Thursday, 29 December 2011

Building Up Work

I thought I would write a bit of an update on how Trooper's tendon is healing. It is going really well. We are gradually building up the amount of work he is doing with the hope that he will be back to normal in 3 months (Trooper's "normal" is just schooling him to keep him supple).

This week I have been mostly riding him for half an hour at a time. This means we can now do one full loop on the roads which is good when it isn't raining. I have also been increasing the amount of time he has been trotting for so he is now trotting for 4 minutes (2 on each rein). In the trot he is going really nicely and just feels normal.

I have been keeping him going large in the arena and have not been doing an circles yet as this will put extra strain on the tendon. In walk I have been starting to do a bit of work going on the inside tract and trying to keep him balanced and walking in a straight line.

I am hoping I will be able to do a bit of canter before I go back to University in mid January as then my mum will be able to carry on doing a bit with him. He has been cantering (and galloping) in the field and still been fine so hopefully this will be OK.

Last week he managed to escape from the field with 2 other horses. We have to entrances to our field and they went out of one, galloped round the farm for a bit them went up to the other gate. And someone opened it and let them back into the field, so that was a little adventure for him!

Not sure how he got the front of his face this muddy!

He doesn't like being out in the field when it is raining and tries to escape so I have to go to the farm early to bring him in. Yesterday as we arrived we could see him following a girl up the field with her horse. I thought I saw him on his knees and the girl said he got down to roll but then saw her walking up and jumped back up again! So to avoid him pestering other people trying to get their horses out the field and prevent him from putting extra strain on his leg he is having to come in quite early.

Trooper waiting at the gate!

Trooper hasn't been clipped this year as he is not doing much work and I really like his winter coat. It isn't too long and he is really black and shiny. We will definitely consider not getting him clipped next year as well. He is wearing a fleece at night in the stable and a lightweight outdoor rug in the field to stop him getting too muddy!

For Christmas he got a new salt lick from a family friend which he has been enjoying, I am just a bit worried about how quickly he is eating it though as all that salt can't be good!

He was standing as far away as possible and stretching out to lick it whilst I was crammed in the corner of the stable trying to take a photo!

I still haven't taken my camera to get any good photos, with the bad weather and all the work I have had I have been unable to. My boyfriend is coming to stay next week so I will try and get him to take some photos or maybe a video of me riding Trooper so you can see how he's doing.

I know this is a horse blog but I thought I would finish off with some photos of my dog on Christmas day! Rio doesn't get up to much as she spends most the day sleeping so it would be hard to have a blog on her! She had a nice Christmas though and unwrapped her own presents!

Hope you all had a lovely Christmas!

Love Laura

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Merry Christmas!

Hope everyone has a lovely Christmas tomorrow! Hope all of you (and your horses) have been nice and not naughty!

I took this photo of Trooper this afternoon, when I got to the farm at 2 pm he was waiting to come in! He doesn't like being in the field in all this rain and mud!

Tomorrow we will be going to the farm to sort Trooper out whilst my brother is asleep before we open any presents. We then go to my aunty's house in the morning then come back to our house to have Christmas dinner!

And thank you all for reading my blog! :-)

Love Laura

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Blue Chip Feed; Photo Of The Month

Blue Chip Feed always do a photo of the month, you can vote for your favourite and there are always lots of nice photos to look at. You may recognise Mr February 2010! If you have got any nice photos then go ahead and enter them! You could win some Blue Chip merchandise.

February 2010

Love Laura

Monday, 19 December 2011

New Rug For Trooper

I am back from university for Christmas now! I had my first ride on Trooper this morning and he is doing really well after his tendon injury.

I rode in the indoor arena. He is allowed to be ridden for 20 minutes a day with 2 of those minutes in trot. We have had a bit of snow and ice since I have been home but it has melted today so hopefully I will be able to ride out on the roads soon too. When I was riding him he felt the same as he used to and didn't feel uneven in trot which was good.

He hasn't been clipped this year for the first time since we have had him (due to his injury he can't do much exercise). We decided he needed to wear a rug about a month ago when he was coming in soaking wet and muddy! He already had one light weight rug but my mum has bought a middle weight one for when the weather is colder or his light weight is wet. He went out for the first time yesterday in his new rug. It is a bit pink but it was the only colour the tack shop had!

Me and Troops with him in his new rug.

The rug we got for him was made by Masta, it is a medium weight and the style is called "Zing". A lot of his rugs are in 5ft 9" but this one is in 6ft as often they rub his shoulders so we thought this may help. This rug is around £55, it has a waterproof and breathable outer layer, is cotton lined and has 170g of thermal filling. To fasten the rug it has two buckles at the front, rear leg straps, surcingles under the tummy and a tail flap. It is a really nice looking rug and good quality. The only issue I have had with it so far is that one of the loops the buckle straps goes through at the front is a bit small and it has to be forced through. Hopefully this will stretch with time though.

The first day he went out in his new rug he didn't roll so he came in nice and clean. He had to wear the rug again today because his other one is still wet inside and he definitely rolled! The photos below aren't very good because they were taken on my phone whilst it was raining and Trooper was desperate to get in the stable!

I couldn't brush him because it was wet but looks like I will have a big job tomorrow morning. Luckily it's just on his neck! I am riding him again tomorrow and my Mum is coming as well so I might try and get her to take some photos of me (although she usually just gets half of him in the photo!). I keep forgetting to take my camera to the farm so these photos are taken on my phone and are not very good quality. I will try and remember to take it next time!

Love Laura

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Equine Science Trip

I recently went on a equine science masters trip to Gregynog Hall. Below is a photo I took on my phone of the front of the house. It was amazing inside to and had a long history to it. We stayed there for 2 nights, I shared a bedroom with 2 other girls and it must have been the biggest room I have ever slept in. It was bigger than the room we were having lectures in. The bed was also so old that it was really short and said "His Majesty The King" on the side so it must have been really old!

Different speakers had been organised to come and talk to us over our time there and in the evenings we got chance to meet them and chat to them informally. I thought I would write a post on who came to speak to us and what they do using info from what they told us and the internet. I'm not going to put their lecture information on here because that belongs to them and I would be stealing it a bit!

The first speaker we had was Chris Pardoe, he is a farrier by trade but now works in equine biomechanics. He has a degree in life sciences and a PhD on "Mechanics of Hoof Impact and Loading in the Horse". He spoke to us about his biomechanical research and how they test a variety of animals. I think that it is important we have people like Chris Pardoe (a farrier that carries out scientific research) because he knows the problems that people have with horses hooves in a way a scientist may not and then can go out and research it. He was talking about using different shoes or going barefoot and using biomechanics he could assess how it caused the hoof to change and may alter the horses gait.

The second speaker we had was Richard Newton, he is from The Animal Health Trust. I just googled his name and found this...  "Richard Newton, BVSc, MSc, PhD, DLSHTM, DipECVPH, FRCV", that is a lot of letters after your name, don't ask me what they mean! At the Animal Health Trust he is involved with infectious diseases in horses. On the internet it says he is currently Head of Epidemiology and Disease Surveillance at the Animal Health Trust. I don't know how long ago this was written but I think it is still correct. First he spoke to us about designing a study, he did this in a way which was really interesting and it was useful as the last time I learnt "Research Methods" I was in 2nd year and I will be needing it for my dissertation project in the summer. In his second lecture with us he  gave us an option but we all picked to learn about Strangles. I found this especially interesting as the farm where I keep my horse has been affected by strangles in the past.

Duncan Hannant also spoke to us, he is from Nottingham Vet. School and also works at the Animal Health Trust. He is involved with the research for a wide range of infectious diseases. He is also our university's exeternal examiner for out course. He spoke on Equine Arteritis Virus which is a disease usually transmitted whilst breeding horses.He also spoke about new and re-emerging diseases which was interesting. He focused on the immunological aspect which is not my favourite area but he did it in a way that made it interesting.

Colin Roberts then spoke to us, he is a vet and is involved with the FEI, he has been appointed to be in charge of blood doping at the London 2012 Olympics. He spoke to us about racehorses that bleed at the lungs and why it happens. He then spoke to us about the rules and regulations regarding blood doping and medication control. This was probably the lecture I found the most interesting during my time there.

At the end of the trip we had Tina Blackmore speaking to us who was a previous masters student from Aberystwyth. She had gone on to do a PhD and was now carrying out post-doc research. She spoke to us about her PhD and then had a chat with us about what we could do after we finished the course and about how to go on to do a PhD.

As you can tell we all really enjoyed the trip and it was good to meet these people and discuss dissertations etc. Although we did have a 3000 word genetics assignment and 2 statistic assignments in for tomorrow so that was hanging over our heads while we were there. I have handed these in now (woo!) but have 5 exams in January so need to finish up writing up notes and getting the extra reading together so I can try and remember it all! My exams are in Statistics for Experimental Scientists, Principals of Nutrition, Endocrinology, Growth And Development, Bacteriology, Immunology And Parasitology and Animal Breeding And Genetics. So I have lots to learn over Christmas!

While I am revising I will do some of my own research into the areas they talked to us about so I might write posts on some of them.

Love Laura

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Spanish Riding School At Wembley

I am going to write some more informative posts on the Spanish Riding School when I am back at home but for now here are some of the photographs that I took!

Below is Wembley arena before the show started, they had a big chandelier hung and lots of blue lights!

At one end was the curtain where the horses came out from. Nicky Chapman presented the show and stood on the round podium. They also showed some short films on the screen giving information about the Spanish Riding School and what it looks like.

Below are some of the photographs I took of the horses. It was hard to get good photographs as we were not allowed the flashes on our cameras so the pictures kept going blurry but here are some of the good ones I got. There were different sections to the show which I will talk about in my next post. (The program we bought is at home so when I go home I will have all the information!).

All of the horses were so calm throughout the show, even when they were performing movements. They were absolutely beautiful and I would recommend going to watch them if you ever get the chance!

Love Laura

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Horse Christmas Decorations

I have just seen these Christmas decorations on Haute2Trot's blog and thought they are really nice! This blog is all about equestrian fashion and products and is a really good blog, here is the link...

The horsey Christmas decorations can be seen below! I love them all!! They are from the USA, they do ship to the UK but I would be a bit worried about shipping them! I know a lot of people from the US read my blog though so at least you can buy them! They cost $40 for 6 and you can pick which 6 you like! They would be great for your own tree or to give to your fellow horse owner friends! I love how they have a festive twist to the images and they remind me of the different horse pictures they had for different disciplines in the Olympics in Beijing.
Click here to go to the shop!

Love Laura


I have not written many equine science posts recently. I thought I would write a post on selenium and the problems deficiency and excess cause. This is not usually a problem unless you live in certain areas of the world. Last year we had to chose a mineral to write an essay on and I chose this because it causes lots of different effects.

Selenium acts as a biological antioxidant and prevents cell damage. It is thought that horses need around 1.00 mg of selenium a day which is a very small amounts.

A deficiency of selenium in the horse can lead to a number of problems and is often worse than in other livestock species.

The importance of selenium is highlighted as there are many conditions that horses experience than can be treated with selenium and vitamin E therapy such as myositis and azoturia.Other studies have found it could help with conditions such as infertility, muscular weakness in foals and performance problems during exercise.

White muscle disease is also called nutirional myodegeneration and is a disease caused be deficiency of vitamin E and selenium. It may be seen in foals due to a mare being deficient during pregnancy and it is more common in foals than older horses. It is a severe disease and causes weakness, stiffness and a weak suckle reflex. In severe forms they will lye down and it can cause sudden death. It can cause the muscle to turn a pale colour which gives it the name "white muscle disease". Treatments of supportive therapies can be given and supplements of selenium and vitamin E.

Exertional rhabdomyolysis is a condition that often happens after exercise and causes the horse's muscles to seem dysfunctional. This is also thought to be due to selenium deficiency. Selenium supplements are therefore given and trainers have reported it to reduce the rates of rhabdomyolysis. However, selenium may not be the primary cause of this.

Selenium has also been found to effect fertility rates in horses. It has been found to increase fertility in mares. Selenium is also associated with improved sperm quality and fertility in the stallion.

Too high levels of selenium can cause it to be toxic. An extreme example of toxicity can be seen by an event in America where 21 polo ponies died. They all collapsed and died before a competition and it was found they have very high selenium levels

Animals eating forage that is high in selenium can suffer from alkali disease. Affected animals suffer from hair loss from the manes and tails and hoof problems.

Here are the references I used for this essay just in a short form: Aleman 2007; NRC 2007; Koller and Exon 1986; Aleman 2007; Ishii et al 2002; Bertelsmann et al 2010; Aleman 2007; McGowan et al 2002; Ishii et al 2002; Bertelsmann et al 2010; Holt 2009; Tinggi 2010; Oldfield 2002.

Hope this little summary was interesting. It is strange how something needed in such small amounts can cause such severe problems if horses are deficient or in excess.

Love Laura

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Christmas Gift Guide!

Here are a few little Christmas gifts to buy horse mad people! All of the items featured are from charities so as well as getting a great gift the money will be going to a good cause!

For children...

These Woolley Donkeys are from the Donkey Sanctuary website. They are hand knitted by their supported and each one is different! They are not suitable for children under 3 years old. They are £7.85 and even though I am putting these in the children section I would quite like one myself! Click here to go to the website!

This next item is also from The Donkey Sanctuary. They have loads of great books on there for children and here is one I picked out. It is "The Story of Eeyore, The Naughtiest Donkey in the Sanctuary". It costs just £2.50. Click here to go to the website.

The final children's gift is from the BHS and is glittery horse stickers. It is only £1.50 and I think most little girls would love this present, the pack contains 12 stickers. Click here to go to the website.

For teenagers...

This 2012 is from The Donkey Sanctuary and costs £7.25. They also do a discount if you buy more than one! I think that donkeys have such great character that I'm sure all the photos inside are lovely! Click here to go to the website!

This DVD is from the BHS website and is called "Enjoying Show Jumping With Tim Stockdale". It is £19.99 and runs from approx 105 minutes. Tim Stockdale is one of our countries top show jumpers and in this DVD he shows exercises that you can do at home with your own horse. Click here to go to the website.

The final teenage gift is from Redwings Horse Sanctuary and is a wash bag with cartoon horses on it. This is great for a make up bag or for toiletries. It is £8.99, Click here to go to the website.

For adults...

On the BHS website there is a wide variety of books and you could choose one depending on what the person is interested in. The book I have chosen to feature is "Riding for Gold", I thought this would be appropriate with the Olympics coming up next year. It costs £7.50 and is about the last 50 years of horse trials in Great Britain. Click here to go to the website.

This bag is from Redwings, it is £18.99. It has a zip pocket and inside gift compartment and is great for when you are going out shopping (especially if you live in Wales where we now have to pay for all carrieri bags!).  Click here to go to the website.

The last gift is from Redwings Horse Sanctuary and is an oven glove and is only £5.99. They also have an apron to match. Click here to go to the website.

Hope this helps anyone looking to buy gifts for any horse or donkey enthusiasts! There are so many other things on these websites, I have just picked a few that caught my eye! I think they all sell Christmas cards as well.

I am going home in less than 2 weeks and I will be there for over a month so I will be writing lots of Trooper updates and product reviews then until I go back to university for exams! I am also going to an Equine Science conference next week for three days which I am looking forward to and hopefully I will be able to write a post on that.

(None of these images belong to me!)

Love Laura

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Birthday Cakes

I went home last week and had my friends round for a late birthday party! One of them made me this lovely cake and I had to put it on here! It had a glittery pink horse shoe and a rosette with 22 on as that is how old I am! The candles were also little ponies that were pink! And if anyone is wondering, Boggi is my nickname but that's another story! The cake was also yummy! Thanks Holly for making it for me :-)

While I am writing a post on cakes I thought I would add a photo of my birthday cake I had for my 21st birthday. This one had a black horse in a paddock with a little bale of hay!

Hope I haven't made you all hungry now!

Love Laura

Monday, 28 November 2011

No Stirrups!

I saw this first video on Horse and Hound, it is of Robert Whitaker jumping the puissance wall bare back! They are currently looking into if this is a new world record for the highest jump bareback! Surely it is!

This reminded me of the Spanish Riding School (lots of photos and info. to come), where in some of their schooling jumps they have to ride the horses with no stirrups! It was amazing to watch, the horses were beautiful and so well trained!

I will talk more about the 3 different types of movements the horses do in this video in later posts. I particularly liked how calm the horses were when performing these movements and they just got them to sit more onto the hindlegs to prepare for it.

I find trotting hard enough with no stirrups, when I canter I try and walk as little trot as possible in between! I used to like jumping with no stirrups and bareback but don't think I would like it as much these days!

(None of these videos belong to me)

Love Laura

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Update And Ancient Coat Colour

I am home this week and I have been for 2 little rides on Trooper. He is allowed to be walked for 15 minutes a day and his walk feels the same as before as he is striding forwards nicely. He is very fluffy now and hard to brush. I have taken some photographs of him that I will upload when I go back to university although it seems to be permanently dark at the moment so they are not the best quality.

I'm finally going to watch the Spanish Riding School in Wembley tomorrow so I am going to take lots of photographs! Carl Hester and Lee Pearson are also going to be there!

Here is a link to a news story I thought I would share with you about the coat colours of ancient horses.

I have got a lot of work at the moment so I am finding it hard to find the time to write blog posts as often, I will do them when I can though!!

Love Laura

Friday, 18 November 2011

Hay-Net Blog Of The Day!

For any of you that hasn't been on there yet, Hay-net is a website hosting horse blogs. People can become a member to read the blogs or to write their own! I link my new blog posts on my page on there sending them to blogger! Check out their website if you haven't already. It's a really good idea and has lots of other things as well as blogs such as forums and an "Equine Agony Aunt". Here's a link to their website...

I had an email this morning saying I was their blog of the day so I thought I would put off writing my essay on the methods of analysing silage for another hour and do a quick post! I am going to do a bit of a catch up post for any new people coming to my blog.

I am very excited to be going home next week to see Trooper who I have not seen since September as I am at university doing a masters in Animal Science.Trooper is 22 years old but still acts the same as he did as a 9 year old.He injured his tendon in September and he has been having all sorts of treatments and is healing really well. He is now being ridden at walk for 5 -10 minutes a day!

Here are some photos of him my mum sent me the other day! This is the first year he has not been clipped since we first got him (he didn't need to be because we can't exercise him properly yet). On the photos he looks really fluffy and very muddy!

As you can see I think he is enjoying not having a rug on when all this mud is around! I feel sorry for my mum as he has to be ridden for 5 minutes a day at the moment so she is having to brush him every day to ride him for just 5 minutes!

And please follow if you are not already!

Love Laura

Monday, 14 November 2011


I don't know what is more impressive, the woman doing handstands on the horse or the horse's perfect canter! A bit different to Troopers squealing broncos when he goes on the lunge! Please don't try this at home, I know I wont be!

Love Laura

High-street Horses

I felt like doing a fun post today because I have been busy with lots of work! Here are some more horsey clothes and accessories I have found from high-street shops! They might be some good ideas for Christmas presents but I will probably write a post just on Christmas presents soon!

The first thing, which can be seen below is a clutch bag from ASOS. I love this and it would be perfect on a night out! It is £30 and is zip up with a tassel and has gold horses studded onto it. It is actually quite big as well which is good. Click here for the link!
Below is a scarf from Miss Selfridge with horse print. It is £16! Click here for the link!

The thing is from Topshop, they are socks which are pink with horses on! They are £3.50 but you can get 3 pairs of socks for £8 on there. They are a great stocking filler or secret santa present! Click here for the link!
The next thing is a necklace from Van Peterson at Debenhams which can be seen below. It is a horseshoe with a butterfly and a rose on it and is really pretty. It is currently £28, reduced from £35 and is solid silver. Click here for the link!
Another nice scarf I have found is from House Of Fraser and is £28. This looks like a really nice scarf that would go with lots of outfits. I think it has horseshoes and horse bits on it. Click here for the link!
Finally is this ring from ASOS and is £8, it is a horse shoe with a whip going through the middle. Click here for the link!

(None of these images belong to me)

Hope you enjoyed and don't forget to subscribe if you haven't already!

Love Laura

Thursday, 10 November 2011

A Short History of Thoroughbreds

I am very busy now with lots of assignments to do so I am finding it hard to post as often as I was doing before. I am currently writing a genetics essay on racehorses so I thought I would do a post on the history of Thoroughbreds. I did a presentation on Thoroughbred breeding last year and it is a very interesting topic.

There is a long history of horse racing, there are records of flat racing existed in 1174. There were three important Arabian horses imported in the 17th and 18th century, these were the Darley Arabian, the Godolphin Arabian and the Byerly Turk. All modern Thoroughbreds are descended in the male line from one of these three horses. There are fifty female lines still in existence. There are problems with this however, as coming from such a small number of horses they all have quite similar genetics. This limits the amount you can select the horses when breeding and may mean they could all be susceptible to certain diseases.

The Darley Arabian

The Godolphin Arabian

The Byerly Turk

(I do not own any of these images)

I know these images are paintings and not photos but these horses do look very different from the Thoroughbreds we have today. Probably because they are Arabs will have been crossed with other horses. And surely their heads can't have been that small in real life!

Most Thoroughbreds are descendants from the Darley Arabian. This is called the "Eclipse" line, named after the Darley Arabians grand-sire, Eclipse. It is thought that 95% of Thoroughbreds could come from this line.

The General Stud Book is the official record of the thoroughbred breeding industry and is made by Weatherbys. They reserve the right to decide what horses can be admitted to, excluded or removed from its pages. No horse is allowed to run unless it has been registered. And all foals must be registered within four months of birth. 

So if you own a Thoroughbred they are likely to be a distant relative to one of these three horses!

Love Laura

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Troops Photos

Here are a few photos of Trooper that my mum has been sending me. They were both taken today, he was very muddy this afternoon when they went to bring him in from the field! And the bottom photo is when she was having her first 5 minute ride on him. She just walked around the yard as it is a smooth surface there but we have to go over some cobbles before we get to the road so she didn't want to take him over those just yet. The surface in our outdoor arena is also quite deep, so for now he is just walking around the yard or in the indoor arena.

He looks cute and fluffy! I can't wait to see him properly because we have never not had him clipped in the winter so I think he will look funny!

Love Laura
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