My passion with horses started when I joined my local Pony Club, enjoying summer camp, rallies and trips to the famous Badminton Horse Trials. I used to dream of eventing and spent hours building cross country courses in the garden, to jump on my own two feet. All this to the dismay of my mother as her beloved rockery was trampled over as it became the famous “Badminton Quarry!”

From those days in the garden, I achieved my goal and started competing BE. A special horse to me was The Real Deal. Only 3 words could describe her….strong, brave and opinionated! However, she taught me so much about cross country riding. The highlight for me was a double clear in the Novice 2 Day at my local event, Chepstow. This qualified us for a CCI* but it was never meant to be as injury forced her retirement.

Dee Chepstow small

I had a period without any horses so when I joined Saracen, the yearning for another horse beckoned. By chance, my cousin asked if I knew anyone who would like her horse Percy on loan. Before I knew it, he was on the lorry from Cornwall to live a new live on the welsh hills. With one of the wettest winters and now lockdown restrictions, I haven’t managed to compete him yet. However, this has given us the chance to bond ready for the competition season to resume.

Percy is a “Good-doer” which can bring its own challenges especially as he lives out 24/7. He gets stressed in the stable and has been know to limbo under his stable chain which is quite a feat for such a big horse.

During the winter, ad lib forage, Super Fibre Cubes, Essential Balancer and a grass chaff maintained his condition. Ab lib forage provided bulk to his diet and because of the fermentation of the fibre, it acted as an “internal radiator” helping to keep him warm during the winter months. Super Fibre Cubes are a high fibre, low starch feed, fully fortified with vitamins and minerals and are ideal for a horse like Percy who doesn’t require a high starch diet. However, as his waistline is prone to expanding, I don’t feed the recommended amount. For his weight I would need to feed a minimum of 3.5kgs to provide a fully balanced diet, so I supplemented the cubes with 350g Essential Balancer.

This “topped up” the vitamin and mineral intake. Living out 24/7, it is tricky for me to monitor his water intake, especially in the colder months when the water temperature decreases. After exercise, I fed Re-Covery Mash soaked in lots of warm water, like a drink. This ensured he replenished some fluids and kept hydrated, as well as providing another form of fibre to his diet. The only supplement I use is KER BioBloom which helps to maintain hoof quality and growth. This was especially beneficial whilst living out on wet, muddy fields.

Percy Field

Now the spring grass is coming through, I still provide some forage and have removed the Super Fibre Cubes from his diet. Percy has the full amount of Essential Balancer (700g) with the grass chaff. Essential Balancer provides all the necessary vitamins, minerals and good quality protein but no extra calories to contribute to his waistline! The full inclusion of live yeast helps with optimum fibre digestion and hind gut health. Re-Covery Mash “drink” is still a very firm favourite, so I know he is fully hydrated. Re-Covery Mash contains half of the recommended daily salt intake, so I add another tablespoon of table salt. This ensures any salts lost through sweating are replenished.

Once lockdown is lifted, Percy and I will plan to start our competitive careers. I would love to have a crack at some BD competitions, but the eventing is still calling. Once the competition season resumes, I may consider competing at the lower levels. However, at 16.3hh, Percy is a bit too big to re-enact my “Badminton” days in the back garden, much to my mothers’ relief!