As we look ahead to a change of season, we share our top 6 reasons to love autumn and enjoy the season ahead with your horse.
1. Say Goodbye To Flies As the cooler weather arrives, we say goodbye to flies and biting insects. Enjoying a hack, while taking in the glorious vibrant autumnal colours of nature, without being bothered by flies has to be our number one reason! Your horse can also enjoy fly-free field time too.
2. Ground With Some Give Summer sunshine is lovely, but the lack of rain results in deep arenas and rock-hard ground. Hard ground is not only awful for horses’ ligaments, muscles, joints and bones, but the rutted terrain is an added danger. Deep arena surfaces are also a tendon and soft tissue damage risk to your horse’s legs. We welcome just a little more rain so we can ride with more confidence!
3. Cool Rider Riding in cooler temperatures has its advantages. Not only will you and your horse be more comfortable and feel more energised, but you still have more choice in the time of day to ride. No more having to ride so early in the day to beat the high summer temperatures and it’s still light enough to ride early evening until the clocks go back on Sunday 27th October.
4. Plan Your Winter Training Now that most of the Championship shows are coming to a close, it’s time to plan your winter training schedule. Autumn is a great time to take a look at any winter clinics and competitions or to make a training plan with short term goals. You might want to move up another level come the spring or approach next year with increased confidence.
5. A New Haircut No, not yours. We mean a new haircut for your horse. Clipping might be a pain but doesn’t your horse look great with a sharp new haircut! Clipping your horse will not only smarten up his appearance, but his short coat will be easier to keep clean and mud removal. If you both get caught in a shower, he will also dry quicker (although the same can’t be said for your wet breeches and tack!).
When I am asked how to restore your bowel flora because gut microbiome is crucial for your health, I think that there are two routes into this which are not mutually exclusive. You buy them or you grow them yourself. The former can be issue-specific, the latter cannot. Useful questions to ask are “do probiotics survive the acidity in the stomach” and “do those that clear that hurdle populate the gut enough to make a difference”. For not all probiotics sold are so designed to withstand stomach acidity, not all probiotics sold contain enough live bacteria to make a difference. Probiotic cultures naturally occurring on raw vegetables and in fermented dairy are like salmon swimming upstream, not all make it to the top but there’s greater chance of victory when a high number starts to swim upstream.
Research by immunologist Prof. Eran Elinav of the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel showed that while probiotics colonised the gastrointestinal tract of some people, the gut microbiome of others just expelled them. Some people accept probiotics in their gut, while others just pass them from one end to the other. Which is why well-made, properly-dosed probiotics work better together with paving the way for colonisation. This is where Aloeride aloe vera is useful. Also diet emerges as a pivotal determinant of gut microbiota community structure and function (e.g. sugar consumption: high-glucose diet or high-fructose diet alters the gut microbiome… HGD and HFrD effect a loss of gut microbial diversity, so your tolerance for anything incoming reduces). Elinav found that probiotic colonisation patterns were highly dependent on the individual, there is no standard probiotic treatment. A probiotic square peg will not fit a probiotic round hole. Logic suggests to tailor the peg to the hole! So my recommendation of the below four versions of a very trusted brand depends on the clinical picture one presents. Beyond probiotics, there is exercise affecting the kind of gut microbe population you have and there is the mind (chronic stress) which also affects how well probiotics take and stay in your gut microbiome.
To change the proportions of different bacteria that LIKE living in your gut, you need to change your diet to create -and look after- a favourable environment for the bacteria that, in turn, will look after you. Dr Karen Scott (Rowett Institute in Aberdeen) analysed stool samples after a 2-week oats/whole grains exclusion and re-analysed stools 4 weeks later on a diet rich in oats/whole grains. The population in the second faecal sample had changed because diet had changed the environment. Of course, single analysis of a stool sample may not reflect well the microbiome composition at the mucosal surface in the intestine (the working end). Scott nonetheless highlights a valuable point. You’re not going to eat in a restaurant where you don’t like the food, nor are bacteria going to take up residence in a gut if they don’t like the environment, food and service there. This is what Elinav’s research discovered and this is why in clinical practice, I never relied on probiotics only. But, when you need them, use the best.
A study with Probion Clinica was published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ Open Gastro) July 2017. “Colon cancer patients harbour a distinct microbiota signature in the tumour tissue and nearby mucosa”, said Dr. Yvonne Wettergren, principal investigator of the study at the Sahlgrenska University Hospital. “The ProBion Clinica regimen resulted in overabundance of the beneficial Faecalibacterium and Clostridiales spp bacteria in the tumour tissue, non-tumour mucosa, as well as in the faecal microbiota, and intriguingly, colon-cancer-associated bacterial genera such as Fusobacterium and Peptostreptococcus were significantly reduced.”
Probiotics don’t just help to make your gut work better. Probiotics feed what is known as your microbiome and this is now best thought of as a virtual organ of the body. Gut microbes are key to many aspects of human health including immune system, metabolic behaviour and neurobehavioural traits. Yes, there are microbial associations with emotion, cognition and social behaviour. Probiotic consumption may have a positive effect on psychological symptoms of depression, anxiety and perceived stress. Regards the latter, who would have imagined that probiotics can ameliorate the clinical anxiety and biochemical features of stress in patients scheduled for laryngectomy [Source: Asia-Pacific Journal of Oncology 2016].
The natural (non-flavoured) yoghurt or milk kefir in clever smoothies mask the heaped tablespoon of turmeric that so effectively helps to keep inflammation at bay. Useful if you do not need issue-specific probiotic help. The same goes for Traditional buttermilk (leftover liquid from making butter) but not (!) the cultured buttermilk. Sauerkraut is finely shredded cabbage that has been fermented by lactic acid bacteria. Tempeh (Indonesia) is a fermented soybean product. Kimchi (Korea) is a spicy fermented cabbage product. Miso (Japan) is a fermented soybean product. Natto (Japan) is a fermented soybean product.
Beyond Aloeride, a clever dietary trick to encourage probiotics to flourish is to add bananas, fermented soy, peanut flour and chickpeas in a paste to the diet. This tip comes from a report in the journal Science. Professor Jeffrey Gordon MD, Director of the Center for Genome Sciences and Systems Biology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, who led the research with colleagues from the International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research in Dhaka, Bangladesh, said the aim had been “to target microbes to heal”. Bananas often feature in our clever smoothies, peanuts and chickpeas (chana masala!) are consumed very regularly, it helps paving the way for good bacteria to settle in. So, plenty of sensible suggestions how to restore your bowel flora because gut microbiome is crucial for your health…
Channel your inner ‘Charlotte Dujardin’ with our top 6 tips for dressage competition success. How to get great Dressage scores without owning a ‘Valegro’ may help!
The video shares the moment when Britain’s golden duo double Olympic champion Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro capped a sensational Olympia, the London International Horse Show 2014 by breaking the world record for Grand Prix Freestyle. They scored 94.3% — picking up twenty five 10s on the way — and broke their own previous record of 93.975%, set at this show in 2013. Carl Hester, Valegro’s owner, said that he is a complete phenomenon as a horse. Without owning a ‘Valegro’ the below tips will help your dressage scores:
1. Focus On Your Strengths Not Your Weaknesses
Don’t ever wait for perfection as there is no such thing! Enjoy your test riding and remember each movement is only a collection of marks. If your free walk is not great, but your trot work is first class, then you can make up your marks in other areas. The more you can get out and enjoy competitions with your horse, the more you have something to work towards as a partnership. And you may find that over time your weaknesses become your strengths. Nothing is perfect especially when it comes to riding and training your horse.
2. Accuracy Is An Advantage
We might not all have a steed with Valegro’s paces, but that doesn’t mean you can’t improve your scores by riding your test with accuracy. Riding correct shapes (that means circles, not egg shapes) and sizes (that’s a 15-metre circle, not 12) and executing your movements to the markers can all increase your scores and help in the final placing. Flashy paces make for a ‘wow’, but correct, accurate test riding can also make for a ‘win’.
3. Keep The Pace
Rhythm is a crucial element of riding a great dressage test. Practice on keeping an excellent, consistent rhythm throughout your paces and try schooling to music. Riding to the beat of a song is fun for you and your horse and if you might really enjoy it. Why not think about entering a freestyle to music dressage test?
4. Get Regular Training
Find yourself a great trainer and stick with them! Having regular sessions will help build your confidence and keep you and your horse heading in the right direction! It’s easy to slip into bad habits, so regular training helps knock them out of you again! If you can’t afford regular lessons, then get the most from the ones you do have by videoing them or taking notes. Ask your trainer for ‘homework’, so you have something to practice on and work with until your next dressage lesson.
If your dressage is turning into ‘stressage’ than you need to look at what is making your competition outings so stressful. Is it because you are highly ambitious and aiming your horse too highly for his ability or level of training. Perhaps you need more planning in the preparation. Take time to look at the issue and take steps to make it more fun!
Whether you are aiming at success at your local show or have your eyes set on a future competing at HOYS https://hoys.co.uk getting the basics right can make the difference to winning or losing in the showring. In this blog, we share our top tips for transforming your horse or pony into a showing star. How To Completely Transform Your Horse Into A Showing Superstar!
Hi Have had my young horse on aloeride for 6 weeks in effort to combat insect bite sensitivity. Shine on his coat is now so amazing I have put my veteran on it too and yesterday the physio asked if I was showing him as his condition was “glowing”! Philippa Birtwell.
“Since feeding Aloeride, my horses now have a wonderful, natural bloom to their coats: An essential ingredient for that winning appearance!” Loraine Homer, show rider, judge and top show horse producer.
Presenting The Perfect Picture
Presentation is everything and when it comes to your horse, it is important to display the right image from the start.
A brown leather bridle that fits well is the first thing to look for. Old tack is normally the best but you can now find specialist makers for tack designed for the show ring. Tack must be supple and clean. Always shine your bits up too.
Most show horses are ridden in a double bridle, however, if your horse is young or inexperienced, you can ride in a snaffle or start with a simple rugby pelham.
You would normally find coloured brow-bands on Riding Horses or Hacks, but be careful not to go too heavy on the bling!
The show saddle should be straighter cut then a GP saddle to show off the shoulder but above all, comfortable for the judge to ride in. You can wear a brown numnah under the saddle but it must fit the saddle to the same size. At lower levels, it is normally acceptable for you to ride in your normal saddle.
Your Horse’s Turnout
Always plait up using thread and not elastic bands. A well-pulled mane will help with the correct size and number of plaits.
Most judges prefer to see horses looking natural, so if you are planning to use make-up on your horse do so discreetly. Check society rules on this as it is becoming unpopular with judges. The same goes with overdoing the products on the coat sheen. Aloeride gives horses a lovely natural bloom to their coats, which doesn’t rub off over you or look artificial. It also helps support your horses’ immune system, which is important if you have a busy competition season ahead of you.
Your Showing Outfit
You need to look the part too, so make sure that your show jacket fits well and is clean.
A Navy show jacket is used in hack classes and children’s riding pony classes otherwise a tweed jacket is correct for all other showing disciplines. You should always wear a well-fitting shirt and tie with tiepin and never a stock. Long black leather boots with a pair of cream or canary coloured breeches and brown gloves are essential, and a show cane is the finishing touch.
More and more shows are now requesting that riders wear a hard hat with safety chin strap and we agree it’s best to be safe in the saddle and for in-hand classes.
Good luck and remember not to get despondent if you don’t win. There is always another day/show, and hopefully, these tips will help you and your horse move up the line-up by catching the judge’s eye for all the RIGHT reasons!
Add sparkle to your performance this season and take advantage of our multi-carton special deal with incredible savings, click below
As the clocks go forward this month and we start to focus on enjoying those extra daylight hours with our horses, many of us will be planning our competition schedules. In this month’s blog, we offer our top tips for a successful competition season ahead. Here are 9 Things You Need To Do For Competition Success:
1. Forward planning: From your training through to your saddle checks, feeding and farrier appointments. Plan your competition schedule and stable management to ensure that you and your horse are fit and ready for the season ahead.
2. Get established with a great trainer and stick with them. Even if you can only afford the odd lesson, spend that money wisely on someone whom you feel confident with and understands you and your horse. A great trainer who can give you ‘homework’ until your next lesson will provide you with a great focus and help you and your horse progress. Having the occasional lesson with a different trainer can be hugely beneficial. A different pair of experienced eyes can be very useful. Having lots of different trainers at the same time, however, can confuse you and your horse.
3. Look after your horse. If the ground is rock hard or we’re experiencing above average temperatures, put your horses’ welfare before a rosette and stay home. There is always another day, another competition and another opportunity but your horse is one in a million.
4. Look after your equipment. It might sound strange, but caring for your tack and equipment is crucial. Some loose stitching on a girth strap can easily result in an accident if it goes unnoticed, so check over your equipment regularly.
5. All work and no play is no fun. Remember to keep your training varied and also to have fun with your horse away from the arena. Boxing up and going for a long ride with a friend somewhere new is just the tonic to break up the routine.
6. Be realistic. It’s great to have ambitions but be realistic in your capabilities and current level of training. Get established and confident at one level before moving up to the next and make sure you are comfortable working at a higher level at home before attempting it in a competitive environment.
7. Don’t focus on the negative. Everybody has good days and bad days, so instead of reflecting on the bad, learn from it and work on those areas that need improving before your next competitive outing.
8. Feed your competition horse Aloeride. Many competition horses are thriving on it, not just for health reasons, but for interesting ‘opposites’ like natural calmer and racehorse performance and recovery. Not only is Aloeride NOPS tested but it is full of natural organic aloe vera goodness. Our super strength taste-free sachets help maintain a healthy digestive system and support great skin, hair and hooves. When you feel good, you do good!
9. Remember to enjoy your competitions. Most of us do it for fun, but if your dressage is becoming more stressage and showjumping is turning into a leap too far, take some time out of the arena and have some fun with your horse. Remember your relationship is a partnership inside and outside of the competition arena so make sure you both look forward to your competition outings! Sometimes taking a break can do you both the world of good!
You want to know how to reduce the risk of equine influenza? Whereas vaccination schedules are the preferred method of control (compulsory when competing under BHA, FEI and affiliated governing bodies), there is more you can do to reduce the risk of equine influenza. Host resistance and viral exposure is an old chestnut but, in isolating affected horses from healthy horses, you separate differing host resistances. Unsurprisingly, certain types of feed nutrients make it more difficult for a virus to infect a horse. A risk-managed return to racing will start on Wednesday 13th February.
UPDATE: The latest figures from the Animal Health Trust reveal that the number of recorded cases of equine influenza in June has now surpassed any other month since the start of 2019. As of 21 June, a total of 37 confirmed diagnoses had been made – February, previously the month with the highest number of outbreaks, saw a total of 35 diagnoses. The total number of cases since the start of the year has now exceeded 130.
We supply several competition yards that are very keen on optimum nutrition. These look after horses that are frequently transported and mixed extensively (e.g. racing, training, sales, shows). These use Aloeride in their feed mix for many good reasons and have done so long before equine flu crossed anyone’s mind. Since the first case at Donald McCain and outbreaks in nine counties since, they are extra glad with the Aloeride! Beyond contingency plans and robust containment measures, there is optimum nutrition. Below is how airborne equine influenza operates and how nutrition may help you; a sentence (bold below) out of a Horse & Hound article has been broken up for commenting:
Once the virus has been inhaled, it invades the lining (epithelium) of the airway, From What Does Aloe Vera Do you know that aloe vera focuses on the health of epithelium. Your horse fights viral invasion at mucociliary level (enzymes and secretory immunoglobulin A) and, slightly deeper, basal layers contain a tight network of dendritic cells that sense and catch any invading organisms and bring them to the draining lymph nodes to generate the adaptive immunity. Airway mucous (i.e. muco in mucociliary) is a complex of mucins, electrolytes, enzymes, protein defenses that immobilise, destroy and remove noxious particles, foreign bodies and invading microorganisms. Such guns can be loaded and fired with the ammunition that is optimum nutrition.
which becomes inflamed, producing a very sore throat and a nasty cough. From What Does Aloe Vera Do you know that aloe vera has molecules with cooling properties. Are such molecules preserved during processing and what dosage is given to the horse… Each sachet of Aloeride contains 2,000mg (i.e. 400ml equivalent) of Soil Association Certified Organic aloe vera barbadensis miller. So yes, that’s nearly ½ litre every day of the best in class. In uncomplicated cases horses should recover completely and return to athletic function within three to six weeks of infection.
This damage causes patches of the membranes (lining the airways) to ulcerate, From What Does Aloe Vera Do you know why aloe vera is so superbly good at swiftly fixing the breached epithelial areas. For complicated cases horses may need up to three months of rest. Horses that develop secondary bacterial infections require longer convalescence still, also they have a more conservative prognosis for return to athletic function due to damage to the lung tissue (e.g. fibrosis). That is why reducing the chance of ulceration is so valuable and optimum nutrition can help with this.
which disrupts the clearance of mucus and debris from the airways. Bacteria invade these damaged areas leading to further infections. Optimum nutrition (good feed enhanced by for instance Aloeride that supports feed nutrient uptake in addition to providing its own unique spectrum of nutrients) makes it possible for an immune system to fight robustly. Airway mucous can defend against viral invasion if horses ingest a wide(r) spectrum of electrolytes (note that these are necessary to build complex enzymes), a broad(er) spectrum of amino acids, and of course vitamins. Whereas even the most average racehorse is treated like a prince, keeping its nutritional intake & uptake apace with its nutritional expenditure during training and racing is a challenge. If supplementation is narrow, some electrolyte levels may remain low and, if this goes undetected (serum Zinc for instance is the poorest indicator to detect deficiency whereas sweat Zinc is the best), then performance gradually will suffer.
Aloe vera interacts with influenza virus particles
In the September 2018 issue of Frontiers in Microbiology research was published that in vitro test revealed that aloe vera polysaccharides could inhibit the replication of a H1N1 subtype influenza virus. The most obvious inhibitory effect was observed in the viral adsorption period (so that’s where the equine flu virus tries to venture past the mucociliary barrier). Transmission electron microscopy indicated that aloe vera polysaccharides directly interacted with influenza virus particles. These long and very long chain polysaccharides are absorbed into the bloodstream intact and flow from the gut to the point of nasal entry. Notably the 2.0×106 and the 1.0×106 fractions are immune modulating. Buyer beware of the huge differences between aloe vera products and obviously the dosage is of paramount importance.
Humans get infected with influenza A (H1N1) or its mutation 2009 H1N1 (the latter caused the first influenza pandemic in more than 40 years). The virus that currently circulates in horse populations is subtype A2 (H3N8) with an earlier subtype A1 (H7N7) now believed to be extinct in horses. Vaccination revs-up immune cells solely for the viral strain that was contained in the vaccine: H7N7 vaccines do not work optimally for the H3N8 virus, and H1N1 vaccines do not work optimally for 2009H1N1. What is rarely mentioned is that free-radical induced pathogenicity in virus infections is of great importance.
In case you wonder what ‘H’ and ‘N’ stand for, influenza A viruses are divided into subtypes based on two proteins on the surface of the virus: the hemagglutinin (H) and the neuraminidase (N). Aloe Polysaccharides Inhibit Influenza A Virus Infection-A Promising Natural Anti-flu Drug; Sun Z., Yu C., Wang W., Yu G., Zhang T., Zhang L., Zhang J., Wei K.; Frontiers in Microbiology 2018 Sep 27;9:2338.
Aloe vera squelches free radicals that increase equine flu virus pathogenicity
It is racing and competition yards that want to know how to reduce the risk of equine influenza (equine flu). Theirs are young susceptible horses that are frequently transported and mixed extensively. The entry point of the A2 (H3N8) strain is the upper respiratory tract. In humans, ultra-marathon training and competing seems to lead to a depression of the immune function with an increased prevalence of infections of the upper respiratory tract… So what is it with über fit humans and über fit horses that renders them vulnerable to infection? Changes in redox homeostasis in infected cells are one of the key events that is linked to infection with respiratory viruses and linked to inflammation and subsequent tissue damage. In case you have not heard of this before, redox biology embraces events involving shift of balance between reactive oxygen or nitrogen species (ROS and RNS, respectively) production and their scavenging.
In a horse, equine flu viral subtype A2 (H3N8) + nasal nitric oxide (which normally increases the uptake of oxygen into horse’s blood) produces highly reactive nitrogen oxide species, such as peroxynitrite. This suppresses type 1 helper T cell-dependent immune responses during infections, leading to type 2 helper T cell-biased immunological host responses. An i2-skewed milieu is also created by grouped aberrant cells, which allows them to escape eradication by type 1 immunity… i.e. a shift from TH1 to TH2 helps the equine flu virus venture past the mucociliary barrier. How might you stop that from happening? By feeding the antioxidant cascades! Both glutamine and vitamin C are known to have beneficial effects on upper airway infections in ultra-marathoners. For the vets among you, the intake of vitamin C does not lead to a change in various infection parameters such as immune cells, interleukins, or interferon (Nieman et al., 2002). Nor does the intake of aloe vera necessarily, but both translate into a lower susceptibility to infection.
Free radicals (reactive oxygen species ROS) are rendered harmless by the electrons donated by vitamin C which, in turn, becomes a (less harmful) vitamin C radical. Then vitamin E donates an electron to the vitamin C radical (restoring it back to a healthy vitamin C) and you’re left with a (lesser harmful still) vitamin E radical. As you can guess, glutathione now donates an electron to the vitamin E radical. Your horse needs glutamine, glycine and cysteine to make glutathione. Training and racing use up these protective nutritional resources. The concentration of glutamine in the blood is reduced by up to 20% after an ultra-marathon (Castell and Newsholme, 1997) which means that less redox protection is available for the upper respiratory tract. Makes a competition horse a ‘welcoming’ host for subtype A2 (H3N8).
Aloe vera contains 7 out of the 8 dietary essential amino acids (Isoleucine, Leucine, Lysine, Methionine, Phenylalanine, Threonine, Valine, there’s no consensus on Tryptophan yet). Aloe vera contains 12 dietary non-essential amino acids (Alanine, Arginine, Asparagine, Cysteine, Glutamic Acid, Glycine, Histidine, Proline, Serine, Tyrosine, Glutamine, Aspartic Acid). With Aloeride feeding 2,000mg = 400ml per serving, you would need to add a daily dosage of natural vitamin C as part of the feed mix. All three of the horses affected at McCain’s stable had been vaccinated which prompted immediate concern that a new strain of the equine influenza could spread rapidly through the racing industry. Perhaps an open minded review of the feed mix could advance how to reduce the risk of equine influenza.
How to reduce the risk of equine influenza
We have assumed that, beyond the above advice on how optimum nutrition could be useful in equine influenza, you know the general advice given on equine influenza. Still, it doesn’t hurt including the BHA endorsed Animal Health Trust advice in this webpage:
Signs of influenza may include lethargy/poor performance, loss of appetite, coughing (dry/harsh/hacking), fever (> 38.5° Celcius), nasal discharge.
Flu vaccination should provide your horse with good protection against flu. If your horse was to encounter flu, clinical signs will typically be much less severe, your horse would get better much faster and will also spread less virus, meaning, other horses will be less likely to get sick. Vaccination should be used in conjunction with the below other important preventative measures.
Protocol for new arrivals: Flu often occurs shortly after the arrival of new horses on to a premises and yards should have protocols in place for quarantining new arrivals for a period of time (ideally in isolation facilities for 3 weeks) before mixing them with resident horses. Before arrival, confirm the new horse is vaccinated against flu and discuss other infectious disease screening tests with your vet.
Good general hygiene practices: Wash your hands between handling different horses and use designated equipment for each horse. Events are good places for the circulation of infectious diseases. When away from the yard, take your own equipment, including water buckets and water. Avoid communal areas and contact with other horses. Disinfect all equipment including your trailer, when you arrive back at the yard. Closely monitor your horse too, as movement and mixing with other horses means your horse is at a higher risk of getting an infection, like flu.
Be prepared: Do you have yard facilities if a horse requires isolation? A completely separate stable, ideally 25m from other horses and no shared airspace is needed. You must use separate equipment, handlers (or if this is not possible; protective clothing, gloves, separate boots and care for the isolated horse after all other horses) and muck heap when dealing with a horse in isolation. Temporary isolation can be set up by moving other horses away from the stable area/block and using it just for the isolated horse. Taping off the area and using clear signage makes others aware to avoid the area, with disinfectant foot dip and hand washing at the entrance/exit.
If flu is suspected on your yard: Call your vet and they can take a swab sample from your horse’s nose and a blood sample, to confirm if your horse has flu. If your horse has been sick for a while before you call the vet, it can be harder to diagnose your horse correctly. Swabs are best taken early on in the course of the infection. Samples can be tested for free through the Animal Health Trust’s equine influenza surveillance scheme. This scheme is kindly supported by the Horserace Betting Levy Board. If your vet hasn’t signed up to our scheme, ask them to contact us. If you suspect another horse on your yard may also have had flu-like signs, they can also be sampled through this scheme.
Steps to take if a case of flu is confirmed at your yard: Your vet will advise you on treatment for the horse. Measures to prevent the spread of flu will be yard specific and tailor-made by your vet, with assistance from the Animal Health Trust’s veterinary epidemiology team and will include: Isolation of infected horses. All horse movements on and off the yard should be stopped. Monitor all horses on the yard for clinical signs and record their rectal temperature daily, it should be less than 38.5˚C (your vet can advise you on how to do this if you are unsure). A rise in temperature can be an early sign of an infection. Booster vaccinating all in-contact horses, even if they are not yet due their annual booster, has been shown to provide horses with even more protection against flu.
The role of nutrition is nowhere to be seen in the official communiqués about equine influenza. We champion the view that, if you feed your horse the nutrients and antioxidants that fight off viruses, you thereby reduce the risk of equine influenza. The fact that all three of the horses affected at Donald McCain’s yard had been vaccinated prompted immediate concern that a new strain of the disease could spread rapidly through the racing industry. It prompted me to write about what competition yards and racehorse owners may want to consider beyond vaccination. Nutritional suggestions may inconvenience those who promote animal health and welfare by assuring the safety, quality and efficacy of veterinary medicines.
Update from BETA’s Philippa Macintosh on 13/02/19: “The British Equestrian Federation (BEF) notes the latest update from the Animal Health Trust (AHT) that there have been three further positive tests for equine flu in Kent, Derbyshire and central Scotland. Although there have been a relatively small number of positive tests from the thousands of samples taken by the AHT, the BEF continues to urge horse owners to be vigilant for symptoms of equine flu and to call their vet if they think their horses are showing signs. Vaccinations are vital in tackling the spread of the disease so all owners must ensure that their vaccination records are up to date, and if it’s been longer than 6 months since the last vaccination we recommend discussing a booster with their veterinary surgeon. The BEF also notes that the AHT reports that in all 3 cases, the horses that tested positive were recently imported from Ireland or had had contact with other recently imported horses. Therefore the BEF asks owners to consider that any contact with recently imported horses represents increased risk as there have also been outbreaks of equine flu in other member states including France and Germany. All owners should follow veterinary advice by isolating any recently imported horses for a period of at least 21 days.”
Is aloe vera safe for horses and, if so, is aloe vera always safe for horses and for smaller ponies? Several questions rolled into one, so let’s unravel this: 1 Can aloe vera do harm? (harmful molecules, contamination, degradation) and 2 Can aloe vera be overdosed or underdosed? and 3 Is it evidence based i.e. proof that aloe vera works?
Is aloe vera safe for horses 1
One type of molecule within aloe vera can be troublesome. Its laxative anthraquinones cause diarrhoea. Since horses are naturally on a high fibre diet, constipation is never your problem. Your feed merchant cannot tell you whether or not the aloe vera for sale contains laxative anthraquinones because labels don’t declare this (if they test it in the first place). Should you feed your horse aloe vera properly according to body mass, then you may find that he/she redecorates the stable walls. But, because aloe vera is expensive (discover how affordable Aloeride is) , dosage given is rarely in proper ratio to body mass, so the quantity that is fed rarely causes droppings to become too loose. Is this however the best way to go about things? Imagine if aspirin would cause diarrhoea and you would take a child dosage so as to avoid diarrhoea… would this solve your headache?? Precisely, so why not dose properly with aloe vera that doesn’t contain laxative molecules.
Contamination can be due to soil and processing. Aloe vera is grown commercially below the equator and in the ‘dustbowl’ of Spain (that froze over one year and decimated their aloe vera plants because they forgot to put the antifreeze in – that last bit is a joke) and in Greece. Feed merchants rarely know where the aloe vera they sell was grown. We have lab measurements of South African aloe vera ferox that, according to their B2B marketing material, is used keenly by the beauty industry and yet it had the most atrocious nutritional values but… good enough to put aloe vera on their label! Laugh if you like but not so funny if you bought that product for your horse. China also has started to grow aloe vera commercially. The science director of an internationally accredited via ISO 17025 forensic food science laboratory wrote the book ‘Food Forensics’ which details the heavy metals analysis of over 800 foods, spices, superfoods, pet treats and dietary supplements imported from China, contaminated with toxic heavy metals like lead and mercury. Buy from safe sources, from those who are upfront about where their aloe vera comes from and are upfront about their lab values of nutritional profile.
Dr. Ivan Danhof MD PhD – head of one of the laboratories where Aloeride quality control takes place – wrote to us that some aloe vera products contain β-linked polysaccharides from konjac root (contains approximately 49%–60% glucomannan with a glucose:mannose ratio of approximately 2:3). This is how some manufacturers inflate MeOHPS results to make cheap aloe vera look better in the hope to sell it for more money. Specialist tests however can differentiate between konjac and aloe vera! Sometimes it is not the plant that is degraded but the people who make the product.
Liquid aloe vera goes off. To slow down (but not avoid) bacterial degradation you must put liquid aloe vera in a fridge after a tankard, jug or bottle has been opened. Stabilised aloe vera aims at offsetting oxidation but that doesn’t phase bacteria. What worries bacteria to the point of meeting their Maker is ‘no H2O’. Other than bacteria that produce spores or MRSA (neither are present on the leaf of aloe vera) most bacteria cannot survive without water. That is why Dr Ivan Danhof MD PhD proposed to freeze aloe, extract the water and use only the working solids within aloe vera. Why not deliver all the goodness of aloe vera in dry powder form and outsmart the bacteria.
Is aloe vera safe for horses 2
More often than not, horses are underdosaged on aloe vera. This is because horse owners struggle to afford dosing right. We know this because we are being asked specifically about this. Salespeople do the children’s aspirin trick that makes aloe vera use more affordable but it predictably lowers beneficial effect. Aloeride aloe vera takes into account that there is a 5.88x difference between average human weight and that of an average horse, and with a known polysaccharide binding site occupancy, our serving of 2,000mg/day (400 milliliter equivalent) is a proper dosage for an average horse. Aloeride makes that affordable for your horse.
When you weigh your horse on an equine specific weighbridge or by using a weigh tape (about 90% accurate) you need to remember that body composition is as important as the kilograms/pounds. A para-dressage rider with a horse on Aloeride (header picture in Coat Health and Natural Coat Shine) at 1 sachet/day reported back that her horse had increased weight on the weighbridge but had not increased girth measurement. Yes that means that lean body mass increased i.e. it is a healthy weight increase with more muscle support for joints and so on. Optimum nutritional intake, optimum nutritional uptake. Draft breeds range from approximately 16 to 19 hands and from 1,400 to 2,000 lb (640 to 910 kg), and at 910kg you may consider 1 sachet twice a day if 1 sachet once a day has not already delivered the beneficial effect hoped for. Small ponies have ½ sachet a day (you must close the sachet quickly after dispensing and seal it). Once all the polysaccharide binding sites in your horse’s gut have been occupied, it poops out the excess polysaccharides. Quite frankly overdosing on aloe vera would be very difficult to achieve. Underdosing is commonplace but not with Aloeride.
Is aloe vera safe for horses 3
Many vets in both large and small animal practice recommend that patients take aloe vera. This can be applied externally in which case laxative anthraquinones do not matter. When aloe vera is administered by mouth many vets are moving away from liquid aloe vera to aloe vera in sachets. This avoids diarrhoea, dramatically improves dosage and there are other practical advantages. Vets can be hesitant about ‘natural remedies’ because often it’s unknown how they are made (no standardisation like drugs) and often there’s little research. In case of aloe vera, there’s a timeline of 4,000 years of use plus a hefty pile of proper research. Aloeride is produced by a UK pharmaceutical clinical trial company. Being safe with aloe vera is a choice.
In July 1844, the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons was granted its arms and, due to aloe vera being used widely for the treatment of animals, the RCVS chose to include aloe vera in its coat of arms. The crest displays a wreath of the colours, a centaur proper, holding a shield argent, charged with aloe vera barbadensis miller, also proper (proper indicates natural colouring). The centaur on the crest is presumed to represent Chiron the centaur, the Greek mythological ‘father’ of all medicine. The horse, bull and horseshoe were all included to represent branches of the veterinary art, while the healing arrow pierces the serpent of disease. We are very proud to supply veterinary surgeries with Aloeride.
Feeding your horse the right amount and the right type of fuel can make the difference between a lack lustre performance in the arena or fireworks under saddle. Here are our top tips to remember when feeding your competition horse:
Keep an eye on his weight. Using a weight tape allows you to monitor his weight more effectively than just by the naked eye. Increasing your horses’ workload and traveling can take their toll on his weight so make sure you feed accordingly to his work load and temperament.
Remember forage is vital for a healthy digestive system. If you are spending your days on the road and competing, make sure your horse is still getting enough roughage.
Get expert nutritionist advice to help get the best out of your horses performance by feeding the right type for temperament and level of work.
Water is essential for horses and if your horse Is working hard, he’ll need to replace water lost through sweating. Make sure you supply fresh, clean water at all times and electrolytes if necessary.
Health and vitality come from the inside and show on the outside, so feed the best quality feed and ensure that your feed barn is kept clean and feed is stored in a rodent proof container. Regularly clean feed bowls and utensils.
Competition days are bound to mean a change of routine where feed is concerned, so ensure that your horse has plenty of roughage to support a healthy hindgut.
If you are out for the day, waiting to feed your horse his evening feed, even if a little time later than his usual routine should be fine alongside water and forage.
If you are planning a longer trip or to stay away at a competition venue, make sure you have enough feed and hay with you for the duration and then add in some extra, just in case your stay is longer.
Feed Aloeride. Aloeride is natural organic aloe vera which has wide reaching health benefits for your horse. From supporting healthy digestion, skin, coat and hooves in one easy to feed daily taste-free supplement.
Let me explain why the magic of aloe vera is not in its water. When anybody tells you that aloe vera gel or aloe vera juice is ‘best’ because ‘it is more natural’ or ‘it contains its natural medium’ then remember this: Nature uses water to move stuff from A to B. That is why your body as a whole contains some 60% water, your brain 70%, your blood 83%, your lungs 90% and that is why aloe vera contains 95% water… so it can move its nutrients about and doesn’t run dry during droughts (after all aloe vera is genetically a desert plant).
Nature’s biochemistry works because of the transported stuff and not because of the water. So when it comes to aloe vera, you can get water perfectly fine from your tap water (we think it’s better when you filter it). What you seek is that what fuels the magic, and this is what laboratories measure in abundance inside Aloeride… high levels of working molecules. We freeze the water out which means that all heat-sensitive molecules within whole leaf aloe vera barbadensis miller remain intact (note that Aloeride gives you the water-soluble nutrients via the inner gel as well as the lipid-soluble nutrients from the rind).
Up to 23.4x more nutrients
We assume that you too prefer ‘fact via objective measurement’ over ’emotive marketing’. You see, what aloe vera gel enthusiasts may not know is that independent laboratories time and again measure that Aloeride aloe vera contains very significantly more of the molecules that are responsible for the accolades attributed to aloe vera. By taking the water out responsibly, we are able to put a very great deal more working molecules in a vegetarian capsule or in a sachet. Taking the water out responsibly of course also prevents bacterial degradation, so we don’t have to use (and one can’t react adversely to) stabilisers.
Aloeride gives you those 5% working (incl. beta-linked polysaccharide) molecules because they work the magic, notably the orchestration of the other molecules. Aloe’s 95% water is just the medium that enables movement from A to B (true within soil, within any plant, within any mammal outside its cells). Water is not what aloe vera’s many accolades are based upon, otherwise water would have received that same praise. That’s deliriously simple isn’t it. Beware that for some manufacturers the magic of aloe vera is in its water… check out Product 2a and 3b in the independent laboratory tests. Yep, watering down aloe vera don’t stop them from charging high prices.
Magic of water
For fullness of information, certain water is magical. Inside healthy body cells (yours and those of your horse), water models itself with protein carboxylate groups into low-density clathrate structures. However, in order to achieve this, a strong potassium bias and ample adenosine triphosphate is necessary. The point is, water inside aloe vera does not contribute to your clathrate structuring, but eating loads of (raw) vegetables and certain fruits does (daily turn out on large, varying pasture for your horse), reducing the amount of sugar you ingest does, reducing the amount of sodium you ingest does… So, talk about aloe vera ‘original medium’ (aloe vera water) alludes to the magic properties of water that it possesses INSIDE healthy body cells. It’s the marketing talk of smoke and mirrors. The magic of aloe vera is not in its water…
Comfortable movement and suppleness is necessary for a winning performance, whichever equine discipline you enjoy. Training for power, stamina and coordination will only become free and graceful movement if your horse has comfortable movement and suppleness. Aloeride helps achieve comfortable movement and suppleness and we would love to explain how that works. Whatever your equine discipline, here are 5 make or break points for comfortable movement and suppleness.
The Biochemical Soup
The ground substance of the various tissues and organs in your horse is known as connective tissue which on cellular level is called interstitial tissue. The space in between this tissue is called the interstitium which is filled with interstitial fluid.
Interstitial fluid is the all important biochemical soup that pretty much every tissue in your horse depends on. Its composition is affected by toxic burden, detoxification capacity*, blood sugar regulation*, hormones*. The pH of interstitial fluid is not constant (*these are nutrient-dependent factors). If the ‘soup’ goes wrong, your horse goes wrong. Nutritionists talk about alkaline-ash forming food/feed and acid-ash forming food/feed… feed changes the acid-alkaline level of ‘the soup’ and this has implications for comfortable movement & suppleness: a horse on a high protein diet is more likely to be prone to tissue stiffness, is likely to have less tolerance for lactic acid loading. A more acidic interstitium renders connective less flexible and thus it becomes more prone to strain and subsequent (micro)inflammation. Microinflammation in turn sets off a degree of reactive spasm. These are precisely the issues you are trying to find a solution for! Muscle stretches as shown in the header picture, or deep massage, or any type of joint mobilisation (by chiropractor, osteopath, physiotherapist, massage therapist) works better when the interstitial tissue is neutral-alkaline. That is why many of them recommend that you use Aloeride. Between its support for digestive health and a unique, very broad nutrient spectrum, it contributes to a healthier ‘biochemical soup’ and enhances the efforts of your chiropractor/osteopath/physiotherapist.
After 23 days on Aloeride the difference was obvious. His behaviour, performance, and settled attitude is fantastic. The changes I have noticed are: • He no longer fidgets or is unsettled, constantly moving about when tied up. • He no longer feels like he’s about to explode/shoots off as soon as you mount • He doesn’t bolt his food (he still eats fairly quickly but not with as much tension) • He is much more relaxed when travelling and at competition • He is more accepting of the leg and willing to flex in his neck and body • His neck/neck muscles in particular are much softer, which has improved his flatwork • His jump is positive and athletic • He no longer feels like he’s behind the leg or ‘backing up’ he is forwards and free moving • He is off all other supplements except his magnesium calmer now. How’s that?!
Chloe Ammonds-Nutt (Wiltshire )
An uncomfortable horse underperforms. Direct trauma and neuralgia aside, the two commonest reasons for tissue discomfort are (micro)inflammations and lactic acid burden. If you need comfortable movement and suppleness in horses, you must be on top of both these issues. Lactic acid is produced during anaerobic energy production (oxygen deprived), so a better supply of oxygen to tissue will reduce the burden. Lactic acid is water soluble, so keeping your horse hydrated is vital for detox. The speed at which lactic acid is broken down depends on available intramuscular carnosine which in turn is limited by the amount of available β-alanine. This originates from dietary peptides such as carnosine or anserine and vitamin B5 in feed and in Aloeride plus made by bacterial flora in your horse’s intestines (Aloeride supports this). Ingestion of only carnosine results in only 40% becoming available as β-alanine; another reminder that Nature doesn’t work in single nutrients, it always works in a synergistic spectrum. Note also that discomfort caused by lactic acid is a defence mechanism to stop overworking and damaging; lactic acid tolerance can be improved greatly by anaerobic threshold training. Equine hydrotherapy (non-weight bearing, no fixed point) is a fantastic way to both address (micro)inflammation and lactic acid burden.
Besides help for lactic acid breakdown, Aloeride provides a unique spectrum of molecules that help to maintain normal tissue temperature. Localised raises in temperature cause reactive muscle contraction and this without fail reduces agility of movement (because a contracted muscle doesn’t stretch). Helping this is one of the reasons why Aloeride did so well in Tried & Tested with both the Veteran Horse Society and Blue Cross.
Soft Tissue Mobility
The active range of movement that a leg or the body of your horse has, can be greatly improved by passive stretches and joint mobilisations. Transverse frictions are best to mobilise cross-linkages of fibrous strands in muscle tissue. Applied pressure on myofascial points may relieve muscle tension but rarely does so for long if the trigger isn’t removed, reactive spasm is never caused by a fascia. Long massage strokes can improve circulation but then so do horse walkers and equine hydrotherapy. Ideally all this is followed by full limb and neck stretches such as depicted in the header image and a review of training in recurring issues is advisable. My point is that chiro, osteo, physio, bowen or equine massage people are called in because your horse is blocked, constricted, stiff, tense or goes short or worse still is lame. Beyond their physical ministrations, well-informed professionals recommend Aloeride because it broadens the help they bring.
Our advice to Chloe and to you is that adding Magnesium only ever works in horses that are Magnesium depleted and this is unlikely to happen in Aloeride nutrient loaded horses. I wrote about calmers and, in respect of movement and suppleness, these aim at the contractile fibres of muscle. If there’s reactive spasm, then calmers are unlikely to be effective on contractions without sorting the (micro)inflammation first. Passive stretches, as shown in the header image aim at the connective tissue inside the muscle (white in image), not at the contractile fibres (red in image). The massage technique of transverse friction mobilises connective tissue but does so very localised, it also improves local blood flow depending on how it is done.
One of our sponsored riders was fastidious about veterinary checks for her horse. Fairly quickly after it has started on Aloeride -already on an excellent feed-, its lean body mass improved (topline as well as muscle definition everywhere else). Her vet measured the total weight to have gone up by 60kgs in 2½-3 months whilst girth remained unaltered. In Dresssage for instance this can improve the back and hindlimb strength for better collection (Impulsion), in Eventing the stronger horse runs faster and jumps better, in Endurance stronger muscles cope better. Another practical advantage is that a muscularly strong horse has less chance of joint strains (muscle providing stability to a joint). However, improved lean muscle mass means little without it being trained and co-ordinated. The thing to appreciate is that you would train (and compete) from a greater abundance. More trained muscle literally puts your horse in a position of controlable strength. Kindly note that with Aloeride you cannot put on more muscle than what your horse is genetically predisposed to, Aloeride optimises naturally condition if there is an intake/uptake issue.
Once your horse is comfortable and agile, coordination is a matter of training. Practice makes perfect and do make sure there is fun in it for your horse, you’ll achieve more by dominant persuasion than by force.