A Healthy Gut: Pre-biotics vs Pro-Biotics

Even though they sound similar, pro-biotics and pro-biotics and completely different supplements. Here is a table explaining the differences:
(click to enlarge)
PRE PRO

If your horse has access to forage, hay and good quality feed, then it is unnecessary to supplement them pre and pro-biotics. Many feed companies do incorporate live yeast within their ingredients, nonetheless, there are a number of situations where your horse can truly benefit from these supplements:

  • Antibiotic treatment
  • Deworming
  • Transport
  • Stressful situations (eg. new barn, stall rest..etc.)
  • Dietary changes
  • Competitions
  • Gastric Ulcers
  • Prone to / has a history of colic
  • Diarrhea
  • Old age (possibly)
  • Poor keepers (have trouble keeping on weight)

Note: Since pre and pro-biotics are NOT drugs, supplement productions  are not supervised or controlled. Therefore, there are some poor-quality products available in the market. 

There are a hand-full or companies that create a supplement that has both pro and pre-biotics together. Make sure to check the ingredients and the brands reputation before purchasing anything for your horse. The simpler the ingredients are, the better. You do not want to further disturb your horses gut with a number of ingredients even if they are natural. Just go straight for the pre/pro-biotics without other additives.

I have personally been using the Mervue Pro-Bio Forte which is composed of Fructo-oligosaccharides (pre-biotic) and Yeast (pro-biotic) as well as vitamins. I got it from City Knights in Shajrah Equestrian Club. I only began using this during Tofino’s diarrhea, and I am still continuing on it for about 1 more month to be safe. He is currently going on well with no gut disturbances. Thankfully! 😀

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Decathlon Schooling Saddle Cloth [REVIEW]

I got the Decathlon Schooling Saddle Cloth just over 2 years ago as recommended by a friend, from the UAE Decathlon. It comes in a number of colours:

     Charcoal                                                    White                                                 Black

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    Red                                                     Brown/Baby Blue Trim                Baby Blue/Brown Trim

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Note: I am not sure why the images above (from decathlon), except for the baby blue one, don’t show the keepers, only the billet straps. Mine has both the keepers and the billet straps.

Features: 

  • MOISTURE MANAGEMENT
    Polyester and cotton fabric that absorbs perspiration.
  • STABILITY
    A loop for the strap ensures the cloth remains firmly in place under the saddle.
  • CUSTOMIZATION
    The cloth can be embroidered on the right or the left.
  • ANATOMIC DESIGN
    Shaped to clear withers.
  • ABRASION RESISTANCE
    Fabric is resistant to wear, sweat and repeated washing.

The saddle pad is sturdy and thin, making it perfect for the summer. It measures 58cm wide and 52 cm high:

Even though I have had this for over two years, it looks really good still! Every time I take it out of the wash, it looks like it is in mint condition.

It does have both billet straps and saddle keepers, avoiding saddle slippage. Due to the simple square design, it is easy to custom embroider it which my friend did for us with Tofino’s full name.

Note: The floor was dusty, making the pad a bit dirty.

  

There is a FOuganza brand (decathlon brand) embroidered neatly on top. It does absorb sweat pretty well. I do however get the occasional seep through sweat and onto my ThinLine pad. That being said, the UAE’s temperature and humidity levels are rather high.

  

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Even though the saddle pad only comes in a General Purpose Cut, it is simple, classic, and is very affordable at 70AED/19US$ if I recall correctly.


Pros:
Cons:
   Basic colour options

   Very affordable 

•   Thin

•   Wither clearance

•   Keepers & Billet straps

•   Good size

•   No drastic sign of wearing

•   Lovely simple design

•   Sweat seeps through

•   Only comes in a Generals Purpose cut

•   Limited colours/trims

Verdict:  If you are on a budget, or need a quick saddle pad, I  would recommend this. It is affordable, long lasting, and simple. Even though it gets hot for the UAE weather, I would use it in the cooler months.

De La Coeur First Impression [REVIEW/HAUL]

It has arrived!! I customized our own ear net a while back from De La Coeur:

De La Coeur is a Canadian-based line of high quality equestrian products for the horse and rider. Based in Oakville, Ontario, De La Coeur began as a family run business – and every fly bonnet is still hand crafted.

DLC_logo_new

Since they are custom hand-made, and all the way from Canada, they do take about 3-5 weeks for production, and 5-10 days for shipping. You can also purchase ready made bonnets.

My custom order was:

  • Long Tie Down Bonnet
  • Cob Size
  • Navy but with Charcoal Ears
  • 1 Line Silver Sparkle Trim
  • 2 Line White Trim
  • 1 Line Navy Sparkle Trim
  • Charcoal Trim Binding

Note: As you can see in the pictures, I am still not sure how to tie it to the Micklem bridle. The bonnet will be placed better once I can tie it down. I did contact DLC and will update on how to do so soon.

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DLC bonnets have gone through rigorous quality control and testing, with the result being a high end product that will stand the test of time.

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DLC was the first company to innovate sound proof ears, using technical fabric lining to muffle sound and block wind – allowing the equine athlete focus on his job, instead of itchy and uncomfortable ear stuffs.

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I believe these bonnets look stunning on any horse! There are endless customizations to go through which is always great, and also hard to make a decision, but De La Coeur really took their time to help me choose ( thank you Stephanie ❤ ) !

I am keeping this bonnet only for jumping competitions, but I will go back to my figure 8 for Jumping and leave the Micklem for Dressage as the Micklem does not really suit the bonnet well, and Tofino responds the same way in a figure 8 and a Micklem.

I may also consider getting a plain one (which also look so stunning!) for training in the winter months. I would try out the regular square front. It should suit the Micklem too 😀

Horsey Facts

I was reading on interesting horsey facts from my books and online and I decided to collect some of them for you 🙂

SO, did you know..

o  Horses can’t breathe through their mouths.
o  A horse has two blind spots – right behind the horse and just in front of and beneath the nose.
o  The horse has binocular vision, but can also see different things in each eye. This is why you need to show your horses the spooky things in both eyes so the brain can get the message that it’s not spooky.
o  The horse has one stomach. In contrast, cattle, sheep, goats, bison, deer, elk, caribou, moose, and camels are “ruminants” which means (among other things) they have four digestive chambers instead of just one stomach.
o  Wolf teeth can be a serious nuisance and most horsemen have them removed.
o  Horses sleep between two and three hours per day. Only 45 minutes of this sleep time is spent lying down.
o  A 2010 study revealed some very surprising results about horse intelligence, especially memory.
o  Horses remain loyal to humans with which they have had past, positive encounters.
o  Horses remember people even after long separation.
o  Horses understand vocal commands better than expected.
o  Horses drink at least 25 gallons of water a day (changes according to weather).
o  Horses teeth never stop growing.
o  You can tell if a horse is cold by feeling behind their ears. If that area is cold, so is the horse.
o  Ponies live longer than horses.
o  The oldest horse on record lived to the age of 62 and died in 1822.
o  Horses thrive on routine, especially when it comes to food.
o  You can tell if a horse is dehydrated by pinching their skin, if it takes time for the skin to return from the pinch, they need water.
o  Horses have 7 common blood types.
o  Adult male horses generally have 40 teeth and females 36.

 

Tough-1 Sure Measure Tape REVIEW

Keeping a measuring tape at the barn is a necessity in order to identify:

  1. Height
  2. Weight: for maintenance + medications + pastes
  3. Rug sizes
  4. Body conditioning ratings

I came across the Tough-1 Sure Measure Tape from eQuestri a while back and I am glad that I got my hands on it as it is so much easier to use than normal measuring tape or string.

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Want to know your horses approximate weight and height? This height and weight tape for horses and ponies will enable you to make very close estimates of your animals size. Constructed with unbreakable vinyl-coated nylon. Measures in both hand and centimeters, as well as in pounds and kilos. Measures up to 20 hands and 1,400 pounds.


The Tough-1 Sure Measure Tape is made with vinyl coated nylon which makes it unbreakable. It has a quick grip velcro closure for easy roll up and compactness.


On one side, it estimates the horses weight in both pounds (lb) and kilograms (kg) for horses up to 634kg/1398lb. It also has some instructions on how to use the tape for the different measurements you may be looking for.

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On the other side, the tape has measurements for the height in both hands (hh) and centimeters (cm) for horses up to 20hh/200cm, and also written instructions

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The tape does give you enough instructions to work with; but if you find yourself confused or stuck trying to take the weight of your horse, you can always take a look at the video in my de-worming post which shows you how to weigh your horse using a tape.


Pros:
Cons:
   Instructions on tape

•   Soft, no noises to spook horses

•   Compact: folds with velcro closure

•   Measures Height + Weight

•   Unbreakable 

•   Water-resistent

•  Measures in UK + US units

•  Measures up to 20hh + 634kg

•   Begins cm measurement from 20, not 0

Verdict: I would definitely recommend this product. It is a must have for every horse owner/leaser!

Cavallo Fly Rug REVIEW

I was in need of a fly sheet desperately as Tofino developed hives, which could be due to new shavings or bug bites. He sweats quickly, and therefore, wanted something super light.

I came across the Cavallo Fly Rug from Equestrian Solutions which  comes in both Marine and Sand colour, in the following sizes:

 

S (125 cm), M (135 cm), L (145 cm)XL (155 cm), XXL (165 cm).

I decided to purchase in Marine colour in the size 145cm, as Tofino is in between the M and the L, and they always say to take one size bigger with rugs and sheets.

As soon as I received the Cavallo Fly rug, I really loved the colours and the trim of it, whoever, I quickly noticed that there was no surcingle, which meant that the rug would move a lot!

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It comes with a single buckle in the front. I am not a fan of how high the buckle sits, I wish it was lower, and had padding in front, and was adjustable.

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 The front is reinforced with a double mesh layer, however, there is no “shoulder free” stitching. Moreover, the withers are not protected with an anti-rubbing material.

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 Due to the lack of surcingles as mentioned above, the rug does move up if a strong wind hits, or if he rolls. It tilts very easily unfortunately even though there is a tail cord in the back.

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Pros:
Cons:
   Lightweight 

•   Appealing appearance

•   Breathable

•   Size Ranges

•   Tail cord

•   Front double layer reinforcement

•   No surcingles

•   One buckle in front + Not adjustable

•  No front buckle padding

•   No anti-rub material on withers

•  No “shoulder free”

•  Twists & turns easily 

Verdict: I am not sure why this is advertised as a fly rug on both the website and the rug itself as it seems to be more of a scrim sheet instead. If you are looking for a scrim sheet I would recommend this product, however, as a fly rug, even though it looks flattering, and has good protection on the body against flies, it does not cover the belly as there are no surcingles, and not to mention the fact that it can twist easily. For now, this will do as a temporary rug while I continue my search for a good, lightweight fly sheet.

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