A Healthy Horse is a Happy One
Keeping your horse healthy is quite a task. As alluded to in our first part of conversation with Adam.
“As all horsey people will know having horses is a 365 day a year commitment”.
Here Adam and his team give us their Top Tips for keeping their horses fit and happy.
You’ve heard the phrase “Mother Knows Best”?
This is a particular phrase that Adam sticks by without fail. He is also keen to reiterate;
“This is just what we do and what works for us. Doesn’t make it right or wrong, it is simply is our way and routine for ours.”
All products named by Adam are merely what he uses and pointed out it’s always best to try things for yourself and see what works for you.
Ours are in a hard workload so are fed accordingly for playing Polo. It’s always best to get advice from the equine nutritionists at your chosen feed company and supplement supplier. Equally you feed for what work they are doing at the time, not what you think you might be doing in 6 months. Increase the workload before the feed. Whilst on their break, ours aren’t fed what they are when playing Polo, it gets tweaked down for winter albeit they still get their supplements all year round for their overall health and joints. Ours all get ad lib hay.
We feed from the Dodson and Horrell range and are supplements are from Hi Form Equine UK.
Veterinary advice is always available. Most have advice on their Facebook pages now. We have worm counts done throughout the year and worm if necessary. Paddock maintenance is a necessity to keep on top of worm control. We poo pick daily, sometimes twice a day in summer if we’ve got time. Never a nice job but it is key.
Keep grooming kits clean. I’m always reminded you can’t keep a horse clean with dirty brushes. We groom daily using the HAAS brush sets. Which used in order are really good and do what they say on the tin. We also store our grooming brushes in the Someh grooming bags (they do them with chargers on the side for your mobile phones too).
No better time to thank Chelsea and Charlie who have been brilliant grooms for the polo team and for all the help they’ve given when we’ve travelled away to play. Not forgetting Emma Sheridan who takes all our photos too.
A method been passed down that a lot of people still haven’t heard of. This is an alternative to bathing to keep them clean all year round, also done in preparation for clipping or after they’ve been clipped.
Ideally it’s better to bath them the day before clipping if you can. Don’t use any oils or coat gloss before clipping as it ruins the blades.
Fill half a bucket with hand hot tap water and add a couple of capfuls of Dettol antiseptic liquid (the stuff from the First Aid aisle not the kitchen cleaner). Dettol is a great skin cleanser. Using a small towel or face flannel dip in the water and wring out really well. Starting at the head and rub gently against the hair growth lifting the hair to clean away any grease and dust. Dipping and wringing out as you work your way to the tail. Refresh the water and Dettol before you do the other side.
Once you have done this, you can repeat the process by adding in a splash of oil, we like the hot oil from Polished Ponies and Super Shine from Smart Grooming. We find this gives them a really good shine. Again, only use this process after clipping. Your horse should not be wet through, it’s always best to throw on a sheet that can wick away any moisture then give them a good groom and rug up as normal.
No hoof no horse as the saying goes.
Hose any mud off and pick out daily. This helps prevent thrush, hoof abscesses etc. It also gives a chance to check and make sure nothing is stuck in the hoof or frog. We scrub the hooves out twice a week with hand hot water and a couple of capfuls of Dettol and use Silverfeet liquid daily. They do it in a balm too, but with having the 4 ponies we prefer the liquid as we can decant it from the bottle into a pot and not cross contaminate.
Each of ours have their own hoof oil brush which are washed frequently and replaced every few months. We also like the Frog and Sole Saviour from Hedgewitch Essentials. Use a farrier regularly and always get professional advice from them or your vet for any issues. We have a fabulous farrier, Paul Young, who is always on hand for advice and really looks after our ponies well.
In winter when it’s really muddy, we hose their lower legs off and towel dry thoroughly. This has been a process that my Grandma has always used for over 40 years and for all these years we have never had mud fever. Horses that have been bought have come to us with it, but they never got it back. Again some people prefer to leave the mud to dry and brush it off, which is fine, it’s whatever works for you.
Keep your horses clean and your rugs stay cleaner and fresher for longer.
We have just sent all of our summer sheets, fly rugs etc. off to be cleaned and will be stored away until Springtime when the winter rugs will all go for cleaning. Unless someone has a mud bath before then. Luckily all of ours are well behaved and rarely do they need repairing. When you take rugs off try and hang them over something inside out so they can air a bit if the weather is nice.
Rugging is personal preference, necessity and depends where you are in the country as climates will be different. We are fortunate enough to have one of the Centaur Heated Rug Dryers and it really has been brilliant. I can say they are worth saving up for even if you can only have the two bar. Our rugs have dried quickly this way.
I am banned from this task, in fact we all are. It’s a job my mum does as she’s a bit particular about tack cleaning. In fact she’s very particular. Give her Gin and she’s fine. Although I do agree that we all spend such a huge amount of money on tack why wouldn’t you look after it! You don’t want it snapping on you whilst you’re riding. Mum swears by a product called Renapur and won’t use anything else. She also always takes it apart every time she cleans it as it’s an opportunity to check stitching and buckles are all secure etc.
Clean your leather with hot water and Renapur leather cleaner first, remove all the grease and let dry. Following the product instructions, if your tack is in good condition, she then uses the Renapur Hi Shine. If any tack is particularly dry then you can use the Renapur Balsam and leave it to soak in overnight, repeat if necessary then buff off with a soft cotton tea towel. Ours has the balsam on it every other month just an extra conditioning process. Keep any spare tack clean too as you never know when you might need it.
Saddles pads and girths all get washed too in Dettol Laundry Cleanser. They have the hair removed with an Amaze brush (I can do that job), hoovered, then washed. As our fabrics can’t be washed at a high heat (this is why they are hoovered first), the washing machine then gets an empty wash on with Vamoosh Pet Hair Dissolver at 95 degrees to make sure any excess hair is gone, then the machine is washed out and a Dettol washing machine cleaner put through it. I had to confirm with the boss on that one!
Get winter checks done and tyres checked.
You may not being going anywhere to compete, but you may still need to get to the vets. Check your floors, lift any rubber matting and check it out. Clean them out, experience has taught us this!
We were very lucky. Our 3.5T has a full steel floor, we hadn’t had it long. After picking up some fence posts in it we noticed the floor felt a bit soft in places. We lifted the rubber matting and the phenolic board underneath had rotten in places. The box had been well looked after, but think it had just reached the point where it had caved in.
My dad and grandad replaced the phenolic board (it cost roughly £150 for it all), put the rubber matting back down and we were good to go. The horses don’t know it’s got a steel floor and although it was safe (wasn’t going to go right through) it didn’t feel safe when we stood on it. Thought it was best to replace it now. We empty ours as soon as we get back home after a journey and never leave any muck in it as this is what can cause the rotting wood.
So that’s us, what we do and we hope our experiences and methods may help others.
Hi Form Equine UK (Sponsors)
Centaur Heated Rug Dryers
Dodson and Horrell
It’s been great talking to Adam and the boss (his Mum). She can be very proud of his achievements. We will certainly be keeping on eye on his Polo career and the Football one too, just don’t tell your Mum that one Adam.
Finally our Thanks to Adam and his team for taking in part in All About You and for giving us their Top Tips. We hope you find them useful and enjoyed the read.