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HorseHage Celebrates 40 Years of Experience!

HORSEHAGE 40 Years of Experience

We are proud to announce that our HorseHage brand, synonymous with high quality, dust-free forage for horses, celebrates its 40th anniversary this year.

The company was established when the late Mark Westaway (Snr) became increasingly concerned about his event horses persistently coughing. His veterinary surgeon expressed the view that the coughing was dust-related and that since hay was the major dust source, the problem would continue unless someone could come up with a dust-free forage designed specifically for the horse. So the challenge was set and from that chance but significant remark, the idea for HorseHage was born.

The company, Mark Westaway and Son, which has developed the HorseHage brand into a global name, is now headed by Mark’s son, (also named Mark) and his brother-in-law, Chris Tar.

Mark comes from a farming background and the Westaway family has been based at Love Lane Farm in Marldon, Devon since 1952. This is now also the Head Office of the HorseHage operation, and one of three regional licensed producers in the UK – the other two being Friendship Estates in South Yorkshire and Fox Feeds in Hertfordshire. There are also HorseHage producers in Germany, Sweden and New Zealand.

Mark Westaway & Son was awarded the Royal Warrant in 1983 after Her Majesty the Queen’s horse, Burmese, was fed HorseHage when suffering from a respiratory problem. She was just one of tens of thousands of horses and ponies, from Shetlands to Thoroughbreds that have benefited from HorseHage’s dust-free properties.

HorseHage is the Official Forage Supplier to Equestrian GB. HorseHage has been supplied to the British Equestrian Teams at every Olympic Games from Los Angeles in 1984 through to the present day.

The original Ryegrass variety has been joined by High Fibre HorseHage, Timothy HorseHage and the specialist product, Alfalfa HorseHage.

Mark Westaway gives two main reasons for the success of HorseHage: “Firstly it is a natural product with no additives and is the nearest thing you can get to grass in the field. Secondly, it not only benefits a horse’s respiratory system, but its digestive system too. 40 years of production has given us all the knowledge and experience we need to make a top quality product.”

HorseHage is fed by several top riders to their competition horses, including event rider, Mary King; para-dressage rider, Bert Sheffield, dressage rider and trainer, Beverley Brightman and show jumper, Spencer Roe, as they realise the importance of feeding a high quality, dust-free forage.

Posted in HorseHage by admin.

Tam’s Blog May 2016

1 Living outHere’s the latest blog from our Mollichaff-sponsored amateur rider, Tam Thompson:

March’s weather proved challenging for us in the wilds of Northants.  The mud was becoming unbearable, but perhaps more so the cattle shed muckings out in the nearby farmyard.  So we moved both horses to our dear friend and neighbour’s yard down the road.  (The humans can close the window…) They now have grass and more space, and my sister, Tory, keeps her horse there to, so we can all play ponies together – perfect.  I am unbearably excited about the approaching Spring and Summer now – it seems as though opportunities for improvement are everywhere – not least because the boys’ new landlady is ‘Mrs Motivator’ and doesn’t let me get away with the old stock excuses of ‘it’s raining’, or ‘he’s too lively to ride today (very rare)’!  I intend to grab each advancement and build on it as much as I can.


Progress?

I had another lesson with Jonathan Canty just before the Cherwell Valley RC dressage competition on March 26th, and we practiced strategies for improving my inconsistent contact.

3 Lesson with Jonathan Canty 

It seems to be working, because – here’s some news – I came 2nd in the prelim class the next day!  Out of seven entries too, so better than halfway.  The score was 65.75%, just .05% off my 65.8% PB from February’s Team Quest.

2 CVRC Dressage competition

I have either been lucky twice or I’m actually improving.  My only worry is that the list of things I have to tell myself each time I get on board will become too long to remember.  If you see me with apparent written notes on my stock/sleeve it’s because so far the list is:

  • Bend my elbows
  • Keep my hands level with each other
  • No more motorbike riding with my left hand
  • Use more inside leg
  • Stop nagging with my legs
  • Tilt my pelvis the other way
  • Breathe (in and out)
  • Floppy joints (no more heels down)
  • Sit up
  • Communication down the reins is a two-way thing
  • Rhythm
  • Contact
  • Rhythm again
  • And contact.  Again

 

The ever-growing list does serve to distract me slightly from my competition nerves though, which can only be a good thing for me, and more so for Beau.  I can’t be easy to carry when tense.  I once managed to be so nervous and tense that after a test I physically could not bend my legs to get off.  I was stuck on my horse!

On Easter Monday, Simon and I rode the boys at their new home for the first time.  Simon had to go to work afterwards so we only had ten minutes which I decided to make count.  I have to say, and I wish I knew why, Beau was amazing!  Instead of downwards transitions being gravity-led, everything was upwards and even managed a passable canter to walk – on both reins!  I will probably never be able to repeat that but wow did he feel incredible.  I think this horse will teach me so much; he knows his job and just needs for me to be asking the right questions.  I proved that the following day when I took Beau into the school and we managed no decent work at all.  Tory said it looked Ok-ish, but I didn’t achieve the lift we got in our lesson.  One step forward…!

In other news I’ve been trying to build on the luck I had winning this sponsorship by doing the Lottery – so I can buy ‘Clip-Clop Towers’ for all my horsey friends to share, and have training every day like Charlotte.  Not a squeak from Camelot so far.  I think they must have made a counting error.

 

Quadrille

Quadrille planApril 1st – no joke – OUR QUADRILLE ENTRY HAS BEEN ACCEPTED!  So excited!  There is always a small risk that the event will be over-subscribed so we all lose sleep the night before entries open.  I suspect there may be fewer teams applying this year though, because for the first time, sadly the final will not be held at Olympia .  On the positive side it will be at Bury Farm which is where the qualifiers are held (and the Cherwell Valley RC Camp in May), so all the horses and humans will be familiar with their surroundings.  Plus, there’s a bar…

Practice had stalled a little because we were struggling to find an indoor arena the right size which is available when we are not all at work or school.  We now have some dates pencilled in and hopefully we can test some of the movements we’ve come up with (i.e. try to work out how to translate what on earth we were thinking, into movements with four horses at the same time – see fig.2??!!?). The Minions and the teddy bear are exhausted from all the practice they’ve been doing, and need a rest.  First practice was fab, but after an hour practicing the movements, when we put it all together we had less than three minutes of test!  Back to the drawing board.

 

Team Quest

The second Team Quest competition was on April 2nd at Glebe Farm in Northants, a lovely friendly local venue.  This time the competition was outside, but the weather was glorious!  Unfortunately three of our team horses had injured themselves, including my sister’s horse, Sardra, so Beau stepped up for Tory, and our Chairman, Amanda, brought her horse to lend to two more competitors.  Both horses were legends, particularly Amanda’s who had not competed at all this year.  Entries seemed to be dominated by members of our club, so it was basically a Cherwell Valley RC playday in the sun!  I think there was one rider who was outside CVRC from all the day’s entries.  We’re keen!  This meant the three CVRC teams all scored points for placings, my team coming 3rd (of 3).  However, Beau gave me another PB score of … wait for it … 68.8%!!!  I was astounded to say the least but I have to say it did feel a nice relaxed rhythmical test, so perhaps some of this training really is sinking in.

6 Team Quest Beau being ridden by me

What was very interesting is that in Tory’s test on Beau I saw my tests on him until very recently, which made me feel better!  They were going beautifully in the warm up and then got tense at A – hard not to do.

The third Team Quest for us was back at Swallowfield EC, such a lovely relaxed venue.  This time Tor scored better than me on Beau with 68.04% – that needs sorting out before next time (thistles in her socks I think..) and my score dropped back to 66.8% . Better than we used to get though, so it’s still good.

5 Team Quest Beau being ridden by Auntie Tory

At the fourth Team Quest on 8th May we reverted to 64.7%.  I think it was because every time I found a space to warm up, everybody else followed, so Beau was having to dodge small ponies charging at him in medium trot, and got quite antsy about it all before our test.  Plus I was tense and tired from the previous day’s Combined Training event (see later) …

7 The CVRC Team Quest Squad

I have dug out all of our test sheets ever to see if we have been improving all along, and we have – graph below.  It’s thanks to Mollichaff’s generous bursary and the resulting extra torture training I’ve been having.  Our first competition was July last year, and the red vertical line shows the start of this year’s training sessions:

Graph of test results

 

Christmas comes early!

It was the official handover of the bursary and all the fabulous gifts from Mollichaff on 11th April.  Becky and Kate from HorseHage and Mollichaff came to see us and I think you can see from the photos on the HorseHage & Mollichaff Facebook page and website how excited I was.  Beau took it all in his stride.  He usually does, especially if he is bribed.  No amount of bribing or coercion was going to get his ears forward though.  We managed one picture with one ear forward but that was because I was pushing it from behind his neck!  He has the patience of a saint, bless him, but he gets easily bored…

Our CVRC Winter Series Dressage Championships was held on 23rd April, and we came 2nd in the Prelim!  The score was 65.83%, not bad but heading in the wrong direction.  More exciting was Simon’s score with Beau of 64.78% nabbing him a 5th in the Intro Championship.  It was such a lovely test – a vast improvement in their partnership

10 CVRC Winter Series Dressage Champs

9 Simon on Beau at the CVRC Winter Series Dressage Champs

 

Shopping

Since Beau’s GP saddle had started to look quite old and worn, we had to go out and buy a new one.  Luckily I’d seen this coming and been saving.  Simon’s legs are so long he can’t ride in my Wintec dressage and has always struggled with the GP, so we bought a jumping saddle which was fitted to him by Breathe Saddlery and is sooooooooooooooo comfy!  I really have no excuse now .

11 Fitting Beau's new saddle


 

Jumpies!

Our RC Area combined training competition was postponed from 17th April to 7th May.  In a moment of madness ( and without the help of any gin!) I volunteered to take the place of a team member who had dropped out.  It slowly dawned on me afterwards that would mean jumping a whole course!  So I told myself, “Well, that is a goal for 2016 and there’s no time like the present!”  EEK!  I have practiced.  Once.  Over one fence.  Beau knows his job and despite my hindering him on the approach a bit (a lot) we did fine in practice.  It gave me more confidence but I still expected a full meltdown on the way to the comp.

13 Jumping practice

On the day, I lined up Tory to drive the lorry with mine and our friend’s ponies in, but in the end I just got on with it.  We arrived at the lovely Atherstone RC field in plenty of time and quite relaxed.  In our dressage test we got two 8’s!!!!  And after the dressage we were – get this – in equal first with 31.5 penalties.  I was astounded and when I saw the scoreboard almost cried!

15 Area Combined Training Dressage

It made me determined to get a clear round SJ, but when it came to it I was so terrified of being run off with, I made poor Beau do the whole course from trot.  At one point I even pulled him up!  We got no jumping faults but managed to equal our dressage penalties with time faults.  Annoying because had I let him canter we’d have won and the team would have come second.  However, it has boosted me for next time.  It is another goal achieved because I didn’t cry . Beau is such a legend.

14 Area Combined Training Showjumping

He even loaded himself coming home (whilst still tied to the outside of the lorry).  Of course, next day for Team Quest he didn’t want to load at all ;) He is having a couple of days off now to rest up for CVRC camp in 2 weeks.

 

Goals: Updated for May:

  • Dressage: To beat my PB of 65.0% – Done with 65.8%, then done again with 68.8%! - and get 70% in a prelim test unaffiliated.  Nearly there but it does feel a long way off.  I suspect this will be like losing 4 stone quickly and then struggling to shift the last 3 pounds.

 

  • Team Quest: To compete in Team Quest for the first time – Done! – and improve my initial scores by the end of the season.  (1st comp 65.8%, 2nd comp 68.5%, 3rd comp 66.8, 4th comp 64.7% )

 

  • Side saddle: I just want to get better – maybe enter a show if I can find a suitable saddle and habit to hire. No progress here, but at CVRC camp at the end of May there will be a chance to have another play.

 

  • Quadrille: To play out at Bury Farm again in 2016 for Cherwell Valley RC.  It would be awesome to qualify but Quadrille is such immense fun it doesn’t matter if we don’t.  First practice was on 8th April and though we have had to change our theme, we are slowly building a floorplan.

 

  • Jumping: To jump a whole course of fences with no fuss and no tears, and no arena surface in my teeth!  DONE!!!!!!  (Next target is to jump a whole course in canter!)

Tam and Beau x

 

Posted in MolliChaff Tam's Blog Team Mollichaff by admin.

Mollichaff Complete Feed Range Relaunched

MolliChaff Complete Range

We have relaunched our Mollichaff range of three complete feeds with brand new, full colour packaging and a new size of 15kg for all three varieties.

The Mollichaff Complete range offers three fibre-based, complete feeds for specific conditions: Mollichaff HoofKind Complete for horses and ponies prone to laminitis; Mollichaff Calmer Complete for nervous or excitable horses and ponies; and Mollichaff Condition Complete for encouraging weight gain and condition.

When fed at the recommended amounts, the complete feeds can be used as the sole bucket feed as they each contain a broad spectrum vitamin and mineral supplement and only require good quality forage to be fed alongside. Being fibre-based feeds rather than cereal-based, they are a much more natural way of feeding.

Said Chris Tar of HorseHage: “The new packaging has been designed to catch the eye and differentiate the Mollichaff complete feeds from the Mollichaff range of chaffs, as we felt that many people were confusing the two ranges.”

To celebrate the relaunch, one bag from the new range contains a ‘Golden Ticket’ to win a pair of VIP hospitality tickets for the Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) for Friday 7th October 2016, which includes the best seats and a three course lunch whilst enjoying the show, so check inside your bag to make sure you don’t miss out!

£1 off vouchers are available to download from Facebook and the HorseHage website and don’t forget to check out the HorseHage & Mollichaff Facebook page for a new photo competition coming soon to win products from the Complete range.

MolliChaff Complete Voucher DOWNLOAD

CLICK ON VOUCHER ABOVE AND THEN PRINT

Posted in MolliChaff Mollichaff Complete by admin.

HorseHage Supports British Showjumping National Championships and Stoneleigh Horse Show

BSJ ChampsWe are proud to announce that we will be continuing our support for the British Showjumping National Championships and Stoneleigh Horse Show (BSNC) this year as the show’s ‘Official Forage Supplier’.

Our HorseHage high quality, dust-free bagged forage will once again be available to all horses and ponies competing at the show that takes place at the National Agricultural and Exhibition Centre (NAEC), Stoneleigh in Warwickshire on 9th – 14th August.

It is available in four varieties –High Fibre, Timothy, Ryegrass and Alfalfa, offering a choice suitable for all types of horses and ponies, including laminitics.

It has BETA NOPS certification, is consistent and comes with a 100% quality guarantee. It contains no additives, preservatives, mould inhibitors or inoculants and is lower in sugar than most hays.

A Royal Warrant was awarded to HorseHage in 1983 after Her Majesty the Queen’s horse, Burmese, was fed HorseHage when suffering from a respiratory problem. He is one of tens of thousands of horses and ponies, from Shetlands to Thoroughbreds, that have benefited from this dust-free, natural product.

HorseHage is a great forage choice, both for at home and travelling to shows. It is packed into highly compressed bales for easy handling and storage. There is no wastage and horses relish the taste. No soaking is necessary and it splits easily into wedges for netting up, making your life easier and enabling you to feed it with confidence.

Said Chris Tar of HorseHage, “We are very happy to be able to continue our support at these important Championships and hope it offers an opportunity for more horses and ponies to benefit from HorseHage’s dust-free properties.”

Richard Todd show Director at Grandstand Media said: “We’re delighted to welcome back HorseHage as the official forage supplier for the British National Showjumping Championships and Stoneleigh Horse Show for 2016. Making sure the competitors have the highest quality forage is really important to us to enable competitors to compete at the top of their game.”

As the ‘Official Forage Supplier’ for the British Showjumping National Championships and Stoneleigh Horse Show, competitors will have the opportunity to purchase required forage for their horses at the Show. Forage can be pre-purchased at the time of entry or purchased onsite.

For more information on the British Showjumping National Championship and Stoneleigh Horse Show please visit HYPERLINK “http://www.bsnationalchampionships.co.uk” www.bsnationalchampionships.co.uk or call 02476 858205

Posted in HorseHage by admin.

Our First Blog From Our Mollichaff-Sponsored Rider, Tam Thompson

Earlier this year we ran a national competition to search for an amateur rider who we thought deserved some support from our Mollichaff brand in the form of a training bursary, rider clothing, rug and saddlecloth and, of course, some Mollichaff. We also wanted someone who is happy to promote the brand and provide us with regular blogs and photographs of his/her progress throughout the year. After much deliberation, we finally chose our winner – Tam Thompson from Northamptonshire – and so it gives us great pleasure to introduce you to Tam and her horse, Beau, and welcome them to Team HorseHage for one year:

Team Quest

About us: On 24th February it was announced that I was the very lucky winner of the Mollichaff sponsorship opportunity! I have been so incredibly fortunate and I hope I can share some good progress with everyone this year as a result.  I am the most average rider – and I can prove that.  I always come halfway up (or down) the leader board in competitions.  Hopefully this blog will inspire other ‘average riders’ into getting out there and having a go.  It doesn’t stop us!  Beau is 19, has been everywhere and done everything at PC/RC level and is now having an easier, but hopefully interesting, time now with me in his ‘retirement’.  We have tried lots of things together and have discovered that our (my) favourite is quadrille.  Beau’s very favourite thing is jumping – my brave boots need some work in this area!

Goals:  For 2016 I have some ambitions which, with the help of Mollichaff, I’d like to ‘tick off’:

Dressage:  Beat my PB of 65.0% and get 70% in a prelim test unaffiliated.

Team Quest:  Compete in Team Quest for the first time, and improve my initial scores by the end of the season.

Sidesaddle: I just want to get better – maybe enter a show if I can find a suitable saddle and habit to hire.

Quadrille: To play out at Bury Farm again in 2016 for Cherwell Valley RC.  Quadrille is immense fun!

Jumping: To jump a whole course of fences with no fuss and no tears, and no arena surface in my teeth!

Day One:  Beau decided this sponsorship announcement was a good reason to give himself a holiday.  Like almost everyone this year, we’ve had a spot of mud fever, so every morning at 5am when I feed, I thoroughly check his legs for heat.  I have to use a head-torch to see, but I am positive his legs were all A-Ok that morning.

I left my other half (OH), Simon,  in charge for a visit from our fab physio, Jen, at 9am that morning, just to get the season off to a comfy and healthy start for him.  As soon as Simon dragged Beau in from the field he could see he wasn’t right, so trotted him up for Jen who stopped him straight away with clear but slight hind leg lameness.  On examination, she was worried it may be a pulled tendon (presumably because of the mud) which OH texted to tell me.  Unfortunately I was on a course with work so could do nothing but panic for the rest of the day!  OH texted that it was okay though: Jen had advised cooling therapy to bring the swelling down so we could find the problem, and OH had found that the wine cooler from the freezer fits a treat on Beau’s leg!  (Hope that does not result in warm wine…!)   He’d also been told it would be a good precaution to arrange box rest and, as we don’t currently have stables, came up with the genius idea of electric-fencing off a dry 12 x 12 area of paddock!

odel patient

odel patient

Ready for Spring:  A bonus was that because his fur is so thick, the needle wouldn’t go in for the antibiotics, so we discovered he is good to clip.  I was feeling inspired, so he is now bald!  Interesting that he was still toasty the morning after, still in just the same medium-weight turnout rug.

Fluffy Beau

 

Good boyHalf clipped

With Beau’s cut leg still healing, on Sunday I played out with my sister’s horse – the legendary Sardra (also 19).  You will be seeing more of her this year as she is also on the quadrille team, and in our Team Quest…

Of course nobody told Beau that he should take it easy with his injury, and our ‘relaxed’ lunge session to stop him getting too bored was mostly up and down – instead of round in circles – and at a far quicker pace than intended, to a constant soundtrack of squeals!  I think he had fun.  Although he seemed to like his little pen with his personal stash of hay for the first couple of days, he quite soon turned into a whirling dervish and covered his wound with mud anyway, so I let him out again with a good layer of wound protector on his scab.  He was indeed back in work within the week.

Kisses

Competitions:  We had our first go at Team Quest dressage on March 13th in our gorgeous royal blue Cherwell Valley VRC gilets!  We had gone aiming for a start time of 12.30, which was changed at the last minute to 12.48, so at 12.30 I hopped on and wandered over to the warm up, only to be called straight in!  I didn’t argue because I figured just five minutes warm up would be a good place to hang my hat of failure if it went wrong.  I had bought some continental reins to try and stop me dropping the contact as soon as I enter the arena (I always lose marks for inconsistent contact and Beau is quite happy to flop along at top speed if I let him) and I got no negative comments about slipping reins.  We scored 65.8% which means  I have already achieved half of Goal 1!!  I thought this was brilliant, being not too bad AND a personal best, but we ended up as the discarded score!  What a team!  Much to improve for next time but much improvement too from the last time I competed at dressage.  So, as to maintain my tradition of average, the team came 2nd out of 3.

Training: We are so very, very lucky in Northamptonshire to be surrounded by top class instructors in all disciplines.  Our local Riding Club chairman, Amanda Rawson, (security blanket, test reader, instructor, organiser, mediator and sanity maintainer) is our regular trainer and practically every member of CVRC owes any success to her patience and talent.  The club has also been working with a fabulous teacher called Jonathan Canty, and both Simon and I have had a flat lesson from him on Beau this month.  He helped Simon to focus on his riding empathy, and me to focus on enjoying myself and to stop trying to ‘fix’ every issue after one lesson.  He explained (obvious, really) that Beau is used to how I have always ridden him, so if I change that – even to the ‘correct’ way – he will have to adapt and that takes time.  Makes sense.  If Si can keep his balance and I can bend my elbows and keep my reins, we’ll be giving Charlotte and Scott a run for their money soon…

Beau has now had his proper massage from Jen, and enjoyed it very much with just some tightness behind, and in his neck.  All in all he wasn’t in bad shape for this early in the year, so I’m hopeful that with the right management we can keep the old campaigner campaigning!

Massage

Quadrille practice has been going on already with some serious test writing in the evenings using substitute horses…

Quadders test writing

Roll on spring and the clocks going forwards so that, weather permitting, Beau and I can play out in the week too!

Tam and Beau x

Posted in Team HorseHage by admin.