Friday, 17 November 2017

Equine's November issue - have you read it yet?

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Thursday, 7 September 2017

Is Your Training Safe?

For any rider, the choice of where to find knowledgeable, safe and value-for-money help to improve their own riding, the training of their horse or both isn’t always straightforward. Whether you prefer the camaraderie of group lessons, enjoy the experience of a schoolmaster or choose more intense one-on-one training sessions on your own horse, how do you know that your chosen instructor is qualified and competent at what they do, properly insured and that the venue at which the training takes place is both safe and managed in accordance with relevant legal and other requirements?

Frances Murray

Freelance Instructor Frances Murray BSc Hons, PGCE, BHS Int SM, Int T based near Cambridge confirms; “Accidents do happen and then there can be huge problems with insurance for the clients, instructors and even the venues. In my experience, accidents can result from a broad range of issues, with venues, facilities and sometimes because an instructor’s level of knowledge and teaching style is ‘inappropriate’.

“Some venues are really good and they ‘vet’ visiting instructors, which I think is a good idea, but not all of them do. I can go and hire one particular local venue and know that they wouldn’t care who I was! This attitude is too widespread.

There are two organisations that set standards for riding schools in the UK, the British Horse Society (BHS) and the Association of British Riding Schools (ABRS). A riding school approved by one or both of these organisations ensures that they meet a certain standard. Riding schools are also formally inspected every year, so any approval should be current and require these businesses to have relevant insurance in place, along with a robust health and safety policy. Approved riding schools invariably employ formally qualified instructors of different grades, so you know that these individuals have proved they know how to teach others.

Riding schools offer different types of lessons, from private, where one rider is taught by an instructor, to semi-private where two or three people are taught in the same lesson, or group lessons where larger groups of riders are taught by one instructor at the same time. As you would expect, prices vary, with private being more expensive and group lessons being cheapest.

In the case of freelance instructors, who hire a venue to work with you and your horse, you should always be equally certain that they are genuinely qualified. In addition to the BHS and ABRS, the governing bodies of the main competition disciplines maintain registers of qualified instructors who have specialist expertise in a particular discipline, which are easy to check online.

Frances Murray explains; “These registers of instructors ensure that everyone listed who is working as an instructor, has at least a basic level of competence and insurance, is DBS checked [Disclosure & Barring Service] and has undertaken relevant Safeguarding and First Aid training.

“I think that if you want to support your industry as an instructor, you should make your work official and I don’t accept people who say they can’t afford to take exams and pay annual fees for insurance and inclusion on a register. If you are that good, you will find the qualification very easy and it will bring clients to you. I think of it all as ‘continuing professional development’ (CPD) and I spend a lot of money on CPD of many different sorts.”

Claire Dryden helps a client
Claire Dryden BHSII shares a similar view. She works across the northern region as a freelance instructor, holds BHS qualifications and is working towards UKCC Level 3 (Generic), in addition to being a YMCA Level 3 Mat Pilates teacher.

She observes; “UKCC level 2 and 3 (specific) coaches without BHS or similar practical exams to compliment their knowledge, potentially lack the holistic ability to assess every aspect of effective training.

“Riders should ask more questions to ensure that their prospective trainer has relevant and solid experience, for example a dressage ‘coach’ is unlikely to have the skills to make a good jumping trainer without prior experience. In the same vein, whilst I covered fitting tack as part of my BHS exams, in no way would I consider myself competent to fit a saddle to a horse; I recommend clients engage a qualified saddlefitter to do that job.

“Everyone should also check that their chosen instructor has valid insurance. In my case, I need separate insurances to teach riding lessons and Pilates and I have spent thousands of pounds to train, take exams to ensure I’m properly qualified and that my CPD is always up to date.”

Frances offers this advice; “Riders looking for an instructor should start with the body to which they feel most closely associated and use an instructor from its register, which may be the BHS, or in the case of the competition bodies, will be a specialist from your discipline. These people are on the register to be monitored, so you can complain – and they can be struck off! That should give riders confidence in their choice.”

Verity Daughtrey from Herefordshire agrees, saying; “I regularly have lessons with a British Eventing Master Coach. He is brilliant! A very good friend told me to contact him and it's one of the best decisions I have ever made! He gives me so much confidence and has got me to believe in myself!”

This article first appeared in the August 2017 issue of Equine magazine. To subscribe, visit the secure online store at

Friday, 1 September 2017

Equine's September issue is out now!

Have you discovered Equine magazine yet?

News, comment and reports from the Northern & Scottish region. Find out what every rider should know about dope testing, how to care for Veterans, with vet advice on feeding and nutrition, all the Competition News from around the region and free-to-enter great Giveaways to win super prizes.

You can read the complete issue online now ...

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Thursday, 27 July 2017

Equine's August issue is out today!

You can read the complete issue online now ...

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If you would prefer a printed copy, you can order one online at

Enjoy the read...

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Yearling colt recovers after 'playing rough' results in serious injury

Ex-professional carriage driver Debbie Wicks (née Cowdery) lives in rural north Cumbria and these days has just three horses, which she enjoys in her leisure time alongside a busy career as an online marketing consultant.

Overwater Kestrel is an eyecatching, athletic yearling colt, part bred Hanoverian and currently standing at 15.2hh, although he is expected to mature at an imposing 16.2hh-17.0hh. Debbie bought him from his Cumbrian breeder in early spring and he has been happily enjoying the company of her 7-year-old sport horse stallion Prince of Durness out in the paddock, whilst getting on with the serious business of growing up.

Kestrel on the day of
injury, May 6th, 2017
However boys do play rough, sometimes too rough and it’s nearly always the little fella’ who comes off worst. So when Debbie went out to check her horses on May 6th, all looked fine from a distance, but as she got closer, she could see blood running down Kestrel’s neck and that he had sustained a puncture wound on one side of it. “It was probably caused by his field companion, my stallion Prince, as they do get hold of each other’s necks when they play, but Kestrel has so little muscle as yet, hence the injury.”

Debbie brought him into a stable for a closer look, then called out her vet, who flushed the wound and removed some muscle that had been bitten through, before stitching the tissues together very neatly. “He had to stay in his stable, on box rest”, explains Debbie, “so I immediately started to use my ArcEquine microcurrent unit on him for a three hour daily treatment.”

The day the wound burst open
May 12th, 2017
“For a few days, things looked good, but on May 12th, the wound burst open due to necrotic muscle tissue. My vet came out again and at that point, there were two significant holes into which the vet could put his fingers! This time, he rinsed out the wound with an iodine solution and left it open to drain, without any further stitches. I was left to flush it four times a day with a weak iodine solution in a squeezy bottle.

“He told me that it was going to take months to heal and warned that it could develop into a case of fistulous withers, which didn’t sound good. However I’ve had very significant success with microcurrent therapy and continued his daily treatments with my ArcEquine unit, as Kestrel still had to be kept inside. I also started using Manuka honey, but that was all.

Kestrel on May 26th, 2017
with trouble-free healing
well advanced
“Initially Kestrel had been on antibiotics, because of the chance of infection, along with an anti-inflammatory, but I know the ArcEquine is also very good at relieving pain and he didn’t even have to finish the course of ‘bute prescribed. However I did have to give him feed and water at a raised level, as he wouldn’t bend his neck down to the floor in the early stages of healing.”

Debbie kept in touch with her vet by email and text, sending regular photographs of Kestrel’s neck,, but it wasn’t until June 7th that the vet visited again, for the purpose of routine vaccinations. “He couldn’t believe how well it had healed”, remembers Debbie with a smile. “He said – oh it has to be eight weeks since it happened - but I said no, it’s only been a month!”

June 23rd, 2017 and Kestrel is back
out in the field having forgotten all
about his injury
Explaining about her use of the ArcEquine microcurrent unit, Debbie said; “I’ve been involved with a lot of horses all of my life and I have never encountered a piece of equipment like the ArcEquine. It achieves such amazing healing results with the wide variety of injuries and traumatic accidents that happen all too regularly to horses and ponies. Anyone considering buying one needs to just evaluate the purchase cost against potential savings in ongoing equine healthcare costs – and the amazingly positive effect it has on wellbeing. I think it’s an essential piece of kit for every horse owner to have in their arsenal.”

Debbie Wicks and Overwater Kestrel,
now back to full health
As for Kestrel, well he’s already forgotten all about it and is back out again grazing in the paddock and just being a healthy, happy yearling colt again.

To find out more about ArcEquine microcurrent technology, visit or contact 01580 755504. Use Discount Code AE5012 for £45.00 off at the checkout.

Find out more about microcurrent technology for human use at and
Use Discount Code AE5012 for £25.00 off at the checkout.

Thursday, 6 July 2017

Gourmet Grazing; Understand Topping and Worn Patches

Your grazing paddocks produce the most natural - and cheapest - feed for your horse, along with the essential benefit of turnout time to 'just be a horse'. In the seasonal 'Gourmet Grazing' features in every issue of Equine magazine, the experts at Logic answer reader questions providing practical advice on many different aspects of managing grazing paddocks as well as possible.

Logic Equestrian
For video and more information about managing your grazing, visit

Q - Our three horses share their daytime summer grazing of nine acres with pedigree Blue Leicester ewes and lambs, but our stocking density isn’t high, so there still is a need to top the pasture. What is the best way to manage this – should we top shorter and so less regularly, or do we leave it longer and top a little off more frequently? What is the best option for the horses and does that compromise what would be best for the sheep? The land is sloping and drains well and it’s open, North West facing, so grows fairly evenly. It’s been down to pasture for nearly 10 years now, but is still a healthy sward that is fertilised with 20:10:10 each spring.

Logic TRM120 Rotary Mower topping a paddock
Answer - Generally horses and sheep like a similar type of grazing as their eating method of nibbling and biting off grass is suited to short growth. To provide this, our recommendation would be to top quite regularly. This would be at the end of each grazing period if you are rotating grazing, but if you are not dividing up the area with electric fencing and the area is set stocked, then once a month would be appropriate. With the use of a Logic Rotary Mower you could top the whole area in a few hours; about a morning’s work. When the grass is kept to a shorter length you will find poo picking is so much easier and if you use one of our Sweeper Collectors the job will be done in a very short time. With the addition of sheep you should get less ‘soiled ‘areas as they will clear up after the horses and topping will remove seed heads to keep the new shoots short and nutritious.  Even though the pasture has been down for 10 years, regular topping will encourage the finer grasses to flourish and output from the paddock should increase.

Q - What is the best way of dealing with worn patches in grazing pastures that are used for ponies? We have several small paddocks, divided by a mix of stone walls and electric fencing and three Welsh ponies that don’t need lush grazing, especially at this time of year.
The land is very free draining, so in drier periods, it ‘wears’ in patches, which can end up with bare ground and we want to stay on top of repairing these to keep the grazing looking as good as possible. We can move the ponies around to give the paddocks a rest for a period, so how do you suggest we best repair the grass and what type of seed mix will be quick to establish, hard wearing and yet not too nutritious? Is there such a mix??

Logic LPH200 Pro-Harrow and EBC-TFS80 Electro-broadcaster
on the ATV, over-seeding this paddock.
Answer - If you have the ability to close up a grazing area as you indicate, with electric fencing or by closing the gate into the paddock with the ‘bare’ area, you should be able to carry out repair work quite easily. The choice of seed mixtures is important and advice can be taken from your local agricultural merchant or go online to source a suitable mixture from a reputable seed house. It should contain meadow fescue, timothy, creeping red fescue and smooth stalked meadow grass, which are suitable for horses and ponies. They are hard wearing and don’t provide too much protein, so should not create any issues. Often these mixtures contain ryegrasses as well which are not so suitable, but are good for growth and may be worth considering in your drier patch as they have deep root systems and would probably thrive better. You could always create your own mixture using any of the above grasses with some herbs and wild flowers as well.
The best time to over-seed in in the autumn or spring when there is enough moisture in the soil to ensure good germination. The first job however, is to check the pH of the soil and spread a liming product to correct any acidity and this would be best done in the autumn.  You can ask an agronomist to carry out this service or you can do it yourself. Simply take a small soil sample, about an egg cup full into a clean plastic bucket, from about ten equally spaced sites across the whole area and mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon, before taking it to your local agricultural merchant who will arrange to have it analysed.  Once any remedial measures have been carried out the next step is to sow the seed. You indicate the worn areas are in patches, so are probably too small to use an electro-broadcaster, in which case sowing by hand would be appropriate. You will need to create a suitable tilth for the seed to be broadcast onto and a Logic Tine Harrow is the ideal implement to run over with a few times, which will level and prepare the area. Simply spread the seed as evenly as possible then go over with the harrow a few more times to spread and cover the seed with soil. Roll the area to consolidate and level, which will ensure the seed is in contact with the soil to encourage good germination.  A Logic Ballast Roller would be perfect for this work so that the optimum weight for moisture and soil type can be provided.  
Use your electric fencing to cordon off the area, to let the seedlings become established before allowing livestock back onto the grazing. A slow release, balanced compound fertiliser should be applied to make sure the new plants have the correct nutrients to grow well and get established.

This article first appeared in the June 2017 issue of Equine magazine. To subscribe to Equine, visit the secure online store at

Saturday, 1 July 2017

The July issue of Equine is out!

Read the whole issue FREE on desktop or any mobile device - anytime - anywhere.

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