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Feeding the Riding Club Horse or Pony

Many factors can influence your horse’s ability when competing, including his genetic potential and fitness. However, the correct diet is very important in order to meet his nutrient requirements for the Riding Club activities he is doing.

One of the most difficult challenges in feeding horses is balancing the need for sufficient fibre whilst also providing enough energy for his workload. Fibre is fermented in the hindgut by microbes to produce a continual supply of energy. All forage (i.e. hay, haylage and/or grazing) fed should be of good quality, both in terms of its nutritional value and hygiene. Most horses should receive between 1.5- 2% of their bodyweight in fibre. A diet of ad-lib forage and little and often feeding of a low sugar and starch feed are recommended in most cases.

If your horse is a good-doer, then feeding a high fibre, low-calorie feed such as Equerry High Fibre Cubes is advisable. Equerry High Fibre Cubes are ‘Non-Heating’, cereal-grain-free, low in sugar and starch and will provide all his basic vitamins and minerals for light to medium work.

If your horse is in medium to hard work, he will probably need more calories to support his condition and provide more energy. There will also be an increased demand for protein. Equerry Conditioning Mash or Equerry Conditioning Cubes are the ideal choice for him.

Protein is a very important nutrient required in the horse’s diet. It is essential for muscle development and damage repair along with promoting topline and for losses in body fluids. Protein is made up of chains of amino acids, of which ten are essential for the horse and about ten are non-essential. The essential amino acids must be provided in the diet as the horse can only synthesise the non-essential himself. Equerry Conditioning Mash/Equerry Conditioning Cubes have been formulated to provide good levels of essential amino acids, including lysine and methionine. These amino acids, plus the added oil and linseed provided in Equerry Conditioning Mash/Equerry Conditioning Cubes, also help to promote a glossy, shiny skin and coat.

The increased need for macro-nutrients (protein and energy) is accompanied by a higher demand for micronutrients (vitamins and minerals). Vitamins and minerals are responsible for energy metabolism, good bone strength and hoof quality. Equerry Conditioning Mash/Equerry Conditioning Cubes contain raised levels of Vitamin E and Selenium which are important antioxidants that play a large role in the muscle metabolism of horses with strenuous workloads. They help to neutralise the increased free radical production which is associated with higher levels of exercise.

Equerry Conditioning Mash/Equerry Conditioning Cubes also contain added yeast. This helps to promote overall digestive health and therefore, will enable your horse to digest his hard feed and forage more efficiently. The demands placed on your horse can cause stress in his work and travel and there is now a great deal of evidence to show that yeast can benefit stressed horses.

Equerry Conditioning Mash and Equerry Conditioning Cubes are complete feeds and when fed at the recommended rate will provide your horse with the correct levels of vitamins, minerals and trace-elements.As a guide, a horse weighing 500kg would need 2.5-3kg Equerry Conditioning Mash/Equerry Conditioning Cubes daily. This should be divided into at least 2 small meals, fed at least 4 hours apart.

For more information on feeding your horse contact the Equerry Nutrition Team on 01845 565640 for an individually tailored feeding plan.

 

Top Tips for Riding a Cross-Country Course

In this issue event rider Bonnie Fishburn provides advice on riding a cross-country course.

Whilst fences are the obvious obstacle in cross-country riding, it is very much an all-round endurance test too and preparation is key.

Explains Bonnie:

Whilst you get the chance to see the fences in advance and plot your route, don’t forget your horse will be new to it all. To give you the greatest opportunity of going clear, think through the points mentioned below.

Try and walk the course on two different occasions, and if possible, watch a few riders tackling it. Don’t be afraid to jot down some notes as you walk and if possible, walk it on your own, or with your trainer, or with someone else you respect, so you can perfectly concentrate on it.

When you walk the course, be alert for anything that might spook your horse. Remember you could be riding it in different weather, so for example things that blow in the breeze could startle your horse. Hopefully you will have prepared for this eventuality already by having practised on fences where you have specifically set up spooky objects nearby.

The sun and time of day can make a course feel very different too. You need to consider where the sun will cast shadows at the time you are competing. In spring and autumn, low sun can also affect both your own and your horse’s vision.

You should also be aware of those things you know are likely to distract your horse and potentially take his attention away from the fence. In this case, you may decide to ride a fence slightly off centre, if the distraction is to one side.

When walking the course, look behind you as well as in front, to help you judge whether you have chosen the most economical route to a fence.

However, you should always have an alternative plan, in case something happens at the last minute that means you need to change your route.

It is useful to watch how top riders approach fences as this will help you improve your technique.

It’s also a really good idea to hire some local courses so you can practise jumping direct and alternative routes before an event.

There really is no substitute for practising good lines on your horse. You should set out a course on a flat area, and include a combination of poles in straight lines, circles and on bends.

If you concentrate on this, you will focus on riding the best line to each pole, rather than worrying about tackling the actual fences.

You should also incorporate hillwork into your training, to build muscle, stamina and strength. You should get your horse used to tackling fences on the brow of a hill; these are very different as your horse won’t see them until the last minute, so you need to ride a little steadier into the fence, giving your horse extra time to take in what he’s being asked to do.

A final tip from Bonnie concerns the weather. With heavy rain, the course is likely to ride deeper as the day goes on. Conversely, a hot, dry spell may make the ground hard and slippery.

Deep, wet ground is obviously more tiring for your horse so when you walk the course, you should look out for areas that will get more churned up, and see if you can take a different line to those fences to avoid the difficult ground.

On dry, slippery ground you will need to ride cautiously, especially on downhill sections.

Georgie Secures Equerry Sponsorship

After reading hundreds of super entries we are delighted to announce the lucky winner of the search for a new sponsored rider is dressage rider Georgie Bennett.

Georgie runs a small dressage and livery yard in Lincolnshire and is also a freelance rider and trainer.

She has evented at advanced level and also competes in advanced level dressage.

Working with many different horses, Georgie recognises the importance of using a feed which gives them the condition they need, but also in her words “keeps their brain on her side.”

Georgie soon realised that once she began feeding horses on the Equerry range, their coats very quickly took on an amazing shine that simply got better and better, whether at home training or out competing.

Said Georgie: “Running a yard can be very expensive, competing makes it even more so, any help towards lowering costs is always hugely appreciated and it is fantastic to win the sponsorship support from Equerry.”

Added Katy Mickle of Equerry Horse Feeds: “We are delighted to welcome Georgie as our new sponsored rider and are very much looking forward to working with her.”

As the successful winner, Georgie was lucky enough to experience fantastic VIP hospitality at the Equerry sponsored Bolesworth International Horse Show for the exciting Equerry Grand Prix, together with winning a year’s supply of Equerry Horse Feed, an Equerry jacket, polo shirt and saddlecloth.

The Equerry sponsored rider team enjoyed a fantastic day out at Bolesworth International.

Pictured left to right are: Bonnie Fishburn, Alanna Clarke, Georgie Bennett, Amber Major and Nikee Hudson.

Anthony Condon and Balzac Take Dramatic Equerry Bolesworth International Grand Prix

Anthony Condon became the first Irish rider to take the Equerry Bolesworth International Grand Prix title on a day of sun-drenched show-jumping action in the International Arena.

Forty three combinations representing ten nations came forward for the feature class and visiting course designer from Ireland, Alan Wade had set a track where clear rounds would prove hard to come by.

Anthony Condon gave the Irish their first confirmed contender for the Grand Prix title after a faultless performance with Balzac.

As the competition progressed, it was looking unlikely that a full quota of clear rounds would be met, meaning that the fastest of those with penalties were in with a chance of qualifying. Robert Whitaker and Catwalk IV opted to go for a steady clear and despite ending up just over a second outside the time allowed, they went forward to the Jump-Off carrying a single penalty.

Last in to the arena for Round One, Spain’s Eduardo Alvarez Aznar and Rokfeller de Pleville Bois Margot ensured that six nations would be represented in the deciding round where each would be aiming to take home the lion’s share of the €100,000 prize fund on offer.

Coming into the second round in reverse order of their penalties and time from Round One, the stage was set for a truly dramatic conclusion, with three past winners amongst the eleven to face a Jump-Off course where they would have to twist and turn before getting a chance to open their horses up and gallop to the last.

William Whitaker was the first of the Jump-Off challengers with a chance of posting a zero score but two fences down saw him move out of contention. Then it was the turn of local rider Keith Shore who rode a tactical clear round to move up to the top of the leader board with Mystic Hurricane, completing in 53.53 seconds.

Anthony Condon was the final Irish challenger and he knocked over three and a half seconds off Keith’s time to take over the lead with Balzac (49.86 seconds). With just two more to come forward, the competition was far from over but fences down for Eduardo Alvarez Aznar and Michel Hendrix ensured a first International Grand Prix win at Bolesworth for Condon, who is based at Harthill Stud, just five minutes away from the venue.

‘I won the Grand Prix when Bolesworth was a national show and have competed here every year since it started. It’s my local show and it’s absolutely fantastic with amazing facilities.’

Anthony Condon and Balzac Take Dramatic Equerry Bolesworth International Grand Prix

Bolesworth Show 18.06.17

Anthony Condon became the first Irish rider to take the Equerry Bolesworth International Grand Prix title on a day of sun-drenched show-jumping action in the International Arena.

Twelve months ago, Bolesworth was battered by rain but the 2017 edition and tenth anniversary show will be remembered for blistering sunshine and clear blue skies.

Forty three combinations representing ten nations came forward for the feature class and visiting course designer from Ireland, Alan Wade had set a track where clear rounds would prove hard to come by. Ireland’s Trevor Breen was the first to come close to securing his place in the deciding round but a rub of the last rail meant that he would have to wait and see whether he would be one of the top 25% that would proceed.

Reigning champions, Michel Hendrix and Baileys from the Netherlands came in to the arena two combinations later and were the first to prove that a clear round was possible. British riders William Whitaker (Fandango) and Keith Shore (Mystic Hurricane) also recorded zero scores and first in after the halfway break, Anthony Condon gave the Irish their first confirmed contender for the Grand Prix title after a faultless performance with Balzac.

As the competition progressed, it was looking unlikely that a full quota of clear rounds would be met, meaning that the fastest of those with penalties were in with a chance of qualifying. Robert Whitaker and Catwalk IV opted to go for a steady clear and despite ending up just over a second outside the time allowed, they went forward to the Jump-Off carrying a single penalty.

Last in to the arena for Round One, Spain’s Eduardo Alvarez Aznar and Rokfeller de Pleville Bois Margot ensured that six nations would be represented in the deciding round where each would be aiming to take home the lion’s share of the €100,000 prize fund on offer.

Coming into the second round in reverse order of their penalties and time from Round One, the stage was set for a truly dramatic conclusion, with three past winners amongst the eleven to face a Jump-Off course where they would have to twist and turn before getting a chance to open their horses up and gallop to the last.

Pathfinder, Darragh Kenny from Ireland came in carrying four faults from the first round and kept a clean Jump-off slate to complete in a time of 45.87 seconds. The next of the four faulters from Round One, Belgian rider Francois JR Mathy and Casanova De L´ Herse were the next to go clear and temporarily take over the lead with 44.34 seconds on the clock.

The groan from the crowd said it all as Michael Whitaker and Viking lowered a rail at the last fence for an overall score of 8 faults. Robert Whitaker and Catwalk IV came into Round Two carrying a single time fault from the qualifying round and they did the same again to complete on two faults overall.

Next in to the arena, William Whitaker was the first of the Jump-Off challengers with a chance of posting a zero score but two fences down saw him move out of contention. Then it was the turn of local rider Keith Shore who rode a tactical clear round to move up to the top of the leader board with Mystic Hurricane, completing in 53.53 seconds.

Anthony Condon was the final Irish challenger and he knocked over three and a half seconds off Keith’s time to take over the lead with Balzac (49.86 seconds). With just two more to come forward, the competition was far from over but fences down for Eduardo Alvarez Aznar and Michel Hendrix ensured a first International Grand Prix win at Bolesworth for Condon, who is based at Harthill Stud, just five minutes away from the venue.

‘He was amazing in both rounds and I’m absolutely delighted with him,’ said Condon regarding the 11-year-old gelding he co-owns with Kat Taylor. ‘Alan Wade had built a really tough course and Keith had set a good target in the Jump-Off. I was lucky enough to just pip him. All I’d wanted to do was try and jump a clear round and beat what was in front of me.’

‘I won the Grand Prix when Bolesworth was a national show and have competed here every year since it started. It’s my local show and it’s absolutely fantastic with amazing facilities.’

Equerry Q&A

How does the addition of yeast contribute to a healthy digestive system?

Horses are hindgut fermenters and have evolved to spend the majority of their day grazing. They produce digestive enzymes to break down certain nutrients, such as fats, protein and simple carbohydrates, but they do not produce enzymes to break down fibre, so they hugely depend on the beneficial microflora that can be found throughout their hindgut. These microflorae are responsible for the fermentation of all the fibre ingested which produces a continually releasing energy source for the horse.

Cellulolytic (fibre-digesting) bacteria make up the majority of the bacterial population in the caecum and colon (hindgut). These bacteria are responsible for the breakdown of fibre and they manufacture B-vitamins. They thrive best at a near neutral pH (approximately 6.8) so they can be particularly sensitive to sudden drops in pH. 

Amylolytic (starch digesting) bacteria are involved in the breakdown of starch and rapidly fermentable carbohydrates. They produce lactic acid and if they grow in number, can significantly reduce the hindgut pH. A lack of fibre, excessive intakes of sugar and starch, sudden changes in diet, stress, sickness along with worming and antibiotics, can all contribute to an acidic hindgut environment. Hindgut acidity can lead to issues such as colic, laminitis, ‘tying-up’ etc.

When the Amylolytic bacteria multiply, the Cellulolytic bacteria die allowing the Amylolytic population to flourish. Live yeast will compete with these organisms for sugar which will reduce their growth. As a result, feeding live yeast will help stimulate the growth of the Cellulolytic bacteria leading to healthy fermentation.

It is preferable to use pure, protected yeasts, which can survive the process of pelleting and the acidity within the stomach, to reach the hindgut where their action is required. Yeasts enhance the activity of cellulolytic bacteria in the hindgut and therefore allow improved utilisation of a horse’s diet. Their mode of action is to scavenge oxygen, maintaining an anaerobic hindgut environment which supports the normal microbial balance.

Feeding horses yeast can improve their overall fibre digestibility by up to 20%. This simply means that a horse will be able to get more energy from the fibre he eats. If the fibre in the horse’s diet supplies more energy, less concentrates can be fed, which is beneficial for both health and behaviour.

Yeast also contributes to maintaining hindgut health during times when horses become stressed e.g. travelling to shows, moving to a new yard etc. These horses may suffer from loose droppings and come back from a show tucked-up. Yeast can help prevent this as it also has a calming effect on a lot of horses.

For more information contact the Equerry Nutrition Team on 01845 565640 for an individually tailored feeding plan. 

 

Success for Anna and Zavir

Anna Bostrand-Daly and her dressage horse, Zavir have been in fantastic form and update us on their recent success.

Says Anna: “We have recently returned from The Tack & Togs Championships at Sheepgate, a two day show that was great fun with excellent competition.

“This was only our third and fourth outing at Inter I level and although I was hopeful we would do well I never imagined we would win our section. 

“Zavir warmed up lovely on the first day and gave me a good feel in the arena, however we split the judges rather dramatically so not the score I had hoped for, even though we were in the lead after the first day. 

“I gave him an extra meal that day of Equerry Conditioning Mash and electrolytes as it had been a very hot day. 

“On the second day I got the same great feel in the warm up and also carried that on down the centre line for a solid and correct test, we gained a 65%+ score and I was thrilled with my boy. 

“The class ran for a further two hours and at the end of it we stood overall Champions of our section. 

“It was with great pride I stepped onto the winning spot on the podium for the prize giving and it was extra special to receive a gorgeous sash too! 

“Zavir is my horse of a lifetime and last year I said PSG was our lifetime goal but now going well at Inter I we don’t want to stop there as I really feel that Grand Prix is within reach.

“This is a horse I have only owned for two years and progressed from Medium to Inter I in that time, he is not an easy horse so requires a certain routine and management and naturally he gets the best of everything, including his feed which he absolutely adores.”

 

Make the Most of Father’s Day with New Fantastic VIP Hospitality at Bolesworth International

LOOKING to spend time with your family on Father’s Day and want your children to experience something truly special.

The organisers of this year’s Equerry Bolesworth International Horse Show have come up with a fantastic deal that will see you and your family sat in luxury VIP while watching the highlight of the final day on Sunday, June 18, the Equerry Grand Prix show jumping.

To celebrate Father’s Day, a new addition to the VIP package will see hospitality goers having the opportunity to walk the Grand Prix show jumping course and also meet legends John Whitaker and Tim Stockdale.

The Sunday, June 18, VIP Package consists of  hospitality between 9am and 6pm, including – tea and coffee station until 11am – VIP car parking and admission – Hospitality hostess – Official souvenir programme – Use of your table for the day from 9am – Champagne reception – 2 course plated lunch with half bottle of wine – Afternoon tea with a glass of pink Champagne – Complimentary tea, coffee and water during the day – Access to the sun terrace overlooking the main arena – Access to the VIP bar. Added to this will now be a meet and greet session and a Grand Prix course walk with top show jumpers, John Whitaker and Tim Stockdale.

Secondly, there is the introduction of a children’s package for under 12s on the same day, which is priced at only £48. This will be based upon the new adult package, but will have a special children’s meal.

These offers allow people to buy between two and eight tickets to go on a table. However, less than six tickets will mean people are sharing a table with others.

Further information about these upgraded VIP packages can be found at www.bolesworthinternational.com or by telephoning Melanie Simm on 01829 307676.

Equerry Q&A

How do I ensure my broodmare gets everything she needs?

Answer by the Equerry Horse Feeds Nutrition Team

Broodmare nutrition can be broken down into several different stages: conception, early, mid and late gestation, and lactation. Feeding your broodmare a correctly balanced diet is essential for breeding success as it is directly linked to maximizing conception rates, aiding foetal growth and the production of quality colostrum and milk. 

Conception

It is proven that overweight or underweight mares have lower conception rates than those in ideal condition before going to be covered. Your mare should be well-furnished; you should be able to just feel her ribs but not see them. She should not have any fat pads on her neck or body. A good-doer will usually only require a low-calorie feed such as Equerry High Fibre Cubes. However, should your mare be lacking condition prior to covering, Equerry Stud & Yearling Cubes or Stud & Youngstock Mix are advised. 

Early Gestation (0-4 months)

We now know that the mare’s micronutrient requirements begin to increase from Day 1 at conception. The foal’s long term health and development can be majorly influenced by these vital vitamins and minerals from an early stage. Certain micronutrients, such as copper and zinc, must be provided by the hard feed as the required levels will not be provided by good quality grazing alone. 

Mid Gestation (5-8 months)

Your mare will now start to become noticeably rounder! Her micronutrient requirement will continue to steadily increase, along with needing higher levels of calories and protein. This is because the nutritional value of her grazing will begin to decline so she will depend more on her hard feed to supply her with these essential nutrients. To provide your mare with additional calories and protein, she will need a specifically formulated stud feed such as Equerry Stud & Yearling Cubes or Stud & Youngstock Mix. 

Late Gestation (9-11 months)

During the last three months of gestation, the foetus develops rapidly – gaining 65% of its birth weight and over 40% of its skeletal structure! The diet will need to provide your mare with 15-30% more calories. Whilst in the womb, the foetus starts to build up stores of certain trace minerals, such as copper, in their liver. The foal depends on these stores during the first few months of life for correct cartilage and limb development. Therefore, the mare’s calorie, protein, calcium, phosphorous and copper requirements significantly increase. She will become more dependent on her hard-feed to meet these demands as there is less space available in her stomach for large amounts of forage due to the rapid growth of the foetus taking up a greater space in the abdominal cavity. To meet these requirements, your mare will need a higher rate of Equerry Stud & Youngstock Cubes or Stud & Yearling Mix. 

Lactation 

In peak lactation, a 500kg broodmare will produce 15-20 litres of milk a day. You should continue to feed Equerry Stud & Youngstock Cubes or Stud & Yearling Mix to maintain condition during lactation. This will ensure your broodmare receives enough calories required to improve conception rates if re-breeding and support colostrum quality. Newborn foals depend on the antibodies (which are essential to protect from infectious bacteria and viruses) that they receive from the mare’s colostrum as they have very low levels themselves. 

Equerry Stud & Youngstock Cubes and Stud & Yearling Mix are both complete feeds and when fed at the recommended rate will provide your broodmare with the correct levels of vitamins, minerals and trace-elements.As a guide, a broodmare weighing 500kg would need 3.5-5kg daily. This should be divided into at least 3 small meals, fed at least 4 hours apart.

Win Sponsorship from Equerry Horse Feeds

Bonnie 11 smaller

EQUERRY Horse Feeds, title sponsor of the Bolesworth International Horse Show has launched a search for a new sponsored rider.

The chosen rider will get the chance to enjoy VIP hospitality at the show on Sunday, June 18 for the exciting Equerry Grand Prix, and will also win a year’s supply of Equerry Horse Feed for one horse or pony, an Equerry jacket, polo shirt and saddlecloth.

Are you the next Scott Brash, Charlotte Dujardin or Kitty King – if so Equerry Horse Feeds wants to hear from you!

The Equerry range of top-quality horse feeds contains something for every horse or pony, whether feeding a leisure horse or a competition horse, there is a product to meet their nutritional requirements.

The range provides everything from High Fibre Cubes for horses and ponies at rest or in very light work to Performance Cubes and Sports Mix for competition horses in hard work, as well as Conditioning Mash, Cool Cubes and Mix, and Horse & Pony Cubes and Mix.

The winner will have a monthly ‘blog-spot’ on the Equerry Horse Feeds website so they can share their experiences and progress throughout the year.

To enter email 200 words, your age, address, telephone number and a photograph to chris@equerryhorsefeeds.com  by the closing date May 31, 2017