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Hoofbeats - The Blog 

Welcome to our blog page, HOOFBEATS, where we talk about the countryside with a main emphasis on training and caring for horses and ponies. If you would like to contribute ideas and information about your own experiences, we would be delighted to hear them. Please email to editor@horseandponyinfo.com or post to our Facebook Page, Horse and Pony Info. If you're into Twitter, you can contact us @horse_ponyinfo.

IMPORTANT - The opinions expressed here are from personal experience and we strongly advise you to contact your veterinary surgeon or your riding instructor if you are seriously worried about your horse. Prompt action is important.

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Monday, September 27, 2010

What is resistance in horses and ponies?
Resistance is a horse or pony's way of saying "No thanks". There are many different forms of resistance, depending on the animal's temperament. Some are more dangerous ones than others. If your horse is resisting something, don't despair. Only a saint of a horse never resists anything in his life. I saw it in action last week with two young riders:

An older, normally well-behaved horse hadn't done a turn on the forehand for some time and said "no thanks" when asked by reining back. Every time he was asked to step sideways, he stepped backwards instead. It took a bit of time and patience for his young rider to get him to do this exercise correctly.

A placid, teenage 13.2 who is great with beginners, decided he had had enough cantering in circles when being asked to do plenty of transitions. This was hard work for him! He said "no thanks" by suddenly leaning forward and trying to pull the reins out of his rider's hands. This is his usual form of resistance.

Working through the resistance firmly but non-violently is essential. Be careful, though, with young horses. Sometimes they will start to resist if they are tired or if they are being asked for too much. Always try to work out why the horse is resisting. Is he afraid? Is he fed up with doing the same thing over and over? Is he just being naughty? More info here.
8:13 am gmt 

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The new craze for riders and sports people

SportsWatches/sportswatcheswrist.JPGHave you seen our new ? We try out all our products ourselves to make sure we are happy with them and our latest favourite is the Gummy Sports Watch which is a big hit this Autumn for sport and riding. The Sports Watch is made of natural rubber and looks like a wrist band but it also has a digital watch. Cool! Check out our bright colours: red, blue, green, navy and Glow in the Dark.

You can now purchase table mats, coasters and T-shirts with the design of your choice. We especially like the mugs with a choice of red, blue, green and pink inside for a splash of colour at coffee break. We've launched a new design under the "Racing and Competition Horse" section: a selection of racing colours. Perfect for horse racing fans who want something different.

If you're looking for a gift for someone, why not add a horse, cat or dog greetings card?

4:53 pm gmt 

Monday, September 13, 2010

When to put rugs on horses in Autumn
We've had several enquiries about when to rug up a horse or pony in Autumn. This is a difficult time of year, like Spring, and there are no hard and fast rules but this is what I would do:

If the horse is not too hairy by now, put on a lightweight waterproof rug on wet, windy days. It is still mild so he would only sweat in anything heavier. You have to be ready to take off this rug if there is very warm sunshine. The rug will keep the shine on his coat and stop him getting too hairy. If the weather is warm and mild, I would take the rug off during the day and put a light rug on him at night - unless the nights are very warm. Sweating under a rug is bad because it can lead to skin infections so be careful of this.

When the horse gets so hairy with his winter coat that it difficult to dry him off after excercise, it is time to clip him and put on the winter rugs. I personally don't think we are at that stage in Ireland yet as my horses and ponies are still shedding hair. If you want to make life easier, you can leave the rugs off until the horse has grown a winter coat, then clip him and put on the winter rugs. The drawback is that a horse in work will be harder to clean after turnout and will take longer to dry off after work.

Ponies and horses in very light work or not being ridden (who will not be clipped or only lightly clipped) can be left until they have grown more hair before putting on winter rugs.

For tips on clipping horses and ponies, click here.
9:40 am gmt 

Friday, September 10, 2010

Our 2010 Christmas Cards have arrived - early!
Our new Christmas Cards are here! I know it sounds a bit early to be thinking about Christmas in September but why not have a look here. You can order the cards singly or in numbers. We also have packs of 10 cards at a reduced price and, if you wish, you can have your name, address, message or whatever you like printed on them.

We have a selection of horse, cat and dog cards - all with a Christmas touch! The cards are high quality, glossy and 5% is donated to the NSPCC by the printers.

If you need any help, please don't hesitate to call us on 086 3292790 or 045 525757 (International: 00 353 86 3292790 or 00 353 45 525757) or email: sales@horseandponyinfo.com .
5:07 pm gmt 

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Parrot mouth - why you should look a gift horse in the mouth

I came across my first case of Parrot Mouth this week. Thankfully I have never had a horse with a parrot mouth before but while the vet was here yesterday doing flu vaccinations, she spotted that a yearling has a mild case. Parrot mouth can't be spotted in a newborn foal but appears between one and six months of age. It is definitely something to look out for if you are buying a horse or pony as a parrot mouth can affect the way an equine eats and it is also considered a defect when you come to sell the horse. Like windsucking, cribbing, weaving and sweetitch, it affects the price.

So what is parrot mouth exactly? It is when the top incisor teeth of a horse come out over the bottom incisors, much the same as buck teeth in humans. Apparently it is relatively common and occurs in 2-3% of horses, so 2 or 3 in every hundred horses have this defect.

The reason why parrot mouth is a bad thing in a horse is because it affects the way the horse grinds his food and how he digests it. A bad case will prevent the horse putting on condition and also cause problems with a bit in his mouth. It can make it hard for him to graze.

Mild cases are easy enough to treat with dental floating (rasping) and severe cases benefit from dental procedures, such as braces believe it or not! Mild cases are where the top teeth protrude slightly over the bottom incisors but still meet the bottom ones and a severe case is where the top teeth protrude so far over the bottom ones that they do not meet.

I found a useful article written by an Australian vet with excellent photographs of parrot mouth. If you're interested, go to www.evdsdentalinstruments.com/site/index.php?section=94 .

2:14 pm gmt 

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Record visitors in August 2010

We would like to thank everyone who has visited our website and put forward questions. We had our record number of unique visitors in August, much to our surprise as it is holiday season. It really does prove that the experts on website building are right: you don't need to spend money on advertising a website if the content is useful enough to bring more and more people to it. Obviously ours is a specialised website supplying the needs of a niche audience so we can't expect the numbers of visitors the likes of Amazon.com receive. Another thing to remember when building a website is to make sure the information on it is authentic. But enough about that, unless of course you want advice about building and maintaining a small website. If so, contact editor@horseandponyinfo.com !

We have big plans for Autumn 2010. We'll be launching our first ever collection of Equestrian and Country Christmas Cards and we also hope to have a page for Questions and Answers - an A to Z of short, pithy info. So please stay with us, keep coming back every now and then and, last but not least, encourage your friends to buy our cards. Thanks again.

9:41 am gmt 

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Horses racing on a frozen lake in Switzerland
copyright: Gilles Oster - Fotolia.com


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Reading on the beach or in the bath? - STAR PRODUCT OF THE MONTH

I'm addicted to reading and I love the NEW KINDLE OASIS because it's waterproof. Believe it or not, you can drop it into water and it will still work. No more worries about taking my Kindle to the beach or pool. It's ideal for my husband who likes to read - and fall asleep - in the bath! It's also got built-in Audible so I don't need to take two devices with me and can switch from reading to listening whenever I want.

(Suzanne - Editor of Horse and Pony Info) 

Watch out for laminitis in small ponies and Native Breeds. Keeping weight under control is vital.


Bitless riding is becoming more popular. Read our articles by three experienced bitless riders


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