I'll be down in Southland for a clinic at the end of October. Get in touch if your interested!
JOCK PAGET SOUTHLAND CLINIC
Jock will be holding a clinic at Donovan Park, Invercargill on Monday 30th and Tuesday 31st October. Get in quick to book your spot! Details below...
Our Electrified Sighter Wire is on promotion this month at PGG Wrightson Ltd. This safety coated wire is ideal to use as a permanent fence and is designed to help prevent injury in the event of animal injury. Offer available through all PGG Wrightson stores.
*UPDATE | LIMITED AVAILABILITY & SELLING OUT FAST! Register to secure your seat(s)!
It is with great pleasure that the NZ Equine Research Foundation announces t...he return of its Winter Lecture Series for 2017!
The series focuses on the performance of the equine athlete and what is required to keep a horse competing at the highest level.
* Hamilton | Sunday 30th July
* Palmerston North | Wednesday 2nd August
* Christchurch | Sunday 6th August
For more information and to register your place at the lectures, click the link below.
If your horse struggles with stability during floating check out this video to see how JR floats work to help your horse travel safer and more comfortably while reducing damage to your float.
Angus Blue's round from Melbourne, such a great little horse!
It is absolutely devastating that we say goodbye to Clifton Lush, he was flying around his paddock as he sometimes likes to do and suffered an injury that he wont recover from to have a comfortable enough retirement. This is obviously a major blow to anyone who had the pleasure of meeting him. He was such a legend and he was living proof that with enough heart you can do anything. I had the pleasure of working with Lush for 6 years and I am hugely grateful for everything he t...aught me and how he gave everything and then some when I needed him to, he made the biggest of tracks feel like nothing but he would never give anything away in the warm up. He was a true warrior and loved his job. Huge condolences to his owners Lucy and Shaun Allison and Frances Stead and Russel Hall, he was retired last year with the greatest intentions and its a crying shame that this little legend wont get the retirement he deserves. He is being cremated and the ashes will be spread in Lucy and Shaun's orchard. RIP buddy.
Now that spring is on it's way many of us are bringing our horses back into work. The Pure Feed Company Nutritional Consultant, Dr David Marlin has written us h...is first monthly column in which he dispels the myths and common mistakes people make when bringing a horse back into work. We recommend you take a break, make yourself a cup of coffee and have a read.... Please 'like' the article so we can gauge the readership numbers - thank you.
Bringing Your Horse Back Into Work – Dr David Marlin
As the evenings start to get a little lighter and the snowdrops start appearing many riders will be bringing their horses back into work if they have had a Winter break. For most horses a break from the physical and psychological strain of training and competing is beneficial. Even for fit and healthy horses, the harder and longer they train and compete the more damage is done. Particularly to parts of the body that have little or limited capacity to repair themselves. Here we are talking mainly about tendons, ligaments and to some extent joints. In contrast, muscle, including the heart which is a specialised type of muscle, has an amazing capacity to adapt and get stronger in response to training. So it may not be surprising to learn that it is the muscular and aerobic fitness that will drop off the most after a few months break from regular training. The other system that loses capacity for exercise or strength with a break from training is the skeleton. Bone responds to short periods of regular “stress” or loading. That means walking, trotting, cantering, galloping and jumping. This means that after a few months beak, the bone density and therefore the bone strength will be reduced. The good news is that bone adapts quickly to a small increase in exercise intensity.
The aim of physical training should be to help your horse cope better with exercise, improve performance and decrease the risk of injury. We often achieve one and two but sadly often don’t get there with three! Whilst physical fitness training, as opposed to skill training, makes a noticeable difference to how horses cope with exercise and competition and performance, the majority of the difference in how horses perform is down to genetics rather than fitness training. That’s not to say that training is unimportant. However typically the improvement we see in a horses performance due to fitness training is 15-20%.
Another fact that many riders may not be aware of is that training follows the law of diminishing returns: the more you put in the less you get back. Thus, the greatest changes in fitness for the least intensity of training occur in the early stages of bringing a horse back into work. For a small increase in work you get a big increase in fitness. After 12 weeks of training, even if you increased the training intensity ever 2-3 weeks, for the same increase in training intensity you will get a much smaller increase in fitness.
There is one system that’s vital to exercise performance which does not change with training and that is the respiratory system of the horse! This may come as a surprise as many books will talk about how the respiratory system adapts to training. It doesn’t. The unfit horse at canter moves the same amount of air in and out in the same way as when fit. The difference is that when fit the heart will pump the oxygen filled blood around the body faster and the horse’s muscles will extract and use more of the oxygen!
Before starting training again it’s important to carry out all the basic checks on your horse and tack. Ensure your vaccinations and worming are up to date and have your horses teeth checked. If your horse has had any orthopaedic problems in the previous season then it may be worth booking in an appointment with your vet or physio for after your horse has been back in regular work for a few weeks. Similarly, it’s important to check your saddle fit, especially if you finished the season with a slim and muscled horse but now have one who has put on a few pounds over Christmas.
I often get asked how much fitness is carried over from the previous season? That’s not an easy one to answer precisely and seems to vary according to discipline and individual horse. But there are very clear changes that take place for example in muscle and heart as a result of a seasons training and these are only partially reversed by a 2-3 month break from training and competing.
Many people may be inclined to start to increase feed intake as they bring their horse back into work. However, if your horse has put on some weight it may be worth waiting a few weeks to encourage some weight loss before feeding a higher energy or more calorific feed. I recommend that all horses have ad lib forage and a vitamin and mineral balancer to ensure that your horse is getting all the important daily nutrients that they need, as a base diet. Most horse diets are also low in sodium so the addition of 25ml table salt a day is also recommended. You can then add extra calories through feeding depending on the horse’s body condition and the energy demands of their workload. The Pure Feed range is easy to do this with, you can simply work up through the levels if and when your horse needs more from their diet.
The most effective way to increase fitness is with regularly spaced exercise sessions. For example, riding for 30 minutes on a Monday, Wednesday and Saturday (90 minutes total weekly exercise) would be significantly more effective and carry less risk of injury compared with riding for 45 minutes on Saturday and Sunday (total 90 minutes exercise). With limited light and the fact that many owners work it can be difficult and inconvenient to fit in a mid-week session. Even if you can manage to lunge your horse 1-2 times in the week if you can only ride at weekends this will be incredibly beneficial.
The biggest mistake many riders make is to increase the work too quickly. However, horses adapt to regular exercise over a period of 2-3 weeks which is the period when you should increase the work. Increase either time or speed but not both. Also be aware of moving from walk and trot on roads to trotting or cantering uphill on soft surfaces. This can represent a very big increase in workload and be a significant risk for injury.
For many riders, roadwork is unavoidable. Roads are a good surface in that they are usually flat, even and consistent. Many horses are also often more settled on roads than trotting around the edge of wide open fields, especially when a little fresh. However, roads are very hard: around 20x harder than an average arena surface. This is good for stimulating increases in bone strength. However this can be bad for joints and especially for older horses that already have some degree of arthritic changes to the cartilage in the joints of the knee and fetlock. Whilst it is commonly believed that roadwork “hardens” or strengthens tendons, this view is now outdated. Exercise of any kind can influence tendon strength in younger horses (up to 3-4 years of age) but is more likely to be associated with no effect or even damage in older horses. This is not the same as exercise as part of rehabilitation of injured tendons which is necessary to help the tendon components align correctly as they repair.
To get the most benefit from training and to reduce the risk of lameness, it’s important to try and use a variety of surfaces rather than do all your work on one surface e.g. all roadwork or all arena work.
Another tip for keeping your horse sound is to include recovery weeks in your training plan. These are weeks where you drop the training level back by around a third to one half. This is done typically every 3rd week. The benefit of recovery weeks are that they allow small injuries time to recover. If the workload is constant for 2 weeks and increases every 2 weeks, small injuries progress to moderate injuries and possibly eventually to severe injuries; they never have sufficient time to repair. We know that by far the majority of orthopaedic injuries that occur to horses in training and or in competition are due to long term accumulated damage and injury as opposed to one off freak accidents.
What if the weather is bad or something else interrupts your training? Don’t panic. Horses retain their fitness significantly better than people. If your horses misses a week of training after 3-4 weeks back into work it is unlikely to have any negative effect. In fact, if you are not using recovery weeks in your programme it may even be beneficial.
Bringing Your Horse Back Into Work.
Dr David Marlin - Pure Feed Nutritional Consultant.
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