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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, November 28, 2011

Polo, Side Saddle and Horse Insurance & Law Seminar
It's been busy this past week. Here's a quick summary of what has been happening on Horse and Pony Info: 

We have our first interview with a polo player, 
Ameer Jumabhoy, who plays polo with La Sarita Polo Team and this year raised money and awareness through a goal scoring initiative for Texas Children’s Cancer Centre. Horse and Pony Info spoke to Ameer about his life playing polo and his fund raising plans. To see this interview and photos of Ameer click here.

On Facebook, we came across an interesting page run by a trio of ladies who prefer to ride side saddle. The Flying Foxes Side Saddle Display Team tour the UK to show people how it's possible to take part in many different equestrian disciplines riding 'aside' instead of astride. They ride cross country, hunt and also do trick jumping. Have a look here.

Catherine Ryan, from www.mountainviewstables.eu has written several pieces on Horse and Pony Info website. She is hosting an interesting seminar on Wednesday, 14th December in the Vienna Woods Hotel, Glanmire, Cork. Called 'Ask the Experts', it will deal with any questions you might have about law and insurance, such as the following:

If your horses gets injured by another, who pays the vet bills?
If your horse jumps the fence and causes an accident, who is at fault?
If you get in an accident while riding out on the road, who is liable?
If you pay someone to care for your horse and something goes wrong, what are your rights?
and if you are the person that keeps a friends horse for a cheap price, what are you taking on in terms of risk?
Go to www.mountainviewstables.eu to see the advert for the seminar or to our Home & Contents page where you can download the Seminar details to share with others. Even better, if you live in Ireland, you can attend and ask your own questions.
7:02 pm gmt 

Monday, November 21, 2011

Always expect the unexpected

If there's one thing I've learnt from a lifetime with horses, it's that we never stop learning. Last Friday that message was brought home to me with a bang!

On October 24th I wrote about the 12.2 hh Connemara pony who I'd taken to the cranial osteopath. If I'm honest, I haven't noticed much difference in his nervousness so far although I was able to catch him today on the first attempt in spite of having taken off his head collar previously. Though this might be because he now looks forward to coming into the stable and having a feed.

Anyway, last Friday he was due to go back for his second session with the cranial osteopath. I parked the Volvo and horse box in its usual place between the gate posts at the top of the hill which runs past our house. I have loaded horses and ponies in that spot for the twenty one years we have lived here as it makes life easier to be able to use the gate if they won't load. As I was on my own, I loaded a 12 hh Welsh pony first who doesn't mind going in, called Sprite. Sprite was tied up, had the back bar across behind him but the back ramp still open.

I then went back to the stables to fetch the nervous pony. I was just unlocking his door when I heard Sprite whinneying rather more frantically than usual. I looked around and saw that the car and horse box had gone. Vanished completely! For the first split second I thought someone must have driven off with it and then a horrible thought occured and I ran as fast as I could down the lane to see the car had ploughed into the beech hedge at the bottom and Sprite, now very put out, jumping up and down in the back with the ramp still open. Thankfully he was fine.

I suppose the distance the car and box travelled on its own was about 100 metres downhill and it was lucky it hit the hedge and didn't veer to the left and out onto the main avenue to the neighbours' houses. Such a relief to find the poor pony all right that I don't mind about the damage to the front of the car and the loss of a fog light. It could have been so much worse.

I had put on the hand brake, which had failed, but had forgotten to leave the car in gear which is very unusual for me as my son, who is having driving lessons, is amazed that I automatically put it into gear after turning off the engine. I can only conclude that I was in too much of a hurry that day.

As I said, we live and learn. I will definitely be checking the gear stick next time or, better still, finding another place to park for loading horses.


2:40 pm gmt 

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Save money caring for horses in winter
HorseandPonyCare/Ruggedhorses.jpgAnyone who keeps horses in winter will tell you how expensive looking after them is. If they are stabled, they will be in for longer as the days are shorter and fields are wetter. This means more money goes on bedding. Whether in or out, they will need more feed as the grass has little protein at this time of year - if you have any grass! Without doubt, winter time is when the feed man makes his money.

We have nine horses and ponies here at present and only bring in the ones who are being ridden. Older ones who feel the cold, such as thoroughbreds are given rugs and, if they are not being exercised, live out. We had an ex-racehorse who lived to the age of 30 and he was never stabled in later years as he would stiffen up. He much preferred being out.

Another idea is not to put rugs on native breeds and good doers. Instead they will grow a thick, warm coat. If they are not clipped and being ridden, there is no need for a rug but remember to keep grooming to a minumum as it takes the oils and grease out of their coats which are there to keep them warm.

Feed plenty of fibre in the winter. Fibre helps a horse to keep warm from the inside out and this means hay or haylage. We still have plenty of grass at the moment and our ponies living out have more condition than usual so we haven't started feeding hay yet. Last season, during the snow, we fed hay out in the fields.

For more ideas on how to save money in winter, click here.
1:56 pm gmt 

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Heart warming photos of huggable horses
HugYourHorseComp/BroganMarshall.jpgFrosty mornings are here at last! After a week of storming winds and torrential rain, I was able to sit outside today in glorious sunshine with a cuppa and listen to the birds singing. And I couldn't do that many times in Summer 2011. It was a heart warming feeling.

And, talking about heart warming, the results of the Arjento Equestrian Photo Competition 'Life is Short - Hug Your Horse' are out. There were so many gorgeous photos but the judge and sponsor decided that Brogan Marshall's photo of his little sister and a new pony deserved first prize of a red rosette and £10 voucher. If you'd like to see the rosette winners among these huggable horses, then click here.

Our thanks go to Lauren Preskey for kindly sponsoring this competition. Arjento Equestrian is based in the Midlands of the UK and will help train and prepare horses for sale, school problem horses and also help with nutrition advice, amongst other services.  (BSc Equine Management, www.arjento-equestrian.co.uk).
3:46 pm gmt 

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


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UK and Ireland


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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