HorseHage & Mollichaff Helpline – 01803 527274

Marvin’s Story

Here we feature the story of Marvin (Spot of Luck) and his owner, Julia Wilkinson, of County Durham. The pair won HorseHage sponsorship for one year and featured in a major advertising campaign. You may also have spotted them on our tradestand back drop at the shows and events we attend.

Julia and Marvin galloping

“My horse Marvin (Spot of Luck) and I have experienced some huge highs over the past few years,” writes Julia Wilkinson of County Durham.

“In 2012, I won a year’s sponsorship from HorseHage and Marvin and I starred in an advertising and marketing campaign for the feed company. As a keen eventer, I had set myself the challenge of competing at the prestigious Mitsubishi Motors Grassroots Championships (now called the Mitsubishi Motors Cup), which takes place at Badminton each May, just before the famous horse trials.

“I was bursting with pride when Marvin and I qualified for Badminton, by winning our section at Burgham Horse Trials to qualify for the Regional Finals which were held at Skipton Horse Trials in August 2013. Luck was on our side again as we jumped a double clear, completing on our dressage score of 22.

“Things didn’t go our way at the finals, unfortunately, and we didn’t finish the cross country, but it was still an amazing experience and an incredible achievement just to get there.

“I had a fantastic few days at the event with my good friends around me, and have some great memories to look back on.

Julia and friends walking the course at Badminton

Julia and friends walking the course at Badminton

“One thing that only my close friends knew during the build up to Badminton was that my husband and I had agreed to split up (and latterly divorce). I stayed with a close friend and then moved to a rented property in the village where Marvin was on livery. That time in my life was a bit of a rollercoaster ride. ”

Moving On
“I had always said that once I had been to Badminton in the Mitsubishi Motors Championship, I would have a break from competing and take my life in a new direction. I was on my own for the first time in 12 years.

“After Badminton, I sold my horsebox as I knew it would not be used very much. I was sad to see it go but knew it was the right decision and I later bought a trailer and did a few BE100s and latterly BE90 competitions as I felt Marvin missed going to a party and when he was there, he felt fantastic. It was lovely to compete without any pressure of needing to qualify for a change!

“I moved permanently to the village I had been staying in, as there were two big positives. Firstly, Marvin was just a mile up the road and secondly, I would be close to my good friend, Karen.

“The village is a lovely place to live and everyone is very friendly. I soon became friends with my new neighbour, Johnny Smith.

“Johnny and I seemed to have a lot in common. He and his wife had also split up, and it was nice to have a friend to talk to, and he felt the same.

“We became close friends and later that year started a relationship – it was time to introduce Jonny to Marvin!

“Johnny loved coming to the farm where Marvin was on livery. He has a busy job as a station manager for the fire service and found that being at the stables was very relaxing for him. We all know there is nothing more uplifting than fresh air and horse muck!

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Johnny progressing well

“In March 2015, I asked Johnny if he wanted to have a sit on Marvin. He was a bit nervous at the suggestion, but I helped him get into the saddle and then led him around the indoor school in walk.

“Marvin was a saint, never putting a foot wrong and, to my amazement, Johnny really enjoyed it. He loved it so much, he went out and bought a riding hat and riding boots without me knowing!”

Johnny

A developing partnership
“I began to help Johnny learn to ride on my amazing horse, who I never thought for a moment would be capable of being so patient with a total beginner.

“In no time at all, Johnny and Marvin progressed to trotting and cantering in the school. They would also hack out around the village, first me with on foot and then with Johnny going it alone.

“The pair were soon trying out some low cross-poles, then little jumps and eventually popping round some of the cross-country fences we have at the yard.

“Johnny loved every minute of his time in the saddle and it was lovely to see Marvin having fun, too.

“Friends at the stables offered me their horses so I could ride out with Johnny. It felt weird to be on another horse and I did feel guilty that I was not on Marvin, but it meant that Johnny would be safe with Marvin and we could enjoy hacking together. I don’t think Marvin really minds!

A first fall
“As Johnny progressed, he went to some unaffiliated show-jumping and cross country competitions at our stables, and at local venues such as Leamside, Ivesley and Gloucester Lodge Farm – the places where Marvin and I started out at.

“One of my favourite days was the Hulne Park Ride, held on the Duke of Northumberland’s estate. A friend lent me their ex-event horse so Johnny and I could go together.

“I can’t tell you how proud I was to be riding around the Duke of Northumberland’s estate with my boyfriend riding my horse of a lifetime. It was also memorable because that’s where Johnny had his first fall from Marvin! If you’re going to fall off, why not fall in style at such a beautiful venue.

“There was an enforced break when Johnny had a hip replacement operation, which meant three months off riding. When he felt ready, he made a steady return to the saddle, with Marvin continuing to be an absolute star and looking after his novice rider.

“It’s wonderful to see Marvin move into older age in fantastic health and as a true schoolmaster in every capacity. He is now 17 years old, so classed as a ‘veteran’, and is so easy for Johnny to manage, both in and out of the stable. This is really good as Johnny has no previous experience of handling horses. He has had to learn how to groom, pick out feet, put on and take off rugs, as well as field management and how to deal with multiple horses around each other.

“Marvin has made all of these things really easy to learn. He has been so patient and has never done anything naughty.”

“We have recently moved livery yards to Ivesley Equestrian Centre, for a number of reasons – one is that it offers access to superb hacking. Also, it holds regular unaffiliated competitions, which Johnny and I can take part in.

Johnny, Marvin and Julia

“This year, we thought it would be great to share Marvin for the events. I competed him in some Novice-level dressage classes and achieved an amazing score of 81 per cent and enjoyed a spin round the 95cms one-day-event.

“Johnny has set his sights on competing in a one-day event and did a ‘show cross’ class in preparation, which combines show-jumping and cross-country. They were brilliant!

“Marvin was very excited to be out competing and was quite a handful in the show jumping – I think he wanted to jump the fences in any order, but it was great to watch. They also had a fantastic cross-country round. Having achieved a double clear, they came second.

“Johnny still has a lot of work to do in the dressage phase – especially as he hasn’t learnt any of the letters around the arena yet – so that’s currently his homework. That said, all you need to do is set Marvin’s satnav – he’s so experienced he’ll take him round! Then they can go off to enjoy what they really love – the fun jumping bits.

“Our last bit of news is that Johnny proposed to me last year, the day after my 40th birthday, so we also have a wedding to look forward to.

“I hope Marvin will be our guest of honour. We know only too well he loves being the main attraction – as long as he doesn’t stand on my dress!

So, we will continue to enjoy life with Marvin and here’s hoping we all have even more exciting times ahead.”

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Julia uses Mollichaff Veteran to bulk out Marvin’s feed ration. It’s a high fibre forage mix that’s highly palatable and is ideal for horses and ponies that are unable to consume long stem forage.

Posted in HorseHage MolliChaff by admin.

Spencer’s Latest Blog – October 2017

Spencer Roe

It’s been a hectic end to the summer. I have been looking for some new staff to help keep things running smoothly here on the yard at home, especially when I am away competing. This has been harder than I envisaged, with one person not even turning up for the interview! However we are now sorted and I have two new girls starting soon which will be a great help. We have eight horses here at the moment and some new ones arriving soon. One of the new girls is moving to our yard with the new horses which will be a great advantage as she will already know their little quirks and habits and it will help them settle in too.

I took five horses to the Arena UK Major Show Jumping Championships in Lincolnshire which took place from 18th to 24th September – two six-year-olds, a five-year-old and a four-year-old, plus my top horse, Wonder Why (or Disney as he’s known at home). I was very happy with how they all went and Disney took 3rd place in the Grand Prix. Robert Whitaker won the class and Rowan Willis was second but I was thrilled with how well Disney jumped. It’s always a really good atmosphere at this venue and there were some great show-jumping classes.

Spencer Roe

Spencer Roe

Spencer Roe

I will be heading out to Oliva Nova in Spain on 17th October for three weeks to compete with Gambler and Gusto (both six-year-olds), Wonder Why and also two new horses. We’ll be stocking the horsebox up with plenty of High Fibre HorseHage which is great for travelling as the bales are easy to handle and split easily into wedges plus I know they’re getting good forage whilst they are working hard. It will be a great opportunity to get to know the new additions both in and out of the ring.

When we get home the horses will have a couple of weeks off and another three new horses will be coming onto the yard so it’s all exciting stuff. We’ll be straight into the indoor show season, both local and national and then in February we’ll be heading out to southern Spain for the Sunshine Tour, but lots of work to put in before then.

Best wishes,

Spencer.

Posted in HorseHage Spencer's Blog by admin.

HorseHage – Flying The Flag For Forage

Horsehage Range

Choosing the type of forage to feed your horse or pony should be the most important feed decision you make, as up to 100% of the equine diet should be provided by forage.

Hay can often contain dust and mould spores and soaking and steaming it is time consuming and not always successful. The nutritional quality can vary a great deal too and a typical hay sample can contain around 10% sugar.

Big bale haylage is usually made in large bales which are designed to be fed whole in the field and can be difficult to handle and break up. The quality can be variable and unless you are feeding several horses or ponies, there is the chance of wastage as a bale should be consumed within a week before it goes off.

HorseHage bagged forage offers all you and your horse could wish for in a forage and the company has over 40 years of expertise in producing the highly compressed, dust-free product that has become widely recognised as a premium quality product.

Unlike most haylages, HorseHage is not re-wrapped. It is compressed down to half its size and packed into heat-sealed, double-skinned bags. It goes through a fermentation process that causes the sugars in the grass to break down, reducing the acidity level and giving it a sweet smell whilst preserving the grass. This gives it a much lower sugar content (around 4%) than most other forages.

We don’t add anything to HorseHage. No chemicals, mould inhibitors or inoculants. It’s a totally natural product and has BETA NOPS and FEMAS certifications.

So if you’re looking for a forage that is dust-free, low in sugar, easy to use, totally natural and comes with a guarantee, HorseHage is ideal. It is available in four different varieties offering a choice of energy levels for every type of horse or pony including those prone to laminitis.

But better still….most horses and ponies relish the taste and so there’s no wastage and it may enable you to reduce the hard feed ration by up to a third, saving you money too!

Posted in HorseHage by admin.

Pablo’s Horse Sanctuary Gets Support From HorseHage

Oscar at Pablos

We have teamed up with Pablo’s Horse Sanctuary to support two rescued equines at their centre near Melton Mowbray in Leicestershire.

The two animals, Oscar – a 17.2hh Thoroughbred, and Rupert – a 13.2hh Welsh-type pony, will be fed on Mollichaff Condition Complete to help them put on some weight and build up some condition.

Mollichaff Condition Complete is a highly digestible, high fibre, high oil and low starch complete feed which has been formulated to encourage weight gain in underweight horses and ponies and can also help to maintain weight and condition in competition horses and ponies. It contains a balanced blend of alfalfa, dried grass, oat straw, fibre pellets, barley, soya flakes, soya oil and mint as well as Yea-sacc® and a prebiotic plus vitamins, minerals and trace elements.

Rupert at Pablos

The soya oil provides essential fatty acids to help improve skin condition and encourage a healthy, glossy coat and the Yea-sacc® and prebiotic can help maintain a healthy digestive system.

When fed at the recommended level it can be used as the sole concentrate feed as it contains a broad spectrum vitamin and mineral supplement. The only other feed required is plenty of good quality forage.

When feeding a complete feed, it is important to weigh the feed to make sure you are feeding the correct amount. The average weight of a level Stubbs scoop (2.6 litre) of Mollichaff Condition Complete is 0.50kg.

Mollichaff-Condition-Complete

Oscar came to Pablo’s after his owner sadly died. He is very loveable and really enjoys his food. Because he is a big horse, he will require six scoops of Mollichaff Condition Complete per day, split into two or three smaller feeds plus his usual forage.

Rupert was purchased by his previous owners from a riding school but wouldn’t travel and they found him to be untrainable and couldn’t saddle him, so he was no longer wanted and came to Pablo’s seven months ago. He is very sweet-natured and quiet and gets on with everyone. He will require four scoops of Mollichaff Condition Complete per day, split into two or three feeds, as well as his usual forage.

Both horses are elderly – in their thirties, so feeding a chopped fibre feed is a good option as older horses can struggle with long stem forage if they have dental issues.

Pablo’s Horse Sanctuary is a registered charity (Reg. No.1116394) in Long Clawson near Melton Mowbray and was founded by Carole Fielding and named in honour of a much-loved little pony with a crooked leg. After Pablo’s death, the family was devastated and Carole made the decision to devote the rest of her life to rescuing and caring for horses and ponies. There are currently over 90 horses at the sanctuary and the charity is entirely run by Carole and a team of volunteers to ensure that 100% of every donation is spent only on the horses’ welfare.

Said Carole: “We are delighted to have this support for Oscar and Rupert – they are loving the Mollichaff Condition Complete. Because it’s a complete feed with everything they need in it, it’s so easy to use.”

“We receive no government funding and so we are reliant on kind donations. Like many animal sanctuaries at the moment, we are trying so hard to help these animals but are struggling with escalating feed and vets’ bills which is being compounded by the large numbers of unwanted horses and ponies being abandoned.”

If you would like to find out more about how you can help, please visit www.pabloshorsesanctuary.co.uk

Enoch the Therapy Donkey Retires Age 25!

Over 100 people attended a celebration on 10th June to mark The Donkey Breed Society’s Golden Jubilee and also Enoch the donkey’s retirement at the grand old age of 25, following 17 years of service as a therapy donkey.

Enoch-1

Although it didn’t stop raining, the event was a great opportunity to bring donkey enthusiasts together and Enoch’s guests had a wonderful afternoon meeting him and his fellow therapy donkeys. They were able to learn more about the Donkey Breed Society (DBS) and enjoyed Enoch’s scrumptious cake provided by Mollichaff Donkey. The Chair of The DBS, Rosemary Clarke, gave a humorous talk on 50 years of the DBS and Enoch’s foster-owner, Ann Slater, gave a talk about the wonderful work Enoch has done throughout his career and this was followed by the local vicar blessing all the donkeys.

The raffle and silent auction were well-supported as was the Lluest Horse and Pony Trust stand and The Donkey Breed Society’s stand selling donkey-themed merchandise.

Enoch-2

Enoch was presented with an eye-catching blue bucket full of donkey treats. The wonderful celebration reunited old friends and new friendships were also formed.

Enoch has just five public appearances to fulfil before he starts his full retirement. He will still be saying hello to school groups visiting Bryndafydd but his days of going out to visit are nearly over. He will be at Carmarthen Park on 17th June meeting children at a community day, followed by Llandarog Show on 24th June, to support the donkey classes which they are running for the first time. On 3rd September he is at The Big Cwtch Family Music Festival and will then be flying the flag for senior donkeys in the Veteran Donkey class at Llansawel Show on 9th September. His final public outing will be at the Lluest Horse & Pony Trust Open Day on 17th September, before his relaxation begins in earnest.

Over his career, Enoch, who is fostered from The Donkey Sanctuary, has touched the lives of thousands of adults and children through his visits to nursing homes, hospices, hospitals, schools and youth projects. He will now hand over the reins to fellow donkeys, Polo and Cariad, and miniature Shetland pony, Robbie, at Bryndafydd Animal Assisted Therapy, in Carmarthenshire, Wales, who will continue on with the great work done by the group which is run by Enoch’s dedicated foster-owner, Ann Slater.

Enoch-3

Said an emotional Ann: “I will miss working with Enoch but I’m so looking forward to sharing his retirement at home.”

“He’s my best friend and the most special donkey ever.”

Enoch-4

The donkeys at Bryndafydd Animal Assisted Therapy are all fed on Mollichaff Donkey – a highly palatable, complete feed which is low in sugar, starch and energy and is suitable for donkeys, mules, ponies and horses that are prone to laminitis. When fed at the recommended levels, it needs no further supplementation other than good quality forage, or it can be used as a total forage replacer.

MolliChaff Donkey

For further information on Mollichaff Donkey or for advice on feeding your horse, pony, donkey or mule, please call the HorseHage Helpline on 01803 527274

Posted in HorseHage MolliChaff MolliChaff Donkey by admin.