraviolet (heat sources), so will absorb less heat than a darker numnah, which actually absorbs light. White is not the most practical colour around horses but if you chose a good quality hard-wearing lightweight cotton style, it should be easy and quick to wash. Using a white numnah if working on that theory, should help to reflect some of the heat away from your horse helping to keep them a little cooler. Choosing the right colour might not make a huge amount of difference but particularly if using a saddle pad, which has a larger visible surface area, it may just feel a little cooler on your horse’s back, naturally absorbing less heat.  

 

Washing

Keeping your horses numnah clean is very important particularly during warmer temperatures, to prevent dried on sweat and dirt from irritating your horse’s skin, potentially leading to rubs and sores. This may not help to keep your horse cooler, although a clean numnah is going to perform better than a dirty one, but it will help to keep your horse more comfortable. Lightweight cotton numnahs are usually very easy to wash (make sure you check the manufacturers washing instructions), often machine washable at certain temperatures. Simply remove loose hair and dirt with a stiff clean brush, before placing in your machine and use a non-biological liquid detergent on the advised temperature. Once the cycle has finished allow to dry naturally on the washing line in the garden, making the most of those lovely summer days.

Wool is actually machine washable too (unless stated otherwise on washing instructions), so can be washed regularly during the summer to keep it clean and performing at its best. It is recommended not to use powdered washing detergent with wool as it can get trapped in the fibres and irritate your horse’s skin. Regular washing will help to ensure the numnah or saddle pad is comfortable on your horse’s back, helping to prevent irritation and rubbing.  

 

The Style

If your horse does not require a saddle pad for the discipline they are ridden in then it may also help to use a numnah instead of a saddle pad as they of course cover only the necessary parts of your horse under the saddle, so may help to keep them a little cooler. The air will be able to circulate behind the saddle with a numnah and this may help to keep your horse a little cooler, unless they are a dark colour (black, bay etc.) when a white saddle pad may be beneficial in reflecting away some of the heat. Just consider what may be best for your horse and remember to choose the correct style for any competitions you may want to enter, otherwise you may find yourself having to purchase another numnah!

 

Take a look at these numnhas and saddle pads to see if they could be the perfect style for your horse!

 

Griffin Nuumed Half Wool Hi-Wither Pad - This classic and stylish pad is available in white and black, with a half wool lining that would help to wick away moisture from your horse’s skin, adding comfort and allowing air to circulate within the fibres to promote a more comfortable feel that works in harmony with your horse. The great natural features of this Polycotton and half wool saddle pad make it ideal for use in summer, particularly if your horse needs a little padding. Why not opt for the white to reflect the heat and provide further cooling benefits! You could also try the numnah version of this with or without a high wither cut.

The Griffin Nuumed Half Wool Saddle Pad!

The Griffin Nuumed Half Wool Saddle Pad!

 

Roma Grand Prix All Purpose Numnah – This great value lightweight Polycotton slightly quilted numnah comes in a range of great colours and three sizes (cob, full, x-full), ideal for just a slim layer under your saddle. It will help to keep the saddle clean and will wick some of the moisture from your horse. The All-Purpose Numnah is very easy to wash and will dry quickly too, meaning you can keep it clean and hygienic for every ride if you want to (and have the time), or at least give it a regular wash with very little hassle. It is ideal for a wide range of purposes from everyday riding to competition. If you are looking for a lightweight saddle pad then perhaps opt for the Grand Prix All-purpose Saddle Pad instead.    

The Roma Grand Prix All Purpose Numnah!

The Roma Grand Prix All Purpose Numnah!

 

If you already have a numnah or saddle pad that is great for summer riding then please let us know about it and what makes it so good! Thanks for reading, I hope you have a lovely summer and get plenty of opportunities to ride and enjoy the wonderful weather!