Sunday, 31 July 2011

Product Review- Lemune Plus Fly Repellent

Today I am going to do a product review of Lemune Plus Fly Repellent. As it's summer, there are so many flies around at the moment and Trooper is itching his mane and tail. This is my own opinion of the product.

Troops with the lemune fly spray (excuse the messy stable!!).

We have been using this fly spray since last summer as we have found it to be very effective. I apply it before he goes out into the field and if there are a lot of flies around I apply it while he is in the stable as well.

There were new regulations made for fly spray in 2006. Substances that were marketed as "active" ingredients were no long approved for sale. Some of these products included citronella oil, cedar oil, eucalyptus oil, tea tree oil etc. When these substances are used in other products they were not effected, only where they for an "active" component to the formulation. Therefore this fly spray was made in compliance with the new regulations. I am not sure why they changed these regulations, I've been trying to Google it with no luck. If anyone knows then let me know! If they can still use these ingredients in other products then I would guess these products can't be harmful, although I am not sure.

The label on the bottle.

I paid £10.67 exactly for the fly spray and that was for 500 ml. I am not sure where we got it from, probably a horse show. This is lemune plus fly spray and I'm guessing there used to be just a lemune one but I don't think they make this any more.

It definitely does repel the flies when he is wearing it. He is still itching his mane and tail a bit so at some point the midges are biting him. The fly spray doesn't last all night so this is probably after it has warn off and I often do not apply it during the day as his stable doesn't have many flies. He is still itching less than he has been with other fly sprays and as he has sweet itch it would take a bit of a miracle to stop him itching all together! The fly spray itself does not have an irritating effect on Troopers skin and I use it all over his body. On the bottle it says spray 8-13 sprays of the product on each side of the horse requiring protection. This seems quite a lot and I definitely don't do this much! Maybe I should try it...

I am not going to talk too much about the ingredients because I don't understand the regulations. All I do know is that it complies with the regulations and smells very nice!

I have confused myself writing this when I started looked at the regulations of fly repellent ingredients, so I would guess you're confused reading it! Sorry! I'll do another post when I understand it all! But with regards to the actual product I really like it and will keep using it on Troops during the summer. I would recommend you to try it if you are not happy with your current fly repellent!

Love Laura

Saturday, 30 July 2011

The Digestive System

I thought I would carry on with some of my equine anatomy posts after my last evolution one. I have skipped quite a few because they weren't interesting enough. So this post is on the horses digestive system. I know this part of the anatomy especially well after my dissertation.

The horses digestive system (picture from
1. Mouth
2. Pharynx
3. Oesophagus
4. Diaphragm
5. Spleen
6. Stomach
7. Duodenum
8. Liver, upper extremity
9. Large colon
10. Caecum
11. Small intestine
12. Small colon
13. Rectum
14. Anus
15. Left kidney and its ureter
16. Bladder
17. Urethra

I will start at the mouth and work my way along the tract! When horses are eating they chew 73-92 times a minute. They make 800 to 1200 chewing movements per kg of concentrate. The mandibular muscles in the cheek are very thick. The circular motion of the jaw shears food. Particles of hay are reduced to 1.6mm in length. The upper lip is strong to place the forage between the teeth. The tongue is not like a cow's, it moves ingested material to the check teeth for grinding. The pharynx is a muscular membranous sac, it prevents choking during swallowing. The guttural pouch has an unknown meaning but is 300-500 mm in volume.

The horses' teeth (photo from

The oesophagus is the first region of the alimentary canal. It is a musculomembranous tube.
The horse’s stomach is quite small and leads into the first section of small intestine- the duodenum. The stomach is a different structure at the top than bottom. There is strong valve called the cardiac sphincter which is what stops them from being sick. 8.15 litres can fit in the stomach (I think this is an average).

The small intestine is 22-25 metres long, there are different regions: - the duodenum, jejunum and ileum. The duodenum is closely positioned to the liver and pancreas. It receives bile from the liver via the bile duct. The rate of transit for digesta going through the small intestine is very rapid. Typically 50% of food going into the stomach of a pony will have reached the distal part of the ileum after 1 hour. It has been estimated that digesta  can travel through the small intestine at a rate of about 30 cm/min. Despite the rapid passage rate through the small intestine, there is still considerable absorption. Most of the fat in the diet is absorbed  here– largely due to bile. However, there is still absorption of protein and carbohydrate material.

The large intestine is around 7.5-8 metres in length. The width is larger than the small intestine. It can be divided into different sections.

The caecum can be viewed as a large cul-de-sac between the ileum and the colon. Humans have a very small caecum near the appendix, we do not need ours to the extent horses do as we are not herbivores. It can hold about 25-30 litres and is around 125 cm long. It has the form of a comma and is curved. The caecum-colon border is a region of overlap which is difficult to define. There are lots of folds which increase the surface area. The entrance and exits both have muscular valves to stop back flow. The main function of the caecum is to break down complex carbohydrates. This is done in association with microbes present in the organ as horses don’t have the enzymes required. Cellulose is very difficult to digest and the microbes help with the process.

The caecum.

The colon is split into the large and small colon. The passage rate of digestion is quick as within 3 hours of eating, it will be in the colon. Much of the unabsorbed material spends a great deal of time in the intestine of the horse. There are 100 million microbes per mm there. The passage rate also depends on the diet, pellet diets pass faster and fresh grass is faster than hay.

The liver is the largest gland in the body. It has lobes and produces bile. The hepatic duct is 5cm long and goes through the duodenum. The horse doesn't have a gall bladder so the liver is very important in the horse.

The horses digestive system is a long and complex tract. It is understandable how horses can get colic when they have such a long intestine. 

Love Laura

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Evolution Of The Horse

For some of my equine science posts I have decided to look through my lecture notes and past assignments and edit and add to them. The first topic I saw that was interesting was evolution of the horse. This was from my equine anatomy module. 

There are two main methods to study evolution; these are fossil records and genetic markers. The horse family has very good fossil records.

Horses are in the order Perissodactyla; this includes tapirs and rhinos as well as horses and zebras etc. The very early members of Perissodactyl were very small- around the size of a terrier. Horses are in the suborder Hippomorpha. There are three families in this; horses are in the family Equidea. 350 different equid species have been found. Modern equine show wide genetic diversity when breeding with each other but as they don’t produce fertile young they are separate species. For example, a horse bred with a donkey produces a mule but this cannot be bred as most mules will be infertile.

The horse has evolved in a number of ways: -
  • They have increased in size
  • Reduce number of digits
  • Increased length of skull
  • Increased depth of molars
  • Change in premolars towards molars
  • Change in eye structure
There have probably been other changes that can’t be seen on fossil records such as changes in behavior.

54-38 million years ago, all horses appear to have 4 toes and premolars. Orohippus is an examples of this.

38-26 million years ago the horse walked on 3 toes and the premolars were disappearing. Mesohippus and Miohippus are examples and are getting bigger. Most were still browse feeders in forests but some were starting to live on plains. Merychippus was another variety of the same animal and also had 3 toes on all four feet but was living a bit later on.

26-7 million years ago Parahippus had started to show signs of adapting to plains. Parahippus possessed 3 digits but the lateral ones were shorter and would only touch the floor on rough terrain. They were starting to get elongation of teeth.

By 7 million years ago the lateral digits had disappeared. Pliohippus was one of the first kind of horses that walked on one digit as today's Equus does. This had curved teeth however, so is thought unlikely to be an ancestor of the modern horse.

The modern day Equus is thought to have evolved from Dinohippus. Fossil records have found that Dinohippus rapidly spread in the old world and evolved into zebras an asses which as in the Equus category.


In Eurasia, horse fossils have been found from around 6,000 years ago. It is thought that these were domesticated horses as knowledge of capturing, taming and rearing horses spread quickly with people.

(The images in this post do not belong to me.)

Love Laura

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Trooper Update- Losing Weight And Painting The Stable

This week I think Trooper is finally getting back down to his normal weight. I measured him with the weight tape and he his 484 kg. When I got back from university at the end of May he was 518 kg. I know weight tapes aren't very accurate but it shows he has lost weight. His girth is going up an extra hole too! He is out in the field over night but he comes in for a few hours in the day and just has his feed and no hay during this time.


When I have been riding him this week I have been mainly schooling him. He has been quite spooky but it was windy at the start of the week. He hasn't coughed at all week. I have been working on his transitions especially walk to trot and back to walk. I have been doing a transition at every letter of the school His transitions never seem improve a great deal, especially his downwards ones but it does help him to go more softly in the trot after I have done them. Towards the end of the session he has been going quite nicely. His fitness is back up to what it was before now so I will book a lesson soon with my teacher. 

He had his mane and tail washed yesterday because he has been itching quite a bit. The flies are all back out now as it has got a bit warmer.

Trooper's chubby bum and scruffy tail!

We have been painting the stable this morning. The other owners along our block have painted theirs so we thought we should too. We also jet sprayed the rubber matting and the stable floor underneath. Trooper wasn't very happy because he likes to come in for a sleep during the day. We brought him in and fed him and turned him back out but he was trying to escape from the field every time somebody went up. In the end we brought him back in and tied him up with a hay net. We turned him back out before we left but he was still standing at the gate.

These photos were taken yesterday afternoon after he had his mane and tail washed and had gone back into the field. 

Love Laura

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

My Dissertation!

In my final year of my course at university I had to do a 60 page dissertation. I chose to carry mine out looking into probiotics and a potential new probiotic that could be used in the horse.

I decided to look what effect Actimel would have if it was given to the horse (a probiotic daily yoghurt drink for humans). I couldn't start feeding Actimel to horses in case it had a bad effect so I had to make a model of the equine digestive tract in the lab and look at the possible effects it would have on the horse. This would be the first step in testing it for it eventually being given to a horse.


The microbes in the horses hind gut are very important in breaking down the forage they eat. Probiotics work to help these by "topping up your friendly bacteria" and they were discovered over a hundred years ago. It is thought to help improve your digestion and often have benefits on the immune system. Part of my dissertation was a 10 page literature review of research that has been carried out into probiotics. There is currently only one probiotic on the market for horses in the U.K. so all supplements or feeds containing this have the same one. Many studies have found they improved digestion in horses but other studies have also found they have a limited effect. Probtioics have been found to be especially beneficial during stressful periods such as weaning or during a dietary shift.

The front cover of my dissertation.

I looked at a number of different factors when assessing the probiotic such as the DNA profile of the microbes in the hind gut, the pH, ammonia and volatile fatty acids. In the end I found that it had no effect on most of the factors I looked at compared to a control. However, I found it may have a negative effect on the pH. This meant it would not be safe to give actimel to a horse as it may have bad effects on the digestion. It made the pH more acidic which is related to the onset of laminitis, so this would not be advised. 

More research needs to be carried out into probiotics as they have been found to have many beneficial effects  but there is a wide variety of results in research. It is thought many factors can effect it such as the probiotic has to be able to survive fore gut digestion to reach the intestines and it has to be the correct probiotic for that animal.

Carrying out this dissertation was a lot of hard work, I spent hours in the lab repeating things that hadn't worked the first time due to technology failing me! But I was very happy with the final mark.

Love Laura

Monday, 25 July 2011

Cheshire County Show

A few weeks ago I went to Cheshire County Show. This is mainly an agricultural show that happens every year. They've got lots of different competitions there but mainly for horses and farm animals. There are showing and show jumping competitions for the horses and a lot of them are qualifiers for larger shows such as Horse Of The Year Show. They also have dog shows, a food hall and food competitions, shops, demonstrations and shows, and lots more! There are lots of educational attractions teaching people about agriculture and where their food comes from, especially in the "Plough to Plate" exhibition. The main attractions include stunt motor bike riders and falconry displays.

This year my highlight of the show was watching the Shire Horses. I don't know a lot about Shires but there were a number of different competitions including driving a cart and ones with the mare and their foal. The horses are all dressed up with the plumes in their manes. Here are some of the photographs I took of them (excuse the English weather!).

The person driving the cart was sat up so straight they were almost standing on some of the carts. I wondered what would happen if the horse pulled them forward but when we looked the driver was strapped in. These horses pulling carts were a bit of a change from the scurry drivers we usually see with the little tiny ponies galloping around cones!

When they are preparing the foals for the competition they brush their hair the wrong way and put something on it to make it stay there. I think this was to make them look younger. 

I was far more interested in the horses but I did take one photograph of one of the cow competitions!

I also went to Cheshire Show last year, and here are a few photos I took then. The goats were interesting to go and look at while they were in the tent as they were all climbing up the sides of the pens and being generally naughty.

One of the goats.

The hunt has been there both times I have been there. They come in with lots of riders and hounds. Fox hunting was banned a few years ago but drag hunting is still popular. As it is an agricultural show the hunt always gets a big cheer and standing ovation as many people believe it is part of our heritage and important to the farmers.

The hounds from the hunt.

The hunt, with the women at the front riding side saddle.

Below is a video filmed of Cheshire last year from YouTube!

The Royal Welsh Show was on last week and it is a larger version of Cheshire Show. They also have lots of Welsh Cobs there that look amazing when they are showing them in hand. I am hoping to go to it next year!

Love Laura

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Product Review- Winergy Ventilate

Trooper has had a cough on and off for many years. It is usually at the end of the winter just before he starts going out over night. Over the years he has seen the vet and been given Ventipulmin and Sputolosin to open his airways and help bring up any mucus. This year when I got back from university for the summer he was also quite fat and his cough had become worse than usual. My Mum had called the vet out to him but she said his chest sounded clear. Despite this, I could barely trot him without him coughing and stretching his neck out to try and get more air. He had also developed a heave line along the side of his body which is a symptom of RAO. I am sure the fact he was over weight was making it worse but I couldn't get him to loose weight very well because of his cough. So I searched on the internet for a supplement to give him that would hopefully improve it. I came across Winergy Ventilate and people had said their vets had recommended it as an alternative to Ventipulmin.

My box of Winegy Ventilate.

When I looked into the product I saw it had some research into it. It claimed to have extensive trials published by WALTHAM (the worlds leading authority in pet care and nutrition) in collaboration with the Animal Health Trust in Newmarket which found in as little as 4 weeks the horses receiving the supplement had higher levels of antioxidants. Antioxidants have been found to improve the lung health of horses. I don't want to go into it in too much detail but antioxidants help to prevent damage from free radicals that occurs in the lungs. In horses they have been found to significantly improve exercise tolerance and significantly reduce an inflammatory score (Kirschvink et al, 2002).

The product says it is proven to support lung health. It has a unique antioxidant blend, powerful nutrient support and is scientifically proven. It is suitable for horses competing under Jockey Club and FEI rules. The product is quite expensive as it is around £32-£38 for 2.8 kg which is a months supply. It also comes in a larger bag of 10 kg for around £125. I just worked this out on a calculator and it isn't actually cheaper buying it in the bag. There might be cheaper bags out there than the one I just looked at though.

Photos of the side of the box.

There is a guide on the side of the box of how much to give to your horse;

  • Up to 14.2hh and up to 450 kg they should have 50 g a day which is one measure.
  • 14.2 hh- 16.2 hh and up to 600 kg they should have 2 measures a day.
  • Over 16.2 hh and over 600 kg they should have 3 measures a day.

As for the ingrediants it is said to contain a combination of antioxidants such as vitamin E, vitamin C and selenium along with dried herbs and spices such as garlic rosemary and nutmeg. I'm not sure what else is in the product though.

Sooo, does it actually work? I started giving my horse 2 scoops a day as this is the category he fell in. The scoops are only small so he had them mixed with his half a scoop of Happy Hoof that he normally has in his feed. Within 3 days of giving him the feed in the morning he had stopped coughing. This may just be a coincidence but I really do think this has helped him. After about 2 weeks I decided to reduce the amount he was having to 1 scoop a day and he started coughing a bit again. Now I give him 1 scoop a day but if he does  cough one day I will give him 2 scoops in his feed. As he had stooped coughing I was able to ride him properly again and help him to lose weight which will have also helped to stop his cough.

It comes in small pellets which can be seen in the photo below.

The small pellets with the scoop.

Another thing which might be a plus for people with fussy horses (Trooper will eat pretty much anything) is that he seems to love it. It smells of herbs and when I open the box in our locker to make his feed even the cat comes to try and eat some. It's got to the point where I have to keep his feed covered at all times so she wont  start eating it!

Pixie the cat trying to eat the feed while I was taking the photos!

The only downside is the price and after this box I might try him without it for a while and see how his breathing is. As he is 22 years old now it might be good for him to stay on it anyway, especially through the winter.

Here is a link to their website . I am on my second box now and have bought both from as I found this to be the cheapest website. I was very impressed with this website as both times it arrived within 24 hours.

All in all I found Winergy Ventilate to be a very good feed supplement and I would definitely recommend it to anyone who has a horse with breathing problems.

Love Laura

Saturday, 23 July 2011

The Equine Family Tree

Last summer I carried out a 2 week work experience placement with Horse Magazine. While I was there I wrote a blog for their website so I decided to copy and paste it onto here (I don't think it's cheating because I wrote it in the first place!). So here it is...

My Welsh cob Trooper is definitely a character, and at the age of 21 he's still as mad as ever. But despite the fact that Mum and I have owned him for 12 years, we knew very little about his breeding. So I decided to research his family on the internet.

My starting point was the breeding certificate with his parent's names on. It was surprisingly easy to find information about his ancestry – and photos too.

A quick Google search brought up the website of the stud farm that owned his sire. I discovered lots of interesting details about him – they said he was very cheeky and at his first competition he rolled in the show-ring, right in front of the judge. It's just the sort of thing Trooper would do.

I also went on to find he had ancestors on both sides that had been to the Horse Of The Year Show. I was very impressed. I could see the family resemblance in all of them.

For anyone who is interested in Welsh Cobs, my horses stud book name is Deepwell Caradog Ap Cardi. His sire was Cyntwell Prince Cardi. His grandparents were Hewid Cardi  on the sire line who can be seen in the first photo below. And Rhystyd Meredith on the dam line who can be seen on the second photo.

Hewid Cardi (Photo taken from

Rhystyd Meredith (Photo taken from

I would definitely recommend looking into the history of your horse. Who knows – he could have some famous relatives. Even after 12 years of owning Trooper, I now feel like I know him a little better.

Love Laura


I want my blog to look more pretty so I am going to do a blog post with lots of photos of my horse Trooper. As you can imagine after owning him for 12 years I have hundreds of photos of him. I will add a few now but I might make it a weekly post.

At the farm where I keep Trooper we are lucky enough to have lots of places to ride. There is an indoor and outdoor arena and also a jumping area outside. We also have a little farm ride and a stream.

Me riding Trooper in the stream.

I'm not even sure who this cat is as it isn't the one that lives in our locker. One winter it would just be sat on Trooper's back every time I came down and sometimes it would stay on even after leading him out of the stable. He is all wrapped up in his lovely rug here!

Trooper with a cat sat on his back!

Below is one of my Mums efforts at taking a photo of me, she never quite gets all of me in the photo! I like this one though!

Me riding Trooper.

This was taken either last summer of the summer before after he had had a bath. While he was clean and it was a nice day I managed to take lots of nice photos of him. I wish he looked like this now. This morning I brought him in from the field with a sticky minty patch of saliva on his neck that was covered in bits of Polos. I would take a guess that his best mate Joe was the culprit!

Trooper after a bath.

Love Laura

Friday, 22 July 2011


I am a 21 year old who has owned a horse from the age of 8. I am also a graduate with an Equine Science degree from Aberystwyth University. I am creating this blog to talk about a range of horsey matters including product reviews and health articles. My main interest lies in nutrition and I will be looking at different feeds and supplements.

My horse is a 22 year old Welsh Cob called Trooper. He is currently a bit fat and gradually losing weight. He is also an RAO and sweet itch sufferer which I will be talking about in some of my up coming blogs. He was also my first horse (although I have owned another one in between and looked after many others). I have competed at Riding Club level on him although we got eliminated at the first jump for a few years!

If you want me to look into anything for you let me know!

Love Laura!
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