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October 2015

Here we are galloping towards winter, with lovely furry coats and stunning autumn colours. Carol has been very busy giving lessons, and I have been up to Suffolk to do some educational consultancy so we haven’t been riding as much as usual ourselves. However, we ran a very successful dressage day at Church Farm with many lovely comments from the riders. It seems you enjoyed it very much and so we are running another one: Dressage at Church Farm: Saturday October 31st. Watch out for schedules in the local livery yards and saddlery stores. There may be a mini-jumping show too coming up, but it depends on demand so let us know if you are interested.

Note also that if you prefer to go on a course instead of doing private lessons then Carol will be doing some courses at places like Petley Wood and Crockstead Equestrian Centres over the winter.

Monthly grumble: it seems to be the common fashion to blame the horse when the partnership isn’t going well. Professor Pony would like to point out that in ‘his day’ it was always the riders fault; the exception being poor health. Of course, having a frisky horse is also often blamed on a deficiency and the poor things get all sorts of mixtures put into their feeds to ‘calm them down’. Yes; some products do work to slow a horses reactions, but do you really want to keep drugging a horse just because it is too much for you? Note that unless there is an actual diagnosed deficiency, then some minerals and vitamins will block absorption of other nutrients and can actually create a deficiency! So, please don’t assume that your horse needs doping just because it is showing a bit of life for a change.
Another thing that is becoming increasingly common is to blame the saddle /bit/noseband /back problems/ulcers/etc. etc. Of course, there may will be a problem due to these, but please do consider whether your riding also needs improving instead (e.g. riding badly can cause back problems/ resistance to the bit/ bad behaviour of any kind). If you really are over-horsed then consider whether both you and the horse would be happier with different partners, rather than doping the horse to make it suitable for you to ride. Sorry about the grumble, but if it is not the horse’s fault then don’t blame the horse!

On another note: this is the time of year when it is important to review worm programmes (i.e. at the end of the grazing season) and decide on treatment for encysted cyathostomes and tapeworms, so check with your vet for a proper de-worming programme. Neither tapeworm or encysted cyathostomes (small redworms) are reliably detected by Worm Egg Counts, but there is a saliva test and a blood test available for tapeworms. See our free articles (coming soon to the article page) on Worm Egg Counts and Anthelmintic Resistance.

Happy riding, and remember that horse’s don’t feel the cold in the same way as we do (see Rugging article in the Free Articles section) so take care not to over-rug when the days are still mild.

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