Saturday, 28 June 2014

More Mr Fabulous

So started off with Tom asking how it had been since last lesson and what did I want to work on this session

Explained had been concentrating on suppleness as felt this was biggest missing link as he had good natural rhythm and contact aways came good if we had rhythm and suppleness

Wanted Tom to watch me start working in and to discuss afterwards 

So worked in really pleased with how much progress we have made, he moves sideways away from my leg now so much better now, need to watch left shoulder is straight.

Then looked at trot need to go with him and not get behind him, also I need to raise my game and not get a piece of good work, praise him and then just stop riding (SFO also has said this ) praise him and finish properly not just abandon him

Worked on leg yield then SI or towards medium trot

Next exercise was SI up centre line then take counter flexion then refine this down to just a feeling of counter flexion, in trot do I have options can I collect or push the trot on? Doesn't need to be huge either way just need to test I have the adjustability.

So take home message was I need to test the adjustability more, it should be invisible to onlookers it will also keep him focused (and me!)  

Was another excellent lesson Chorrie improves every lesson so wish I had found Tom years ago he had improved the way I ride Chorrie beyond recognition and I now have a horse that can go forwards 

Pony in a billion 

Thursday, 26 June 2014

Warning of multiple anthelmintic resistance

See Equine Science Update

Research published recently in the International Journal of Parasitology warns of  impending multi-drug resistance in strongyles on British Thoroughbred stud farms.

The study, involving scientists in Edinburgh, Bristol and Liverpool, looked at the efficacy of  anthelmintics against worms  in horses on 16 stud farms.

To assess the efficacy against strongyles, faecal worm egg count reduction (FECR) tests were carried out on samples from 429 horses. Faecal  egg counts were performed before and 14 -17 days after treatment with one of the four available broad-spectrum anthelmintics: ivermectin; moxidectin; pyrantel or fenbendazole.

Moxidectin was efficacious in all tests, resulting in mean faecal egg count reduction in the range of 99.8-100%. Ivermectin showed reduced efficacy (FECR 85.7% -100%) in one group of yearlings. Five groups of yearlings showed reduced efficacy of pyrantel (FECR ranging from 0-13%). However, pyrantel was still efficacious when administered to mares. Fenbendazole always had low efficacy (FECR  0.4 – 42%).

A different pattern of efficacy was found against the large roundworm Parascaris equorum. Tests  carried out on four farms showed reduced efficacy of ivermectin (FECR  25.5% – 91.2%). However fenbendazole had acceptable efficacy (FECR 97.5% – 99.9%).

The research team also performed faecal egg counts at about 2 week intervals after anthelmintic treatment for up to 12 weeks to determine the strongyle egg reappearance period for moxidectin, ivermectin and pyrantel. They found that the egg reappearance period for all three anthelmintics was shorter than had been observed previously. This is considered to be an early indicator of developing resistance.

“Overall,” they conclude, “our results indicate that ivermectin and moxidectin administration provided acceptable efficacy at 14 days; however, egg reappearance period results suggest that these products are working less effectively than measured previously. As shortened egg reappearance period is believed to be an early indicator of resistance, this highlights the issue of impending multi-drug resistance in strongyles on stud farms.”

For  more details see:

Anthelmintic efficacy on UK Thoroughbred stud farms.
Relf VE, Lester HE, Morgan ER, Hodgkinson JE, Matthews JB.
Int J Parasitol. 2014 Apr 15. pii: S0020-7519(14)00078-2.
doi: 10.1016/j.ijpara.2014.03.006.

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun

Lesson at 12:00 was wonderfully sunny and warm and the horseflies were out, so cracked on quickly to trot to try and lose them.

Have been working on right rein in trot and today was better than left rein so guess I need to look at that this week and work towards evening then up

Really thrilled with the boy's attitude it was hot but he worked his socks off so pleased.

Leg yields are feeling better he was forwards

Happy days

Saturday, 21 June 2014

Pony shopping

Pony shopping a tale of two halves

In brief the bay that was everyone's number one choice was IMO not really working at Ad Med as advert, didn't even get on as was IMO stiff doing half passes in trot and canter, change was tight. Very poorly presented IMO I expect as a minimum mane and tail brushed, clean tack and clean hooves not oiled as that isn't what everyone likes to do.

Goodness he was a full up 16:3hh 

So was only there 20 minutes, made excuses thanked for their time and left so we were now going to be an hour and twenty early for pony number two the ginger job.

Rang owner who was at yard pooh picking and was happy for us to be early 

Got there and ginger was in mane and tail brushed :-) owner was lovely did a walk and trot up, in hand circles on hard. Tacked him up having asked what bridle I wanted to see him in.

Rode him in school lots to like needs to work more from behind IMO

I got on which is in itself a testament to ginger job and rode him in walk and a tiny bit of trot. I felt safe but really wanted someone like YO or Tom to get after me to ride him. However I am chuffed I rode an unknown horse and didn't have a melt down ( this has  happened) 

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

What’s the Scoop on Carbohydrates in Horse Feeds?

From a plant perspective, carbohydrates fall into three categories: simple sugars active in plant intermediary metabolism; storage compounds such as sucrose, starch, and fructans; and structural carbohydrates such as pectin, cellulose, and hemicelluloses. For the horse, however, it is more appropriate to classify carbohydrates by where and how quickly they are digested and absorbed.

Undigested starch from cereal grains and fructans from pasture are the most likely compounds contributing to lactic acidosis in the hindgut.Carbohydrates can be digested and absorbed as monosaccharides, simple sugars (primarily glucose and fructose), in the small intestine, or they can be fermented in the large intestine to produce volatile fatty acids (VFA) or lactic acid. The rate of fermentation and types of end products produced are quite variable and can have significant effects on the health and well-being of the horse.

Starch is the predominant carbohydrate fraction in cereal grains. Although all starch is made up of glucose chains, the starch molecule is constructed different in various types of grain. These differences in the architecture of individual starches have a large impact on how well they are digested in the horse’s small intestine. Of the grains most commonly fed to horses, oats contain the most digestible form of starch, followed by sorghum, corn, and barley. Processing of grains can have a huge effect of prececal starch digestibility and glycemic index. This is particularly true for barley, sorghum, and corn.

The quantity of blood glucose produced in response to a meal is a useful measure of a feed’s hydrolysable carbohydrate content. The glycemic index of a feed indicates the rate of carbohydrate absorption after the horse ingests that feed. For the purpose of comparison, oats are assigned a glycemic index of 100. Steam-flaked corn has a higher glycemic index of 144, as does sweet feed at 129, indicating that more glucose is derived from their prececal digestion than from oats.  Feeds with lower glycemic indices include cracked corn (90), rice bran (47), alfalfa hay (46), and bluestem grass hay (23).

Rapid fermentation can produce lactic acid, which may lead to a cascade of events culminating in laminitis. Undigested starch from cereal grains and fructans from pasture are the most likely compounds contributing to lactic acidosis in the hindgut. Slowly fermentable carbohydrates from the plant cell wall are absolutely essential to maintain a healthy microbial environment in the hindgut, and provide a major source of digestible energy for many horses.

Obesity is a growing problem in the horse population and is an important risk factor for laminitis through the association with insulin resistance and hyperinsulinemia. Excessive caloric intake can lead to the development of obesity and other clinical signs in horses with equine metabolic syndrome and pituitary pars intermedia dysfunction. Owners should monitor body condition of their horses and should not let them become obese. In general, a horse whose ribs are easily seen may be too thin; a horse whose ribs can’t be felt by pressing the fingertips over the horse’s barrel is probably too fat; and a horse whose ribs can’t be easily seen but can easily be felt with fingertip pressure is at a reasonable weight.

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Beaglie vet visit

So visit to vet today for lump and bumps check, nail clip and breathing issue review

Basically for sixteen he is fab, realistically as didn't respond to meds previously little to do. In absolute terms he is doing well avoid walking in heat ( which we do) progression likely to be slow

All that for £10 .45 :-) so much cheaper than our second opinion feline practice.

Going to try Rafferty with them on Thursday as suspect he has arthritis be interesting to compare bills

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Q&A: Understanding Fiber Types

The fiber fractions found in plants are cellulose, hemicelluloses, and lignin. Some fiber is digestible (hemicellulose and some of the cellulose), and some is not (lignin). There is currently no exact method of measuring the proportion of digestible fiber (by microbial fermentation) to indigestible fiber in forage. The old “crude fiber” measure is grossly inaccurate. At this time, acid detergent fiber (ADF) and neutral detergent fiber (NDF) are used, and these measure combinations of fractions of fibers.

 NDF: includes low digestibility or indigestible cell wall/structural fiber so includes cellulose, hemicelluloses, and all lignin. High NDF means low digestibility (these are all elements within the cell wall).

 ADF: lignin, cellulose, some ash, and silica. High ADF means low digestibility.  Hemicellulose is estimated by subtracting ADF from NDF (these are elements within the cell wall of the plant).

 ADF and NDF measurements of fiber content give an indication of digestibility and palatablilty of forage.

 NDF is a measure of the plant’s cell wall content where the higher the value, the less the horse will eat of the hay (less digestible).

 ADF is a measure of the fiber concentration shown as a percent where, as ADF increases, digestibility and nutrient availability decreases.

Hays with ADF levels above 45% have little nutritive value (lower than 31% are excellent).  Hays with NDF values of 65% or greater are not very palatable (below 40% are excellent).

Essentially, the change that you are seeing from one hay test to the next has to do with the maturity of the hay at the time it is harvested. Different cuttings throughout the year will have different fiber fractions relative to the maturity of the plant at the time of cutting.  With alfalfa, the detergent fiber levels (ADF and NDF) will increase with an increase in the amount of stems in the hay. Consequently, the more stems, the more lignin (an indigestible fiber component), which gives stiffness to the stems, and the less digestible fiber will be present.

Saturday, 14 June 2014

Tom Graham 14th June

Newsflash: have been threatened with working without stirrups, if I am brave (mad?) enough next time!

So explained to Tom that I wanted to work on/check my understanding of warming up.

So for me Tom warms up based on the first three scales of training

but firstly I need to check that I have reaction, will he walk / halt crisply?

Once we have reaction then start to think

Is the rhythm good or bad? (good is relative to where you and the horse are, not an absolute scale )

Do we have equal suppleness left <-> right? Can you take left flexion and move Chorrie away from the left leg with the same ease you can take right flexion and  move Chorrie away from the right leg?

Contact is it even ?

Do we still have reaction? Do we still have rhythm, suppleness and contact?

Then onto trot work again work through reaction, rhythm, suppleness and contact and so on and so forth.

The take home message was to evaluate what you have and to keep revisiting and evaluating. I have lots of exercises now to use.

The other lightbulb moment was leg yield we're pretty good going away from the right leg not so the left leg Tom finally got me to twig how to ride the shoulder first and not get him quarters leading.

Alison's lesson

Watched a bit of Al's lesson, looking really good one lightbulb moment for me was Tom saying that a lot of horses canter left because we are on the left rein not because we are aiding for left canter.

So to test on a straight line can you pick up left and right canter?

Saturday, 7 June 2014

Tom Graham

Lesson with Tom on Saturday forecast was set to heavy rain, I was on first at 08:30 woke up to a dry morning which was very unexpected, we didn't get the rain until 10:00 when it chucked it down flash flooding road  closures the whole shebang. Was very pleased I'd elected to go first :-)

Tom asked how week had been said I wanted to look at contact in walk as it was deteriorating now I was attempting to keep fingers closed on left rein. Had tried to resolve with more impulsion, counter flexion, transitions, leg yield . 

Tom had me doing counter flexion AND move the shoulders in on a circle then politely straighten  if he started to fall onto left shoulder then counter flexion move shoulders politely straighten. Rinse and repeat.

Made a huge difference, I like the idea of politely straighten , it isn't punishment so don't swing horse back to inside flexion do it politely !

Tom also improved the leg yield I was not using my outside rein enough (correctly)

Tom did say I had become rather Pony Club, legs to go, hands to whoa 

Interestingly enough in leg yield Tom suggested I use the whip to "irritate" the left hind into more activity had always assumed it would always be right hind in need of activation

Had some fabulous trot again Tom has a way of opening Chorrie up and freeing him off and then we fly 

Again I need a different attitude need to be " we can do this" and ride with that conviction

Will be interesting to see if a month of this improves the tightness in his left side at his next physio appointment . 

I like the way Tom operates, it isn't twack the bugger with the whip, there is understanding that as I change how I ride ( left hand) Chorrie will need time to adjust and we need to work him through it.

Slightly scary how Chorrie and I collude in our less desirable habits,   Need to stay away from the arena sides as we both like to hug them a little too much

Friday, 6 June 2014

Balanced Rider Exercises

Ball side to side with feet level and a still upper body

Legs against wall abductor stretch at least daily more often if possible

Arc exercise using ball ( the one Kim gave me on the demo)

Feet on ball bring ball to you keeping  pelvis on floor (hands under to feel pressure)  push ball away to point where pressure stays constant

When riding in walk, leg away exercise without using upper body or affecting other leg think mm 

Balanced Rider individual assesement

So today I went back to Quob stables for an individual assessment.

Yesterday saddler was out to check fit and noticed in walk my hips don't move evenly left and right ( SFO has mentioned this too in the past ) I am also collapsed right ( as ever)

Started off with medical history then a biomechanical assesement

Kim is of the opinion that my un level pelvis is due to my abductors being shortened and until I loosen and lengthen them my pelvis will keep returning to unlevel no matter how many treatments I have.

My collapsed right side can be see off the horse which is good news as it means it can with time be corrected.

Spent time on the flexi chair which was enlightening as it made it clear how little movement I have towards the right with my pelvis. You sit on this saddle seat chair and have to move a dot on a screen within a define pattern, it sounded so simple but really shows up where you are stuck.

So have come away with a slew of exercises to do, but the most important thing to concentrate on is loosening my abductors. So we can restore equality of movement to the pelvis. Kim is of opinion most of my issues probably stem from my unlevel pelvis.

Some of the exercises seem very Feldencrais in origin in that there is no end gaining and it isn't about how " well" or how far . 

Need at least three weeks to work on my exercises then I go back for reassessment 

Also very interesting that a lot of what SFO has commented on such as not being able to move a leg without upper body joining in Kim picked up on.

It was a very intensive session mentally but I am very hopeful that this may be the piece of the jigsaw I have been looking for

The only downside is that I have to fix myself by doing a LOT of homework it isn't a case of come to Kim for three sessions and walk out fixed. So now will be a test of just how motivated am I really?

Thursday, 5 June 2014

Lavinia visit

So pony has lost a little on the back template probably due to weight reduction template nicely even

Lavinia's new PA Kerry is just lovely 

Shims adjusted so added shims in front, and added shim left as he has a slight 'hollow' left under my seat bone and this will support me not falling into hollow

When riding Lavinia observed I do not move when in walk equally left <-> right movement to right very restricted

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Tom Graham @ Duttons Lesson Three

So safe to say lesson was bloody good :-)

I like Tom's style, he is very encouraging whilst expecting good work, he teaches you the why and gives you ideas for you to try, he doesn't ride the horse through you.

So today was a lot about not letting him brace his neck against me, Chorrie's default to new things seems to be to brace and block, however I must also be sure I am not blocking him.

Need to keep my left hand CLOSED around the rein, failure to do so leads to poor work.

Trot down long side half 10m circle, leg yield to track, shoulder in to end

Three quarter or centre line, shoulder in, should at least stay on my line as a minimum, feel which way he wants to lean.

Refresh trot with large circle give and retake rein, lengthen rein forwards, on and back.

Start diagonal line then flexion then leg yield ensure we go where I want and finish where I want.

Finished with on and back going large, bloody hell that boy can trot!

Tom is a god the difference we get over a lesson is simply bloody amazing

Need to remember to rebalance the trot and not just keep taking it don't ask beyond what he can freely give