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Spencer’s Latest Blog – September 2015

Spencer at Hickstead

In my last blog I gave you the news that I had been selected to go on a Nations Cup in St Gallen, Switzerland. Unfortunately Disney (Wonder Why) had other ideas and he managed to get his leg caught in his rug strap. Although it did not do any lasting damage and he is fine now, it took us out of the game for 6 or 7 weeks…

Bourg en Bresse
I still went to Bourg en Bresse with Chacco (Chaccomo Agostini), Connor (Con Artist) and Chip (Ballando II); because Disney was out of action Connor had to step up to the 1.50m classes. I was so pleased with how he went, in his first ever 1.50m class he just one fence down but still qualified for the Grand Prix. Chacco also had a good show and was placed on the second day in the 1.45m. I wasn’t sure how he would get on as the class was in the evening and jumped under flood lights, which he has never done before, but he coped brilliantly. Chip was unlucky in lowering a few rails, but he hadn’t been to a show in a while and was drafted in at the last minute due to Disney’s injury.

Bolesworth International
From there we went to Bolesworth International, which was Disney’s first show back. His leg was better and he was feeling fresh and ready to go. He jumped well all week and in Sunday’s Grand Prix just had a pole down coming out of the double. I also took Chacco to Bolesworth – he went clear in the 1.40m the first day and finished the show with another clear in the accumulator. So all in all, a good show for us.

Hickstead Derby Meeting
The following week was the Hickstead Derby Meeting. I put Disney in the Derby Trial and wasn’t sure how he would get on with all the natural fences and him being a little spooky. He took it all in his stride, jumping the double of ditches, the Devil’s Dyke and the small side of the Derby Bank with ease and placing 4th. You never know he might make a good Derby Horse one day!
I mentioned in my last blog that I had entered Connor into the Speed Derby, which he qualified for on the first day. It was the first time either of us had done the Speed Derby at Hickstead, and he was a little unsure of the bank having never seen anything like it. We got down it in the end and finished the course, so hopefully having now done the course, he will be a lot better next year.
In between the big shows I have also been taking my young horses out to shows and my two four-year-olds, Gusto and Gambler B, are looking very promising with them both jumping consistent clear rounds at Discovery level. They were actually placed 1st and 2nd in the Discovery at Weston Lawns recently.

Until next time.
Spencer

Posted in HorseHage Team HorseHage by admin.

Making the Change from Hay to HorseHage

HorseHage Net

The importance of feeding a high quality forage cannot be stressed enough, for any horse or pony, and the benefits of changing from ordinary hay to a bagged forage such as HorseHage can be many.

Forage accounts for the largest part of the horse’s diet, and as well as providing essential nutrients, the digestion of forage produces heat, so it is a vital tool to help keep your horse or pony warm when the months turn colder later in the year.

HorseHage is absolutely dust and spore-free, which is a vital aid in maintaining a healthy respiratory tract and preventing conditions such as RAO (Recurrent Airway Obstruction). This is especially important when your horse has to be stabled for extended periods of time, and essential for any horse or pony that is competing.

It comes with a 100% quality guarantee on every single bale, contains no chemicals or flavourings, mould inhibitors or inoculants. It has a lower sugar content than most hays and has BETA FEMAS NOPS certification enabling you to feed with confidence.

It comes in four different varieties – Ryegrass, High Fibre, Timothy and Alfalfa. Both the High Fibre and Timothy options are suitable for laminitics.

Most horse owners are aware that when changing their horse’s feed, it should be done gradually over a period of seven to ten days, but many people don’t realise that this also applies to changing forage too.

Sudden changes in forage can significantly upset the balance of microflora in the horse’s gut and if sufficient time is not given to allow the ‘friendly’ bacteria to adapt, they will die and this can cause health problems and/or lack of performance for your horse.

Plan ahead to avoid running out of forage and having to change suddenly and, if and when you do decide to change, do it gradually by replacing a little more of your current forage each day with the new forage over a period of up to ten days, or even longer if your horse is particularly sensitive to dietary changes.

Posted in Feeding HorseHage by admin.

Special Support from Enoch the Donkey

Enoch the Donkey

As well as our sponsored riders, we also support some smaller organisations which aren’t always so well-known. One of these is Bryndaffyd Animal Assisted Therapy which is based in Wales and uses donkeys to provide therapy to those in need.

Ann Slater, who runs the organisation, is often asked ‘Why do you believe in animal assisted therapy? And this was her very touching answer…

“I took Enoch (my best ‘pal’ donkey) to a nursing home we regularly visit near Carmarthen. After spending some time with his regular friends (residents at the home), we were heading along the corridor to the day room. The nurse asked us to stop by a closed bedroom door. She explained that the gentleman in the room had closed down on his life and had instructed to be left alone for all but essential care. The nurse came out, surprised that this gentleman had agreed to see us.

“Enoch the donkey and I entered his room and the man gestured for me to sit near his bed. He sent the nurse out and requested the door be closed. I introduced myself and Enoch. My – how this donkey knows his job! He came to the side of the bed and stopped just close enough to put his nose into the crook of this man’s neck. After some silent time the elderly gentleman began to speak. He asked me to help his hand and arm hold my donkey’s head close to his face.

As he was head to head and hugging Enoch from his bed, he said: “Since my wife died, my life has had no point. Since my legs and arms stopped working, my life has had no point. Since I need help to do basic life tasks such as eating and going to the bathroom, my life has no point. Since my son moved abroad and all my friends left this world, my life has had no point. In fact, since my wife died, not a single day has had a purpose… not a single day…until today! Thank you!”

“We were both crying.

“After an hour, I asked if he would he like us to visit again?

“Yes please”, he said, “but the thing is, I don’t think I’ll be here much longer. If I should still be waiting to be called , I would gladly spend some of that time with this very special animal.”

“And that’s why we do it! That’s why I believe in animal assisted therapy.”

Said Ann: ““Almost anyone can benefit from donkey therapy, young or old. We have had some especially positive outcomes from young people with autism and older folk with dementia following Enoch’s visits.

“Enoch is currently undertaking an Active Donkey Award which means he has to succeed at eight activities. If he keeps that up for five years, he is short-listed for the prestigious ‘Donkey Ambassador for the UK’ award.”

For further information please visit: animalassistedtherapywales.wordpress.com

Posted in HorseHage MolliChaff MolliChaff Donkey by admin.

Feeding For the Changing Seasons

Feeding for Changing Seasons

As the season starts to change from summer to autumn, your thoughts will be turning to thinking about when to bring your horse or pony in from summer turn-out, along with which forage and fibre feeds to choose for the winter ahead.

Every horse owner should take into consideration their horse or pony’s diet with the changing of the seasons. From summer to autumn, there is still a risk of laminitis so owners of laminitics should be aware of this.

From autumn to winter, as the temperature drops, your horse or pony will need to consume more calories to maintain its body temperature. These extra calories should, ideally, come from forage as the horse’s system has to work harder and longer to digest fibre, thus creating more warmth. Also the nutritional value of grass will be reduced too and so extra forage or concentrates will need to be provided to make up for this.  From winter to spring, calories may need to be reduced again to prevent too much weight gain once horses are out grazing on the fresh pasture and the weather warms up, and at this time there is once again the heightened risk of laminitis.

MolliChaff Complete Feeds

The most important dietary aspect to consider  for your horse or pony is plenty of good quality, dust-free forage, such as HorseHage. 70 – 100% of a horse’s diet should be provided by forage. Choose a high quality, branded forage that is dust-free, consistent  and has BETA NOPS FEMAS certification to ensure that it has been manufactured to the highest standards. Forage should never be dusty or have any signs of mould on it. It should have a sweet, pleasant smell and be a nice, green colour.

MolliChaff Condition

Fibre in the horse’s diet is extremely important. Horses have evolved to utilise a high fibre diet, using bacterial fermentation in a highly developed large intestine. Low levels of fibre, or poor quality fibre in the diet put horses at serious risk of problems such as colic and gastric ulcers.  Leaving horses for long periods of time with nothing to eat can also lead to serious digestive and metabolic disturbances.

HoofKindLaminitis is still a risk at this time of year. When grass grows under normal conditions, it contains high levels of soluble sugars and non-structural carbohydrates (NSCs). When there is a ground frost and grass is frozen, the grass accumulates more sugars to try and enable it to carry on growing in adverse conditions. This extra sugar content can be one of several different triggers for laminitis. If a horse or pony is prone to laminitis, it should be fed a low sugar, low starch and high fibre diet. It is important not to starve laminitics as this can cause further problems such as hyperlipaemia which can be fatal. Choose forage that has a lower sugar content than hay and, ideally, a complete feed suitable for horses and ponies prone to laminitis that contains a broad spectrum vitamin and mineral supplement, ie. Mollichaff HoofKind.

If your horse or pony is a poor doer, struggling to maintain condition during the winter, prevention is better than a cure, so try and maintain his summer weight before it starts to drop off. Excellent forage is most important and a high fibre-based, complete conditioning feed with added oil, such as Mollichaff Condition.

Posted in Feeding HorseHage MolliChaff by admin.

HorseHage Sponsors Donkey Classes at Llansawel Show

Welsh DOonkey Show Class Sponsorship

We are to continue our sponsorship of the donkey classes at the annual Llansawel Show for 2015.

The winners of each of the nine classes will receive a bag of Mollichaff Donkey – a highly palatable, complete feed formulated specially for donkeys and each competitor will also receive a free sample of Mollichaff Donkey for their animal to try.

The Llansawel Show has nine donkey classes this year including the usual breed and fun classes plus a new addition to the schedule – ‘Have a Go – Donkey Agility’ class.

The show is a very popular event with all the usual horticultural, craft, cookery and livestock classes and takes place at Llansawel in Carmarthenshire on 12th September 2015.

Many people do not realise that donkeys require a very different feeding regime compared to horses. They are desert animals and in their natural habitat they have evolved to survive in some very harsh environments and will therefore browse much coarser, fibrous herbage than horses, eating little and often. They have a much lower energy requirement than horses and can easily become overweight, therefore lush pasture is best avoided.

Mollichaff Donkey is specifically formulated for donkeys and is low in sugar, starch and energy and contains a balanced blend of dried grass, fibre pellets, oat straw and soya oil with camomile, mint and lemon balm. It also contains a broad spectrum vitamin and mineral supplement which includes limestone and magnesium.

For further information on the donkey classes at Llansawel Show, please contact the Show Secretary, Ann Slater, on 07554 050712 or  email annslater@hotmail.co.uk

MolliChaff Donkey

Posted in MolliChaff MolliChaff Donkey by admin.