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

Happy New Year!

Julia Paterson - © Daryl Bush Photography

Julia Paterson – © Daryl Bush Photography

Well hello again everyone and welcome to my new series of monthly blogs. As you know from the introduction earlier this week, Marvin and I have qualified for the Grassroots Championships at Badminton Horse Trials in May which is extremely exciting and the final piece of our ambition jigsaw. Our training is in full swing and we have lots planned to get us in peak condition for May.

Since August, Marvin has had a six week holiday to coincide with Neil and I moving house and our summer holiday. The weather during his holiday was still fantastic so he was basking in the sunshine for nearly four weeks.  Then when the season changed I popped his rug on to keep him warm at night but he was still living out and happy as Larry.

As with any horse who has had a break, I put together a work schedule for Marvin and he came back into work mid-October. He completed two weeks of walk work then gradually trot and canter work until we were back up to jumping in December.

We have resumed our dressage sessions with Claire Dryden and started working on the more advanced movements such as pirouettes to help Marvin lift and stretch from his shoulders and half pass, linked with our other movements such as shoulder in, travers and leg yielding every stride, basically stretching work in all three paces to help Marvin become even more supple which is working. To put our work to the test, we ventured out and competed in two Elementary tests at Richmond Equestrian Centre at the end of December. Marvin worked really well, his warm-up work was excellent and he feels so confident now we have a great bond and it shows as we won both classes but more than that was the fact of the difference in marks. We had increased by 5% with much more conviction in our work.

At the end of December we had a two-day show-jumping clinic with Susie Gibson which could only happen thanks to my fantastic friends, Jacqui and her daughter, Sophie, who provided space for us to stay with them at their farm in Carlisle.

Greenlands Equestrian Centre is just over two hours away from us but Susie teaches there every two weeks so I wish we lived closer. But Jacqui is an amazing friend who wants to do anything she can to help us in our quest for Badminton and so has said they will provide a bed for the night for us both anytime we book in for the two-day clinic! This is absolutely amazing and means we can progress at a much faster rate as the clinic demonstrated.

On Day One we were very rusty in achieving Susie’s high standards. Our issues were our changes in canter left to right, as I struggle to push my right hip forward and rush the change, but the good points were the fact that Susie had us jumping around fences of 1m and more, with big square oxers (my Achilles heel).

On Day Two (with a sore right hip) I really worked on slowing the changes to the right to help Marvin make the change easier, and lightness of the rein contact which was another lightbulb moment.

The following week, Susie was back in our region so I took Marvin back for a sharpener lesson which was fantastic. Susie was over the moon as everything we had taken away from our two-day clinic had been ratified in this session – the perfect finish for Christmas for both Susie and us. Roll on January for our next clinic!

So to finish the year off we went to Janice Mews’ show-jumping held at Stainsby Grange and really upped our game. After jumping a warm-up class at 90cms we entered into a 1m 05cms and Marvin didn’t disappoint. He jumped an amazing clear round and I then decided to try the jump off at 1m 10cms, but this was out of our comfort zone and in hindsight we should have withdrawn. I felt Marvin just draw back as the first fence was a very wide Liverpool oxer and Marvin hit the back bar and I felt this jolt in his confidence. I should have ridden the fence with more power. He did jump the course but knocked a few more fences and I could feel his confidence dropping. It was a great learning curve and Marvin loves his jumping so I knew he would have his holiday and come back to cover this with Susie, so looking forward to our next clinic….

So January will be a month of MOTs – getting our saddles checked and a physio session booked as Marvin’s shape will change in terms of muscles building back up.  I am always keen to ensure his muscles are repaired with a good feeding regime and physio sessions to prevent injury to ensure that everything is ok before we start to ramp up his work. We have some dressage and show-jumping lessons planned and   will then come out again to compete at the end of the month. So until then, bye for now.




Posted in HorseHage by admin.

HorseHage Supports Amateur Rider for Badminton Grass Roots

Julia PatersonDurham-based amateur rider and horse owner, Julia Paterson, was the winner of a national competition we ran back in 2012 to find a true amateur rider for the brand to support for one year.

Her horse, Spot of Luck (or Marvin, as he is known at home) was able to enjoy High Fibre HorseHage and Mollichaff Alfalfa Oil and had a great season competing in British Eventing. Julia wrote a monthly blog for us on our Facebook page for the year, detailing her successes, and last August, they qualified for the Mitsubishi Motors Grassroots Championships.

This competition offers amateur riders the chance to qualify throughout the season and all over Great Britain, for Badminton in early May. The setting of Badminton House and the excitement generated by being part of the foremost three-day-event in the world give these Championships a very special feeling.

Julia and Marvin qualified firstly by winning the BE90 at Burgham Horse Trials in July 2012 which gave them a ticket to the Regional Final in 2013. The pair went on to win the Regional Final at Skipton Horse Trials in August 2013, finishing on their dressage score of 22.5%.  They now just have the last and most exciting part of the jigsaw to complete – achieving Julia’s dream to compete at the Badminton Horse Trials Grassroots Final in May 2014. And HorseHage will be following them and supporting them all the way!

37-year-old Julia has been riding since a child and has had many ups and downs in her quest to find her beloved horse. Julia and Marvin went back to basics at first to get to know one another but have progressed well and now, five years on, enjoy competing in British Dressage at Elementary level (working at Medium at home and aiming to compete at Medium this year), and at British Eventing BE100 level.

Like many horse owners, Julia has had to cope with many setbacks over the last few years, including almost losing Marvin through serious illness and a freak riding accident which almost killed him and then the extra worry of being made redundant from two jobs. But the pair came through it all and Badminton is now within sight.

We will be following Julia and Marvin’s progress closely – training, exercise, fitness, diet and stable management all play a large part in their success and we will post Julia’s blogs regularly on this website. We also hope to run a ‘pictorial diary’ from Badminton on Facebook over the two competition days, so watch this space for further information!

Posted in HorseHage MolliChaff News by admin.

Complete Nutrition from the HorseHage Stable

Complete Feeds

As well as producing a range of four dust-free, bagged forages, HorseHage also produces the Mollichaff range of high fibre feeds.

The Mollichaff brand is synonymous with specialist dust-extracted chaffs made from top quality oat and wheat straws which are chopped and lightly dressed with a coating of molasses using a special process that coats every part of the chaff evenly to make it very palatable. This gives our chaffs an open texture, unlike some heavily molassed chaffs which can be sticky and lumpy.

We also produce three alfalfa products, and one of these – Mollichaff Alfalfa Oil – is molasses-free.

In addition to our the chaff range, Mollichaff also produces three specialist ‘complete’ forage feeds – Mollichaff Calmer (for nervous or fizzy equines), Mollichaff Condition (for added weight and condition/poor doers) and Mollichaff HoofKind (for laminitics/good doers/ equines convalescing or resting).

The word ‘complete’ is used to denote that these feeds contain a broad spectrum vitamin and mineral supplement, which means that when fed at the recommended amounts, no further concentrate feed is required – just good quality forage. So you have no need to purchase further bags of feed or expensive supplements as everything your horse or pony needs is in one bag!

Unlike many complete feeds on the market, ours are fibre-based, which is a more natural way of feeding compared to a cereal-based diet. 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.

We also produce a complete feed for donkeys – Mollichaff Donkey.

For free information on feeding your horse or pony or for further information on our range of forage and feeds, contact the HorseHage Helpline on 01803 527257

Posted in HorseHage MolliChaff News by admin.

HorseHage Continues Support of Meirionydd Special Riding Group

Katy practices the first steps of vaulting on the barrel

Katy practices the first steps of vaulting on the barrel

HorseHage has announced it is to continue supporting the Meirionydd Special Riding Group – a registered charity and member of the Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) based in the Meirionydd region of Wales – which has been providing riding and horse care opportunities to people with physical disabilities, special needs, behavioural difficulties and mental health problems since 1973.

Approved instructors give lessons through the medium of Welsh and English and each rider works towards a goal.  Aiding the instructors is a team of volunteers that is the backbone of the group. As well as regular riding lessons, riders have the opportunity to take the RDA’s graded tests, ride out through the beautiful countryside, compete in regional and national competitions and learn to care for ponies.

Kieran Humphries riding Paddy 3rd in Countryside Challenge

Kieran Humphries riding Paddy 3rd in Countryside Challenge

The riding group runs sessions on Tuesdays and Wednesdays for 38 children and adults who travel from Gwynedd and Powys. As well as the physical benefits of riding, the riders achieve specific skills and targets set during the weekly lessons, and each year up to 10 of them go on to compete in the North Wales Regional Riding for the Disabled Championships held near Wrexham.

Kirsty riding Marsala won three classes Countryside Challenge, Intro into Dressage, Combined Training.

Kirsty riding Marsala won three classes Countryside Challenge, Intro into Dressage, Combined Training.

For the last four years, riders have qualified to go through to the National Countryside Challenge Finals at Hartpury College, and within the last couple of years, two riders have qualified for the Dressage finals.

However, the group is currently at full capacity, due to the restricted number of suitable horses available to rent at the riding stables where the sessions are held. Therefore they have expanded the group to set up an equestrian vaulting session.

Alison Sheen riding Benson placed 3rd in Total Visual Impairment Dressage Class

Alison Sheen riding Benson placed 3rd in Total Visual Impairment Dressage Class

Vaulting is often described as ‘gymnastics on the back of a moving horse’ and is an intensely motivating team sport that encourages self-confidence and increases physical fitness in each individual.  This sport uses only one horse per session for up to eight young people who share time on the horse, time working on the ‘barrels’  and time practicing technical moves on gym mats.

The group currently uses Sheridan – a 12-year-old cob – for teenagers and adult vaulters and has recently been gifted a pony by a local couple to start training for the future of the younger vaulters.

In addition, to mark its 40th Anniversary, the group is currently applying for a grant to either buy or rent land to move to a new venue and are looking for land in the Dolgellau area (Gwynedd, North Wales). This will allow them to keep their own horses, picked and trained especially for this type of work. The eventual aim is to set up an independent specialist equestrian centre in the area to provide horse riding, vaulting and carriage-driving opportunities for people with special needs, disabilities and mental health problems, as well as working with local schools to target disadvantaged and/or demotivated youngsters.

One of the group’s trustees said: “We recognize that this is a challenging and ambitious plan but feels this is the right direction so that we can continue to promote the values of the Riding for the Disabled Association in supporting local people with additional needs. We will now be actively fundraising and looking for land and facilities where we can be autonomous as a group.”

Said Matthew Cooke of Friendship Estates, regional producer of HorseHage: “The Merionydd Special Riding Group provides a valuable facility in the area and the fact that these RDA horses do so well on HorseHage helps us to shatter the misconception that Horsehage is too high in energy for the everyday horse. High Fibre Horsehage is the ideal forage alternative.”


For further information on the Meirionnydd Special Riding Group please visit 

Posted in HorseHage News by admin.

Mollichaff Condition Transforms Monaco Prince!

Monny After

Monny Before

Mollichaff is well-known for high fibre chaffs but the range also features three specialist complete fibre feeds which need no further supplementation other than good quality forage.

Included in this range is Mollichaff Condition – a feed which does exactly what it says – it encourages weight gain and condition in all types of horses and ponies.

Said horse-owner, Samantha Chiappini: “I have had my ex-racehorse, Monaco Prince (Monny), for five years now and when I got him, his coat was dull – even in the first summer – and it wasn’t how I wanted him to look. He was also a little on the thin side. I spoke to my local feed supplier and she suggested Mollichaff Condition as it would not make him excitable but would give him the condition I was looking for.”

“Within a very short time scale you could really see the difference in him. He put on a bit more weight and his coat began to shine. He is now doing well and loves to live out most of the year round and hates coming in!”

MolliChaff Condition“We also own two more horses – another ex-racehorse and also an Irish Draught – both 17.2hh. They are also on Mollichaff Condition and the transformation in their build has been superb. We now have three fabulous looking horses, thanks to Mollichaff Condition. Monny competes regularly in Trailblazers dressage and show jumping and we qualified for the Trailblazers Championships this year in dressage as well as the ROR dressage too. All three horses live out virtually all year as they are very happy to be out. They are rugged correctly and only come inside in extreme weather. None of them have ever dropped weight at any time during the year and their coats are commented on all the time. Mollichaff Condition is the best feed I have come across in 30 years of having horses – they are happy on it and it keeps them well and looking great!

Made from a balanced blend of alfalfa, dried grass, oat straw, fibre pellets, barley, soya flakes, soya oil and mint, Mollichaff Condition also contains Yea-sacc® and a prebiotic to help maintain a healthy digestive system. In addition it contains a broad spectrum vitamin and mineral supplement so it can be fed as a complete concentrate feed, enabling you to cut down your feed shopping list and save some money too!

Monny Jumping

Posted in MolliChaff by admin.