Protecting Chickens Against Red Mites

June 14th, 2017 by Fliss

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A Guide to Laminitis

May 17th, 2017 by Fliss




Laminitis is an extremely painful condition and one of the most common causes of lameness in horses and ponies in the UK, caused by inflammation and weakening of the laminae that bonds the pedal bone to the hoof wall.






The two main causes of laminitis are hormonal disorders like Equine Metabolic Syndrome (EMS) or Cushing’s disease and obesity/overeating.




The most recognised and iconic symptom of laminitis is where the horse leans back on his hind hooves and places the front legs out in front to relieve pain by shift weight onto the heals. Other early signs are sudden onset lameness and excess heat in the hooves. Often front hooves are more severely affected however it does occur in the hind hooves as well, you should always contact your vet immediately if you suspect your horse might be suffering with laminitis.





Like many diseases prevention is always better than cure, keeping your horse at a healthy weight is crucial to preventing pain, suffering and expense. The best way of achieving and maintaining a healthy weight for your horse is by providing a balanced diet and exercising accordingly.  To help keep track of your horse’s weight you could start a diary to log feed, exercise and regular body scoring/weight, this way you’ll be able to see the progress clearly and make changes where you need to.



During spring, it is important to limit grazing by using grazing muzzles, electric fencing for strip grazing or stabling these will allow you to restrict feed intake. However, if your horse or pony shows any signs of laminitis or is heavily over weight then grazing should be stopped altogether and they should be stabled with deep bedding and only high fibre, low calorie forage should be fed. Hay can be soaked to reduce sugar levels and feeding in small holed haylage nets will prolong eating times and keep your horse or pony entertained for longer.





Nutrition and laminitis go hand in hand and creating a balanced diet for your horse is no easy feat. The main principal is to ensure all vitamin and mineral requirements are met while providing enough energy to meet your horses current exercise needs without overfeeding and providing extra calories to cause weight gain. A high fibre diet is essential for horses and ponies prone to laminitis or overweight, cereal grains and added sugars like molasses should be strictly avoided and the combined sugar and starch levels of feed should not exceed 10%.




Under no condition should you starve your horse and pony, instead research into the best high in fibre and low in sugar and calorie feeds for your horse, a minimum 2% of your horse’s ideal body weight should be fed a day in dry matter, there are many specially designed feeds for the laminitic horse, these provide essential fibre and some even include the added vitamin, minerals and supplements your laminitic horse requires.

Laminitis supplements are also available to add to your basic low calorie fibre feeds, these will contain some of if not all; prebiotics and probiotics for healthy gut health, amino acids and anti-inflammatory ingredients to help maintain hoof health and horn quality, antioxidants for liver support and key nutrients for targeted dietary support.





Fortunately, in many cases laminitis can be prevented and recovery from acute laminitis is possible, however horses that have been previously affected are always prone to recurrences and should be closely monitored to prevent repeat attacks. Always keep check of your horse’s intake and body condition to help avoid a laminitis scare and to keep him as healthy as possible.

Eliminate Ragwort from your Paddock

May 5th, 2017 by Fliss

As most of you are aware Ragwort is the most recognized poisonous plant in the equestrian world, causing more livestock deaths than any other plant. As a horse or pony owner it is your responsibility to remove all ragwort from paddocks and areas your horse can access.






Ragwort Poisoning

Ragwort contains toxic compounds called pyrrolizidine alkaloids, these are present in all growing, dead and dried form, therefore if a horse consumes ragwort in any state these toxic compounds will be ingested. Absorbed through the gut wall into the bloodstream the alkaloids are passed through the liver, the liver is incapable of removing these toxic compounds and as a result the cells are parentally damaged. The damaged liver cells are unable to regenerate again and as they die the liver shrinks and becomes a more fibrous structure. Damage to the liver builds up over time, meaning that a horse eating small amounts over time will get just as ill as it would do from eating a large amount in one go, the more ragwort consumed by the horse the more liver cells are damaged and the liver is eventually unable to perform essential functions and liver failure becomes inevitable.



Ragwort poisoning and liver failure is unfortunately a silent killer and in most cases the horse or pony won’t show any symptoms until too late.

Signs are variable but may be include:

• Unexplained weight loss

• Pink inflamed skin

• Abdominal pain

• Bizarre or depressed behaviour

• Loss of coordination

• Seizures


Keeping Ragwort Away

Removing all ragwort for your horse or ponies paddock is essential, recognizing the mature plants with bright yellow flowers is easy, but to get ahead of ragwort removing them before flowering at the rosette or even seedling stage is highly advised, this prevents the seeds from spreading and germinating to create new plants the following year.


Seedlings – Appear from autumn onwards, 10-15mm high





Rosettes – Found from early spring





Mature Plants – Flower from May – October, can reach up to 2 metres high






The most common and effective way to remove ragwort is either by hand (always wear protective clothing and gloves when dealing with ragwort) or with a specially designed rag-fork, these have unique tines to help ensure all the roots are removed to prevent the plant from growing back. After all the ragwort has been removed it should be disposed of carefully (dug up, dried ragwort is still as poisonous as a healthy mature plant), burning the plants is the most effective way of disposing of ragwort, always take the proper precautions when dealing with and burning ragwort.


For the most part horses will avoid ragwort if there is substantial forage available due to the bitter taste of the plant, however it is always best to still remove all the ragwort as some horses won’t mind the taste or ingest it by accident. Removing ragwort can seem like a tedious job, like many paddock upkeep tasks it is an ongoing process and your likely to have plants to remove year after year, however it is essential to your horse or pony health and wellbeing.

Spring Paddock Care

April 11th, 2017 by Fliss



Now that spring is upon us and the clocks have changed its time to give your paddocks some well-deserved TLC after the winter months, it’s essential to take the time and repair your pastures to ensure maximum grass growth and in return benefit your horse or pony’s long term health.




Once the paddock has dried out it’s highly advisable to roll the pasture to even out rutted and poached land, ensure the ground has properly dried out as rolling on wet ground can cause compaction or create further damage.


Harrowing will remove dead grass, help level out uneven and poached ground and aerate the soil, in larger fields harrowing may be used to spread manure on the pasture instead of daily poo picking, while the spread droppings act as a natural fertiliser, horses should be removed from the pasture for a minimum of 6 weeks as internal parasites (worms) will be spread across the pasture, it is essential that harrowing takes place in warm dry conditions to allow the manure to dry and kill any potential parasites.


Coming into spring paddocks tend to suffer from bare patches and overgrazing, therefore they will greatly benefit from rest and reseeding to revitalise and improve the grass density.

HorseMax Paddock Seed is specially formulated for horse pastures, providing palatable grazing and good sward density to help quickly repair the turf when damaged by the hooves.

Horses shouldn’t be turned back out on to a reseeded paddock until the grass is well established (five to six inches long) to allow a strong root system to grow and not to ruin the new pasture.  Remember to always slowly introduce horses and ponies to new pastures, allowing them to adapt to their change of diet.


Soil needs key nutrients; Nitrogen to promote fast growth, Phosphorous to help produce seeds and root growth and Potassium to improve quality and disease resistance. Soils that are lacking in these will produce poor quality grass; an easy way to find out if your paddock is missing these key nutrients is by doing a soil analysis.

Suregrow Horse & Pony Paddock Fertiliser is specially designed for horse pastures, containing the correct nutrients levels in a slow releasing form, when applied correctly this will avoid lush grass growth to help prevent associated health concerns. Providing the grass length is more than 50mm there is no need to remove horses or ponies from the pasture after application.

The ideal pH level for a horse paddock is between pH 5-6.5. When soil becomes too acidic grass growth dwindles and becomes unpalatable, Suregrow CSM is a natural granular blend with Calcified Seaweed, used as a liming agent it helps restore the ideal pH level with the added benefits of additional minerals and trace elements, like the fertiliser horses don’t have to be removed from the pasture after application providing the grass length is more than 50mm.

General Maintenance

As always the daily checks and routine jobs should still be undertaken, these include:

  • Checking gates and boundaries are secure
  • The supply of fresh water is provided
  • Removal of dropping
  • Check and remove any poisonous plants
  • Check for and remove any rubbish or dangerous objects


Remember to have fun and enjoy the warmer days and evenings!

Rider’s Guide for Coping with the Cold!

January 20th, 2015 by Sammi

Handling the cold on your horse

The winter weather is still here with frosty mornings and ice on the water buckets, and it can be hard to stay warm whilst out and about at the stables caring for your horse. If like me you suffer with cold hands and feet, and a day at the stables in freezing temperatures is likely to leave you very cold, then you may want to try some of these products and ideas to help you stay warm.


Handy winter warmers!


1. Double layer gloves – Find some gloves that feature two layers in one glove like the Caldene 3 in 1 Riding Gloves, which are warm yet not too bulky and incorporate two gloves in one. When doing fiddly jobs you can remove the slightly thicker top layer and use just the base layer but for extra warmth you can use them both together. As an alternative you could get two separate pairs; one thin under glove made from a natural material like cotton and a waterproof/insulated glove for the top.


2. Pocket hand warmers – These handy (excuse the pun!) little square/round pouches sit in your coat pockets once activated and provide up to 10 hours of heat, great for warming up your fingers when they start to feel chilly. You can buy reusable electronic hand warmers as well as the disposable kind, and these are great for riders that suffer with cold hands and need a reliable source of heat throughout the day to warm up.


3. Insulated winter jodhpurs/breeches – If you are going to be out riding in the cold for long periods of time and cannot ride in over trousers or just do not like riding in over trousers, then invest in a pair of fleece lined or insulated jodhpurs or breeches like the Equetech Ladies Foxhunter Hybrid Breeches to keep the chill off your legs. Your legs are very exposed to the elements when you are sat in the saddle and can quickly feel very cold after a long ride, so a good pair of winter breeches can prove invaluable. Alternatively you could layer up and pop a pair of tights under your existing jodhpurs/breeches if you only ride occasionally.


4. Socks wonderful socks! – Wearing the right socks (and I reiterate the plural part of socks! – layering is best) can make all the difference to having warm feet or not. Layering is the best way to go in winter as it traps air close to the skin and creates an insulating barrier to keep the heat in and the cold out. Do not opt for one very thick pair of socks but instead wear a thinner pair (or two) of cotton socks underneath and the thicker wool or fleece socks over the top.


5. Over trouser or full chaps – A pair of over trousers or fleece lined full chaps are great if you are out in the elements doing your daily yard chores, helping to keep your legs warm and dry (if waterproof). They simply slip over your jodhpurs and breeches, and  help to keep you warm, dry and clean, which is an added bonus! Many styles, if designed for horse riders, can be worn when riding making them super versatile and perfect for cold winter days and I speak from experience having lived in my fleece lined full chaps at the stables on many cold winter days.


6. Hats and headbands – Yes your Mum was right to nag you about wearing your hat as a child, because a lot of heat is lost through your head. Make sure you have your head covered if you are going to be at the stables for a long period of time and that can be with a warm woolly hat or headband, which ever you prefer. Hats obviously provide a little extra warmth and cover the top of your head so are better, but a warm headband will keep the wind out of your ears and help to retain some of the heat in your head so are much better than nothing at all.


7. Riding balaclava – A riding balaclava like the Mountain Horse Opus Riding Balaclava is perfect for those extra cold days where the wind feels like it is going straight through you and your face is so cold you can barely raise a smile to your fellow riders. It covers your nose, cheeks and head, leaving plenty of room for the eyes and a mesh insert over the mouth area, and fits perfectly under your riding hat with flat seams for a comfortable fit.


8. Hand moisturisers/lip balm – Many of us will suffer with chapped hands and cracked lips in the winter due to the dry and cold weather, which plays havoc with your skin. Having a really good dry hand moisturiser with you to use regularly and/or applying a protective balm to your hands before you go outside will help to keep your skin healthy and comfortable. and prevent it from cracking. A lip balm is also very handy to prevent those very uncomfortable and sore chapped lips from appearing during the cold winter months.


A few more handy tips…  


Layer up! – As I have mentioned in some of the points above layering your clothing is definitely better than wearing just one thick layer. If you can put some thermals on under your clothes then wear a t-shirt, jumper/sweatshirt and your coat on top, and don’t forget your winter accessories including hats, scarves and gloves to keep you warm and cosy. You can wear more layers if you wish but at least two or three is definitely better than one in this case, and try to wear warm and comfortable materials such as wool, cotton and fleece.


Have a warm lunch – It may sound like a small thing but it can make a real difference in helping to keep you a little warmer. On a cold day you don’t want to be eating a cold salad or sandwich, a nice bowl or mug of hot soup is much better and will help to keep you feeling warm from the inside out. There are a great selection of warm lunch alternatives these days, and for many all you need is a kettle or microwave to give yourself a hot and tasty meal.


Try to stay dry – Getting wet on a cold day is a recipe for disaster and will leave you feeling very chilly and vulnerable to catching a cold and bugs, so invest in good waterproof outerwear to prevent this from happening.


If you are looking for some new warm winter wear then pop in store to see our full range of winter coats, clothing and accessories. Just remember to wrap up warm this winter and use these winter product ideas and handy tips to help you cope with the cold.


Copra Meal – A Great Winter Feed!

January 13th, 2015 by Sammi

Christmas Gift Ideas

It can be hard to find a feed that suits your horse and helps them to maintain their condition throughout the cold winter months. Many horses find it difficult to keep weight on through winter due to the lack of grazing and cold weather, using up much of their energy reserves to stay warm but choosing a good feed can really help.


We have already mentioned the benefits of CoolStance Copra Meal for summer feeding in our earlier blog but this palatable feed is perfect for winter feeding and can be fed to most horses and ponies. Copra Meal is a versatile feed that is high in fibre and digestible energy and has been fed to horses for over 20 years. It is not only perfect for winter feeding but all year round, helping to keep your horse healthy and maintain good condition with a gleaming glossy coat.


A little more about Copra Meal…


Copra Meal is made from the white meat of the coconut, which has first been dried and then baked and ground into a fine powder. There are many excellent qualities and benefits of Copra Meal and they include they following:


High in digestible energy – Copra Meal is rich in MCT (Medium Chain Triglycerides) which are easily absorbed into the blood and are thought to help to maintain a healthy digestive system. Other oils are slower to digest and do not provide such readily available digestible energy.

High in fibre – Fibre is essential for horses to maintain a healthy digestive system. The digestion of fibre actually produces heat so can be very beneficial during cold winter months when horses need to stay warm.

Provides Cool energy – Although the digestible energy is readily available in Copra Meal it also provides slow releasing energy in the form of coconut oil and fibre, for a good all-round balance and reliable energy source.

Low GI (<11% Non Structural Carbohydrates) – The low levels of Non Structural Carbohydrates in Copra Meal help to control spikes in glucose levels and prevent the onset of metabolic disorders such as cushings, tying up and colic.

Chemical and GMO free – It is a completely natural feed with no added chemicals or Genetically Modified Organisms for a naturally healthy feed that is also suitable for competition horses.

Low in starch (<2%) – Starch is known to have a heating effect on horses making them excitable and fizzy. The incredibly low starch content in Copra Meal helps to promote calm and controlled behaviour with slower releasing energy.

Added Coconut Oil – Coconut oil has a range of benefits for horses including supporting a healthy gut, promoting a glossy shiny coat and helps to maintain hoof health. It is also highly palatable and easy to store as it is not prone to oxidation or rancidity.

Highly palatable – CoolStance Copra Meal has a very appealing aroma and is very palatable, even tempting some of the fussiest horses. It is best introduced gradually to very fussy horses as they can at first be suspicious of this new scent and taste but in time they will enjoy it.

Can be fed dry or as a mash – This versatile powder feed can be fed dry (as long as plenty of fresh drinking water is available) but is also great for making into a palatable mash and will absorb up to 3 times its weight in water.

Balanced supply of energy and protein – There is a balanced supply of energy and protein in Copra Meal ensuring your horse is receiving a good supply of each for overall condition and energy levels as well as muscle tone.


What horses and ponies is Copra Meal suitable for?


Copra Meal can be fed to a wide variety of horses and ponies with many nutritional benefits that help to promote overall health and prevent the onset of common metabolic disorders, as well as healthy working horses and those at rest. Here are some types of horses that would benefit from Copra Meal:


Older horses – The palatable powder feed is easier for older horses to eat and can be made into a tasty mash making it perfect for veterans. It is also a good source of digestible energy to help older horses maintain condition.

Weight maintenance – The readily available energy in Copra Meal makes it perfect for horses that drop their weight and need a good quality feed with high levels of digestible energy to help them maintain condition.

Foals – Younger horses can benefit from Copra Meal being mixed in with their Foal Creep for a palatable and nutritious addition to feeding times that will keep them looking great with a glossy coat and balanced levels of protein and energy to aid growth.

Working horses – A great source of digestible energy, balanced protein, fibre and oils make Copra Meal a great feed for horses and ponies in work that require essential nutrients and extra energy levels to replace what is used during exercise.

Breeding horses – The higher energy requirements of breeding horses means they usually require a concentrated or grain feed to replenish lost energy but grains are not easily digested and are high in starch, which can lead to fizzy behaviour and other health concerns.

Suffering from metabolic disorders – It is suitable for horses that are prone to or suffering from metabolic disorders such as laminitis, cushings, tying up and colic with low levels of NSC (Non Structural Carbohydrates), helping to keep those at risk of insulin resistance healthy.

Fussy horses and ponies – Copra Meal is very palatable feed with a tempting aroma it appeals to even the fussiest of horses. It is best to introduce any new feed gradually but particularly for fussy horses as they may find the new smell/taste a little suspect and take time to adjust.


As you can see Copra Meal has many benefits for your horse and is a truly versatile feed that can be fed to most horses and ponies to help with weight maintenance, condition and overall health. It should be fed alongside good quality forage such as hay and provides the best results when fed as part of a sugar and grain free natural diet, particularly for horses and ponies with health concerns and metabolic disorders.


Let us know if you feed Copra Meal to your horse and how it has helped them by leaving a comment below. We hope your horse winters well and is happy and healthy going into spring and summer!


New Year, New Plan… For horse Riders!

January 6th, 2015 by Sammi

Christmas Gift Ideas
Happy New Year Everyone!


It’s the new year and the perfect time to start a new plan for you and your horse. You don’t have to completely change your whole routine unless you want to of course, but just the smallest changes can make a big difference. Whatever it is that you want to change or improve whether it be your fitness, health, confidence or ability there are some great things you can do to change your routine for the better.


Take a look at our new year resolution ideas for 2015!


1. Health and fitness – Improving health and fitness is a main part of many peoples new year plan, even for people that do not ride. When making changes to your routine to benefit health and fitness it is important to choose a new fitness routine that is realistic for you and one that you can maintain, so try just changing small things and start by doing little and often. Even 10-15 minutes of stretching or strengthening exercises a day can make a real difference to your core strength and fitness. Making the effort to do your average steps per day (3,000 – 4,000+) will improve stamina and overall fitness, and can be done in a less structured way such as simply taking your dog for a longer walk or walking with a friend. Another great exercise for horse riders is Pilates, combining the stretching and strengthening exercises in a range of simple moves. There are plenty of great books about Pilates and other exercises or maybe start a class with a friend.


2. Start having lessons – If you don’t already have regular lessons with a riding instructor then maybe 2015 is the year to start. Getting a lesson from a qualified instructor will not only help to improve your riding ability and aid in the training of your horse but can also be a great confidence booster. A good instructor will help you to believe in your abilities and improve any weaker areas you have to enable you and your horse to progress in your training. They can also provide great exercises that you can practice between lessons. Regular riding lessons can become invaluable to your riding and may help you to achieve your goals whether in competition or to simply improve your riding and your horse.


3. Try a New discipline – The start of the year is a great time to start something new ready for the better weather in spring and summer, which brings with it often lots more competitions that you could aim towards. If you usually do lots of jumping then maybe you could improve your Flatwork and try your hand at some Dressage or vice versa? You may find you and your horse enjoy the new discipline a lot more and you may be better at it too. Even if you do not take up the new discipline for good it may benefit and improve your performance in your preferred discipline, particularly working on your Flatwork for the benefit of your jumping.


4. Enter some competitions – If you do not currently compete then maybe you could try entering a competition or two this year, or perhaps move up a level to push yourself and your horse. Competing can give you a real buzz and be a great social outing for you and your horse, helping to boost your confidence and give you some valuable experiences.


5. Start a plan to monitor your horse – Keeping an eye on your horse’s condition and weight is a good way to help ensure they stay healthy. It is important to keep your horse within a healthy weight range and a good condition score to help prevent the onset of health concerns such as Laminitis and heart problems, as well as unnecessary strain on joints which can lead to problems in later life. Knowing you horse’s weight will also help with worming and feeding to ensure you are giving the correct amounts for your horse.


6. Have a new year clear out – This is a great time to throw/give away or sell on some of your old tack and equipment, especially if you have some new things from Christmas that you need space for in your tack room. The fresh start will help with your new year’s plan to get organised and start changing your routine for the better. If you can sell on some of your old things you may make a little money to put towards your competition fund, lessons or some more new equipment for you and your horse.


7. Plan your field and building maintenance – If you have your own stables/field or are responsible for the upkeep of your horse’s living area then you may need to undertake some maintenance of buildings or paddocks. Take the opportunity to have a look around the stables and paddocks to see if there are any areas of damage or places that need a fresh lick of paint. Paddocks need yearly maintenance to remove any dangerous weeds and ensure the grazing is maintained with the correct fertilisers, harrowing and reseeding, as well as checking the fencing for any damage that will need repairing asap.


8. Get organised with a diary or calendar – We all aim to be organised and it is not always as easy as it sounds but getting a diary or calendar for the tack room, perhaps a note board too and being prepared will give you the best chance at being organised throughout 2015. Having a calendar hung up in the tack room in a place you will see everyday will allow you to see what is coming up and to write down any important events such as when to worm, the farrier visits, vaccinations and competitions. A note board is great for writing notes to other people on the yard or even to remind yourself of something and is also great for writing down the content of feeds, which is handy when someone else is looking after your horse for you.


These are just a few ideas of things you could do to help make 2015 a great year for you and your horse. We hope you achieve all of your goals for the year ahead and even if you don’t it doesn’t matter, simply use the experience to your advantage and have fun.



What’s On January 2015!

December 30th, 2014 by Sammi

What's on January 2015

It’s time to look at events for 2015, I cannot believe how the year has flown by! January is a quiet month in the equestrian calendar with many events waiting for the better weather later on in the year due to being held outdoors, but here are a few local events that will be taking place throughout January and a reminder of what else is to come during 2015.


National Events:

10th/11th (Saturday/Sunday), 24th/25th (Saturday/Sunday) – Chukkas Non-Pro Challenges at the All England Polo Club (Hickstead) offer a great opportunity for riders of all levels to enjoy this sport at a non-professional level. There are regular Chukkas Challenge Matches (Hickstead) allowing riders of varying experience to play Polo competitively with matches from 0-2 goals to high goals on offer. There is a final match at the end of the season and a brilliant prize is always on offer, ensuring an action packed top-class event.


Local Events:


Arena UK, Allington, Nottinghamshire NG32 2EF

22nd – 24th (Thursday, Friday, Saturday) – Arena UK Senior British Show Jumping Winter Novice

To find out more visit the Arena UK website.


Vale View, Old Dalby, Melton Mowbray, LE14 3LX

Saturday 3rd – Trailblazers Dressage

Sunday 4th – Senior British Show Jumping

Wednesday 7th – Senior British Show Jumping

Saturday 10th – Arena Eventing

Sunday 11th – British Dressage

Wednesday 14th – British Dressage

Saturday 17th – Senior British Show Jumping

Sunday 18th – Trailblazers Show Jumping

Sunday 18th – Trailblazers Dressage

Wednesday 21st – Senior British Show Jumping

Saturday 24th – British Dressage

Sunday 25th – Arena Eventing

Saturday 31st – Senior British Show Jumping

To find out more visit the Vale View Website.


Upcoming events 2015…

There is lots to look forward to in the new year, with all the big International and National Events happening throughout the year. Here’s a reminder of some of the fabulous events to come in 2015.


May 2015 – Badminton Horse Trials. You can book tickets from Monday 12th January as the ticket office opens! Follow the link to find out more!

June 2015 – Royal Ascot. Look out for the dates of this greatly anticipated prestigious event in the racing calendar and get your tickets booked asap to avoid disappointment!

June 2015 – Hickstead Derby Meet. This is one of the international events in the equestrian calendar, where some of the world’s best riders compete to take the title, tackling the infamous Derby bank!

July/August 2015 – Royal International Horse Show. There is an array of elite showing classes with top-class competitors and champions, alongside show jumping qualifiers for the winter show jumping finals, and exciting performances from the scurry ponies.

September 2015 – Burghley Horse Trials. One of the biggest competitions in the eventing calendar where riders from all over the world come to compete against each other to be crowned champion of this tough event.

September 2015 – National Dressage Championships at Stoneleigh. Showcasing some of the country’s top riders in the world of dressage, competing to take the title.

October 2015 – HOYS (Horse of the Year Show). This prestigious show is a major event in the equestrian calendar, particularly for the showing world and top level show jumpers, offering spectators a top-class event.

December 2015 – Olympia Horse Show. There is always plenty going on at this Christmas spectacle, with show jumping, dressage, Shetland pony Grand National, the infamous Puissance, performances and demonstrations from many talented equestrians and much more!


We hope the many amazing events mentioned above has given you plenty of reasons to look forward to 2015, perhaps you could get a couple of things booked early. Whatever you do in 2015 we hope it’s a great year for you and your horse, filled with fun and happiness.


Happy New Year from all at 4dobbin!


Horses, Snow and Extreme Sports ………….

December 29th, 2014 by Emma

Horses, Snow and Extreme Sports

You may be surprised to know that horses can manage remarkably well in the snow and a number of horses really enjoy playing in it.  Some breeds have evolved to cope well in wintery conditions such as the Icelandic Horse, whilst others are not naturally so well designed but will adapt to the colder weather.


The ways Icelandic horses have adapted to colder weather include the design of the digestive tract, which absorbs a greater proportion of nutrients than the digestive tract in other breeds and they have a narrower windpipe which prevents the lungs from freezing. Their winter coats reach an average length of four inches and in certain places such as the flanks, legs and face the coat can be six inches long.


Whilst other breeds are not so naturally well designed as the weather becomes colder they also make certain adaptations including:


• Coat – people have often been shocked to find horses in colder climates with a layer of snow on their backs and wondered why they haven’t shaken it off. As the natural oils build up in a horse’s winter coat and it grows longer it becomes waterproof, allowing a layer of snow to act as insulation. The winter coat in horses starts to come through as the daylight hours become shorter, despite what many people think it is not actually instigated by temperature change. The temperature does then affect whether the coat keeps growing and the length it becomes.

• Circulation – Unlike people horses have very lean lower legs meaning there is not very much tissue mass that requires blood to be pumped to it. When horses become colder their circulation becomes more efficient and concentrated to their vital organs.

• Hooves – the shape of the hoof allows for snow and ice to fall out whilst the horse is walking. This will not work so well in shod horses, they will need their feet regularly picking.

• Breathing – the long nasal passage in a horse warms the outside cold air so that it is warm by the time it reaches the lungs.


Horses usually take between 10 – 21 days to adapt to the colder weather. Although they can manage well on their own to ensure they winter well it is important that they are receiving adequate nutrition as digesting fibre generates heat. Some form of shelter is also important, either natural or man-made will offer your horse protection from the elements.


With the ski season well underway we have a couple of equine extreme sports suggestions you may not have heard of but might like to try, you will be able to see just how well some equines cope in the cold and the snow!


Ski Joering

Are you both a winter sports and an equine enthusiast? If so this could be the ideal sport for you! Although this sport seems to have only become popular in recent years it has actually been around for over 2500 years and originated in Norway. Ski Joering involves a rider going at anything from a steady pace to a gallop with a horse wearing a harness when they are not ridden or ropes being attached to the saddle for the skier to hold on to when the horse is ridden. Ski Joering takes place in Europe and is popular in North America. The World Championships have been held at Whitefish Ski Resort in Montana since 2009 and one of the competition phases even includes an equine/ ski long jump. If you fancy a skiing holiday but would like to combine it with some horse riding why not consider a slightly more extreme holiday sport either to spectate or take part in.

Please see some of the following links for more information:

Ski Joering Chamonix 

Ski Joering Morzine

Ski Joering Whitefish


Horse Boarding

If you want to try your hand at an extreme equestrian sport but don’t fancy the snow Horse Boarding may be for you. In this sport a horse pulls someone along on a skateboard or a mountain board at speeds of up to 35 mph. This sport was invented five years ago by professional stunt man Daniel Fowler-Prime and seems to be continually increasing in popularity. A competition series started in the summer of 2013 and competitions take place in arenas and outdoors. The Horse Boarding Show includes ramp jumps with gaps of over 4 metres ensuring there are some breathtaking moments. Anyone with any level of ability can try this sport although being prepared to have the odd fall off the skate board is probably sensible!

Please see their website for more information


A fun Christmas fact to finish – ‘Jingle Bells’ was originally published under the title ‘One Horse Open Sleigh’ and was written as an American Thanksgiving song rather than a Christmas song. Bells were placed on horse-drawn sleighs to warn other road users of their presence to avoid crashes. The rhythm of the Jingle Bells tune mimics the sound made by the bells placed on a trotting horse, listen out for this next time you hear this christmas song!


We hope you all have a wonderful Christmas, please let us know if you have tried Ski Joering or Horse Boarding we would love to hear how you got on!


New in Store – Premier Equine Quick Dry Leg Wraps

December 16th, 2014 by Sammi

Premier Equine Leg Wraps
We have the New updated Premier Equine Quick Dry Wraps in store now. These quality leg wraps have been carefully designed to efficiently wick away moisture from your horse’s legs to help keep them more comfortable.


Features and benefits of the Quick Dry Leg Wraps!


The Premier Equine Quick Dry Leg wraps have numerous excellent features and benefits for your horse including the following:


• Shaped for a close and comfortable fit around the fetlock and tendons

• Efficiently wicks away sweat and moisture – keeps your horse dry and comfortable

• Advanced triple layer technology, Polypropylene and Polyester combination to create PremTex

• Sturdy Velcro straps – easy to adjust – put on and take off.

• Stylish quality trim in contrasting colours

• Machine washable – easy to keep clean

• Lightweight and comfortable for your horse

• Range of sizes available


The Premier Equine Quick Dry Leg Wraps are ideal for use after exercise, particularly if your horse has become sweaty or wet during work. They can be used to help your horse dry off quickly and prevent your horse from getting cold and uncomfortable, which can cause them to stiffen up and may aggravate any existing problems or encourage the onset of new ones.


Quick Dry Leg Wraps are easy to use, fitting like a standard wrap with secure Velcro straps and contoured shape to ensure they stay in place whilst being worn. These very useful wraps are quick to put on and take off and can be put into the washing machine for easy maintenance, keeping them clean and ready for each use. A great pair of boots to keep in the tack room all year round, whether used after exercise on a hot summers day or after a wet hack in winter.


Come and visit us in store to see our full range of Premier Equine products.