Issue 55
JUNE 2020
CELEBRATING BROCKS
THE WONDER MARE
JAYDEN BROWN
ON A MISSION
AUSSIE SCOOP
AT ROYAL WINDSOR

PLUS: HEATH RYAN’S EVENTER HIT LIST, EMMA BOOTH ON TOKYO 2021, TRAVEL TO TUSCANY, KERRY MACK’S EQUINE LIBRARY, DEVELOPING THE DRESSAGE HORSE WITH TONY UYTENDAAL, HOW HORSES SEE & MORE

AUSTRALIA`S BEST EQUINE MAGAZINE
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Issue 55

CONTENTS

JUNE 2020
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A few Words

FROM THE
CHAIRMAN

ROBERT MCKAY

Ryan's Rave

WHAT I LOOK FOR IN AN EVENTING HORSE

BY HEATH RYAN

Dressage

JAYDEN BROWN
ON A MISSION

BY ROGER FITZHARDINGE

Para Equestrian

WHEN THE GOAL
POSTS CHANGE

BY EMMA BOOTH

Special feature

FROM SYDNEY
TO THE WORLD

BY DAWN GIBSON

EQ Journeys

DOING IT TOUGH
IN TUSCANY

BY JANET NORMAN

Eventing

BROCKS THE
WONDER MARE

BY AMANDA YOUNG

Showing

FROM RACECOURSE TO ROYAL WINDSOR

BY ADELE SEVERS

Special feature

A SOCIAL LICENCE FOR EQUESTRIAN SPORTS

BY EQ LIFE

Health

THROUGH A
HORSE’S EYES

BY KATE HERREN

Training

THE LITERATE
HORSE RIDER

BY DR KERRY MACK

Training

DEVELOPING
THE CORRECT DRESSAGE HORSE

BY TONY UYTENDAAL

Health

THE PRINCIPLES OF REHABILITATION

BY DR MAXINE BRAIN

Health

5 WINTER PROBLEMS

BY EQ LIFE

My Favourite Dish

CHICKEN WITH
TARRAGON & MUSHROOMS

BY ROGER FITZHARDINGE
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Older horses need a bit of extra care in winter to ensure they maintain condition.
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Despite Australia’s relatively mild winters compared with other countries, horse owners face a number of equine husbandry challenges as the mercury drops. Here, we take a look at five common problems.

1. RUGGING
When winter descends, we often pile rugs onto our horses in an effort to keep them warm and dry in the colder weather. Most horses benefit from a rug in the cooler months — especially those that are older, struggle to maintain condition, or are clipped. Cold, wet and windy days in particular can make it harder for horses to keep warm, and on these days natural shelter or rugs are especially important.

However, in an effort to take good care of our horses, many owners may unwittingly be over-rugging.

A horse’s thermoneutral zone is 5-25 degrees Celsius, so therefore if it’s above 5 degrees, then the average horse is unlikely to be feeling very cold. Of course, there are many parts of the country that drop below 5 degrees overnight, so a rug and/or good shelter is important. However, one rug versus a cotton sheet, doona with bellyband, heavy top rug plus a neck rug, are two very different things. Of course it all depends on the horse and the conditions, but the latter could leave your horse a little hot under the collar. A good way to check is to put your hand under the rug just behind the withers (not the ears or legs); they should be warm, but not hot and certainly not sweaty!

If you’re concerned about your horse being cold on particularly rough days and cold nights, you can always add a rug — but it’s important to be able to check and adjust as needed when the temperature rises during the day.

If this isn’t possible, there are other ways to keep horses warm besides layering on the rugs. The process of digesting food warms a horse from the inside out, so giving them some extra roughage on cold days will help. Digestion and fermentation of hay produces heat that helps the horse maintain its body temperature; grains simply don’t produce the same amount of body heat when digested as hay and hay alternatives.

In, short, a bit of extra hay to chew on is a good idea, or if you’re short on hay (or find your horse only eats so much of it before soiling the rest!) Barastoc’s Fibre-Beet is a high-fibre feed that can be fed in larger quantities as substitute forage, as is Speedi-Beet.

UNDERSTANDING THE THERMONEUTRAL ZONE
Did you know that horses have a very different thermoneutral zone (TNZ) to humans?

As detailed in Pony Club Australia’s revised syllabus of instruction (C Certificate Manual), “Every living creature has a TNZ. This is a temperature range at which the body can maintain normal body temperature without expending too much energy. The TNZ of humans is approximately 25-30 degrees Celsius, but horses can maintain normal body temperature within a range of 5-25 degrees Celsius. This means that you feel cold well before a horse does, but your horse may feel hot before you do.”

2. MAINTAINING A NICE COAT
As winter descends, many horse owners find that their once sleek and shiny steed has taken on a yak-like appearance! A longer winter can present challenges for horses in work.

We’ve all had that ride at the start of winter where we realise that even a relatively light workout leaves our suddenly-furry friend dripping in sweat. The result is often booking in the annual clip (or rushing your blades to get sharpened if you do it yourself!)

Clipping is a good way to reduce sweat when worked, and ensure your horse dries off quickly. There are many different types of clips, from strip, Irish and trace clips for those in lighter work, through to blanket, hunter and full clips for horses that are sweating a little more.

Once you clip — especially if it’s a hunter or full clip — you will need to replace that hair with a rug (but not too many rugs, as per the previous point!) In most areas of Australia our winter days are quite mild, with colder nights. So with up to 20-degree differences between nights and days, a clipped horse will need their rugs changed/altered both morning and night. Unless you can commit to doing that every day and twice a day, you perhaps should rethink your plan to clip your horse.

Of course, clipping isn’t a solution for everyone, as not all of us ride enough through winter to make it worthwhile. That, and some horses just make clipping not worth your while by either being painful to clip or too sensitive once clipped!

Either way, if you’re not clipping — but still riding at times — then you’ll likely have to deal with sweat. There are a number of rugs on the market that are designed to wick away moisture and allow your horse to effectively dry off…. or you could try out a little trick used in a bygone era before we had the various different rugs we have today.

A recent post on the Equestrian Memories Australia Facebook page brought up the practice of “thatching”, and from the response it seems like this option is well and truly tried and tested. “Before the days of numerous types of horse rugs, in cold weather people used to stuff straw under a horse’s rug to allow the animal to dry off while staying warm. The straw would soak up any water or sweat, provide an insulating layer and then eventually fall out.”

If you’re a fan of the thatching method, we’d love to hear from you!

Whether you clip or not, keeping a sleek and shiny coat in winter is no mean feat. A feed supplement, such as Barastoc Groom, can be a great way to improve the look of your horse’s coat. Groom also supports hoof health, which is important in the winter months when wet and muddy conditions can cause a range of hoof issues.

3. FEEDING OLDER HORSES AND POOR DOERS
For older horses and poor doers, colder weather can make it hard to gain or maintain weight. It’s therefore important to think about increasing condition before winter really sets in.

To assess what condition your horse is in, you need to determine its condition score and weight. Barastoc have a number of online tools that can be useful here. You want your horse going into winter in good to moderately fleshy condition if they are healthy, and in light to moderate activity. For an older thoroughbred, for example, it is generally easier to reduce their weight than to gain weight and condition.

Barastoc Senior is specifically formulated to improve digestibility and absorption, making it the perfect feed for the older horse. Other good options where weight gain is required are Barastoc Equibix, which can be fed wet or dry, and Speedi-Beet, which can be fed in larger quantities for weight gain.

If your horse has extremely poor teeth, or in some cases very few, you could look at changing the type of feed to an easy-to-chew diet to include chaff and a mash. You can easily make a mash by adding warm water to pellets. This also helps increase hydration in your horse. Fibre-Beet and Speedi-Beet are good ways to increase fibre intake here; these feeds are designed to be fed soaked, making it easy to eat.

Of course, feed aside there are other points to consider when it comes to keeping weight on older horses over winter. Ensure their teeth are in good shape, rug appropriately and/or provide good shelter, and don’t create unnecessary stress — e.g. removing their long-term paddock buddy mid-winter is best avoided!

4. ENSURE ADEQUATE WATER INTAKE
Water should always be the first consideration in the diet of any horse. An adult horse (500kg) in a cool, comfortable environment that is not working or lactating requires a minimum of 25-35 litres of fresh, clean water per day.

Impaction colic in horses during the winter months is one of our greatest concerns. This form of colic is mainly due to the horse becoming dehydrated because it consumes less water due to cooler temperatures (no sweating), cold water and a diet of hay (10% water content) instead of pasture (80% water content). When horses drink cold water during the winter, their bodies must expend additional calories to warm their tissues back up from the heat loss that is incurred, so they instinctively drink less.

Research has shown that horses drink the most water when the water temperature is between 7°C and 20°C. Optimum water consumption will keep the fibre in the horse’s digestive system hydrated, allowing it to be broken down efficiently by intestinal bacteria and to be pliable, and less likely to “ball up” and cause a blockage in the large intestine. The water requirement is higher if the horse is in training, nursing a foal, growing, or pregnant.

During winter, there are a number of ways you can encourage your horse to drink more. Salt and mineral licks, such as Barastoc’s Horse Block, can help encourage drinking. Feeding products like Speedi-Beet and Fibre-Beet, which are fed wet, can help increase water intake — Speedi-Beet expands to hold five times its weight of water on soaking.

5. TIME AND DAYLIGHT HOURS
We all dread the shorter days that winter brings — not only is there less time to ride, feeding up in the dark is a challenge!

If you can simplify your feeding program, you’ll save time and find yourself in front of the fire quicker at the end of the day. Barastoc’s range of complete feeds are a great way to ensure a horse’s nutritional needs are met without having to spend hours measuring and mixing.

Barastoc partners with Kentucky Equine Research (KER), a company at the forefront of research into equine nutrition and exercise physiology. KER produce research-backed micronutrient premixes; the nutritional core of Barastoc feeds, they combine micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) in an easy-to-mix form. The result is a range of complete feeds for horses at all stages of their lives. When fed at the recommended rates, there is no need to add anything else other than an appropriate amount of roughage; there is no simpler way to feed.

Even though winter is far from over, winter solstice (the shortest day) in the southern hemisphere is Sunday, 21 June. Hang in there, because the length of daylight hours will start to increase from then on. As winter descends, remember to rug wisely, keep an eye on our older equine friends, and watch that water intake! EQ

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