Product Review – PlusVital Effivet

Product placement in Tack shops is key to getting noticed. Why do I say this? Well if it wasn’t for a busy day at Lady Chapel Stores, I would not of come across these amazing PlusVital products, the Effivet Farm Liquid & The Effivet Farm Hydrogel. Little did I know that they were exactly everything I needed and in fact they were everything I had been looking for over the last few weeks, realising they were under my nose the entire time is a bit of a sickner!

I am going to run through this product review below but most importunately let you know what I think of the product & the results I got, keep scrolling to find out more!

What Is Plus Vital Effivet Spray?

EFFIVET: A TOPICAL, ANTI-BACTERIAL, ANTI-FUNGAL AND ANTI-VIRAL SKIN CLEANSING LIQUID FOR FLUSHING WOUNDS AND HYDROGEL SOLUTION FOR WOUND REPAIR

Effivet is a potent germ killer containing a patented technology that allows it to mimic the body’s own immune system. Hypochlorous Acid is a weak acid that is released by cells of the immune system to kill bacteria.

It is antibacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal, as well as being very effective at breaking down the cell wall of bacteria and killing the bacteria internally. It is safe to be ingested as it is naturally occurring in the body and is non-irritating.

What Does It Do?

There are a number of great qualities of the Effivet Sprays, I have listed them below:

  • Kills a wide range of germs
  • No rinsing required & horses can ingest safely
  • Suitable for, wound cleaning, dermal cleansing, relief from scratching, skin scrapes, insect bites, burns or scalds, kills fungal organisms to name a few
  • Hydrogel sticks to the site where it is applied which allows the hypochlorus acid get into the wounds or cuts
  • Hydrogel lubricated the wounds and acts as a barrier from dirt or from a general horse environment
  • Both products are dermatologically tested as suitable for sensitive skin (This i can confirm as Dante has the worlds most sensitive skin type!)

I am sure there are some points I have missed but more information is available on their website www.plusvital.com

How Do You Use It?

There is not much to explain about the how of using the Effivet spray. There are two different nozzle settings, one for spraying & one for shooting.

To clean the would, always use the Effivet Farm Liquid spray first, this cleans the infected area & prevents any further infections.

Once the area is clean, spray the Efficvet Hydrogel (this is a spray also not a gel as I thought!) There is no need to rub this in, it gets absorbed into the affected area so allowing it to dry naturally is all you need to do.

An important fact to note, If your horse decides to lick at the gel or liquid it is completely safe, it will not harm your horse!

My Thoughts on The Product

Well, as you all have seen from our Instagram stories, Dante’s back legs were riddled with what I thought was dirt. This was in fact Smegma from his “Bits” brushing onto his back legs. In certain parts it left quite the trail of filth, leading to hair loss in parts & if left longer I would say it would have grown into quite the infection. This is where I was left for weeks on end searching for a product that would help clean the infection, and get rid of any lasting germs that where there in order for me to keep his back legs, his willy & himself in good clean conditions.

This is where the Effivet stepped in. Using the Farm Liquid spray, I cleaned out the infected areas, on one leg in particular he seemed to react a little bit to the spray being put on, but the nozzle on the bottle allows you to either spray up close or from a distance, this helped massively. It also meant that I didn’t get a kick to the face! This spray effectively cleaned the areas of infection & helped stop more infection from arising.

I won’t lie for the first 2 days, I didn’t realise what the hydrogel was for or that they needed to be used in sync. I am sure they also work perfectly fine used separately, but for the purpose of the review I decided it would be better to use both efficiently!

So…. After applying the Farm Liquid spray, I then applied the Farm Hydrogel. You again use the spray nozzle to spray it onto the affected areas. Allowing this to dry naturally was perfect, it meant that when I finished riding, I could put the spray on and was could go straight home!

It wasn’t until Day 4 that I started seeing some noticeable results to his back legs. The spray really helped to clear & lift up the grim on his back legs. This also meant that I was able to properly see what damage the long lasting Smegma on his legs had been doing.

A few examples of his legs, we still have a bit to go! But great progress so far.

I have been using the sprays for over 4 weeks now & I can safely say that the difference in his back legs is great. I am Delighted that there is no infections and although the cleanness of his back legs will be something I will always need to have to upkeep it is good to know that having both these sprays will help keep any infections at bay!

Both products definitely delivered with what they said they would do, & whilst I used them quite frequently over the last 4 weeks, both bottles seem very full still, so a little goes a long way with them.

I have since used both sprays on small cuts Dante has gotten to clean them out and then to let then heal over. This stuff is great, highly reccommend!

Purchase Details

Both of these fabulous products are available to purchase from Ladychapel Stores in Maynooth, Co.Kildare. The cost of the Effivet Farm Liquid is €19 & the Effivet Farm Hydrogel is €20.

If you have any further questions, be sure to ask Mark or Clodagh, they have a wealth of knowledge! They also have a wide selection of PlusVital products available instore.

Opening hours of Ladychapel Stores are form 9am – 3pm Monday – Saturday.


If you have gotten this far on my review, thank you for reading! I think both these products are definite bonus items in my grooming kit & something I am super glad I mistakenly came across.

If you have any other questions, or would like any further details be sure to drop me a message & I will help you as best as I can. Be sure to follow Plusvital over on Instagram to keep upto date on everything they do!

And if any of you out there have horses who suffer from the “Smegma Legs” like Dante or have gone through the ordeal of clearing it like I have done, my fellow blogger Natalie O’Keeffe of Inside Track Eventing gave me a great tip in containing the spread & to stop any future mishaps, rub pig oil on your horses back legs! This prevents anything from sticking keeping your horses legs Grime free!

Thanks for Reading,

Darielle

8 Step Guide To Cleaning Your Horses Sheath

I have revamped this blog post from 2 years ago, and from my recent Instagram stories explaining the process, a number of you requested a “how to” guide on How to Clean Your Horses Sheath. 

I have been putting off cleaning Dante’s ‘D’ for a few months now to be brutally honest as it is not my most favorable thing to do. So with a little research,  and a lot of really weird Whats-app group conversations later I managed to rope Sue into washing Dante’s willy for me! 

Warning: Stay away from watching YouTube video’s on this topic, it is not pleasant!

How To Prepare your Horse:

I have cleaned Dante before, so he was used to this process. But for anyone who hasn’t be prepared for your horse to be slightly cautious. Remember to take everything nice and slow. Before you start make sure you rub and pat your horse on the bum/hind leg let him know you are there, this will also get them used to the idea of what is in store for them once you start! 

Equipment Needed:

  • Rubber Gloves (plenty of pairs!)
  • A bucket with Luke warm water, not too cold as you don’t want to freeze the balls off of your horse!!
  • Sheath Cleaner (see products below) I have previously used hibiscrub diluted in the water, this acts as a disinfectant so if you have this handy there is no need to go buying anything extra.
  • A towel or a sponge

Step By Step Guide On How To Clean A Sheath

Step 1: Get your bucket of water prepared. Luke warm water is ideal. 

Step 2: Get your cleaner prepared, if you are using hibiscrub, pour a small amount of the hibiscrub in to dilute the warm water. If you are using one of the sheath cleaning products, their is no need to dilute this into the water, just have it to the side beside your bucket of water ready to use.

Step 3:  Prepare your towel/sponge, leaving them in hands reach to you also beside your bucket/cleaner.

Step 4: Lets get to work! Put on your gloves on & prepare to clean some winky!

I had Dante tied up outside of his stable, with a hay-net there for him to keep him distracted, so this was the perfect setting.

Step 5: Begin by giving your horse a pat on the hind end, let him know you are there, the last thing you want is a hoof in the head if they are not comfortable with being fondled! Begin by dipping your hand in the warm water, start pulling off any pieces of dirt from your horses sheath. Once you have the outside of the sheath looking presentable then you can start adding in your sheath cleaner.

IMG_4909

Step 6: OMG, this part is literally insanely gross,  I don’t often clean horses bits, so I had no idea what to expect, as you can see from the photo’s of me previously doing this, you can see how elbow deep you can go up into your horses willy!

Most horses that are used to getting cleaned will drop their sheath down for you to clean the Smegma but Dante didn’t, he just stood there eating.

If your horse wont drop, Keep squeezing generous amount of the sheath cleaner into your hand or sponge, and continue to gently work the cleaner into the areas you are cleaning, be sure to remove any loose particles that come clear.

This meant that Sue had to put her hand up Dante’s bits and gently work away at removing the crusty bits the hard way. The sheath cleaner was fantastic as it loosened everything up. It surprised me how far her hand could go up there but Jesus it was never ending.

Step 7: Getting into the swing of things, it actually was not too bad, slightly smelly but once you got over the shock of doing what you were doing, its just a continuous process, hand fondle, sponge, clean and repeat. After doing this for approx 20 minutes, Dante was still not dropping, but you could noticeably see the difference from the amount of grossness that came from his sheath!

Step 8: Once you have cleaning as per the above, you then have to check for The Bean. This is an accumulation of smegma, a natural lubricating substance produced by the horse. It is located in the head of the horses penis, just above the opening of the urethra (which is where the horse’s Wee comes out of)

It is v.important to remove the bean, , if not removed it can cause difficulties for the horse when going to the toilet. In some cases it can even be as big of a golf ball!! Have a look at Dante’s bean, (OMG i cant believe I just said that!) Having this removed when he goes toilet next, he should feel a lot more comfortable in himself!

After all of the above is completed, give the outside if the willy area a quick clean and a rub down to get rid of any access grime. 

Useful Tips:

  • Cleaning only needs to be done 2/3 times a year (every 6 months) it is cleaned for hygiene purposes, or if you notice any problems with your horse urinating.
  • Be Gentle, do remember what you are cleaning!!
  • Be prepared for the smell, and for how deep your hand can go up into your horse.
  • Wear Gloves, and wash your hands religiously after your clean your horse
  • If you notice anything unusual, please contact your Vet. 
  • If your horse is not comfortable with you cleaning him, don’t proceed. Do remember, some horses do need to go under local anesthetic to get this done.

If you have any tips of your own for Sheath cleaning do let me know, I was a total beginner when I done this, and I am extremely lucky to have a friend on board that loves doing this job… Strange I know!! 

Now go get your gloves & start washing those Winkies!

Until Next Time, 

Darielle

Product Review – Equitop Myoplast

Over the past year I have found it quite hard to find a supplement to help support Dante and his every growing body. As he is quite the large animal, training him & working his muscles without the proper support was not exactly ideal. We went through spurts where he gained incredible muscle then dropped it quite quickly due to winter months, cold weather & to be honest, not enough physical work to up keep the gains he made.

Dante is a 7 Year old Irish Sport Horse, he is 17.3hh and to be brutally honest I will say that he is quite the slow developer, he is nicknamed the giraffe when it comes to how he works his body, he is yet to piece himself together when it comes to muscle growth & maintaining that muscle mass.

So I set out on a mission to put the head down & focus on Dante’s nutritional needs just like I do with myself when I go to the gym, muscle needs support in order to grow. With a lot of research & with a few test trials on other products, ones that just didn’t suit Dante I came across Equitop Myoplast. I came across this product from word of mouth, and from the ever so popular social media site Instagram.

I reached out to the brand & after a few exchanges over email & a phone conversations later, I was gifted the product to trial on Dante. With the Autumn competition season ahead, getting in shape was something both of us needed. Whilst I hit the gym, Dante was put on his 5 day workout routine adding in our new supplement Equitop Myolpast. We have come up to our 5 week mark with the product.

Keeps scrolling to Find out what we thought, & if we seen any physical changes of the product below!

What is Equitop Myoplast?

Equitop Myoplast is an amino acid high quality feed supplement specifically designed to support lean muscle growth & structure for your horse. It is Created from a combination of 18 amino acids that help support lean muscle growth. Essential amino acids in Equitop Mysoplast include L-Lysine, L-Threonine, DL-Methionine and L-Tryptophan.

Equitop Myoplast is a very compact feed, it is a sugar coated pearl granule making it very easy to feed to your horse.

What Does It Do?

Amino acids are the building blocks of the proteins which form muscles. Unlike many supplements that use a combination of fats and oils to promote weight gain, Equitop Myoplast focuses solely on muscle growth. As mentioned above it contains a complex blend of 18 amino acids, this helps with growing and recovering of your horses muscle tissue. It helps supports & helps develop your horses muscles during intense training periods. It supports suppleness, stamina & muscle growth particularly in your horses topline & hind-end.

While your Horse can produce some amino acids themselves, what is required to help build them up & support their muscle growth must be supplied within their diet. If a horse’s diet is lacking in any amino acids, their performance may take a hit.

How Do You Feed It?

It is recommended that Equiptop Myoplast is fed to your horse for at least 2 months. One scoop is to be fed to your horse twice a day, One during the morning, and one in the evening.

< 500 kg              1 measure (25g)

> 500 kg              2 measures (50g)

Each tub of EM comes with a very nifty measuring tool, so your horse is guaranteed to get the correct amount each time. Equiptop Myoplast mixed in with any wet feed can make it taste quite bitter for your horse. but I can safely say that as Dante is fed wet feed (pulp) twice daily & I have had no problems with him eating it mixed in.

There is also an option to hand feed this supplement to your horse twice a day also if you wish, I have heard of a few people that do it this way.

Who Can Benefit From Equitop Myoplast

It is of course important that you only use it & feed it to your horse if they need it. It certainly benefits no one or any horse if you start loading them up with supplements for the sake of it, everything should have a purpose. Equiptop Myoplast has some guidelines as to when they recommend the use, see them below,

  • During periods of intense training for your horse, where you are in competition
  • Getting your horse back into shape at the beginning of a season or if you are bringing your horse back in to work after a long rest period
  • For horses who have difficulties maintaining condition
  • Brood Mares who are lacking protein
  • During rehabilitation, where you dont want your horse to drop muscle it will help maintain the condition.
  • It is also great for young horse starting off on their training journeys

What Do I Really Think?

It is not very often that you try a product that promises you the world of change in your horse to actually get the exact results it gives you on the tin. With this product I can say it certainly ticked all the correct boxes for me & I think certainly for Dante. I honestly cannot believe the difference not only in Dante’s appearance (see image below) but in his behavior too.

The image on the right is from two weeks on Equitop Myoplast, with the image on the left takes yesterday week 5.

A lot of people have commented that Dante has started to mature in the past 5 weeks, but they also didn’t realise that within the last 5 weeks he has been on Equitop Myoplast. To say it is a coincidence is something but to say it gave us great results is an absolute fact. 

While I really don’t believe in loading your horse up with every supplement under the sun, their regular diet should contain everything they need to maintain balance, but there is no harm in adding in something extra to help build your horse up the way they should be.

Feeding this supplement alone needs to be backed up with regular & proper exercise to help your horse maintain that muscle growth. I would recommend that if using this that your horse is doing a minimum of 4 days exercise per week, pole work & transition work amongst your routines will also no doubt help massively with this supplement.  

I am over the moon with the results I have gotten in this product, not only does he look fantastic, but his is carrying himself so much better now that he has the support of his new found muscles!


Over the past few weeks I have received some great feedback on Dante’s appearance, and unusually I have began to notice myself. As a person who sees her horse 7 days a week, I always find it quite hard to see the difference in my horse when I am forever looking at him but I am certainly beginning to feel it & that to me speaks volumes.  

It could also just be a coincidence, but over the past few weeks Dante seems to have matured, he has calmed down massively & just seems to be so much happier in his work. He is willing to learn, he can carry himself a lot better & he is performing to the best of his abilities. I can safely put my hands up now & say that any errors made in the ring are purely down to the rider at this point!!

I am over the moon with this product and I hope to continue to use it as we come into our winter competitions. I couldn’t recommend it enough not only for the amazing results you will see in your horse but for everything else it does that is not stated on the tin. I have gotten myself a brand new horse out of this supplement so why not try it for yourselves on your horse & get the same result as I have.

A massive thank you to Warren over at Equiptop Myoplast, I hope to collaborate with you again in the future, but for now to buy your tub check out the link where you can buy online. It is also available in Ireland from Orchard Equestrian.

As always, if you have any comments on this product drop them below, or send me a message.

Thanks For Reading,

Darielle

Grill the Equestrian – Mark Kane, Equine Dentist

We’re back with another edition of our Grill the Equestrian series. Earlier this month we booked our trusty equine dentist Mark Kane to come out and give the troublesome twosome their 6 month check-up. We’ve both used a few dentists in the time that we’ve had Coco and Dante and we can honestly say that Mark has been the best by far, so we figured it was about time we gave him a grilling! From wolf teeth to difficult horses, we’ve got the dish on what it’s really like spending your days with your arms half way down a horse’s throat!


What made you decide to become an equine dentist?

I wouldn’t say I was sure I wanted to be an Equine Dentist straight away but what I was 100 percent sure of was that I wanted to work with horses. Unfortunately I wasn’t book smart enough for veterinary and my older brother Patrick was already a farrier ( a job I was way too tall for anyway ) so the rest kind of figured itself out

What kind of training is involved to get qualified? What’s the process?

There’s all sorts of different schools/courses with different training methods all over the world I flew to America and studied in the American School of Equine Dentistry, we travelled from farm to farm and ranch to ranch and it was a wonderful hands on experience. Dr. Raymond Hyde and Jim Koostra are both fantastic dentists and teachers.

What is your favourite part of the job?
Castle Lux Clover, competing at this year’s RDS Dublin Horse Show!

This is a toughie!! I love watching horses who I’ve worked on be successful in their respective fields. I’ve watched horses win championship races at Cheltenham and horses win classes at the RDS, but I think what I love most is treating a horse who isn’t in good shape dental wise, knowing that immediately after I close their mouth and walk away, they’re feeling 100 percent happier.

What is the hardest part of your job?

It used to be getting paid but after a few years of business I’ve smartened up to that! It can be hard juggling clientele sometimes, some people need you in a hurry for one reason or other, and even though you want to keep everyone happy, at the end of the day you’re running a business and it doesn’t pay to drive to Cavan on a Monday to treat one horse when you’re due there on Friday anyway, but I must say, all my clients now are very understanding like that.

What’s the worst thing that has happened to you when dealing with a difficult horse?

I’ve had plenty of bangs, kicks and bites, comes with the territory. One day I was working on a big 4yo sports horse in Kildare, he was nervous but we were getting along fine. Someone dropped a wheelbarrow outside the stable next to him and it made a loud bang, the horse spooked and caught me in the head with a front foot, thankfully he had no shoes on but I was pretty sore and dazed and that was the end of my work day.

What is one of the most interesting things you’ve learned?

I’ve learned that you can’t MAKE a horse do anything, they are half tonne animals and they’re an awful lot stronger than I am. Sure you can be assertive and show the horse you won’t be pushed around but fighting with a horse, there is only going to be one winner. I find talking nicely and whistling at them helps keep them calm! Works on my other half at home too 😀 😀

What is one of the most common issues you see in the horses you treat? 
Sharp points!!

Plain old sharp points!! Due to the fact horses teeth grow at a consistent and constant level and the upper arcades of teeth overhang the lower, this leads to the upper rows growing sharp points on the buccal (outside ) side of the teeth and the lower rows getting sharp on the lingual (inside) side of the teeth. The first thing most dental techs will do to balance a mouth will be to remove these points.

What would be your top tip for horse owners?

My top tip for horse owners is routine. Every horse needs to be treated a MINIMUM of once a year, if your dental tech recommends every 6 months then it’s essential to follow their instruction. If a horse is having proper dental treatment regularly there should never be an issue 

What kind of behaviours should owners look out for that indicate a visit from the dentist may be required? Are there any behaviours that wouldn’t necessarily indicate a tooth issue?

Head tossing, refusing to accept bit, dropping feed, pulling, there is any amount of signs, but again like above, if everything is treated in routine there should never be a real issue. Sadly sometimes by the time a tough bugger of a horse shows you something is wrong, something could be VERY very wrong. Biting! I have had calls to look at horses teeth because they keep biting their owners but I think that’s a very different issue 😀

Wolf Teeth! What is the story with them and what should owners look out for?

Wolf teeth operate very similarly to wisdom teeth in humans. They are useless and can cause bitting problems, they would have been used for fighting in the past but have become obsolete. Some wolf teeth cause no problems but most owners choose to have them removed as a matter of precaution, other times horses will react violently to a bit when wolf teeth are present. Interestingly I have seen an increase in “blind” wolf teeth (teeth that are present but have failed to grow through the gum), these can be extremely painful and I can only put the rise of these cases down to evolution.

What are the consequences of a bad dentist job? Can this cause other physical problems with your horse?

A bad dentist job can have all sorts of consequences, sometimes enough work isn’t done and issues like sharp points, waves, hooks , ridges, are just ignored which puts pressure on a horses TMJ joint. Other times far too much is done, over rounding of the horses chewing surface (called doming) making it difficult for them to break down their food or in extreme cases even killing the tooth.

Would you have any recommendations for helping owners figure out what size/kind of bit they should use with their horse?

I always advise to start off with a plain snaffle, simpler the better, and work your way up as you need to. Its easy to notice a bit too large as it’ll be sliding everywhere in their mouth, but too small a bit will pinch their cheeks causing painful lesions so watch out for those.

Do you think you’d be cut out to do dentistry in humans or do you prefer working with patients who can’t speak back?

100 percent not 😀 if a horse kicks or bites me I can curse at them in retaliation, that wouldn’t go down well in a human dentists office 😀

Lastly, and it may be a stupid question, but should we as horse owners be brushing our horse’s teeth? 

No that’s not necessary, just make sure your dental tech brushes them for you at least once a year 😀


And there you have the ins and outs of being an equine dentist. We’ll be honest, it’s not a job we’d fancy doing ourselves so we’re grateful to have Mark on-hand to make sure Coco and Dante are kept happy.

If you’re in the market for a new dentist, check out Mark’s facebook page: Mark Kane Equine Dentist. He’s based in Co. Meath but travels all around Ireland and also makes trips to the UK so be sure to get in touch.

Hope you all found this as interesting as we did!

Until next time,

Orla & Darielle

Grill the Equestrian – Ruth Boland, Veterinary Physiotherapist

We are onto the third installment of our “Grill The Equestrian” Series. We are delighted to introduce Ruth Boland, Veterinary Physiotherapist for this months grilling! We both have the pleasure of calling Ruth our go-to physio for our horses. She is a lady in high demand which speaks volumes to her talent. She has helped us immensely with keeping both Coco and Dante in tip top shape, so we just couldn’t resist grilling her for more information on the work she does.


How did you decide you wanted to get into Physiotherapy & what is your favourite thing about your job?

I think behind every equine physio is a very tricky horse! That feeling that a horse is struggling physically or experiencing pain but being unable to pin point it is what led me down this path. My favourite aspect of the job is that every single day is different and I am constantly being challenged!

Is there a part of your job that you don’t enjoy?Image may contain: 1 person

There are a few days a year that the weather is so bad that it would make an office job look appealing but thankfully they are very few and far between!

What are the most common injuries you have to treat?

Generalised back pain. Physically horses are just not built to carry us and carry out the types of work that we ask of them. Very often this results in a build-up of muscle tension or pain through the spine.

Do Physio’s have different qualifications and if so what ones should you be looking out for when looking for a physio?

Yes, there are several different routes to qualification. We are currently working towards regulation within the industry. Until then it is important that owners are mindful to choose therapists who are fully qualified and insured.

Photo 13-12-2017, 13 43 40_preview

Is it important to work together as a team with your dentist and farrier? For example, does the horses jaw & teeth have an effect on the rest of the body?

It is absolutely crucial to adopt a holistic approach where your physio works in conjunction with your dentist, farrier, saddle fitter and trainer (if appropriate). This team should be led by your vet and your therapist may need to refer your horse back to your vet for further investigation.

Yes, there are anatomical links between the jaw, shoulder and even the hind end. It is a fascinating bio-mechanical link which means that your horse cannot push effectively from behind if movement is restricted through the jaw!

What’s the one exercise you recommend every rider does with their horse?

There is no particular exercise that should be recommended for every horse but I always encourage riders to think about cross-training their horses. Where appropriate we want to include as much variety as possible in a horse’s regime. This will result in healthier muscles, joints and tendons which will be less prone to injury. Try not to school on a surface every day. Think about whether you could school on grass or go for a hack? Maybe you could lunge your horse once a week or go for a canter up a hill? Have you done any pole work lately or ground work? Variety is key! Your physio can help you come up with an exercise programme for your horse.

What signs should you been looking out for to suggest that your horse is in need of a Photo 03-10-2018, 14 21 23physio, how often should your horse see a physio?

You should be looking for subtle changes in behaviour and movement. Has your horse started to buck? Have they become cross when you approach with the saddle or tighten the girth or have your canter transitions become sticky on a particular rein? How often they are treated depends on how much work the horse is doing, its stage of development and its medical history. I have well developed riding club horses that I treat annually and 1.50m jumpers that I see weekly. Your horse should be assessed by a qualified individual and they will suggest appropriate treatment intervals for your horse.

If you could tell riders the one thing not to do with their horse, what would it be?

I am not a fan of “gadgets” such as draw reins, bungees etc. Although they may have a place in very experienced hands for certain horses they are all too often used to cover up a bigger problem. The main thing for owners to understand is that muscle does not become strong overnight. If your horse will not work in an outline, then it has not built the correct muscles to support this way of going. A gadget will force them into this outline and unless used with great skill and sympathy you run the risk of fatiguing the muscles you are hoping to build, making them sore and therefore less likely to be used correctly during the subsequent training sessions.

What is the most interesting thing you learned from your time as an equine physiotherapist?

I am always amazed by just how tolerant horses are. As prey animals horses have a genetically programmed instinct to cover up signs of pain. The most important thing that I have learnt is that we really need to pay attention to the small changes in behaviour and movement as horses will endure a surprising amount of discomfort before resorting to “naughty” behaviour.

What exercises should you be doing with your horse on a weekly basis for stretching out their muscles properly?

10604691_789732707746042_1967904979144743255_oCarrot stretches are useful for stretching muscles through the neck and back but also for building core strength. As the extent of the stretch is controlled by the horse they are a safe way of building flexibility and strength. This booklet produced by Gillian Higgins is a great resource for owners: http://www.horsesinsideout.com/ArticlePilates1.pdf


Well there you have it, Ruth has basically given us a mini bible on equine physio, with some great points to really make you think & be aware of your horse’s needs.

Head on over to Ruth’s facebook page to keep up to date with her and be sure to check out her website www.rbanimalphysio.ie for treatment plans & pricing.

Until Next time,

Darielle & Orla

 

First Aid At The Yard – The Horse

Whether you stable your horse in a private livery yard, a riding school or with you at home, having a basic knowledge of first aid for both horse and rider is generally a good idea. Horses are such unpredictable animals and even with the quietest horse in the world accidents can happen.

While some injuries require immediate vet attention, there will be times when you can assess and treat the injury yourself. Below I will outline some common horse injuries & go through how to spot them and how to treat them. 

How to tell if your horse isn’t feeling 100%

Looking after a horse can be much more difficult than looking after a child, and yes I am speaking from experience! Children can tell you what’s wrong with them by simply speaking, crying or even pointing to what hurts but with horses, unless there’s an obvious sign of injury, you really have no idea. Paying attention to their behaviour is key here. Are they eating their food? Are they drinking their water? Are they low in energy? Has their coat dulled? Has their behaviour when riding changed recently? If you’ve answered yes to more than one of these then it might be an idea to get a vet out just to be on the safe side.

One thing that can never be underestimated is the value of grooming your horse. Personally I groom Dante every time before I ride, it may only be a quick brush down, but it gives me a chance to feel for any new lumps, bumps or grazes. Your horses should be checked daily for signs of injury as part of their care routine, it only takes 5 minutes but it will ensure anything is caught straight away rather than it becoming an underlining issue.

Common Injuries & How To Treat Them

Grazes & Wounds

Scrape 2

Small cuts are quite easy to treat. There are multiple creams, ointments and sprays that can be used to treat smaller grazes and wounds. My preference is Sudocream. Dante is commonly seen walking around the yard with dots of Sudocream on his legs. He is not the best traveller and always comes back from a show with some sort of graze to show for it, even if he does have a set of travel boots on! 

 Assessing & Treating Deeper Cuts

 So what do you do if you find your horse in the field or stable with a bad cut and a significant amount of blood coming from it? 

  • First things first Do Not Panic. Get in contact with your yard manager so that they can take a look and help you if needed.
  • Your horse may be a bit shook from the injury so be sure to keep them still and calm. If your horse is in the field and they are capable of walking, get them in to the stable so you can assess the injury properly and determine what attention it needs. 
  • Once your horse is in, ask someone to hold the horse so you can assess how bad the wound is. If you don’t have anyone with you find somewhere to tie them up safely. 
  • Next you need to get a good look at how bad the cut is. If it doesn’t seem too deep, you should be ok to hose it down. Once clean, apply some antiseptic cream or ointment to help keep infection at bay.
  • However if it is a deep cut, your best bet is to clean it out with warm water and Epsom salts as hosing can result in other dust or dirt getting into the cut. Next I would definitely advise calling the vet as the cut may need a stitch and to be treated with some heavier weight anti-septic to ensure an infection doesn’t set in.

    See above quite graphic images of Coco from last year, she went through quite the injury and recovery session. Read all about the ordeals Orla went through in her blog post What Goes Up, some great tips on creams & gels she used to get Coco back in tip top condition!

Lameness

Lameness can be one of the most frustrating ailments for you and your horse. It can be caused by any number of reasons but unless the cause is glaringly obvious, the first port of call is to find out where the lameness is coming from by trotting your horse up.

When you trot your horse up, you’re looking to see if your horse bobs its head. If it does, you want to check on which foot it bobs its head. It can take some practice to read so it’s always best to have someone else there who can give a second opinion. 

Causes of Lameness:

  • Stone bruise
  • Abscess
  • Ligament or Tendon damage
  • Laminitis 
  • Muscle Strain (back, neck, shoulders etc.)

Depending on the cause of lameness you may need to either get a vet, a farrier or a physio out to look at your horse. If you’re not sure what the cause is, your vet is the best place to start.

If you’re ever unsure about how to treat your horse’s injury, your safest bet will always be to call the vet. You’re better off getting it looked at rather than just assuming it will be fine.

 

Basic Treatments Worth Learning

Applying A Poultice 

Dante PoulticeA poultice is simply used to get rid/keep infection away from the injured area and to prevent it from further infection.

Applying a poultice can be done hot or cold. Applying a cold Poultice will help to reduce inflammation caused by bad falls, or bad kicks. Applying a Hot poultice will promote and increase blood supply to the affected areas, this will help draw out any infections. Remember, a hot poultice doesn’t mean piping hot, more like hot enough for you to warm your hands up off.  To be honest everyone has their own preference so stick to what you know or what suits you best.

A few Tips for Applying:

  1. Make sure the area is dry, cut the poultice to size of the area you are treating and apply.
  2. Wrap a layer of soft padding, (Check out our Facebook Page for a very helpful video on using a babies nappy for this!) on top of the poultice and around the foot.
  3. Apply Vet Wrap or Duct Tape is commonly used to keep the bandage in place. The Duct Tape will also provide a waterproof layer on top.
  4. Keep a close eye on the poultice, as it will need to be changed once a day.
  5. Keep an eye on your horses legs, if the swelling rises up call your vet immediately, likewise if you are unsure of how to apply this dressing.

Stable Bandages

Bandaging is something I am actually shocking at, I wont lie. I need a lot more practice at doing it! They are great though, they help keep dressings in place. Bandages should Dante - Bandages.jpgalways be done over padding, this will reduce pressure and keep it even all whilst providing 100% protection to the affected area. If your horse has injured his front left leg, it is advised to bandage the right front leg also! Likewise if the injury is on the back legs. Bandaging can be quite particular, not everyone can do it correctly and unfortunately practise does make perfect. A few tips below about bandaging,

  • No Wrinkles in either bandages
  • Must be applied over padding
  • Your Bandage should Always fasten on the outer side of the leg
  • Bandages that are too tight or left on too long may cause damage to the area such as hair loss
  • Poorly applied bandages can cause serious damage especially if they start to slip down

If you decide to treat your horse yourself, be sure to keep an eye on them incase anything changes, such as, if the injury gets worse, your horse develops a fever or anything else that indicates their condition is deteriorating. And if this does happen, call your vet immediately.

 

First Aid Kit For the Horse: The Basics you should have

 

I have slowly been building up a collection of products for Dante! Having young horses also means having to deal with a number of injuries due to either careless behaviour or silly baby moments from your youngster! If you yourself feel like you need to start up a first aid kit for your horse, here are a few of the basics to get you started in the image below. 

First Aid Horses

A few extra items I have on order are things such as Syringes, plastic gloves, Animalintex(Hoof Poultice) & a tub of Epsom Salts, the majority of my Horse First aid, I got from the Equine Warehouse! I found this website the most beneficial with the best selection of veterinary items.

With all the advice & tips mentioned above, I hope you guys are well sorted or at least have some basic guidelines if anything is to happen to your horse. Just remember, if you are in any doubt contact your vet ASAP, as you can tell from the pictures, our horses are quite accident prone so our vet was on speed dial for the guts of two months. It’s all part & parcel with owning young mischievous horses!

Thanks for reading, & please remember, if you watch Grey’s Anatomy religiously it still does not mean you are qualified to perform surgery on anyone let alone an animal for that matter! Ask for help when help is needed! 

Darielle