MASAR – British Racing School

After seeing how interested you guys are reading journal updates on my MASAR journey (thank you <3), here is entry number 2.

This will be based on our time at the British Racing School  (BRS) where we spent a good 5 weeks there learning about SO MANY THINGS!

The BRS’s mission is:

As a Centre of Excellence for training in the horseracing world, we aim to provide a range of training of the highest standard to meet the needs of the racing industry, and to meet the needs of our learners.


We had two wonderful instructors, names AGGIE and RAY who took us through not only riding lessons, but also academic lectures, and processes of the racing industry.

 


We started off on the simulators to learn and get a feel for the post position and learning how to stop. Riding race horses is extremely different than riding jumpers! In order to hold the post position throughout the whole ride, you really need to be physically fit. Therefore, the BRS organized a whole fitness program for us to enhance our strength and endurance.


Since my accident, I barely rode another horse other than Tofino and Alinn, so getting on a race horse made me rather anxious. I was lucky enough to get an amazing ex race horse called GEE MAJOR who was the sweetest and looked after me very well ❤ I did have to ride multiple other horses after him, but he initially gave me the confidence boost I needed and I am forever thankful.


After riding in the indoor, we managed to get into the outdoor ring which was bigger, allowing us to go faster, encouraging us to use the techniques we used in controlling the pace. Deviation was one of the horses I rode who is a big gentle giant that is a lazy bum, but always makes you feel safe.  I loved him too!


We were assigned a horse each which we had to look after for the 5 week period. I got a thoroughbred pony named THERE SHE GOES who is so cute!, sassy, naughty, and super sweet when she wants to be especially when you have food :p


We had to clean our their boxes, monitor our horses Temperature, Pulse, Respiratory (TPR), their behaviour, their feed intake, pedigree, special tack they use, research their history in racing, their health and basically become best friends! This part was a great experience, getting to know the horses characteristics and how unique each one is. So meet THERE SHE GOES:


Our horses were not the only ones we had to take care of. Yard management is a big task, and thus, we were also assigned other horses and boxes to clean out and look after, making sure they have clean water and bedding. Let me tell you, it really is a workout! But also soothing especially when you blast your music up as you’re mucking out 😀


Within this time, we also had multiple lectures on different topics. These included paddock care and management where we had to identify different types of poisonous and non poisonous plants, taking care of horses in the field, equine anatomy, motions of a race horse, equine dentistry, pedigree, breeding, nutrition etc,

   


We also got to dissect a horse leg which was so amazing to see how strong, yet fragile these amazing beasts are! Getting to see how they move and work from the inside really allows you to understand not only the anatomy, but also the functionality of a horses leg. They literally do not have any muscles under the knee, and rely on the frog in the hoof to pump circulation back up the leg. Amazing huh?

  


Long reining, which is a technique used for younger horses in the “breaking in” process,  helps to get them used to commands, moving forward, back, left, right. This was the first time I had ever tried it and it looks easy, as this horse in the video is older and experienced. But imagine doing it on a young horse who would spook from everything >_<


Presenting your horse for racing is big part of a barns reputation. We had a Best Turn Out competition where we were separated into three groups of 3. My team and I selected our horse carefully (KINGS-GATE NATIVE), checking for a good baseline coat, good movement and confirmation. We then had to get working on cleaning his tack, grooming him, plaiting his mane, cleaning his nose, ears, tail, hooves and shining them, and applying his turn out gear.

And guess what? My team won :p all thanks to great teamwork that we were able to communicate well to each other and assign tasks according to our strengths.


Attending Tattersalls and understanding the process of selling a racehorse works was very interesting and surprising I must admit. Firstly, the venue is historic, which was within itself beautiful to see. Secondly, it was fascinating to see how bidders bid on a horse and what they look for: pedigree, conformation, character, gate, etc.

We also attended The Craven Meeting with our trainers and learnt how to read the racing cards here in the UK as they are different from back home. It was super exciting when the first race was a win for Godolphin with AURUM.

  


Although it was hard work, we always spent our break times either laying on the grass, or with the horses. It was truly therapeutic ❤

    


All the while, Tofino has been out in the field enjoying the mud 😀


It has been such an amazing adventure, I can never stop saying that! We finished from the BRS temporarily and head back there mid year in order to do our level exams.

In the mean time, we have other exciting things scheduled in so stay tuned to get the updates ❤

HORSELY Belts [REVIEW]

I was approached by a company named HORSELY, from Australia, at the beginning of this year in order to do a review collaboration.

Firstly, their website, and items are absolutely adorable! They offer equestrian shirts, jewellery, pillow cases, bags, home decor, and of course, belts.

Their prices are very decent, with multiple colour options, and free worldwide shipping ❤


I was sent the following two belts:

Braided Belt Duo Stretch Fit -Blue White 

I chose this belt myself as I loved the subtle colour combo. It is stretchy, but measures to be

  • Length 110 cm
  • Width 3.3 cm

The detail is impeccable. I have not had any loose stitching or wear or tear yet and it has been two months so far.

  


Braided Belt Leather and Rope Duo – Brown Red

This belt comes in different size options and is NOT stretchy. It is made of German leather and wax rope. It is slightly wider coming in at 3.4cm which doesn’t make so much of a difference. I find it sits nicely on any pants without having to readjust as you do with the stretchy material, however, the quality of the ends didn’t feel as sturdy.

There is no contrast stitching it is simple and classic.

  


Definitely keeping an eye out for the black, grey, blue one 😉


Pros: Cons:
  Multiple size options (stretchy or choice)

•  Durable

•  Great quality and detail

•  Affordable

•  Comfortable

•  re-adjust stretchy ones once on the horse as breeches rise up

•  Stretchy ones should come in smaller version too

•  Quality of rope belt is inferior to stretchy belt

Verdict: I love these belts, I think for the price, you really get what you pay for and with the endless colour options and sizes you,re bound to find the style that suits you best. I like them both, but prefer the stretchy only because I felt that the quality was slightly more superior, even though it fits bigger on me.

Big thank you to HORSELY for sending these belts through! Please check them out and share with us your belts ❤

GIVEAWAY ft @alya_meshar_almheiri + @equestriansolutions

Hi guys!

So decided to do a giveaway in honour of Tofino’s happy retirement, featuring @alya_meshar_almheiri and @equestriansolutions

RULES❗

1️⃣ follows all 3 accounts: @TofinoTack + @alya_meshar_almheiri + @equestriansolutions

2️⃣ Tag 3 people

3️⃣ Repost this photo on your account

4️⃣ Use #TAEgiveaway

🔒 ends 16 March 2018.

🔓 open only to UAE residents sorry 🙈

❗big thanks again to the giveaway sponsor @equestriansolutions

Good luck 😄

B Vertigo NEW Kimberly Breeches [REVIEW]

Last summer, I reviewed the old version of the Kimberly Breeches., which I never knew were the 2012 model, until  @Bvertigo_UAE contacted me in order to review the newer model which they kindly sent to me 3 months ago.

They currently only come in two colours: Navy or Black.

Specs:

  • 4-way stretch
  • Medium/high waistband
  • Quality-made for durability and long lasting use
  • Improved knee patch shape
  • Breathable
  • Moisture-wicking material
  • Improved calf fitting for great comfort at the bottom of the leg
  • Elegant back pocket embroidery
  • Classic grey contrast stripe at the leg
  • Optimal comfort

Material:

  • BV Opti-Pro fabric: 92% polyamide
  • 8% polyurethane.

The design of the breeches is very simple with some minor details, which I personally prefer. It has a wide waist band, with two vertical buttons. Simple back pocket with Euro Seat, and a metal plate on the belt loop.

  


There is a vertical line on the sides of the breeches which gives it that extra touch. I did realize that the waist is actually lower than the older version. I personally liked the way the older version sat on my waist as it felt a little more comfortable while riding, but not a big deal.

  


Both versions have moisture wicking technology that work well, but this newer version works better as the water droplets stay as droplets and do not seep through even though the material feels lighter and stretchier. (click to enlarge photos)

 


The knee and calf area has definitely been altered to fit better. I had an issue with the older Kimberly where the knee and calf area was too baggy. The newer version is a lot better and fit nicely under my tall boots.


Pros: Cons:
  Breathable 

•  Stretchy

•  Moisture wicking 

•  Lightweight material

  Durable

•  Only comes in 2 colours

•  Mid not high waist as older version

•  Sock ankle ( I prefer adjustable velcro)

Verdict: I would recommend these breeches as they are very lightweight and stretchy. Their moisture wicking is a great asset especially for someone as clumsy as me. I can’t decide which version I like more as the older kimberly was more comfortable on the waist, but not the knee and calf, whereas this new version is the opposite (more comfortable around calf and knee, less comfortable around waist). I guess it depends on your body shape and personal look preference.


Big thanks again to @Bvertigo_UAE for sending through these awesome breeches ❤ ❤ ❤
If you wish to purchase them, you can contact them directly through their instagram account or order through http://www.pets-delight.com

Horse Show Anxieties

I am just going to take this time to blab on a little on our Anxiety issues. Yes, both Tofino and I suffer from it unfortunately.

This week, Tofino and I had a really bad show. The worst so far. Normally we have an okayish round then come back strong in the second round.

This time however, both rounds were horrible! Included refusals, crashes and elimination.

I myself have been diagnosed with having an anxiety disorder and do get treated for it. So come show day, I always make sure I am up to date with my medication and feeling calm.

Tofino however, only has anxiety at shows. Even though I do put him on SoZen by Cavalor

SoZen is a calming supplement that is useful for horses that are constantly battling tension and nervousness in their daily lives. Cavalor SoZen that works to control cortisol levels in horses. When horses are constantly stressed the body creates an abundance of adrenaline and typically not enough cortisol to balance out the hormone levels in the horse.  SoZen is very useful for competition horses that have a hard time focusing on their work.


We do really well at home, from jumping, to flatwork, to hacking with not many issues to be honest. Come show day, he knows, he feels it, and sometimes even backs away from the trailer.

Many people along the way said it is because of me, because I am nervous, I am scared, I transfer it to him, but I promise you my medication works miracles on myself.

That being said, I never take it at home when we are jumping and we do just fine. He does have vision issues, finding it harder to jump in flood lights but that hasn’t held us back drastically.

This type of anxiety that he has is definitely related to shows as he always holds himself back once reaching the show gate.

Generally horses have 7 types of fear according to EquiSearch:

1. Objects. The objects that horses most commonly find terrifying include: rocks, farm equipment, cars, buildings, jumps, garbage cans and pretty much anything they consider out of the ordinary.
2. Situations. Many horses are uncertain about dark or enclosed places (like an indoor arena), and even more are genuinely scared of being alone (they are herd animals). Often this fear will be expressed by being buddy-sour or barn-sour, and sometimes they don’t want to go in a ring, either at home or in a competition.
3. Sounds. Highly strung horses are easily unglued by loud, unexpected noises (a car back-firing, a garbage can falling over). Others can’t stand hissing noises (like from a leaky hose coupling), and others don’t like rustling noises (in leaves or under something). Both probably sound like a snake.
4. Clipping or other grooming/handling. Some horses are genuinely afraid of clippers, either the sound or the sensation. Some don’t like to receive shots, and others are anxious about being shod.
5. New places. This can be as obvious as moving to a new home or going to a competition. Or it could just be moving to a new stall or riding in a new trailer. Anxiety could even be caused by more subtle changes around the barn (the jumps were moved in the ring, for instance).
6. Type of work/type of rider. Horses often prefer a certain type of rider. And often horses with a strong desire to please become anxious because they don’t understand what’s being asked of them, either because the exercise isn’t clear to them or the rider’s aids are confusing.
7. Other animals. Horses are often afraid of birds, cows, goats, sheep, donkeys, deer or other wildlife. And some are afraid of other horses.


And 5 Types of Anxieties According to 

1. Separation anxiety: Separation anxiety is caused by moving a horse away from herd mates. Horses who are turned out together may dislike being moved from the pasture into the stable for grooming and saddling. They may try to bolt or return to the horse. Conversely, a horse ridden alone in the riding arena may attempt to bolt and return to the relative safety of the barn, where he knows there are other horses.

2. Performance anxiety: Horses, like people, can become anxious before events. Sometimes, they simply pick up on our nonverbal anxiety cues, like feeling their riders tense or hang onto the reins a little tootightly. Other horses learn to associate the sights, smells and sounds of a competition with anxiety.Thoroughbreds that are used to giving their all at the racetrack may transfer this performance anxiety to their new lives, even though the stakes are much lower. They are unable to distinguish between the noises of the track and the noise of the country fair, where their new owners take them to an unrated show. To them, it is still time to perform, and they tense up in anticipation of the event.

3. Situational anxiety: Situational anxiety occurs when horses associate a particular situation with something bad happening. A horse that may have been in a trailer accident as a youngster may associate stepping into the trailer with the pain and fear of the accident, even though years have passed between now and the time of the accident. Such anxiety can be difficult to diagnose if you have a new horse or don’t know your horse’s history. You may know when he gets anxious, but aren’t sure why.

4. Boredom: Although you may not think that boredom and anxiety are synonymous, horses who are bored may also be anxious. These are generally the stall walkers and weavers. They don’t have enough to do, and this makes them anxious.

5. Change anxiety: Lastly, change anxiety occurs when a horse’s living conditions are abruptly changed. Moving a horse from a big, open pasture into a confined stable and a heavy training schedule without any transition can be stressful for him. Some horses dislike having different riders each day and aren’t well-suited to being lesson or rented-trail horses. These horses react poorly to change and exhibit the telltale signs of anxiety, such as eye-rolling, avoidance and backing, spooking and bolting.


Five Tips For Anxious Moments according to EquiSearch

1. Don’t look at the object or area of fear. Focus your eyes on a spot in the distance and ride to it. This prevents you from acknowledging the object as something fearful and keeps your eyes, head and balance up and forward.
2. If you have a horse who’s perpetually spooky, try riding with a breastplate, racing yolk or grab strap. This will give you something to grab if he wheels or bolts, other than his mouth. Catching nervous horses in the mouth can often send them over the edge.
3. If the horse is contorting its body to look at an object in or near your ring every time you go past it, and thus disrupting your work, instead of fighting to force him not to look at it, force him to look-but keep working. Ride a leg-yield or half-pass (or even a simple outside bend) that puts the horse’s eye on the object, but follow it up with strong leg aids that force him to continue stepping forward and working.
4. If your horse is walking like a tense ball about to explode, pick up the trot and start riding figures like serpentines or figure-eights. Concentrate on the geometry of the figures and the rhythm of the trot. Ignore everything else. Some top riders sing while they’re doing this to force themselves to breathe consistently and release tension, and the rhythm of the song helps them create a consistent rhythm in the trot.
5. Remember, the hardest thing for some horses to do is walk on a loose rein. The loss of contact with the rider can feel like abandonment, and they’re more likely to become anxious or startled. Although being able to walk on a loose rein is a must, be patient with horses and riders who struggle with this concept. Begin by trying brief periods of loose rein between two letters of a standard dressage court, increasing the amount of walk over time.

I think once we check on his eyes again, i’ll  give it another go at the shows. Fingers crossed

Stretch Your Horse App

As important as stretching is for us after exercise, the same goes to horses.
Stretching your horse’s muscles will enhance performance and reduce the possibility of an injury.
I have previously written a post on “Warming Up &  Cooling Down you Horse” in order slowly get your horse moving before and after proper riding. In addition to warm up and cool down, you can also help your horse to better their performance by following multiple stretching techniques. These are carefully written and recorded by an application called Stretch Your Horse which is designed to teach viewers how to safely and effectively stretch their horse’s muscles anytime and anywhere.
Note: Stretching should only be done on warm muscles.  If you warm up your horse in the saddle, this means you should stretch your horse after you ride.


Benefits of Stretching:
  • Enhances sensory nerve endings (for muscles, tendons, ligaments, joints) 
  • Prevent injury (reduce risk of muscle & tendon injury) 
  • Increase suppleness & elasticity
  • Improve circulation
  • Relieve pain, inflammation, muscle spasms
  • Avoid stiff/sore muscles
  • Relieve joint (as you extent contracted muscle to their position it relieves stress off ligament that is attached to joint) 
  • Promote relaxation

[For more information, check out: Stretching your horse benefits and guidelines]


Stretch Your Horse App features the following:
  • No internet connectivity or cell service needed after the initial download  
  • Each video is downloaded separately and resides on smartphone
  • Download on wi-fi to avoid data plan usage and charges (strongly recommended)
  • Cost effective because rider only downloads specific stretch videos their horse needs
  • Great for riders of all experience levels and non-riders too
  • All stretches done from the ground

  


The application is very easy to navigate and has numerous videos on a wide range of sections that cover your horse’s body. The app comes with 3 free videos.  You are able to review each video and give your feedback.  There is a small purchase fee ($1.99 USD) for each video. This is easy on the pocket and enables the rider to customize purchases based on their horse’s specific needs.  Personally, I would rather buy all 22 videos at once for convenience, but not everyone would want to do that.

  


The images and writings are very clear and straight forward, making it accessible for those with no scientific background with regards to horses.  The loading time does depend on your internet speed, but once it is loaded it saves into the app which allows you to access it anytime without having to use data again.

  


You can purchase the app for just $2.99, and get 3 free videos.  Most of the other videos cost only $1.99.  Customize your video purchases.  Buy only the stretches your horse needs.

Picture

Click image to preview
​ App and download to your iPhone.  (You must do this from your phone.)

Picture

Click image to preview App and download to your Android phone.  (You must do this from your phone.)

West Nile Virus [IMPORTANT!]

This virus has come to my attention due to the fact that one of the horses in our stables has the symptoms for West Nile Virus.

West Nile Virus (WNV) causes an inflammation of the central nervous system. Both humans and animals can get infected from a mosquito that is carrying the virus. WNV occurs mostly in the late summer or early autumn.


SYMPTOMS

Those infected may show zero signs of illness, however, if the virus reaches the central nervous system, it can cause encephalitis (brain swelling). For horses, the symptoms can take 5-15 days to show, which include the following:

  • loss of appetite
  • depression
  • fever
  • weakness of hind limbs
  • paralysis of hind limbs
  • impaired vision
  • ataxia (weakness)
  • head pressing
  • aimless wandering
  • convulsions (seizures)
  • inability to swallow
  • walking in circles
  • hyperexcitability
  • coma

TREATMENT

There is no specific antibody to counter attack the virus, therefore, depending on the affect the virus has on each individual horse, a treatment plan should be developed.

  • Control fever if present.
  • Ensure horse receives sufficient fluids and feed. Oral or intravenous feeding may also be necessary for horses unable to eat.
  • If mobility is compromised, slinging is recommended 2 to 3 times per day to aid in circulation and to try to prevent pressure point sores (bed sores).
  • If horse keeps collapsing, head and leg protection will be necessary.
  • Treating secondary events if noticed. These may include joint and tendon infections, sheath infections, pneumonia, and diarrhea, all due to overall weakness and lack of mobility.

Horses can improve within 5 to 7 days after showing sings of the virus, however, 20-30% can show severe neurological deficits for a few weeks. Moreover, mortality rate is around 33%, whereas full recover is around 50%, and relapse or incomplete recover is around 17%.


PREVENTION

There is a vaccination that requires two doses, given 3-6 weeks apart. That being said, the protection will not develop until around 4-6 weeks after the second dose.
Note: 36 hours rest post vaccination for horses

Try and keep the stables clean and free from mosquito breeding habitats which include tires, wheelbarrows, old buckets, etc.),. Roof and gutters should also be cleaned constantly.

  • Keep horses indoors during active mosquito times (dawn/dusk)
  • Use fans
  • Use flysheets
  • Flyspray
  • Insecticide mist
  • Turn off lights that attract mosquitoes at night, or use fluorescent lights, which do not attract mosquitoes.
  • Keep an eye out for dead birds around the stables

It is very crucial to get your horse vaccinated, of if they are, continue to give them boosters when necessary.

Keep safe! Hope this helps