December 2015

Last month was quite successful….

Two firsts at the North Shropshire Showing Association Winter Show

Rupert

Ruper training

Rupert was the star of the yard last month. It started off with him putting in a couple of nice rounds at BSJA. Unfortunately they were four fault rounds but nevertheless, he has progressed incredibly, particularly in his confidence in the ring. I am now able to achieve long and low work in the warm up, which I never thought would be possible with a horse as quirky as Rupert! However, it really works for him and he seems to really understand what his job is now – in fact he seems to really enjoy it.

Rupert jumping

Our good form continued when we won a 95cm class at Prescott Equestrian. This was made extra special as there was a prize rug for the winner, courtesy of Equo Events. I was really chuffed to win this, as I have always thought it would be pretty cool to win a rug! To my surprise, Rupert and I then made an appearance in Horse and Hound following our win – another amazing achievement for an amateur rider! I don’t think I stopped grinning for at least a week…

I then gave Rupert two weeks off from jumping as I was conscious he had been doing quite a lot. This also gave me a weekend free to go to Your Horse Live (More about this later!)

Rupert

He then was transformed from a show-jumper to a show horse again so that Simon could take him to our local winter showing show. Once again he rose to the occasion and won two classes! I was very proud of them both. We stayed to do the evening performance for the In-Hand Championship class. Rupert looked amazing in the ring, but unfortunately the bright lights and music were a little too much for him, and let’s just say he did his own ‘performance’ in the trot up! I did feel sorry for Simon trying to keep up with him! So they didn’t win the championship, but encouragingly the judge came and said it was his last trot up that blew it, so totally understandable – after all, showing isn’t just about looking pretty!

 

Patch

Patch has enjoyed a month off. It’s really tricky to keep all three going during the winter months and so I like to give them time off which I think they enjoy anyway. He had worked very hard over the summer and autumn to regain his fitness since his operation. He was feeling really well, almost too well! So I thought it was the right time. However I have been a little concerned about how quickly his clip grew out, he looks a little like a woolly sheep in a rug at the moment! As he has not been in work, I have reduced his feed slightly to suit his energy requirements. When they have time off in the winter, our way of managing them is reduce the concentrated feed and increase the forage. This has actually been something that has also been discussed during my NAF 5* Training, and it was nice to show all that I learnt at university and through my uni placements and put it into practice.

Patch enjoying a break

I also find that it’s quite handy to weigh the horses, and use their weight to calculate their recommended daily intake. This might sound like a bit of a task – but actually long term it can save you money and improve overall horse health (Although I wasn’t so impressed by this idea when trying to calculate the daily requirement of a herd of sheep in an exam once!).

 

Poppy 

Eileen has been continuing to ride Poppy and this seems to be going well. I have also taken her for the odd hack in between or when Eileen can’t make it. It always makes me smile riding Poppy as she just loves her work so much and is always very eager to leave the yard (usually at a bounce!)

Poppy

We tested Poppy for Equine Cushing’s Syndrome this month as there was a campaign called ‘Talk About Laminitis’ which allowed owners to get free Cushing’s tests for their horses. We felt that we should check Poppy because on odd days I have noticed she had gone a little lethargic and also she had started to drink a lot, which are signs of Cushing’s. The results came back and Poppy was just on the borderline of being positive for Cushing’s. As it wasn’t a clear result, Simon then did another test called a Thyroid Releasing Hormone (TRH) stimulation test. To do this Simon took a resting blood sample, and then immediately injected a small amount of  TRH hormone. Ten minutes later a second blood sample was taken. The two blood tests were analysed by a lab, which revealed Poppy to have only a marginal increase in ACTH levels (Adrenocorticotrophic Hormone) between the two samples. Horses that are positive for Cushing’s have been shown to have a much exaggerated response in ACTH levels when given the TRH hormone. We were very relieved by Poppy’s result. After keeping a close eye on her for a few days after, I came to the conclusion that she was a little lethargic due to the change in weather, rain, being stabled more (Poppy loves her turnout!) and just simply because she’s getting older. As for the drinking, I again put this down to more time in and increased hay instead of grass (horses can get a lot of moisture from the grass). However to be on the safe side, we will test Poppy again next year as it can be a progressive disease and with her result being quite close.

 

Your Horse Live

As you may have heard, Simon spent a day on the HorseHage and Mollichaff stand this year, where he offered veterinary advice for clients and those interested in the range they offer. The team at Horsehage marketing did a fantastic job of creating an almost life-size cut out of Simon for the stand which looked really good. He had great day working alongside the HorseHage team and was able to advise on problems such as Cushing’s, Laminitis and Respiratory disease – all of which the HorseHage and Mollichaff products are able to support.

The extra bonus for me was that I got to spend a whole day looking at all of the trade stands and watching the demos with my two friends, Jo and Katie, which I thoroughly enjoyed!

That’s all for now, have a lovely Christmas and best wishes for 2016!

Cassie, Poppy, Rupert and Patch