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October 2014

Cassie’s Latest Diary – October 2014

I’m writing this at home as I have a very rare full day off from uni. I was excited that I was going to get to ride all three horses today, but as usual, the delightful British weather has meant I have not yet been able to do so!

A small incident with Patch…

Patch in the BE100 at Moreton Morrell Horse Trials

Patch in the BE100 at Moreton Morrell Horse Trials

After a really good summer with Patch, I made the decision that we were ready for our first BE100 event together and entered for Moreton Morrell. Patch, unlike many event horses, prefers to jump on an artificial surface and as Moreton has the most amazing set up, I thought it would be perfect. We started the day with an okay dressage test – he scored a 39. Unfortunately a 39 is never going to be very competitive anymore, but even after a summer of averaging 30 in the same test at combined training, the excitement of the day got the better of him and we lost a few marks. I don’t think it helped that from the dressage arena he had perfect view of the cross-country finish and water jump! He warmed up beautifully for show jumping. It was a little scary picking out a few famous professional faces in the warm-up but Patch certainly rose to the occasion! He tried his absolute heart out on what was a twisty and fairly tight course show-jumping, but we unfortunately rolled two poles.

Next came the cross-country. Having walked the course I couldn’t help but notice that actually this was a fairly big solid 100 course. It was a lot tougher in comparison to the 100 tracks at our local events. However, I knew we had schooled and were prepared and Patch had always been a very sensible and accurate cross-country ride. I headed over to the start box and went over the course in my head. As they counted us down, Patch was not concentrating. In fact, to put it politely, he was completely away with the fairies! As we came out of the start box he tried to nap back to the other horses – he’s never napped before. I managed to get him going and we found our line to fence one. Patch locked onto the fence, we got the perfect stride and then disaster struck… in a split second Patch went from taking off to being stuck over the fence. Luckily I managed to cling on.  He stayed very calm, I think almost in shock. My reins had fallen over his head in the fall and I couldn’t reach them.  Patch then panicked and scrambled to his feet, dragging himself backwards off the jump and then turned around and bolted back through the start and lapped the warm-up area. I don’t really know how he eventually stopped. It seemed to go on forever, but I do know if it wasn’t for my five point breastplate I wouldn’t have clung on. Let’s just say I won’t be requiring a trip to Alton Towers this year after that experience!

I still don’t know how/why or what caused it, it happened too quick. Patch had quite a few cuts on the inside of his legs and he was very shaken up. He’s a horse that really does not like to do wrong and he seemed to take it very personally.  After some time off we’ve since been to do some cross country schooling and he was absolutely fine (I was a bag of nerves though!). Not the end we really wanted to a fantastic season, but it’s now just important to put it behind us and prepare for next year. He’s since been and picked up a nice second place rosette at novice dressage, so he has certainly bounced back quickly.

Rupert’s back on form!


Rupert came out of hibernation and was allowed to finally go to a party (or two!) First Simon took him showing in-hand which they both love! He won Best Gelding and then Best Horse and he then went on to take Reserve In-Hand Champion against a big strong class of lovely looking horses. I was delighted with their result, and it also meant Simon had show-proofed him for me! Plus it meant that they kept their record of winning every class they have entered so far – wow!

Next he went to a mini one- day-event. We entered the Open class and he did his best dressage yet, had two down show-jumping (I actually think these two poles were rider error, not horse error!) He was having a fantastic cross country round, and was feeling great. Three jumps from home and unfortunately he stopped at a ditch that was under some dark trees (far too scary for Rupert!). We just missed out on the placings, but I was delighted that he was back and on form. Next stop for him is the Winter Novice indoor showjumping where he once again will be representing our riding club which I am really looking forward to.

Rupert at Valley View ODE

Rupert at Valley View ODE

Poppy’s been in trouble…

Poor Poppy managed to get herself into a minor domestic in the field, leaving her with a kick on the pastern area. I’m not sure which one of the boys did it, but they did both look very guilty! Unfortunately the kick also got a skin infection (known as cellulitis) and so she had a very big, swollen, filled leg that required cold hosing, bute and antibiotics. She is now better and has returned to hacking, but it did mean she had a good three weeks off- which she didn’t seem to complain about!

Both Rupert and Patch are now clipped. They look really smart! My top tip for clipping is to bath the day before as this really makes it so much easier to clip and the blades last a lot longer. I also bath them straight after with a nice skin-friendly wash to try and prevent any clipper oil reaction and to remove scurf (Rupert is really sensitive to anything on his skin).


So it’s been a really mixed month and we have certainly learnt a lot. I’m disappointed that Patch didn’t get to complete his first BE100, but I’m extremely pleased that he has even got up to that level, as it’s a lot more than we expected to achieve. I’m back at uni now and this year is mainly about doing a veterinary research project which I am really looking forward to!

That’s all for now, but I have included some more information below about cellulitis and how to manage it, written by Simon.

Take care,

Cassie, Rupert, Poppy and Patch


‘Cellulitis from a veterinary angle’

 by Simon Woods, BVSc, MRCVS (Fyrnwy Equine Clinics)

Horses are quite prone to cellulitis, more than other species. Cellulitis literally means inflammation of the skin and is used to describe a bacterial skin infection. This will show as ‘oedema’ in the skin, which will look like swelling in the skin that is sore to touch and will leave the indent of your finger if firm pressure is applied and then removed.

It is caused by bacteria entering the skin through a wound or scratch on the skin. Sometimes it is not even possible to find the initial entry, and the first sign is found with a ‘big leg’ or swollen leg.

To treat cellulitis we will often give a course of antibiotics and anti-inflammatories. It helps to allow the horses to move as this will disperse the fluid and can prevent it swelling more. Topical anti-inflammatory treatments such as cold hosing can really help treat the problem.

In order to try and prevent it from occurring, routinely monitor the legs for cuts or scans. Keep cuts or wounds clean with very dilute Hibiscrub or dilute salt water. Treat any underlying mud fever as these scabs can allow entry of bacteria. Also check the legs for thorns, especially after hunting, etc. as thorns can also cause t bacteria to be taken into the skin.