Top Tips!

Many of our users have kindly been sending in their Top Tip's so we thought we would start sharing them with you.
If you have a TOP TIP you would like to share simply send it to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Use a car cleaning mit with a chamois leather side for strapping your horse.  They are easy to use and encourage a shiny, cleaner coat.
Dampening Hay...  Put no more than 6 holes in the bottom of a plastic wheelbarrow, put your hay in the barrow and fill with water.  Leave to drain naturally, you will have dampened hay, no heavy lifting as you wheel the barrow to the stable and dispense.
Important Telephone Numbers. Make sure these are either written up clearly or typed up and easily visible. Blacksmith, Vet, Livery Owner, Dentist. Telephone numbers are all useful to have at hand especially if you loose your mobile phone.
Bring with you from home to help de-ice locks. If not needed make yourself a well earned cup of tea!
They save money. Rather than having to have new keys cut or changing the lock if circumstances change you simply change the number.
Keep one in your car, absolutely invaluable. Inexpensive and gives sufficient light to be able to see what you are doing easily and leaves both hands free.
Any ideas on how I can disguise my horses' medicine?Q. Im supposed to be giving my horse his medicine in with his feed but he knows it is in there and leaves the food. Any ideas on how I can disguise the medicine?A. Try adding garlic, as the smell of this should mask the medicines. Or try mixing the medicine in with soaked sugar beet. If it's a powdery medicine you might be able to get it down him by making little wells in half apples, tipping in the powder and putting a layer of apple over the top.  Including other 'untainted' apples and other succulents, such as carrots, should also help.
A badly fitting saddle can cause discomfort to your horse by rubbing, pinching and impeding muscle develpement. The horses movement and abilities may well be compromised and eventually manifesst into bad behaviour and reluctance to perform simple tasks.These basic checks should be performed at regular intervals especially if the horse is gaining or losing weight and as they develop in fitness and consequently change shape along the top line.Always check without using any numnahs or saddlecloths underneath and that it is securely girthed. Look at the saddle on your horse, for instance does the saddle sit level on your horse's back or not? Perhaps you already feel as if the saddle is pushing you forwards or backwards when you are sitting on it. Look at your saddle from in front, the side and behind. Standing in front, can you see a reasonable gap between the horse's withers and the saddle pommel? You ought to be able to get a couple of fingers' width in here. From the side, does the saddle have a good contact with the horse - or can you see that the panels of the saddle at the back are just in fresh air and not touching the horse's back at all? Can you easily lift the back of the saddle away from your horse's back? If so, this is not good! Feel down the front of the saddle, either side. You should be able to get your hand (up to where your fingers meet your palm) relatively easily between the horse's skin and the underside of the saddle. If you find that your hand gets stuck as you try to move your hand from the pommel down, then the saddle is too tight. Looking from the back and the side, do the saddle panels sit evenly on the horse's back or is one side only slightly in contact. Some horses are not muscled evenly so a saddler may have to adapt padding to accommodate this. Feel from the front to the rear of the saddle, running your hand along the saddle panels as they sit on the horse's back. Is there contact between the saddle and horse's back all the way along? If there's a gap in the middle the saddle is said to be bridging the horse, which is not good. A saddle that bridges can cause pain to the horse's shoulder and lumbar area. You could also lunge your horse with and without his saddle. Notice whether he is equally happy and willing to go forwards on both reins. If his saddle hurts him you will see that his stride is shorter and, depending on your horse's temperament, he may have his ears back and look less happy. Fitting a saddle read more
You could get an approved saddle fitter to check things for you. This will involve a charge and obviously, if your saddle is too bad, it may mean investing in a new or secondhand saddle that is a better fit.Ask someone you trust, like an experienced instructor, to recommend a saddle fitter to you, because as with every profession, there are good ones and others who are not so good. Try to find someone who has been recommended by more than one person - this may take you a little time to find out who's who but your horse will thank you for your effort.For more advice on saddle fitting read more
They should check your horse over before even trying to select a saddle for him. These checks should include monitoring the horse's reactions to gentle but firm pressure applied to his back. The saddler is looking for any sensitive areas and also assessing the horse's muscle tone.Your saddler should run his fingers along either side of the horse's spine, press on the sacro-iliac area and check the longissimus dorsi muscle (main weight-bearing muscle) on each side of the spine.  He should also check the trapezius muscle, which lies across the wither, as a badly fitting saddle could have damaged this.In addition, a saddler should stand the horse up square so that, looking from directly behind the horse, he can see whether the shoulders are the same size or are uneven, because of muscle wastage, or uneven muscle development.You should also be asked to walk and then trot the horse away so that the saddler can see if the movement of the horse's quarters varies from side to side and how level the hips are (or not!).
Page 10 of 10