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Julia Paterson’s February’s Blog

Julia competing at West Park

Well February has been a great month for training, having been so busy with work in January. We have really got stuck in with two days of show jumping training with Susie Gibson at Greenlands Equestrian Centre in Carlisle and three dressage sessions with Claire Dryden, in addition to our first cross country schooling day with Sara Burdess.

Our sessions with Susie were tough, not having seen her since before Christmas, but she got us back in line very quickly. Marvin feels fantastic and we are working together over the bigger fences and more technical lines.  I’m loving it and Marvin seems to be, too!

In our lessons with Claire we have been working on my position and my core strength in addition to Marvin’s suppleness, so moving into March we will start to concentrate on test riding, putting all this work together.

Our cross country session with Sara was brilliant.  It was so nice to get out onto the cross country field and change the programme and have fun. Marvin loves cross country and sometimes turns into a man possessed which has its heart-stopping moments when he forgets where his legs are with all the excitement! But we had a great session, working on tighter lines in preparation for the ‘roped’ cross country and tight lines we will expect at Badminton, in addition to some more advanced fences such as related distances to arrowheads and skinny barrels through the Sunken Road complex.

To keep ourselves in competition mode, at the end of February we went to West Park Equestrian Centre to compete at the British Eventing Jump Training competition, entering the BE100 class, so we put ourselves to the test at this level. Marvin was very excited to be out and was a little silly in the first round but jumped a foot perfect second round, coming 5th overall so it was a great day at the office!

So moving into March, we have even more cross country schooling planned at Somerford Park with Andrew Heffernan and Waterford Park again with Sara Burdess plus show jumping with Susie and dressage with Claire. We have been keeping up with our fitness work and in March we will step this up further, moving to weekly interval training as our first event is planned for Saturday 29th March at Burgham in Northumberland. We will then only have one month left before we start our final preparation for Badminton in May….

Posted in HorseHage News by admin.

HorseHage Supports Island Farm Donkey Sanctuary

Island Farm Donkeys]

Island Farm Donkey Sanctuary in Oxfordshire has secured sponsorship from forage and feed manufacturer, HorseHage. The company will provide Mollichaff Donkey – a complete high fibre feed formulated specially for donkeys – for the 120 donkeys under the sanctuary’s care.

Island Farm was set up by John McLaren and family in 1983 and is now a registered charity which rescues and cares for ill-treated donkeys. John McLaren and Linda Chilton attend most of the larger county and agricultural shows where they are quite successful with showing donkeys in-hand and are always willing to talk to any member of the public interested in donkeys.

Many donkeys arrive at Island Farm suffering from some form of neglect associated with a lack of understanding and occasionally, abuse. The most common issues are overgrown hooves along with parasites, malnutrition and skin problems, all of which can cause pain, discomfort and distress. Some donkeys are given to the sanctuary when their owners can no longer look after them.

In addition to the donkeys living at the sanctuary, Island Farm also has foster carers and has also rehomed around 100 donkeys. Their ages vary from a foal born last year to around 45-years-old.

Said John McLaren: “Many people don’t realise the commitment required when they take on a donkey. They can live for around 50 years which is a commitment in itself, but they are also very different to horses and ponies, and require a different type of diet and management.”

“We are thrilled to receive this support from Mollichaff Donkey as the financial commitment for caring for these donkeys is huge and we also have six paid staff working here alongside our valued volunteers. Having charitable status allows us to fund raise by holding shows and events and doing special appearances with the donkeys.”

Island Farm Donkeys

Said Chris Tar of HorseHage: “We are very happy to be providing support to Island Farm. We formulated Mollichaff Donkey specifically for donkeys as they require a high fibre, low starch and low protein diet, and have a different digestive system to horses and ponies.”

Mollichaff Donkey is highly palatable and contains a balanced blend of 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.

MolliChaff Donkey

Posted in MolliChaff MolliChaff Donkey News by admin.

Latest Blog from Julia Paterson on her Route to the ‘Mitsubishi Grass Roots Championship at Badminton’.

Julia Paterson Winter RidingA Busy Few Months Ahead!

Well January is a very busy month for me, in terms of work, so we didn’t get the chance to do as much activity as I’d have liked, but that being said, we have had weekly dressage lessons with Claire who is really happy with our progress and the lessons are really helping Marvin improve his suppleness. We have also been getting some good long hacks in at the weekends, and despite the weather not being ideal on some days, we are sticking to our reputation of ‘no fair weather riders here!

We missed our show jumping clinics with Susie Gibson as I was away working in London on both occasions so instead, I hired a bigger outdoor school just up the road where we have been able to work on our show jumping practice.

January is also a month of MOTs with Andy Wheals giving both my saddles a good check over. I use the adjustable air flocking system from Flair and both saddles needed re-adjusting as Marvin’s shape has altered due to his work load changing. Marvin also had a physio session with Andrea Bainbridge and she was very happy with him – no problems at all.

So February is a very busy month with our training. We have five days booked in with Susie and two with Claire, in addition to a number of show jumping competitions to get our focus on jumping the bigger classes. Marvin’s feeling very fit and well – we have been working on his ‘interval’ canter work and he is like a coiled spring! He could certainly complete a one-day-event tomorrow and still have more energy to boot, so if the weather holds I think we may start some cross-country training too, just to get our eye in earlier as it’s only three months until Badminton and two months until our first run!

So until next time – bye for now!


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Laminitis – Feed Advice for Farriers from HorseHage

HoofKind Range

As a farrier, you will very likely be the professional that sees a horse most regularly and will notice any changes in the horse’s condition, temperament and soundness. Therefore it stands to reason that your opinion and expertise is very valuable to a horse owner.

One condition that you will have come across regularly, which greatly affects a horse’s feet is laminitis. This very painful and complex disease needs careful treatment and good teamwork between owner, veterinarian and farrier in order to manage the problem.

The owner must manage the day-to-day care, the vet must provide medical treatment and the farrier should understand the mechanical aspects that this condition can cause and provide support to the bone column whilst the new hoof grows.

One of the most important aspects for a horse or pony prone to laminitis is diet. This is where your knowledge may provide extra help to an owner managing an equine with this condition, as being highly qualified to look after their horse’s feet, your recommendations will be taken on board.

Many owners have the misconception that horses and ponies suffering from laminitis should be fed poor quality hay alone or, worse still, starved of food for long periods of time. Either of these management styles can easily lead to many other serious health issues on top of the existing laminitis. The digestive system of the horse is designed to process small amounts of feed at very regular intervals, and this does not change when a horse is diagnosed as suffering from laminitis.

Laminitic horses, or those who have been identified as being at risk, require carefully controlled diets that are low in starch and sugar but contain a high level of fibre. They require a balanced diet that reduces their calorific intake whilst continuing to meet all their daily nutritional requirements. This can often be problematic for horse owners when faced with choosing a suitable diet that meets both of these requirements.

The Mollichaff HoofKind Diet has been specially devised by HorseHage to supply all the nutrient and fibre requirements of laminitics, without the need to feed lots of different products which can be expensive and confusing. The diet also allows sufficient quantities to be fed, ensuring that the horse is not left for extensive periods of time without food.

It consists of Mollichaff HoofKind, a complete feed designed to provide the nutritional support of equines prone to laminitis, to be fed alongside High Fibre HorseHage or Timothy HorseHage, which are bagged forages.

Mollichaff HoofKind (A complete feed specially formulated for laminitics)

High in fibre

Low in protein, starch and sugar

No cereals

Highly palatable

Contains broad spectrum vitamins and minerals

Contains therapeutic levels of biotin for hoof health

Contains added magnesium to support metabolic processes and help prevent glucose intolerance and insulin resistance

Contains selected plant-based antioxidants to support nutritional maintenance of respiratory and circulatory systems, hooves and laminae

High Fibre and Timothy HorseHage (Bagged forage)


Contain no chemical additives, mould inhibitors or inoculants

High in fibre

Low in starch and sugar

Highly palatable

Highly digestible

Suitable for laminitics

Both these types of HorseHage are suitable for laminitics. These products are all high in fibre and essential nutrients, but are very low in starch and sugar and carry the HoofKind symbol on the bag to indicate their suitability. They contain a typical sugar level of around 5%, which is considerably lower than a typical hay sample which can contain as much as 10%.

It is essential that Mollichaff HoofKind is fed at the recommended levels to ensure that the vitamin and mineral requirements are being met and that the biotin level is sufficient.

Posted in HoofKind MolliChaff News by admin.

Choose High Fibre and Timothy HorseHage for Laminitics!

High Fibre and Timothy HorseHage

There is often a misconception that HorseHage is rich in energy and therefore unsuitable for horses and ponies prone to laminitis. This is not the case with the High Fibre and Timothy varieties of HorseHage.

Forage can vary in quality as well as nutritional composition. Some batches of hay can contain large amounts of sugar – as much as 10% – whereas with HorseHage sugar levels are only around 5%, due to its unique fermentation process.

High Fibre HorseHage is made from ryegrass but in this particular variety, the ryegrasses have been allowed to mature before harvesting to attain higher fibre, lower protein and lower energy levels. This means it is very different from ordinary haylages made from ryegrass and makes it an excellent choice for laminitics, good doers and horses and ponies that are convalescing or resting.

The same low protein and energy levels are found in Timothy HorseHage which is made from timothy grass and is very similar to the famous Kentucky bluegrass of America. It is already naturally high in fibre and because it has a different ‘nose’ to ryegrass, horses find it very appetising, so it’s a great choice for fussy feeders.

As well as the low sugar and energy benefits making High Fibre and Timothy HorseHage safe to feed to laminitics, these bagged forages are also dust-free – an essential quality to avoid causing serious respiratory problems such as RAO. They contain no chemical additives, mould inhibitors or inoculants – just natural grass – and are more digestible than other forages allowing more efficient utilisation of the available nutrients. In other words, your horse or pony will get more nutritional value from this type of forage, which may enable you to cut down on his hard feed. Even better, because HorseHage is so appetising, there is rarely any waste.

HorseHage is BETA FEMAS NOPS certified which means it is produced from specially-grown grass with a high regard for feed safety, consistent quality and full product traceability, so you know exactly what your horse or pony is being fed.

We have devised a special diet especially for laminitics called ‘The HoofKind Diet’. Feed either High Fibre and/or Timothy HorseHage alongside Mollichaff HoofKind, which is a great value, complete feed specially formulated for horses and ponies prone to laminitis. When fed at the recommended levels, it contains all the vitamins and minerals your laminitic horse or pony needs to keep him healthy.

Posted in HorseHage News by admin.