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20.3.14

Thunderbrook Gut Cleanse Review

My beautiful boy had a bad case of botfly worms when I first bought him home, which led me to research the pesky botfly, that had set up home within his gut and the potential damage they could cause. When researching I came across a brand called Thunderbrook and know many who successfully feed their Base Mix. Here is their 'About' section taken from the website: http://thunderbrook.co.uk/about-us/ 



"Our focus is your horse's well-being and good health. 
Our feeds are formulated using the latest scientific research to nutritionally support anti-inflammatory metabolism.
In doing so, we utilise optimum quality ingredients, which are carefully sourced, minimally processed and without artificial additives.
Our feeds are not formulated using the cheapest fillers and waste by-product ingredients such as wheat-feed and oat-feed or 'nutritionally improved' (chemically treated) straw.
These would provide us with a bigger profit margin, but that's not what we at Thunderbrook Equestrian are about......."


I don't know about you guys, but I read this and I really bought in, browsing through their products the Gut Cleanse caught my eye and I kept coming back to it, whether that be via the website, Google or searching the Horse and Hound Forum for further information. 

Thunderbrook describe their Gut Cleanse as a gentle cleanser of the digestive system, to aid natural removal of sand, soil, food and other debris and toxins.
Ideal for horses with...poor digestion caused by age, dental problems, worm damage (this one was potentially us), poor quality feed, excess rich grass, sandy grazing, horses turned out in sandy schools.
What's in it...the main ingredient is psyllium husk - this is an indigestible substance and a source of fibre, often used in humans to relieve constipation and irritable bowel syndrome. However, due to this being a highly water soluble fibre it swells, and becomes sticky like wallpaper paste (reported in humans to have caused choking - Thunderbrook do not issue this warning therefore please be aware of this if you choose to feed Gut Cleasnse). Thunderbrook add other vitamins, natural herbs and fresh bee products to the psyllium husk and together these act as a stimulant to the digestive system, to aid passage of foreign particles and toxins from the gut. 

The idea of Oscar having a 'detox' and passing all of the rubbish out of his system, after having worms and the possibility of sand laying in his gut as his favourite hangout during the Summer was his sand pit made the Gut Cleanse really attractive to me and at the start of Winter, so I took the plunge and purchased a 1 kg bag for £28.00 from their website.


Feeding guidelines...feed 200g per day for a large horse, 100g per day for a small pony (under 13.2hh), split between meals, for 5 days consecutively. Optimum results are achieved when fed as part of warm mash, adding a handful of organic freshly milled bran, hot water (or fresh nettle tea by simmering a double handful of nettle leaves in a pan of water) and a small cup of linseed oil to regular feed. Sprinkle Gut Cleanse on and mix in just prior to feeding.
The psyillum develops a gum-like consistency on contact with water and some fussy eaters may not like the texture. Be persistent, ensure the full 5 day course is ingested for best results.
(Above wording taken from packaging).


I followed the instructions, as above and added a little of his normal feed at the start of Winter 2013...(actually, small lie told there, I didn't boil nettles! I work full time!!!) and after days 1, 2 and 3 of him not touching his breakfast or dinner I rang for advise as I was concious he wasn't eating - the team at Thunderbrook were really helpful and offered that I introduce it gradually and went back to his normal feed, we played about for 3 weeks, feeding varied amounts of Gut Cleanse, occasionally Oscar would finish a meal, but only if I added a pinch of Gut Cleanse and NO more! I could kind of understand why, the feed would go cold and stick to the bottom of the bowl like glue! I almost felt bad asking him to eat it! It isn't all bad, the smell of the Gut Cleanse is pleasant, very herbal but I think for Oscar it was more about the texture of the feed than the smell that put him off. So sadly I never got to the stage of feeding the recommended amounts and therefore can't tell you if Oscar felt happier in his gut, but throughout winter I have continued to feed my pinch...not sure what I will do with the almost full bag now...! If any of you would like to try it, can always send you a sample.

At the same time of purchasing Gut Cleanse, I also (foolishly maybe) purchased the Gut Restore too but haven't yet tried this after focusing all my energy on encouraging him to eat the Cleanser, I will review this product too once I am more familiar. 
Being 100% honest, I wouldn't purchase the Gut Cleanse again and would love to hear your successes and any fails with Thunderbrook Gut Cleanse if you have any experiences please...

Thank you for reading, Jessica and Oscar xx

4.3.14

Oscar Loves Shiny New Shoes

Oscar loves shiny new shoes...or this is the conclusion I have come to in recent weeks after he has thrown them about his field...his stable...left them carelessly out on a hack somewhere! I only wish I had the same budget to spend on shoes for myself...how heavenly would that be!


I  blame the Monsoon like weather conditions we're experiencing in Great Britain at the moment, as the hoof horn swells to accommodate the excess water, and annoyingly, saturated hooves give the appearance of a full, smooth horn, cleverly filling out cracks and imperfections to appear perfect. When actually the hoof horn is very weak, just like our fingernails after a long hot soak in the bath....or after washing a big pile of dishes - most likely the later. 

Therefore Oscar's soft hooves and the vacuum like suction from the thick, clayey mud at the entrance to his paddock, that he insists on parading along, like a solider on guard whenever he is left alone in his field for so long as 20 seconds, (why when you have 10 acres of green, green grass) currently holds more shoes in it's mud bath than I do in my wardrobe! 

Now I don't believe for one second that mud at the entrance to a paddock alone can suck off a correctly fitted shoe but I know the hoof horn is at it's strongest when containing a stabilised 25% moisture content...and getting/maintaining that this Winter (or any Winter) isn't easy, Oscar often over reaches as he loons about his field which loosens them all too easily in their current soft state. A friend recommended I try turning Oscar out in rubber over reach boots, after borrowing a pair and having success (no lost shoes in 5 weeks, a personal best this Winter!) I went ahead and invested in a pair of our own. 
I opted for Equi-Theme Double Velcro Overreach Boots in XL to ensure they cover the back of the hoof and shoe, priced at £7.50 for the pair. One lasted all of 3 days, another lasted until today!! Oscar has torn straight through them both, I'd rather it be a plastic boot than further damage to his hoof from a torn shoe but I am not impressed with the quality of the rubber! Oscar is wearing a borrowed pair and I am back to the drawing board in an attempt to find some better quality over reach boots that will last yet won't break the bank! Please save your pennies and don't buy these;
http://www.derbyhouse.co.uk/Equestrian/Horse/Horse+Boots++Safety/Overreach+Boots/Equi-Theme+Double+Velcro+Overreach+Boots_443-0008.htm

Thank you for reading, Jessica and Oscar xxxx



2.3.14

Home Farm, Hothorpe Equestrian Centre..WOW

Home Farm, Hothorpe Equestrian Centre took my breath away last week, I helped groom for a friend who like everyone else, is fed up of riding on soggy surfaces, in the dark after a long day at work! Can we change the clocks yet...?

I would describe Hothorpe as a catwalk for horses, the lighting is out of this world and the arena is plentiful at 60m X 40m. 
Each week a showjumping course is set up for your use, so no two visits are ever the same, this also ensures you don't waste you hour moving jumps and striding out your distances...and cleverly entices you to go back time and time again! Additionally they've just started to hire the arena laid out with dressage boards, dates/times shown on their website; http://www.homefarmhothorpe.com/default.asp. I went on the dressage evening last Tuesday and it gave my friends young horse a fantastic introduction to a test like environment, as they have the letters, boards and glass area at the top for the judges! 
We paid £15 for the hour, plus £3.00 for the lighting on Tuesday, however the cost is discounted if there are more horses.
I can't wait for my turn, it's great to plan a fun visit somewhere like Hothorpe just to inject a little excitement back into your everyday riding exercises, get Google-ing for places local to you.

Home Farm
Hothorpe
Theddingworth
Leicestershire
LE17 6QX
Please note prior to booking you must register with Hothorpe on their website.

Thanks for reading, Jessica & Oscar xxxx