HorseHage & Mollichaff Helpline – 01803 527274

January 2014

Happy 2014 although a little belated now! I hope that so far the New Year is going well.

Rupert & Poppy at ChristmasChristmas seemed to be over very quickly this year. I spent most of my uni holidays working, which included Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day! It was actually really nice to be there though, although extremely hard work, as always.  The horses are all very well looked after and the yard is immaculate. Many mornings when I arrived at work at 6:30am, the yard owner was already riding his first horse which was lovely to see.

I then had two weeks off to cram in some revision before my exams started. These have just finished and I’m hoping I did ok – but you never know! In the past, the ones I think I’ve done badly in, I haven’t and vice versa.

In between all of this I have managed to keep the horses ticking over. I find getting up really early and going for a quick hack is the best thing to do before a day of revision.

Patch is ready for 2014!
Patch and foal friend
Patch is now back in full work after weeks of walking and trotting on the lanes and he’s feeling great! His old rider and my friend, Jess Butler, came over to do another pre-event season clinic, this time on jumping techniques. Jess has ridden to 3* level and is a very enthusiastic teacher.  Simon said I could take Patch along on the condition I was sensible with the amount he did. So Jess focused on ways to improve our control before and after the fence, using fences no bigger than 60cm which Patch thought was very entertaining! The following morning I was relieved to find he was still sound!

I also took Rupert along to the clinic, and we focused on our jump-off turns which was really fun. So far I have kept Rupert fairly steady with his jumping, aiming for consistent double clears instead of jump-offs. This seems to have paid off for him, as he can be quite hot-headed. So it was great to finally let him find his inner competitive edge.

Rupert the show horse….
Championship From Classes 1-10
January was also a great month for Simon and Rupert as they had another go at some in-hand showing. Once again they won their class and then they took overall Reserve In-Hand Champion at the end of the day. I was so proud of them both. Their showing record is becoming pretty amazing. So far they have entered three classes, and won three classes! They have been in two championships, winning one and placing Reserve in the other, as well as one Reserve Supreme!  Needless to say Simon has started to take it quite seriously now! We do, however, have Mollichaff Alfalfa Oil to thank for making Rupert’s coat gleam so beautifully!

Poppy is still walking…..
After deciding to have another hooley around the field (even in her smaller individual paddock on limited turnout!), Poppy is still restricted to walking only. Walking hacks in the wind and rain are no fun. We are both very grateful for waterproofs and exercise sheets! We are going to re-scan her leg next week and see how she’s getting on. I recently discovered some new gallop tracks alongside a disused railway and I hated not being able to take Poppy down there first. Let’s hope next month we have some better news for her.

Simon’s top tip – Colic and the wet weather
Simon has seen quite a few colics recently, that have mostly come about from horses that are having to stay in due to wet fields and bad weather. In colder weather, horses’ food intake can be drier due to not eating as much grass and eating drier forage. In very cold weather horses may not also drink as much due to water troughs and buckets being frozen, and not wanting to drink very cold water. Horses may also start eating some types of bedding such as straw when stabled more. All of these factors can make the horse more prone to an impaction colic. Allowing adequate access to water, making sure water troughs are free of ice, adding some warm water to water buckets overnight, checking that the horse is not eating the bedding and monitoring droppings, can all help to prevent this type of colic.