When I was in school, the highlight of every week was riding a big chestnut mare called Jenny. Jenny got arthritis and in an effort to help the yard to treat her I started researching what could help. This was long before the days of being able to buy ready made and mixed herbal remedies for horse aliments in Ireland but after reading everything I could get my hands on I found a shop on Georges street in Dublin that had a wall full of A – Z herbs. The lovely man who owned it was fascinated by my use of the products for horses and became a big help. I started mixing tailored herb mixes for the big mare and for horses belonging to friends. These mixes helped and to this day I have remained fascinated by how the plants and herbs that we can so readily avail of can help to heal. There are many herbal remedies that can be used and I would encourage everyone to do their research. The herbs and plants listed below and those I have personally used and found beneficial. Often products come onto the equestrian market that are based on a specific plant, it is always worth checking the ingredients as it may be cheaper to simply source the key ingredient (ingredients are often listed under the latin name of the plant). As with everything, if you are competing, make sure to check the permitted substances list for your sport and governing bodies to ensure that any supplement you feed is permitted for competitors.
- Using cold water
You wouldn’t wash your own hair in cold water! Using warm water will allow your shampoos and products to lather much better. It also feels more pleasant for the horse. Mix your shampoo into warm water in a bucket and lather up and apply with a sponge or soft cloth
Having no idea which horse is yours without wearing glasses or contact lenses, you just know what colour blur it should be.
Experiencing the unique pain of a horses head bashing your glasses into your face.
I have a photo at home of me on a horse. I was about sixteen and I was riding the big kind mare who I never owned but who the thought of spending time with twice a week got me through the stress of my leaving cert year. I am sat on her back without a saddle cantering around the sand arena with my arms outstretched and a smile on my face. It was pure trust and pure freedom but we can’t do that anymore.
Oh no, poles, not the poles!
Relax for god’s sake, they are poles what’s the worst that can happen?
Kill me now, I can’t even get over pole with a bit of grace and elegance.
This time last year, a friend and I were keen for an adventure on horseback so we headed down to Mount Juliet Estate in Thomastown in Co. Kilkenny for a cross country ride out. I had been to Mount Juliet before for a side saddle hack organised by the side saddle association and I was keen to head back to try out the equestrian facilities astride.
It was one in the afternoon on a weekend in January. After three hours standing I felt like I was on a boat. The wind rocked me from side to side and the rain battered my back. The water had begun to seep through the seams of my hard working coat and my wax hat. My ski gloves had given up the ghost and hung from my hands like wet sponges. I was mentally singing the praises of my waterproof trousers and grateful that I had a spare ski jacket in the boot of a jeep. I was not on a boat nor on a ski slope. I was in an arena at the yard. This is Winter. This is Ireland. Read the rest of this entry
If like me you are not blessed with a natural straight eye for things, trying to clip lines on blanket or trace clips can be a nightmare. My natural inability for straight lines is genetic. I blame my mother who left me at one point with a two inch fringe that made me look demented because every time she trimmed it she would declare it was crooked and take a bit more off to straighten it.