Why is it important to keep your horses water clean??

As most of us know we should always offer clean water to horses always. But sometimes we forget to clean it. Sometimes people do not see the point in cleaning it. So it goes green and gets loads of bugs in it. But is this ok for your horse to drink. Well would you drink that?? no. Would you if you really needed to as in life or death. YES. But should you make your horse choose like that?

Well no and here are a few reasons as to why you must always keep your horses water clean.

We are all fully aware that water is a key nutrient for all of us. It is important for almost every function, from digestion and respiration, to reproduction and lactation. But what we sometimes forget is that even when our animals have fresh water available, that doesn’t mean they been drinking. If their water has algae or is full of mud or excrement, chances are that they wont drink as much as they need to be. In the winter, if it is too cold or even frozen over, horses will have lower intake of water as well.

A horse that is not drinking as much as it needs can cause many problems. It can be the main reason why horses get impactions that can cause colic, in winter vets will tell you to watch your horses more as the lack of water can cause this. I have always tried to add extra water to the feed in winter just to help make sure they get enough water. It is always advised to keep an eye on your horses intake.

In summer i add salt to feeds and put salt licks around to try and get them drinking more and in winter i add extra to feed to make sure they are having extra. On average the bare minimal a horse need to have is 0.5 to 1 gallon of water per 100g of body mass. So always make sure you horse has as much a clean water as they will want. I always always try to keep water in the shade in summer to let them have some cool water.

Dehydration

Signs to look out for when you think your horse may be dehydrated.

  • Weakness
  • Depression
  • Sunken eyeballs
  • Dry mucous membranes
  • Increased heart rate

A quick way to check your horse’s hydration level is to pinch the skin near the base of the horse’s neck for two seconds.  If the skin returns to normal, almost immediately, then the horse is not seriously dehydrated.  However, if the skin stays in the pinched position, the horse needs water.

Horses can contract Potomac horse fever (PHF) they can get this from ingesting the bacteria that can be present in some species that inhabit the drinking water. This risk factor comes mostly from river that horses can drink from but can also come from other drinking sources. this can happen within 5 miles of a river source but is unusual.

Horses can also contract salmonella from water. Salmonella can cause serious diseases in horses. The way in which a horse contracts salmonella is from manure or oral contaminations. Then a horse will contaminate the water source and feed buckets and then other horses can get this. Salmonellosis isn’t solely a water-borne disease, but it is passed easily through contaminated water both in unclean buckets and troughs as well as natural ponds and streams. So cleanly scrubbed buckets and water drinkers is best.

• SIGNS: Once ingested, salmonella bacteria penetrate the cells in the wall of the intestine and multiply, causing damage that leads to diarrhoea. In some cases, the bacteria may get into the bloodstream (septicemia), and infections may develop in other parts of the body.

Clean water is such a basic need for a horse and should never be taken lightly. It is such a easy thing to do but gets overlooked quite often. But if its kept on top of its easy and will keep your horses healthy and happy.

Happy horsing around.

Merlins

Basic Hoof Care

I have always believed in the saying no hoof no horse. So for many years, I have researched all hoof care and the best way to look after them.

 

Hooves are so complex. Many things go into the care of hooves more than what some people may even think about, the feed, the field, the stable bedding choice, the outdoor all-weather turn out choice and even things like the season and weather. So I have decided to write a little about what I have learnt to help you care for the hooves better.

 



Daily checks

As always we should pick out the feet daily. This needs to be done to check for diseases such as thrush, for foreign bodies such as stones, nails, thorns etc.., if your horse is shod to check the shoe. To see if it needs changing soon or if a nail from the shoes has become a problem ( I have before seen a nail come out of the hoof wall and start going in a different direction causing a massive issue) and horn damage (wall cracks, cracked solar margins etc..). A day can make a big difference in horses, many things can go wrong I once had a horse go on a walker fine and come out very very lame, what had happened was a nail from the structure had come off ( so high up we never noticed) this then embedded itself in the frog and I couldn’t get it out by hand. Took a lot of work and injections, then later the horse was then on box rest. As always at the worst possible time. I in summer use products every other day. My favourite is always Kevin bacon hoof solution, this for me has worked wonders for many many years.

Most people say to use a sponge and stiff brush to wash off the hooves with water, I highly suggest you do not do this. This is like sandpaper on the hooves and what you are doing is removing the shiny outer layer (purlople) of the hoof which you will want to keep. Soaking does as good of a job and then you can wipe away.

Summer

In summer I check the hooves a lot, recently we have had very dry weather which for us is very unusual, so the hooves of the horse have been having more drying issues. The best way I have found to tackle this problem is soaking in mild water, only do this for about 5 min then blot dry the hoof and apply your favourite hoof product. The oiler the product the better as this locks in the moisture. This won’t penetrate the horn itself so it won’t cause damage. I tend to do this when needed and no more than once a week. You want a nice healthy but strong hoof so you don’t want to make them overly soft as you are then causing other issues.  Studies have shown if you soak for up to 15 min this only affects the outer third layer of the wall and does not affect the horn. But if you constantly use soaps or alkali detergents this does effect the horn and dry it out. Also, remember to pat dry the bulb and back of the pastern this prevents cracks and mud fever developing.

 

Winter

In winter it depends on if you constantly keep them up or let them out. If the horse is constantly up the hoof needs the general care with the use of the hoof product still. The air temperature is lower and contains more moisture so they will not dry out as much. This being said its completely different if you have them on a super absorbant bedding, this will dry them out a lot. So if you do have them on absorbent bedding soak when needed apply products and put them back in the stable when dry, But in know, this can not always be done so try when you can and keep an eye on them.

 

If you turn out a lot and its wet like it normally is here (England) then you need to take different tactics, They will be getting a lot of moisture in the hoof so you don’t want to be constantly washing and soaking. As this can cause the hoof to become too soft and allow foreign bodies in far more easily. I tend to not always wash the feet when they come in. It pains me but this is better for the hoof. Then once dries I brush away the dirt with a dry brush and pick out the feet. I do still add products to the hoof to keep them healthy and to try and stop all the moisture coming in when they are out. You will need to research which ones are great for doing this, I know many products are about to help.

 

 

Exercise

Exercise is great for hoof health. The horse’s hooves have adapted over the years to allow them to be able to spend many hours on the move. Each cycle of movement activates the hoof mechanism and promotes good blood supply to the hoof which in turn leads to strong growth. Standing for long periods of time can change the hooves growth and in turn deteriorates the hooves strength. Regular turnout, freedom stabling and exercise makes for a strong, health hooves which in turn is a happy horse which is what it’s all about.

 

Ground surface and bedding

I briefly touched the subject on absorbent bedding before so here is a little more information. This is great bedding in one sense because horses standing in a wet bed is awful for the hooves especially in urine and faeces. But this can also dry the hooves out more so this is great bedding but it requires a little more hoof care.  So for me, this is still a great bedding choice.

If horses have constant exposure to an acidic environment such as all-weather turnouts that have fresh wood bark or bedding that is soiled with urine and faeces this can also soften the horn and soften areas of the hoof such as the frog and white lines.

Fungi and bacteria are frequently found in great number on these surfaces, further increasing the risk of hoof damage. So I always ensure a high level of hygiene in the horse’s box and the turnout area. I also leave a lot of space to walk without bedding around. So a smaller bed is what i find is best as they can go to the toilet in their bed and then walk away. I always use rubber matting and my horse tends to lay on this rather than any bedding. I am guessing to get away from the toilet area.

 

Diet

Certain elements of the horse’s diet have a considerable effect on the hoof also. Certain vitamins such as biotin and certain minerals zinc and sulphur are well known for their great growing properties, this promotes healthy horn growth if they are not present in sufficient amounts this may lead to insufficient hoof quality. Abrupt changes in the feed also have a detrimental effect on hooves so as always this needs to be done at a slow and steady pace. Also being turned out for the first time in spring after having a winter inside on hay can lead to changes in hoof growth and this can result in growth rings, so turning out slowly and for small periods of time and gradually increasing will be better for the horse.

 

I love how complex the horse hooves are and how much information I can get on them. I find it all very fascinating. But one thing to remember is if the horn gets damaged it is not a quick fix you can just chuck on some hoof products and give them a little biotin and jobs done. It takes time, patience and veterinary advice to get them back to good health. So make you always keep good care of the hooves so that you don’t get to that position.

 

Happy horsing around. Stay safe

 

Emma-Jayne

Merlin Equine Servies director.

Wartime classic meal- Chicken soup and fadge bread

Hello, hope the isolation period is treating you all well!

 

So as you know at the moment, things are a little difficult, food is a bit scares and we can’t always get what we want. So I have been doing some research and found an amazing website with what they call a ration book recipes. As always I change things around as its what I like to do best. But the one thing I did find that I thought I would share is the bread recipe. It’s quite a known recipe so if you wanted to know more history on it just type in milk fadge bread and it will come up.

Have you ever looked at the ration book recipes? They are amazing, they made very lovely meals off the basic food they could get. I also have an amazing pudding recipe I am going to try soon, this one is again a little ingredients recipe but sounds utterly delicious.

This was a recipe they used in world war 2. It a great little one as you don’t need yeast, which back then was something very hard to come by. To be honest, right now I cant get my hands on any of it either. Which is how I come to find this little gem, its amazing what you can find online these days.

IMG_0647

Here is the recipe for the delicious milk fadge bread, Serves 4 to 6 people.

Prep time- 5 min

Cooking time- 30min

Allergy- Milk and wheat

Recipe sourced from- Lavander and lovage

 

INGREDIENTS

  • 450g (1lb) Self-Raising Flour
  • 50g (2ozs) Margarine or White Vegetable Fat (or 25g of each) I used margarine as it’s all I had at the time.
  • 300mls (1/2 pint) Milk (I used whole milk)
  • Salt to taste

NOTE

This is a simple no-yeast quick bread that has a nice texture. This is a perfect emergency stand-by bread if you cant get what you need in the shops and would like bread with supper, well any meal. If you wanted a little extra flavor try adding dried herbs and they also suggested maybe a little grated cheese. I have not done this yet as I cant get hold of my cheese that I can eat without getting poorly. But as soon as I can I am going to try this. I served with my homemade chicken soup. But you could maybe try this with a casserole or something nice to get the last bits up with bread.

DIRECTIONS

Step 1 Pre-heat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas Mark 6 and lightly grease a baking tray or line it with greaseproof paper.

Step 2 Add some salt to the flour and mix well, before rubbing in the fat with your fingertips, until it is all rubbed into the flour.

Step 3 Add the mill and with your hands bring the dough together; knead for 1 to 2 minutes and then shape on a floured board, into a large round. Cut a cross on the top with a sharp knife, glaze with a little milk and bake for 20 to 30 minutes, or until risen, golden brown and hollow when tapped underneath.

Step 4 Allow to cool on a wire rack and serve warm with butter.

Step 5 Serve as part of supper, breakfast or tea; also goes well with soups and casseroles.
IMG_0644
This is to accompany my chicken soup for supper. I must admit this is the first time I have ever heard about the bread and I couldn’t believe how easy it was to make. Plus my yeast is getting low and I needed to save that to make luke’s bread for work next week.

 

Chicken soup,

 

Ingredients- 

  • 50G butter
  • 1 sliced onion
  • 1 stick of celery
  • 2 carrots cut into chunks
  • 2 pints of chicken stock
  • 25g plain flour
  • 1 sliced up chunks of cooked chicken
  • 1 tbsp chopped parsley
  • salt and pepper for flavour

IMG_0645

How to cook, 

Step one- Put the butter into a saucepan and melt. Once melted add the carrot, celery, and onions. Cook these until they soften.

Step two- Stir in the flour and mix until it is all bound together. Pour the chicken stock into the pan with the ingredients. Also, add the parsley. Bring to the boil and make sure to keep stirring the saucepan. Add salt and pepper accordingly (i add a fair amount as I like salt and pepper). Then let this sit and simmer at low heat for 5 min.

Step three- Add the cooked chicken and leave to simmer together for 15min.

Step four- Have a little taste and see if it needs more seasoning. Add more if needed, if not serve and enjoy.
IMG_0649

beef-o-mania pasta

1 Hour total

Serves four people

Ingredients-

750g minced beef

2 peppers (green and red)

2 large onions

1 cal cooking spray

1 large carrot

1 celery stick

3 large garlic cloves

3 tomatoes

1 beef stock cube

3 tbs Worcestershire sauce

2 tbs Currygewürzketchup (German ketchup)

1 heaped tbs oregano

1 tbs chilli flakes

450g pasta

5 tbs tomato puree

Preheat your oven to 200c or for fan 180 or gas mark 6.

To start I put water in a pan and bring it to the boil. While this is starting to boil add the minced beef in a large ovenproof dish, add one onion and the peppers and tomatoes. spray with the cooking spray and mix well. Put this in the oven to start browning while to sort the other ingredients.

beef pasta blog

Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook for 10 min. Once cooked turn off and leave it over the heat.

While that is cooking add the carrot, celery, garlic, onion, chilli flakes, Worcestershire sauce, tomato puree, Currygewürzketchup, and oregano to a blitzing bowl and blitz until smooth sauce consistency.

Add a stock cube to 400ml of boiling water wait until its fully dissolved before use.

 

Take out the mince from the oven and add the stock cube and the sauce to the minced beef. Mix well before putting back in the oven.

beef pasta blog 3

 

 

Cook for a further 30 min.

 

beef pasta blog 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once all have cooked, serve as you please. I sometimes like to add a sprinkle of cheese on top but that is up to you to add if you would like.

 

Enjoy

Hints and Tips for Training that works for me

Training tips for taking young horses.

A few basic tips I stick to.

1, Be patient, he’s a baby and everything is new and scary. Do not expect him to just take everything in his stride. Then most of all don’t lose your temper with them because this will lose the trust you have worked hard on. If they trust you they will listen to you more and handle situations better. If you get angry they will treat the situations as a scary one and become less cooperative and most likely treat it as a bad one for the rest of their lives. They are not going to get it like an older horse and even the ones that have handled all situations easily may make a huge fuss out of one thing. Take all the time in the world. In the long run, it is all worth it.

2, Prepare for the big scary world. A lot of situations may arise, ones you hadn’t thought of before. A plastic bag on the floor, the wording on the roads, signs, cars, bikes, lorries, umbrella, high-viz, a banner, a bin, trailers, overhead hanging branches, flowers… etc.. I really could go on. This is all new and scary and even though they may have seen some of this before in the yard, it is a safe place. So it’s not scary anymore, but out in a new place its a shark coming to eat them. They are 100% sure of that. So the groundwork is key, I use whistle training, it regains his focus, reminds him I am with him and even slows him down when he stops listening to hands, neck strap or legs. I think is important as din is a big big boy and can easily overpower me. But this being said don’t snap the bit in the mouth and pull hard this can also make so many other problems. Be gentle calm and if your riding and they can not handle the situations get off, show them its safe and go on together. Build trust and be the alfa.

3, With the top one being said I do believe in firm but fair. Mean exactly what you say and be clear. They cant do what you want if they have no clue in what you are after in the first place. I was talking to someone the other day who had a young horse that wouldn’t go forward but the main problem was she was holding back on the mouth. So she was kicking on and pulling back. So the horse was confused. I told her to ride with one hand (because he is safe to do so but not always the situation) then hold on to the neck strap for comfort if you become nervous. Then kick on, you are giving a clear signal and not holding the head back and stopping them. At first, she didn’t realize what she was doing but sometimes we don’t it is our natural instinct and some times it is theirs. So always be clear, if they are not doing what you want to take a min and decide if they don’t understand or they need a slightly firmer hand. I have had to do this a few times with din. He’s stubborn and if he decides he does not want to do something he generally sinks his feet in the ground and won’t do what I want. One time din won’t come back in the yard when asked to do so. He wanted to go and eat grass and I wanted to feed him and get back to work. Well, 20min later and he was on the yard both of us soaked and cold. Yes it was annoying, Yes I could have ‘Made him’ but I don’t believe in that, its a give and take relationship and we are working on our bond. I slowly convinced him with a slightly firmer hand every 5 minutes to reassure him that this is what I wanted and I was not backing down. In the end, he had done what I wanted as he figured out that no she’s boss and I will get food if I come in. I didn’t let him drop his head for grass and I kept a tighter line than I normally do. I think he’s slowly realizing I am more stubborn than him.

4, Keep lessons short but sweet. For many years of dins life, I had plans for lessons. What I wanted out of that lesson. Even something simple like getting on and off, sitting up, walking one step in a direction, picking up contact in the mouth, leg pressure. I had one of these for each lesson and once I achieved this the lesson was over and he got a treat. I still do this at times, I just do one thing. The lesson can be 10min or can be 30 min but I do one thing and one thing alone. Sometimes it is all a little too much and they become frustrated. This is perfectly natural and then you just need to decide to take the good things from that lesson as a positive. I try not to go over an hour in the school as its all a little bit much for them. Also if you talking things over with a helper/friend, maybe let them snooze. Din snoozed a lot on our breaks which told me he’s getting tired. When he is doing this he is taking it all in. Take this as your notice that soon is time to end. Doing so much with fry the brain and overwhelm them.

5, Try not to battle with them. It ends badly 97% of the time. They lose trust which isn’t a good thing. A battle normally starts from a stubborn baby (Din all over) or pure confusion. Take a few steps back, go for a walk to clear both your minds, maybe put that lesson on the back burner as maybe it was a little too soon. This happened when I was trying to get on, he wasn’t 100% ready. I tried a few times but he kept bouncing and not letting me lean over. Which is fine, we took a few steps back and went through some old stuff he knew. This boosted his confidence and allowed us to take a step forward. Having a young horse is no rush and things take time. They are all different so watch them and truly learn about them as an individual horse. Read the signs and work with them not against them. Don’t ever feel like you are failing because you have taken 5 steps back even going right back to basics. Maybe they need it, but one thing for certain this will make them amazing when they are older. Yes, I get annoyed when other horses his age are out doing shows and I am only just riding but you know what it makes him, well him. He’s special, one of a true kind and I don’t regret taking nearly two years to ride because being on him now makes the moment so much more worth it. He’s my egg and ill treasure him. 

These are a few little things I like to stick to when training. It’s hard to keep your cool at times. So if you’re in a rush or in a very frustrated mood, my best advice would be don’t start anything with your horse. You need a clearer mind and a bit of time so that if things go wrong your not in a rush to finish.

Have a wonderful day

Emma-Jayne

Mud Fever… What is it and how can I help prevent it

So what is Mud Fever exactly? 

Well if you call it by its proper name its Pastern Dermatitis. Its an irritation made by a number of different things that cause the skin to react.  The horse’s skin can provide a number of different foreign bodies the perfect home to breed and cause a major reaction these include things like bacterial organisms, fungi, and other known parasites.  When a horse’s skin has been compromised the foreign body can enter through the compromised skin and start making its self at home. Once inside it can then multiply in the damp but warm affercted area. It then spreads along in varying directions and causes mass irritation. This for the horse can be uncomfortable and if not treated cause big problems.

 

Normally this bacteria lives in the soil as spores which can live for many years not causing any problems. But these affected areas are activated by damp or very wet weather, so generally for most of us it’s in the wet summer months that can be the real problem but if we also have a wet Winter it can also still be activated in the correct conditions. So the affected soil will never actually go away it just some times lies dormant. So you can be in one place and never have a problem because you will have good soil but can then move to another place with the same weather as before and then have problems. It generally depends on where you are.

When a horse’s skin constantly stays wet it weakens the skins natural defences and it’s then when the contaminated soil can penetrate the skin and cause an infection. That also being said in winter when you bring your horse in from the field or from a long hack don’t always wash them off. The mud and constant rain weaken the skin as does washing them off all the time so you may think you are doing the best by your horse but what you are actually doing it weakening the skin even further. So all horses will be happy right now with me saying you need to wash legs less.

 

 

Products I have found useful –

As mud fever cant invade good healthy skin keep it super healthy and not weaken it in any way. Try and keep a good dry hard skin and not weaken its own natural defences with moisture.

 

One of my absolute favourite products is a barrier cream called Nettex Equine Muddy Marvel Barrier Cream. This product is amazing as it creates a waterproof but breathable antibacterial layer so it fights against the wet muddy weather in amazing ways. This is my number one rave product. I tell all my customers about it when they ask what to do with mud fever

 

My second favorite product is called Muddy Buddy Magic Mud Kure Cream by Lincoln.  This product is amazing for horses who have got mud fever as it helps speed up the healing process. It soothes the irritated skin and also helps soften up the scabs for easy removal. But after all that, it also helps encourage hair growth and also helps build up its own natural defenses again.  If the horse has gotten mud fever I use the Muddy Marvel Barrier to help fight off the contaminated soil as the horse’s skin will always be more prone to getting it and never have a full defenses wall to stop it penetrating the skin.

 

I hope this has shed some light on mud fever for you and given you some tips on how to prevent it.

 

Merlins

 

Settling a Horse Into a new stable

Moving yards.. well where do I start.

The stress, oh so much stress. Have you rented a box, do they have the day free, will the horse blooming load. Which in my case is a heck no. Din the trouble maker likes to make moving day somewhat of a more stressful situation. But that tale is for another blog in itself. If you lucky enough to have your own transport do I envy you. I am at the age where I either need to do a trailer test or an HGV test. Which I am currently unsure about, my horse has claustrophobia. So I am working on his travel skills to see if I can make him less stressed and able to go in a trailer. So as you can tell my moving day is a bundle of fun. To make this a less stressful situation I find using prokalm by science supplements very very helpful. Prokalm can work within 30 min to settle your horse more can be used with either 2 scoops or 4 scoops. I give this to din two hours before travel so he can settle down and be more content. Prokalm can last up to 8 hours once given to your horse so this also helps when arriving at the new yard as they are more relaxed to take in all the new surroundings. You can also use calming cookies. I haven’t tried these but I hear fantastic results with them. I will be trying these out once I get a chance to buy some, so I will fill you in on my findings one I have trialed these.

So that is the box spoken about. But first the packing of said horse wardrobe. This is normally quite an extensive wardrobe. You know because you need four of the same rug for one horse just in case he needs all them changes in one day. We do love our horses dearly. My horse has gone through 6 rug size changes in the mere four years I have owned him. He never stops growing. I did cut down my vast collection this year but I could still keep 5 horses warm in my collection. Tack well we all need them different saddles and bridles one for each occasion. Day, Night, Shows maybe wet or sunny. HA, that’s the excuse we give our respective partners. They nod along.  So horses wardrobe packed away into the millions of boxes. Anyone else by this point thinks maybe a removal company would be a better option. No just me ok. How many of you are now thinking oooo shes on to a winner? Winner winner chicken dinner!! Now our own wardrobe that’s spread across the yard into our trucks or cars, the house and any other place we see fit to hide the wonderful clothes. which also costs more than most peoples houses and yet we still smell awful and are muddy and covered in hay and straw around 99% of the time.  We pack a few from the house and truck and stable yard to put in the proper place at the yard. Because we all have big intentions of keeping a ship-shape yard with everything neatly in place. This, however, goes out the window in around Mmmmm three months at a push. Well if your me I am super organized and ship-shape. I hate mess, mud, not knowing where anything I own is. But I have those friends who I love dearly but I didn’t realize when I wanted to find the matchy-matchy I would have to skip out the tack room.  Pure joy.

So moving day is upon us. We haven’t slept from the stress, is every packed, is my horse going to move his hiney on to the transport without any fuss. In my case, we all know the answer. NOPEDY NOPE NOPE NOPE. Ughhhh din. So with your wonderful self-loading horse, all goes well, as any horse is better than mine trust me. My old boy merlin who was self-loading but a demon child to do anything else with is making me wish I had him right now. I try and stick to a daily schedule to keep him from getting too wound up. Din is 6 years old any anything is a challenge to him. So if I can keep it fairly normal we have fewer issues. Before we have moved I take all my stuff over and make it homely before he arrives. Mostly so when he goes into his stable he has all his usual smells. Just so he can relax more having the usual him smell rather than something completely foreign to him. When traveling din I tend to let him have the whole of the backbox. 3.5 is generally what I use when renting as more space. I do also not tie him up. Yes, scary I know, but din is a worrier and if he can move or get comfortable he freaks out and can turn himself inside out. I would much rather he sorts himself out and be happier than force him into an uncomfortable situation which then makes him really never want to travel. Yes, din does spin around in the box at first, changing directions to stand-in. But once he figures out which side he likes more he settles and well sweats. This is ok trust your horse to do the right thing. They are not as stupid as we think. Din is a devil and can really test my patience but I trust him to sort himself out. He is still 6 after all and he’s a slow developer, so it takes him a little longer to figure things out. So once arrived at the new yard pop them into the stable or field. Whichever you would rather and your horse would rather. So many people say you must keep them in the stable for the first day and night. But as I have sole use yards and I can turn out straight away I do tend to. But I know sometimes this is not an option. Firstly I do go to the stable and take off boots ect.. as I would normally when untacking etc. This is when they smell everything they know so they can work out this is home. Then turn out individually. So they can play, spook, wonder or generally do as they do. I find turning out a better way for my din as he can see the new exploring ground better and take it all in. For him, this is the better option but not everybody like this option. Do what is best for your horse and your horse alone.

So that’s moving day done go get that bottle of wine. I know ill need it. Ta ta for now Emmas country words

My winter help

Personally, I love winter. But not English winter. I love cold, frost, snow, comfy jumper, warm hats and a good fire with mulled wine. MUD MUD MUD is literally all we ever seem to get. So here are a few things to get me through winter without going crazy.

Leave the country and don’t come back until its warm. Joking that would be nice but I quite like my job and I don’t ever like leaving my animals.

1, Warm home cooked food. My all time favourite at the moment is a good old recipe from a book I got from my mum. Its called Traditional Farmhouse Fare and the recipe is called Peasant’s pheasant. Its a lovely sherry cooked pheasant that you simply make the sauce put it all in a pan and slow cook for nearly two hours. I simply put a lovely creamed mash and steamed vegetables with it. A very close second is a broccoli and stilton soup. I got the recipe from a lovely lady on a Facebook site. I will write a post about these soon and how to cook them.

2, My leather boots. I only have two pairs at the moment. I normally have a few on the go so that they don’t all get beaten up over the harsh winter period. I have a lovely pair on Sherwood lace side boots. So far these boots are living up to the country life. They seem to be made with good leather products, so far they haven’t split which normally happens about now. As we have all seen the glorious wet mud. So right now these are getting my top marks. I also have a pair of Ariat Barnyard Belle H2O, I am not sure on these boots. I got these with very high hopes. I love all the designs and the way they look. I have had them for a year and believe me I am the best of people to trial these, as I give them a good strong trial run. So far they have torn on the outer leather and slowly starting to leak. So these are not going to last until next winter. Which is a real shame. I may try some more soon but at the moment with the price of them and the fact they so far haven’t lived up to my greatest expectation, I wont be jumping to the next shop to buy some.

3, A good warm jacket. I have loads of jackets as for some reason I have been living by the same rule I have for shoes and hand bags. A girl can never have too many. I have the smart jack murphy tweed coats and gilet, the lovely long old school sheep skin coats and the many collection of tweeds in different colours. But I think for dog walking and doing my horses it by far has to be my (once again) Sherwood forest coat. Its thick and warm, I do not feel and wind or rain, it has the amazing inner cuffs which I do adore, pockets for days and a good strong outer layer. I have been in hedges. pulled by horses, rubbed against brick walls and still to this day it does not have any marks. I have had this coat for about 5 years now and I do adore it. I love the feeling the winter is coming and I can have my coat back. But for the less cold days of winter (rare I know) it has to be my Beretta. It is a thinner layer coat, it does keep all wind and rain out but it doesn’t get you to warm either. For me I do wear this one quite a bit. I get quite warm some times  so I don’t always wear my other coat. That’s one thing about the other one, its not quite as breathable as I would need. So these two are my top two.

4, Tea, oh boy I am a huge tea lover. Herbal tea, white tea, natural tea, milky tea, black tea and so much more. Earl grey is a big part of my life. I all ways start my day with a nice big cup of tea. I have tried a few different tea products and nothing but twining’s really compares. I also have a real love for whittards instant tea. Especially the dream time tea. Nothing makes me happier than the window open, warm bed a good book and a lovely big pot of the dream time tea.

5, Jumpers, all jumpers I love big, baggy cosy jumpers the most. I can’t get enough of them. My house is currently overrun with jumpers.

6, A good magazine. I often read the country life, Good housekeeping and the Horse and Hound. All of these have such good food recipes and clothing ideas and also such amazing home ideas. I often look at these and gain such brilliant ideas and helpful tips.

These are some of my winter keep me goings. Its a tough time for us country people. Harsh wet land, bitter wind, grey sky’s and endless dark. But guess what we are nearly over. KEEP IT TOGETHER COUNTRY PEEPS. Summer is on its way.

ECW

Izusu D-MAX is it D-MAX?

We had a 6-hour test driver of the new D-MAX for the day the other day and here’s what we thought.front.jpg

I was given a brand new and I mean brand new D-MAX UTAH for the day on a test drive. It was a lovely dark blue double cab with black leather interior. With only 120 miles on the clock, it was certainly brand new. The test drive started slow with some questionable service from the dealer who didn’t seem quite prepared for me in the morning, but then after a quick look round the truck, I was off.

I picked up the truck down in Salisbury, so it was an hour drive back to pick Emma up. This gave me a good chance to see what the truck was like to drive. I had a mix of quick roads on the Plains to small country lanes. As you do when you are given a loan car you have to see what it’s like when you put your foot down so a couple of times that’s just what I did.camera.jpg

Back at home I quickly learnt, ‘Boy this is a long truck’. With our current set up at home it maybe a squeeze swapping vehicles from off the drive. Moving it around in a crowded parking area was made all the while easier with the reverse camera and parking sensors, plus for a long truck, it didn’t feel too big.

Well, what do you do when you have a loan car for the day? Complete errand. After a drive down the motorway, I found that there was a lot of wind noise and engine noise when cruising at 65/75 mph. I felt this may get tiresome on long trips which will become a common occurrence for this truck is we get one. Pulling well and cruising comfortably down the motorway it did feel nice.rear seats.jpg

In town the truck had loads of low-end torque so pulled well off the line but no matter how hard I tried I just couldn’t get on with the 1st gear in this manual truck. Granted I was after an automatic so this may change on trial of an automatic version. I found 1st gear very short and torquey which I found a bit annoying. It drove really well around town returning good MPG which is always a good thing with you have such a big vehicle.

interior.jpgA few more errands and miles under our belts it was time to head home to drop Emma off and get the truck back to the dealer. Averaging around 39 MPG with a mix of roads and speeds shows that modern engines are really getting better. Plenty of power and loads of torque made it a joy to drive.

Overall impressions. Well specced with heated leather seats, Sat Nav, Bluetooth, reverse camera, selectable 4 wheel drive, keyless drive and other lovely accessories all for around £29k. Can’t complain about that, but there were a few little niggles. I found at all speeds there was a lot of engine and wind noise, which on long trips may become tiresome. The interior was very durable and utilitarian which as a normal car would be a bit of a letdown but looking from a work point of view it would be well suited. As I said before the gearbox wasn’t for me in a manual but then I’d be more looking towards an auto. With the 3.5t towing capacity is one of the best in its class which is key for us and our work. Huge selling point though was the 5 years 125,000-mile warranty! It really shows the trust Isuzu have in their product and a great piece of mind for us as owners.view.jpg

Would we buy one? At the moment its a maybe. Having already tried a 2017 Nissan Navara on a short test drive, I’m still to try the Mitsubishi L200 and the Ford Ranger. So until I try them it’s a bit hard to say. Not 100% bowled over but it was a really nice truck that drove well. When I try the others I’ll be able to say clearer which works best for us.

Luke

To cook or not to cook..

Every day I struggle with good diet, I tend to forget breakfast and lunch, who has time for that. I maybe have a protein shake or a smoothie if I get time to make it. I do really try for a good hearty dinner though. I am lucky to be able to get fresh game from my family, so I tend to use that a lot in my dinner meals. I try to make a planned weekly meal diary so I know what I need to make, as I tend to not have time to search around for a delicious meal. I love the Jamie Oliver recipes, I try to use a lot of his. I used this one this weekend, I had a good bit of venison waiting to be used so I made an old school venison pie. http://www.jamieoliver.com/recipes/game-recipes/old-school-venison-pie-with-juniper-rosemary-and-bay/ . I didn’t have time for pastry so I just left it as a stew type meal. I made quite a lot as had people over but they licked the pan clean. Not literally, but you know what I mean.

 

I have never been someone who likes slap together ready meals. I do every now and again like everyone, but if I can make something nice and fresh I do. Like a good Sunday roast, who doesn’t love them. Pork is my absolute favourite but I have never been good at making a good crackling. I have tried putting in longer and just on its own but I will have to try harder. I want to be known as the granny with the good Sunday roast. Practise make perfect as they always say.