Ever since I was a little girl horses have been my life. From a young age, my family owned a combination of light horses and heavy horses, so I was bought up with the best of both worlds. As I grew up that really benefited me as I was able to learn about a variety of disciplines on both sides of the fence. When I turned 13 our first Clydesdale, Oliver, came home, and from there on in my love of the Clydesdale breed grew into what it is today. I now own 3 purebred Clydesdales which I compete across the country throughout the show season, whilst simultaneously crossing over my education from the light horse world and schooling them on to compete in affiliated dressage.
I came across Gharsun in 2013 after a close family friend, Mike Grayson, purchased him to be a logging horse. Mike, had asked me for advice on what to feed him as he was in a rather poor state when he arrived, and after working closely with him to build Gharsun up, Mike then asked if I would take him home to break him to ride and give him a little schooling. 3 weeks later Gharsun was trotting down his first centre line, he was so trainable and loved the work so it was decided that he would stay with me for the summer. 7 years later, he never actually went home, and I am now lucky enough to be his owner. He has been a real horse of a lifetime, I have travelled up and down the country with him, showing him in hand, in harness and under saddle, with great success – he has manners to burn! I have also competed him in affiliated dressage, so far up to Novice level and hoped that he would start to compete at Elementary this year – COVID obviously had other ideas! But on top of all of that, he is the loveliest horse to have on the yard, cuddles with his mum are is his favourite thing (Munchie treats come a close second!).
The biggest complication with Gharsun has always been feeding him, he is the fussiest horse I have ever met! (and that’s saying something considering what I do for a living!) He doesn’t like to be over faced with feed, so I have to keep his meal sizes as small as possible. He refuses point blank to eat oats of any description, considering the size of his nose he can sift every last one out of a scoop of mix. And, as soon as we travel away from home he refuses to eat all together. Its been a real challenge over the years – especially considering can be a poor doer who struggles for energy! All that changed after I came to work for Saracen Horse Feeds, 3 years ago, when I discovered Show Improver Mix. Show Improver Mix is an oat free mix, which suits Gharsun’s very fussy palate, it is a high calorie product for helping to promote condition and contains good quality protein sources for muscle development and topline, which is ideal for Gharsun. The yeast included also helps to support Gharsun’s hindgut health during times of stress, like when we are staying away from home. I also add Luminance to Gharsun’s feed regime to top up the calorie content, without adding lots of bulk. Luminance is a very high oil, calorie dense product, in a palatable pellet form which helps to keep Gharsun in optimum condition and gives him a real show ring shine. Last year, when we launched Saracen Re-Covery Mash, I decided to put the product to the ultimate test! The Gharsun test! Our first show-cation of the year is a 10 day trip across East Anglia, competing at 3 different shows along the way. After the initial 6 hour journey, I took him off the lorry and offered hima bucket of Re-Covery Mash and he tucked straight in! It has been an essential item on my lorry ever since. I use it as a partial forage replacer when he isn’t eating enough hay to help entice him to eat, I use it post travel to help him recover from the journey, I use it post exercise/competition to aid with muscle recovery and rehydration, I even use it to disguise medication (Shhhh, don’t tell him!). He’s not a small lad (standing at 18h and weighing 900kg) so its really important that I provide him with all the nutritional support he needs. This combination of products means he gets everything he needs on a daily basis without having to feed huge quantities, which suits him down to the ground.
Like many other horse owners all over the country, my plans for the season ahead have come to a grinding halt. As I write this, I should be stood in a line up in the President's Ring at Suffolk Showground with my beautiful, shiny boy, but unfortunately, this year that is not to be. Instead, I am going to have to think of new things to focus on, with that in mind I hope that BD will start running again in the near future – the white boards are calling and Big G has his dancing shoes on!