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Victoria Bax Eventing August Adventures

Victoria Bax Eventing August Adventures
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Here goes if you too are interested in Victoria Bax Eventing August Adventures: Earlier this year while coaching at a Riding Club camp, I was persuaded, more so begged to join part of the “Quad Squad” as their 4th team member is currently on maternity leave! I had no idea what I was letting myself in for, however, after a last minute change of horse for me which meant that Alberta’s Rose only had two practices and a 200-mile round trip returning home at 11.30pm last night – we did it! Not sure I’m ever going to live this down, but secretly I have to admit I rather enjoyed being part of it!

Inter County Freestyle Victoria Bax feeds her horses AloerideThe brief we had for the Inter-County Freestyle event was “Toys and Games”; we chose to perform The Nutcracker. Who would have thought that the four-year-old, unbacked, full Thoroughbred that we bought at the Ascot sales in June 2014 predominately for eventing would turn her hoof to becoming part of a Quadrille! Alberta’s Rose certainly did not let me down as we finished a very respectable 2nd!

Later in the month, I was absolutely thrilled to pieces and so so very proud of my amazing little grey horse, Alberta’s Rose at Little Downham. She absolutely stood her own in a decent Novice section to produce a super dressage test for 28 penalties (72%) and an outstanding double clear with a handful of time penalties (which cost us the win) however finished superbly for 3rd place from 35 starters round a testing course which causes plenty of problems. I simply couldn’t be prouder of this girl; she has taken the step up to Novice this time completely in her stride. I think I’ve had the best three phases I have ever had with her, in fact probably any horse today. The dressage was supple and smooth, the showjumping positive and flowing and the cross country very confident. What an amazing young horse I have, and it feels fantastic to be back at a decent level again.

Our last trip this month was up to Swalcliffe in Oxfordshire, to contend the British Riding Club National Horse Trials Championships at 100+ level following our win in the Area qualifying event last month. Sadly having made the 140-mile journey there, I was hugely disappointed with the ground conditions. They had promoted that they would be aggravating the ground, but unfortunately, I could see no evidence of this, therefore leaving the ground in a very firm condition, not only on the cross country course but also the dressage and showjumping arenas and warm-up areas. As a result of this, I decided to withdraw following our dressage which had left us 5th going into the cross country day. This was obviously hugely disappointing as Alberta’s Rose is definitely on form this season and in my eyes stood an excellent chance of a great result. However, I was not prepared to risk causing her any damage considering every other event I have attended this season has made enormous efforts with the ground, and I have happily run at all of them.
So the long drive home began; A costly weekend!

Alberta’s Pride appears to be fit and well following the splint forming on his leg, so his work will be stepped up and back to normal including jump training as it has now been two months since it appeared. He will be aimed at Wellington BE100 at the end of this month, so I’m keeping everything crossed he feels fit and well on the day.

Still, lots more to look forward to this season, so until next time… best wishes, Victoria.

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Growing A Strong Thoroughbred Racehorse Foot

Growing A Strong Thoroughbred Racehorse Foot
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We suggest that you abandon the myth that growing a strong Thoroughbred Racehorse foot is difficult. Pretty much without exception all Thoroughbred Racehorses on the Aloeride have grown strong hooves and healthy feet. They no longer have the problems commonly associated with TB’s hooves and they become easier to shoe.

Thoroughbreds are known for having two different front feet, they seldom match. If they are left to grow unevenly and aren’t balanced with regular trims, it is like you wearing a sneaker on one foot and a work boot on the other. You just couldn’t jog evenly like that.

Thoroughbred Racehorse Foot Problems

checkmark Aloeride aloe vera - Best British Aloe Vera by farIt is assumed that the relative thinness of walls and sole of the Thoroughbred foot make it more susceptible to trauma, injury, and hoof capsule distortion. Actually thin + hard would be just fine. It is only thin + softer that causes flares, cracks, underrun, collapsed and sheared heels. Quarter cracks, grass cracks, sand cracks, toe cracks, dry or moist corns, while line disease (seedy toe) are unheard of in horses supplemented with Aloeride, often it is why horses with hoof trouble started on Aloeride. Thoroughbred Racehorses on Aloeride get an abundance of natural-in-ratio nutritional building blocks with which they build much stronger walls and more resilient soles. This is where affordable, unrivalled quality and proper dosage of organic aloe vera comes into it: Aloeride.

checkmark Aloeride aloe vera - Best British Aloe Vera by farHoof capsule distortions are slow sprains due to semi-static weight bearing lasting hours. This is you getting plantar fasciitis standing still for 20+ hours at a drinks party. Hoof capsule distortions are sprains because the line of gravity doesn’t move through the foot at a time when it has little or no arch support from the ground (therefore relies solely on the perimeter hoof capsule for support). Hoof architecture is designed for top-down dynamic pressure and ground-up arch/sole support from the track.  Hoof structures are grown from the building blocks you choose to feed, it is your easiest handle on a common problem. Aloeride not only makes growing a strong Thoroughbred Racehorse foot easier, it also helps your TB cope with the inflammatory aspect of sprains. In compromised feet, a temporary arch support bandaged onto the feet when stalled may be helpful.

checkmark Aloeride aloe vera - Best British Aloe Vera by farThoroughbred Racehorses’ feet need not be sensitive to moisture. This is as self-explanatory as stating that, without wearing a Barbour, you get soaked standing in the rain. Thoroughbred Racehorse’s feet become sensitive to water ingress only if their naturally protective fatty acid and phospholipid barriers fail. That same barrier also protects feet from drying out and becoming brittle. Growing a strong Thoroughbred Racehorse foot should not be difficult when the horse ingests the right feedstuff to build with.

checkmark Aloeride aloe vera - Best British Aloe Vera by farAs you know, the sole grows from the third phalanx (P3, coffin bone, pedal bone is much lighter than other foot bones because it is perforated by numerous vascular channels). For a healthy circulation under P3, the sole of your Thoroughbred must be at least 15 mm thick. If circulation gets compressed (i.e. solar papillae blood vessels that project down into the sole are short to nonexistent in the compressed foot) → fewer nutrients are delivered to tissue → the sole is not growing at a healthy rate → the hoof capsule changes → you’ll start to notice an underrun heel → the walls get thin → the walls become brittle. The anti-diabetic effect of aloe vera helps peripheral circulation, semi-static weight bearing hinders. Horses that are fed an optimum diet have an 80% increase in hoof-sole-border size compared to those fed a limited diet. Optimum nutrition encourages maximum bone and hoof size development. Importantly, hoof size proportionate to body size encourages soundness. Aloeride helps you reach optimum nutrition (intake as well as uptake).

The nutrition hooves need and get with Aloeride

Soil Association Certified Organic Aloeride aloe veraAloeride gives your horse 7 out of the 8 dietary essential amino acids (Isoleucine, Leucine, Lysine, Methionine, Phenylalanine, Threonine, Valine, there’s no consensus on Tryptophan yet. Aloeride gives your horse 12 dietary non-essential amino acids (Alanine, Arginine, Asparagine, Cysteine, Glutamic Acid, Glycine, Histidine, Proline, Serine, Tyrosine, Glutamine, Aspartic Acid). Aloeride gives your horse vitamin B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B9, B12 and vitamin A and C. Aloeride gives your horse the inorganic minerals Calcium, Magnesium, Potassium, Sodium, Zinc, Iron, Phosphorus, Manganese, Molybdenum, Copper and Chromium. Next to these nutrients, Aloeride gives your horse other, aloe-vera-specific nutrients that you can never get from even the best feed. Next to that, by firmly supporting digestion, Aloeride promotes the uptake of nutrients in regular feed. Aloeride is a 100% pure, natural product with Nature’s own nutrient-to-nutrient ratios. Frankly this unique wide spectrum of nutrients would do little if it wasn’t delivered in a properly meaningful quantity! No worries, each sachet of 2,000mg equates to a very generous serving of 400 ml of original and organic juice!

Thoroughbred Racehorses are worth you knowing what’s behind a label

Your horses are extremely valuable. You don’t know the nutritional difference between aloe vera products/labels until you do laboratory tests. For an objective view on proven premium quality, unadulterated product samples of Aloeride, Aloequine, Barrier Animal Healthcare Pure Aloe Vera Juice, Forever Living Stabilised Aloe Vera Gel and Hilton Herbs Aloe Vera were presented for independent measurement by an accredited laboratory equipped for industry standard evaluation of aloe vera. It’s an eye opener:

Aloeride Product




12 litres optimised to 30 palatable powder sachets per carton 12 litres = 3.17 x (3.785 litres @ £35.00) 12 litres = 2.4 x (5 litres @ £37.76) 12 litres = 12 x (1 litre @ £21.62) 12 litres = 2.4 x (5 litres @ £63.00)
£55.20 (that’s before you choose your multi-carton discount) £110.95 £90.63 £259.44 £151.20
Nutritional Density: 5.31 x fewer nutrients 23.4 x fewer nutrients 3.23 x fewer nutrients 2.39 x fewer nutrients
4,680 mg/L 880 mg/L 200 mg/L 1,450 mg/L 1,960 mg/L
£4.60 per litre (that’s before you choose your multi-carton discount) £9.25 per litre £7.55 per litre £21.62 per litre £12.60 per litre
We can supply you with a multi-laboratory proven better aloe vera at vastly deflated cost because we don’t have expensive offices, we don’t finance a multilevel marketing pyramid, we don’t have much staff, we don’t transport liquid aloe, and we don’t seek rapacious profit.
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Are smart simple aloe vera pellets a clever idea

When aloe vera is only on the label
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Laurel is a Contact of ours in America who asked “are smart simple aloe vera pellets a clever idea?” She said that she was looking forward to the convenience of pellets over the aloe vera juice she had been using, and she liked the low price of $19.82 for a 28-day supply. The label she looked at read “Aloe Vera Pellets provide 10,000 mg of aloe vera gel in a convenient pelleted form”. Because of where that product is sold in the US, Laurel’s friends flagged up a big issue that I wrote about in my web page When aloe vera is only present on the label. Laurel  was keen on our Aloeride but was considering value for money, meaning looking for a (seemingly) financial bargain… So, are smart simple aloe vera pellets a clever idea or not? Click to jump to the Conclusion straight away.

Pelleting heats aloe vera

Almost all livestock feeders agree that animals make better gains on pelleted feed than a meal ration. The most logical reasons are that (a) the heat generated in conditioning and pelleting make the feed stuffs more digestible by breaking down the starches, (b) the pellet simply puts the feed in a concentrated form, and (c) pelleting minimises waste during the eating process. Beyond the ingredient feeder, pelleting starts in the Conditioning Chamber. This is where moisture and heat are added to the feed mash. The most effective way to do this is by Dry Saturated Steam i.e. approximately 190° Fahrenheit (88° Celcius) and a 17% w.b. moisture content. Every pelleted or cubed horse feed goes through such a process and, as you may know from other articles I wrote, there is a significant microbiome downside to that.

Exposing aloe vera to approximately 190° Fahrenheit (88° Celcius) denatures the beta-linked long chain polysaccharides that are critical to making aloe vera the unique substance that it is. It also denatures other temperature-sensitive molecules, like enzymes and the plant microbiome. Just to put this into perspective… Aloeride’s process, that was co-designed by gastro-enterologist and world renowned expert on aloe vera Dr. Ivan Danhof MD PhD, uses freeze drying to preserve all the heat-sensitive molecules. The polar (pun intended) opposite of using dry saturated steam. It reminded me of a lady who made soap with aloe vera. She wanted to buy Aloeride to use in her soap. For most soapers, the preferred temperature of soaping lye and oils is 120-130° Fahrenheit (48-54° Celcius), so I asked her what colour the aloe vera powder she used at that moment turned into as she put it in the bowl. “Brown” was her reply… you don’t need to be Heston Blumenthal to figure out that she’d caramelised the sugars in aloe vera. That means curtains for their physiological effect! Sure enough, the B-vitamins may survive, as may the amino acids or the inorganic minerals. The words ‘aloe vera’ are great for any product marketing, yet smoke and mirrors when the aloe content is denatured and rendered ineffective.

Aloe vera species

There are many different species of aloe vera. These differ genetically in nutrient density even before you consider farming practices and soil quality. Laurel’s smart simple aloe vera pellets don’t disclose what species these are made from, which by inference means ‘not from the best species’ because using best species would proudly feature on their label. Aloeride only uses the most nutrient dense species and gives you this wholeleaf, not just the gel. Laurel’s label reads “10,000 mg of aloe vera gel” and since 95% of gel is WATER, you get 5% x 10,000 = 500mg of aloe vera working solids meeting 190° Fahrenheit (88° Celcius) in the Conditioning Chamber. The label reads “Aloe vera gel is known for its soothing benefit on gastric tissues, making it an ideal ingredient for supporting horses at risk for gastric upset or horses who are being managed for occasional stomach issues.” If aloe vera pellets do anything for digestive issues then it might be useful to examine the listed inactive ingredients. You may think this a little harsh but, years ago, one of the laboratories we use told us that they had tested a Grapefruit seed extract product. It was widely used for fungal infections and on Google you will read that it is an all-time best seller. Their testing revealed that it contained an anti-fungal to preserve the grapefruit seed extract…

Alfalfa Meal inactive ingredient in aloe vera pellets

Good alfalfa is good for (most) horses, just like good aloe vera is good for all horses. Alfalfa meal often isn’t good alfalfa. Beyond a positive-by-name association*, the main disadvantages of alfalfa meal are its dustiness and the fact that it is difficult or next to impossible, to determine its quality by a mere inspection, without chemical or microscopic analysis, and to tell whether it is made from a choice quality of leafy alfalfa hay or from an inferior grade of overripe, stemmy alfalfa. Perhaps this is why it is labelled as an inactive ingredient. It bulks a pellet which keeps your horse’s stomach occupied, but it’s not helpful in the way straight alfalfa might be. Simply put, the more your horse chews, the more your horse buffers and mops up gastric acid secretion, the less your horse will complain about his gastric lining erosion.

* Feeding a variety of grass fibre is the basis of all good equine nutrition. Alfalfa is fermented chopped Lucerne hay. Controlled fermented Lucerne products have higher digestible energy values, and other potential benefits, relative to dry lucerne chaff. Lucerne needs longer chewing before swallowing (i.e. increased intake time) and unsurprisingly, horses that are fed Lucerne hay and fresh grass, produce twice as much saliva compared to when a grain-based meal was offered. New Zealand research claims that gastric ulcers can be healed by feeding fermented chopped Lucerne. A research study used 12 horses diagnosed with ulcers. During the study, all the horses were fed approximately 15 kg (33 lb) of modified bio-fermentation chopped Lucerne per day for six weeks. There was no control group reported. By 14 days, 67% of the horses had no ulcers, and by 28 days all the horse in the study had no ulceration. Lucerne contains higher levels of protein and calcium, both of which buffer gastric acid. Lucerne cell wall contains certain indigestible compounds such as lignin that gives it a greater buffering capacity than grasses. As a rule of thumb, feed at least 1% of a horse’s body weight in fibre per day, and ideally 1.5%. A-500 kg (1,100-lb) horse should be offered 5 to 7.5 kg (11 to 16.5 lb) forage. Free-choice hay is best.

Corn Distiller’s Dried Grains with Solubles inactive ingredient in aloe vera pellets

Corn Distiller’s Dried Grains with Solubles (DDGS) is a by-product of the biofuel industry, of dry-grind ethanol processing during which the whole corn kernel is fermented, resulting in two main co-products: Ethanol and distillers dried grains with solubles. The composition of DDGS can vary considerably. The nutritional value of DDGS can be influenced greatly by the proportion of grains vs. solubles and by processing technologies. Precisely this makes DDGS a cheap ingredient. The high proportion of unsaturated fatty acids of corn DDGS (10.5 %) is linoleic acid in particular. Note that horses are very susceptible to fumonisin poisoning from mouldy corn. Fermentation during Ethanol production doesn’t destroy the mould, like the nutrient (protein) threefold concentration, mould becomes threefold concentrated [(CFIA 2009; Bothast et al. 1992; Wu and Munkvold 2008)]. The mycotoxins that may concentrate in the DDGS are aflatoxins, fumonisins, deoxynivalenol, zearalenone and ergot alkaloids. Equine leukoencephalomalacia (ELEM), more commonly known as moldy corn poisoning, is the most common mycotoxin-related syndrome in horses. It is the result of a fungus called Fusarium moniliforme, which often invades corn fields when crops are stressed by drought or when conditions are very wet at harvest. Fusarium produces a toxin called fumonisin. Ask if smart simple aloe vera pellets are tested for this.

Lignin Sulfonate inactive ingredient in aloe vera pellets

Lignosulfonates are derived from lignin, a naturally occurring polymer found in wood that acts like glue holding the cellulose fibers of pulp together. It is commonly used as a pellet binder. It neither helps nor hinders your horse.

Sodium Propionate inactive ingredient in aloe vera pellets

Sodium propionate is a common food preservative/additive that is industrially manufactured but also occurs in nature. Since it is toxic to mould and some species of bacteria, it is an especially effective additive in baked goods or other products that are susceptible to spoilage. Inhibitory concentration of 0.1-0.5 percent affects bacteria (Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Salmonella typhosa, Neisseria gonorrhoeae, Bacillus cereus, Serratia marcescens) and fungi (Candida albicans, Aspergillus niger, Aspergillus fumigatus, Epidermophyton interdigitale). In higher concentrations different bacteria are inhibited but there is no effect on fungi at higher concentrations.

Vegetable Oil inactive ingredient in aloe vera pellets

Vegetable Oil (Cold Pressed) also meets 190° Fahrenheit (88° Celcius) in the Conditioning Chamber and this denatures some of the health beneficial qualities that cold-pressed vegetable oil may have.

Are smart simple aloe vera pellets a clever idea

If you want aloe vera to do something for your horse, then buy independently proven quality aloe vera. If you want alfalfa to do something for your horse, then buy proven quality alfalfa, not alfalfa meal. When $19.82 for a 28-day supply sounds like an attractive supplement, consider what you found out on this page as well as how you might spend your money wisely. Consider the effect of quality CF Lucerne on equine digestion, consider feeding your horse what your grandparents knew to be useful, and definitely take note that one horsey aloe vera product we had tested contained 23.4x fewer nutrients than Aloeride and, being a liquid, it had not even been exposed to heat like aloe vera pellets are… Sensibly most American and Canadian customers prefer the six carton option which gives them 20% Discount + Free Delivery and, from feedback on the phone, they also love our honest advice. So there’s Laurel’s episode for you.. are smart simple aloe vera pellets a clever idea ever, sorry no they’re not.

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When a racehorse jockey breaks his back

When a racehorse jockey breaks his back
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During a chat at a racing yard that uses Aloeride, banter moved from the benefits of Aloeride and the training of Thoroughbreds to a detailed talk about an injury sustained by a young jockey. When a racehorse jockey brakes his back twice, what can one do and what should one do? This page offers help.

The header picture shows the old L5 pars fracture on the right. The gap you see isn’t a vacuum but a connection known as a soft callus; cartilage and fibrous tissue exist in the fracture gap between the broken fragments. The recent pars interarticularis fracture on the left also occurred at the L5 vertebra, the brightness confirms the inflammatory stage to be active when the scan was made. Imagine both left and right rein breaking at the bridle… where does that leave the horse’ head. Potentially out of control, so you can understand the jockey’s concern. It is called spondylolysis which is commonly the result of axial (vertical direction) loading of a spine in extension (bending backwards). It is a common fracture in adolescent gymnasts, in bowling cricketers and may occur in jockeys who become unseated. The jockey saw two Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeons and got two differing opinions.


The first Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon recommended internal fixation of the fracture. Placing a screw directly across the fracture site(s) and using bone morphogenic protein – a synthetic protein that induces the patient’s own stem cells to turn into bone healing cells – to speed up the healing process and increases success rate of fusion. Surgical repair typically takes about 3-6 months to unite but it may take longer. The young jockey neither had significant degenerative disc disease nor a significant slip of one vertebra on the other, hence was a good candidate for fracture repair. But some adults with bilateral pars fractures don’t develop lower back symptoms in their lifetime, many adults with bilateral pars fractures will develop degenerative disc disease and/or a slip of one vertebra on the other (isthmic spondylolysthesis). The thing is, so do people who have never fractured their spine or have ridden Thoroughbreds at any speed… A young daughter of friends of ours had titanium screws-rods fitted to correct her scoliosis. Her Consultant confirmed that her transpedicular fixation had broken – by doing yoga of all things – and she now faces revision surgery. Fortunately the jockey’s pars fractures would only need screw implants.

Conservative Approach

The second Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon advised a conservative approach. This is what unintentionally occurred after the undetected fracture on the right side. The fact that you see a gap, known as a soft callus, means that this didn’t go well: cartilage and fibrous tissue exist in the fracture gap between the broken fragments that prevented healing. It is not bone hard. My suggestion is that conservative treatment should consist of concerted efforts to encourage a hard callus to form. The advice given in this web page aims to help with what to do when a racehorse jockey breaks his back.

Fracture Repair

In order for a fracture to knit back together 1) the two pieces must remain close enough together to be able to fuse, 2) minimal movement at fracture site encourages the formation of a hard callus (e.g. low-magnitude high-frequency vibration), 3) tissue pH, tissue oxygenation and micronutrient levels should be such to encourage/fuel healing. Fracture repair happens in three phases.

  • The inflammation phase is the first stage: fracture > a blood clot forms which brings inflammatory cells to the wound area > a cytokine cascade brings repair cells into the fracture gap > these cells immediately begin to differentiate into specialized cells that build new bone tissue (osteoblasts) and new cartilage (chondroblasts). Over the next few months, these cells begin the repair process, laying down new bone matrix and cartilage. At this initial stage, osteoclast cells dissolve and recycle bone debris.
  • The reparative stage is the second stage. Two weeks after fracture > proteins produced by osteoblasts and chondroblasts consolidate into a primary soft callus > in the presence (!) of micronutrients this hardens into a hard callus over a 6 to 12 week period.
  • The remodeling phase is the third stage: the callus begins to mature and remodel itself. Woven bone is remodeled into stronger lamellar bone by the orchestrated action of both osteoblast bone formation cells and osteoclast bone resorption cells.

Later into the reparative stage, gentle and strictly isometric muscle setting exercises help low-magnitude vibration over the fracture site. Note that the tissue formed (hard or soft callus) is determined by the microenvironment: high oxygen concentration and mechanical stability favours bone formation whereas low oxygen and instability leads to formation of cartilage. During the inflammation phase, when you are immobilised, you cannot boost tissue pO2 by fitness but you can boost it with daily alkaline clever smoothies in which sulphur-rich proteins (such as those found in fermented diary products) increase oxygenation of the body: add 3-6 tbsp flaxseed oil and 4 oz. (1/2 cup) cottage cheese or natural yogurt or 125ml milk kefir in the 1.6 pint (32 fl oz) Nutribullet smoothie. A ketogenic diet will increase your lung oxygen intake levels per minute as will Buyeko breathing.

More nutrients, better healing

Inflammation is a very necessary phase but too much inflammation hinders healing. Nutrients such as vitamin C, bioflavonoids, flavonols (e.g. Quercitin and Proanthrocydins) and omega-3 fatty acids moderate the inflammatory cyclooxygenase enzymes COX-1 and COX-2.

A 2006 Swedish hip fracture study found fracture patients given complex multi-nutrient supplementation containing protein, carbohydrates, amino acids, sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, chloride, trace minerals, and lipid soluble vitamins, had only a 15% rate of complications as compared to a 70% complications rate among the non-supplemented group. A Swedish meta-analysis of 17 such clinical hip fracture trials which reported that oral multi-nutrient supplementation (including nutrients such as carbohydrates, protein, arginine, zinc, and antioxidants) reduced deaths and complications from hip fracture by nearly 50%. A placebo controlled, multi-nutrient study from India administered vitamin C, Lysine, Proline, and vitamin B6 to tibial fracture patients. In those receiving multi-nutrient therapy, fracture healing time was reduced by approximately two weeks, with a larger percentage healing in 10 weeks (33%) as compared to the 11% in the placebo group. As an aside, aloe vera contains 20 of the 22 necessary and 7 of the 8 essential amino acids next to raft of other nutrients, hence why research found aloe vera to be helpful in fracture healing.

A lesser known nutrient for bone health and repair is Boron (we obtain it from food primarily as boric acid H3BO3 which is naturally present in chickpeas, almonds, beans, vegetables, bananas, walnuts, avocado, broccoli, prunes, oranges, red grapes, apples, raisins, pears, and many other beans and legumes). Another such nutrient is inorganic Silica (best food sources for Silica again come from unrefined food, notably Equisetum arvense, but who puts leaves and stems of common horsetail in their smoothies… In April 2015 a report by Britain’s Chief Medical Officer Dame Sally Davies again highlighted the rise in rickets, a disease that many people would have assumed died out in Victorian times, with one quarter of infants –more in some areas– deficient in vitamin D. According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, fractures can be reduced by 25%-50% via improving serum vitamin D levels. Magnesium, in particular, pays bone-health dividends by suppressing parathyroid hormone release and thus decreasing osteoclast activity. Vitamin K2 (MK-7) is a ‘Calcium chaperone’ and activates the protein osteocalcin which enables it to shunt Calcium out of circulation and into the bone, where it strengthens the collagen-mineral matrix.

Bone stress reaction i.e. diagnosis with lumbar stress fractures is prevalent among cricket fast bowlers. From research published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, it is interesting to note that there is no consistency in the relationship between pain and CT scan results. Which is why this jockey’s first pars fracture remained unnoticed until the recent scan. CT scans do not provide objective evidence for ongoing management or decision concerning return to sport in fast bowlers (cricket), nor does it in racehorse jockeys. Taking 1 Aloeride vegicapsule 2-3x a day provides support for the skeletal system as well as for the greater uptake of nutrients from your diet.

Force versus Strength

As you know, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting a different outcome. The thin ice with a conservative approach is that no comprehensive guidance may have been given to the patient about prevention. ‘See how you get on’ doesn’t cut it. A conservative approach should embrace 1) improving/maintaining mobility i.e. how movement is distributed throughout the spine so as not to get abnormal focal loading and 2) improving/maintaining bone density i.e. all of the above in respect of building bone that is as strong as can be and 3) improving/maintaining core stability, so that’s training. A pars fracture of course may be caused by ordinary misadventure, based on a practice with 5,600 patients however, I know that diet in youngsters may not give a spine all it needs to stand up to force. The greater your innate strength, the better you can cope with force.

Improving mobility

In a L5 pars fracture, after it has healed, you want to avoid overloading L5 and its L5-S1 joint level. This means that you want the spine above L5 to shoulder its proper share of mobility within the kinetic chain. The same goes for below L5 i.e. hip mobility, that is, the joint itself as well as the iliopsoas and hamstrings muscles. If there is any early morning stiffness then this may be overcome by dietary changes (all of the above) plus cardio-respiratory workouts. Your efforts to mobilise soft tissue will be more effective once early morning stiffness is sorted. The safest way to minimise L5/L5-S1 overload is with electro-acupuncture to visible contractions for a minimum of 20 minutes per treatment (apophyseal joint level L2/L3 – Bl23 Shenshu and apophyseal joint level L4/L5 – Bl25 Dachangshu; if you want to avoid L5 then use L2/3 and L3/4). Electro-acupuncture (pre)mobilisations must be followed immediately by active (mobilising) movement through the newly gained range. The most appropriate ones are those yoga exercises that allow you total control. Beyond that, osteopathic or gentle chiropractic mobilisations (not using L5 spinous process as a lever) may be possible later on when complete fracture healing is secured.

Improving strength

Ultimately the range passive of range of movement must be covered by active movement, so you will have muscle control at every stage. Back lifts from a position of semi-lumbar flexion is safe to start with. Low crunches with your heels nearly touching your buttocks is safe to start with. Side plank on elbows is safe to start with. Rotation against resistance definitely is not good to start with because it uses the spinous processes as a lever. Chartered Physiotherapists with a keen interest in and knowledge of sporting injuries will know more exercises than you can shake a stick at.

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Give Your Horse A Tune

Give your horse a tune
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Beyond my blogpost Horse Calmers Explained, here is a something that you may not have thought of… give your horse a tune! The positive effect music can have on animals is proven. A study conducted in 1996 assessed the impact of music on cows’ behaviour in a dairy with an Automated Milking System (i.e. the cows herd themselves to the milking machines). This study showed that, when music was played specifically during the milking period for a period of a few months, more cows showed up to the AMS than when music wasn’t played. A further study in 2001 showed that the tempo of music affects milk production in dairy cows. In this study, slow tempo music, like Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony and Simon & Garfunkel’s Bridge Over Troubled Water, increased milk production by 3%. A 3 percent increase in milk over a year is an easy financial gain for the dairy farm — no investment needed, just change your radio station to Classic FM, Spotify easy listening or smooth jazz. Might a 3% performance increase be attractive for your equine competitions?

Give Your Horse A Tune

Researchers from Poland[1] set out to determine the effect of music played in stables on the emotional state of race horses. Many horse owners have found that music has an apparent calming effect on fear, aggression and overall stress. Racehorses in particular, have demands of increased cardiac activity and speed that may be improved through music exposure.

Forty 3-year-old Arabian horses were placed in a stable where they listened to specifically composed music[2] for five hours each day. Their emotional state was assessed by measuring heart rates at rest, saddling, and warm-up walking. Racing performance and number of wins were also recorded. At the end of each month, for three months, data were compared to a control group of horses subjected to the same activity, without having listened to music.

The music positively impacted the emotional state and performance of treated horses, compared to the control group. What was so remarkable was that the effect was noticeable throughout every activity, even during the heightened excitement of being ridden at a gallop. Even more noteworthy was the positive influence the music had after the second and third months, improving with each subsequent month, exhibited by the number of races won. Beyond three months, however, the impact leveled off, presumably because the horses became accustomed to the music.

Implications for your horses

Horses are individuals and respond to stress in a variety of ways. This study offers one approach toward helping your horse calm down and better respond to performance demands. But all horses, not just athletes, can benefit from a relaxed, stress-free environment. Increased amount of box confinement, often seen with the onset of winter weather, can agitate many horses. Soft music, such as was used in this study, can be a useful tool in helping your horse cope with being indoors, as well as veterinary and farrier visits, travel, and other stressors. It complements what Aloeride does for horses as explained in Horse Calmers Explained and we would add that our suggestion to give your horse a tune means NOT playing Radio 2 or Radio 1 or suchlike ‘exciting ditties’.

[1] Stachurska, A., Janczarek, I., Wilk, I., and Kedzierski, W., 2015. Does music influence emotional state in race horses? Journal of Equine Veterinary Science, 35(5), 650-656.

[2] Composed by Janet Marlow of Pet Acoustics, a specialist in music for animals (CD is called Relaxation Music for Horses).

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Victoria Bax Eventing Racehorse Retraining 6 years experience with Aloeride aloe vera

Aloeride aloe vera eventing Victoria-Bax
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Victoria Bax Eventing Racehorse Retraining 6 years experience with Aloeride aloe vera… as our first and longest-standing sponsored rider of Aloeride, Victoria Bax has been feeding her Thoroughbreds Aloeride aloe vera for six years. It seemed a good reason to visit her yard and ask her about her findings. The below video is the unedited interview. Victoria’s findings in a nutshell are:

Victoria Bax Eventing Racehorse Retraining 6 years experience with Aloeride aloe vera video interview.

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Top Tips for the Problem of Spring Grass Colic

The Problem of Spring Grass Colic Aloeride aloe vera
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Why don’t wild horses get spring grass colic? Why does the problem of spring grass colic affect domesticated horses? The crux of every article on spring grass colic is controlled introduction to a fence-to-fence carbohydrate load. Quite rightly articles warn you about gorging, explain about grass composition, but few articles advise on digestive interventions to help domesticated horses cope with spring grass more like wild horses do. To read my full article, click here. Here are a few Top Tips for the Problem of Spring Grass Colic:

  • Increase Spring turnout gradually
  • Avoid afternoon grazing
  • Possibly strip graze fields
  • Migrate to another field when grass is grazed down to 4″
  • Plentiful access to forage in stable is vital
  • Feed Aloeride daily and some live probiotics during winter stabling
  • Salt house in field with loose NaCl and sea salt rock near clean fresh water
  • If colicing, walk/trot for about 10 minutes (longeline/round pen) and observe
  • Collect vital signs, especially 4-quadrant intestinal sounds
  • Offer very sloppy mash which may stimulate intestinal motility, avoid grain and fermentable feed
  • Call vet if a colic doesn’t resolve completely within 30 mins
  • During significant discomfort allow your horse to rest (standing on feet or lying down)
  • Be sure to not put yourself in a position where you could be trapped or injured
  • Obviously your horse should have access to clean, fresh water
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Digestion like a dog’s dinner

Digestion like a dog's dinner helped by Aloeride aloe vera
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Yesterday I went for my daily constitutional. Joined a friend of mine walking her dog… and, as one does, met fellow dog owners and had a natter. This particular natter may be relevant to your dog, to your horse and even to you, hence this post.

The brown Labrador we met was a little overweight and her owner told us that she had been to the vets over the last few months but wasn’t getting anywhere. Her dog had started to suffer from a chronic ear infection and, as a side line, she also confided that doggins had smelly poo. The vet prescribed topical steroids for the ear and advised a change of feed. On the face of it this sounds like good clinical practice but is something being overlooked?

In the absence of persistent triggers, if an infection isn’t transient or isn’t helped by the sledge hammer that is steroids, then something is adrift. That something is of course the immune system and smelly poo provided both a clue and a cue in this case.

Healthy digestion is nearly odourless

Good poo isn’t malodourous just like a good fart isn’t (even a resounding success contains only N2, O2, CO2, H2 and Methane gas, all of which have no odour). This is true for dogs, horses, husbands and you. Smelly doodoos happen when what was eaten wasn’t cleaved and absorbed properly, resulting (in dogs and in humans) in Hydrogen Sulfide, pungent-smelling Mercaptans or even Scatoles and Indoles if there’s undigested protein decay. But this labrador retriever had been eating the same feed for seven years without becoming smelly or having infections… Why would its feed be the culprit now?

Boost gut flora

A likelier culprit was that her digestive capacity had gone down… gut flora all out of sorts. You see, proteins are broken down first by stomach pepsin, then by pancreatic trypsin and chymotrypsin, then (very important in this case) by membrane-bound enzymes made by the gut’s bacterial flora (these cleave small peptides into single amino acids so that the amino acids can be absorbed into the blood). If this last cleaving step doesn’t happen properly, then there’s opportunity for putrefraction (rotting) which makes the doodoo stink… Interestingly (again important here), good bacteria in the gut also are vital to build a robust immune system: gut-associated lymphoid tissue (GALT) represents almost 70% of the entire immune system. If your gut doesn’t work right, if your dog’s gut doesn’t work right, if your horse’s gut doesn’t work right then there is no way on earth that the immune system will work to its best capacity.

My ambulatory advice for this Labrador was to improve its digestion by recolonizing good (digestive) bacteria and for decades I’ve advised patients to use milk Kefir for this, it works well for dogs, humans and horses. Just Google and buy starter cultures over the internet (milk kefir is your best option if you want to overcome a health issue) and increase the serving size steadily so that ultimately the serving is sensible for the body mass (the average adult -83,6kg UK male/70.2kg UK female- can ingest 2 Imperial pints/5 US cups a day, so work out the pro-rata serving for your dog or horse by its weight. Research has shown aloe vera to help good bacteria flourish in the gut, so using Kefir in tandem with ½ capsule content of Aloeride Extra Strong a day in some paté is a smart move. Kefir has a slightly acidic and tart flavour, mixing Kefir with dog food disguises it nicely but feel free to blend in a little Oxo to make your dog adore your cooking 😉

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For Victoria Bax Eventing it’s Sunshine and Smiles

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For Victoria Bax Eventing it’s sunshine and smiles. June kicked off rather well. Crystal Ka and I headed off to Little Downham for the Open Novice class. We produced a nice, polite dressage and the most beautiful double clear, sadly 9 seconds cost us the win, so we finished a creditable 5th. I was thrilled with our performance as both of us were absolutely on form. I was very surprised that I did incur the 9 seconds worth of time penalties because as far as I knew I didn’t take a pull the entire way round (we meant business!) It really does give you a boost for the old confidence when everything goes right on the day as it’s not that often that it does actually happen!

The following week I held my 5th cross country schooling clinic of the year. This time it was held at a super venue called Lodge Farm in Matfield, Kent. This is somewhere I first visited towards the end of last year and found it to be an educational venue. I don’t know of anywhere else that has that amount of combinations set up as Lodge Farm does. It also has a beautiful new water complex with lots of different in and out options. None of my clients attending had ever been to Lodge Farm before, but by the end of their sessions, they were all beaming with pride at their achievements. Sadly my main achievement for the day was to get pretty sunburnt as I didn’t have time to get back to my car to reapply the sunblock (epic fail!).

The following weekend saw scorching temperatures and burning sunshine as we headed off to Stratford Hills. My most local event, Crystal Ka produced a fair dressage although it seems the judge wasn’t feeling the love for everyone’s efforts on that day as none of them had particularly amazing scores. Still, as long as everyone is scored in the same way it still makes the competition fair. Another clear show jump round followed, but by then I had already made my decision that due to the scorching temperatures, in the 30’s and the no real need to run cross country, I withdrew and took my lovely boy home to cool off.
Crystal Ka is my horse of a lifetime and at 15 years old, although that is not overly old, he is an ex-racehorse having completed 23 races by the time he was 4 years old and being my main event horse for the last 10 years so there really was no real benefit in running him in that kind of weather. He means a huge amount to me, much more than just giving me the adrenaline rush of going cross country. As he in no longer running at Intermediate level and is out of Novice points, he can not qualify for anything so there really was no need to put him through that and I would never have forgiven myself if something awful had happened due to the weather. I only wish a few more people thought the same as there were plenty of tired horses out there on that course that I saw while walking my track.

My year is starting to take a turn for the better as more good news has just been received:My one and only, 6-year-old Alberta’s Pride aka Frankie who was very sadly diagnosed with a suspensory ligament injury to his right hind back in January of this year but has now been given the all clear from the vet. It all started in January, following a few months of back issues occurring (too many times in too short a period of time) so I decided there must be something else underlying causing these issues. This was confirmed by a lameness workout, and his right hind suspensory was found to have been enlarged to 21.5mm (his left hind was normal at just 13.5mm). Fortunately, there were no lesions or holes, so the vet was confident it was due to a trauma rather than conformational or other reasons. However, there was always doubt as to whether it would repair itself suitably again. As you know I am a fan of the Arc Equine technology which I have used for a few years now on both horse and human and so in conjunction with the Arc technology and feeding Aloeride we followed our rehabilitation programme to the detail.

The result is that in just five months, in fact, 10 weeks actually as the scan showed the reduction of the suspensory ligament right back down to the same size as the uninjured one. However, the fibres at that time looked good but needed to look thicker and stronger. So the final scan just another ten weeks later showed even more of an improvement to the point where the vet advised that she didn’t think they would look any better given even more time. So, as he was sound and had been back into a good amount of ridden work, i.e. Cantering so she was happy to sign him off.

However, this is not to say he will be going eventing anytime soon. I will, however, continue to increase the load on the suspensory ligament through increased and varied types of work to hopefully ensure the improvement keeps happening so at some point in the not too distant future this little horse who I think an enormous amount of will one day get back out eventing and aiming at fulfilling our dreams.

Please do all keep your fingers and toes crossed that he continues with his improvement!

Also, great news for my grey, Alberta’s Rose who sadly had a fall in the water at her last event has been given the all clear by the vet to get back to work and competition. I was concerned about some swelling that was still viable on one front leg, so decided to get it checked out. Thankfully the vet found no damage to the inside of the leg at all. The only clue which became visible as the leg was clipped ready for scanning was a graze on the side of her cannon bone that couldn’t be felt through the leg hair. She must have really whacked that when she went down and it appears that could be what is responsible for the swelling. With this news, I have had her right back in work, entered her next event and been back out on the cross country course to check that she has not lost any confidence when it comes to water or anything else for that matter. Thankfully she was as keen as ever and thoroughly enjoyed herself.
This means we head off to Brightling Park at the weekend, so until next time…

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Fireworks and explosives
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The month of November might feature fireworks and explosives but that doesn’t mean, as the winter rolls in, that we want to find them under our saddle! Here are our 6 top tips for managing fresh horses

  • If you are feeling the cold, the likelihood is that your horse is too, so get moving as soon as you can.
  • Quarter sheets are great but in windy weather can end up blowing all over the place (Not a great idea on a spooky horse!)
  • Keep your horse’s mind focused on you by incorporating new exercises into your schooling and give plenty of variety.
  • If your horse is looking rather bright in the stable when you turn up to ride, then work him on the ground before you hop on.
  • Don’t take risks with a fresh horse, wearing a hard hat and gloves when leading or handling a horse could save your life.
  • Feed your horse accordingly so that you don’t end up over feeding which could increase the risk of tying up and also add to silly behaviour. Aloeride helps support a healthy digestive system and gut, which in turn can make a meaningful change in mood, cognition and ultimately behaviour. This also means that your horse is more receptive to training and is more likely to be calm during performance.
  • And to help you keep calm about your horse’s health and wellbeing all year, take advantage of our money saving offer here:

N.B: This advice is general and we would always recommend that you professional expert advice on managing your horse.