Keeping Horses Happy – Fly Repellents

April 18th, 2014 by Emma

The warm weather is wonderful and many horses are starting to live out unfortunately one of the only downsides is the flies that come out too. Although horses have some natural defences against flies we often lessen these in order to smarten up our horses; for example trimming tails, manes, whiskers and eyelashes allows flies to settle more easily on horses.


Why use a Fly Repellent?


In addition to carrying bacteria and spreading diseases, flies can cause horses a lot of discomfort when they bite. There are a number of biting flies that cause varying reactions in different horses. Some flies bite the horse piercing the skin and then feed from the horse’s blood. This is painful and can cause the horse to stomp and kick out, if this happens repeatedly on hard ground it can cause wear and tear on the joints and tendons. Fly bites can cause lumps or wheels on the skin some that bleed and scab. Flies often attack sensitive areas such as the eyes, nose and ears. In addition to general discomfort, the reaction to the saliva of midges in some horses can lead to sweet itch and other skin afflictions.


Different types of Fly Repellent:


There is a fly repellent available to suit every horse and owner. There are gels and roll-ons available for those that are nervous of sprays and super strength repellents that need to only be applied once a fortnight. There are also fly repellents for use in the stable and lorry as opposed to on the horse. Some of the products we recommend are:


Lincoln Fly Repellent Classic - a powerful all round fly spray in a trigger spray bottle, it contains DEET and PMD for extra strength.


Lincoln Fly Repellent Gel- is a strong fly repellent in gel form. It contains DEET to provide more powerful and long-lasting protection. The gel form makes it easier to apply to some hard to reach places.


Lincoln Roll-on - the classic formula in a roll on bottle, great for those hard to reach or sensitive areas such as the face and under side of the horse.


Lincoln Fly Stoppa - contains fly repellent with antibacterial tea tree oil and skin conditioning glycerine.

Lincoln Fly Repellent Gel!

Lincoln Fly Repellent Gel!


Fly Away Fly and Midge Repellent- is citronella free and therefore ideal for horses that are sensitive to it. It is a natural herbal solution, containing no DEET. It can be applied to all areas of the coat and improves coat condition and shine.


Fly Away Fly Free Zone - is not suitable for use directly on the horse but can be used on rugs and fly sheets in addition to in the stable and horsebox and any other place indoors or outdoors that flies gather. It contains a fast knock down insecticide with residue activity. Upon contact it kills flies, midges, wasps, ticks, lice, fleas and other flying insects.

Fly Away Fly and Midge Repellent!

Fly Away Fly and Midge Repellent!


Barrier Animal Health Care Super Plus with Avocado Coat Conditioner - repels all flying insects and deters midges as well as soothing the bites and preventing irritation. A refill is available for the spray bottle making it cost-effective.


Nettex Summer Fly Cream- ideal for horses that are nervous of trigger spray bottles. The cream can be quickly and easily applied, is non greasy and readily absorbed. It contains DEET and therefore offers powerful protection against midges and flies. It also contains pure lanolin and glycerine to moisturise the skin and act as a barrier against adverse weather.


Nettex Fly Repellent Wipes - handy for taking to shows and competitions and great for horses who are nervous about spray bottles. They contain DEET making them powerful against flies and insects. In addition they have added moisturisers to improve the skin and coat condition.

Nettex Summer Fly Cream!

Nettex Summer Fly Cream!


Farnam Tri-Tec 14 - is a water based insecticide formula suitable for direct use on horses. Farnam is expensive in comparison to other fly repellents however it provides up to 14 days fly control making it cost-effective in the long-term. Tri-Tec 14 protects against horse, house, stable, face, horn and deer flies in addition to gnats, mosquitoes, lice and deer ticks. It also contains sun screen making it ideal for use in the hot summer months.


Carr, Day & Martin Fly Gard - all of Carr, Day & Martin’s spray products now come in the revolutionary equimist 360 degree spray bottle. Please see our Equi Mist Spray Blog for more information on this new bottle. Fly Gard is a gentle yet long-lasting formula that protects against flies and contains coat conditioners.


Carr, Day & Martin Fly Gard Extra -  contains DEET for more powerful, longer lasting protection from flies and midges.


Carr, Day & Martin Natural Insect Repellent - is a natural water based fly repellent containing citriodiol which is a strong natural repellent that comes from Eucalyptus citriodora oil. This formula contains only natural HSE approved ingredients.


Hopefully you have spotted a fly repellent that will suit you and your horse.



Lincoln the Ultimate Brush – Product Review

April 15th, 2014 by Emma

Product Description:


The Lincoln Ultimate Brush can be used on all types of coat and is great for removing moulting hair. Although the brush is made from plastic it is gentle enough to use even on sensitive horses. The bristle formation massages the horse and traps the dead hair. The brushes are easy to clean as when tapped on a wall the hair comes to the surface and can be easily removed. They are machine washable to keep them clean and hygienic and are suitable for use not only when grooming but during shampooing and for removing hair from numnahs, rugs and boots. They come in a pack of 3 enabling you to use one for your horse, one for your equipment and keep a spare.

The Lincoln Ultimate Brushes -bright pack!

The Lincoln Ultimate Brushes -bright pack!


The Tester:


Nelson is an 19 year old Thoroughbred. He retired from hurdling at 10 and now enjoys a quieter life hacking out and doing some low level competing.  He was fully clipped apart from a saddle patch and his legs twice last winter. His summer coat has now come through, although he is still shedding hair particularly from his saddle patch and legs. Perhaps due to being a thoroughbred he has reasonably sensitive skin and does not like hard bristled brushes.

Meet Nelson!

Meet Nelson!


The Results:


Grooming - the Ultimate Brush worked well for removing dead hair and grooming everywhere without discomfort. I even gently used it on Nelson’s head and brushed his forelock with it. Using the brush in circular movements in line with the direction of hair growth seemed to have a massaging affect and it was extremely effective at removing dry mud and sweat. The brush gently groomed through his feathers and removed mud from around the coronet band, knees, hocks and elbows. It was also suitable for use on the mane and tail.

Grooming with the Lincoln Ultimate Brush!

Grooming with the Lincoln Ultimate Brush!

Removing hair from the Lincoln Ultimate Brush!

Removing hair from the Lincoln Ultimate Brush!


Shampooing – the Ultimate Brush worked well for massaging the shampoo into the coat. Nelson liked the brush on his neck, legs and hindquarters but wasn’t so sure about it on his back, it may well have been as the water cooled across his back that increased sensitivity there as opposed to the brush. A horse with a thicker coat would benefit even more from the brush as it worked really well to massage in the shampoo and remove dead hair.

Using the Lincoln Ultimate Brush!

Using the Lincoln Ultimate Brush!


Removing hair from numnahs and boots – the Ultimate Brush removed hair quickly and efficiently from a saddle pad and neoprene lined tendon boots without causing any damage to the material. The brush is extremely useful when horses are shedding their hair as if it builds up on the numnah it could cause discomfort. Horse hair can clog the drains on washing machines, removing the majority of it before placing items in the machine will make your washing machine a lot happier!

The Lincoln Ultimate Brush after use!

The Lincoln Ultimate Brush after use!


After using the brush I removed as much hair as I could from the bristles and machine washed it on a 30 degree cycle, to see how well it would come out. As you can see from the pictures below it looks great after washing with no damage and is ready to use again!

The Lincoln Ultimate Brush after washing!

The Lincoln Ultimate Brush after washing!

The back of the Lincoln Ultimate Brush after washing!

The back of the Lincoln Ultimate Brush after washing!

 Overall I have been really impressed with the Ultimate Brush and would recommend it to all horse owners giving it a 9/10 rating.


Activities for the family this Easter!

April 14th, 2014 by Sammi

If you are still looking for something to do this Easter either to occupy the children over the holidays or just to make the most of the nicer weather, then take a look at some of our suggestions!


Day’s Out!


Perhaps you could go to an Easter Egg Hunt!


Easter Egg HuntBelton House are holding an Easter Trail and a push chair friendly Mini Chick Trail along with many other free activities in the discovery centre from 12.30pm-4.30pm 19th-21st April. Take a look at the Belton House National Trust Website for further details! Explore the grounds of this beautiful National Trust House and have fun finding the Easter surprises and don’t forget to come dressed ready for exploring!


Burghley Easter Egg Hunt on Sunday 20th April will be taking place in the Garden of Surprise from 11am – 5pm (last admissions 4.30pm). You can buy tickets now on the Burghley website or admission is free with a House and Gardens or Just Gardens ticket. Join in the fun with a hunt around the Gardens of Surprise and solve the riddle at the end to claim your full-sized egg from the Easter Bunny!


Children’s Small Animal Farms often have some fun Easter activities planned, so why not take a look at your local one to find information of any events they have set out for Easter 2014. A couple of local ones to us include Whitepost Farm and Sacrewell Farm, where they have lots of baby animals and fun trails with clues and bunny hunts, take a look at their websites for further details and why not go and join in the fun!


A trip to the beach!   


As the weather is starting to improve why not have a day out to the beach or maybe book a few days away over the Easter Holidays. We are very lucky to have countless beautiful beaches and picturesque coastline around the UK, and many of these are not only family friendly but great for walking your dog and even taking your horse for a day out and beach ride! You could make a day of it and take a picnic for lunch, play on the beach, wander around any local towns and perhaps finish up with a fish and tea supper before you set off for home.   


Some horse friendly beaches include Skegness and Sutton-on-Sea but be aware that restrictions do apply (between 1st April – September 30th, 9am-6pm) so be sure to check in advance. Holkham beach in Norfolk is also another horse riding friendly beach but again there may be restrictions through peak season so check first. Riding along the beach can be a wonderful experience and if you’ve never been before it is definitely worth organising!


If you are unsure how your horse will take to it perhaps go in a small group with friends or you could book a beach ride with one of many riding centres across the UK that specialise in beach rides, and enjoy the beautiful coastal view on horseback!


Equestrian Events 


If your children are looking for something horsey themed to keep them busy this Easter then maybe you could choose one of these things to do!


The Pony Club – Maybe you could go along to one of the Pony Club Events, as they often run an Easter rally or event for members. The Belvoir Hunt branch of the Pony Club have a mounted Easter Egg Hunt for Friday 18th April at North Lodge (Members Only), where you can search for Easter Eggs on your pony, sounds like lots of fun! Burghley Pony Club have an Easter General Rally on Thursday 17th April at Burghley the Pony Club Fields from 10.30am-12.30pm.


Riding School Pony Days or local shows - If you are not a member of your local Pony Club then maybe look to see if your local show venues have any Easter Events planned. If you do not have your own horse or pony then your local riding school might have activity or pony days planned for the holidays, perfect for horsey children combined with Easter Fun!  


Easter Craft! 


Children love getting involved in Easter Craft activities, making some very cute little easter cards, bunnies and chicks! It can be very handy, particularly if you have young children to get a few craft ideas in ready for a rainy day (as we often get them in the UK!) and have things on standby ready to keep them entertained, for at least some of the day, on those stay at home days. 


If you are looking for something a little different to the usual Easter themed craft then maybe you could try a horsey themed activity instead, such as the Gray’s Shrinkles set or the Gray’s Mould and Paint Set, and get creative!


I hope this has given you a few ideas of how you can fill the Easter Holidays and keep your little ones entertained, whilst involving the horse and dog as well! Happy Easter!


Our Quick Country Quiz – give it a go!

April 11th, 2014 by Emma

Here is a country quiz to keep the kids busy over the Easter holidays, please be warned that the answers are at the bottom.


1) What is one type of grass common in hay?


2) What type of snake is this?

Picture for Question 2

Picture for Question 2


3) Approximately what percentage of the UK is covered by agricultural land?

a) 20%            b) 50%              c) 70%              d) 90%


4) What is the most common owl in Britain?


5) What type of tree do conkers come from?


6) This picture is of a Common Ink Cap Mushroom, is it posionous?

Picture for Question 4

Picture for Question 6


7) What is the common name for this breed of spider?

Picture for Question 7

Picture for Question 7


 8)What breed of horse is this?

Picture for Question 8

Picture for Question 8


9) What type of flower is this?

Picture for Question 9

Picture for Question 9


10) What type of machinery is this?

Picture for Question 10

Picture for Question 10










1) Any one from: Timothy Grass, Ryegrass, Fescues, Meadow Grass and Cocksfoot

2) Grass snake

3) c) 70%

4) Tawny

5) Horse-chestnut Trees

6) Yes

7) Daddy Long Legs

8) Shetland Pony

9) Foxglove

10) Combine Harvester

New In Store – Carr, Day & Martin Equi Mist Spray

April 8th, 2014 by Emma

Carr, Day & Martin have just launched an updated version of all of their spray products. All the famous sprays such as Dreamcoat, Canter Mane & Tail Conditioner and Stain Master now come in a fantastic 360 degree bottle and allow for continual spraying with a fine mist to cover more of the horse. Equimist 360 is the winner of a BETA Innovation Award for 2014.



The NEW Carr, Day & Martin Equimist 360 range!


These new spray bottles are easier to use, quieter than traditional spray bottles and therefore handy for those horses who are nervous about being sprayed. The fine mist provides even coverage of the whole horse and for efficacy the design allows for continuous spraying, making these bottles great for busy yards. The bottle is designed so that it can be sprayed upside down making it easy to get to hard to reach places.


The packaging is ergonomically designed to allow maximum comfort for the user and the vacuum operated bottle ensures maximum evacuation of product preventing any product being left over when the bottle is empty. There is a slight cost increase associated with the new bottle although some of this is absorbed with the increase of size, as the new bottle contains 600ml rather than 500ml of product.


The bottle can be re-filled and is also recyclable making it environmentally friendly. 


The range includes:


¤ Canter Coat Shine

¤ Dream Coat

¤ Canter Mane & Tail Conditioner

¤ Fly Gard

¤ Fly Gard Extra Strength

¤ Natural Insect Repellent

¤ Stain Master


Look out for the innovative NEW packaging coming soon in store and online and why not try them out to experience the benefits for yourself!


Well done to Kesteven RDA!

April 7th, 2014 by Sammi

We are one of the Kesteven Rideability Pony Angels, sponsoring a pony to provide support and help with the costly upkeep and enable the RDA to continue the great work they do. They help children and adults of various ages with a range of disabilities to gain confidence and feel the benefits that riding can offer, whether for therapy or as a stimulating outdoor experience, riding can make a real difference.


A Great Achievement!


I wanted to update you on one of the RDA’s most recent achievements and to congratulate them for all their hard work, which has clearly been recognised recently! Over the last few months businesses of all kinds have been nominated for the various categories in the prestigious Grantham Journal Business Awards, which celebrates the best of Grantham businesses and businesspeople, recognising great achievements and innovations. New for 2014 were the two categories, “Apprentice Of The Year” and “Best Not For Profit Enterprise”, the latter of which Kesteven Rideability was nominated for.  

At the awards ceremony, well done everyone!

At the awards ceremony, well done everyone!


The Awards Ceremony was held in the picturesque grounds of Belton House with a VIP hospitality marquee, for the night of the awards held on Wednesday 2nd April. The event was organised by The Grantham Journal alongside Bede Events (the organisers of Belton Horse Trials). Kesteven Rideability were nominated in the “Not For Profit” category and not only made it to the final three but went on to be the overall winners, and take the title of “Best Not For Profit Enterprise”. Well Done to Karen and the wonderful team of volunteers at the Kesteven Rideability, they really do make such a big difference to the lives of so many people, working hard to take care of the horses and ponies and give children and adults a magical experience.

The Winners of the Not For Profit Enterprise!


What an amazing achievement and a real testament to the brilliant work that everyone and Kesteven Rideability do, all for no profit and to benefit the lives of those with disabilities and help them to achieve things that they otherwise may have never been able to. What a triumph and very worthy winners!  

Some of the RDA Team at the awards ceremony!

Some of the RDA Team at the awards ceremony!


The Autumn Charity Ball! 


They have a number of events planned over the course of the year but one of the most exciting upcoming events is the Atumn Charity Ball! This year the Autumn Ball will be held at the Cedric Ford Pavillion at Newark Showground on the 27th September 2014. You can book online before 27th July for an early bird discount!


You need to “dress to impress” and be there at 7.15pm for an 8.00pm start. The price of the ball incudes a three course meal with a drinks reception, lots of dancing to “The Ministry of Brown” along with a photographer and silent auction, for what is set to be a fun-filled evening.


The Kesteven RDA were also at Belton Horse Trials over the weekend with a galopahos treasure map, alongside Cuddly Pony Party, take a look at their Facebook page for pictures and details! What a busy time it has been for everyone at Kesteven RDA recently and a great start to 2014! For further information and to book tickets to the Autumn Ball take a look at the Kesteven Rideability website.  



Tagg Clothing – A Look at Our Products

April 4th, 2014 by Sammi

It is showing and competition time of year again and time to dust off the competition outfit, ready for what is predicted as a good summer as far as the weather is concerned! One trusted brand in the equestrian world making quality competition wear is Tagg Clothing. Let’s take a look at some of their products and learn a little more about them.

The Tagg Tweed Collection!

The Tagg Tweed Collection!


Tagg Clothing 


Tagg Clothing have been making quality equestrian competition and casual wear for many years, offering a wide range of products for the equestrian enthusiasts, regardless of discipline or level. In recent years Tagg Clothing has expanded its own lines and is now a fundamental part of Tagg Equestrian covering a key area in their comprehensive selection of renowned equestrian brands. They boast many well-known UK brands including Loveson, Fal Pro, Comfort Zone Equestrian, Polly Products, SSG and more! Each of these brands bring their own uniqueness to Tagg Equestrian and help to uphold Tagg as one of the most comprehensive equestrian wholesalers in the UK, with a broad selection of products for horse, rider and a small selection for canine friends too.

Tagg Equestrian was appointed as the official rug supplier to the British Equestrian Team in 2013 and also created a selection of these rugs for the general public, with a percentage of the sales going back to the Equestrian Team GBR.

Equestrian Team GBR Rug

Equestrian Team GBR Rug


Tagg continues to develop its lines through innovation to meet changing requirements and fashions in the equestrian world, working with experts to identify the requirements of all involved in equestrian sports. The Tagg team of sponsored riders are involved in a wide variety of disciplines to ensure they are getting best possible feedback from all areas of the industry. They play an important role not only in promoting the brand but also in the development of future products  through regular feedback and honest assessment, leading to the addition of new products to the range. Some of the Tagg sponsored riders include William and Pippa Funnell, Paul Barker and Alexandra Bratt in Show Jumping, Peter Storr and Samantha Brown in Dressage with Piggy French, Angus Smales and Tina Canton in Eventing and finally Georgia Darlington in showing, a very experienced team of ambassadors.

Georgia Darlington

Georgia Darlington


Tagg Clothing are committed to producing quality products using some of the best materials to cater for the demands of the sport, keeping riders comfortable yet stylish. They produce a selection of competition jackets, Jodhpurs, breeches and show shirts for men, women and children with a dedicated selection of maids jackets for the growing teenager. Tagg are a UK-based company and continually strive to offer the very best clothing combined with excellent service using their vast knowledge of the industry and invaluable feedback from their sponsored riders and customers. For more information about Tagg Equestrian take a look at their website


Why we stock Tagg Clothing


Tagg Clothing have been a part of the equestrian industry for a number of years, becoming a trusted and respected name, known for their quality products and excellent service. Here are just a few reasons why we stock Tagg Clothing:


1. They are a UK-based company committed to creating a range of quality products and offering an excellent service.

2. They have continued to create up to date stylish products using a combination of classic style and modern materials where necessary to ensure rider comfort and durability.

3. Many of their products are tested by the Tagg sponsored riders, to ensure they offer the very best fit and performance.

4. They have a very helpful and friendly team of knowledgeable staff, always happy to help with any queries or questions about their products.  


Some Tagg Clothing Jackets!  


Let’s take a closer look at some of their competition jackets ready for the exciting competition season ahead!


Geneva Ladies Jacket - This stylish tweed jacket is made from a windowpane tweed available in navy or peat, with a tailored and flattering fit. Adding to the traditional style the Geneva jacket has fox head buttons and a velvet collar, in a coordination colour with piping above the pockets to match. Twin venting ensures this jacket is very comfortable and sits beautifully when riding, made from quality materials for a good all-round showing or competition jacket.

The Ladies Geneva Tweed Jacket

The Ladies Geneva Tweed Jacket


Florence Maids Jacket - The Florence tweed jacket has been specially tailored to the growing teenager, with a combination of style and tradition to make a jacket that is perfect for the serious competitor. It is available in a base colour of brown or navy, which features a subtle matching over check, for a something a little extra. The fox head buttons, velvet collar and matching piping above the pockets, finish off the Florence Maids Jacket perfectly. It is made from pure new wool and features twin vents for a flattering fit and a quality jacket that will make a wonderful centre piece to any showing outfit.  

The Maids Florence Tweed Jacket

The Maids Florence Tweed Jacket


Fife children’s Jacket - The Fife children’s jacket is made from a lovely herringbone tweed available in moss and navy. It features fox head buttons and a coordinating velvet collar with matching piping above the pockets, for the perfect little finishing touches. The Fife tweed jacket is made from high quality pure new wool, for a jacket that looks great and is made to last. This wonderful little jacket is traditional and stylish, with added details to create the perfect jacket for a range of different shows and competitions.

The Children's Fife Tweed Jacket

The Children’s Fife Tweed Jacket


If you are looking for a new tweed jacket for this season then there may just be the perfect one for you in the Tagg Clothing range. We hope you have enjoyed our introduction to Tagg Clothing and some of the beautiful traditional products they make.  


Keeping Healthy Hooves – Spring Hoof Care

April 1st, 2014 by Emma

The weather is greatly improving and its really starting to feel like spring! With the days becoming longer the grass is higher in sugar and often still dewy in the morning. One of the biggest problems with horses throughout the year is the amount of moisture in the grass or in the stable. When changes in moisture levels occur rapidly for example going from a boggy field to a stable with shavings it causes the hooves to dry out too rapidly and not retain the correct amount of moisture. This can lead to poor hoof quality and large cracks. Equally if the horse’s hoof is constantly waterlogged it absorbs the moisture like a sponge and will cause the wall to soften and can lead to the foot splaying out.



General Hoof Maintenance

Some horses naturally have very good feet whilst others naturally have bad feet. Breeding and genetics certainly play a significant part, although stable management has a huge impact on the horse’s general health and therefore feet. The horse’s diet and care routine are substantial factors in their hoof quality. Picking out your horse’s feet daily and ensuring to keep regular farrier appointments are also important as are regular exercise and a structured routine. Factors such as stress impact a horse’s general wellbeing and therefore hoof growth.



As with people a horse’s diet is a constant balancing act. You can only get out what you put in and poor nutrition is often very apparent on the outside of a horse. Even if a horse is receiving nearly all of the nutrients it needs, if it is lacking in something vital it will make a huge difference. Similarly if your horse is receiving too much of a particlar nutrient it can limit or even prevent absorption of another one. If your horse is in poor condition, yet eating a lot of food it may be worth having your grass, roughage and hard feed analysed and finding out specifically what your horse is lacking. Consulting an equine nutritionist can be of great value.


Supplementing the diet may be an option to improve hoof quality. Consulting your farrier or an equine nutritionist will give you some ideas. Farrier’s Formula and Formula for Feet are both popular, thoroughly tested and proven to work hoof supplements. They contain biotin in addition to amino acids, omega fatty acids and vitamins and minerals. The same nutrients required for healthy hoof growth are required for healthy coat growth and owners using these supplements have reported healthy shiny coats on their horses.



Stable Management and Topical Treatments

The moisture content of the hoof varies greatly depending on where the horse lives. Different types of ground and bedding hold different amounts of moisture. If a horse is consistently out or in the hoof has more chance to adapt, however when a horse goes through rapid changes in moisture conditions it places a large amount of stress on the hoof. As the weather is becoming milder more horses are starting to live out, which is a change from their winter regime and will take their hooves some time to adapt to.


Stimulating Growth – The hooves are made up of dead cells, therefore any damage to the hoof will have to grow out rather than back together. As the hoof grows down from the coronet band it is important that the coronet band has a healthy blood supply. Massage can increase circulation and massaging the coronet band with Cornucrescine Ointment weekly, or daily, for faster results can help stimulate keratin producing cells. It can also be rubbed into any cracks and any rubs or scars on the horse to encourage hair re-growth.


Dry Hooves – When the hoof dries out too fast it can lead to cracks and cause it to break up. Placing a moisture barrier such as NAF Hoof Moist on the outside of the hoof can help to prevent rapid drying out. It sustains the moisture levels of the hoof but does allow for natural fluctuation of moisture levels. In addition it contains Teatree making it naturally antiseptic. Carr, Day and Martin Cornucrescine Daily Hoof Moisturiser is a water based formula that can be used all over the hoof to maintain optimum moisture and prevent cracking and splitting.


Wet Hooves - If a hoof continually holds too much water it can lead to the softening of the hoof wall and sole. This can cause them to splay outwards. The hoof horn is made up of keratin molecules held together by intermolecular bonds, when the hoof becomes saturated with excess water it forces the keratin molecules apart and stretches the intermolecular bonds. When the hoof then dries out rapidly the keratin molecules go back in to place but the intermolecular bonds remain stretched. This leaves the hoof weaker and more prone to crack under stress. A protective barrier can be used to prevent the hooves absorbing too much water such as Keratex Hoof Gel. This can be used all over the outside and the inside of the hoof. It forms a waterproof breathable layer over the hoof, preventing them from being saturated with water. For hooves that are soft Keratex Hoof Hardener can be applied to strengthen them.



PasternsA huge concern at this time of year is the amount of sugar contained in the grass as it begins its growing cycle. Some horses and ponies cope with the high sugar levels more easily than others. Some struggle to digest and process them which affects blood circulation to the laminae and can lead to inflammation and swelling causing the horse a lot of pain. If the laminae do not get enough oxygen and nutrients from the blood it causes damage to the cells and in severe cases the sensitive laminae begin to die. The laminae support the pedal bone and in severe cases it can rotate in the foot as the damaged laminae are no longer able to support it. If the pedal bone sinks too far the damage can be irrerversible and ultimately fatal to the horse. So many cases of laminitis are preventable through good management. For more information please see our previous blogs on Laminitis and Grazing muzzles.



Stocking up your First Aid Kit!

March 31st, 2014 by Emma

It is always handy to keep a supply of basic first aid items as you never know when you might need them. If your horse has an injury and you are not sure how to treat it don’t be afraid to ask someone with more experience or if it appears serious consult your vet.


Some basic items essential for any first aid kit are:


Thermometer – if your horse is off colour, the quickest way to check if they have an elevated temperature is to take it. If you are unsure how to do so, don’t be afraid to ask someone more experienced for a hand and ensure to hang on to the thermometer! A normal temperature for an adult horse is between 37.2 – 38.3 degrees celcius.

Antiseptic Wound Cleaner – an antiseptic cleaner such as hibiscrub can be used on animals and people. It is ideal for cleaning wounds and skin conditions. Warm water and salt can also be used as a natural antiseptic cleaner.

Scissors – a clean sharp pair of scissors are essential for any first aid kit. They are useful for removing hair, cutting off poultices and cutting up bandages, gamgee etc to the desired size.


Bandages/ Stable Wraps - offer the legs support and are useful for placing over a dressing to help keep it clean and hold it in place.

Cotton wool – is soft and gentle and is therefore great for cleaning wounds or cleaning sensitve areas such as around the eyes and the muzzle.

Gamgee – useful for placing under stable bandages to help keep the pressure even throughout the bandage. Can also be used as a layer of padding in a poultice.

Skin tact - these are sterile, absorbent and low pressure dressings making them perfect for applying to minor wounds to allow for healing and prevent other dressings from sticking. They are double sided preventing mis-application.

Animalintex – an absorbent material dressing that can be used hot or cold. It has been proven to reduce inflammation when hot and stem bleeding when cold.

Vet wrap – has a number of useful functions. they are self sticking making them handy for holding dressings in place, particularly poultices. Can also be used to encourage the tail to lay flat and prevent rubbing.

Antiseptic cream/ gel/ spray - once a cut is clean, to prevent infection place an antiseptic barrier on such as derma-gel which helps the cut to heal underneath. Carr, Day and Martin’s Protection Plus offers similar protection and is ideal for wet or muddy conditions and with citronella offers a natural fly repellent. Hypocare spray can be used on any mammal, it contains hypochlorus acid which kills bacterial, viral and fungal infections yet it has been formulated to emulate a skin pH and therefore does not sting or hurt your horse.

Epsom Salts – useful for drawing out infection in abcesses and cuts, they can be mixed with warm water and used as a soak or the salts can be rubber directly onto the legs and wrapped to soothe tired or bruised legs.

Syringes – handy for cleaning out small deep wounds such as puncture wounds in addition to administering oral medication.


If your horse suffers from any skin disorders such as mud fever or sweetitch having specific items for these will be useful.


Some more deluxe first aid kit items are:


Poultice boot - a poultice boot such as the ‘HOOF – IT’ boot can be used for all hoof injuries and helps to keep dressings clean, dry and in place.

Cool boots -  such as the Aerborn Coolsport Boots that come as a pair have been proved to minimise injury by reducing swelling and offering support to the tendons, ligaments and fetlocks. Soaking the boots in cold water for 40 – 60 minutes activates crystals which keep the boots cool for up to 48 hours. They can be used for 20 minutes in a 2 hour window.


Hopefully this has offered a few ideas of what you might add to your first aid kit.


What’s on – April 2014!

March 28th, 2014 by Emma



Kentucky Rolex Grand SlamInternational:


23rd-27th, Rolex Kentucky CCI4* – The world’s top riders will once again compete in this year’s Kentucky Horse Trials. Everything kicks off on Wednesday with the first horse inspection followed by dressage Thursday and Friday, Cross Country on Saturday and the competition making show jumping on the Sunday.





3 – 5th, Grand National – this year is the 167th Grand National and promises to be as exhilarating as ever. Ladies day takes place Friday 4th April with an award for the most fashionable race goer. The Grand National takes place Saturday 5th April and will be viewed by those at Aintree in addition to 600 million viewers at home.


9 – 13th, British Dressage Winter Championships – Held at one of the top UK competition venues, Hartpury Arena, this is a fantastic championship whether you are a competitor or spectator. 33 titles are up for grabs from Preliminary to Intermediate I. The evening performances on Friday and Saturday feature a range of dressage demonstrations and entertainment.




South Lincs Riding Club, Boston

12th, Easter Show – The Easter Show encompasses dressage, show jumping and fun in-hand and ridden showing classes. Please see for more information.


Sissons Farm Equestrian Centre, Peterborough

2nd,9th,14th – Unaffiliated Evening Showjumping – clear round jumping begins at 5.30 with a 0.55 – 0.70 m class, followed by a 0.70m, 0.75m and a 0.85m class.

12th, Peter Hales SJ Clinic – complete a booking form online for a 30minute or 45 minute training session.

13th, Unaffiliated Showjumping – schedule in progress

22nd, Unaffiliated and British Dressage – a range of tests available from preliminary to advanced.

23rd, Unaffiliated Dressage – schedule in progress

Please see for more information.



26 – 27th, Newark all about dogs show – features display teams and entertaining competitions and games for you and your dog. Book your tickets online in advance for savings. Please see for more information.



12-13th, BASC Gamekeepers Fair – Held at Catton Hall, a traditional sporting estate in Derbyshire this game fair promises to have something for everyone. There will be a number of displays and demonstrations in addition to a range of trade stands. Competitions over the weekend include gun dog competitions and pigeon plucking. There will be a clay shooting school and air rifle field target shooting. A range of food and drink stands will also be there. Please see for more information.


20-21st, Kelmarsh Game and Country Fair, Kelmarsh Hall, Northamptonshire - with a range of family entertainment, falconry, traditional crafts, trade and food stands in addition championship events in clay shooting, gundogs, airguns, angling and terriers and lurchers there will be something for everyone to look at or take part in. Please see for more information.


26 – 27th, East Anglian Game and Country Fair, Norfolk Showground – this fair features clay shooting, dog shows, fly fishing, archery, equestrian events, children’s activities and a range of shopping opportunities. There are a number of ‘have a go’ opportunities to encourage everyone to try something new. Please see for more information.


26 – 27th, Colchester Country Show, The Castle Park, Colchester, Essex – this show encompasses everything country from arts and crafts to a companion dog show on the Sunday. With displays from Jive Pony Equestrian Acrobatics, fighting Knights and other living history displays and many ‘have a go’ activities there will be something to please the whole family. Please see for more information.