I started riding at the age of seven after begging my non horsey family, pretty much non-stop from the minute I learnt to talk! My Grandparents bought me 6 riding lessons for my 7th birthday, and I think the hope was I would hate it and never mention horses again. That clearly was not the case and I have never looked back since! Despite not being horsey my family have always supported me. I especially one remember occasion when, after my careers councillor at school told me that working with horses was not a career but a hobby and sent me away with information on archaeology, my Mum telling him in no uncertain terms during a parent/teacher evening that if I wanted to work with horses I would work with horses and she would make sure it happened! She was right, since leaving school I have only worked in the equine industry (apart from a short 6-month stint working in Argos when I was 19!).
I have never been lucky enough to own my own horse but I have been extremely fortunate to have had a wide variety of horses on loan, from Solo the super little Welsh X, to Breeze the slightly unhinged Thoroughbred, to Yoko the sweetest natured Warmblood mare I have ever met. I’ve never had any grand dreams of competing, I am very much a ‘happy hacker’ who enjoys lazy Sunday morning hacks, easy going schooling sessions, the occasional local show or sponsored ride and generally just spending time at the yard.
For the last two and half years I have part loaned a 16hh, 10yr old, Irish Sports Horse mare called Daisy (if any of you reading this are friends with me on Facebook you will probably know Daisy quite well as I use her as a model a lot!) Charlotte, Daisy’s owner (pictured above), bought Daisy as a green 5-year-old and it hasn’t been the easiest of journeys! Daisy isn’t the easiest of horses and can be very opinionated when she wants to be! She had the nickname of ‘Crazy Daisy’ in the local horsey area but Charlotte has invested a lot of time and patience with her and she is now, mostly, well behaved although she can occasionally still have the odd tantrum! We keep the starch and sugar levels in her diet nice and low to minimise any chance of this behaviour being feed related.
Unfortunately, Daisy has been out of work since February with some lameness issues. While she was on box rest she was fed 550g of Essential Balancer to make sure all her micronutrients levels were being met without adding any extra energy or calories to the diet. We also fed her 500g of Re-Covery Mash daily to ensure she was taking on board plenty of fluid as well as topping up her vitamin E levels as she wasn’t getting any grass turnout. She also had a bucket of chopped grass and a bucket of straw based chaff alongside her hay to encourage her browsing behaviours ensuring she maintained a good appetite for her forage.
Once we were able to start turning her out again we started off with an hour a day and gradually increased this by an additional hour every couple of days. In some ways we were lucky this happened during ‘lockdown’ as our yard is very small so we had no restrictions on visiting times and were able to pop up more often than usual as we were not at work. We also used the Kentucky Equine Research supplement EquiShure over this time to support Daisy’s hindgut during the change from 24/7 stabling to more turnout time, eventually moving her to overnight turnout and stabling during the day. To further help manage Daisy’s digestive health, as well as her waistline, we have also been strip grazing the field as she went straight out into her summer paddock which hasn’t been grazed on since last October so there is plenty of grass out there!
Three weeks ago we were given the all clear from the vet to start riding again and we have been starting out with lots of walk work to build back up her strength and fitness levels. Daisy’s diet hasn’t changed, she is still having Essential Balancer and Re-Covery Mash, although we are now adding 1 – 2 tablespoons of salt into the daily feed to help further stimulate her thirst response as well as replacing the salt she will be losing in sweat. Even though she is just walking it has been so hot so has been sweating!
That’s all from me for now. Keep your fingers and toes crossed that Daisy stays sound as her work increases!