Category Archives: Preventing injury

Your guide to show rugs and coolers

Our guide to show rugs and coolers will ensure you’re kitted out for the competition season.

The world of rugs is vast and full of options, but our guide will have you show-ready in no time. From super-smart show rugs to lightweight coolers, find the ideal rug for you and your horse’s needs.

Show Rug vs. Cooler

Both show rugs and coolers offer great practical benefits for you and your horse:

Coolers:

  • Highly efficient at wicking moisture and sweat away
  • Made with lightweight technical or mesh fabric
  • Breathable
  • Quick drying

Show Rugs:

  • Wicking
  • Lightweight coverage
  • Smart style
  • Multipurpose
  • Protection against dust and flies
  • Perfect for layering on cold days

Coolers

As their name suggests, coolers are designed to help your horse cool down, so they’re perfect for your horse post-workout. Just as you need time to catch your breath without getting chilly after exercise, your horse needs a little help to prevent him from cooling down too quickly. Even in the summer, a cooler can be a great help for maintaining your horse’s ideal body temperature, whether on the journey back from competing, after a fast hack, or a visit to the gallops.

Whilst the materials used may vary, coolers all have one thing in common – breathability. They’re expertly designed to wick away moisture without your horse cooling down too fast. This prevents muscles from getting stiff or sore from tensing against the cold.

Mesh Scrim Coolers:

Mesh fabric is super lightweight and great for cooling your horse on warmer days. It wicks away moisture and dries quickly too, regulating your horse’s temperature and preventing chilling.

Waffle Coolers:

Waffle fabric is hardwearing and designed to provide a buffer against the cold, while wicking away moisture. This makes waffle coolers a practical choice for travelling.

Show Rugs

Show rugs help keep your horse looking neat and tidy as you travel and prepare for your latest competition.

Usually made of a light material, show rugs offer a balance between warmth and style. A good quality rug will be hardwearing enough to withstand use while travelling, but soft to keep your horse comfortable.

If your horse is prone to ruining all the hard work you put into plaiting his mane, choose a smart show rug with a detachable neck for additional protection.

Sheets

Ideal for keeping your horse spotless. They’re hardwearing and light enough to prevent over-heating but provide a little warmth for those chilly summer evenings or when he’s freshly bathed.

Fleece Rugs

Lightweight and smart, fleece rugs are not only great for shows and travelling, they’re useful for cooling, drying and stable wear too. The soft fleece fabric wicks away sweat to keep your horse dry and comfortable.

Quilted Rugs

With thermal properties, quilted rugs are ideal on colder show days. Soft to touch with a bonded lining that wicks away moisture, these rugs are also ideal for travelling, drying and stable wear.

Discover our full range of rugs and coolers on bridlewayequestrian.com

 

Equine dehydration: what you need to know.

Dehydration in horses can be very serious, so being able to spot and prevent it, particularly during the warm summer months, is an absolute must. Making sure your horse has access to a clean, plentiful supply of water at all times is essential, but there’s certainly more you can do to make sure your horse avoids dehydration.

Spotting the signs

At best, your horse’s performance will be affected by dehydration, but in more severe cases it can lead to him exhibiting the symptoms of colic and you’ll need to call your vet.

Dehydrated horses can seem lethargic and produce thick, sticky saliva. Their urine is often darker and their mucus membranes, such as their lips, can become particularly red and congested.

Pinching the skin on your horse’s neck and counting the number of seconds it takes to spring back used to be a widespread method to check for dehydration, but recent research has since suggested that this is unreliable. Instead, checking for tacky gums is a more accurate, easy-to-test indicator of dehydration.

Did you know?

The most accurate way to test for dehydration is to have your vet examine a blood sample for the level of proteins in it – a high level indicates dehydration.

In the summertime

Horses are designed to cool down through sweating. By doing so, they also lose water and body salts, which contributes to dehydration. But, did you know your horse loses water through respiration, too? Therefore, exercising your horse in hot weather, causing him to sweat and increasing his respiration rate, contributes heavily to loss of water and can put him at risk of dehydration.

If you’re taking your horse out competing all day while the weather’s warm, there are plenty of steps you can take to keep him hydrated. Make sure he’s got access to water at all times just as you would at home, and try adding a flavouring such as apple juice if he’s reluctant to drink and if he won’t at all, try a slushy feed such as sugarbeet. Bring plenty with you, as washing him off after his class will help cool him down and reduce his need to sweat and he’s more likely to want to drink water that tastes more familiar to him, too.

Winter blues

It’s not just the summer months and exercise that pose a risk to him. The moisture in grass goes a long way to contributing to your horse’s daily water needs, so when this is scarce over the winter and is replaced with much drier hay, he’ll need to drink much more to stay hydrated. Horses can be put off by ice in their buckets, so you could try insulating his water bucket by putting it inside a tyre and packing round the edges with straw, or bobbing a tennis ball in it to prevent it freezing over.

What you feed can also help guard against dehydration. Again, feeding sugarbeet can help increase his water intake, but consider your horse’s forage ration, too. Haylege has a much higher moisture content than hay and will increase how much water he consumes, but you could also try soaking your hay.

Last but not least, it’s imperative you replace the body salts your horse loses through sweat and respiration – not just the water. You can do this by feeding an electrolyte supplement at the recommended rate.

For all your equestrian needs, visit www.bridlewayequestrian.com

Perfect Protection

For all horsey people, their trusty four-legged friend’s safety is paramount and thankfully, there’s a wealth of kit available to fit every horse, from fine-boned Thoroughbreds to chunky cobs.

However, it’s also important to consider your own safety. Rider protection takes many different forms, be it high-visibility clothing or riding hat bags to cushion your most vital piece of safety gear.

Best foot forward

Boots and bandages come in a wide range of colours and styles, and can be used for a variety of purposes, including competition, travel and training, to help protect your horse from cuts and bumps while he’s out and about. Brushing boots are suitable for daily exercise, while over reach boots help protect the bulbs of his heels. The Bridleway Fleece Trimmed Quick Fit Over Reach Boots are available with a fleece lining that reduces the risk of rubbing or discomfort.

Shine bright

Making sure you can be seen is essential while hacking out, especially on the road. A simple piece of high-viz, such as a hatband or vest, helps you to be seen up to two seconds earlier by other road users. Bridleway’s stunning range of orange high-viz clothing is designed to make you and your horse stand out while out on the road.

Buzz off

At the height of the summer, pesky flies irritate us all. Relieve the stress by kitting your horse out with fly masks, veils and rugs to reduce the risk of fly bites and to help alleviate itching. Choose from Bridleway’s range of fly rugs and team up with a fly mask to create the best combination for your horse to keep him fly free. For ultimate fly protection, treat him to a Bridleway Sweet-Itch Bug Stoppa rug, which has breathable fabric to keep him cool on a hot summer’s day. In addition, liberal use of fly spray is a good idea, and you can also buy creams or gels for sensitive areas.

Ahead of the game

Protecting your head is the first port of call for rider protection, but it’s also important to protect your helmet. Invest in a padded hat bag to keep your hat safe from dirt and damage while on the move. Many bags include pockets to store extra essentials such as gloves, which help to protect your hands and improve your grip on the reins.

Protection is priceless for both yourself and your horse, so head over to bridlewayequestrian.com for all your safety needs.

Keep him supple with our schooling tips for hacking

Varying your riding environment is an important part of keeping your horse happy and interested in his work – you don’t want to stay at home doing the same things every day and neither would he. Using your hacking time to occupy his mind and work on any schooling issues in a fun, pressure-free environment is really beneficial, particularly if you don’t have easy access to an arena. Here are some tips to get you started

Long and low

Asking your horse to take up the contact and stretch into a long-and-low outline can be an effective warm up. Not only does it encourage him to relax into the contact, he’ll also raise and engage his back, working the muscles that support a correct ridden frame. Be sure to work him gradually down so that contact is maintained – if you just drop your reins, you’ll loose your connection.

Time to flex

Keeping your horse’s body straight and his gait forward, use your rein to ask him to flex from one side, then to the centre, then to the other side. This exercise will warm him up while testing his suppleness and obedience. It’ll also free up his neck, preparing him for any more complex questions you’ll ask of him later.

Side to side

The flat, stable surface of a quiet path is a perfect setting for asking your horse to leg-yield. This movement requires him to use his whole body and reinforces the idea that your leg aid doesn’t just mean go, but can also mean move away. This exercise requires straightness and engagement, so is a good indicator of how well he’s working. It’ll also reveal any corrections you need to make in your riding or his way of going. Make sure you check the path is clear of pedestrians both ways before attempting a leg-yield.

Shoulder showdown

Now he’s warmed up through his neck and back, you can start asking your horse to engage through his whole body by asking for shoulder-fore, Make use of hedges and fence lines to help guide your horse as you ask his front end to bend slightly away while keeping him travelling forwards. However, be sure not to allow him to over-bend.

Going in circles

Coming across an open field out on a hack is a huge bonus because you can use it as a giant school. Take the opportunity to play with the space, performing transitions, circles and changes of bend through serpentine work to encourage suppleness. Be vigilant to falling out, though, as there won’t be any fences to help prop your horse up!

Don’t forget visibility for you and your horse when you’re out and about. For high-viz and everything you’ll need out on a hack, visit bridlewayequestrian.com