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How To Completely Transform Your Horse Into A Showing Superstar

Alice Homer feeds Aloeride aloe vera for Showing
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Alice Homer feeds her show horses AloerideWhether 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.

Your Tack

Showing saddle Showing numnahA 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!

checkmark Aloeride aloe vera - Best British Aloe Vera by farAdd sparkle to your performance this season and take advantage of our multi-carton special deal with incredible savings, click below

Enjoyed reading this blog, then you might enjoy reading 9 Things You Need To Do For Competition Success.

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9 Things You Need To Do For Competition Success

7 Things You Need To Do For Competition Success
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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:

checkmark Aloeride aloe vera - Best British Aloe Vera by far1. 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.

checkmark Aloeride aloe vera - Best British Aloe Vera by far2. 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.

checkmark Aloeride aloe vera - Best British Aloe Vera by far3. 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.

checkmark Aloeride aloe vera - Best British Aloe Vera by far4. 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.

checkmark Aloeride aloe vera - Best British Aloe Vera by far5. 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.

checkmark Aloeride aloe vera - Best British Aloe Vera by far6. 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.

checkmark Aloeride aloe vera - Best British Aloe Vera by far7. 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.

checkmark Aloeride aloe vera - Best British Aloe Vera by far8. 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!

checkmark Aloeride aloe vera - Best British Aloe Vera by far9. 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!

If you loved this blog, you might enjoy reading our TIPS for THOROUGHBRED FEET.

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How to reduce the risk of equine influenza

Equine influenza what you can feed to help beyond vaccination.
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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.

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:

checkmark Aloeride aloe vera - Best British Aloe Vera by farOnce 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.

checkmark Aloeride aloe vera - Best British Aloe Vera by farwhich 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.

checkmark Aloeride aloe vera - Best British Aloe Vera by farThis 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.

checkmark Aloeride aloe vera - Best British Aloe Vera by farwhich 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. 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.

How to reduce the risk of equine influenza: Aloeride feeds aminoacids in antioxidant cascade

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.”

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5 Reasons To Love Your Horse More Than Your Partner

5 Reasons To Love Your Horse More Than Your Partner
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If your idea of ‘tall, dark and handsome’ comes in equine form, then our latest blog just in time for Valentine’s Day is just what cupid ordered! We know you probably didn’t need any reasons to love your horse more than you already do, but here’s a few anyway…

1. Your horse will never moan about the state of the house, the lack of food in the fridge or how many hours you spend down at the yard. Forget his usual treats though, and you may have issues.

2. Your horse is always pleased to see you (unless he’s having fun in the field with his friends) in which case, he might be a little distracted.
But then he will be extra pleased to see you when you return with that feed bucket.

3. Your horse will never judge your wardrobe or your hair and make-up. Which is a blessing, considering these aren’t on your agenda when you are trying to cope with gale force winds, snow storms, mud and more mud.

4. Your horse loves the food you serve up. Not forgetting those after dinner (polo) mints he gets when you leave the yard. * As long as dinner is served on time. Any slight delay will result in excessive drama including acrobatic moves and extreme door kicking, thus disturbing anyone else who wanted to enjoy their dinner in the peace and quiet.

5. Your horse will never moan about the endless stream of vet/farrier/feed/bedding/rug repair bills or the fact that you are always too tired to do anything after 9 pm and are constantly broke.

Want to keep the one you love in the best of health? Discover why horse owners worldwide trust Aloeride…

Enjoyed reading this blog? You might like to read what our expert wrote about DIGESTIVE HEALTH SUPPORT.

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Is aloe vera safe for horses

Is aloe vera safe for horses explained by Aloeride
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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.

Average horse weight chart

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

Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons' coat of arms RCVSMany 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.

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10 TIPS for surviving winter with your horse

10 TIPS for surviving winter with your horse (Aloeride)
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1. Win the lottery and put your horse on full livery. Let someone else deal with the misery of winter with horses, while you jet off to somewhere hot and sunny and return in May with a nice suntan and feel refreshed ready for the competition season ahead.

2. Eat lots of chocolate and wear lots of layers. No one is going to judge you (well not us).

3. Appreciate that your ‘yard attire’ is a strong look which generally will look out of place away from the stables or barn. Be prepared to be the focus of everyone’s attention including the security guard should you decide to pop into the supermarket on the way home.

4. Accept that you have a good six months of hellish weather conditions and silly horse season ahead and prepare mentally for the challenge. Sharing titbits of advice with your fellow yard mates can also unite you; ‘Don’t leave the kettle empty when you leave at night’ is one essential which will mean that the first person at the yard in the morning will be able to enjoy a cuppa’. Failure to do this will see you as a stable outcast.

5. Be prepared for the twice-daily work-out that is called rug changing. Designed to help build shoulder, back and upper arm muscles, this routine will ensure you step into spring looking super toned or with a considerable chiro bill and nerve damage.

6. Enjoy the wheelbarrow challenge which is poo-picking the fields. If you can navigate through knee-high mud to tend to your fields without losing your footwear or the wheelbarrow, bask in that moment with pride. It might be shortlived.

7. Celebrate your amazing ability to fix virtually everything with WD40 spray, bailing twine and tape. This sadly does not apply to your horse, but for everything else, there is a way.

8. Enjoy those small moments of winter horsey life such as huddling around one small portable radiator at the yard in minus zero conditions and your horse coming in from the field without another ripped rug/lost shoe/boot/overreach boot.

9. Acknowledge the endless cycle of horse laundry that your home will enjoy as you decorate every available space and radiator with saddlecloths, boots, bandages etc. Embrace that wonderful musty horsey aroma as it impregnates every soft furnishing in the house. Ahh, J’adore Le Horse.

10. Get a wall planner so you can cross off the days until the clocks change again. Get creative; you could even put weather symbols each day to keep a track on the weather. Actually, don’t do that. No one wants to see that kind of negativity.

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How To Prevent Dehydration In Your Horse This Winter

How To Prevent Dehydration In Your Horse This Winter
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Many horse owners believe that hydration is more important during the hotter months, but as we approach the colder winter months, we discuss why ensuring your horse stays hydrated during the winter months is equally as important. Here are tips on how to prevent dehydration in your horse this winter:

Horse Hydration Facts

Did you know that your average horse needs between 20 – 30 litres of water a day, and even more so if they are exercising, to keep them healthy and hydrated. A horse’s body is made up of around 70% water, as an average, so it’s important to keep your horse hydrated, especially as dehydration can have serious health implications for the horse. What more than H2O does your horse need to keep itself hydrated?

Health Implementations

In human Medicine, unrecognised dehydration can presents as TATT… (tired all the time). It is not a bad first check for when a horse’s performance is slightly under par. The most significant risk posed to the horse with dehydration is the risk of colic. The reason for this is that horses store water in their gastric tract and if this dries out it can lead to impaction colic. With longer hours being stabled, and increased fibre uptake, the combination of both can have a detrimental effect on your horse’s digestive system. Fortunately, Aloeride can help support hydration. It does that by providing a raft of very necessary, inorganic minerals that help to secure that the H2O your horse drank, stays inside for long enough to benefit.

Spot The Signs

Signs of dehydration are important to look out for and spotting them early can make a difference in dealing with a problem or an emergency.
Signs that your horse might be dehydrated include, but are not exclusive to,:

* Your horse looks dull and depressed (remember TATT)
* Not passing urine or dark urine
* Gums and eyelids are dark red instead of a healthy pink colour

Pinching your horse’s skin to see how long it takes to ping back is no longer considered a reliable way of assessing your horse’s hydrated state. A blood test taken by your vet will be able to determine what is wrong and we recommend always consulting your vet if you are the slightest bit concerned.

Ice Ice Baby

When the colder weather arrives, it’s even more critical to ensure that your horse has free access to water and some horses do not like drinking freezing cold water, so adding a little hot, to the water to keep it a nice palatable temperature, can encourage fussy drinkers. Also if you give water via buckets, keep an eye on their intake as part of your daily routine so you can spot any sudden changes in their drinking habits. Make sure that your water troughs are clear of ice so that your horse has access to water out in the field and soak hay or feed haylage as opposed to dry hay to increase his moisture levels. If your horse is drinking less, then it might be an idea to add electrolytes or a teaspoon of salt to his feed to encourage him to drink, but again speak to your vet if you are concerned.

Hair Today Gone Tomorrow
If you are working your horse over the winter and he is sweating each time you ride, you should consider clipping him to remove the hair which is causing him to sweat, even if it is just a blanket clip with a neck. This will not only make him feel more comfortable when being ridden but keep him cooler than trying to work out in a heavy winter coat!

If you enjoyed reading this blog, you might enjoy reading Electrolyte Status During Exercise.

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Victoria Bax and Alberta’s Pride off to Wellington Horse Trials

Victoria Bax and Alberta's Pride off to Welington Horse Trials
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Well, it was lovely to be back out on my youngest Alberta’s Pride a few weeks ago. Back in June, he threw a splint, so he has had a quiet couple of months but showed he was fit (faster than expected recovery with Arc Equine + Aloeride aloe vera) and well when we headed off to Wellington Horse Trials; one of my favourite events, hence why I was desperate to run there… Victoria Bax and Alberta’s Pride off to Wellington Horse Trials!

To say the day was wet was an understatement; from start to finish and from head to toe we were soaked! However, it didn’t seem to bother Alberta’s Pride who warmed up beautifully for his dressage test and produced what I thought was a lovely smooth, relaxed and accurate test, but sadly we were left disappointed with a score of 36. After looking at the other scores in my section, I soon realised it was a low scoring judge as the best mark was only 30 anyway.

Showjumping was a big testing course in a big arena with lots of “props” that hindered your lines to fences, so you either had to cut in or go round them. I noticed a lot of people going around them were incurring time penalties, so I made sure I cut in. We jumped a lovely round which I thought was clear, but sadly it appears he hit the very first rail although I don’t know how as even on the video you can’t see him touch it. Nevertheless, I was pleased anyway.

So on to the cross country which was a decent course with some good combinations, especially 2/3 of the way around where we had to contend a skinny log to a log drop, then onto a curving left 3/4 strides to another skinny log then five strides to a corner. A decent ask for 100 level I thought.

I had nothing to worry about though as Alberta’s Pride sailed round clear with just a handful of time penalties, which I was thrilled with as he really does lack competition experience following his “sick note” antics over the last couple of seasons! I was astonished to see in the results that both the showjumping and cross country courses had caused carnage for others and no less than 16 horse and riders failed to complete in my section for one reason or another. I was left feeling pretty smug with our efforts after all!

A couple of weeks later we headed out again with Alberta’s Pride to Chilham Park for another event. Our dressage test was going well until Alberta’s Pride decided he couldn’t for the life of him canter on the left rein and broke or disunited not once, not twice but three times, which sadly meant that all 3 canter marks resulted in earning a 3, 4 & 5 instead of the 7/7.5 which we earned throughout the rest of the test. Therefore sadly knocking us right out of contention.

So into the showjumping where another super round ensued, until two from home when I still to this day have absolutely no ideas what went wrong! We were in perfect balance and on the perfect stride, but Alberta’s Pride simply forgot to take off and just cantered straight through the fence. He wasn’t at all phased by his actions. I picked him up and set him up for the next fence which was after a 90 degree right turn to a set of planks on the downhill, which yes you guessed it he sailed over and left it up, unlike most other horses! The cross country simply felt like a fun run for us as there really was nothing at all testing, so we stormed round clear easily inside the time, resulting in our first top ten placing at 100 level for 10th.

Alberta’s Pride has three more events lined up for the rest of the season hopefully with a step up at the last event, but I won’t hold out on that happening as I’m sure “sick note” may have other ideas!

Until next time…

Header image courtesy of Jason Bax

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How to get your horse and yard winter proofed

How to get your horse and yard winter proofed
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With winter on the horizon, ensuring that you, your horse and stable are ready for whatever winter will bring. From severe weather to frozen locks to hay shortages, be prepared with our essential guide to getting ready for winter with your horse. How to get your horse and yard winter proofed offers useful tips to get your horse through the colder and wetter months of the year:

Watch The Weather


While the weather forecasters are not always 100% correct, their reports are generally a good indication of what lays ahead for the week. So, if there is a risk of snow, be prepared in the lead-up and if it doesn’t arrive in your area, then great news, but if it does it means you and your horse will be able to cope and manage the situation more effectively.

Frozen

Not only is ice dangerous where horses are concerned but turning up the yard to find that the yard gate padlock is frozen and then your water pipes when you finally get into the yard.  Have some anti-freeze in the car and insulate your water pipes to ensure you aren’t caught out by a cold snap. If your yard pipes freeze no matter what you do, then fill up as many water containers as you can to see you through the cold snap. Don’t forget to check the water buckets and field troughs on arrival and break the ice so your horse can reaccess water. Here is a really handy tip to keep water in troughs and buckets available to horses in the field: fill 2-litre plastic fizzy drink or plastic milk bottles (peel off their label first) with 1 mug of salt. Then add tap water to about 3/4 way up (more water makes it easier for your horses to push the bottle down in a frozen trough/bucket). Screw the top on securely, shake the mixture well, let some more air in if necessary. Now let this bottle float in the water in your trough or a large bucket. The fresh water freezes but the salt water won’t, as it has a lower freezing temperature… animals push the bottle down and gain access to the fresh water below the ice. It’s an old farming trick.

Feed The Right Stuff

Adjusting the amount of feed you give your horse according to his level of exercise is imperative. If a cold snap is forecast with snow and you don’t have the luxury of an indoor school or covered horse walker, slowly cut down on hard feed but maintain a good amount of roughage intake. With snow on the ground, it’s inevitable that you will be decreasing or adapting your horses’ work so plan as best as possible. Feeding Aloeride is also excellent for digestion and healthy gut function. Find out more about how Aloeride can help support a healthy digestive system. Worthwhile you looking at the video of Victoria Bax who – having used Aloeride for over 6 years – knows just how much Aloeride contributes to condition over the winter months.

Stable Mates

Most horses will spend more time in their stable during the winter months, so ensure that you use good quality hay and bedding to keep dust down to a minimum and keep it well ventilated. Boredom busters can help break the monotony ins the stable. If safe to do so, then walking your horse out in hand in the school for 10 x mins a day will get his circulation moving and give him a welcome distraction being cooped up in his stable.

Dressed For The Weather

Make sure that both you and your horses’ winter wardrobe are fit for purpose. That lovely turnout rug you’ve had for years won’t be so lovely when you find that its waterproofness has disappeared and your horse comes in from the field soaking wet and cold. Now is the time to get your rugs repaired, cleaned and re-waterproofed when necessary. Your own wardrobe needs review too. Investing in rugs and clothing that have technical properties that breath, wick and repel water are all key factors that will make winter for both you and your horse a bit more bearable.

Things To Spare

Having a stash of a spare woolly hat, gloves, socks, fleece and a lightweight waterproof jacket in the boot of the car is a good idea. A towel, blanket and some high energy snacks and bottle of water are also worth keeping in your vehicle, especially if you are driving on country lanes and break down. Waiting for recovery to arrive will be a much more pleasant experience in winter if you are prepared.

Fields

If you are lucky enough to have turnout you can use all year round, then placing hardcore or used shavings around the field gates will help prevent poaching. Feeding hay on hard boards rather than directly on the grass will also help save your fields as you head into winter. Most horses given a choice would rather be inside in really cold or wet weather. So, keep an eye on your horse. If he is spending more time standing by the gate calling at you then enjoying his field time, it might be worth cutting down his field time to just a few hours in really rotten weather.

Whatever winter decides to throw at you and your horse preparation is the key to enjoying the season ahead.

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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.