27 Jun 2011


Does your pony wear a muzzle or are you thinking of using one to restrict their grazing? Read on to find the results of a brand new study into the effectiveness of grazing muzzles. 
With the grass being at its nutitional peak in Spring, horse and pony owners are all worried about their equines intake of lush grass. With laminitis and obesity fears at the forefront of most horse owners minds, a new study into the effectiveness of grazing muzzles is sure to be welcomed by the equine community.
Photo by hookedonhorses.co.uk
The new research1 shows that using a grazing muzzle can reduce the pasture intake of ponies by over 80%. Horses, and especially ponies, given free access to grass appear to be more susceptible to obesity and related disorders, such as insulin resistance and laminitis, than those with restricted access to grass. However, even reducing time at pasture may not be as effective as previously thought.
Another study has shown that ponies may adapt their grazing behaviour to eat more in a short time span2. The new research shows that the use of a grazing muzzle could be a much more effective and reliable solution if used appropriately.
Grazing muzzles significantly reduce bite size and intake. Anecdotally, ponies fitted with grazing muzzles spend a greater proportion of time engaging in foraging and eating directed behaviours than their non-muzzled counterparts, yet either lose weight or retain an established, trim body condition.
The study aimed to quantify the effect of wearing a grazing muzzle on herbage intake by ponies.
Four mature ponies were recruited for the study. After an adaptation period, their pasture intakes were determined when wearing a grazing muzzle and when grazing without a muzzle. Pasture samples were obtained daily to assess the grazing available. Insensible weight loss (ISWL) was determined for each pony immediately preceding and immediately following each three hour grazing period.  Intakes were determined by changes in body weight after the three hours of grazing, using a calibrated weighbridge.
Pasture intake by the ponies grazing for three hours without muzzles averaged 0.8% (with some eating close to 1%) of their bodyweight, which is the equivalent of up to two thirds of the recommended daily dry matter intake  for many ponies on restricted diets. Owners therefore may under-estimate pasture intakes of un-muzzled ponies, even when they are provided with restricted time at pasture. In contrast, the pasture intake of the ponies when wearing muzzles was around 0.14% of bodyweight over three hours, representing an average reduction of 83% compared to when they were not wearing muzzles.
Clare Barfoot RNutr and the research and development manager at SPILLERS® said: “These figures clearly show how effective grazing muzzles appear to be as a method to restrict pasture intake. The study has given us helpful, practical guidance on how we can safely manage grass intake to control weight gain and reduce the risk of obesity-related disorders, without significantly compromising the natural behaviour and wellbeing of our horses and ponies.”
Grazing muzzles must be used with care, should be properly fitted and horses and ponies should be adapted gradually to wearing them. Group and individual behaviour should be monitored closely to observe any potential concerns caused by changes to the herd dynamics. Total exclusion muzzles are not advised.


Loose horse and cart injures eight people at a Suffolk Fair

At least eight people have been injured, including one seriously, after a horse and cart got loose at an country fair in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk.
Suffolk Police said it appeared that several people had been run over at the town’s Nowton Park, with one person potentially in a critical condition.
The police said that up to another ten people may have been injured, many with back or abdominal injuries, and that they are appealing for witnesses.
The police said that the person most seriously injured was a woman thought to be in her forties. They added that she “is believed to have sustained life threatening injuries”, and has been taken to Addenbrookes Hospital in Cambridge.
Seven other injured people have been taken to the West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds.
Anyone who saw what happened is asked to call Suffolk Police on             01473 613500      


Lovestruck Pole Jan Rudnicki, 40, came up with his fool-proof idea while in a bar in the town of Jarnoltowka while chatting to friends about the best way to impress eligible divorcee Gosia Domoslawska, 36.
Friends said when Jan first suggested his bizarre plot they thought he was joking.
‘But then he went outside, climbed onto this horse – which he’d ridden to the pub – and set off bare-breasted and bare-backed,’ Mirek Nowak explained.
‘The next thing we knew, he’d been arrested.’
Not quite Pretty Woman.
Anyway, unfortunately the old romantic’s attempts appeared to fall on deaf ears when Gosia called the police – and called him ‘a loon’ – after he’d ripped off her front door.
‘I was at home watching TV with my daughter when I heard this deafening crash and suddenly this half-naked man on a horse appeared in my front room,’ she said.
‘I never fancied him before and I certainly don’t now.
‘If this was supposed to win my heart he must be seriously off his rocker.’
The dad-of-seven has since apologised and offered to repair the damage.
A police spokesman appeared to be equally unforgiving of poor old jilted Jan, adding: ‘Smashing into someone’s home uninvited is a crime and he will be punished for it.’
Read more: http://www.metro.co.uk/weird/866307-drunk-bareback-romeo-facing-jail-for-riding-horse-into-house-to-impress-girl#ixzz1PQtsSJ2p


Top Tips for keeping your horse cool in the sun

It’s British Summertime at last – and although we may be enjoying the hot sun, remember to think about how your horse or pony copes with the weather.
Summer’s hot weather and high humidity could pose serious health risks for horses and ponies. However, there are simple ways to help keep your horse cool and healthy. Although most of this is down to instinct or basic general knowledge – we have put together a few tips to help you keep your four legged friends cool in the sun.
  • Provide ample fresh, clean water at all times.  Check daily or better still, twice daily that buckets or troughs are not contaminated with algae growth and that there is still plenty of water available. Try to keep the water cool. Horses may not want to drink warm water. Ponies and foals may have trouble reaching to the bottom of a shallowly filled trough. Make sure everyone in your paddocks can reach the water.
  • When you horse or pony is in the field, make sure there is a place for your horse to avoid the sun, either a field shelter or in a shady spot under a tree. If there isn’t too much shade int he field and during very hot weather, consider keeping your horses stabled during the day, and letting them out at night.
  • You might want to think about clipping horses with heavy coats. Be careful not to clip too close however, since exposed skin can sunburn. Also, if your horse or pony has white makings, such as a snip on their nose or a blaze, remember to apply a high factor suncream to prevent them from getting sunburnt.
  • After riding, or prolonged exposure to the sun, try sponging or hosing down the large blood vessels along the inside of the legs, belly, and neck to cool off your horse.
  • If you are planning to ride, try to schedule your session for early morning or late evening when temperatures are cooler.
  • Consider using electrolytes if your horse does sweat a lot. Electrolytes replace salts lost in sweating, and are similar to human sport drinks. You can put electrolytes in the horse’s feed, or use a large-ended syringe to squirt into the mouth.
For more information, why not check out the RSPCA’s informative guide to caring for animals in hot weather, byclicking here.
If you have any more tips to keep horses cool in the sun add them below for everyone to see.


Olympic Games tickets go on sale

More than two million tickets for next year’s Olympic Games are up for grabs on a first come bases in a second round of sales. So if you weren’t successful first time round getting your Equestrian tickets for London 2012 now is your chance! 
In total, 2.3million tickets are available to fans who were unlucky in last month’s ballot – although 1.7million of them are for football. Most will cost £50 or less and those who were successful in the first ballot will get another chance to buy more next month. Any left will be released for sale from December.


Find your perfect equine partner, 100% guarantee, all sizes, colours and types.  Lovely riding horses and ponies from £95! Tel:             01322 288485