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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
The 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.
Reducing your carbon hoofprint isn’t as difficult as you think horse owners! Follow a few of our tips and you will be galloping to save the planet. How To Reduce Your Carbon Hoofprint in 7 Easy Steps…
1. Recycle & Upcycle Recycle your plastic and cardboard and think about donating your old boots, bits and tack to a local equestrian charity or putting it online to sell it. Before you throw something away, ask yourself if it could be reused or repaired rather than ending up in a landfill site. A less than waterproof turnout can be re-waterproofed and if it still isn’t standing up to our great British weather you could always use as an outer stable rug as an extra layer of protection for your stable rug against manure! Haynets with holes can be repaired with bailing twine too. Think before you throw!
2. Buy Local Where possible buy local. From your feed through to your bedding and bits and pieces. Feed which incorporates local ingredients or is manufactured on site is one way you can help reduce your impact on the planet. Our aloe vera supplement is made here in the UK and we pride ourselves in being mindful of our own carbon footprint. Our cartons are made from recycled cardboard and our packaging can all be recycled. Did you know that imported sugar beet pulp is a by-product of sugar, so while it incurs food miles, it’s a fabulous by-product?
3. Sharing Is Caring Sharing your transport to a show with friends at the yard not only saves money but also emissions. Try and plan your competition outings in the lorry or trailer with friends. You’ll have great company and be saving money too! Organising a riding clinic on site for your yard with a trainer and inviting other horse riders from local yards within hacking distance is another way to cut down on traffic on our roads and bring together your horsey community.
4. Switch Off Remember to save energy and fuel bills by turning off lights and appliances when not in use. Boiling enough water for a coffee or tea rather than overfilling it just for one drink might seem insignificant but over time that is a lot of energy you are saving just in that one cuppa! Using energy saving bulbs but then leaving phone chargers plugged in that slowly drain energy are aspects you need to think about and simple changes you can make to your yard.
5. Get On Your Bike Rather than using your other mode of horsepower (car) ride your bike to the shops rather than getting in the car for short journeys. Not only will this help you get riding fit but it’s one less vehicle on the road.
6. Mucks Away Removal of the muck heap is always a significant consideration for horse owners and an inevitable consequence of horse ownership. However, if your choice of bedding allows, it might be worth contacting your local garden centre and letting their gardening customers know that they are welcome to come to your yard and help themselves to your muck heap for their gardens. You can also look at reducing the size of your muck heap by swapping to a more absorbent type of bedding and fitting rubber matting in stables.
7. Buy In Bulk Buy your feed and bedding in bulk (where possible) and space allowing. One trip in the lorry or one delivery is better for the environment than several journeys. Aloeride is also available as a multi-purchase and saves you money too. See what offers your local tack shop can do for you when purchasing larger volumes – you might be surprised!
Make a change today and ensure your carbon hoofprint is a lot less!
We suggest that you abandon the myth that growing a strong Thoroughbred Racehorse foot is difficult. Pretty much without exception all Thoroughbred Racehorses on the Aloeride have grown strong hooves and healthy feet. They no longer have the problems commonly associated with TB’s hooves and they become easier to shoe.
Thoroughbreds are known for having two different front feet, they seldom match. If they are left to grow unevenly and aren’t balanced with regular trims, it is like you wearing a sneaker on one foot and a work boot on the other. You just couldn’t jog evenly like that.
Thoroughbred Racehorse Foot Problems
It is assumed that the relative thinness of walls and sole of the Thoroughbred foot make it more susceptible to trauma, injury, and hoof capsule distortion. Actually thin + hard would be just fine. It is only thin + softer that causes flares, cracks, underrun, collapsed and sheared heels. Thoroughbred Racehorses on Aloeride get an abundance of natural-in-ratio nutritional building blocks with which they build much stronger walls and more resilient soles. This is where affordable, unrivalled quality and proper dosage of organic aloe vera comes into it: Aloeride.
Hoof capsule distortions are slow sprains due to semi-static weight bearing lasting hours. This is you getting plantar fasciitis standing still for 20+ hours at a drinks party. Hoof capsule distortions are sprains because the line of gravity doesn’t move through the foot at a time when it has little or no arch support from the ground (therefore relies solely on the perimeter hoof capsule for support). Hoof architecture is designed for top-down dynamic pressure and ground-up arch/sole support from the track. Hoof structures are grown from the building blocks you choose to feed, it is your easiest handle on a common problem. Aloeride not only makes growing a strong Thoroughbred Racehorse foot easier, it also helps your TB cope with the inflammatory aspect of sprains. In compromised feet, a temporary arch support bandaged onto the feet when stalled may be helpful.
Thoroughbred Racehorses’ feet need not be sensitive to moisture. This is as self-explanatory as stating that, without wearing a Barbour, you get soaked standing in the rain. Thoroughbred Racehorse’s feet become sensitive to water ingress only if their naturally protective fatty acid and phospholipid barriers fail. That same barrier also protects feet from drying out and becoming brittle. Growing a strong Thoroughbred Racehorse foot should not be difficult when the horse ingests the right feedstuff to build with.
As you know, the sole grows from the third phalanx (P3, coffin bone, pedal bone is much lighter than other foot bones because it is perforated by numerous vascular channels). For a healthy circulation under P3, the sole of your Thoroughbred must be at least 15 mm thick. If circulation gets compressed (i.e. solar papillae blood vessels that project down into the sole are short to nonexistent in the compressed foot) → fewer nutrients are delivered to tissue → the sole is not growing at a healthy rate → the hoof capsule changes → you’ll start to notice an underrun heel → the walls get thin → the walls become brittle. The anti-diabetic effect of aloe vera helps peripheral circulation, semi-static weight bearing hinders. Horses that are fed an optimum diet have an 80% increase in hoof-sole-border size compared to those fed a limited diet. Optimum nutrition encourages maximum bone and hoof size development. Importantly, hoof size proportionate to body size encourages soundness. Aloeride helps you reach optimum nutrition (intake as well as uptake).
Aloeride gives your horse 7 out of the 8 dietary essential amino acids (Isoleucine, Leucine, Lysine, Methionine, Phenylalanine, Threonine, Valine, there’s no consensus on Tryptophan yet. Aloeride gives your horse 12 dietary non-essential amino acids (Alanine, Arginine, Asparagine, Cysteine, Glutamic Acid, Glycine, Histidine, Proline, Serine, Tyrosine, Glutamine, Aspartic Acid). Aloeride gives your horse vitamin B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B9, B12 and vitamin A and C. Aloeride gives your horse the inorganic minerals Calcium, Magnesium, Potassium, Sodium, Zinc, Iron, Phosphorus, Manganese, Molybdenum, Copper and Chromium. Next to these nutrients, Aloeride gives your horse other, aloe-vera-specific nutrients that you can never get from even the best feed. Next to that, by firmly supporting digestion, Aloeride promotes the uptake of nutrients in regular feed. Aloeride is a 100% pure, natural product with Nature’s own nutrient-to-nutrient ratios. Frankly this unique wide spectrum of nutrients would do little if it wasn’t delivered in a properly meaningful quantity! No worries, each sachet of 2,000mg equates to a very generous serving of 400 ml of original and organic juice!
Thoroughbred Racehorses are worth you knowing what’s behind a label
Your horses are extremely valuable. You don’t know the nutritional difference between aloe vera products/labels until you do laboratory tests. For an objective view on proven premium quality, unadulterated product samples of Aloeride, Aloequine, Barrier Animal Healthcare Pure Aloe Vera Juice, Forever Living Stabilised Aloe Vera Gel and Hilton Herbs Aloe Vera were presented for independent measurement by an accredited laboratory equipped for industry standard evaluation of aloe vera. It’s an eye opener:
12 litres optimised to 30 palatable powder sachets per carton
12 litres = 3.17 x (3.785 litres @ £35.00)
12 litres = 2.4 x (5 litres @ £37.76)
12 litres = 12 x (1 litre @ £21.62)
12 litres = 2.4 x (5 litres @ £63.00)
£55.20 (that’s before you choose your multi-carton discount)
5.31 x fewer nutrients
23.4 x fewer nutrients
3.23 x fewer nutrients
2.39 x fewer nutrients
£4.60 per litre (that’s before you choose your multi-carton discount)
£9.25 per litre
£7.55 per litre
£21.62 per litre
£12.60 per litre
We can supply you with a multi-laboratory proven better aloe vera at vastly deflated cost because we don’t have expensive offices, we don’t finance a multilevel marketing pyramid, we don’t have much staff, we don’t transport liquid aloe, and we don’t seek rapacious profit.
Laurel is a Contact of ours in America who asked “are smart simple aloe vera pellets a clever idea?” She said that she was looking forward to the convenience of pellets over the aloe vera juice she had been using, and she liked the low price of $19.82 for a 28-day supply. The label she looked at read “Aloe Vera Pellets provide 10,000 mg of aloe vera gel in a convenient pelleted form”. Because of where that product is sold in the US, Laurel’s friends flagged up a big issue that I wrote about in my web page When aloe vera is only present on the label. Laurel was keen on our Aloeride but was considering value for money, meaning looking for a (seemingly) financial bargain… So, are smart simple aloe vera pellets a clever idea or not? Click to jump to the Conclusion straight away.
Pelleting heats aloe vera
Almost all livestock feeders agree that animals make better gains on pelleted feed than a meal ration. The most logical reasons are that (a) the heat generated in conditioning and pelleting make the feed stuffs more digestible by breaking down the starches, (b) the pellet simply puts the feed in a concentrated form, and (c) pelleting minimises waste during the eating process. Beyond the ingredient feeder, pelleting starts in the Conditioning Chamber. This is where moisture and heat are added to the feed mash. The most effective way to do this is by Dry Saturated Steam i.e. approximately 190° Fahrenheit (88° Celcius) and a 17% w.b. moisture content. Every pelleted or cubed horse feed goes through such a process and, as you may know from other articles I wrote, there is a significant microbiome downside to that.
Exposing aloe vera to approximately 190° Fahrenheit (88° Celcius) denatures the beta-linked long chain polysaccharides that are critical to making aloe vera the unique substance that it is. It also denatures other temperature-sensitive molecules, like enzymes and the plant microbiome. Just to put this into perspective… Aloeride’s process, that was co-designed by gastro-enterologist and world renowned expert on aloe vera Dr. Ivan Danhof MD PhD, uses freeze drying to preserve all the heat-sensitive molecules. The polar (pun intended) opposite of using dry saturated steam. It reminded me of a lady who made soap with aloe vera. She wanted to buy Aloeride to use in her soap. For most soapers, the preferred temperature of soaping lye and oils is 120-130° Fahrenheit (48-54° Celcius), so I asked her what colour the aloe vera powder she used at that moment turned into as she put it in the bowl. “Brown” was her reply… you don’t need to be Heston Blumenthal to figure out that she’d caramelised the sugars in aloe vera. That means curtains for their physiological effect! Sure enough, the B-vitamins may survive, as may the amino acids or the inorganic minerals. The words ‘aloe vera’ are great for any product marketing, yet smoke and mirrors when the aloe content is denatured and rendered ineffective.
Aloe vera species
There are many different species of aloe vera. These differ genetically in nutrient density even before you consider farming practices and soil quality. Laurel’s smart simple aloe vera pellets don’t disclose what species these are made from, which by inference means ‘not from the best species’ because using best species would proudly feature on their label. Aloeride only uses the most nutrient dense species and gives you this wholeleaf, not just the gel. Laurel’s label reads “10,000 mg of aloe vera gel” and since 95% of gel is WATER, you get 5% x 10,000 = 500mg of aloe vera working solids meeting 190° Fahrenheit (88° Celcius) in the Conditioning Chamber. The label reads “Aloe vera gel is known for its soothing benefit on gastric tissues, making it an ideal ingredient for supporting horses at risk for gastric upset or horses who are being managed for occasional stomach issues.” If aloe vera pellets do anything for digestive issues then it might be useful to examine the listed inactive ingredients. You may think this a little harsh but, years ago, one of the laboratories we use told us that they had tested a Grapefruit seed extract product. It was widely used for fungal infections and on Google you will read that it is an all-time best seller. Their testing revealed that it contained an anti-fungal to preserve the grapefruit seed extract…
Alfalfa Meal inactive ingredient in aloe vera pellets
Good alfalfa is good for (most) horses, just like good aloe vera is good for all horses. Alfalfa meal often isn’t good alfalfa. Beyond a positive-by-name association*, the main disadvantages of alfalfa meal are its dustiness and the fact that it is difficult or next to impossible, to determine its quality by a mere inspection, without chemical or microscopic analysis, and to tell whether it is made from a choice quality of leafy alfalfa hay or from an inferior grade of overripe, stemmy alfalfa. Perhaps this is why it is labelled as an inactive ingredient. It bulks a pellet which keeps your horse’s stomach occupied, but it’s not helpful in the way straight alfalfa might be. Simply put, the more your horse chews, the more your horse buffers and mops up gastric acid secretion, the less your horse will complain about his gastric lining erosion.
* Feeding a variety of grass fibre is the basis of all good equine nutrition. Alfalfa is fermented chopped Lucerne hay. Controlled fermented Lucerne products have higher digestible energy values, and other potential benefits, relative to dry lucerne chaff. Lucerne needs longer chewing before swallowing (i.e. increased intake time) and unsurprisingly, horses that are fed Lucerne hay and fresh grass, produce twice as much saliva compared to when a grain-based meal was offered. New Zealand research claims that gastric ulcers can be healed by feeding fermented chopped Lucerne. A research study used 12 horses diagnosed with ulcers. During the study, all the horses were fed approximately 15 kg (33 lb) of modified bio-fermentation chopped Lucerne per day for six weeks. There was no control group reported. By 14 days, 67% of the horses had no ulcers, and by 28 days all the horse in the study had no ulceration. Lucerne contains higher levels of protein and calcium, both of which buffer gastric acid. Lucerne cell wall contains certain indigestible compounds such as lignin that gives it a greater buffering capacity than grasses. As a rule of thumb, feed at least 1% of a horse’s body weight in fibre per day, and ideally 1.5%. A-500 kg (1,100-lb) horse should be offered 5 to 7.5 kg (11 to 16.5 lb) forage. Free-choice hay is best.
Corn Distiller’s Dried Grains with Solubles inactive ingredient in aloe vera pellets
Corn Distiller’s Dried Grains with Solubles (DDGS) is a by-product of the biofuel industry, of dry-grind ethanol processing during which the whole corn kernel is fermented, resulting in two main co-products: Ethanol and distillers dried grains with solubles. The composition of DDGS can vary considerably. The nutritional value of DDGS can be influenced greatly by the proportion of grains vs. solubles and by processing technologies. Precisely this makes DDGS a cheap ingredient. The high proportion of unsaturated fatty acids of corn DDGS (10.5 %) is linoleic acid in particular. Note that horses are very susceptible to fumonisin poisoning from mouldy corn. Fermentation during Ethanol production doesn’t destroy the mould, like the nutrient (protein) threefold concentration, mould becomes threefold concentrated [(CFIA 2009; Bothast et al. 1992; Wu and Munkvold 2008)]. The mycotoxins that may concentrate in the DDGS are aflatoxins, fumonisins, deoxynivalenol, zearalenone and ergot alkaloids. Equine leukoencephalomalacia (ELEM), more commonly known as moldy corn poisoning, is the most common mycotoxin-related syndrome in horses. It is the result of a fungus called Fusarium moniliforme, which often invades corn fields when crops are stressed by drought or when conditions are very wet at harvest. Fusarium produces a toxin called fumonisin. Ask if smart simple aloe vera pellets are tested for this.
Lignin Sulfonate inactive ingredient in aloe vera pellets
Lignosulfonates are derived from lignin, a naturally occurring polymer found in wood that acts like glue holding the cellulose fibers of pulp together. It is commonly used as a pellet binder. It neither helps nor hinders your horse.
Sodium Propionate inactive ingredient in aloe vera pellets
Sodium propionate is a common food preservative/additive that is industrially manufactured but also occurs in nature. Since it is toxic to mould and some species of bacteria, it is an especially effective additive in baked goods or other products that are susceptible to spoilage. Inhibitory concentration of 0.1-0.5 percent affects bacteria (Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Salmonella typhosa, Neisseria gonorrhoeae, Bacillus cereus, Serratia marcescens) and fungi (Candida albicans, Aspergillus niger, Aspergillus fumigatus, Epidermophyton interdigitale). In higher concentrations different bacteria are inhibited but there is no effect on fungi at higher concentrations.
Vegetable Oil inactive ingredient in aloe vera pellets
Vegetable Oil (Cold Pressed) also meets 190° Fahrenheit (88° Celcius) in the Conditioning Chamber and this denatures some of the health beneficial qualities that cold-pressed vegetable oil may have.
Are smart simple aloe vera pellets a clever idea
If you want aloe vera to do something for your horse, then buy independently proven quality aloe vera. If you want alfalfa to do something for your horse, then buy proven quality alfalfa, not alfalfa meal. When $19.82 for a 28-day supply sounds like an attractive supplement, consider what you found out on this page as well as how you might spend your money wisely. Consider the effect of quality CF Lucerne on equine digestion, consider feeding your horse what your grandparents knew to be useful, and definitely take note that one horsey aloe vera product we had tested contained 23.4x fewer nutrients than Aloeride and, being a liquid, it had not even been exposed to heat like aloe vera pellets are… Sensibly most American and Canadian customers prefer the six carton option which gives them 20% Discount + Free Delivery and, from feedback on the phone, they also love our honest advice. So there’s Laurel’s episode for you.. are smart simple aloe vera pellets a clever idea ever, sorry no they’re not.
Hello, my name is Tamsin Drew. I am a Three Day Eventer who has supplemented my horse with Aloeride aloe vera over the last three years. It has been amazing – and thank you Aloeride for the continued support – so you too may be interested in why I still love this supplement Aloeride. Ziggy is my gorgeous 16h3 Irish Hunter gelding (Sire was Kennedys Clover, son of the legendary Clover Hill, that stands at Ballinamuddagh Stud in County Wexford. Dam was ISH Gorsehill Lady) that foaled in 2009, so he’s only nine years old.
I’ve been using Aloeride for 3 years and love how the multi supplement keeps Ziggy looking and feeling great, with super coat shine and overall condition.
Aloeride provides Ziggy with really strong hooves, no cracking or brittleness and not once has he lost a shoe or needed an extra farrier visit!
It’s the only supplement I use for digestion which supports healthy and happy gut, both in the stable, travelling or competing. A huge difference seen since feeding Aloeride, no upset troubled stomach or loose stools, so much more relaxed and comfortable in the stable and really chilled when arrives at a horse trials.
Super thick fuller mane and tail which wouldn’t look out of place in the show ring! Such a change since Ziggy arrived pre-Aloeride when his tail was extremely thin, brittle and just broke off and now it’s glossy, thick and shiny, I never dreamed it could look so good.
Ziggy’s coat looks immaculate no extra brushing, coat shine products or supplements required Aloeride has kept him looking healthy and well all year round.
This natural supplement has ingredients which helps support movement and suppleness, encouraging a softer outline and more relaxed dressage test for better marks, achieving our personal best dressage test this year and continued to receive consistent 70% test marks.
Overall better muscle definition and top line, feeling and looking stronger and fitter. Thank you Aloeride, I love being a brand ambassador for you!!!
The Eventing season has finally begun! Towards the end of April, 7yr old Alberta’s Pride aka Frankie headed off to Munstead today. I am a huge fan of Munstead when asking a horse to step up a level as they have the most perfect cross country to do this. Although my plans had not actually happened as I wanted them to: With Tweseldown cancelled the previous weekend (when we were supposed to have our first run of the season at 90 level to then step up to 100 level here). However, this super little horse certainly is my pride and joy and lives up to his name; my grandma really would be so proud of him.
January 2017 he was diagnosed with hind suspensory damage. He spent nine months in rehab and returned to do one event in September 2017 at 90 level, funnily enough at Munstead – only to win! I can safely say I put this tremendous improvement down to the Arc Equine technology and Aloeride which I have been using daily combined with their rehabilitation plan which I have followed to a “T”.
Then, he heads to Munstead again for his first run of the season and his very first ever 100 level class and again smashes it! He did a super dressage, but sadly two hugely costly mistakes in the canters left us with just a 34, he then jumped a super round showjumping round with just one rail down. Then onto the cross country and he stormed round all the direct routes and through many combinations which he hasn’t seen before to produce a faultless clear cross-country round with a handful of time penalties.
I am entirely over the moon with his efforts today. I mean his first event of the season and first time up a level to 100.
The following weekend we headed off to Chilham Castle with 8-year-old Alberta’s Rose aka Princess Tilly in her first event (BE100) of the season. She produced a super dressage to deserve a 27 (73%) and then a super easy double clear inside the time to finish on our dressage score. Sadly, I was in a very hot section where 27 just wasn’t good enough to bag a top spot, although we still ended up with a frilly for 7th.
Our next stop was Badminton for the week, where I was enjoying being a spectator and my husband Jason had a media accreditation, so was busy working all week. It was my first time ever spending the whole week there and being able to really sit down and watch the dressage alongside superb commentary from Pammy Hutton and Peter Storr, who were both really informative which meant learning lots too! I also had the opportunity to take my time and really walk the cross country course, in the hope that one day maybe we will finally make our ultimate dream come true.
Our next event was on an extremely hot and sweaty day with Alberta’s Rose aka Tilly at Borde Hill, but with only one horse so it was a doddle! We started with a nice dressage test sadly ruined by two hugely costly spooks on the right canter due to a boggy roped off area right next to our arena which she obviously took a dislike to. So, this started us off on just 30 penalties. If you forget the two spooks that would have been a 24/25 test, for which I’d have been super happy with!
We had a long nearly 3-hour wait for showjumping, which is always tricky at Borde Hill due to the undulations. We managed to take a rail on the second to last fence with an uphill approach where we just lost some power around the turn and didn’t quite make the spread on it. Needless to say, all the tricky downhills fences which should have caused us problems, I managed to get her back and set her up to clear.
Then onto a testing cross country although not significant, had a few good questions relating to the approach to a lot of the fences as they appeared just around a corner so not much time to see them and jump them. This was a great test with my little lady as this is something she has struggled duck fence before the spooky water – she jumped boldly over! Makes me so grateful to be sat on a Thoroughbred as when I asked for more up the last long Hill I immediately had a response and we finished full of running easily inside the time. I’m really hoping she WILL make the jump to Novice successfully at some point this season. This outing also earnt us 9th place and another frilly!
This weekend was another busy one which firstly saw Alberta’s Rose aka Tilly and Alberta’s Pride aka Frankie go head to head in the Riding Club Qualifier Dressage competition where they both contended N23; their first long arena test. Both produced super tests which I was very happy with, Alberta’s Rose scored 69% to finish 2nd and Alberta’s Pride scores 67% to finish 4th, so pretty great efforts from the pair of them.
On the Sunday Alberta’s Pride travelled up to Little Downham to contend only his second 100 competition and only second event of the season having not evented since mid-April due to weather and ballots! I thought it would be a big ask, but we have been training well at home, so we went for it. He produced a super dressage test to score 29 (71%). After a couple of excited warm-up jumps which included a couple of handstands, he settled down to jump a lovely round just taking one rail after having a look at a fence and me having to push him causing him to flatten. Overall a nice round from him considering how inexperienced he is at this level. Then onto the cross country. This was definitely going to be a big ask with no less than seven combination fences on course including hard to get to fences, rails before water and a roll top in the water!
I need not have worried because he was utterly Mega! He cruised around taking it all in his stride to produce a super clear with a handful of time penalties as it was a stinking hot day I didn’t want to put too much pressure on him. Needless to say he finished full of running. This horse really is going to be amazing! With lots more events planned, I’m looking forward to another busy month of Eventing.
Summer might bring welcome warmer temperatures and sunshine, but it can also signal health problems for your horse. Here is your guide to summer health problems in horses, to six summer ailments and how to reduce the risk.
1. Heat Stroke
As temperatures rise so does the risk of heat stroke. Unfit and overweight horses are at risk as are horses undertaking fast and strenuous work in hot and humid conditions. Even standing out in the sun for a prolonged period without shade or being left in a hot trailer or lorry can put your horse at risk. A sudden heatwave can also bring on heat stroke. Keep an eye on rising temperatures, and ensure that your horse always has access to shade with good ventilation. Ensure he keeps his fluids up and isn’t asked to overexert himself in hot weather.
Just like human skin, your horse’s skin can burn so protecting your horse in the sunshine is imperative. Unfortunately, pink muzzles can be hard to protect for long, given that your horse is likely to rub off the sunblock. Regular application is advisable. For those horses turned out during the day during the summer, a fly mask with a nose cover is an excellent addition. Providing shade for your horse and keeping an eye on legs and other areas of the body which could burn with exposure to intense sunlight is also essential. You may want to have a peep at how Aloeride offers a sunburn protection buffer and sunburn aftercare… (that page was written for people but how Aloeride helps is the same for horses).
Make sure your horse has access to plenty of clean water at all times and that you keep field water troughs clean during the summer months. The implication of dehydration could be life-threatening. Keep your horse cool, allow him or her to take water frequently and ensure that both in the field or at a competition that there is the shade to stand in. You can read more about how Aloeride helps to support hydration SEE https://www.aloeride.com/electrolyte-status-during-exercise/
4. Bruised Feet
The hard ground can take its toll on your horse’s feet, and legs so keep an eye on ground conditions. Keep ridden work to walk or if the ground has some ‘give’ in it, then some trot work. Save anything faster for ground with some ‘spring’ in it. You can’t prevent horses having a jolly in the field, but you can keep an eye on them and stop play if need be. Aloeride is also a superb natural anti-inflammatory properties amongst many other health benefits. SEE https://www.aloeride.com/people/what-does-aloe-vera-do/
5. Cracked Hooves
Dry, cracked hooves will play havoc with shoeing, keeping shoes on and ultimately put play to all those lovely riding plans you had for the summer. Keep your farrier appointments regular and give your horse the nutritional support he or she needs. Aloeride strongly supports healthy hoof growth. SEE https://www.aloeride.com/horses/hoof-health-hoof-strength/
6. Fly Bites
Investing in a good fly bonnet and fly rug and using both in conjunction with a fly spray will help cut down fly bites. Turning your horse out early morning and bringing him or her into the stable when the flies are at their worst will also help. There are a few fly controls that you can use in the stable, but always ensure they are out of reach from your horse’s inquisitive nose! SEE https://www.aloeride.com/horses/the-problem-of-sweet-itch/
On the move in your horse lorry or trailer this summer? Here are our Travelling Your Horse In Safety – 7 Top Tips for travelling your horse in comfort and safety.
1. Keep Cool
As temperatures rise think about your horse’s well-being and comfort by travelling earlier or later in the day and avoiding peak traffic times. Also, remember to maximise ventilation in the lorry by opening windows in the horse compartment.
2. Protection On The Move
Protecting your horses’ legs when you travel is advisable but ensure that they fit correctly, and your horse is comfortable wearing them. The temptation to over rug up your horse on a journey can result is a hot, sweaty, stressed horse. So choose a cooler appropriate to the time of year with wicking and breathable properties to keep your horse comfortable on the move in your lorry or trailer.
3. Be Prepared
Check your lorry or trailer tyres and floor regularly. Urine and manure can seep down underneath your rubber matting and rot a wooden base so check under the lorry and lift up rubber matting if possible to check for any signs of wood rot. Checking the oil and water levels is advisable and getting fuel before your outing (without your horse onboard) also reduces the amount of time he or she will be onboard. Taking out emergency breakdown cover is also a good idea.
4. All The Gear
Make sure you make a comprehensive checklist of all the gear you will need for your lorry trip. Regardless of the length of your trip, it is illegal to travel without your horses’ passport and easy to forget with so much else to think about.
5. Allow Time
Allow plenty of journey time so that you don’t have to rush as soon as you arrive at your show. If time is against you, even with the best intentions, this will affect your driving. Remember the smoother and more consistent the speed in which you drive, the more comfortable the ride for your horse, resulting in a relaxed horse and one which will be just as happy to load for the return journey.
6. Keep Hydrated
If you are travelling on a long journey, stop and offer water at regular intervals. Carrying plenty of water with you is imperative in case of delays and also for your competition, especially as some horses are very fussy about drinking strange water. Soaking hay can also offer another source of hydration. This also encourages your horse to lower his head which also helps decrease the chance of pneumonia.
During a chat at a racing yard that uses Aloeride, banter moved from the benefits of Aloeride and the training of Thoroughbreds to a detailed talk about an injury sustained by a young jockey. When a racehorse jockey brakes his back twice, what can one do and what should one do? This page offers help.
The header picture shows the old L5 pars fracture on the right. The gap you see isn’t a vacuum but a connection known as a soft callus; cartilage and fibrous tissue exist in the fracture gap between the broken fragments. The recent pars interarticularis fracture on the left also occurred at the L5 vertebra, the brightness confirms the inflammatory stage to be active when the scan was made. Imagine both left and right rein breaking at the bridle… where does that leave the horse’ head. Potentially out of control, so you can understand the jockey’s concern. It is called spondylolysis which is commonly the result of axial (vertical direction) loading of a spine in extension (bending backwards). It is a common fracture in adolescent gymnasts, in bowling cricketers and may occur in jockeys who become unseated. The jockey saw two Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeons and got two differing opinions.
The first Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon recommended internal fixation of the fracture. Placing a screw directly across the fracture site(s) and using bone morphogenic protein – a synthetic protein that induces the patient’s own stem cells to turn into bone healing cells – to speed up the healing process and increases success rate of fusion. Surgical repair typically takes about 3-6 months to unite but it may take longer. The young jockey neither had significant degenerative disc disease nor a significant slip of one vertebra on the other, hence was a good candidate for fracture repair. But some adults with bilateral pars fractures don’t develop lower back symptoms in their lifetime, many adults with bilateral pars fractures will develop degenerative disc disease and/or a slip of one vertebra on the other (isthmic spondylolysthesis). The thing is, so do people who have never fractured their spine or have ridden Thoroughbreds at any speed… A young daughter of friends of ours had titanium screws-rods fitted to correct her scoliosis. Her Consultant confirmed that her transpedicular fixation had broken – by doing yoga of all things – and she now faces revision surgery. Fortunately the jockey’s pars fractures would only need screw implants.
The second Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon advised a conservative approach. This is what unintentionally occurred after the undetected fracture on the right side. The fact that you see a gap, known as a soft callus, means that this didn’t go well: cartilage and fibrous tissue exist in the fracture gap between the broken fragments that prevented healing. It is not bone hard. My suggestion is that conservative treatment should consist of concerted efforts to encourage a hard callus to form. The advice given in this web page aims to help with what to do when a racehorse jockey breaks his back.
In order for a fracture to knit back together 1) the two pieces must remain close enough together to be able to fuse, 2) minimal movement at fracture site encourages the formation of a hard callus (e.g. low-magnitude high-frequency vibration), 3) tissue pH, tissue oxygenation and micronutrient levels should be such to encourage/fuel healing. Fracture repair happens in three phases.
The inflammation phase is the first stage: fracture > a blood clot forms which brings inflammatory cells to the wound area > a cytokine cascade brings repair cells into the fracture gap > these cells immediately begin to differentiate into specialized cells that build new bone tissue (osteoblasts) and new cartilage (chondroblasts). Over the next few months, these cells begin the repair process, laying down new bone matrix and cartilage. At this initial stage, osteoclast cells dissolve and recycle bone debris.
The reparative stage is the second stage. Two weeks after fracture > proteins produced by osteoblasts and chondroblasts consolidate into a primary soft callus > in the presence (!) of micronutrients this hardens into a hard callus over a 6 to 12 week period.
The remodeling phase is the third stage: the callus begins to mature and remodel itself. Woven bone is remodeled into stronger lamellar bone by the orchestrated action of both osteoblast bone formation cells and osteoclast bone resorption cells.
Later into the reparative stage, gentle and strictly isometric muscle setting exercises help low-magnitude vibration over the fracture site. Note that the tissue formed (hard or soft callus) is determined by the microenvironment: high oxygen concentration and mechanical stability favours bone formation whereas low oxygen and instability leads to formation of cartilage. During the inflammation phase, when you are immobilised, you cannot boost tissue pO2 by fitness but you can boost it with daily alkaline clever smoothies in which sulphur-rich proteins (such as those found in fermented diary products) increase oxygenation of the body: add 3-6 tbsp flaxseed oil and 4 oz. (1/2 cup) cottage cheese or natural yogurt or 125ml milk kefir in the 1.6 pint (32 fl oz) Nutribullet smoothie. A ketogenic diet will increase your lung oxygen intake levels per minute as will Buyeko breathing.
More nutrients, better healing
Inflammation is a very necessary phase but too much inflammation hinders healing. Nutrients such as vitamin C, bioflavonoids, flavonols (e.g. Quercitin and Proanthrocydins) and omega-3 fatty acids moderate the inflammatory cyclooxygenase enzymes COX-1 and COX-2.
A 2006 Swedish hip fracture study found fracture patients given complex multi-nutrient supplementation containing protein, carbohydrates, amino acids, sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, chloride, trace minerals, and lipid soluble vitamins, had only a 15% rate of complications as compared to a 70% complications rate among the non-supplemented group. A Swedish meta-analysis of 17 such clinical hip fracture trials which reported that oral multi-nutrient supplementation (including nutrients such as carbohydrates, protein, arginine, zinc, and antioxidants) reduced deaths and complications from hip fracture by nearly 50%. A placebo controlled, multi-nutrient study from India administered vitamin C, Lysine, Proline, and vitamin B6 to tibial fracture patients. In those receiving multi-nutrient therapy, fracture healing time was reduced by approximately two weeks, with a larger percentage healing in 10 weeks (33%) as compared to the 11% in the placebo group. As an aside, aloe vera contains 20 of the 22 necessary and 7 of the 8 essential amino acids next to raft of other nutrients, hence why research found aloe vera to be helpful in fracture healing.
A lesser known nutrient for bone health and repair is Boron (we obtain it from food primarily as boric acid H3BO3 which is naturally present in chickpeas, almonds, beans, vegetables, bananas, walnuts, avocado, broccoli, prunes, oranges, red grapes, apples, raisins, pears, and many other beans and legumes). Another such nutrient is inorganic Silica (best food sources for Silica again come from unrefined food, notably Equisetum arvense, but who puts leaves and stems of common horsetail in their smoothies… In April 2015 a report by Britain’s Chief Medical Officer Dame Sally Davies again highlighted the rise in rickets, a disease that many people would have assumed died out in Victorian times, with one quarter of infants –more in some areas– deficient in vitamin D. According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, fractures can be reduced by 25%-50% via improving serum vitamin D levels. Magnesium, in particular, pays bone-health dividends by suppressing parathyroid hormone release and thus decreasing osteoclast activity. Vitamin K2 (MK-7) is a ‘Calcium chaperone’ and activates the protein osteocalcin which enables it to shunt Calcium out of circulation and into the bone, where it strengthens the collagen-mineral matrix.
Bone stress reaction i.e. diagnosis with lumbar stress fractures is prevalent among cricket fast bowlers. From research published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, it is interesting to note that there is no consistency in the relationship between pain and CT scan results. Which is why this jockey’s first pars fracture remained unnoticed until the recent scan. CT scans do not provide objective evidence for ongoing management or decision concerning return to sport in fast bowlers (cricket), nor does it in racehorse jockeys. Taking 1 Aloeride vegicapsule 2-3x a day provides support for the skeletal system as well as for the greater uptake of nutrients from your diet.
Force versus Strength
As you know, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting a different outcome. The thin ice with a conservative approach is that no comprehensive guidance may have been given to the patient about prevention. ‘See how you get on’ doesn’t cut it. A conservative approach should embrace 1) improving/maintaining mobility i.e. how movement is distributed throughout the spine so as not to get abnormal focal loading and 2) improving/maintaining bone density i.e. all of the above in respect of building bone that is as strong as can be and 3) improving/maintaining core stability, so that’s training. A pars fracture of course may be caused by ordinary misadventure, based on a practice with 5,600 patients however, I know that diet in youngsters may not give a spine all it needs to stand up to force. The greater your innate strength, the better you can cope with force.
In a L5 pars fracture, after it has healed, you want to avoid overloading L5 and its L5-S1 joint level. This means that you want the spine above L5 to shoulder its proper share of mobility within the kinetic chain. The same goes for below L5 i.e. hip mobility, that is, the joint itself as well as the iliopsoas and hamstrings muscles. If there is any early morning stiffness then this may be overcome by dietary changes (all of the above) plus cardio-respiratory workouts. Your efforts to mobilise soft tissue will be more effective once early morning stiffness is sorted. The safest way to minimise L5/L5-S1 overload is with electro-acupuncture to visible contractions for a minimum of 20 minutes per treatment (apophyseal joint level L2/L3 – Bl23 Shenshu and apophyseal joint level L4/L5 – Bl25 Dachangshu; if you want to avoid L5 then use L2/3 and L3/4). Electro-acupuncture (pre)mobilisations must be followed immediately by active (mobilising) movement through the newly gained range. The most appropriate ones are those yoga exercises that allow you total control. Beyond that, osteopathic or gentle chiropractic mobilisations (not using L5 spinous process as a lever) may be possible later on when complete fracture healing is secured.
Ultimately the range passive of range of movement must be covered by active movement, so you will have muscle control at every stage. Back lifts from a position of semi-lumbar flexion is safe to start with. Low crunches with your heels nearly touching your buttocks is safe to start with. Side plank on elbows is safe to start with. Rotation against resistance definitely is not good to start with because it uses the spinous processes as a lever. Chartered Physiotherapists with a keen interest in and knowledge of sporting injuries will know more exercises than you can shake a stick at.