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The Eventing Season Has Finally Begun!

Victoria Bax Aloeride Little Downham Horse Trials
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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.

Until next time…

Header photograph by courtesy of Jason Bax.

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Your Guide To Summer Health Problems In Horses

Aloeride aloe vera cooling horse, summer sizzlers!
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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.

2. Sunburn

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).

3. Dehydration

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

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

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

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

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Travelling Your Horse In Safety – 7 Top Tips

Travelling Your Horse In Safety
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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.

7. Feed Electrolytes & Aloeride

Feeding your horse electrolytes is also advisable but did you know Aloeride can also help support health and hydration in your horse? Find out more HERE

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When a racehorse jockey breaks his back

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

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


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

Conservative Approach

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

Fracture Repair

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

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

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

More nutrients, better healing

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

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

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

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

Force versus Strength

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

Improving mobility

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

Improving strength

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

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Give Your Horse A Tune

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

Give Your Horse A Tune

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

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

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

Implications for your horses

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Top Tips for the Problem of Spring Grass Colic

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Victoria Bax Eventing blog October 2017

Victoria Bax Eventing blog October 2017
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Victoria Bax Eventing blog October 2017 talks RIDING CLUB FUN AND SOME DIY EQUESTRIAN STYLE! October was supposed to be filled with final events to wrap our season however, as usual things didn’t quite go to plan.

Firstly, a short while ago my dad was diagnosed as needing an operation, he was told it would be about an 8 week wait, which I originally calculated to be the end of October and I thought would work perfectly. However, this was brought forward and given as 29th September which meant the chances of me making it to Little Downham for the weekend were slim as he was only expected to be in hospital for one or two nights, then coming to stay with me. I didn’t think it was right if he came out for me then to leave him for the day to go eventing, so I withdrew. Fortunately there was still a waiting list so was lucky enough to get a refund, while someone else enjoyed my space!

I had another change of plan with Alberta’s Pride, having done so well in his comeback competition to win in September and feeling so confident cross country I decided he didn’t really need to go to another event this season which would benefit him in any way, plus, I didn’t want to go to one and not win! 🙂

Instead Alberta’s Pride has been working on his showjumping, but proving there is nothing wrong with that by going out and jumping yet another double clear in the British Novice and would have finished 7th out of a huge 40 odd competitors, but he was on a ticket. He will definitely need to move on up to the Discovery next time out. I took Alberta’s Rose showjumping as well on the same day as a new local venue Beechwood arc has just started to run affiliated showjumping. As it was only 20 minutes from me it was extremely easy to get to. She jumped a lovely round just tipping one rail. The plan is to continue to take both of these horses showjumping throughout the winter.

Crystal Ka has now been back in work for a few week following his withdrawal from his last event back in August where he just didn’t feel himself on the day. He was extremely flat but polite in the dressage which really isn’t him and then caused problems in the showjumping warm-up so I made the decision to withdraw him. I am certainly pleased I did as I had my Physio came out to see him the following week and he had torn a gluteal muscle which was obviously causing him a great deal of pain so we turned him away for 6 weeks to have time to repair himself (Aloeride will certainly help this).

Alberta’s Pride was called up for a local riding club team combined training. I like to stay involved with local riding club events and use them for competition experience for my younger horses. However, three days before I was asked if I could bring Crystal Ka along too to fill a space in an elementary team due to a lame horse. There was only a small problem as he had been out of work for the last 6 weeks!
The request was passed down to Alberta’s Rose who had a whistle stop tour of rein back, walk to canter, medium canter to a 10 m circle to a half 10 m circle with simple change which she struggled with to start with but somehow on the day managed to pull it out of the bag and score 65.71% to finish 4th out of about 15 in her class. She was also part of the winning team to qualify for the riding club championships early next year, so not a bad first elementary attempt for her! Alberta’s Pride didn’t disappoint either and scored a great 72% again and jumped a clear round to finish 5th, so a good day with both my horses performing well for the teams, phew!

My winter training clinics are now in full swing, even managing to get one last clinic out on the beautiful course at Horseheath last weekend which everyone thoroughly enjoyed.

I have been practising my Blue Peter skills and adding to my jump collection by building some new fillers. With a little help from my local DIY store, nonetheless, I have impressed myself with my skills! My team have since jumped round them all and seem to approve, including Crystal Ka, who last time we tried to jump was extremely uncomfortable because of the torn muscle, but this time was extremely keen! My little puppy Alfie is getting used to yard life as you can see from the picture, helping me bring in Crystal aka from the field! (Set up just for the picture purposes!)

Let’s hope the lovely Autumn weather continues as it certainly makes things more bearable with our outside pastime!

Until next time… Victoria Bax

Header image courtesy of Victoria’s very talented husband Jason Bax.