Sunday, 31 July 2011

Five Tips to Help Your Horse Look Their Best

Every one likes their horse or pony to look its best and I do too so here are five tips to help with keeping your equine looking good.

Tip One, always use a soft brush on your horse’s tail and mane, I suggest a body brush this will help to keep the tail and mane shiny and soft, and will stop a lot of the hair being pulled out as it is when you use a harder brush or comb.

Tip Two, brush your horse after you have worked them, try not to make them sweat but get them so they are nearly breaking into one, this will cause the dirt in the coat to rise to the surface of the coat and make it easy clean off.

Tip Three, give your horse a feed a day it can be very small depending on your horse’s weight, a little bit of good quality feed every day will help keep their coat healthy and shiny, it will also provide them with protein that is important to keeping them healthy.

Tip Four, good quality forage is one of the best ways to keep your horse looking good, haylage is better quality than hay as it is kept very fresh and as a result holds more of the grasses goodness. But can be hard to keep from going off once the bale has been opened, also some horses and ponies will run to fat quickly on a diet of haylage so it’s important to consider if hay is going to be the better choice. A healthy diet is very important to keeping your horse shiny and looking good.

Tip Five, working your horse is also a good way to keep them looking their best, a fit horse with a shiny coat is always going to look better than a fat horse with a shiny coat, fitness will keep your horse healthy and a healthy horse is a shiny horse and a shiny horse looks good.

And there you go five tips to help keep your horse or pony looking good, shiny, and healthy, because a healthy horse is a happy horse, hope it helps any of you that did not already know this.

Poor Pip

Today has been another good day, I lunged Niko and he went well again, also one of my brothers sat on him while I lunged him. My brother is just starting so he just sat on him in walk and did a little in trot, but it all went well. I also did some more jumps with Murphy here is a photo of Murphy and I going over the jump, it’s a small jump I know but I am very happy with him.

Little Murphy got a treat for every jump that he performed successfully, here he is having a fuss and treat. Tipper is standing behind Murphy looking quite hateful, he too did some work just the same stuff as yesterday but I was happy with him, oh and there was one more thing about Tipper.

Yes Tipper did do this, poor Pip has had his bum brutally assaulted, Tipper sure does have some jaws on him, as you can see it’s nothing serous, but it is a good job horses don’t sit down like we do, still I am sure that the haylage will help Pip feel better about it all

Saturday, 30 July 2011

What’s Been Going On

Today has been a lot of fun, all the equines have been doing a bit of work except Pip who has just been having a groom, but he did roll afterwards so he is very dusty now. As for Murphy he has been doing some real work, he’s been jumping in hand with me and he went very nicely and didn’t knock a single jump down he didn’t even clip it. But the jump can’t go too big as I have to jump it as well, as you can see there are more uses for a jump then just jumping it, like a bum scratcher, and a very good one it makes too.

As for Madeline she has been doing a bit of work too, she’s been doing some bending exercises and she’s been practising her turn on the forehand, which she did very nicely, her mane is also looking good even if I am still having trouble keeping it on one side. Tipper also did some work in hand, and I lunged him just in the walk but he was quite good about it so I was very happy with him, and he was pretty good about having his foot picked up, I think lots of treats are helping as he now knows he gets a reward when he lets me pick his hoof out.

Niko has been great today and I am really happy with him. I started his work by doing some exercises with him in hand, and then went on to lunge him I was happy to see him really working from behind, I hope I can keep him this way inclined, he will look so much better for it. I do have some not so nice news, just as we were giving the horses and ponies their last feed of the day Niko got choke, so that wasn’t so nice but with a bit of neck rubbing and some walking around he was soon fine and back to stuffing his face.

Anyway that is about it I am very happy with them all and they’ve all done a super job to day.

Thursday, 28 July 2011


There is a lot more to groundwork than just putting your horse on a lunge line and getting he or she to run round in circles, so I thought I would do a post with some interesting things you can do in hand with your horse.

First of all you will need an assortment of equipment for groundwork, but for the basics you will just need a cavesson, lunge line, whip, and a hat, you should wear gloves as well, you may also need brushing boots or bandages if your horse brush’s or over reaches.

To start with your horse must be happy with the whip and have no reason to fear it, if for some reason your horse does fear the whip you can try getting them used to it by placing the whip on the horse’s hindquarters and slowly bring the whip backwards and down the horse’s legs till you reach his or her fetlock, then bring the whip away and reward your horse, give them a moment and then repeat. If your horse should try to move when you are performing this let them, but keep the whip where it was when they started to move, when they stop continue to move the whip down to the fetlock, and then reward them. When your horse is happy to let you do this you can start to move the whip to his or her front and other areas till they are completely happy with the whip and have no fear of it. As you can see Madeline is more then happy around the whip and is playing with it as if it were a bit.

When working in hand you should use a piaffe whip, but if you do not have one a normal lunge whip will do, the whip shown in the photos is an ordinary lungeing whip. Groundwork is a great way to build up friendship with your horse and at the same time build up your horse’s fitness. To start your session of schooling you should perform a quick and easy exercise that anyone can do, halt your horse, pat them then take your horse’s head gently by either his or her rein’s should they be wearing a bridle, or if not use the lunge line, holding the left rein bend their head around gently to the left. Then when holding the right rein bend their head gently around to the right, if correctly performed this will help to soften the poll, mouth, and neck, if your horse has a bit check to see if he or her is chomping the bit and lowering their head, if not you can use a sugar cube to help encourage them to chomp the bit.

A horse can be taught to perform all lateral movements in hand, but of course it takes a lot of practice to do the more advanced ones so start simple with probably the easiest to perform, turn-on-the-forehand. During turn-on-the-forehand the horse should move their hindquarters in a big half-circle around his or her forehand, the forehand should pivot on a smaller circle. Now to perform this in hand ask your horse to halt, pat them, then point your whip at his or her hindquarters, keeping the whip pointed low to start, as you do this remember to hold the lunge line close to your horse’s nose, so as to allow you to control the horse’s forehand. Well that’s all for now good luck and have fun.

If you have found this post interesting why not consider buying the August edition of Horse & Rider it has a very interesting article on the Spanish Riding School and some of their in hand work, click the link to visit the Horse & Rider web site.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Part Two-A Job Well Done

I said I would show you all how the rest of the equines got on with the farrier so here it is. The farrier has successfully removed Tipper’s shoe and trimmed his hooves a bit too, here is a photo of his front hooves now the shoe has been removed, his hooves are a lot more even. The farrier tells us that Tipper has good hooves but they need time to recover from racing, but give him time and he will have a nice set of hooves. Now that Tipper has seen the farrier and all went well, and he got lots of treats, he is a lot less worried about having his feet picked up, he is still not good about it but he is not as bad so I am very happy with all that.

Now take a look at these sweet little hooves they are of course Murphy’s, he has had a full trim and I think it looks pretty good. Murphy was as good as gold and it was his first time to have the farrier that we know of. Ponies really are just so easy, they are good about nearly everything, so all was well with Murphy too.

And of cause I really need not say, as I am sure you all already know, Pip was very good about it all and was absolutely no problem, he had a full trim. So all in all, very good farrier and very good day.

Wow now I really need to do a post that doesn’t just have lots of hooves in it.

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Part One-That Little Bit Extra

The farrier did indeed arrive and on time too. Take a look at the photo of Niko’s hooves before they had the work done on them by the farrier, as you can see they are not very nice, they had become broken at the sides, which meant the shoe did not fit correctly.

Now normally with our old farrier they would just put the shoe on and let the hoof grow in to fit the shoe, but this does mean that the horse can easily cast his shoe before the hoof has had time to grow to fit. Niko has done this many times, but not this time. The new farrier fitted him with new shoes that have two clips rather than the old ones that only had one clip on the front of the hoof, and to prevent Niko from casting his shoe he filled the areas were the hoof did not cover the shoe with Polly filler. There are professional equine products that can be used for this, but they are normally used to rebuild the hoof if the horse has suffered a serious hoof injury, so obviously this was not necessary for Niko. Because of the great job the farrier did and extra effort he put in to doing Niko’s hooves they have come out really well, and Niko has that extra little spring in his step.

Now on to Madeline, this is a photo of her hooves before she had work on them, they are also a mess. Madeline can be a tiny bit rude with the farrier and by rude I mean she kicked one on the leg, they were ok but it didn’t go down very well, I did tell the new farrier that she can be bad. So when it came to the back legs he ran his hand down the leg standing to the side of her she gave a quick kick out, as soon as she put her leg back on the ground he picked her hoof up and stared work. When you are picking a horse’s hoof out or working on a horse’s hoof you hold the leg and stand so that they cannot kick you, anyway the farrier successfully trimmed all four hooves, by being careful yet competent and quick to reward with a polo.

Here is a photo of the finished hooves, while they will never look as good as some horses hooves, she naturally has ugly hooves that are very plate like and flat, never the less they look a lot better then they did and today when I rode her she went beautifully so I am very happy.

Well that is it for part one, next post I will be telling you how Tipper got on and how the ponies did with their first ever farrier.

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Back To It

It’s been a bit since I posted because I have been ill and while I am not quite up to standard yet I am feeling a lot better so it’s time to get blogging. I was looking through my stats upon return, and oh it is not pretty, my goal of having an increase of views every month looks to be a failure as I have about 10 days left to get about 800 more views, not happening oh well.

Anyway now for some good old horsey stuff, well everyone has been off work for a bit and I haven’t been taking many photos so these ones are a bit old. A new farrier is coming tomorrow to do Niko, Madeline, Tipper and maybe the ponies if he has time to do them all. Niko is having front shoes, maybe a refit but I don’t know as it is a new farrier so he might want to use his own shoes, obviously he will also have the hinds trimmed. Madeline is just having a trim but she has not been shod since we got her so we are keeping it that way for now. As for Tipper we are going to play it by ear but he will definitely be having that one shoe taken off, he’ll have the sedative so we’ll see how he takes it all and if he doesn’t get stressed his feet can be trimmed.

As for the ponies they are just fine Murphy is his normal plump self and Pip is also doing well but still so young that one second he is fat next he is thin because of growth spurts, but all in all they are well. Anyway let’s hope I can stay in health long enough to get more blogging done.

Friday, 15 July 2011

Tipper Meets the Vet

Just recently we had the vet out to give Tipper a booster which he was very good about, but if you have a vet handy you may as well get them to check out anything that you are unsure about, and that is exactly what we did.

So of cause we asked about his feet and legs, the vet tells us that he is a little sore on his off front but apart from that seems to be ok. We asked the vet if it might cause him pain to pick his feet up because of something, maybe a tendon injury, the vet checked it out and thankfully nothing like that and it is all just sociological, in other words someone has mistreated him, but at least it can be worked on.

Also we asked about Tippers teeth, the baby ones that we were unsure about, they say that the one on his off side should come out by itself but they aren’t sure that his near side tooth will, but they seem to be fine for now, so we’ll just wait and see, if they need to be taken out we will probably have the vet out to do it, if need be.

We spoke to the vet about our plan of trying to get the farrier to take his shoe off, the vet advised we give Tipper some Sedalin to keep him calm while the farrier is working on his feet. The farrier should have already been but they have missed the appointment with us twice now so I am very angry at them, because we were told by the vet to give Tipper the Sedalin one hour before the farrier turned up, which we did and the farrier didn’t show. So we used medication on a horse that didn’t need it and we wasted what we did use, so I am now in angry mode with the farrier and we will just get a different one who can turn up on time. We really need to have the farrier as I had to remove Niko’s last front shoe because it had become loose and I was worried about it causing him harm.

Anyway I am done complaining about the farrier now so I guess that’s all.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

A Confession

I have a confession to make, sometime ago I said that cleaning my saddle was my next task but it never got done. But there is a reason for this, my father bought a harness and bridle for Pip. As you can see in the photo Pip has tried on the bridle but has yet to try the harness.

Now you are probably wondering why this stopped me cleaning my saddle, so I will explain. It is very, very, dirty so instead of cleaning my saddle I did a bit of the harness, sadly at the moment everything in quite busy here so I am having a bit of trouble getting anything clean.

Here is another photo of Pip wearing the bridle with blinkers, I think he looks pretty good, of course he won’t be doing any work in his new tack, he is way too young to be driven, but it will help him to get used to wearing all that sort of stuff, I might try it on Murphy as well.

Anyway that is it for now hopefully I will be able to find time to blog a bit more consistently.

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Some of The World’s Greatest and Extraordinary Horses

Here are some of the world’s most impressive horses. And here is my favourite one, his name is Luscombe Nordram, and he stands 20.1 hands high, weighing about the same as a small car he is truly a giant, but there’s more he is only five so is still growing, he won’t be fully grown until the age of six or seven. That is going to be one BIG horse.

And here is another giant among horses, he’s name is Poe and he stands at 20.2 hands high, and weighs 200 stone, he eats two bales of hay a day, 10lb of grain and drinks 75 gallons of water, I believe Poe is 10 years old so has no more growing to do, just as well really he must cost a heck of a lot to keep.

Here is something a bit different to the ones you have just see, his name is Cigar, ring any bells if not let me explain. Cigar is a famous racehorse with a breathtaking consecutive win streak of 16 races, he was foaled on the 18th of April, 1990, and is now retired, he retired as the leading money earner in Thoroughbred history, he’s earnings were a grand total of $9,999,813, now that’s a racehorse.

Now here’s an odd one I think you can probably guess what is special about her. That’s right her tail is the longest in the world, her name is Summer Breeze and with her amazing 12ft 6in long tail, she is recognised by the Guinness Book of World records as having the longest tail in the world, she is 11 years old, her mane is also very long, but had to be controlled to stop her chewing it with her food, she must take a long time to get ready for a show.

And last but not lest Einstein, one of the world’s smallest horses, he might be small but he is just as famous as the others. Einstein is just 20inches tall, and is apparently the smallest horse ever recorded to survive.

Einstein is so amazing because he doesn’t seem to have any characteristics of a normal dwarf, and is just a very small horse, Einstein cannot be officially recognised as the world’s smallest horse until he is 4 years old, but his owners believe he has stopped growing, so it is just a matter of time.

Well that is about all for now hope you enjoyed seeing all those very special horses.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

The Horse’s Skeleton

The horse’s skeleton typically has 205 bones, but I won’t be going through all of them as I think you may get a bit bored, so I will just be telling you some things about the horses skeleton I think you might find interesting. First of all let’s start with a few of the bone names, coffin bone, nasal bone, cranium, and the mandible, take sometime and have a look at the skeleton yourself. (Click to enlarge.)

Now time for some facts, some Arabian horses have five lumber vertebrae instead of the normal six, and seventeen pairs of ribs instead of the eighteen that is normally seen in other horses, out of the 205 bones in a horses skeleton 80 of them are located in its legs. Anyway there is a lot about the horse’s skeleton but that will have to wait for another post, hope I didn’t bore you.

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

The Joys and Horrors of Tack Cleaning

All the riding us equestrians do is bound to have an affect on our tack, and not necessarily a good one sadly, yes I am of course talking about dirty tack and as you can see my tack is just that.

After a hard day of work our horses and ponies are happy to sit back share a drink and relax, but sadly no such luck for us we get the job as responsible equestrians of making sure to keep our tack in good condition, with sadly means cleaning it.

Recently I used the Chestfields Equine Product Multi Purpose ,I did not use it on my saddle as I want to take a while over cleaning that to try and get it looking nice, but I did use it on Murphy’s leather headcollar and I am happy to say it worked a treat. I was very happy with how quick it was to get the dirt off, I then used saddle soap as normal, and it all worked very nicely.

But then I have this great lump of leather to clean, not a lot of fun, I really like cleaning smaller stuff like headcollars and bridles, but then when it come to the saddle it is not so nice I really hate trying to clean my saddle but that is my next task and I must get it done soon, I am hoping that Chestfields Multi Purpose Product will help a lot but only time will tell.

Pigs and Ponies

I like to let the horses and ponies get used to all kinds of stuff and that includes other animals, like this funny looking chap here, this is Hugo and he is a Kune Kune boar. Brave little Murphy has no worries going head to head with this pig, rightly so, Hugo is just one of my Mothers pigs and has had a lot of handling and love. To find out more about the pigs (click this link to visit a blog dedicated to these pigs) but that is all from me for now pigs are not so much my thing, but feel free to check out the blog my Mother runs about them.

Sunday, 3 July 2011

Forty Years Old and Still As Good As New

When my Mother was a child she bought this hoof pick from the Horse of the Year Show, she didn’t have a pony then but she wanted one. She never got her pony and the hoof pick lived in one of the kitchen drawers up until I bought Niko then it was time for the hoof pick to do its job again. This is the only hoof pick I have used I look at the more modern ones and they all look so sharp, some do have a handy brush on one end, but I like this one and as you can see it isn’t the sort of hoof pick that will be breaking any time soon. This maybe isn’t the most interesting post but with so many equines I use the hoof pick so much I thought I would do I post about it.

But I have more to ramble on about before I go like how all the horses and ponies are doing. First of all I have stopped cleaning Tipper’s wound and I am now just leaving it to heal up which it is doing nicely. Niko has now lost a shoe as well as Tipper, the farrier should come in three days time. Pip’s summer coat is starting to show in places. Murphy and Madeline are now eating in a separate part of the paddock for most of their meals, because they are the two most dominant, everything is a lot more peaceful like this, and it allows us to keep a better eye on how much haylage Murphy eats. Well that’s about all. Oh and I did my new header that has already been criticized by my older brother, but oh well I can always change it later.