Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Guest post; Getting the right insurance for your box or trailer

Horsebox insurance – it’s not the most exciting thing to spend cash on, and frankly it can seem complicated to work out what level of cover you need.  But like it or not, if you have a horsebox or trailer and something goes wrong, you’ll be glad you took 10 minutes to sort out the right policy. 

A box or trailer might be one of the most expensive items you own and it is also vulnerable to thieves and damage.  Whether you’re at home in the yard or out competing, horseboxes can be an easy target for opportunistic thieves or can simply get in the way of other people, machinery or horses resulting in damage.   If the worst does happen, having insurance means you’ll have no worries about replacement – and most importantly, you’ll be back on the road again and into the competition ring, quickly.

So where do you start?  Spend a few moments thinking about how you use your horsebox and what situations could arise. Speaking to an insurance expert, who is familiar with horses, could also help you to consider other situations where you might need cover.

Your box or trailer is especially vulnerable when you’re at a show.  It could be targeted by thieves taking advantage of you needing to rush off to pick up your numbers (or pick up your trophy!)  And most of the time it’s not just horses that you put in your box or trailer. Tack and other equipment doesn’t come cheap but is often transported in the back and can be damaged during transit or stolen when you’re parked.  Have you ever thought about how icy cold weather could damage your tack if it’s being transported in the back of an unheated trailer?   Or does your horse hate travelling, spooking easily and kicking out? Making sure everything is covered is important or you could be faced with a hefty bill.

And it’s not just insurance for theft or accident that you might want to consider.  Breaking down is bad enough, but if you have one or more horses up behind it becomes a truly stressful experience.  Opting for breakdown assistance cover can give you peace of mind that your horses will be safe if this does happen to you.  But make sure you check that you are guaranteed to have recovery from someone who understands horses and has experience moving them.  Unloading and reloading at the side of a motorway is not the time to discover that your recovery company doesn't understand the techniques to keep your horses as calm and stress free as possible.

Of course horse ownership is not cheap and you could be tempted to skimp on insurance and just hope you get away with it.  Instead of taking that risk why not consider some things that you could do to help reduce costs, without reducing the level of cover?  Simple things like restricting your mileage, fitting extra security devices like an immobiliser and limiting the number of drivers to one or two can all help to bring down premiums.  And shop around, don’t call just one company, but look at quotes from several or use a broker to do the hard work for you – it could save serious money, both short term and in the long term if you have to make a claim.

Author bio

With 25 years of experience, the Easy 2 Insure team pride themselves on finding customers the best level of cover at the most competitive price from a range of reputable insurance providers.  The team specialises in a number of insurance fields, including equine cover.  They have been working with horse owners for years and understand how complex horse ownership can be.  Their aim is to provide customers with the peace of mind that comes with having cover individually tailored to meet their demands and needs.

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Blenheim International Horse Trials Competition

Fidelity Blenheim International Horse Trials are happening between the 12th and 15th September 2013 at Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire. The event is now in its twenty-second year and attracts some of the top event riders around. Taking place at Blenheim Palace, the event will be split into three sections; dressage, cross country and show jumping.

Sponsors Fidelity launched a competition to win tickets to the event through Twitter or Instagram activity. The top prize winner stands to receive a pair of tickets to the event, £200 to spend on Ariat equestrian equipment and a year’s subscription to Eventing magazine. Nine runners up will each win a pair of tickets.

Find out more about the competition, including how to enter, here –


Monday, 2 September 2013

Fulfilling a Fantasy: What You Need to Know as a Prospective Horse Owner

Besides being a princess, owning a horse is every little girl’s fantasy. Many of us, however, fail to see this as a credible option and as a result, our dreams remain unfulfilled.

Speaking from personal experience, I can confirm that I fall into this trap, and dashed my daughter’s dreams of owning a horse. However, having gazed longingly into her ‘puppy dog’ eyes for a number of weeks, I realised that some of the limitations weren’t as restrictive as I had first imagined.

Here are the key areas to consider when deciding whether or not you can afford your dream horse.

Cost of care:
Keeping and caring for a horse undoubtedly comes at a huge financial cost and it would be unwise of me to misinform you of the true cost of owning your dream horse.

Quality of care is a huge factor in deciding whether you should own a horse or not. If you cannot provide care then you should never consider horse ownership. If, however, you have time to provide your horse with love, care and affection then you’d be an ideal horse owner.

However, love is simply not enough for horses and they do require significant financial investment. Luckily, this guide produced by the British Horse Society makes a list of costs and fees so you can plan your budget and see whether it’s affordable.

There are various rules and regulations about horse ownership but very few of these are surprising in any capacity; for the most part, they are pretty straightforward. The Code of Practice for the Welfare of Horses, Ponies, Donkeys and their Hybrids sets out all of the guidelines for horse owners and provides a really handy guide to ownership. The focus of the document is mainly on care and space provision. This is the worry of most prospective horse owners and it is one that is highly understandable.

As well as a grazing area, you should put great consideration into your horse’s shelter. The size, scale and quality of these vary hugely, so try checking out somewhere like Vale Stables to see the range of horse shelters on offer.

Taking care of a horse is a time consuming but ultimately rewarding job. It does take a great deal of time to look after your horse but the results are heart-warming. Looking after a horse is similar to looking after a child; it may be time consuming and tiring but the rewards are great!

Owning a horse really is a dream that can become a reality. We all face restrictions in our lives, and it may be the case that after reading this you still feel that owning a horse is not right for you. It is still ok to think that though, and your time may come in the future.

However, hopefully after reading this guide you’ve realised that owning a horse is an opportunity and a delight rather than a burdensome chore. So, examine the option carefully and see if you can make your dream a reality.

Ellie is a freelance journalist who writes in a number of areas. Currently, she is writing on the behalf of Broadfield Stables and enjoys writing about equine matters and follows showjumping events.

Sunday, 28 July 2013

Guest Post; Electrical Fencing For Horses

Gone are the days when it was believed that electric fencing was painful, unsafe, expensive, unreliable and difficult to maintain. In fact, the opposite is true. Subsequently the benefits are unrivalled compared to other fencing solutions when it comes to looking after horses.

Electrical fences provide an effective psychological and physical barrier. As a large and strong animal, securely containing a horse can be a challenge. However as they are domesticable, they’re not likely to leave familiar surroundings if they’re properly cared for. This is what makes electrical fencing so effective; the current running through them is not enough to hurt but instead gives a small shock which is simply enough to teach them to avoid the fence in future. If they are properly looked after then they will have no reason to go near the fencing at all.

The electrical fencing works by putting a high voltage, low current pulse, approximately once per second, through a conductive fence line via an energiser. The fence line must be totally insulated from the ground so that when the horse touches the ‘live’ fence line, the horse completes the circuit, causing it to feel a shock as the current flows through its body, into the ground and back to the energiser via the earth stake.

Fences can be powered either by the mains or by a battery. In either case, however, an energiser is needed to convert the power so that it will energise the fence. The type of energiser will depend on the source of the power as well as the length of the fence.

Although believed to be more expensive due to power use, overall electrical fencing is more cost effective than other fencing options such as wood, rail, stock wire or barbed wire. As many horses rub against wooden fence posts, they can easily become breached or sag and frequently need repairs that are costly in both time and money. Wires which are barbed are also easily damaged and pose a large risk to the horses - they can easily hurt themselves and become tangled.

Electric wiring can be used to replace other fencing or can be used in conjunction with wooden and other traditional fencing materials in order to protect horses and the fence from damage. A single electrical wire or tape, held by insulators, running along the top of a wooden fence or a standalone permanent or semi-permanent fence in place of other fencing materials should be sufficient.

For standalone fencing, plastic posts are used, usually with electrical tape. Horse’s vision is not as good as our own, and therefore they are not usually able to pick out a thin electrical wire. If the first thing they know about encountering the wire is the shock, this may cause them to panic and push through the line - causing more damage to themselves and the fencing. Tape, which is thicker than wire, in a contrasting colour to the environment, is usually best as it makes the wire as visible as possible.

Installing an electrical fence is also much easier than traditional fencing. It can be done by one person, with minimal tools, saving on time and labour.

As well as keeping the horses securely contained, the electrical fencing is effective at keeping other animals out of grazing and paddock areas. Animals such as foxes could spook the horses or contaminate the area, causing illness.

There are several different types of electrical fencing: permanent; semi-permanent and temporary, and different components and ways to construct a fence. Permanent solutions will typically last for several decades, and as the name suggests, are fixed into position. High Tensile electric fence systems are very strong and can be used with very large horses. Semi-permanent electrical fences are more flexible and can be moved so that the fencing can be altered as animal control needs change over the years. Temporary fencing is the most flexible solution and can be changed to meet your needs as and when required. It can also be added to permanent electric fencing, for example, to create paddock areas which are only needed for a short time, such as isolation areas in case of illness or aggression, or for strip grazing.

Strip grazing - sectioning off a small area of the paddock so that the horses only have access to a limited amount of grass - is used to restrict the amount of food that horses have access to. This is effective for weight control, as many horses dislike being muzzled, and is also used to prevent laminitis; it is thought that too much rich grass in the diet - grass containing a high level of sugars - can contribute to the condition. Strip grazing can be used for pasture control to avoid this, by moving horses to a new strip in the evening when the sugars are at their lowest, and also altering the strips to avoid prolonged grazing on the rich grass roots. Within a permanent paddock temporary electric fencing is perfect for this.

An effective way to strip graze and ensure that horses get enough exercise is to make a track around a paddock - when the water is kept at one end then the horses will be encouraged to move around all day. The temporary electric fencing can then be moved depending on weather and grass growth.

Temporary electric fencing is also highly effective for segregating horses should one become ill, therefore preventing the spread of illness. It can also be used when breeding to contain the stallion, particularly when mares are present. The current for this purpose may need to be higher than usual in order to act as sufficient deterrent., so it is important to make sure you have properly researched what is best for your individual situation.

There are also certain types of temporary fences which are portable so that if you take a horse out riding or attend a show you can allow them to rest and graze securely by erecting the temporary fence to create a small area for them. These fences are usually light and easily packed into a rucksack.

Overall electric fencing can be a valuable asset in securing horses safely and cost-effectively. There is a solution for almost any requirement; if you are unsure of what you might need there are useful online tools which can help you define your electric fence needs and get the best for you and your horses.

Author Bio:

Olivia Henderson is the content specialist for Fi-Shock - a world leaders in electric fence systems. Fi-Shock HYPERLINK ""electric fencing systems provide safe, superior quality energisers, accessories, conductors (tape wire and rope), insulators, and electric fence components. Electric fences are an economical alternative to conventional or barbed wire fences.

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Guest Post; From Tricycle to Stirrups: When is the Right Age to Start Horse Riding

Before you even come close to riding a horse you must think about the essential skills you will need to take care of a horse, to go out riding on your own and to fully develop your child into an experienced, safe rider.

What comes first
 Learning to tie, groom and lead a horse needs to be top priority when first learning how to ride. However, these can be learnt much earlier than actually physically riding a horse. Grooming a horse will not only build up your confidence around horses, but it will create a bond between you and the horse. This trust is important in a relationship of this kind.

A stable beginning
 Starting to do barn chores can be a great stepping stone when you begin to ride a horse. You will also gain more experience around the stables as well as becoming more comfortable around the creatures. Many stables will be happy to have a volunteer to help muck in. In return they might even let you ride their horses eventually.

As you probably already know, horse riding is not one of those things that you can just get up one day and master. It takes time. It takes patience. But it also takes effort and control. You will have to do a lot of work before you are ready to start ride a horse.

Which is the right horse for you?
 When starting out riding a horse you should start on an older horse. One that’s over 7 years old is recommended as they are more dependable, consistent and calmer through experience.

There are many different factors you should take into account when choosing a riding school to make sure you get a quality experience. Things to consider include:

      Surveying a wide selection of horses and ponies to find the right fit
      Choosing the right equipment. The wrong tools will only lead to a bad experience
      Choose established, reliable instructors. Those with a lot of knowledge built over years of being around horses is highly recommended.

Like learning anything new, you should try and watch at least one lesson first to get a feel of what it will be like when you go for your lessons.

 It is always good to start learning anything at a young age because it becomes almost second nature.

If your child expresses an interest in learning then there is no harm in making the introductions at an early age. This feeds their enthusiasm and ability to make decisions on what they like or dislike.

Ideally the perfect age would be anywhere from 7 upwards. However, it does depend a lot on the child's personality.

Location, Location, Location
 Along with the child's personality it also depends on the size of the branch and whether they have the appropriate equipment, horses and staff. "I would be very surprised to find any riding school teaching below the age of five or six," says Julian Marczak, chairman of the Association of British Riding Schools.

"Children don’t have the coordination before that, but, of course, you can put them on a horse or pony from a very early age so that they get the feeling for it. In my opinion, it doesn’t matter how early you sit on a pony as long as you’ve got a hat on and have good supervision."

We've told you our opinion, now you tell us yours! What do you think is the perfect age to start horse riding?

Author bio: This blog was written by Adam Stevens on behalf of He loves writing about a range of different topics and hopes this blog proves useful when teaching children how to ride.

Saturday, 29 June 2013

Trooper Update!

Here are some photos I took of Trooper last weekend while I was back at home! He is looking great at the moment, especially now he has his summer coat. He is a nice weight at the moment as well. I took him for a ride and he was lovely, much more springy than he has been and he isn't bothered by the leg which he injured his tendon on at all now.

Look how lovely he looks! Not bad for a 24 year old!

I haven't had the time to post as much as a used to as I am working full time. I will still be writing posts from time to time but just not very often. I have been posting a lot of guest posts as I think this is great way to get some interesting things on my blog while I am busy!

I will also write a bit more about my job at some point as I am working as an advisor for a horse worming company that writes worming programmes and carries out faecal egg counts so some of you might be interested in that!

Love Laura

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Guest Post; Things To Consider Before Purchasing A Horsebox

If you’re relatively new to horse ownership, the thought of travelling with your prized mare or stallion can seem like an intimidating prospect. Whether you’re planning to attend your first event or simply fancy riding somewhere new, the logistics of moving your horse around the country aren’t always easy.

Yet while taking the plunge and buying a horsebox of your own involves a lot of consideration, with the right guidance, very rarely is it a purchase that comes with any danger. Thousands of owners take to the roads to transport their horse each day and although it’s an experience that takes getting used to, it won’t be long before taking your horse on the road becomes second nature.

For prospective horsebox owners, you’ll likely have an abundance of questions you’ll need answering. Below, we’ve attempted to answer some of your most pressing queries and help guide you through the horsebox purchasing minefield.

Do I really need one?
Purchasing a horse box can help save you a lot of money in the long run, but it’s important to consider how often you’ll realistically be using it. The comfort of transporting your horse within your own vehicle or trailer is something that appeals to all horse owners. Buying one just for the sake of it however, could potentially cost you a lot of unnecessary money.

If you’re only attending a couple of events a year or the odd annual foray across the country with your horse, paying a professional company to do it on your behalf could be a better option. The cost of acquiring and maintaining a horsebox against the cost of a hiring someone to do so, can be easily offset over a handful of journeys each year. Anything less than that however and it might not be worth your time.

Horse trailer or all-in-one – what’s right for me?
If you’ve decided that investing in a horse box is right for you, then deciding exactly what one to purchase can feel like a hazardous task.

All-in-one horseboxes remain the most attractive option to many horse owners. Vast, spacious and with plenty of room for both you and your horse, many horseboxes include a small living quarters for you to bed down in for those long weekends away.

Horse trailers are a more modest option for horse owners, but far from simply being a cheaper option, they’re also an extremely versatile one. With many horse owners already owning vehicles capable of towing trailers, you can transport your horse from the comfort of your own 4x4. It’s also worth remembering that leaving a trailer in the yard when you’re not using it costs a lot less than a 7.5 tonne commercial vehicle.

Are there any legal obligations for horse box owners?
While obtaining a horsebox is simple enough, there are a number of small guidelines that owners must comply with in order to stay on the right side of the law.

The most prominent guideline that horsebox owners need to look out for is in regards to possessing a category C entitlement on their driving license.

Drivers who passed their test before January 1st 1997 are entitled to drive a vehicle up to 7.5 tonnes and a combined vehicle and trailer with a weight up to 8.25 tonnes. Drivers who passed their test after this date will have to take additional tests to acquire the appropriate entitlements.

Where should I purchase one from?
Given the hefty financial burden that already comes with the upkeep of your horse, buying a brand new horse box will seem like a step too far for many owners. Yet sourcing one second hand can seem like an equally uncertain prospect.

Although while you’re unlikely to find much in the way of a warranty second hand, if you remain proactive during the course of the sale, very rarely is it a purchase that comes with any safety concerns.

Always seek an engineer’s report to ensure your horsebox won’t be beset by any potentially dangerous mechanical or electrical issues and always request a test drive as standard. When checking the interior of your horsebox, be particularly vigilant when checking the flooring and partitions. Your horse is going to be putting them under a lot of force, so don’t be afraid of stamping around to check its stability.

A horsebox is likely to be one of the most important purchases you make during your time as a horse owner, so make sure you give the buying process the time and care it deserves. But by following the right guidelines and remaining thorough throughout all aspects of your horsebox search, there’s no reason why you can’t be safely travelling the roads with your horse hassle-free.

This article was written by Adrian Flux, one of the UK’s leading specialist insurance firms. With over 35 years experience, Adrian Flux offer a comprehensive range of insurance policies of all varieties, including expert horsebox insurance cover.

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Guest Post; Horse Riding For Your Health

This week's guest post is written by Marcela De Vivo who is a freelance writer who has written on everything from marketing, tech, to health & wellness. She loved to ride horses when she was younger but hasn’t had the chance recently; however as her children grow older she hopes to teach them how to ride and for them to benefit from horsebacking riding just as much as she once did!

Image courtesy of Tanatat /

Horseback riding has long been recognized as having a host of therapeutic, psychological, and physical benefits. Unsurprisingly, a formalized form of therapy has been developed to harness the vast catalog of improvements achieved through horseback riding.

At the same time, not only is the physical exercise in an outdoor space an excellent stress reliever, but the establishment of a relationship between yourself and horse can positively impact your confidence and improve your other relationships.

Therapeutic horseback riding

Also known as equine-assisted activity, adaptive riding, or hippotherapy (no longer frequently used), therapeutic horseback riding teaches riding skills to individuals with a range of physical and emotional disabilities. 

Originating in Germany as therapy to help with orthopedic problems like scoliosis, therapeutic horseback riding is now also used to help people recovering from injury, or people with social and psychological difficulties. As horseback riding requires a host of muscles to work in concert to keep a rider upright, muscle strength and tone is greatly improved with prolonged riding experience.

More recently, equine therapy has gained popularity as therapy for children with autism. Autistic children who experience this form of treatment demonstrated improvement in responses to verbal and external stimuli. This activity is said to benefit the communication, motor skills, and social skills of an autistic person.

Therapeutic horseback riding has also proven to be an excellent way to counsel troubled youth when traditional forms of therapy have been less than successful. Youths undergoing equine therapy generally gain confidence, self-efficacy, improved communication skills and impulse control, reduction in trust issues and isolation, and a better understanding of social skills and boundaries. Equine therapy also teaches the at-risk individuals responsibility horse care, grooming, and safety are a few of the lessons taught.

Image courtesy of dan /

Physical and psychological benefits of horseback riding

Horseback riding is an excellent form of exercise as an hour on horseback burns the equivalent number of calories as a 30-minute jog. Not only does riding improve respiration and blood circulation (and in turn, the entire cardiovascular system with consistent practice), but it also has significant muscle conditioning benefits.

The horse’s movement under the rider creates a dynamic situation for the rider, who has to constantly adjust in order to stay upright (and on!) the horse.  Pelvic muscles and other core muscles are activated; at a gallop, upper leg muscles like quadriceps and hamstrings are also engaged to keep the rider moving with the horse.  Posture is also improved as those core muscles strengthen.

Balance and coordination are also improved with frequent horseback riding as both are required to stay upright and to move with the horse.

Some psychological benefits of horseback riding, outside of the stress reduction that comes from exercising outdoors, include improved confidence. Learning and then mastering any new skill improves self-confidence; when it comes to mastering a skill that involves handling an animal with a mind of its own, even greater confidence is developed.

Additionally, some of the lessons in learning to ride, like developing trust and a relationship between the rider and the animal can translate into relationships in everyday life. A better sense of empathy and understanding is usually developed by a rider as communication is non-verbal.

Whether you’re seeking to ride horses for exercise, for stress relief, as a way of learning a new skill, or are implementing it as a form of therapy, horseback riding is an excellent way to improve your physical and psychological self.

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Guest Post; Choosing A Horse For A New Rider

This week's guest post is by Holly Powell who writes for Edgemere, a leading online equestrian supplies retailer helping the horse riding community get the very best horse gear and equipment.

Imaged: Draft Cross, an easy going horse with good temperament.

Horse riding is one of the UK's favourite past times, and in rural areas in particular horse riding is very popular indeed. Horses make for fantastic pets, and if well looked after can live 20 or even 30 years. There are over 200 species of horse on the planet and of them, many are recommended for new riders whilst other breeds are best left for seasoned professionals. Horses can have a tendency to "flip" under pressure or stress, leading many to choose a safer breed of horse especially as a new rider.

If you are looking at which horses are best for a new rider who is perhaps a member of your family or a friend, or are a new rider and would like to discover how you can best choose your first horse, let's take a look at some advice published by experts.

Consider time dedication
Horses are a long-term commitment and should be treated as such. They require a lot of maintenance, and contrary to some belief, a domesticated horse would likely not survive living on a grassy field alone in the winter months. Amongst other things, horses need to have their feet trimmed and shoed, and regularly checked every few days for illness or any signs of possible infection. If you board your horse yourself, its stable will also need to be regularly cleaned and maintained.

Consider the riders capability
Not all riders are equal and for some people it can take years worth of experience to get the most out of a ride. The amount of training and on-horse time a rider has had will likely determine a rider’s ability to handle a horse. If a rider has had little to no experience, a quiet well-trained horse is the best bet to ensure the rider’s and the horse’s safety. For more seasoned riders, a horse with a fiery temperament can be enticing due to the nature of the challenge. 

Always consider finances
Horses take a lot of maintenance, and they also cost a lot of money. It is always said that if you cannot afford to keep a horse and keep its living conditions consistent, then you should not be buying a horse in the first place. The amount of training a horse has had is the main determining factor of initial cost as well as breed / pedigree. A horse that is 6 - 8 years old will likely cost upwards of £1000 or more, however is safer than a younger horse for a new rider. As well as initial cost, you will need to also consider veterinary bills as well as food, clothing and other necessities. What's more, relocating a horse can cost a pretty penny too.

Consider the breed of horse
There are 267 breeds of horse in the world and all of them are unique in their own special way. For a new rider or beginner, "draft crosses" are usually a top beginner horse due to their quiet demeanor and soft temperament. Whatever the breed, though, training plays a key role in whether a horse will to get on with a rider. 

Sunday, 31 March 2013

Guest Post; Regular Grooming- Important For You And Your Horse

Today's guest post is written by Joe Hargreaves, he grew up riding and has always had a passion for the equestrian lifestyle. He recently started own website about horse riding equipment.

Regular horse grooming is essential, both for the health of the horse and for your relationship with him. It is a time for bonding, when he knows it will be just the two of you together, and it enables you to get a sense of his happiness and well being, or if there is anything troubling him. If you do it right, both you and your horse will enjoy your grooming sessions and look forward to them.

There are several reasons why regular grooming is important, the obvious one of course being the health of your horse. Even removing the mud will prevent skin problems, and picking his feet with a hoof pick will prevent thrush, and avoid abscesses developing from stones being left in. The circular motion of brushing with a curry comb over the whole body really stimulates circulation and blood flow, which not only reduces swellings and promotes healing, but brings up the natural oils in his coat.

Along with this, grooming is important because it enables you to assess his physical health and his emotional state. You should run your hands over the whole horse every time you groom, so that you get to know the normal feel of his skin. This means you can quickly pick up any problem, such as a lump, scratch or cut that wasn't there before.

Apart from this, regularly running your hands over your horse is part of communicating with him -- horses are very sensitive to touch. Not only your hands, but your voice and your body language will have an effect on him and strengthen the bond between you. This will work both ways, and enable you to become increasingly sensitive to how he is feeling as well, so that you can pick up on anything that needs attention. This type of hands-on grooming is especially valuable for young or nervous horses, and helps them to build up trust.
As well as regular horse grooming, it is equally important to carry out regular cleaning of tack, or horse riding equipment. It is particularly necessary to clean any part of the equipment which has contact with the horse, including horse saddles, saddle pads and girth, and of course the bit. All these items of equipment get dirty very quickly when you are out riding, and failing to clean them regularly will not only cause discomfort to the horse, but can result in sores and ulcers.

You can clean saddle pads by hanging them up and whacking them with a stick several times, to remove the loose hair and dirt, and then brushing the side that is next to the horse's skin with a horse brush or
rubber curry comb. Vacuums can also be useful for sucking off the loose dirt and hair. As well as being important for the horse's comfort, regular cleaning of the horse riding equipment is important for preserving the leather, and helping to keep it more supple and weatherproof.

Regular horse grooming has benefits for you as well as the horse -- it is a great means of exercise, and improves your muscle strength. You have to remember grooming is only part of the overall care of your horse, and a good balanced diet is also very important to ensure he has a gleaming coat. Keeping all these things in mind means that you and your horse will benefit each other, and have a long and happy relationship.

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Guest Post; History Of The Grand National

Today's guest post is written by Neil Maycock, who writes articles on the Grand National for

The Grand National is without a doubt the best known and most popular horse racing event in the world. An estimated 500 to 600 million people watch the Grand National in over 140 countries, it attracts over 154,000 racegoers over its three days, and under the sponsorship of John Smith’s, is Britain’s richest jump race by far with a total 2013 prize fund of £975,000.
The National as it’s often simply known is a handicap steeplechase run over 4 miles and 4 furlongs with horses jumping 30 fences over two circuits of the course but what makes the Grand National really stand out so much from other races are perhaps its three greatest features:
·         The race is one of the most open there is – 40 runners with outsiders almost as likely to win as the favourite.
·         It gets prime television coverage on a Saturday afternoon every April.
·         Quite simply, it’s a great spectacle to watch with drama, skill, luck and emotions all clearly on show.
The Grand National is also one of the easiest horse races to get involved with as most work places, clubs, pubs, etc. hold their own sweepstakes on the result, so even people who would never normally bet on a horse race can easily join in. The advent of online betting has made it easier than ever to get directly involved.
The first Grand National was run in 1839 at Aintree, Liverpool and has been run regularly ever since (with only a short break during the first World War). The 2012 race provided a classic, nailbiting finish with Neptune Collonges just winning the on the line from Sunnyhillboy.
The runners for the race are not finally confirmed until close to the day but you can guarantee that the very best steeplechasers will be there with every one of them in with a chance – there have being four winners in Grand National History that have started at 100/1, the latest being Mon Mome in 2009.
The history of the National contains some memorable events.
Tipperary Tim, the first 100/1 winner in 1928. The 1928 National also holds the record for the fewest number of finishers, with only two riders completing the course but making outsider Tipperary Tim a household name.
In 1956 Devon Loch, owned by Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, was leading the race by five lengths after the final fence but only forty yards from a clear victory Devon Loch, for no apparent reason, half-jumped into the air, collapsed onto the course and was unable to complete the race, gifting the win to E.S.B.
The most famous and successful horse to win at the National was of course Red Rum, uniquely winning the event no less than three times in 1973, 1974 and 1977. He lived on until the age of 30 when the general affection for this great horse helped him be honoured by burial at the Aintree finishing post.
Probably the most famous winning jockey in the Grand National was Bob Champion in 1981. He had been diagnosed with testicular cancer and given only months to live by doctors but was passed fit to ride the Grand National on Aldaniti, a horse only recently recovered from leg problems. The underdog pair went on to win the race and celebrity status by four-and-a-half lengths. Their story was later turned into in the film Champions, starring John Hurt.
We have no idea what unique result we’ll get this year although many are hoping to see the first win by a female jockey. One thing is certain, it will be followed by millions.

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Guest Post; What You Need To Wear When Looking After A Horse

Author Bio – Claire Hunter enjoys writing on a wide range of topics including animals, horses, lifestyle, home wares, fashion and more. Hopefully readers will enjoy this blog post and take from it some useful information. 

Owning a horse requires a lot of purchases to be made from an owner. Accessories, equipment, food and housing are just a few of the things you will need to buy if you are going to be caring for a horse. One thing that many equestrians also need to consider, that most other pet owners don’t is clothing. Wearing the right clothing is essential when choosing to take care or ride a horse.

Equestrian clothing comes in all sorts of different pieces, which you will need to acquire when looking after your pet. Whether you are riding or mucking out the stables, there are many different items of clothing you will need to purchase when taking on the responsibility of a horse. Riding a horse requires you to wear all kinds of different apparel.

What you will need -
  • The hat is the most important item, as this will keep your head safe if you were to have any kind of accident while riding.
  • Gloves are also essential for keeping your hands warm while out in cold weather as well as keeping a tighter grip on your horse’s reins.
  • Riding boots and chaps are also needed for the sport of horse riding. These will help to secure more grip and control while on your animal.
  • Body protectors will also keep you safe when you are out and about on your horse.
  • Breeches or jodhpurs are required when riding to help you stay comfortable and still on your horse.
  • The right footwear is also important, this is usually a pair of riding boots specially for wearing while on your horse.

From time to time you may take part in competitions with your horse. This will require a whole new set of clothing for you to wear. Usually a tweed riding jacket is worn over a shirt and tie with a smart pair of jodhpurs to go with it. Sometimes a stock is adorned instead of a tie and of course a hat is to be worn too along with chaps and riding boots.

If you are considering looking after a horse then you will need to think about all those purchases including the many items of clothing you will need to obtain. Owning a horse is a lot of responsibility, but it can also be a very rewarding hobby. Remember to think through your decision before coming to the conclusion that you want to look after a horse.  

Monday, 4 March 2013

Guest Post; Are You Ready To Own A Horse?

Today's post is a guest one from Joyce Pearson has been around horses her entire life and has been riding since she was old enough to walk. She currently owns 2 of her own horses and rides every day. She shares her knowledge on

Owning a horse is a truly rewarding, if at times challenging experience. It requires dedication, time and money, and while it will be hard work, it’ll be completely worth it if you get it right.

Before you get carried away with the idea of cantering down a beach on a beautiful day, it is important to think it all through before spending any hard-earned cash. A horse is a massive commitment and an investment that requires monthly outgoings as well as the initial outlay.

There are many factors to consider, all of which will cost you money! The biggest expense and also the biggest decision you need to make is where your horse will live. The most expensive option is a livery yard, although there are various different options depending on what your needs are. The most expensive of the livery options is Full Livery – this is often the best option if you are a busy person and need some help looking after your horse.

It is important to do your research to work out what kind of livery you will need and how much it is likely to end up costing you. You may also have to join a waiting list for a livery yard, so it is important to suss all of this out before you even start looking for a horse.

Once you have done your sums and worked out whether or not you can afford a horse, it’s time to start looking. Be patient and prepared to take your time - finding the right horse for you can be a long process and it’s important not to rush it. 

Write out a list of the qualities you are looking for based on your riding abilities. Although you want a horse that is going to advance your skills as a rider, what you don’t want is a horse that will be too difficult for you to control and that you will end up regretting buying.

Start your search on Horse Deals, they have a huge variety of horses for sale and you can tailor your search to suit your needs. Keep your list to hand at all times and refer to it throughout.

Once you have your shortlist you can make some phone calls to ask any questions you have and then start arranging visits. Always visit a horse at least twice and remember that the most important things you are looking out for are the horse’s temperament and whether you have a connection or not. This will matter more in the long-term than the type of horse you go for.

Click here for more tips on buying a horse and prepare yourself for an amazing journey! 

Friday, 1 March 2013

Sooo, What Is Dance Pony Dance?

I have found out what my last blog post was all about now. It is a website where you can make interactive music videos of Shetland ponies. Click here to watch mine! The website where you can make your own is below and you can pick from a variety of music and special effects! Mine is the Boy Band one!!

Love Laura

Tuesday, 26 February 2013


I received a lovely surprise package in the post the other day! There was a horseshoe made out of chocolate and a bucket of sweets along with a gift card. It was also packaged really nicely! On the gift card it said "This plucky little pony can't wait to show you what he can do. On March 1st he'll do just that." "#danceponydance". It also mentions the Shetland Isles and has a photo of a pony's legs so I also thinking it must be something to do with a Shetland pony! It must be a new website for something, it's also something to do with 3, the mobile phone network!

Here are some photos!

I love the horseshoe, it looks really realistic! I need to found out where I can buy one if they don't sell them on the website! We will have to wait and see what it's all about.

Love Laura

Sunday, 24 February 2013

A Video Of Trooper On A GoPro Camera

Here is a video I took of Trooper last weekend while I was home. I took it with my boyfriend's GoPro camera which has different attachments so you can film with it in different ways!

*I accidentally had this video set as private but I have changed the settings now!*

I am really busy at the moment with my new job and I am moving house soon! I am aiming still try and write a weekly blog post on Sundays for now!

Love Laura

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Science Sunday; EHV1

Here is a message from the British Horse Society from earlier in the week. An easy post for me to publish while I am busy but also still very important that people recognise the symptoms. I might write next weeks Science Sunday post on this virus to give more information.

"You may have seen the recent news stories concerning an outbreak of
Equine Herpes Virus (EHV 1) in Gloucestershire. Two horses have been
shown to have the neurological form of the disease and one the
respiratory form. It appears that others are also showing signs but
have yet to be definitively diagnosed.

Although not a legally notifiable condition, EHV 1 is contagious and
does have the potential to be quite a serious disease. Indeed, the
neurological form can lead to paralysis. In most cases, EHV 1 is spread
via respiratory transmission so wherever horses are brought together
from different yards there is the possibility for the disease to spread
if one of the horses present is affected. For this reason the Heythrop
have very responsibly suspended hunting for a week.

It is important to be aware that the risk of your horse contracting EHV
1 is very small and there is certainly no need to panic. However, as
with any disease, spotting it early is the best thing for your horse so
the BHS felt it would be useful to provide a short refresher on EHV 1
and its signs.

Although aimed at a different disease (Strangles) our STEPS leaflet
provides lots of useful information about quarantining and isolating

Many of the clinical signs of EHV 1 can be confused with other
diseases. A high temperature is a key indicator and it is essential to
monitor the temperature of ‘at risk’ horses. Affected horses will tend
to be disinterested and off their food, as well as showing typical
respiratory disease signs such as coughing and a nasal discharge. If a
horse is affected by the neurological form of the disease you may see
some incoordination or just general ‘wobbliness’.

Should you have any concerns at all that your horse may be affected
please contact your vet immediately.

The BHS is part of the group that produces the HBLB Codes of Practice.
There is much helpful information about EHV in the Codes which you can
access here.

If anyone has any further concerns about EHV or would like more
information, please contact our BHS Welfare Team on 02476 840517 or

Love Laura

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Martin Clunes TV Programme

I thought those of you that are in the UK might like this programme on tonight about heavy horses with Martin Clunes! Here is a link to an article about it on Horse & Hound. It is on at 9pm on ITV!

I am currently trying to think of a post to do my next Science Sunday on so if you have any ideas please let me know! I am very busy with my job now so don't have as much time to think of posts!

Trooper is doing well. The vet checked his leg and his chest the other day and both are doing well!

Love Laura

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Guest Post; The Dietary Requirements of a Horse

Horses with their unique and lengthy digestive tracts are known as non-ruminant, hindgut herbivores – meaning that like humans, they only have one stomach. Horses have to digest large amounts of cellulose from plant fibre – much more than humans – so they have an organ called a cecum that’s part of the large intestine, which has the function of aiding digestion with microbes.

The microbes ferment in the hindgut of the horse and produce various fatty acids. These fatty acids are an important source of nutrients for the horse.

Horses cannot be sick, other than to regurgitate food from the oesophagus. They also have a very complex large intestine. Colic, as you may very well know, is an illness that startlingly can kill your horse. This means that getting your horse’s diet correct is all the more important.

What should my horse eat?All the goodness a horse requires should come from its feed. Assuming your horse is not overweight or underweight, a good diet will consist of good pasture grass and hay, which they can quite happily exist on.

Hay will fall into two categories: legumes and grasses. Legumes will provide the horse with more nutrients than the grasses, whereas the grasses will provide the horse with more of its fibre dietary needs.

Depending upon a horse’s workload, it may be beneficial to give the horse grain for a little extra protein and energy. A horse that grazes most of the day and is ridden only occasionally will probably not need grain, but a horse that is very active and athletic certainly will benefit from a grain supplement.

Your equine friend should also have access to a salt lick, which will provide your horse with its essential electrolytes and other trace elements.

Don’t forget, your animal needs a fresh supply of safe drinking water too.

Benefits of salt licksSalt is quite a difficult substance to come by naturally when a horse is domesticated. A horse needs the salt for the same reasons we do; it helps to maintain electrolyte levels, which is essential for certain functions of the body, right down to the cellular level.

It’s also beneficial because it will help keep the horse drinking plenty of water. If they drink plenty of water, it could reduce the chances of them getting colic.
So as you can see, it’s good to let your horse have easy access to a salt lick. One of the most popular varieties is Himalayan salt.

How beneficial is Himalayan salt for horses?Himalayan salt was created around 250 million years ago when the ancient seas in that area of the world dried up. Along with the salt crystals that formed from the fertile waters of the ocean were a percentage of other minerals containing various essential elements – a total of 84 different elements and minerals.

This means that Himalayan licking salt contains many more minerals than just the sodium and chlorine ions your horse would get from normal salt.

Over the eons, geological pressures compressed and transformed the minerals and the salt together into what we mine today.

Mined from the world’s second largest salt mines at Khewra in Pakistan at the foot of the Himalayas, Himalayan rock salt is renowned the world over for being a healthy alternative for humans as much as it is for horses.

It’s very important to make sure you get your horse’s diet right; to make sure it’s not overfed, underfed, has the correct amount of minerals and vitamins, and gets enough fresh, clean water.

Hopefully after reading this article, you’ll have a little more insight into the dietary requirements of your horse.

Robert is from the Wirral, UK, and works for The Darlington Group in Eastham. Also known as ‘Darlies’, Darlingtons has been selling salt licks for years and now offers them in its online shop too. You can visit the Darlies website at:

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Types Of Wormers

There are 6 main categories of wormers and then some of these categories can be combined to make some dual wormers. How long the wormer will remain effective in the horse’s system for depends on the type of wormer it is.
Ivermectin; This group included Eqvalan, Eraquelle, Vectin, Noromectin, Bimectin and Animectin. This group of wormers are effective for 8-10 weeks. They treat worms such as lungworm, red worm, roundworm and bots. They don’t treat the larvae that have burrowed into the gut wall however (encysted).
Moxidectin; This group includes Equest. This wormer stays in the system for 13 weeks. They treat small redworm, bots and roundworm. This shouldn’t be given to horses that may have a large worm burden as once the worms in the gut have been killed off, more may emerge from inside the gut wall and this can cause colic.
Praziquantel; This group includes Equitape. This treats tapeworm and is a one-off treatment which doesn’t have lasting effects in the horse once it has killed the worms that are present.  
Pyrantel; This group includes Strongid-P, Pyratape-P, Exodus and Embotape. This lasts in the horse’s system for 4-6 weeks. Treat nematode worms.  Some of these wormers may be given at a double dose to treat tapeworm.
Fenbendazole; This group includes Panacur and Panacur Equine Guard 5 day course. This lasts in the horse’s system for 6-8 weeks. These also treat nematodes but some will not kill them if they are encysted in the gut wall. The 5 day course kills these encysted worms.
Mebendazole; This group includes telmin. This lasts in the horse’s system for 6-8 weeks. This doesn’t treat encysted worms.
When looking at the dual wormers, this include Equest Pramox which is a Moxidectin and Praziquantel and Equimax and Eqvalan Duo which is Ivermectin and Praziquantel. These wormers treat for tapeworm along with other types of worms such as bots.
Love Laura

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Horse Racing

Today's post is going to be on horse racing! This is a topic I have not covered much on The Horse Talker but there are lots of things to talk about!

A big factor in the racing industry is the betting that takes place on the horses. This may be what gives the sport so much money and increases the following of horse racing dramatically. An example of how horse betting can work can be seen when looking at the Cheltenham Festival horse racing odds which is on quite soon. Horses will be given odds depending on how good they are, for example, currently Puffin Billy is 6/1 to win any horse. This would mean that if you put a £1 bet on the horse and it won you would get your £1 back and then £6 extra. 

When I went to the races with a group of people we just put small bets on of around £5 in pairs and then split any money we won. This was really fun and even though we were picking horses based on their names we won quite a bit!

The Horses
In the past I have written a short post on the history of Thoroughbreds. The Thoroughbred world is often seen as very different to the rest of the horse industry and can be very interesting to look into.

Jargon Busting
  • Claimer- An apprentice flat race jockey.
  • Clerk of the course- The person responsible for the overall management of a racecourse during raceday.
  • Conditional Jockey- A National Hunt jockey who is under 26 and receives a weight allowance for inexperience until he has ridden a certain number of winners.
  • Draw- The position in the starting stalls in a flat race. 
  • Drifter- A horse whose betting odds have lengthened.
  • Furlong- The unit of distance in a horse race. One-eighth of a mile or 201 metres.
  • Going Report- The condition of the racecourse ground. The turf is classed as Hard, Firm, Good To Firm, Good, Good To Soft, Soft, Heavy. 
  • Hacked Up- When a horse wins easily.
  • Handicap- A handicap race in which the the weight each horse has to carry is individually allotted according to it's past performance to make the chances of all horses in the race more equal. 
  • Juvenile- A two year old Flat horse or a three year old National Hunt horse.
  • National Hunt- Racing over fences and hurdles AKA jump racing.
  • Novice- A horse which has not won more than two races.
  • Nursery- A handicap race for two year old horses.  
  • Penalty- Additional weight carried by a horse on account of previous wins. In a handicap, penalties are added to the allotted weight of a horse if it has won since the weights for the race were published.
  • Steeplechase A horse race over fences, open ditches and water jumps.
  • Weights- Lead strips placed in a weight cloth bring the jockey up to the handicap weight of the race.
I have been to watch the races once at Haydock and I really enjoyed it. I think it can be a really enjoyable sport if the rules are correctly followed. I have also just realised I don't think I wrote a post on that trip so I will have to do that soon with the photos I took.


Have any of you been to watch the races and what did you think? I would love to go back again soon!

Love Laura
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