Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Rare & Native Breeds Exhibition

Earlier this month, Nichola Ash, from The Fell Pony society, contacted us to see if we could donate some product for their fund-raising raffle at the Rare & Native Breeds exhibition. We were only too pleased to help out, as ever since we saw our sponsored rider, Jo Bates, riding and producing Denise Bumford's champion fell, Hamish, we've had a real soft spot for these hardy ponies.

The Native & Rare breed exhibition, held on the 13th and 14th of November at the Newark Showground, was introduced to support the wonderful animals that have shaped the British Isles over thousands of years. The show has a fantastic turnout of native and rare breeds, craftsman and women, experienced show competitors, breed societies, animal charities, bygones, and much more.

During the weekend demonstrations take place inside and outside in the show rings with the exhibitors themselves giving advice, breed information and educational facts about their much loved breed. The Fell Pony society also paraded their ponies three times a day!

For the raffle, we donated some ShowSheen Moisturising Detangler Gel and a bottle of the brand new ShowSheen Finishing Mist (available in the UK from early 2011). This helped them to raise over £100.00 for The Fell Pony Society and they also took third place in the best stand awards! If you would like more information on The Fell Pony society please visit www.fellponysociety.org.uk/

Friday, November 19, 2010

Grooming solutions with Molly O'Brien

Well, we can’t deny it any longer. The winter is upon us and the cold weather is already here. Muddy fields, frosty mornings and numb toes are, once again, part of our every day lives. And, as every horse owner knows, mud plus cold, wet, weather equals grooming misery! But, before you panic, read this blog. Absorbine’s very own grooming expert, Molly O’Brien, has some brilliant solutions to keep your winter grooming problems at bay.


Molly says: “I always say ‘prevention is better than cure’, and this is certainly the case when it comes to grooming. Using ShowSheen can actually help to repel dust and dirt, as it contains silicone which can help to prevent the mud from sticking. But, if your horse is caked in the stuff then the first step is to let the mud dry. Unfortunately, short of rinsing your horse off with a hose, or trashing more towels than you can imagine, there’s no good way to remove wet mud. For dry mud, you should start with a good curry comb, using it in the traditional circular patter. Be careful not to use it on the face or below the knees and hocks. For those sensitive areas, use either a specially designed soft curry, or a soft brush. Then, if necessary, use a shedding blade, followed by a stiff body brush. Some sensitive horses hate the curry comb and if this is the case for you then you should invest a couple of pounds in a cactus cloth or grooming mitt. These do a real ‘hands-on’ job and are great for removing the mud – even from the face and legs. A soft body brush comes next, to remove the dust, then wipe over with a cloth and a spray of ShowSheen to add a nice, finished shine.


Molly says: “Your approach depends on the cause of the tangled mess, if it is wet mud, then it’s best to let it dry first, then break out big clumps of the dirt by hand. You don’t want to apply anything liquid until those clumps are gone, lest you bring the mud back to life! Then, apply some ShowSheen Moisturising Detangler liberally through the hair, from top to bottom. Next, take a wide-tooth comb and start from the bottom, gently combing out those tangles. But take your time - don’t tug or pull – as breaking the hair is a cardinal sin!”

Molly says: “To remove stains, your best bet is to use a cleaning product specifically designed for horses. Horse’s skin is very sensitive, especially in terms of PH balance, so using a generic shampoo or bar soap can disrupt it, leaving your horse more prone to skin infections. When it is too cold for a bath, use Miracle Groom (nicknamed the ‘bath in a bottle’!) It has a patented 5-in-1 formula and is designed to remove stains with out the need for any water. It’s even safe for all long and short hair animals!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Preparation, preparation, preparation.

HOYS is the climax of the showing year, but the event is worlds apart front the average county show. So how do you prepare to give your best performance at the showing world's premier event? We caught up with golden girl of the showing ring, Jayne Webber, who had some fantastic results this year, to find out how she prepared for the big occasion.

How do you keep your horses fresh at the end of a busy season?

It is very easy for horses to become jaded during the showing season, particularly if they have been driven all over the country in order to qualify for the championships. We turn all the horses out in the field regularly and often they will be out the night before a show. This gives them time to completely relax and unwind. We also hack regularly in Windsor Great Park - in fact The Philanderer had been doing just that before he won the Supreme at HOYS last year! I will also give the horses a short holiday during the season, if I think they need it. It's all about maintaining a good balance.

How did you prepare your horses for the buzzy atmosphere at HOYS?

The atmosphere at HOYS is unlike that of any other show. The indoor arenas, the lights and sounds are all very different to an outdoor show, so it is important to acclimatise the horse to this by attending other indoor shows, particularly those with an evening performance. You could also try inviting friends to applaud during your schooling sessions?!?

How did you keep the horses coats looking great for HOYS this year?

We are lucky to be sponsored by Absorbine and their brilliant products help to keep all the horses clean and shiny. We use Superpoo or ShowClean Shampoo to get them really clean and then ShowSheen to give their coat a lovely gleam and prevent static. We also keep the horses well rugged up , which slows down the coat change at this time of year.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Top tips for dressage turnout with Holly & Jo Bates

Time for some top-tips from our sponsored rider, Jo Bates. As well as her amazing showing acheivements, Jo has a proven track record in the dressage arena having first been attracted to the sport when, at thirteen-years-old, she saw Domini Laurence ride San Fernando in a dressage demonstration at HOYS.

Inspired by the performance, Jo acquired Scotch Royale from the Countess of March and at fourteen and fifteen-years-old was considered one of the top young riders in GB. She was a member of the Young Rider dressage team in 1977 and in 1978 and Junior Dressage Champion in 1978.

Jo has passed on her talent for producing horses to her daughter, Holly, who rides beautifully and has already seen success in dressage, finishing 4th in Elementary National Dressage Championships riding Silver Lining and becoming the 2006 Search For A Star Dressage Champion.

With their combined expertise in the show ring and the dressage arena, the Bates' turnout is always immaculate. Read on as Jo and Holly share tips and advice on dressage turnout and comment on the latest trends.

"Turnout in dressage is much the same as showing, but fashions and trends change and, in some ways, the look is more exaggerated for dressage. The current trend in dressage is for plaits that stick up on the neck - which are known as Anky-Plaits. As in showing, these will help to accentuate the front end and perhaps give the impression of a more uphill way of going - but it depends on the shape of the horse," she explains.

The fashion for masses of tiny plaits, wrapped in white tape is certainly old-hat, with today's look requiring fewer, large plaits. "This is the opposite of what we are now seeing in showing, where people are putting in more plaits, which are a lot smaller than they used to be," Jo explains.

Tails are now left fuller and longer in dressage and it isn't unusual to see them almost to the ground. Jo says, "You will often see that professional riders pull the top two-three inches of the tail to keep them neat, but leave the rest of the tail full, unlike showing where the tail is pulled much lower to give a 'waisted' look.

"Longer, fuller tails are easy enough to maintain - you just need a detangler gel like ShowSheen Moisturising Detangler. Just a tiny amount is easy enough to keep the whole tail tangle free."

Jo also uses the detangler gel around the eyes and muzzle to add the finishing touch. To black the dressage horses' feet, Jo uses SuperShine Hoof Polish ,"the shiny finish looks great", she says.

When it comes to the most noticeable dressage trends - bling is in. And, while it may be frowned upon in the showing ring, it certainly adds a bit of pizzazz in the dressage arena. Holly explains, "We use diamante brow bands and you can get some beautiful rolled leather bridles. Patent leather nosebands are also stunning. White numnhas, often together with a 3/4 fluffy numnah, and black leather tack is the preference of most riders and does look stunning."

"You want your horse to gleam, and Absorbine SuperPoo and ShowSheen do a fantastic job of keeping their coat clean and shiny and their tails tangle free. It's all about that first impression you give the judge. If they see a nice, shiny horse, beautifully turned out, and the rider with a well fitted jacket - looking clean and smart, they will have this in mind as they give their first mark," explains Jo.