Friday, 22 June 2018

Types of Laminitis and the Treatments

Although we often think that all laminitis is ‘inflammatory’, there are two other kinds of pathology that can start the process of tissue deterioration within the hoof. Laminitis is therefore classed as either ‘inflammatory’, ‘metabolic’ or ‘overload’. In the second of a two-part look at this debilitating condition, Sarah Hogg BA VetMB MRCVS from Paragon Equine explains...

It’s important to pinpoint what type of laminitis is occurring in order to develop a specific treatment plan that will help your horse get back to full health as quickly as possible, and to minimise the chances of recurrence in the future.

Metabolic Laminitis
This is the commonest and possibly the most confusing type of laminitis. Vets have estimated that more than 90% of horses presenting with laminitis as their primary (main) complaint are metabolic cases. There are two underlying conditions involved in metabolic laminitis:
·         Equine Metabolic Syndrome (EMS)
·         Cushing’s Disease (more correctly called Pituitary Pars Intermedia Dysfunction; PPID).
Both conditions mean that horses have an inappropriate response to eating carbohydrate rich food (grass, concentrate feeds, hay and haylage) and produce too much insulin. Because of these high levels or unusually large spikes in insulin, the body becomes less sensitive to it. This is called ‘insulin resistance’.

Equine Metabolic Syndrome
EMS is a complex condition responsible for most cases of metabolic laminitis. It usually affects native pony breeds. Although it’s still unclear exactly how EMS causes laminitis, we think that high levels of insulin following carbohydrate digestion alter the blood vessels and blood supply to the hoof first of all. This then causes an inflammatory response and clinical symptoms. Studies have suggested that many horses with EMS have had subclinical (grumbling) laminitis for a long time before they are diagnosed with it. They are also more likely to suffer from further episodes in the future, so it’s vital that EMS is properly managed to prevent this.
Obesity is known to exacerbate EMS. It can look quite different from how we think of obesity in humans or other animals, where we’d always expect an all-over covering of excess fat. In horses ‘regional obesity’, where fat builds up in just one or two areas such as the crest of the neck or behind the shoulders, can be just as dangerous. Body condition scoring is a uniform way for describing the weight of a horse compared to what their optimal weight would be (see box for more information on how to do this properly).
The good news is there are plenty of ways we can help reduce the effects of EMS. Early diagnosis and management is critical and your vet may suggest a blood test or glucose challenge test to help confirm EMS is present. Weight loss is central to treatment, and a plan should be made for decreasing the calories your pony takes in whilst increasing those burnt through exercise (once any laminitis has completely settled). Learn to body condition score your pony and use a weight tape regularly to record your progress.

The best diet for EMS ponies is hay that has been soaked for at least an hour to reduce soluble sugars, alongside a quality commercial feed balancer fed to replace any vitamins and minerals that are also washed away. Weighing your hay at each feed or sending a sample to a laboratory for nutritional analysis can help you to gain more informed control over your pony’s diet. Your vet will be able to help you decide on a suitable amount of hay to feed for successful weight loss without cutting down too severely. Once EMS is under control, it is often possible to return ponies to restricted grazing.
Metformin is a human medication used in type 2 diabetes that is sometimes used to help treat EMS in horses. Several supplements, from cinnamon to omega-3 fatty acids, have been scientifically tested but none have proved reliably effective so far.

PPID, more commonly known as Cushing’s disease, is a degenerative condition of the pituitary gland at the base of the brain that occurs as horses get older. A small area of the pituitary gland becomes hyperplastic (grows) or can develop a benign growth called an adenoma. It is a common condition, affecting around 20% of horses over 15 years of age.
Despite being small in size, the pituitary controls many hormonal processes throughout the body, primarily the ‘stress hormone’ cortisol. PPID can have a range of gradually progressive symptoms, including:
·         Weight loss; or muscle wastage
·         Characteristic fat storage: pot-belly, crest, supra-orbital fat pads (above the eye)
·         Hirsuitism (thick, hairy coat) and delayed shedding of winter coat
·         Increased drinking and urination
·         Mouth ulcers
·         Prone to infection (e.g. skin, hoof, respiratory)
Although a clinical exam can be strongly suggestive of PPID, your vet will usually confirm diagnosis with a blood test.
Pergolide is an oral drug that effectively stabilizes most horses with PPID and can help to prevent or reduce further flare-ups of laminitis. Careful dietary management and regular farriery are also key to successful management.

Inflammatory Laminitis
Inflammatory laminitis occurs after the onset of a severe illness. Toxins are produced as a byproduct of inflammation and tissue damage, and travel through the bloodstream to affect all areas of the body – including the hoof.
Severe colic is an example of this kind of illness – when the gut is damaged toxins are released and travel to the feet to cause inflammation and damage in the sensitive laminae which hold the hoof the bone. Eating a lot of concentrate feed can have the same effect. Other examples include mares retaining their placenta after foaling and sepsis, where a bacterial infection overwhelms the body.
When dealing with inflammatory laminitis it’s vital that the original condition is treated alongside dealing with symptoms in the feet. This often includes antimicrobial treatment and strong anti-inflammatories. In the acute (early) stage, ice can be applied to the feet to try and shut down the blood vessels (like when we have cold hands and our fingers go white) to stop further toxins being delivered to the laminae and causing more damage. If a horse is known to be at risk from laminitis and is suffering from a severe systemic illness, your vet may want ice to be applied as a preventative measure.

Overload Laminitis
This is the least common form of laminitis, but it’s important to be aware of as the early stages can be hard to spot. Overload laminitis happens when a horse injures a limb and the leg on the other side is forced to compensate by bearing more weight. The increased load from their bodyweight causes mechanical damage to the laminae and the sensitive tissue again becomes painful and begins to break down.
Overload laminitis is best prevented and treated by supporting the weight-bearing limb. Vets are usually aware of this risk when treating severe lameness, and will help you to make the best possible plan for effective nursing and recovery.

General Treatment
Treatments directed at the foot itself, rather than the underlying cause, are also important. Strict rest, deep bedding, foot supports and suitable analgesia (painkillers) can all be important.
Corrective trimming is crucial in some cases, to get the foot realigned. If this is the case, radiographs (X-rays) can give your vet and farrier more information. Sometimes dramatic re-shaping of the foot is required, with the toe cut back and heel lowered. A good working relationship and open lines of communication between all those who care for your horse can make a real difference to the outcome. Once recovered, regular maintenance farriery should be a part of any laminitis-prone horse’s routine.
During the acute phase of laminitis, a low carbohydrate diet should be considered. Your vet will be able to advise you on this, and on a maintenance diet going forwards.
Finally, don’t be afraid to ask your vet for good recommendations on where you can learn more about laminitis and any underlying disease your horse may have. Most practices have detailed information sheets for owners or will happily point you in the direction of up-to-date online resource.
How to Body Condition Score your Horse
This is a great skill to have in your toolbox! Even if your horse doesn’t have laminitis it can be a useful way to evaluate the natural changes in condition we should see throughout the year (e.g. losing some weight each winter).
Try to score your horse every two weeks – taking a photo on your phone can help as a record of progress. Take particular note of fat at the neck crest, shoulders, tail head and covering the ribs, pelvis and backbone.
SCORE 0 – Emaciated
Sunken rump, angular pelvis, deep cavity under tail, skin tight across ribs and hips, sharp backbone, narrow neck base.
Prominent pelvis bones, sunken rump but some give in skin, deep cavity under tail, ribs easily visible, prominent backbone, narrow neck base.
Flat rump running down from backbone, slight cavity under tail, ribs just visible, backbone covered but easily felt, narrow but strong neck.
Pelvis rounded and covered by fat but easily felt, ribs and backbone just covered but easily felt, no crest (except stallions), firm neck.
Dip along back of pelvis to tail, firm pressure required to feel pelvis and ribs, dip along backbone, wide, firm neck.
Deep dip along back of pelvis, skin over rump distended, pelvis and ribs cannot be felt, deep dip along backbone, broad, flat back, marked crest with fold of fat.

To read the first part of this article click Laminitis (part1)

Thursday, 14 June 2018

13 Suggestions for Your 'Buying a Horse' Checklist

Could this horse become a member
of your family?

Once the decision is made to search for a new horse and youset that ‘ever-so flexible budget’ then like most of us, you’ll probably be guilty of hitting the ‘Horses For Sale’ ads across the vast choice of equestrian websites - and literally being overwhelmed with choices. In this context, the worst nightmare of all is allowing your teenage daughter to do the searching for her new horse. You’ll then be inundated with a plethora of perfect equines, the majority of which will be at the other end of the country, with POA’s to make your eyes water.
It’s not only a time consuming and pretty frustrating ordeal , which often  leads  to screeds of messaging about the horse with the current owner but even worse , you might easily decide to set off at great expense to travel goodness knows where to look at said beast.  Invariably this leads to disappointment purely because you haven’t really sat down before excitement took hold to thoroughly think what the criteria need to be for this new horse to fit perfectly into your lives.
You may think you have all the willpower in the world but making a CHECKLIST beforehand really does help and Equine extra has these 13 suggestions to add to yours!

1.       Decide on your budget and STICK TO IT.

2.       Decide  what your maximum and minimum height requirements are. Be honest with yourselves. If you can no longer mount up from the ground with ease, then don’t even look at anything over 15.2hh!

3.       Do you think a mare or a gelding will fit in with whatever stabling / field dynamics you have at home or on your livery yards. If you have any doubts about a particular gender then don’t but him or her!

4.       Do your homework thoroughly if buying from a Dealer. The good ones will have earned their reputation.

5.       Try not to have a particular colour or breed in mind; be open to looking at horses out with your preferences.

6.       Take a knowledgeable friend along - one who has lots of experience and will tell you how they see it, not just what you want to hear.

7.       Don’t be hesitant to ask the owner about a horse’s previous history, medical or otherwise. The more you know the better informed your decision will be.

8.       Watch like a hawk how the horse reacts to you, how it stands when being tacked up, what tack is being used and whether it fits properly.

9.       Pick the horse’s feet up, spend time checking feet and shoe wear. They can tell you about a multitude of issues.

10.   Ask about competition performance and previous health and veterinary issues - and listen carefully. There could be valuable clues in what is said that may guide your decision to purchase.

11.   With the all important test ride, don’t be hurried – and don’t mount up until you’ve seen the horse being ridden by the current owner. Take time to do the things you will be doing at home. If no mounting block is available then ask for one. Does the horse stand and have manners? Give it a calm and sensible workout on both reins. Note any stiffness or reluctance to move forward. Jump it to the height you will be asking it to jump. Does it make you feel confident?

12.   Above all ‘Do you like it‘? This horse may well be about to become a member of your family.

13.   Finally, if you are planning a full vetting of your intended purchase, do listen to the vet you’ve instructed. If he or she picks up an issue and it comes with a warning, then walk away.

Good Luck!

Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Equine extra's big test; Grooming Paraphernalia

So, how many bits and pieces of grooming paraphernalia does one horse need? That’s a question sure to be in every horse owners mind. In every tack box you’re always going to find a myriad of items…… shampoos (one for each colour!), rinses, detangler,; brushes in all shapes and sizes, sponges, curry combs, sweat scrapers, hoof picks, hoof dressings and plaiting bands. There are certainly more, so don’t forget that you’ll need an organiser bag or box to put it all in. 


Wildwash – Ultrashine for Dark Coats
The company says: Formulated for Chestnut, Bay and Black Coats using the combined natural powers of Star FlowerMyrrh and Rosemary to protect and condition the skin and coat and intensify the natural coat colour, whilst leaving an incredible shine. This shampoo is super concentrated and can be diluted at a 32 to 1 ratio, meaning the 300ml is equivalent to 10 litres when dilluted and will give at least 10 washes. RRP: £14.95 - 300ml.
Our tester, Peter Bulman, says: Finally some sunny warm days and a release from this eternal winter! This enabled me to tackle what’s left of the thick and woolly winter coats. Luckily we had a bottle of shampoo to test... which didn't really 'test' it, because it easily did the job fantastically, thoroughly and quickly as well. Easy to mix in its own supplied container and with only a small amount needed. Application was easy also, no frothy mass of suds on application or whilst rinsing, which again was quick, easy and thorough. I have never seen the 'black’ boy looking so tremendous - a 'Showstopper'. Now washing a horse is now much less of a chore and the result is more satisfying. 

NAF – Show off Shampoo
The company says: Created specifically for all the dirty horses and ponies in the world, this fabulous shampoo not only cleans deeper and shines brighter, it smells wonderful too! Try it to make your show horses and ponies shinier, your black horse and ponies blacker, your white horse and pony whiter and all others in between simply more dazzling. Add to your water or apply directly to wet coat and work up the lather for a deep conditioning wash and rinse well.  RRP: £7.99 - 500ml; £28.00 - 2L - £28.00.
Our tester, Clare Chappelhow, says: Finally the weather has been warm enough to wash the horses. My first testers of this product were horses that had wintered out with rugs on, but had very greasy coats. I found it took three washes with the shampoo before these horses were show ready (all on different days). And of course they promptly rolled when turned out again without rugs! When I used it on one of the horses that I have been competing and so on the receiving end of a little more TLC than the others, one wash and it was show ready. Which probably is more of the general market for this product, hence it does its job, leaving a glistening coat in the sunshine. I did try it by the directions, but ended up soaking the horses, so I applied it to a soft body brush and circulated it through the coat, before rinsing off with water and thus achieved the results I was happy with. The horses were all predominantly bay or dark brown, so it wasn’t tested on greys. Definitely worth having on the tack room shelf.

Hawkins Organic – Blanc Canvas Whitening Shampoo
The company says: Gently removes dirt, stains leaving your horses coat clean and ready for whatever discipline. Endorsed by international riders and FEI compliant the shampoo is essential for any grey or coloured horse. Perfectly PH balanced and containing only natural ingredients with no nasty chemicals our shampoo is mild enough for regular use and for those horses with sensitive skins. We do not use any SLS, parabens or bleach in our products. The cucumber and our secret blend of organic ingredients will create the perfect 'Blanc Canvas'. RRP: £9.95-500ml; £15.95-1L; £49.95-5L.
Our tester, Gillian McMurray, says: After this long, wet and muddy winter, the ponies were exceptionally dirty for their first show of the season and therefore we had a great opportunity to fully test this shampoo. Although not a large bottle, it was very economical to use as a small amount could be added to a bucket of water. I used it this way for the initial wash over the whole pony then used a small amount neat onto a water brush for the badly stained areas. I found that it worked well to bring scurf and dirt to the surface of the coat and left it feeling soft and silky. There appeared a considerable difference in colour on the stained areasm which looked whiter, after the application of this shampoo. I also used it on the pony's tail and it worked well in reducing the staining of the hairs. This shampoo has a very pleasant smell and hasn’t any chemicals or bleach in it, which is kinder for the hair and explains why the coat is left feeling smooth and silky. A great product for use on grey ponies and horses.

Cavalor – Nor Plus
The company says: A skin friendly, gentle shampoo that removes stains and produces an illuminating shine for all coat colours. Works very well on those difficult areas, like white legs, is pH neutral and contains a mixture of vegetable extracts that clean without irritation. RRP: £20.00 – 475ml.
Our tester, Barbara Clarkson, says: We all love this product!  Shampoo in a pot is a fabulous invention, it doesn’t spill and it’s easy to handle.  Diluted in a bucket of water it produces a fantastic soapy lather which, when applied to a wet horse, cleans the coat immediately without extra lather being produced.  Once distributed over the horse it washes off extremely easily leaving a great degree of waterproofing at the same time, you can see the little bobbles of water slide off the coat.  The shampoo has a mild aroma, slightly ‘coconutty’ and it has great conditioning properties, leaving the horse looking as if he’s had a coiffure with a very high shine finish; no streaks or runs visible at all.  Stain removal is no issue for this shampoo either and on very stubborn dirt a tiny amount rubbed in neat did the job easily.  Manes and tails are left soft and silky and easy to plait or dress.  All in all a fantastic addition to our wash bay and I would have awarded it extra ‘very’s’ if I could.

Animology – Muck Out Shampoo
The company says: Complex formulation blends silk and wheat proteins with vitamins and conditioners, helping deliver exceptional levels of care and protection to the skin and hair including the mane and tail. Penetrates deep down to the skin lifting dust and dirt to the surface in order that it can be easily washed away, while the ‘Easy Rinse Technology’ ensures that the shampoo is rinsed out quickly and efficiently, leaving as little residue as possible. This helps reduce the risk of irritation, speeds drying time and despite using conditioners does not leave a slippery effect on the hair that could encourage saddle slip. RRP: £10.00 – 750ml.
Our tester, John Collier, says: What you need to know; the product was used on a broad range of school horses, mainly the non-easy care colours of grey and coloured horses and it worked really well. I have never known the staff be so ecstatic over a product stating that, not only does it do the job, it smells really, really nice and keeps your hands clean and soft!! An added bonus, if you’re a vegan is that the product contains no animal products, nor is it tested on animals. If like me, you’re fond of whistling Jerusalem and always stand for the National Anthem, you’ll be pleased to know that it’s a British product too. So, thumbs up all round as it’s a win, win situation: clean horses and happy staff. A really good product and it deserves the word being put out about it. It’s a hidden gen, so go out and buy some, or look for it on the internet.

Equimins – Lavender Shampoo & Ultra Silky Detangler
The company says: A rich shampoo with natural essential oils of lavender to leave your horse smelling like a breath of spring with a super shiny coat. Lavender can also assist in repelling annoying biting insects. RRP: £7.00 – 500ml.
A rich silky lotion that takes the tangles out of tails and puts the flow back in to mains. A special non greasy formula that will not attract dust. Available in 500ml, 750ml and a 1litre. RRP: from £9.35.
Our tester, Jon Fletcher, says: This shampoo has a very pleasant smell of lavender (which can sometimes be rather overpowering) and was extremely easy to use, leaving the horses’ coats and manes very clean and shiny. It comes in a neat, clean and easy to use bottle, as the top is ‘press to open’ and ‘press to close’, so it can be used with one hand, making the whole ‘wash & brush up’ scenario that bit simpler.
The detangler has now replaced our usual brand as it detangles more efficiently and, as the name suggests, leaves the manes and tails silky smooth afterwards. It has a really pleasant smell and is in an easy to use spray with an on/off function. I also use it on one my horse’s hocks as it does a good job of repelling dirt. Both these products are now firmly on the ‘to buy’ replace list.

Groomaway – Citronella No Rinse Body Wash
The company says: Utilising a mix of versatile and effective natural remedies, successfully
used for thousands of years which purify, cleanses and deodorise. Your horse will benefit from its analgesic, antimicrobial, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, bactericidal, deodorising, fungicidal, insecticidal properties, all of which offer many medicinal advantages. RRP: £6.50 -
400ml; £22.50 - 2.5L.
Our tester, Terri Graham, says: This is a lovely smelling, easy to use product. The citronella is organically sourced and blended with other botanicals, which gives a wonderful, deep natural aroma. Mixed with natural proteins it has a deep cleansing effect without stripping the coat of its natural oils, leaves no horrid, sticky build-up so the horse’s coat is left looking sleek and shiny. To use add 3-6 capfuls into a bucket of warm water. Great for alleviating itchy areas, just apply liberally with a sponge – no rinsing necessary – just scrape off excess water and leave to dry. I avoided the eyes but it hasn’t irritated any sensitive areas. Citronella has a lovely fragrance and helps deflect some of the bugs. All in all an economical and efficient product.

Animology – Mane-Tamed Detangler
The company says: A leave in de-tangling serum which helps to remove knots and matting and leaves the mane and tail in great condition. The advanced, vitamin enriched formulation also contains conditioners and spf/uva filters to help provide long term protection and care for the hair, while leaving it with a high gloss finish. RRP: £10.00-200ml.
Our tester, Caroline Powell, says: I have been using this serum on the tails of all of the horses before taking them out competing. Applying a small amount of the serum to an already washed and slightly damp tail leaves them perfectly detangled and with a glossy shine, which always lasts until the competition the following day. It has also been used on the youngsters who had been turned out for the winter. Working through their tails with ingrained twigs and mud was no easy task, however this serum worked so much better than anything we have previously used. I also, happily, found that getting a brush through their slightly wild manes a lot easier, leaving them smart and shiny, ready to restart their education. Myself, and all on the yard, have been very impressed with this product, as not only it is very effective, it can be used sparingly, so a small amount goes a long way, meaning the bottle lasts for a significant amount of time.

Hawkins Organic – Lemon Aid Wash
The company says: Provides the perfect anti-bacterial wash for use after exercise. Just add one cap into a litre of water and wash all over, concentrating on the main sweat areas. Will remove all dirt that can irritate the skin leaving your horse cooled and ready to be turned out.
RRP: £9.95- 500ml; £14.95- 1L; £35.00 -5L.
Our tester, Paul Malone, says: I was nicely surprised just how far this product went; one little capful is plenty enough to cut through sweat after schooling, and yes, it does smell very pleasant indeed! I’ve used this on a few horses, one of which has extremely sensitive skin. Despite it being great at its job, it does seem quite gentle on the skin and has caused no problems at all, which did surprise me (the horse in question is a very sensitive soul!). All in all this has been very, very handy in getting horses sorted after schooling and is something I’m fairly sure I’ll be ordering once our bottle eventually runs out! I’m just going to keep preying to the weather gods for a glorious summer!

Leovet – Shiny White Stain Eraser Shampoo
The company says: With this gentle cleaner stains vanish and the coat colour that reappears is intensified by a brilliant white effect. Lipid regulators naturally ensure an optimal moisture balance for the skin and hair allowing for a healthy, spotlessly white and glossy coat. A complex natural protein derived from the African Moringa tree prevents the accumulation of new dirt particles and stains for up to two days. The inclusive of anti-static agents work as a detangler, making hair much easier to comb. RRP: £10.50 – 500ml.
Our tester, Chris Grant, says: As the owner of four grey Native Ponies, a stain eraser shampoo is high up on the list of essentials for show preparation! This one has been tested thoroughly and I found it to be great for pre-show bathing and particularly useful on fresh stains, lifting the dirt to produce a nice clean finish. Used on both mane and tail hair and the shorter coat hair, the shampoo has a lovely sweet smell and leaves the coat in a good condition with a great shine and nice lustre. I was delighted that it has been equally effective on both types of hair and that it rinsed out easily from the thick manes and tails, which has been an added bonus. On an extremely stubborn stain, I found that several washes were required to achieve the desired result of a shiny white pony, however only a minute amount of product is needed for each wash. The shampoo works very well alongside the Eraser Spray (which I was also kindly sent) - great for use on show mornings and last minute clean ups, helping achieve the perfect clean finish desired by any grey horse owner!

Absorbine – CoolDownAfter Workout Rinse
The company says: A new, all-natural, herbal equine body wash which gently cools, refreshes and cleans away sweat and grime whilst soothing tired muscles - ideal for use after exercise and competition. Also conditions the skin and coat, ensuring cleanliness without stripping out essential oils, making it ideal for daily use. The unique formula includes rosemary oil, peppermint oil, lavender oil, aloe vera juice, arnica extract and sassafras oil. The fresh, aromatherapy fragrance is soothing to both equines and humans. Simply add to water and wash the horse down with the solution, as it is soap free there is no need to rinse it off. RRP: £23.30 – 950ml (makes 150L of solution).
Our tester, Ben Hobday, says: This quickly became a vital part of my washing off routine, and I have really noticed a difference from washing our horses down with it, as you just put a small amount into a bucket of water to dilute it. One small suggestion though is that as I have a pretty busy yard, there wasn’t time to measure out a precise amount so a measuring cap would be a big help! Regardless of that it delivered the results I was after. As soon as it was diluted you can instantly smell how fresh, minty and clean it is. It colours the water with an ever so slight minty colour with a small amount of bubbles. You sponge the horse down like a normal bath, so there’s nothing complicated about how to apply it. The best thing is that you don’t have to wash it off, which saves masses of time and it doesn’t leave the coats sticky or rough when it dries. I noticed that it cools the horses down quickly and seems to maintain the cool temperature which makes washing down a hot, sweaty horse a quicker process as they cool down sooner. I took the product to Badminton 3DE with us and it was vital part of the kit. Cross country day was a hot day, with no breeze, so the horses were coming back very tired and hot. The product was diluted ready for when Mulry came back. Due to him being very hot, we threw the buckets of water over him and kept repeating this. I didn’t worry about scraping him off as the liquid is so good at keeping that icy cold temperature and Mulry recovered very quickly after being so hot and tired. Overall I’m very impressed with how good this product is. It smells wonderful and keeps the horses clean and fresh as well as cooling them down after an intense work session. One superb product and one I will definitely be using from now on.

Eqclusive – SleekEZ
The company says: Shed loose hair and dirt from the coat year round without irritating the horse. No honing of the edges required. 10-inch length allows use of two hands. Clean by swiping the metal blade with a soft horse brush to remove dirt build up. RRP: £12.95-£19.95.
Our tester, Pam Harrison, says:  I’m addicted to this! What a straightforward way to remove the old winter coats, along with the associated scurf. Both of the stallions were very willing recipients of the attention and more than happy to stand whilst the job was done. It’s easy to use and is far more efficient at ‘extracting’ hair than any brush or comb I have ever used and even better, it doesn’t require masses of elbow grease!
I probably spent about 10 minutes on each horse, every second or third day during the test period and the pile of hair on the floor each time confirmed how effective it is.
Even if you clip winter coats, you definitely need this – I was sent three sizes, the 10-inch length was used most, but the 6-inch one was useful for one-handed use on the neck and belly areas and the smallest 3-inch one was great for more fiddly bits on the upper legs.
PS: Our T&T coordinator, Sue Porter purchased the smaller size for use on her two Airedale Terriers and has been delighted with the ease in which it strips their undercoat out.

Groomaway – Ultra White Shampoo
The company says: Use for whiter than white results and removing stains without stripping natural oils. Deep cleaning and conditioning formula leaves coat soft and shiny. Suitable for frequent use. Contains Tea Tree Oil. RRP: £6.50 – 400ml; £22.50 – 2.5L.
Our tester, Susan Lacey, says: Finally the weather improved and I got down to washing some winter mud off the horses. This was a very easy to use shampoo with a nice, fresh fragrance and brought the coats up beautifully. As for those white legs, well I just applied it as any regular shampoo, washed off and hey presto, nice white legs. No waiting for it to dry or having to brush it off when you get to shows. I feel it is very good value for money as it seems to be less expensive than the majority of products on the market which do the similar job. So overall, would I buy this product for myself to use in the future? The answer is a definite yes!!
Nettex - Eye & Nose Wipes
The company says: Containing witch hazel, glycerine and camomile which may help to gently soothe, cleanse, condition and moisturise skin and can add the finishing touch to your show ring look. Not just designed for competition as summer flies and dust spores from hay and bedding can irritate horse’s eyes, causing them to weep. Plus, keeping sensitive areas clean should be an important part of every horse owner’s daily grooming routine. RRP: £7.90 for a 50 wipe pot.
Our tester, Josella Scott, says: I found these wipes especially useful for dirty noses (equines that is) as there is still a lot of mud around here in Cumbria. It left the skin clean and soft and is nearly as good as a moisturiser for humans. However, to get the area really clean, I did have to use quite a few to wipe away all the debris. I like the fact they contain witch hazel, a wonderful product in itself and I preferred using these wipes to a cold sponge for the dock area and I am sure the horse did too! I thought this area would be a bit of a challenge for mere wipes, but I was pleasantly surprised and they are very effective. As for those amongst us who do a bit of 'showing' then I highly recommend these be added to the pamper box, they are quick and easy to use for that last minute wipe clean of nose and eyes before entering the ring.  I can also say they have been used to clean up snotty noses of my orphan lambs and my dog's dirty, muddy nose and eyes after a very enthusiastic dig for rabbits. All in all a very versatile tub of wipes.
Cottage Craft - Massaging Body Brush
The company says: Natural bristle and wooden peg body brush ideal for massaging horse whilst grooming. Easy to hold with leather hand strap. RRP: £11.99.
Our tester, Gail Smith, says: This brush is a great thing to have on the yard. I found it extremely comfortable to hold with the nice leather strap, which meant I didn’t drop it. It was an ideal way of keeping the horses clean whilst giving them a massage at the same time. The horses seemed to really enjoy being brushed by it; they all relaxed nicely when it was used on them. To be honest, I probably wouldn’t have thought about buying one, but having used it and seeing the results I will now be using it regularly.

Animology – Patchwork Stain Removing Serum
The company says: Helps remove even the most stubborn of stains from a horse’s body, hoof, mane or tail, so is the perfect spot cleaner for any last minute problems. Created with experts to deliver the very best results when it comes to the removal of stubborn stains, the enzyme based product cleans deep into the coat to remove just about everything! The low foam formula means it can simply be wiped away quickly and efficiently, leaving as little residue as possible on the horse and cutting usage time down to a minimum. RRP: £10.00 – 2ooml.
Our tester, Rachel Thomas, says: What a really nice product with a lovely fragrance. No slippery bottle to manhandle as this was applied using a pump, making the overall application easy and very economical. I particularly liked the way it could be either mixed with water for an all over wash, or just put some on a wet sponge to remove a stable stain. It didn’t soap up too much so was easy and quick to wash off. Did it remove those stubborn stains? Yes is did and I will be buying some more.  

Leovet – Shiny White Stain Eraser Spray
The company says: Easily removes dirt from mane, tail and coat. Spray directly onto stains to remove and be left with an enhanced bright white colour. A complex blend of natural proteins from the African Moringa tree prevents the accumulation of new dirt particles and stains for up to two days. When used regularly, hair and coat will stay in excellent shape: brilliant, full of volume and extensively protected from stains. Your horses coat with be a natural radiant white without undesirable yellowish discoloration.
RRP: £12.50 – 500ml.
Our tester, Val Williams, says: For all of you with greys this product is a must and is, quite simply, fabulous. Just spray onto urine stains, grass and soil etc. and it softens the stains and then all you have to do is wipe off with a dry towel and the stain just vanishes!!. We all know what it’s like to go to a show, lead your horse down the ramp, and ‘oh no’ a stain we just didn’t see, so this is just what you need for those frustrating moments. It really does remove yellow stains, brings the natural white up and lasts for several days.
I was also kindly sent a sample of the accompanying Shampoo. Again this product does a really good job. Not only does it leave the coat, mane and tail feeling soft, it removes the stains and the protection lasts for several days. We have a stallion who is light grey and can find mud and dusty soil like a magnet.  Take him into the wash box and after using this shampoo he looks fabulous. Put quite simply, these two products are amazing and will be permanent residents on the yard.

Eqclusive – Universal Shining Pack
The company says: An all in one place pack that caters for all coats. Comes with instructions for each specific colour of the coat to give you a step-by-step way to achieve the best shining result every time. RRP: £125.00.
Our tester, Emma Woolley, says: Wow! Everything about this grooming kit is extremely high quality, from the brushes themselves to the box that they come in. Each brush is named and creates its own unique finish. For example the ‘Schimmel’ body brush has coarse bristles for thick muddy coats, compared with the lovely delicate ‘Diva’ which is a beautifully soft finishing off brush for removing the last traces of dust. A prominent feature is that the brushes have been cleverly created for use on every different type of coat. Different brushes have been designed to be used on the different colours of coats. I believe that these are the first brushes of their kind, and I’ve been very, very impressed with the results. The pack has completely changed our grooming routine, definitely for the better!

Missed from last month:

SSG Gloves – Grand Prix Dressage Gloves:
The company says: A skin thin glove made with a soft aquasuede plus palm and is non - slip and breathable. The exclusive Ultraflex venting to the back makes the glove very flexible and comfortable. The gloves are elegant with a back tab closure. White & Black only, Sizes: 5-10. RRP £32.99.
Our tester, Emma Woolley, says: These really are superb gloves and the design has been very seriously thought out. The material is lovely and thin meaning not only is the grip excellent, but the contact is excellent through the reins. I found them perfect for using during competitions this time of year as they also feature air vents on the back of the hand and down the fingers. A really comfortable and stylish glove that are hard wearing and perfect for competing in at any level.