The evenings are drawing in, trees are slowly changing colour and the hedgerows are bursting with blackberries. Autumn is here and that means it won’t be long before we’re preparing for the clocks to change and the first frosts to arrive. For horse owners, now is the perfect time to plan for the new season to ensure you and your horse thrive this winter.
Even though it’s tempting to enjoy the last light evenings and warm weekends, planning ahead will make life easier. You don’t want to wait until the first evening that it’s too dark to change rugs in the stable to find out that the light needs a new bulb! A little bit of preparation will mean you’re ready for whatever the winter brings and help keep your stable management routine running smoothly.
- Get on top of rugs and clipping
Summer means long, mild days and plenty of sunshine. Even if the forecast does bring rain it tends to be warm and sometimes even welcome, rather than cold and miserable. That might mean you haven’t looked at your turnout rugs since early spring! Now is a good time to pull them out and check to see if any rugs need repairing, reproofing or washing. The same goes for thick stable rugs which have been stored since last winter.
We hate to mention the dreaded ‘c’ word just yet, but if your horse is in hard work over winter, it may well need clipping to prevent sweating causing sores and chills. If you have your own set of clippers, then check to see if the blades need sharpening. If they’re allowed to get too blunt, they will tug and pull on the horse’s coat, so why not send them off now so they’re back and ready when that fluffy coat appears. If you get a professional in to do it for you, make a note in your calendar to book them in before everyone else remembers and they’re suddenly very busy!
Finally, if you’re rooting around in the tack room or yard for clippers and rugs, why not review your winter grooming kit. Do you need to stock up on any creams and potions before the mud arrives, or dig out old towels to dry legs? Again, a little bit of planning might make a huge difference if you get stuck in a freezing downpour a few months down the line.
2. Prepare your yard for cold weather
If your horses live in during the winter months then your yard is likely to become a hub of activity, often after darkness has fallen. As we mentioned in the introduction, waiting until things break or don’t work to find they need fixing will be very frustrating, so why not give your yard a winter MOT?
Prepare boxes by digging out old bedding, checking rubber matting and flooring, disinfecting them and then drying them out. Check the lights work, windows are intact and will open for ventilation, door bolts work as they should and tie up rings have bailer twine. If you have automatic drinkers and built-in feed mangers give them a scrub to remove dust and dirt.
Check all your water pipes have lagging around them to stop them freezing and make sure you have salt or grit to spread on the floor if we have a hard winter. A snow shovel is a good investment, particularly if you live in the north of the country or on high ground.
3. Make a winter-ready feeding plan
Forage should form the majority of your horse’s feed at all times of year, but it’s essential in winter – and here’s why. The equine hindgut acts like an internal central heating system for horses, and a very effective one too. When the large intestine breaks down fibre it produces heat, keeping them warm from the inside out. That’s why it’s important to feed plenty of forage in the winter months and not rely on extra rations of hard feed to ‘keep them warm’. For native breeds, those roughed off for a holiday and unclipped horses and ponies, 24/7 access to forage in a well-draining field (perhaps with shelter in case of heavy rain and wind) can often be enough to keep them happy and healthy throughout a normal UK winter. As grass quality and growth will drop in winter, dried forage should always be available ad lib.
Of course, if your horse is in medium to hard work, or is a veteran or a less hardy breed, additional feed and supplementation may be needed to keep them healthy in winter. If you’re not sure what your horse’s nutritional needs are in the colder months, why not chat to an equine nutritionist to see what they advise? Horses have evolved to gradually gain weight in spring and summer before losing it as food sources become scarcer during the colder months of the year. The excellent nutrition provided to most domesticated equines means they are at risk of obesity if that chance to slim down over winter is taken away, which is worth bearing in mind if you’re worried about your horse’s weight. Could losing a few kilos over winter actually be good for your horse?
Older horses who may have poor teeth can struggle with long stem forage and may benefit from soaked feeds to keep their condition up. It’s also worth remembering that older horses can be at risk of impaction colic when the temperatures drop below freezing at night. Their teeth may be sensitive to the chill of near-frozen water and lead to them becoming dehydrated. A kettle on the yard enables you to mix in hot water to make the temperature more palatable and help them drink more easily.
4. Prepare for disruptive weather!
It’s a tough job for us to keep horses fit and well during the winter (all thanks to mud, rain, short days, and dark evenings), but adverse weather conditions can make it near impossible. If your horse is in work or relies on turnout for movement during winter, it’s worth devising a plan in case of snow or prolonged low temperatures. That might include boxing them to all-weather gallops or a beach (if you’re near the coast!), lunging and long reining in the school to vary their routine, turning them out in the school or lunge pen and even hydrotherapy sessions. If their movement is restricted it will have a physiological as well as mental impact, so be prepared.
If you’re lucky enough to have access to a TheraPlate during the cold and dark of winter, you will find it a useful tool to support horse health and wellbeing. TheraPlate uses Vortex Wave Circulation Therapy to promote blood circulation and is used by many equestrians over winter to keep on top of their horses’ health and performance and support those recovering from injury. A US-based study found that TheraPlate might help minimise muscle loss in horses on box rest, so it could be an excellent secret weapon if we get a long spell of cold weather which confines horses to the yard.
For more information on the TheraPlate and how you could use it for your horse this winter, please drop us a line at email@example.com or 0800 955 2016.
The events of 2020 have left us wanting when it comes to sport. So many events have been disrupted, postponed and even completely cancelled, leaving spectators and supporters with nowhere to go and nothing to watch. But, is that all about to change? With the Tokyo Olympics looking set to go ahead, we eagerly take a look at the GBR Equestrian team nominated entries lists ahead of their final selections next week.
Little surprise to anyone is seeing the star of the show, Charlotte Dujardin on the dressage list, with the very gorgeous and talented Mount St John Freestyle. They have dominated every competition they have entered and are tipped to break World Records during their time together. Charlotte also heads up the reserve list with a second ride, Gio, who is a different stamp of horse to Freestyle, demonstrating Charlotte’s gift for training and riding horses at top level.
The rest of the dressage list has some very well known names including Carl Hester, Gareth Hughes, Fiona Bigwood and Laura Tomlinson (nee Bechtolsheimer), who have all already competed in the Olympics, but among them is a fabulous young rider who has had great success over recent years. Charlotte Fry won the European Championship U25 Grand Prix and became World Champion during the World Championships for Young Horses in Ermelo, in 2018, and is listed with a stunning stallion from Van Olst horses, Everdale. These are an exciting combination to watch.
As is the case with athletes and especially horses, things can change. Since the eventing shortlist was announced by British Eventing on 24th May, the list of nominated entries has already changed. Pippa Funnell has been switched for William Fox-Pitt, both very experienced horse people and Olympians. And on the reserve list, Ben Hobday has been replaced by Nicola Wilson.
There was talk and worries that with events like Badminton cancelled in 2021, that these horses and riders wouldn’t get the runs they needed to prepare and qualify for Tokyo. However, as covid restrictions started to lift in April, events like Burnham Market, Houghton and Bicton have done an amazing job of running 4* classes despite the British 5* events being cancelled, giving the horses a chance to tackle some of the more challenging cross country questions in a competition setting following lockdown.
Another stark reminder of how quickly circumstances can change came when William Funnell was ruled out of the showjumping list this week following a broken ankle in a fall at the Nations Cup of Sopot in Poland. It’s reported that William and his home-bred Equine America Billy Diamo unexpectedly crashed through an oxer during the second round of the team competition. William was unseated and then was stretchered out of the arena with what turned out to be a broken ankle.
Horses do like to bring us back down to earth and are great levellers, even when we think nothing can go wrong. This also reminds us that even though the final combinations are to be announced on 28th June, that these might not be the horses and riders we see enter the ring in Tokyo. It will be interesting to watch over the coming weeks in the lead up to this exciting and much anticipated Olympic Games to see how the horses and riders stay on top form and in the best condition they can.
The TheraPlate is often used in performance maintenance regimes, as well as rehab, by many top riders from around the world. Find out more about the TheraPlate and how it could help you and your horses by clicking here.
Taking the plunge and purchasing a piece of therapy equipment for your practice can be daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. Sometimes it makes perfect sense and at the end of the day if it helps to improve prospects for the animals and humans you treat, surely it is a win win all round.
To put your mind at rest, we’d like to share the story of Buxton Canine Hydrotherapy Centre in Derbyshire who purchased their TheraPlate earlier this year.
Let’s hand over to Gemma Kolodziejczyk from Buxton K9 Hydrotherapy:
“So, I purchased my TheraPlate during the first lockdown due to a Great Dane named Dorothy who I’d be doing Hydrotherapy with for around 12 months for arthritis and yes, I’d seen improvement, but the she was also going up to a friend’s farm who had a TheraPlate for her horses and she suggested to try Dorothy on this. After around 3 sessions on the TheraPlate Dorothy’s range of movement improved massively.”
Q: How have you found the TheraPlate has complimented your existing Hydrotherapy business?
I was given a challenge for a little 5 year old Frenchie called Tucker who had slipped a disc completely paralysing his hind legs. Five weeks after the accident we started him doing hydro and the TheraPlate twice a week. After his 13th session he had gained the strength to stand himself on his back right leg. So now we are working on keeping the right strong and building the left, but because of this improvement people are wanting me to use on their dogs too as speeds up recovery.
Q: How many of your customers use the TheraPlate alongside your existing treatments?
So, I have 6 of my clients that use the TheraPlate alongside their Hydrotherapy sessions for different reasons. I also have 1 that just uses the TheraPlate only.
Q: Do the dogs like the TheraPlate?
I can see that when the dogs come into the centre, they are more than happy to then go and lie on the TheraPlate. We have a border collie that when she visits the vets, she will take herself to the scales and lies down thinking it’s the TheraPlate.
Q: What’s your top tips to anyone thinking about becoming a TheraPlate specialist?
If I hadn’t seen it for my own eyes, I wouldn’t have believed it would provide the results it does, hence why I had no hesitation in purchasing one after the Great Dane had only been on 3 times and I saw more improvement than I had seen from just doing Hydrotherapy.
The results that Gemma has seen in the dogs she treats speak for themselves and we’re so glad to hear that Dorothy and Tucker are both doing well. Gemma’s story isn’t an isolated case, and we hear of many other therapists who swear by the TheraPlate.
If you would like further information on the TheraPlate, what is does, how it can help or on becoming an IATS qualified TheraPlate Specialist then please do give us a call on 0800 955 2016 or email us on firstname.lastname@example.org.
So, I know you’ve all been wondering what happened next to the husband and wife team from TheraPlate Ltd…
In the last article we left them in Kentucky, USA, shortly after Francesca was released from ICU in New York after having Pip. They were just starting to get on their feet and had become a family of 4, welcoming Chalky the Golden Lab into their lives.
But, it wasn’t all ‘Happily every after’ just yet…
While they were out working hard to create a secure home for their baby daughter, someone broke into their apartment. They trashed everything and stole what they had. And that was the bottom line for the pair, it left them with nothing and saw them completely broke!
Upset, angry and scared, they didn’t know where to turn. Their only option was to return to family in the UK, so they packed the last of their belongings and booked flights for the four of them to London. At that time, they had absolutely no money or food, apart from baby Pip’s formula, but luckily Dominic’s mother had a 1-bed council flat in Newmarket and invited them to call it home with her. Could it get any lower than this? Where would they go from here?
Pip on the Plane back to England
Where Dominic, Francesca and Pip lived
Where Dominic, Francesca and Pip lived
Where Dominic, Francesca and Pip lived
On their arrival back in the UK, Dominic used his contacts to get a job riding racehorses out in the mornings for a local yard, while Francesca applied for jobs at home. They managed to pull £400 together to get a run around car to share and Francesca finally landed a job! Things were finally looking up!
The only thing was, the job Francesca was offered was at Wolverhampton Racecourse, which was over 2 hours away from Newmarket where they were living. Nevertheless, over the moon with the offer as sponsorship and hospitality manager at the racecourse, Francesca jumped at the chance and accepted, and then had to solve the issue of logistics afterwards. Not deterred by tough times, the couple resorted to getting up at 4am so that Dominic could drop Francesca off for work and return home to start work after his 5 hour round trip!
Wolverhampton racecourse was one of the busiest tracks in the country in terms of the number of races per week and Francesca found her entrepreneurial spirit coming alive. Always on the look out for ways to improve processes and what the racecourse could offer to its customers and clients, her frustration started to rise when she was repeatedly turned down and her ideas discounted by her less than forward thinking employer.
Francesca working at Wolverhampton Racecourse
Dominic and Francesca’s Car
The final straw came when Francesca enthusiastically suggested introducing TheraPlate to a UK market from America, and was turned down again. After she saw the benefits it had and how popular it was in the racing industry in the US, Francesca knew it would sell well over here too.
So, with her pent-up frustration getting the better of her, Francesca decided to email Chip, the Founder and Inventor of TheraPlate in the US and ask him if he would consider letting her and Dominic introduce TheraPlate to the UK market.
Much to her surprise and delight she got a quick reply from Chip who wanted to talk more about the prospect. Francesca was honest with him when she spoke to him over the phone in the hotel that night after working at the racecourse. She said that they didn’t have the money to import them, but they were confident with their experience in the horse racing sector they could sell them and help others see the benefits for themselves.
So, in November 2016 Chip sent 3 TheraPlates to the confident couple to see how they were received and if they could sell them. Floating on cloud 9, Francesca was so overjoyed by this news, she quit her job immediately! Only to realise that the plates would take 10 weeks to arrive.
Surviving on the little funds they had, the long 10 week wait passed and the news came that they had arrived at the docks. Dominic eagerly drove down in their Ford C-Max car to go and collect them only to find there was a £1300 import bill to be paid.
Was it over before it had begun? The gusty duo had no money left at all, so how would they pay the charge? They couldn’t risk disappointing Chip after he’d take a huge gamble on them by sending the TheraPlates over? How would they overcome yet another bump in the road?
Come back for Part 4 when we find out how Dominic and Francesca managed to get the very first of their TheraPlate stock that started it all.
Let us Introduce you… to Kat from @killerqueenshowjumping
Kat is a show jumper from the south coast of the UK and has ridden professionally for several years before taking a long break. She is just getting back into the swing of things and we can’t wait to watch her journey with her lovely homebred 4-year-old mare Isla.
As well as riding and everything horses, Kat enjoys filling her blog with articles on her horse’s progress, tips and funny stories from her time in the industry. Amongst these topics there are also product reviews, fashion and equestrian lifestyle, including a review of our brand new 220V by TheraPlate range.
Kat tells us how she feels she has finally found a brand that speaks to her, after feeling stuck between country bumpkin and girl’s night out for years!
Read more about her thoughts on the brand in her recent blog article here.
November is normally a dark, cold, wet and gloomy month, and with the added lockdown that we’re facing this year, we wanted to brighten it up for you. Instead of Black Friday Sales being just one day or weekend, we’ve extended it to be the whole month of November!
We’d like to introduce you to BLACK NOVEMBER!
We have two amazing deals that are available throughout November.
These deals are perfect if you’d like to set up as a TheraPlate Therapist, but equally you don’t have to be a business to take advantage of the savings. This is the only opportunity to buy a TheraPlate with a discount this year or in the near future. So, if you’re on the fence, now is the time to go for it!
Here are the deals…
TheraPlate Business Bundle Savings DEAL 1 – SAVE OVER £1000
- £500 off a TheraPlate K21
- £500 off a space on the International Association of TheraPlate Specialists® Course
- Free Delivery
- Free RCD and Surge Protector
- Free 37.5CL bottle of Champagne
Total £ 7,995.00*
TheraPlate Business Bundle Savings DEAL 2 – SAVE OVER £2000
- £500 off a TheraPlate K21
- £480 off a TheraPlate K6
- Free space on the International Association of TheraPlate Specialists® Course
- Free Delivery
- Free RCD and Surge Protector
- Free 75CL bottle of Champagne
SAVING OVER £2000
If you’d like to purchase either of these deals, please give us a call on 0800 955 2016 or email us on email@example.com and we can complete the purchase for you and arrange delivery.
In addition to these two fantastic offers above, there will be BIG discounts on other TheraPlate items including merchandise and accessories with up to 75% off!
These will pop up on Facebook throughout the month for limited time only, while stocks last. So, make sure you follow us on Facebook and Instagram to see and take advantage of these deals.
*Prices ex vat.
These offers are for the UK, Ireland, Europe and UAE only from TheraPlate Ltd. In house finance is not available on these deals.