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28.6.14

Keeping Up With The Unicorns...Mane Training




My hair is straight, fine and a little boring...I'd love curls, bounce and volume...yet we always want what we don't have, and funnily enough I am the same with my horse. Oscar has a lot of mane, it grows beautifully and rarely rubs away after a Winter spent rugged up...sounds perfect doesn't it? Well it is, apart from a thick, unruly patch mid way up his neck where it sticks up, out, left and right and grows and grows and grows! For some time (winter), I have turned a blind eye to this lawless area of mane, but as Summer is almost upon us and I start to pick up my personal grooming routine (shaving my legs in hope of a sunny day), it was only fair to attempt to spruce up Oscar's look too and this has been niggling me...

Mohican...trend setter?

I pull Oscar's mane little and often and as a rule only pull it after exercise when the pores and hair follicles are open, I mostly pull with my fingertips, pinching small amounts at a time to swiftly pull it out from the root. When I am feeling a little more determined I use a metal pulling comb, being sure to only pull small amounts of hair at a time so not to cause discomfort or pain. And in recent weeks have attacked the thicker area, dampening it down afterwards to encourage it to lay correctly on the right side and then knotted in a few plaiting bands with 1-2 inch sections of mane per band ensuring these are not pulling at the root, aren't overly tight and are as comfortable as possible. The progress is pleasing and in my lesson last week I was complimented how smart Oscar's mane looked - whoooopp, jump up and down inside, someone noticed to fruits of my labour, I didn't disclose this adds an extra 15/20 minutes onto my time at the yard each evening! 

Here are some photos of the progress...





I must add, I purchased a Main Comb (below in pink), it claimed to "eliminate mane & tail pulling, forever", an attractive statement to every horse owner, I think you will agree? It is a comb with a razor inside, that thins and shortens mane and tails to leave a natural pulled look, with an easily replaceable blade...and it's a good job it's easy because I found it needed replacing after every use! Something I don't have the time or money to do and the results weren't anything to write home about either, therefore wouldn't recommend this as a purchase and would rather stick to the traditional method (my trusty comb pictured below).


Let me know if you've tried any gadgets to assist you, I'd love to hear feedback on the mane and tail rakes?

Thank you for reading, Jessica and Oscar xxxx

9.6.14

SilverFeet

I may only be speaking for myself but I feel as horse owners, we don't know enough about the equine foot, yet we'll all of heard the age old saying;
"no foot, no horse"
I have always and will continue to grow my knowledge, yet apart from the strong basic hoof care rules that we all follow, the optional add ons can be overwhelming!

Something that has always caused me confusion are hoof oils, balms, lotions and potions! Many believe hoof products interfere with the hooves natural ability to regulate moisture, and that hooves will exfoliate themselves without human conditioning...makes sense, but what about when human conditioning means horses are moved from wet muddy paddocks, to dry stables with bedding specifically designed to absorb moisture, upsetting mother natures way?



Silverfeet Hoof Oil, hoof infection, hoof thrush

With all this in mind, Silverfeet's Hoof Balm appealed to me because it is a natural product. Formulated using ingredients from eco-sustainable sources and consists of a vegetable oil/ beeswax bade plus essential oils and the all important silver complex (silver ions). It doesn't contain any harsh chemicals and is therefore safe for everyday use all year round.

The balm - in my case, also comes in a liquid format, containing all of the same properties as the balm and was launched in December 2013, I am yet to try this - should be applied to the hoof wall, sole and frog daily in order to produce an effective barrier against the ever changing environment, whilst the silver ions maintain hoof health and fight bacteria that can lead to smelly feet.

I have used Silverfeet Natural Balm for 8 months, throughout the wet winter, dry spring and again...wet Summertime! My GeeGee, Oscar's hooves have remained pretty consistent considering our extreme weather and we haven't had any nasty smells or signs of thrush, just clean, shiny, healthy hooves! Which is impressive to say he lost a shoe almost every 3 weeks during the worse part of winter due to stepping on his own feet when dashing around in the muddy paddock, but thankfully this didn't affect his hoof health too much.
I apply the balm to clean, dry hooves with a hoof oil brush, as it's a balm it doesn't leak or spill in your grooming bag and it smells deliciously refreshing...aloe vera, eucalyptus...tea tree! Hmm...wish there was a 'tap & smell' option on the screen!

The hoof balm comes in four colours, I chose the natural balm, however it also comes in pink and blue, these balms apply clear, just like the natural balm, only claim to enhance the natural hoof colour - need to add a pot of this to my show grooming kit as I'd love to see how it enhances colour...and whether it really does make it a difference! And finally, a black balm which is specifically for black hooves, again another one for me to try, as my GeeGee has four black feet!


Siverfeet Hoof Balm is really affordable and cost me £9.95 for 400ml from my local tack shop, it can also be purchased direct from Silverfeet at £9.50 here; http://www.silverfeet.com/#!purchase/c3oe
I am on my second pot and wouldn't use anything else as daily hoof care for my GeeGee at the moment, I am not the only one who feels this way either, please check out their many Testimonials on their website; http://www.silverfeet.com/#!customer-comments/clrf

Thank you for reading, Jessica and Oscar xxxx

3.6.14

LeMieux ProSport Saddle Pad

I am a lover of all things LeMieux, therefore when I decided to treat Oscar and I to a new everyday saddle pad I went straight to the Horse Health website and checked out what smart pads they had to choose from. 


images/PSGpSqBrn-WEB.jpg

The LeMieux ProSport GP/Jump square caught my eye immediately as a smart, practical pad, reasonably priced at £34.95. The pad comes in 5 colours, black, blue, brown, grey and white and although described as a 'plain' saddle pad, it definitely has something about it! 
The inner lining of the pad is a waffle material, this controls temperature, breathability and has sweat wicking properties. And when it says 'waffle' that is literally how the lining appears, small squares criss-crossed in the material. (Will come back to this later below...*)
Double velcro stra girth straps and D-ring straps are included on the saddle pad alongside an open swan neck design for freedom at the whither, which is true to use, the pad has never pulled down/tightened over my horses whithers when in use so would be comfortable on all shapes and sizes.
And of course, this saddle pad has the trade mark LeMieux girth protection area for added strength and adds to the smart overall look!

Something that I didn't pay enough attention to was this notice; this pad has the following rating for sensitivity of horses skin and coat...



The notice is clearly displayed on the website:  http://www.horsehealth.co.uk/lemieux/plain-pads/prosport-plain-gp-jump/lemieux-prosport-gp-jump-square-brown but I have a Connemara, a hardy Irish bog pony, therefore thought it not applicable to us!


How wrong could I be, I used the pad on and off for a few weeks happily, noticing no difference to my GeeGee...until we went XC schooling, at the end of our course my saddle had slipped slightly in this saddle pad and when I removed the saddle, the pad had rubbed an area of Oscar's back, enough to rub away some of the hair! I was mortified...thankfully Oscar wasn't as concerned and happily allowed me to rub, clean, poke and prod the area without any angry faces being pulled!
(I treated it daily with NAF Love the Skin he's in salve: http://geegeeandme.blogspot.co.uk/2014/05/keeping-up-with-unicornsnaf-love-skin.html)
I believe the rubs were caused by the waffle lining, as the inner material isn't smooth or soft to touch, I have also washed the pad in a desperate attempt to soften which sadly, hasn't worked either. 


Horse Health is one of my favourite places to shop and do an excellent job of signposting the sensitivity level of this product, I have learnt my lesson and in future will pay attention to these notices, and because of my experience I won't be purchasing another saddle pad with any type of 'waffle' or technical lining, but if your horse doesn't have sensitive skin I don't think you can go far wrong with this pad, and I am sad to be looking for a new home for mine as I think it looks rather smart!

Thank you for reading, Jessica and Oscar xxxx