Equine Writing Tips, Book Reviews, Interesting Facts and Tips

Monday, 21 August 2017

Protecting Your Horse From Flies This Summer

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Flies are one of the most frustrating things that horses have to deal with, but they are particularly problematic in the summer months. The hotter temperatures mean that flies are generally more attracted to horses and can cause a great deal of irritation. They are known to bite the horses as well as getting into their eyes and causing a general nuisance.

Here at Equine Essentials Direct, we’re very keen to provide as much protection for your horse from flies as possible so we’ve put together a list of things that you can do to try and help your horse this summer.

Fly sprays 

Insect repellents such as many varieties of fly sprays are designed to prevent flies from landing on your horse, but they don’t actually kill them. We have many fly sprays to help deter those pesky flies here at Equine Essentials Direct, including options from Equimins and NAF Off.

Good hygiene 

Ensuring that your horse’s hygiene is of a good standard can help to deter flies, as well as making sure your horse’s surroundings are as clean and hygienic as possible.

Fly sheets and rugs

Fly sheets are a great way to keep flies away from your horse’s body as they often contain additional layers or an open weave mesh to stop flies. According to research, flies are deterred by zebra print as the stripy pattern is thought to confuse the flies and stop them from landing on zebras.

Therefore, by using a fly rug on a horse that has a zebra pattern, flies will be discouraged from landing on the horse. Summer sheets are also a great way to try and deter flies, especially as they’re so lightweight, which means your horse will not only be protected, but they will be able to stay cool as well.

Fly masks

Similar to fly rugs, these can be used as an effective obstacle in preventing flies from going near your horse’s eyes.

Install a fan in the stable

Flies are generally considered to be quite weak fliers, therefore by using a fan, they would potentially struggle to enter the stable and irritate your horse. A fan may also be a good addition to the stable as it could help to keep your horse cool during the warmer months.

Equine Essentials Direct are a family run company who provide all things equine for both horse and rider. https://www.equineessentialsdirect.co.uk/ 



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Friday, 18 August 2017

What is My Equine Therapy Fund All ABout?

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Therapeutic horseback riding 2.JPGBy user:karakal - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

You're probably wondering what this Equine Therapy Fund link is doing on my sidebar and at the bottom of all my posts.

Okay...

Basically I've set up a tip jar because I have mental health problems. No, I've not set it up because I'm mentally ill but because I need some support due to my mental health.

For all of my life, horses have been my passion. I never grew up with them but despite that, I still loved everything about them. My parents got so fed up with me asking for a pony. It never worked anyway.

Holidays were the only chance I had to get in contact with them and not because I went on horse-holidays. I remember not wanting to go down to the bottom of a huge field to pet some horses there. What was the response? "Well you can't love horses that much."

The real reason was because all I could see were loads of people doing just that. It wasn't the horses I didn't want to see, it was the people. I also thought I would never get a chance to even touch them because I just wasn't a pushy kid. I wouldn't push in front of them because I was also too damn polite. It would have been rude.

A recent recce to find the only Equine Therapy service within my area (London) was a nightmare. Oh, I found it alright. Where there are horses, I will find them. The reception I had there was less than professional. There was no indication on the website that you couldn't just drop in (it was a bit off the beaten track so no chance of that!) So, I dropped in. One instructor proceeded to make it known that it wasn't 'allowed' for people to just drop in because of confidentiality. I get that, I'm not stupid. But, what was the point in telling me? I was already there!

Anyway, it turned out that it was nigh impossible to be referred there unless you were in a group so you could split the cost of the therapy between you all. Ah, no. Groups of people? It would actually be a detriment to my therapy. So, the option of equine therapy for me was out.

So, the only option I had was riding lessons with an RDA instructor. Something I should have done years ago. In London, riding lesson prices are not cheap. It costs me £48 an hour. I'm on a low income. I don't work because of my mental health. I've, so far, paid out enough to have actually bought a horse. Then, there's the livery charges.

I've saved up enough money for a few months worth of riding lessons at one lesson a week. But, it's going to run out at some point. When I can I'm putting in money to keep me in riding lessons but I'm dreading the point when it finally runs out. Lessons will probably be once a month. NO! I couldn't cope with that.

So, in comes my equine therapy fund.

When I first got on a horse after a 25 year absence, my carer actually said, "I get it, now." The difference in me was amazing. It was the first time in my life that I actually smiled a smile that came from my heart. It was the first time in my life that I experienced an emotion that wasn't anger or an emotion that was incorrectly described as anger (long story, which I will explain at a later date.) There was a reason why I had been pushing for equine therapy for so long. I knew it was what I needed to be happier than I had been for the last 40 odd years (I'm 47.)

Even writing this and explaining to you about my passion for horses, draws a few tears.

I have never charged for any of my services. I think it's immoral and rude. So, I'm pleading to all of my readers to give me the opportunity to continue with my equine therapy for as long as I can stay alive (I've attempted suicide twice.)

It would mean so much to me, believe me. I honestly couldn't thank you enough and I would create a list stating that you are the best readers in the whole blogosphere. If you want to stay anonymous then that's okay, too.

Let me have a chance to ride Poca (I've named him Dwibly. He dribbles, you see) at least one more time. You will also be giving me the chance to continue with my BHS training that I couldn't complete when I was in my late teens (due to mental health.)

Thank you! <hugs>


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Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Does Your Horse Respect The Electric Fence?

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There are many occasions when an ostler or groom will announce that he has a horse that figuratively "laughs" at the electric fencing, not paying any attention to the barrier. 
A horse is very similar to humans and I am not aware of anyone who will gladly accept a shock of 6000 volts. We need to investigate and find the reason why this is happening.
What is the horse's situation?
Any barrier is only as strong as the desire of the horse to remain within the confines so is it a stallion with brood mares in season close by? Often a lone horse will seek company and overcome a considerable barrier to get with a buddy. Food, grazing and water all provide a powerful impetus to cross a barrier – and I'm not just talking about an electric fence here. The stronger the desire then the stronger the barrier has to be.
Obviously the first thing, is to look at the fence itself and make sure it is running in excess of 6000v. A fence must be sufficient to make the horse realise that it is not a good idea to try to breach it again. A volt tester is vital for accuracy – using a green leaf and other hacks (persuading your partner to touch it) just will not work. There are simple step-by-step procedures to repair an electric fence.
What is the ground like?
When we say the ground is one half of the electrical circuit this is not strictly correct, it is not the earth particles carrying the current but the water molecules surrounding the soil particles that does the business. Consequently soil that is very dry will not carry an electrical current at all. Sandy soils will dry out more rapidly than a clay soil so are more prone to acting as an insulator. There are techniques in overcoming this issue.
Does the horse have a rug or clip on plastic boots fitted?
Both are insulators so must be catered for. Positioning a wire below the level of the rug or using the new type of rug that has facilities for connecting to a fence solves one whilst the clip on boots must be removed to create contact with the ground.
Training a new horse to respect an electric fence is often advised (feeding under the fence or deliberately backing the horse into the fence) but I personally find that simply releasing the horse in the middle of the paddock and allowing him to investigate for himself, is better.
If you genuinely have a horse that tolerates an electric shock to go where he wants to, there is one technique that has proved infallible. This involves baiting the fence with a soaked pad of absorbent material – cotton wool or cotton waste. Soak it with molasses or neat apple cordial and tie it to the fence with short lengths of wire. Allow the horse to investigate in his own time. He will lick the bait and get a shock to his tongue which is a highly enervated organ and sends a very strong message to his brain on the strength of the fence.
This technique was developed to increase the effectiveness of a fence for wild antelope and deer. It has proved effective against foxes and Horses but is only used as a temporary inclusion and should not be used on animals that respect the electric fence already.

Paul Savory.  






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Tuesday, 8 August 2017

The Adventures of Black Beauty Opening and Closing Theme 1972 - 1974

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I just had to share this with you.

It really made a huge impression on me. I remember watching the series and I absolutely adored it.

I think the theme tune has had the same effect on me as the book. A classic and well worth owning.

What do you think?

Do you love this theme? Feel free to play it!

Do you remember watching the T.V series?

Was there another theme/film/t.v series about horses that pulled on a few of your heartstrings?

I would love to know so please do comment :)






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