Tuesday, 31 July 2012

My Trip To Greenwich, Olympic XC

Here are some of the photographs my Dad took from our day at the Olympic Cross Country yesterday. I have a few more photos still to come but I need to sort though them! We had a great day and Greenwich looked amazing. The sun even came out for our day there which we were very lucky for considering the summer we are currently having!

Below is me and my Mum outside the arena.

They had all the countries flags flying around the top of the arena.

I really liked how the arena didn't have seats at one end. It made it look amazing. They also placed a big screen at this end so you could watch what was going on in other places in the course. The commentator also kept everyone up to date with information and big cheers were always heard when our riders were mentioned.

The crowds were quite large and there was definitely not a shortage of spectators. To get a better view of each jump you usually had to wait for a horse to go over it then some people would move onto the next jump  and we could get closer to the front. There were people from all different countries and people wearing flags, wigs, face paint and many other flag themed items of clothing!

There was also a shop to by official merchandise. We didn't buy anything but may have another look when we go back for the dressage as it will be quieter.

We watched Mary King jump the water jump. We had to wait for a while there as there were around 4 or 5 horses to go before Mary and 2 of them fell off! The cheers were so loud when a rider came from GB. We could hear the cheers going all around the course every time they had completed a jump. It was a very different atmosphere than normal three day events. The horses coped really well with the great atmosphere.

At each jump was a poster board telling you the name of the jump and the inspiration behind making it along with any other bits of information. This was the playground jump as there was a playground on the other side of the fence!

The course was quite hilly. This was at the top of the steep hill with the view of London behind.

Below was one of my favourite jump combinations. Not only did it have a working water fountain in the background, each jump had tiny water fountains on them over the flowers! Another jump I will show in my next blog post had two huge horse statues made out of horse shoes.

There were plenty of ambulances and horse ambulances all round the course. This was by the warm up arena while we were watching Zara Phillips warm up.

The only problem we had with the day was with the travelling, I may talk a bit more about that in another post! As we were getting the train back to our coach a reporter came over and asked for a little interview on what we thought about Zara Phillips. Here is the link to the article they wrote which I am mentioned in! Click here! 

We all had a really good day and I am very excited to be going back on the 9th for the dressage. I feel very lucky to have tickets!

Love Laura

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Lazy Days

The summer weather has finally arrived in the UK and all of the horses are feeling very lazy. I am back from university for the weekend to go to a wedding on Saturday then for the Olympic XC on Monday. I went to the farm this morning and rode Trooper. He was good but he was stiff on the right rein for around 30 seconds when I first went into trot. He then loosened up and was much better.

This afternoon I went to the farm to turn Troops out and he was very sleepy (see below!). The children are now on their summer holidays and two little boys were playing football in the garden of the house. Just I was walking Trooper past they kicked the ball over the fence and it rolled right under Trooper's legs. He didn't even bother and just kept walking.

When I turned him out he went for a drink. He loves the water trough in the field because he can gulp lots of water down. I have attached a video of him below. Does anyone else's horse's ears move backwards and forwards when they drink and water come out their nose? I think I have a strange horse!

Love Laura

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Olympic Updates

Just a quick post to say I am going to watch the Cross Country on Monday the 30th of July and then I will be watching the Dressage Grand Prix on Thursday the 9th of August. I will be writing blog posts after my visit but during the day I will be putting updates on Twitter along with photos. If you would like to follow me on Twitter my address is  @Laura_C_H!

We are getting a coach down on the day of the Cross Country. As a lot of people are attending this event coaches have been put in from all around the country. We are still waiting for our tickets to arrive but hopefully this will be sorted out soon!

The 19th of July issue of Horse & Hound is an Olympic special with lots of info in so I recommend you get it if you're in the UK.

Love Laura

Sunday, 22 July 2012

An Olympic Blog For You To Take A Look At

I found this blog earlier and thought it was great. Lots of information and photos from someone living in the Olypic Village and involved with the equestrian events. I am writing this blog post from my phone so cannot go back and check but I think Will who writes the blog is a director of some of the equestrian team or events... Don't quote me on that... He is showing the grooms and riders around the village and there is lots of information about the Olypic Village. It is an interesting read!


 Love Laura

Thursday, 19 July 2012

A Beginner's Guide To The Equestrian Olympic Disciplines And Riders

I thought for the Sundays GB Rider Profile post I would just do a quick summary of the discipline for any people reading this that are new to the sport and the names of the riders in the teams for each of the equestrian events. If I have written a profile for that rider then I will link to it! The riders will be competing in a team and individually. 

This is similar to gymnastics but for horses. They will be scored out of 10 for every movement by a number of judges placed at different places around the arena. There are a number of dressage competitions. In some there will be a set routine in which all the riders carry out. In others it is "freestyle" during this the riders have moves they have to include in the routine but can do it in their own order. The Kur is when the riders do the routine to music. 

The team;

Show Jumping
This consists of two rounds. In the first round the horse and rider have to jump a number of jumps in the correct order without knocking jumps down or having refusals. There may also be a time limit in which they will gain penalties if they go over. After this round all the horses that have no penalties will go on to the "jump off". In the jump off the fastest horse to go clear wins. They have to get the correct balance between going as fast as they can and going too fast which will cause them to knock the jumps down. The jump off course is often different to the first course and the jumps may go higher.

The team;

  • Scott Brash  riding Hello Sanctos
  • Tina Fletcher riding Hello Sailor
  • Nick Skelton riding Big Star
  • Ben Maher riding Tripple X III
  • Peter Charles riding Murka's Vindicat W

This discipline traditionally runs over three days and tests the best all round horse and riders. The first day is the dressage, the second is the cross country and the third is the show jumping. The dressage and show jumping phases are similar to those described above, with only one round for each. The cross country is a long distance jumping course that may last around 10-12 minutes. The jumps in this are often more natural such as logs and hedges.  There are also usually water jumps which gather large crowds as people often fall off into the water! There is a set time in which they have to complete the course in before they start to receive penalty points for every second they go over. This will test the horses endurance and bravery along with that of the riders. The over-all score for eventing is counted on penalties. Therefore in the dressage if they got a 9/10 for one move this would give them one penalty point. Penalties will then be added on for being too slow in the cross country or refusals of jumps. On the last day in the show jumping there may be a difference of a few penalties between riders and one jump knocked down can be the difference between winning and losing. 

The team;

As I am sure you all know I have been lucky enough to get tickets for the cross country on the 30th of July and the Dressage Grand Prix on the 9th of August. I will try and get some photos and write some posts on my Olympics experience. I will also be trying to watch as much of the rest as I can in between doing lab work which I hope will be finished as soon as possible. 

If anyone has any questions about the disciplines then  don't hesitate to ask! I will probably try and write the rider profile for the remaining few riders over the next two weeks as they are nice posts for me to write while I am not at home my own horse.

Love Laura

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Microbes In The Hindgut

I thought it would be a good idea to write a post on the microbes that live in the hindgut of the horse as this is the subject I am currently researching in for my dissertation. I am doing lab work during the days at the moment and also having to write other work up in the evenings which is why I haven't had the time to write blog posts.

In the horse's digestive system they have evolved to have a large hindgut (caecum and large intestine) as this is the main area in which their food is digested. Horses diets consist of a large proportion of forage which contain cellulose, this is difficult to digest. The microbes that live in the caecum are able to digest this cellulose. They live in the horses gut in a mutually beneficial relationship as they provide nutrients for the horse in return for a place to live. They produce volatile fatty acids for the horse.

These microbes include bacteria, protozoa and fungi and they all work in different ways. Most information that is known in this area focuses on the bacteria. The levels of bacteria present in the gut are very high, there can be between 500,000,000 to 5,000,000,000 bacteria per gram in the caecum. The levels present have been found to differ between horses. Native breeds often have higher populations present than other breeds, this may be due to them having to evolve to live in a more harsh environment and need to digest their food more efficiently. One of the main types of bacteria present is Streptococci, this is involved with the digestion of fibre.

The microbes in the hindgut are also thought to be involved with the onset of laminitis. The population present can be altered by a number of factors including the feed the horse is eating. Certain types of bacteria are more suited to digesting a high starch diet and other ones are better at digesting a high forage diet. This means that the population of bacteria will vary depending on what the horse is eating. This is also one of the reasons why you should make gradual changes to your horses diet and not change it abruptly. During a sudden rise in starch in the horses diet, lactobacilli bacteria will proliferate as they will be more suited to digesting this. This type of bacteria also produce lactic acid causing acidic conditions in the hindgut. This can lead to acidosis and also will kill off some of the other bacteria inhabiting the hindgut. 

For my dissertation I am looking at the effect worming horses has on the microbial population in the hindgut of the horse. There has not been any work looking in this area previously. After collecting poo samples from horses on they day they wormed, 2 days after and 2 weeks after (nice, I know) I have been analysing it in the labs. I have counted the levels of protozoa present under a microscope and now I am doing the DNA analysis to see which bacteria are present and in what levels.

I think this post is long enough now! Hope you enjoyed, I will write another post soon but they may not be coming as often as usual for the next few weeks.

Love Laura

Friday, 13 July 2012

Too Much Energy

Just a quick update... We have a new surface in our outdoor arena now. I am currently away doing my dissertation but I will get some photos when I am home. I have ridden on it once and it was really nice. The old surface was very deep so was not very good for Trooper's tendon. This one is sandy but has small pieces of fabric in it like carpet! When I was riding Trooper on this new surface he had a lot of energy. I thought this was probably due to him not being ridden much while I was away. Part of the fencing has also changed which he was spooking at. He was really good though and I had a nice ride.

He has been in the outdoor arena a few times now and he still has a lot of energy. My Mum lunged him the other day and he was doing bucking broncos! She also rode him yesterday and he still had a lot of energy and was spooking a lot. 

I am not sure if he has got too much energy or if he is just being naughty. He is out overnight but when he is in the stable during the day he doesn't have any hay. I would have thought that the worst of the spring grass is over so it is strange he suddenly has a lot of energy! He has half a scoop of Happy Hoof for his feed when he comes in because he is in the routine of having a feed when he comes in. It is a few more weeks before I go home but I think he will have to be ridden as much as possible at the moment and  we will see how he is. 

Love Laura

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

I Am Still Here!

Hi everyone, just to let you all know I will be writing more posts soon but I am very busy at the moment with lab work for my dissertation and I am back in Aberystwyth for 3 weeks! Trooper is doing well and has lost some weight and I am going to the Olympics in a few weeks so there will definitely be posts on that!!

Hope you're all well!

Love Laura

Friday, 6 July 2012

Welfare And Behaviour

This is the last post in my behaviour series and is going to talk about the welfare of the horse with regards to behaviour.

Animal welfare is often measured in context of the 5 freedoms. This is also often seen when looking at livestock. These are as follows;
1. Freedom from hunger and thirst.
2. Freedom from discomfort.
3. Freedom from pain, injury and disease.
4. Freedom to express normal behaviour.
5. Freedom from fear and distress.

Duncan (1996) said ‘neither health, nor lack of stress nor fitness is necessary and/or sufficient to conclude that an animal has good welfare.  Welfare is dependant on what the animals feel’.

There are a lot of questions about the welfare of horses. Factors should be assessed from a physical and psychological perspective. However, by owning horses we also benefit the horse from a physcial perspective as it gets food and water and is looked after. It has also ensured survival of a species that may have become extinct in the wild if they did not have this link with humans. This may balance out the inconvenience of being ridden. 

Behavioural needs
Behavioural needs are species specific. They will still perform the behaviour even if they don't need to. An example of this can be seen in birds with nest building as if a nest is built for them they will still want to build one. 

Behavioural needs reflect the evolutionary pressure that has been placed on a species. These behaviours are wired into the horse's brain. Prevention of the behaviours can cause a stress response in the animal. Primary equine behavioural needs are eating, locomotion and social contact. 

The horse is quite unique as a species as it has not received the same level of domestication as other species such as dogs and yet is kept in a restrictive environment. This may be problematic from a welfare perspective. The more motivated an animal is to perform a behaviour, the more frustrated it will be if it is prevented from performing it. 

Stabled horses may be fed a diet that is low in forage. This has been linked to the development of stereotypies and health problems including ulceration and colic. When looking at horses on a diet high in fibre (which is more suitable) there may still be differences between the types of fibre. Thorne et al (2005) carried out a trial to look at the behavioural effects when horses were provided with a diet with multiple forages. Horses on a multiple forage diet performed foraging behaviour more frequently and for longer periods of time than horses on a single forage diet. There were indications that horses demonstrated individual preferences for particular forages. Abnormal behaviours such as weaning were only seen on the single forage diet. These results indicated that there were potentially beneficial behavioural effects of multiple forage provision over a 7 day period. It may be a means of enriching the horse's environment.

Love Laura


Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Tendon Timeline

I have wanted to do this post for a while now as I thought it would be a good guide for people dealing with a horse with a tendon injury. Trooper injured his tendon at the start of September and is now (touch wood) fully recovered so I thought it would be a good idea to make one post linking to all my other tendon posts over the past few months. Some of the blog posts focus on other things but include an update at some point.

16/09/11-Very lame. 2 bute a day. Hosing for 20 minutes a day.  Tendon Injury

21/09/11- Would not stand on leg.  Bandages and Compagel to help with swelling. Given cartrophen injection. In the field for 3 hours a day. 2 bute a day. Ultrasound Scan

06/10/11-Given platelet rich plasma injection. Physiotherapy.  Platelet-Rich Plasma Injection

04/11/11- Start riding for 5 minutes a day or walking in hand for 5 minutes a day. Given HY-50 injection. Trooper's Tendon Injury; HY-50 Injection

18/11/11- Trooper was being ridden in walk for 5 minutes a day. Bute given every day. Haynet Blog Of The Day

29/12/11- Ridden for sessions of half an hour in walk with 4 minutes of trot. No circles.  Building Up Work

11/01/12- Being ridden at canter.  Ban Chinese Lanterns

23/01/12- Breaking into trot before cantering a full lap of the arena. A bit on the forehand when being ridden. Riding circles in walk and trot but not yet in canter. No bute. Trooper's Leg

11/04/12- Doesn't feel stiff. Riding smaller circles. Just A Little Update

18/04/12- Doing lateral work. Blue Skies

Here is another post I wrote that might be of use to people researching about tendon injury treatments about stem cell treatment.

He has come a long way since he first injured the leg. I think due to him being 22 years old, it was important we kept turning him out for a few hours during the day so he did not get stiff. He is also quite sensible in the field so we knew he wouldn't put too much strain on it.

Love Laura

Sunday, 1 July 2012

GB Rider Profile; Richard Davison

The dressage Team GB has recently been revealed and it was announced that Richard Davison would be competing as an individual rider. Richard has been the number one dressage rider in Great Britain on a number of occasions and in 2008 he was the British team captain at the Beijing Olympics. He was also the team captain at the European Championships in 2009 in which they won a team silver and he won an individual bronze. He has competed at three Olympic games.

Richard is from Staffordshire and at a young age he rode in the pony club, having his first pony at the age of 9. His wife and children are also involved in horses and competing.

Below is a video fro YouTube of him riding his horse Artemis to an Elton John medley! This is the horse he will be riding in the Olympics.

He has his own website which is linked below and contains up to date information about him.

(These photos do not belong to me)

Love Laura
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...