Friday, November 29, 2013

Top Tips When Breaking Your Horse

{I am pleased to bring you another guest post today.  This post from Ekta Mair explores some key points when setting out to start your horse under saddle.}

When it comes to your horse, the earlier they are trained and can understand who’s in charge, which in turn means they obey your command, the better – which is why it is essential to break your horse in as soon as possible.

  Why Start Early?

Your horse needs to be tolerant when they are being handled, transported or tied up, as if you let these things slide early on, they will be more difficult to manage. From an early age they will need to be treated by a vet or handled by the farrier, which can prove to be a problem if they are not broken into. The longer you leave it, the harder it may be, and by starting early you can get them ready for their future in work. That’s not to say however that if they are a bit older you won’t be able to break them.

  Where To Start

No matter what age your horse is they should be first worked on the lunge as they need to acquire the balance and rhythm as well as voice training. You should fit the basic tack, which includes some loose side reins, which will help them with accepting the reign contact into their mouth.

You should start to see some overall compliance and improvements in their balance when changing direction as time goes on. As their confidence grows you should walk them through the town so they can get use to roads and traffic and won’t be as scared when they take on a rider.


Once your horse has learnt all of the skills of obedience, balance, direction and commands it is time for your horse to accept a rider. Remember if you started breaking in your horse extremely early you may have to wait until the horse is a little older for you to do this as they may not have matured enough and their bodies are still developing.

A rope halter is a great way for backing as it helps to gain their attention. You can make them walk and trot as well as stand quietly from your body movements, you should try attempting different directions to check they understand what it is you are trying to teach them.

You should continue this training on a regular basis but you will now find that the earlier issues that you may have encountered with your horse or foal before they were broken in are now relative non-existent. Once they know they cannot get away with anything and that you are in charge, everything will run a lot smoother. 

 This Post was written by Ekta Mair who although had done a lot of research on breaking in a horse, decided the help of a professional would be best, which is why she contacted Instinctive Horse Training.

{Thank you Ekta for sharing your thoughts on starting young horses, and Instinctive Horse Training.}

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

This is What Seperates the Boys From the Men

  Is what my coach says to me.  I've been told I have an innate ability to get any horse into a frame,  almost to the point where it's a hinderance.  I haven't had a lesson with her in over 6 months because frankly, I just couldn't afford her.  You know that old saying; "you get what you pay for?".  Yep, that's true.

    I had a major lightbulb moment with both my horses in my dressage lessons with Daphne recently.  I have been trying lessons with a few different people, and although during my lessons I am having good results, when I ride at home afterwards the following weeks things were just falling apart.  Penny was getting extremely fussy and unsettled, William was inconsistent in the bridle which is always our struggle but seemed to be getting worse.  I was becoming frustrated and confused.  I was riding weird and it just didn't feel right.  I was doing what was working in lessons but it didn't seem to be working long term and I was feeling pretty helpless.  I felt completely clueless and like I was making things worse.

  Enter my lessons.  Daphne takes one look at me and says "ahhhh you are back to that again!  I thought we went over this.  Stop getting your horse into a frame.  I know you have this ability to do that but it's actually a problem because the horse is not working correctly".  This I know, and I don't even realize I am doing anything.  It's a problem.  I get on the horse, it goes in a frame nicely, then when we start to move into harder work it all falls apart.  I don't want to be doing this, I want to ride correctly!  I want my horses to do well in dressage and I want to understand the training aspect so I can repeat it with my young horses.  I want to learn.

  I'm so lucky to have the opportunity to ride with Daphne once a month when I can afford it.  She twerked a few things and gave me a few exercises for both Penny and William and at the end of our lesson their entire outline and way of going had changed.  William was steady and for the first time ever, truly reaching for the contact.  Penny had lengthened her frame and lifted her back, a nice round outline throughout.  I got the feel and engrained her words into my head.  She said; "Tori, this is what separates the boys from the men.  You can ride around looking pleasant and you will do well at the lower levels, but once you start moving up the levels things will fall apart.  You want to ride properly.  You NEED to ride properly if you want to do more, and do well.  Your horse will be trained better, stay sounder, and find work easier".  

  She is right.  I knew this already but my lessons sort of hit me upside the head in an Ah ha moment.  I also realized that I need to to trust my coach, and even if I don't lesson for a few months I need to stick to the program.  She is right, she knows her shit - bottom line.   I need to not start to question whether things are working and just keep at it. It works for me, works for my horses, and that is what is important.

  It's great to try new coaches, clinics, and see what's out there.  I love attending clinics, looking on websites like Instinctive Horse Training, and watching videos to get ideas.  What you have to not do is change your whole way of riding because of one lesson or one new idea when what you were doing before was working perfectly.  You start doubting what you are doing because you hit a speed bump and just get lost in it all.  You have to stay focused and remember what you have been taught.

 Since my lessons my horses have been going better than ever.  Each day is progress, no more frustration.  We are ready to train with the big boys now...or should I say, men.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Essential Paddock Maintenance For A Happy and Healthy Horse

{I am pleased to bring you another guest post to help us get through this winter and prepare us for spring in the best way possible. Our guest Emma shares her knowledge on paddock maintenance on behalf of Broadwood International. }
We all have an image in our heads when we think of our dream horse paddock. The dream is picturesque; we think about rolling green fields bordered by lush hedgerows where our horses can frolic freely and graze as they please. We all want the perfect paddock but, like anything worth having, it takes time and effort. If you want to keep your paddock beautiful and your horse happy and healthy throughout the year then it’s essential to have a care plan in place so it stays under control.  
The right boundaries are essential for ensuring your horse is safe within your property. The right boundary is dependent on a number of factors, you have to consider the resources that are available to you, the size of your field, your budget and, of course, personal preference. Popular choices include:
  • Wooden Fencing
  • Stone Walls
  • Hedges
  • Plastic Fencing
Each choice comes with its own unique advantages; the choice between them often comes down to budget and taste.  Whatever style of boundary you choose for your paddock it is important to make sure that it is an adequate height; it is recommended that boundary height is a minimum of 1.08m-1.38m tall (1.25m-2m for stallions) in order to prevent your horse from escaping.

Seeding or reseeding your paddock requires a specific mixture of seeds in order for your horse to maintain proper nutrition. Poor seed mixes can be too rich for the horse and cause it to become unwell, so it is important to consult with a horse nutritionist or equestrian specialist to make sure you’re buying a healthy choice.
After planting, make sure to wait until the grass is at least 5-6 inches long before you allow the horse to graze. If the grass is too young the root system will be poorly established, increasing the likelihood that it won’t grow back.
Using bale feeders can ease the strain on the grass from grazing by providing your horse with another nutritious means of food. They can be attached to the back of tractors so you can drive through the paddock and dispense hay evenly, and your horse can graze without too much damage being inflicted onto the ground.

Grass Maintenance
Your horse paddock serves a multitude of functions. As well as being the area where your horse will play and exercise it is also acts as food and a place for your horse relieve itself, so grass management is of paramount importance for your horses overall health. Investing in paddock cleaners to remove waste from the ground can prevent the spread of parasites and disease and help keep your paddock in pristine condition, with minimal effort from you.
If your soil is low in nutrients it is important to utilise fertilizers which contain nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium which are beneficial for leaf growth, root growth and overall quality. When you add fertilizer to your soil, give it a period of around 3 weeks to work its way into the grass before your horse starts grazing so they are receiving optimum nutrition.

After Winter Care
Grazing during the winter can cause unique damage to your paddock and cause it to suffer from excessive poaching. The only certain way to avoid poaching is to not turn your horse out onto the paddock during the cold, wet weather, but this involves having to make other arrangements for your horse which may not be feasible. Horses can become injured in muggy, poached ground so it is important to ensure it is levelled and the grass seeds are replenished as soon as possible.  
With routine maintenance, a keen eye, and the right equipment your paddock can keep your horse happy and healthy throughout the year.

Horse owner Emma Smith recommends Broadwood International for agricultural machinery to help you maintain the quality of your paddock. They are an exceptional, leading UK supplier of premium quality farming, feeding nd maintenance equipment that can help you to keep your horse happy.

{Nothing makes this farm girl happier than nice pastures, and big, fun, farm equipment.  If you like to take top notch care of your farm, take a look at what they offer.  Thanks Emma and thank you Broadwood International for sharing your knowledge on pasture maintenance!}  

Friday, November 22, 2013

Farm Girl Fridays ✫ #5 - Water Heaters Pt 2 - Indoor Heaters

    This Friday I am going to explore a bit more about keeping fresh, drinkable water in the winter, as part 2 of the post I did last Friday.  There is no chore I dread more than emptying frozen water buckets.  They are heavy, impossible to break the ice out of, and you always end up getting soaked in the process.  Don't lose hope! There are ways you can avoid this impossible chore, with the use of water heaters.

  A good well insulated barn with a few horses can usually stay warm enough to prevent frozen buckets, but not everyone has that luxury.  I will say I am pretty lucky at my place.  With 4 stalls in the main barn, low ceilings and good insulation the barn stays fairly warm.  I didn't have a single frozen bucket last winter and am hoping for the same thing this winter.  In the event I am not so lucky, I at least have a few options.

  Heated Buckets

  Heated buckets are just that - water buckets that are wired with a thermostat that heat the bucket when the temperature reaches below zero.  Many have a hideaway cord so the bucket can be used year round.  You need an outlet or an extension cord for this.  My only concern is if you have a young or playful horse, they may try and chew on the cord.  The bucket below shows the metal covering on the cord to help protect from such horses.  Average cost is approximately $70 a bucket.

  These buckets are also ideal for dogs in the barn or the backyard.  You can leave them on the ground safely and can be assured to have ice free drinking water all winter.  As with anything electrical in the barn you want to be assured your electrical system is professionally installed and any cords are protected from weather, horses, and potential damage.

  Bucket Cozies

  Bucket cozies are relatively new and I honestly have not known anyone who has used them.  They are basically a snow suit for your bucket and slip over top, leaving an opening for the horse to drink out of.  They do not claim to keep water from freezing, but rather keep the water unfrozen longer than it may without the cozy.  It could be a good option for those barns without electricity.

  As I personally do not have experience with these,  I thought I would share what it says right off the Bucket Cozy website;

  For me, at the cost of $40, I would rather spend the extra $20 or $30 and be assured my water is not freezing at all, but if you have no option of an electric bucket, than the Bucket Cozy is better than nothing.

  What do you think, have you ever seen or used a bucket cozy? I would love to hear what you think of them if so.

 No excuses for frozen water this winter!  Let's make sure our horses are kept happy and healthy.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

How to Look After your Horse during the Winter

 {November is a great month for learning.  The show season is basically over, everyone is preparing for Christmas and adjusting to the new colder temperatures.  I have been honored with another guest post that will give you some tips on what to do to prepare for your horse keeping this winter.  Thanks so much to Claydon Horse Exercisers for their expertise!}

How to Look After your Horse during the Winter

Your horse is most likely your pride and joy and making sure it is looked after during the winter should be a priority. There are a number of ways in which you can prepare both your horse and the stables for the cold months. Make sure you priorities these tasks so that the biggest ones are carried out first.

Prepare the Stable

Stables can become very cold during the winter and without enough preparation, the horse can become extremely unwell from being subjected to freezing temperatures. Take a look around the stables for anywhere that drafts could get in. If you find any holes or cracks, get this fixed as soon as possible so that as much heat stays in the building as it can do.

Keep a large stock of bedding so that during the winter months there can be constant changes. A good idea may be to put down rubber mats as these will cushion the floor and protect the horse from lying on cold concrete. It will also make for a much more hygienic area as these can be washed down easily.

 Prepare for Riding

Your horse will still feel the cold even if it is not as much as you will. If you are allowing them to roam around the fields then make sure they have a blanket on to cover them up during the freezing temperatures. Before riding, warm up all of the items that the horse will come in to contact with including yourself. Warm your hands and the items under warm water so that the cold feeling will not shock the horse. A good idea is to groom your horse as this will get the blood flowing and will warm the skin.

Change your Riding Path

If you often ride on the roads or perhaps up a steep hill, change this path for winter riding. If the roads are icy or the ground is frozen, it can be very difficult for the horse to keep balance and can cause pain in their hooves. Find a path which is suitable but bear in mind that you may have to change this regularly throughout the winter. To give them exercise you could also use a horse walker as this will allow them to stretch their legs but will not mean you have to venture out of the grounds.

After the Ride

One of the most essential tasks to carry out is to clear out the hooves once you are back from a ride. You do not want the mud and stones to freeze within their hooves and cause both pain but also potentially permanent damage. This could cost you a fortune in vet’s bills and could be extremely painful for your horse.

You should also make sure that you dry your horse if you have been out in the snow and rain and make sure they are back to a regular temperature. You may even find that your horse is a fan of receiving a blow dry.

This post was written by Amy Bennett who has loved horses since she was a child and now owns a Paso Fino named bolt. She relies on her horse walker from Claydon Horse Exercisers during the winter months.

 {I want to add my own opinion here that I am loving these horse exercisers.  Having lived in the UK and Ireland for some time, horse exercisers are a regular part of their horse care and training.  William Fox Pitt was talking about this at a recent clinic, how in North America not enough people take advantage of these systems and utilize them for warm up and cool down.  They are more common in Europe due to the limited turn out space, but they do have a place here with us in the US and Canada.  Racing Stables are big on them and can be found there, but perhaps we can get the eventing stables to start following suit.  I think I will have to add one of these to my Christmas list this year.  I like to dream big.}

Thanks Amy and Claydon Horse Exercisers for sharing your thoughts on looking after your horse this winter!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

William Shows the Jumpers

 I stepped out of my comfort zone and took William to an indoor hunter jumper show in Newmarket at the Royal Canadian Riding Academy on Sunday.  My coach Rick and I had discussed it a little bit a few weeks ago and he was interested in taking his young OTTB to get out and have his first show.   We decided we might as well make the drive and see what's it like.  At the very least it gets the horses out doing something and we could use it as a good learning experience.

  I entered William in the 2'0 division and Rick had his horse in the 2'6.  I left the farm at 4:30am to head out to pick him and Gryphon up at Winters End.  William self loaded for me to help make my morning super easy.  Gryphon walked right on the trailer also, and we were on our way.

  The trip is just under 3 hours and is the longest trailer ride I have taken William on.  The horses were excellent on the way up, and I was in tears laughing so hard having Rick telling me jokes and funny stories.  I will say, it sure is nice to have a coach that is not only a great instructor, but he is absolutely hilarious.

 We arrived and got the horses settled into their stalls.  Both boys behaved perfectly, eating hay and relaxing while we unloaded the trailer and got our show packages.  We walked the first course, and the course was definitely a strong 2'0 course.  No lee way here with some 18 inchers which is what I was kind of hoping for he he.  I wasn't really sure how this was all going to go since I have only ever schooled William over fences away from home once or twice.  At home I usually just do one or two fences and I'm not sure I have ever done a full course with him.  Thankfully I had my coach there to hold my hand and support me throughout the day.  This is something I am just not accustomed to.  In my entire show career, I have only ever once attended a show with my coach.

Gryphon and I - note the Antares marking

  Since this was a schooling show we were allowed to buy a schooling round before the show started.  I easily decided it would be in my best interest to do one and let William see the massive indoor, the tiny crowd, and the new fences with their fancy fillers and wings.  I tacked up and headed to the warm up where I did a nice long and low warm up before moving onto some jumps, then headed to the main ring to do our schooling round.

  I was anticipating him to be more reactive and spooky than he was, in fact - he wasn't reactive and spooky at all!  He really surprised me.  He trucked around the ring like he was ridden there every day and didn't bat an eye at a thing.  I headed to my first fence with Rick helping me along the way and William popped right over.  I continued on the course and William decided half way through that this was  really fun stuff and he knew what he was doing.  It was the first time I have ever felt William feel so confident and sure of himself.  It was pretty neat.

  Once it was time for the classes to start we made our way over and before we knew it, it was our turn to go into the ring.  William was super and jumped very well.  We had an unfortunate rail at the second fence but otherwise great.  His straightness and adjustability are what need the most work, but that is just serious nit picking on my part.  There were 7 or 8 horses in the division and even with our rail we ended up 3rd in the first class!  Here is the video of our first class.

  William only improved in the second and third classes.  In our second class we had no jumping faults but one time fault.  We ended up second in that class.  In our final class of the day we finally made it into the jump off with a clear round.  William was incredible in the jump off, making quick tight inside turns, getting all his lead changes and not touching a single pole.  We won the last class and that win also clinched our Championship for the division.  Go William!

  Rick had equally amazing rounds, with no faults in either and placing first and second in his two classes.  This was also good enough for Champion of his division.  Not bad for Gryphons first show!  We were both very proud of our young horses.  To come to such a big intimidating venue, with multiple rings, crazy warm up areas, long scary tunnel hallways into the barns; they both behaved liked seasoned show ponies.  We couldn't have been more pleased.

  William has shown that he is ready to start jumping with the big boys and will definitely be able to go out eventing next year pending we have no major upsets (knock on wood).  This horse is such a funny guy, but I am really enjoying this phase where he is starting to grow and learn and truly become a fun and reliable partner.  What a good boy William.   

that's horse show sexy right there...

Rick and Gryphon

Saturday, November 16, 2013

How To Be Economical When Looking After Your Horse Through Winter - Guest Post from Fairfield Sales

  {I've been lucky enough to share another great guest post with my readers.   This post ties right in with my Farm Girl Friday edition on stall mats I did a few weeks back. This time we are let in on some money saving tips this winter! } 

How To be Economical When Looking After Your Horse Through Winter

If you are a horse owner you may be worrying about the coming winter and the additional costs it brings when taking care of your horse. The rising costs of feed, bedding and equipment all adds up, making you wonder if keeping your horse is actually financially feasible. There are however, a few adjustments you can make to keep the costs down so you don’t have to worry. 

Buy Your Winter Feed Early

The closer it gets to winter the more expensive hay and other feed gets, doubling or even tripling in price. By buying it early on you could save an enormous amount of money that would otherwise be wasted, and leaving more money to spend elsewhere. By buying a large amount of it you can be fully prepared for the winter and even if you end up with more than you need, you could even sell some of it off to make a profit yourself. 

Another way to save on feed is to buy in bulk, and not just through winter. If this isn’t feasible for you, chipping in with a few other horse owner friends and splitting the feed between you will work out much cheaper than buying smaller amounts more frequently.

Install Rubber Matting 

Rubber matting is a great way to save on bedding for your horse; as the colder weather draws in you want to ensure that there is enough insulation and material between the cold floor and your horse. Historically you may have used large amounts of straw and shavings, however by installing rubber matting, you are already putting an insulating and comfortable layer between them. Because of this you no longer need to use the usual large amounts of bedding, using much smaller amounts instead. 

The amount of bedding you buy will be greatly reduced, so your overall costs will already be well on their way to being much lower than usual. 

Negotiate Your Medical Bills 

When it comes to the care of your horse you should never try to skip out on appointments; not only is this irresponsible of you, it could end up costing you much more in the future. The health of your horse is extremely important, and making sure you can afford its healthcare is an essential part of caring for and keeping a horse – it’s not something you can afford to fall behind on. 

When it comes to medical, dentistry and farrier bills there are ways to negotiate. Why not get a group of other horse owners together and negotiate a price with the vets, dentists and farriers. They may accept a cheaper price for regular visits from the group; this can then be split between you all, meaning everyone wins. 

Look After Your Equipment 

Take care of all of your equipment and horse gear making sure you clean everything regularly. By ensuring that everything is well looked after, the lifespan of these products is likely to be much longer, meaning you don’t have to spend money on new gear. 

You may notice that you have spares of certain equipment, or pieces that you don’t need. Why not sell them on or organise a swap meet, where other horse owners can swap equipment and pieces you may need for something they need? This is a great way to make friends, have a great day and also save you some money. 

By following these few adjustments and top tips you can save yourself money in the run up to winter and the rest of the year too! There is no need to skip out on quality of care just because you are looking to cut costs. 

This post was written by Ekta Mair who realised she was spending extortionate amounts on her horse when it wasn’t needed, and found some great money saving ideas. She recommends Fairfield Sales for high quality rubber matting at affordable prices. 

 {This has been a guest post -  Legit though - check out the site Fairfield Sales - there are some really neat products on there, great stuff for the farm and riding in general.  A big thanks for the guest poster for supporting the equine blogging community!}.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Farm Girl Fridays ✫ #4 - Water Heaters Pt 1 - Stock Tank Heaters

 It's that time of year where if you haven't already, you want to start to think about how you are going to keep fresh clean water available to your horse throughout the winter.  Water is the single most important part of your horses diet.  Ice and snow will not be sufficient to keep your horse healthy in the winter.  Colic due to failure to provide fresh water is the leading cause of Equine deaths in the winter.  Let's explore some tried and true methods to ensuring your water stays drinkable all winter long, even in the chilly (brrr) place I call home in Ontario.

you don't want this.


 Whether your horse lives out or just goes out for a few hours a day, they still require access to clean, fresh, drinkable water.  Most people use a stock tank, skip bucket, or bath tubs to provide water.  There are several stock tank heaters available that can cater to the different types and sizes of tanks.  Those who are really lucky may have a year round water trough that never freezes.  These are common on cattle farms and are excellent, but extremely expensive to install.

 What you need

 You will need to ensure you have a good set up for your water when preparing for the winter.  Your tank should be in a safe, stabilized place where it can't tip or be knocked over.  You also want to make sure that hay and other debris won't be getting into it.  A water source that won't freeze is also necessary.  I have a hydrant that was properly installed and never freezes (so far tested up to -24).  With the hydrant a hose outside isn't necessary and it avoids a tonne of hassle involved in moving and disconnecting the hose, along with storing it somewhere warm so it doesn't freeze.  Hydrants are costly, but they are one thing that I would say are worth the investment.  They will save you a lot of time and annoyance over the years.  If you have a hydrant and it does freeze, you can insulate around it and also get a plug to heat it if you have an electrical source.

  An electrical source will also be needed.  An outlet by the trough is ideal, however many people don't have that option.  You may need to use an extension cord, in which case you want to make sure you have an outdoor one that is winterized, and I recommend putting it in a small tube if it will be in the horses field.  You want any electrical wires to be out of the field if possible.  You can also run it along the fence line if this is an option for you.  Your electrical source should be properly installed by an electrician, and have a ground that will prevent a fire if there is a short.  Your outlet should also have weather protection if it is outside.

 Stock Tank Heater Options

  Depending on the type of tank you have, there are several choices available for stock tank heaters, and a wide variety of prices.  

Floating De-icer:  This type of heater is placed into the tank (before freezing) and come with a clip to attach the cord to the edge of the tank.  There are a few different options also, some with covers and some without.  The vary in strength, wattage, cord length, and size to adjust to the size of tank you have.  Some are thermostat controlled to prevent over heating in low water conditions.  They are designed to not flip over and not sink.  They can be used in plastic or metal troughs.  This is what I use, it works great.  The only con I know of is that horses who are playful can pull them out by the cord and destroy them easily (yes Parker I am referring to YOU).

Sinking De-icer:  Similar to the floating de-icer but designed to sink to the bottom.  Less likely to be disturbed by livestock, however they are attached by a cord and so they can be pick up and dragged out.  Covers are also available to protect the element (pictured above).

Drain Plug De-icer:  This type of de-icer fits securely into the drain of the tank.  There are sizes and designs available for all tank types.  It keeps livestock away from it and it also can not be removed by the horses.  In my opinion these are one of the best designs.  My only hang up is that if the water goes below the de-icer, it is very hot and a horse can burn its nose on it if it were to touch it.  Can be used in plastic or metal tanks.

Bucket Heater: Unlike the above units, this is a water heater and not a de-icer.  It heats water and can heat to the point of boiling.  They are designed to go inside a smaller unit like a bucket or a skip bucket.  I'm not a big fan of these, I have heard of them melting buckets that were left unattended.  They will be easily removed from the bucket also.  I would suggest these be used under supervision only.

There are some other options if you don't have a trough, for example a heated bucket or heated skip bucket that is insulated can do the job.  Part 2 of this post will explore water heaters for inside the barn, and hopefully give you some ideas to help you avoid facing frozen water buckets this winter!

  Do you use any of these stock tank heaters?  What do you like/dislike about them?

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Show Tips - How To Prepare For A Show - Guest Post from Science Supplements!

Quite often I get the request to allow a guest poster on my blog. I agreed to let Science Supplements Ltd share their thoughts on preparing for a show. Since we are all going through a bit of horse show withdrawal, I thought you might enjoy it. Thank you to Science Supplements Ltd for taking the time to write this post and also supporting equestrian bloggers.

3 Ways to Prepare Your Horse For Show Time

Since time began, horses have played their own key role in civilisation and now, play host to some of the world’s most spectacular equestrian events.

Historically, equestrian sports have heralded military horsemanship, speed, agility and training as well as hunting and rodeos all around the world. On both an amateur and professional level, the relationship between a rider and their horse is central to their sporting success and whilst the demands of their sport may differ, the care, attention and preparation hold key similarities.

Professional Advice

Whether you own or loan your horse, it’s important that you acquire the expertise of a trusted and reputable equine nutrition specialist. With their extensive knowledge, they will be able to answer any questions you have regarding the care and diet of your horses, as well as ways to enhance performance with beneficial and natural supplements.

So whether you are gearing your horse for the race of their life, bracing your horse for a show jumping spectacular or competing in the elegant and elite world of dressage, what things can you do to prepare your horse for show time?

#1 – Grooming

For a stunning show ready horse, proper and effective grooming must be carried out all year round. An immaculate coat and mane is one that is healthy and glossy, giving an extra shine when competing.

As well as looking beautiful on the eye, regular grooming increases health, the strength and shine of the horse’s coat, as well as creating an emotional bond between rider and their horse. Be sure to comb out 
dirt, tend to hooves and brush their mane and tail to stimulate hair growth.    

#2 – Diet

A critical element to your horse’s well-being, it can be difficult to make sure your horse is eating the right feeds and nutrients. Horses can consume up to 2.5% of their body weight in dry feed every day. Forage or ‘roughage’ consists of hay, grasses and legumes.

This forms a large part of a horses diet providing a source of protein and fibre needed for strength and muscle development.  With added concentrates such as grains, pellets and supplements (see next point), you can ensure your horse is ready come show day.

#3 – Supplements

Supplements allow a greater level of performance, safety and control of your horse. Many horses’ and ponies can become stressed or anxious affecting their ability to perform to their potential. Calming supplements allow riders to manage anxiety as well as reduce the risk of injury to their horse from stress and anxiety.

Calming agents allow horses to manage difficult situations, such as clipping, travelling or shoeing. Made from natural ingredients, equestrian sports has a strong hold of the allowed and illegal substances that can be used across many events so be sure to take the advice and guidance from a reputable equine supplement specialist.

By keeping a watchful eye of these three points, you can make sure you and your horse are ready to perform to the best of your ability, as well as improving the general well-being of your equine companion.

Phil Warrington, a young horse trainer, looks at three simple steps you can take to ensuring you and your horse are ready to compete on showday. For equine nutrition supplements you can trust, he recommends Science Supplements Ltd; a trusted equine nutrition supplement supplier for a range of equestrian events.

 {This has been a guest post supplied by the great people at Science Supplements Ltd.}  
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