Friday, August 3, 2018
Laminitis season back with us
12:35 pm gmt
What is laminitis?
is a distressing and painful condition for a horse or pony. It can also be called Founder when it gets to a chronic
stage. Often it is caused by too much rich grass or food. Native breeds of horses and small overweight ponies are particulary
prone to it. Swelling occurs inside the hoof wall and equines will often lie down to ease the chronic pain. It is vital that
we react fast when we see our horse looking uncomfortable on her feet or lying down a lot in the paddock. Seek veterinary
advice immediately if you have never dealt with laminitis before.
Prevention is better
Laminitis can be avoided once we are aware
of the symptoms and what to look out for. One of our horses, a huge 17.1 hh Irish Draught, got this horrible condition when
he was eleven years old. His owner was expecting a baby and hadn't been able to ride him. A particularly wet spring led to
a flush of high quality grass and next thing the horse was shifting uncomfortably on his hind legs. We called the vet who
was baffled because laminitis usually shows up in the front legs.
symptom of laminitis is a horse holding a front leg out in front of her or leaning backwards to ease the weight off the
front legs. Or lying down a lot. The vet diagnosed a back problem and treated our horse for that but fortunately an experienced
friend spotted the hind leg symptoms. We were then able to treat him for laminitis and the horse went on to compete at
national dressage level and even won championships in the show hunter ring. He was always prone to laminitis but we kept
an eye on him and managed it. He lived to the age of 28 and died with his shoes on. The vet was most impressed.
More information about coping with laminitis
got a whole page dedicated to laminitis and how to cope with it. Experienced owners who have had equines with this condition
have been generous with their advice. There are also links to products that help keep it at bay without using drugs.
I would like to emphasize again: if you haven't coped with laminitis
before and you suspect your horse or pony may have it, call the veterinary surgeon immediately as it is a very serious condition
and can prove fatal if left untreated.
More on coping with laminitis here
Thursday, June 21, 2018
The importance of patience when training your horse
8:09 pm gmt
Have you ever noticed that the best horse trainers and riders in the world
are usually the most patient? That is not just a co-incidence. Horses and ponies are very intuitive animals and pick up our
emotions and feelings quickly. An irritable, impatient trainer can quickly ruin the confidence and spirit of a sensitive horse.
I remember reading an interesting article about research carried out at a well
known equestrian veterinary centre in the UK. Apparently the horse has a small brain for the size of its body. Scans
done on the brain showed that a horse's reasoning side of the brain is not as large as its emotional part.
However, the intriguing result of tests done on a horse showed that the reasoning area grew if the horse was
trained. So, the more a horse learned, the bigger that part of the brain became. Who knows, this may also be true
We're delighted to welcome Elizabeth Jensen of
Sunnyridge Horsemanship as a guest writer to our online magazine. Elizabeth has already written two articles for
us and you can see her interesting take on The Importance of Patience when training horses here.
Wednesday, May 16, 2018
6:51 pm gmt
You're probably inundated with GDPR requests at this stage. If you've never heard of it, it's a new European Union law
governing how your data is collected and stored online. GDPR is a good thing. It gives you and me a lot more control over
how companies use our data.
Rest assured that Horse and Pony Info stores very little data belonging to you. Our website
The only other information we collect about you is when you either email us or complete a CONTACT FORM. We will
not store your email address and will delete all emails as soon as we have finished with your query. Please note
that Horse and Pony Info will never sell or give your email address to a third party.
Horse and Pony Info is an Amazon
EU Affiliate which means we get paid a small commission if you link on any Amazon UK links on our website. This
doesn't cost you any extra but it helps us to maintain our website.
Monday, October 5, 2015
Switching to Bitless Riding
2:45 pm gmt
Have you ever tried riding bitless? Maybe you have already tried riding in a hackamore. Many people are now considering
or have already made the switch to riding without a bit in the horse's mouth. Some are forced to attempt the transition because
their horse has a problem in his mouth and a bitless bridle is the only option. Others use bitless bridles because they feel
they are kinder to the horse.
I am very grateful to Avis Senior and her two friends, Elinor and Brenda, who brought bitless
riding to my attention. Avis sent me a link to a team competing in a Hunt Chase in bitless bridles. It makes interesting viewing and may convince those of you who worry that you will be run away with that a horse trained
to a bitless bridle can be a fun ride.
If you have experience of riding bitless yourself and would like to add
any information, please get in touch.
Read our articles about bitless riding here
Friday, November 14, 2014
Equestrian & Country Christmas Cards 2014
12:36 pm gmt
We've launched our Christmas Card Catalogue for 2014 today. We hope you'll enjoy looking at our beautiful A5 cards. They
are good value at €2.00 each and we send them to anywhere in the world with a postal address!
Please have a look at our online catalogue here. There are horses, cats and dogs to suit all tastes and we even have a squirrel.
Monday, April 14, 2014
Rocky's Progress - Teething Problems
5:44 pm gmt
For a few days, Rocky seemed like the perfect pony. We have been getting him ready for backing and he lunges well on both
reins, drives on long reins around the arena and up and down the lane, and has even had a small journey in the horse trailer.
followed me up the back ramp and down the front ramp three times with little hesitation. I parked the car and trailer at the
bottom of the lane to our yard, where he would see his friend in the field in front of him and where the hedge on either side
would encourage him to up the ramp instead of around it. All well. Good boy, Rocky!
Two days later, we took him
one step further. Accompanied by an experienced pony who has travelled to shows in the trailer, Rocky went for a short drive.
He was excited, perhaps a little unsettled but not phased. He was pleased to see me when I opened the jockey door but didn't
bolt down the front ramp when it opened. Good boy, Rocky!
Alas, we have now hit a stumbling block. Rocky has developed
a phobia about the bit in his mouth and clamps his jaw shut when the bridle approaches. This reluctance has now turned to
downright obstinance, with rearing and kicking out with front legs. Something must be wrong and pain is always what we have
to consider first. The dentist and vet are coming on Thursday and, in the meantime, we will leave his mouth alone. He will
continue with loose lungeing and perhaps popping over cross poles.
New rules in Ireland now mean that an equine dentist
cannot sedate a horse (or farrier, physiotherapist, etc) so the vet also needs to be present to administer an IV sedative.
Hopefully this will make the procedure as painless as possible for the pony. I wouldn't fancy having a filling or a tooth
out without an anaesthetic, would you?
We will see what the dentist says about his mouth.
© Rita Kochmarjova - Fotolia.com)
Monday, April 7, 2014
Rocky's time has come
12:01 pm gmt
I hope wherever you are in the world that you are enjoying your
horses. In Ireland, we have at last seen the first signs of spring after an extremely wet winter. We have even tentatively
taken off some of the winter rugs and replaced them with lighter ones, or none at all on sunnier days.
Do you remember our Rocky? The foal who made his way into this world almost unannounced.
He hid for months in his mother's womb before we began to get suspicious. A strong Connemara mare, she kept putting on weight
even when her grass was reduced. The vet confirmed she was in foal and we had to make haste and prepare for baby's imminent
The mare belonged to a livery client and moved away
but Rocky returned to us when he was five months old as his owners had nowhere to keep him. That was just over four years
ago. I will tell you the story of his rather dramatic birth another day. Rocky certainly made sure that we would never forget
the day he arrived and he has been busy attracting our attention ever since.
He was a late foal, born on 15th October, so we did a little work with him last summer and then turned him away.
He has had a bridle and saddle on. He has been lightly lunged and has walked around the arena in long reins. He has even had
the weight of our French students leaning on his back.
he is about to go one step further and is back in the stable to be prepared for riding. Good luck, Rocky, I hope you enjoy
it! We'll keep you posted on how he gets on.
Rocky as a yearling with blonde highlights Rocky a little older
Wednesday, November 27, 2013
Five examples of 'horse salesperson speak' - or what we aren't being told!
7:55 pm gmt
We've all probably heard of 'estate agent speak'. It's a special language, or use of words, by estate agents when they
describe houses for sale. 'In need of some renovation', for example, usually means the house is a complete ruin. I thought
it would be a good idea to assemble some 'sales speak' which people might hear from sellers of horses.
1. 'He's a lovely horse (or pony) but he's a little green.' - A little green has obviously
nothing to do with the animal's colour - it means he's uneducated. Green horses or ponies need time put into them to teach
them to become quiet and reliable. Green horses don't suit inexperienced or nervous riders.
you have to do is lunge her before you ride her and she'll be as quiet as a lamb.' - Trust me, any horse
that needs to be lunged every day before being ridden is anything but quiet. I know a young woman who recently bought
a horse from a supposedly reputable owner and was told this. The horse turned out, surprise, surprise, to be a crazy animal,
and bucked off the girl's father and broke his back. Needless to say, they returned the horse and were lucky to be able to
3. 'All this pony needs is a sympathetic rider with soft hands'. - Again, we're
probably dealing with a mad thing but this one will probably tear around the arena with his head in the air or try to pull
the reins out of the rider's hands. The dentist (more info here) might be able to help but, unless the rider considers himself calm, sympathetic and able to deal with over-sensitive horses,
I wouldn't go there.
4. 'I'm afraid I've lost her passport, but she's only nine years old.' -
It's amazing how many sellers have lost passports. What this usually means is that the passport has been thrown away because
the horse is at least fifteen years old. When I'm told the horse's age and there's no sign of a passport, I immediately
look at the teeth as it is easy to tell an older horse's age using Galvayne's Groove as a guide (see details opposite). I
bought a pony from a dealer last Autumn. She knew I knew about Galvayne's Groove so admitted that the man she'd bought
the pony from had tried to tell her he was nine. We both thought he was more like fourteen or fifteen but he's kind, sensible
and good for beginner riders so it didn't really matter.
5. 'This horse is four years old and
he's bombproof'. - If I got a euro for every time I see bombproof four year olds advertised for sale, I'd be
a rich woman. I don't believe there's such a thing as a 'bombproof' young horse. They simply don't have the years of mileage
and experience behind them. Obviously some horses and ponies are more sensible than others but only older ones should be labelled
Sunday, October 6, 2013
Teach your horse five tricks
4:57 pm gmt
We often get asked by readers how to teach a horse tricks. Our October video of the month shows how to get your horse to
smile, walk backwards, follow, count and grab something. The horse trainer uses positive reinforcement by feeding her horse
treats such as carrots or pieces of apple.
Feeding a horse or pony treats is always a controversial subject as
some people believe that it encourages them to bite. I have found that it depends on the horse. Some are more prone to biting
than others and I would advise caution with a young horse or pony. If a horse respects you, it will not bite.
owners are able to teach horses tricks without using food as a reward, just by praising them.
Watch the video here.
If you have any videos of your own horse doing tricks, we would love to see them. Send a link in an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Friday, May 31, 2013
Dog plays tug of war and tag with a foal
3:15 pm gmt
Have you ever had a moment when you wished you had your camera with you? June's 'Video of the Month' captures one of those
rare occasions when a dog has a tug of war with a foal and then runs around the paddock, encouraging it to chase him.
you have a video you would like us to look at for 'Video of the Month' or can suggest something you think would appeal to
other readers, then please let us know. Send an email to email@example.com.
See the June video here: http://www.horseandponyinfo.com/