Are you happy with your horse’s diet, weight and overall condition? Inline with BETA Feed Fact Fortnight, this Let’s Chat Tuesday we got talking about nutrition and you certainly gave us some food for thought! So, here we’re going to be taking a look at the feed and supplements you like best, what they do and how they work. We’ll even be answering some of the most common questions around diet. Stick with us to find out more.
Does your horse have hard feed?
Does your horse have hard feed? 66% of you said yes! If your horse is a poor-doer, we’d bet you were one of them. For those of us with good-doers however, it can feel like we’re spending money to add unnecessary calories, for no good reason! Don’t be fooled though, this simply isn’t true. Hard feed is a really important part of our horse’s diet. This is especially the case when they’re stabled or their food intake is restricted. Keep reading to find out more about the types of feed and how they should be utilised.
What’s in your horse’s feed?
It’s what’s on the inside that matters! We asked you “What products are in your horse’s feed?”. From Alfa A and Conditioning Cubes to Grass Pellets and Low Cal Balancer, almost all of you answered: A balancer, combined with chaff or mash. If you agree, here’s why you’re probably getting it right!
Just like it says in the name, these are designed to balance your horse’s diet. Feeding a balancer isn’t about adding calories. Especially formulated to provide vital vitamins and minerals, they’re designed to keep your horse looking and feeling his best.
There are two distinct types of chaff, straw and alfalfa. Straw chaffs are generally made using oat or wheat. More often than not, these are a little less pricey. For good-doers, they’re harder to digest, acting as a great filler, slowing down eating and encouraging chewing. For poor-doers and those prone to ulcers, alfalfa is usually the chaff of choice. This is a highly digestible source of fibre. Creating a natural buffer against stomach acid, it’s scientifically proven to encourage a healthy digestive system.
Soaked feeds are ideal for increasing our horse’s water intake, preventing dehydration. They’re also fantastic for horses with poor dentition. Most adopt a fibre first approach, including Fibre-beet, Fast Fibre and Pink Mash. Some however are high in oil, like Linseed Mash, for promoting weight gain and condition. Mashes should almost always be fed alongside a balancer, they’re not designed to provide enough vitamins and minerals when used alone.
Mixes & Cubes
Some of you also told us that you used a mix or cube. From Top Line Conditioning Cubes and Competition Mix to Keep Calm and Youngstock Mix, these feeds are formulated to provide much more targeted nutrition. Different to balancers, not every horse will need or benefit from them. That being said, if you have a horse that requires a more tailored diet, such as those in hard work, breeding or growing, it’s worth taking a closer look at what’s available.
If you’re not keen on using a mix or you like to take an even more granular approach, supplements are a great option. In some cases, these can be used to manage and prevent specific issues. We asked you what you add to your horse’s feed and why. Take a look at some of the answers we received.
A. Yes! Just like ourselves, our horse’s have likes and dislikes when it comes to food. It’s not unusual for some horses to dislike chaff, especially if they’re a fussy eater. As mentioned earlier, there are two types of chaff, straw and alfalfa. Generally, alfalfa chaff is more palatable. While it’s still high in fibre, it’s less stalky, nicer to chew and easier to digest. It’s worth giving this a try if you haven’t already. If you find your horse still isn’t keen but you’d like them to have chaff, you can add palatability enhancers to tempt them. Mint is considered great for this and it can also help calm and settle the digestive system.
Q. My horse is fat, does he still need a feed?
A. Yes! It’s easy to look at a horse that’s overweight and assume they don’t need a feed. The thing is though, if we were to eat loads of chocolate and cake (tempting), we’d gain weight, but there’s still a good chance we’d be missing out on shed loads of important nutrients. This is because we’re eating too much of the wrong things. It’s the same for our horses. If your horse is overweight, opt for a light balancer and a plain straw based chaff or soaked low sugar fibre mash. This will help ensure they’re getting a balanced diet, without adding too many unnecessary calories. Top Tip: Weigh your dry feed and make sure you account for this when you’re measuring their haynets.
Q. Should I feed a supplement or a balancer?
A. Good question! In truth, it depends on your horse and how much you’d like to feed. For either method to work correctly, you must feed in accordance with the manufacturers recommendations. When trying to keep meals small, it’s easier to feed the correct amount of a general purpose supplement. If you are already feeding larger meals however, it’s best to replace some of their chaff or mash ration with a balancer. This is more cost effective and they’ll still have a nice full belly!
Show season is upon us, is your wardrobe ‘wow’ worthy? Whether this year will be your first in the spotlight or you’re practically a pro, make sure you’re competition wear is up to the challenges ahead. Join us as we take a whistle stop tour of what to wear, when and why!
Show Wear 101
A time honoured tradition, tweed jackets are generally worn for ridden showing classes, right up from local to county level. These are available in a range of colours including green, brown and navy. Etiquette states that tweed jackets should be paired with a shirt and tie, cream or beige breeches and a velvet show hat. As havana tack is best for showing, most riders finish their look with brown tall boots and coordinating leather gloves. Take a look at our outfit inspiration:
When competing in dressage, steer clear of tweed. Instead, go for a plain black or navy competition jacket. These pair perfectly with a stock shirt, plain stock and white breeches. Comfortable and non-restrictive gloves are a must, as it’s mandatory they’re worn for your test. These should be black, navy or white. Saddlery for dressage is usually black, so most riders wear matching long boots. At lower levels, both peaked and skull caps are acceptable, providing they match your jacket colour and are subtly styled.
Generally speaking, show jumping is probably the least scrupulous of the competitive disciplines. While looking smart and sophisticated is important, freedom of movement and comfort are key! Similar to Dressage, most show jumpers wear a black or navy jacket. We’d recommend choosing a style that’s lightweight and unrestrictive, made using softshell or cooling mesh. These function best with a breathable technical shirt. For security in the saddle, white full seat breeches are great, teamed with long boots for lower leg support.
There you have it! We hope you’ve found your winning competition wear for the season ahead. Let us know what you’ll be getting up to in the comments. You can shop our full range of products online at www.naylors.com or in-store. Don’t forget, if you make a purchase share your pictures with us on social media by including #NaylorsSnapAndShare on your post for the chance to win a Naylors gift card!
This week’s hot topic: Sweet Itch! With warm weather seemingly here to stay and flies soon to be out in full force, we took to our Facebook and Instagram pages for a chat about this common skin condition. If you’d like to find out more, you’re in the right place! From the questions we asked you, to the questions you wanted the answers to, it’s all here…
How many horses suffer from Sweet Itch?
Sweet Itch is one of the most common skin conditions affecting horses and ponies, maybe even more common than you might think! This seasonal ailment is rife between March and November, thought to impact around 5% of equines. That being said, over on our Instagram we asked you if your horse suffers from Sweet Itch, and the results were quite a shock! 540 of you responded and a huge 129 said their horse is affected by this condition.
What are the most common symptoms?
Naturally, our next question was ‘What symptoms does your horse present?’. Typically, horses with Sweet Itch will display clear signs of discomfort, though they can vary massively. 224 of you responded, with 135 saying that flare-ups caused their horses to rub. Hair loss was also common, while a swishing the tail and behaviour changes were more more.
How To Prepare
Next up, we asked how you get prepared for Sweet Itch season. The answer… Supplements! Almost all of the suggestions we received were related to adapting your horse’s diet to promote general wellbeing, skin health and coat condition. The products most frequently highlighted included; Apple Cider Vinegar, Linseed, Garlic and Brewers Yeast. Take a look at their properties and how they might help put a stop to scratching for your horse…
How To Prevent
Prevention is always better than cure! Caused by a reaction to the proteins in the saliva of biting insects, the key to keeping your horse comfortable during the warmer months is to fight the flies! This is a constant battle and any lapses can prove costly. Thankfully though, there’s a whole host of products that can help, including; Fly Masks, Rugs and Sprays.
It’s not all about keeping your horse covered up or drenching them in fly sprays. Avoiding wet fields, steering clear of trees, poo picking regularly and turning out on windy days are all measures that can help too.
Your Sweet Itch Questions Answered
Q. Are some breeds more likley to have Sweet Itch?
A. Any horse, pony or donkey can suffer from Sweet Itch. Sadly though, it’s thought that Belgian Warmbloods, Icelandic horses and native ponies are at a higher risk. Research has shown that this is likely down to genetics.
Q. Is there a long-term treatment for Sweet Itch?
A. If your horse suffers from Sweet Itch, the saliva of flies causes the immune system to attack the body’s own cells. This results in extreme discomfort, which none of us want for our horses. When dealing with this condition in the long term, being prepared really is the only solution.
To help with this, we’d recommend Z-Itch. An authorized veterinary medicinal product, it’s formulated with permethrin, especially for the control of Culicoides spp (midges). Before application, weigh your horse for the appropriate dosage. Measure out the solution by loosening the cap and squeezing the bottle until the chamber contains the desired amount. This should then be poured over the mane and rump, avoiding the head and saddle areas. For most horses, one treatment a week is enough to manage the condition effectively.
Q. When is there going to be a vaccine for Sweet Itch?
A. Over recent years, we’ve all seen just what a difference vaccinations can make! Unfortunately however, they can’t be developed over night! In 2021 it was reported that a Swiss research team was working on a vaccine, which was showing great promise. That being said, this isn’t available yet. In truth, it could take a long time before a vaccine becomes accessible to owners like you and I.
We hope you’ve found this information useful. If you have a question that we haven’t answered, add it to the comments and we’ll get back to you! To get involved and have your say, join us on Facebook or Instagram for Let’s Chat Tuesday, where we cover a new topic each week.
Mother’s Day is fast approaching, have you found the perfect gift? There’s something very special about 27th March. More than just another Sunday, this is the day dedicated to showing that special someone in our lives just how much we appreciate them. Whether it’s your mum, step-mum, nan, sister, auntie or even best friend, this is the perfect opportunity to say thank you for all the little things, and the big ones too. From mucking out our ponies and 4am show-day wakeup calls to days out in the countryside and finally saying yes to getting a dog. If you’re looking for gift inspiration, you’re in the right place. Keep reading for our top Mother’s Day picks for outdoorsy and horsey mums…
Horze Leather Belt
RRP £17.99 £15.99
Effortlessly pairing with both breeches and jeans, the Horze Leather Belt is just as at home in the saddle as it is at the shops. Boasting a PU outer with a real leather lining, it’s durable, hard wearing and stretch resistant, without compromising on looks! Embellished with a rose gold buckle and studs, it’s a real head turner.
A true classic, leather riding gloves are an equestrian staple. Offering a soft feel down the reins, they’re super smart, naturally supple and grip enhancing. Designed for summer in the saddle, they’re also breathable, featuring integrated ventilation to minimise sweating and optimise comfort.
Built for long days at the stables and in the saddle, Ariat Tek Performance Socks make a great gift for any horsey mum. Manufactured using an anti-microbial and moisture wicking material with a breathable mesh wrap, they’re cooling and comfortable. Way more advanced than your average supermarket socks, they feature a cushioned footbed and a targeted heel and ankle bone protection shield, guarding against blisters and absorbing shock.
Quickly filling any room with their favourites scents, there’s something about candles that help to make a house feel more like home, right? A little different to those you might find on the high street, this range from Platinum is hand poured and bursting with equestrian fragrances, created using natural ingredients found in and around Northumberland.
If you’re looking for something special, splash out on the Dubarry Parkhall! A gift they’ll never forget, it oozes style and sophistication. Fashionable and functional, it boasts a genuine leather and suede outer, with zip pockets and elongated shoulder straps for comfort.
Expertly designed to perfectly complement the Dubarry handbag range, the Northbrook Purse offers a sleek suede and smooth leather outer. With an external zip and an internal zip pocket, it’s great for storing notes and coins. As safe as it is stylish, it features an RFID lining, helping to keep bank cards and identification documents protected against skimming and data theft.
Bold, bright and bee-utiful, the Joules Eco Conway Scarf is the perfect finishing touch to any casual country outfit. Kind to the planet and soft against the skin, it’s made using 100% Lenzing™ EcoVero™ viscose. Designed especially for the warmer month’s ahead, it’s both breathable and lightweight.
Pretty and practical, the Portee umbrella comes in two colours, designed to co-ordinate with the inner lining of Barbor Jackets. Ideal for on the go, it features a super handy telescopic design, small enough to fit easily in most handbags.
Full height wellies might be great for tackling knee deep mud, but they’re not so good for gardening! Built for summer out tending flowers, fruits and vegetables, Joules Wellibobs are a must-have. Ankle length, they’re cool, comfortable and non-restrictive. Best of all, their natural rubber construction is still 100% waterproof and their water dispersing sole ensures they provide grip and stability.
Hydration is at hand! Whether they’re walking the dog, relaxing in the sun or working in the garden, they’ll never be without their Barbour Glass Bottle. Featuring a protective silicone sleeve, stylish wooden lid and practical rope handle, it’s got all the boxes checked.
Every Gardner needs a trusty pair of gloves! Lightweight, breathable and seam free, Aubrion All Purpose Gloves feature a knitted nylon design for dexterity and comfort. Built to withstand even the most challenging of tasks, the palm features a hard wearing and durable coating, offering superior grip and protection against abrasions.
Give the gift of choice with a Naylors gift card! Choose a value anywhere between £5 and £300, we’ll then post it out free of charge or enclosed with your other items. Gift cards are valid for 12 months from the date of issue and can be redeemed both online and in our stand alone stores (Rochdale, Cannock and Wardle).
Flash offer! Get set for spring in the saddle with 15% off riding wear, including clothing, riding boots, accessories and safety wear*. Redeem this offer online using the voucher code RIDING15! You’ll have to be quick though, this offer ends midnight Monday. Not sure where to start your shopping spree? We’ve got your back! Take a look at our top picks for women, men and children…
*Offer Excludes Ariat and LeMieux
15% off Women’s Riding Wear
Horze Remy Cotton Sweatshirt
Smart, stylish and sustainable, the brand new Horze Remy sweatshirt is made using 100% organic cotton. Stretchy and soft, it’s super comfortable, great for lounging around the house or wrapping up warm at the yard. Boasting a high collar, ribbed cuffs and zip pockets, it’s sure to be your new go to!
Back and better than ever, we’re excited to be welcoming home a staple of season’s gone by. An updated style, the Kylie II is made using a bi-stretch fabric, boasting UPF 50+ fabric, Comfort Dry Technology, mesh side panels and a dirt repellant peached outer. Ideal for the warmer months ahead, shop now to spend less!
Shine bright this spring! Add a touch of glamour to your riding wardrobe with the eye catching Cecile breeches from HV polo. Pretty and practical in equal measure, they offer a full silicone seat, high waist and hip pockets. Not to mention, lurex piping, rhinestone detailing and a metallic bit rear embellishment.
Bag a boot bargain! Great quality, Brogini Trivoli Boots are too good to miss. Hand crafted using real leather with elasticated side panels and a front zip, they’re built for comfort wear-after-wear. Rated 5 stars, here’s what our customers have to say about theirs…
“I have bought these before and as mine are about 6 years old (but still waterproof and useable) I thought I’d treat myself to a new pair.”
Don’t get caught out in the rain! The ultimate outer layer for those grey and gloomy days, the Horseware Corrib features a waterproof outer, taped seams, midweight fill and a anti-pilling fleece liner. Complete with a zip front, zip pockets and a hide away hood, it’s got all the boxes checked.
Shed the sleeves and soak up the sunshine in a Horseware Signature Polo. Made using 100% cotton, they’re lightweight, breathable and fantastic quality. Traditional in style with a button down collar, relaxed fit and retro trims, what’s not to love? With 15% off for a limited time, now’s your chance to stock up!
Built especially for equestrian athletes, the Toggi Inbetweener Technical Mid layer belongs in your wardrobe! Breathable and sporty, it’s made using a super soft and stretchy performance fabric and boasts decrease seamlines, a high neck and a full zip front.
Rainy day ready? If your little one loves to make a splash, let the puddle jumping commence with the fully waterproof, lightweight Tikaboo Suit. Features include a generous hood, elasticated cuffs, a tapered waist and a full body length zip.
We love the Latimer! Cosy and casual, this cotton rich hoodie features a cowl neck, fleecy inner lining, drawstring hood, thumb hole cuffs and a large kangaroo pocket. Available for both women and children, will you be twinning this season?
Pro in the making? Built for budding young riders, this technical Woof Wear shirt is all about performance. Made using iFlex 4 way stretch fabric, it’s lightweight, breathable and quick drying. A must have during the spring and summer months, it also guards against harmful UV rays, thanks to its UPF 30+ material.
Looking for long boots that won’t blow the budget? Smart, durable, low maintenance and hardwearing, Brogini Modena Boots are ideal for everyday wear. Super comfortable, they offer a fit enhancing rear elasticated panel and a full zip for easy on/off. Don’t get left out, these boots are also available for women too!
You can shop our full range of products online at www.naylors.com or in-store. Don’t forget, if you make a purchase share your pictures with us in the comments or include #NaylorsSnapAndShare on your social posts for the chance to win a Naylors gift card!