My obsession with horses started from a very young age. I spent part of my childhood growing up on our family farm where we also had a small DIY yard. I was never lucky enough to have my own pony (very sensible parenting) but spent all of my time down on the yard pestering the liveries to let me, groom, muck out, ride and even poo pick. A deal was struck with one livery, that if she taught me to ride my parents would knock some money off of her monthly livery bill. I was even fortunate enough to go to shows with her and take part in a few gymkhanas, the sack race was probably my favourite. So that was that hook line and sinker obsessed, and horses have been my life ever since.
Fast forward a good few years and I had a lot more experience due to working with horses and teaching. Ginger a good friends thoroughbred who I had loaned loved XC and jumping and had taught me loads and Folly (the dressage mare with the biggest character that cost me £1) whom I had many outings and adventures with was now just hacking due to age catching up with her. I thought it was the right time to start looking for my next horse. I started my search for an ex-racehorse, however, a friend mentioned a breeder who had some lovely warmblood foals, one of which she had just purchased. So long story short I ended up buying a warmblood foal from the lovely Sue Woodall in Anglesey.
Archie, as I named him arrived in November 2017 as a little fluffy 6 month old foal and the fun started. He is now 3 and there have been a few moments where I have thought ‘why the heck did I get a baby’. However, there have been plenty more rewarding moments and hopefully many more to come in the future.
Archie has lived out for most of his 3 years unrugged with adlib forage in the field. Warmbloods tend to be slow-growing and late to mature horses, so when deciding what to feed Archie it needed to be something that would support his growth and development but not push his growth too quickly. Ii also wanted a feed that would provide a good amount of calorie over the winter months but something I could also reduce and then introduce a balancer to easily when the spring grass came through. So when he arrived I introduced Levelgrow mix (2.5kg per day) with Alfa A and Sugar beet and he was fed this twice a day throughout the winter months. Levelgrow mix is a high fibre and oil stud mix which also contains acid buff and yeast to help support the digestive system. Level grow mix has an inclusion of the Saracen stud balancer Stam 30, so when the grass does come through you can easily swap onto the Stam 30 balancer for the summer if you need to. Which is exactly what I did. So in the spring and summer months I have just fed on 1kg of Stam 30 and Alfa A.
This year I have changed his diet a little as Archie will start to be introduced to the grown-up world and start to do more groundwork and long reining this summer. Archie is now fed 1.5kg of Super fibre cubes and 500grams of Stam 30 per day along side Alfa A and I include salt every day too. The super fibre cubes are great at providing really good sources of digestible fibre and are low in sugar and starch. As he doesn’t need the full feeding rate I just ‘top up’ his vits, mins and quality protein with the Stam 30.
We are moving to a new yard soon, so I will put him on RiteTrac to support his digestive system whilst we move and he settles into a new yard. Moving yards can be stressful so a higher risk time for gastric ulcers developing which I would like to avoid.
Archie will be lightly backed by the fabulous Paris Gainsford in September this year. Paris is an eventer based in Brentwood in Essex (nice and local to me) who has bred and produced some lovely horses of her own and always does a lovely job, so was an obvious choice for me and I’m really pleased she has agreed to take Archie.
After he is backed he will have the winter off to allow him to continue to grow and develop. He will then be re backed and ridden away next summer. From there I plan to give Archie a varied start and do a bit of everything and then hopefully concentrate more on dressage, as I personally prefer to keep four hooves on the floor. That’s the plan anyway, watch this space…..