Keeping Up With The Unicorns - The Ultimate Groomer by Lincoln

For Winter Oscar is always fully clipped - with the exception of this saddle patch and legs - however 2016 was different. With regular visits to the vet through September to February, I couldn't bring myself to do it, although returning to full soundness and in work, what if I tempted fate by doing so...a horse grows a Winter coat for a reason...?

Eventually I had to clip because Oscar was getting too warm and not wanting to get ahead of myself I opted for a chaser clip. Armed with baler twine and chalk, my OCD at its most heightened with a desire for straight lines and a mirror image I was happy with my halfway house.

Until now...I have white hair EVERYWHERE!

Rugs, saddle pads, me...because of this when shopping for essentials (feed, treats, mane and tail conditioner), I stumbled across The Ultimate Groomer by Lincoln and I love it! Shaped like a window cleaner, its easy to hold and use, with a comb of fine metal teeth to remove dirt, undercoat and loose hair without cutting or damaging the coat leaving it soft and silky. The most satisfying grooming tool I currently have in my KIT, used daily and Oscar adores it, his little nose curls with happiness.

A gold star from Gee Gee and Me - purchased from R&R Country for £12.75.

Jessica and Oscar.


Kingsland Chisasib Leggings Review

I love Kingsland Equestrian above all other rider-wear, the high end brand can be relied upon to be smart, well fitting and functionally designed with real riders in mind, and in recent years have convincingly proven that Kingsland it isn't just for show jumpers!

When I saw Kingsland Equestrian had launched a range of riding tights I put my name down on the wait list at Equissentials Dressage. With numerous designs available I trusted the stylish founders, Hayley and Nic to choose the right line. Deciding to stock the Chisasib Leggings, a riding tight with a full grip seat. This is the exact reason Equissentials Dressage are my go to company, if they don't advocate it, they don't stock it.

When the parcel arrived I laughed...they were teeeny tiny, however I know my size in Kingsland and I also trust Equissentials Dressage would have advised if I should have ordered up a size. Thankfully the laughing was replaced by a big smile, they expanded as I comfortably slipped in my leg into the stretchy material.

True to Kingsland the fit is incredible, they don't slip down and have a thick, high waistband to ensure a flattering fit. I have ridden in them constantly, they're super grippy making my no stirrup work a breeze, plus they're breathable and quick drying and the sleek, shiny Spandex in the material means dirt and loose horse hair doesn't stick to them.

As always my only reservation with Kingsland is the washing instructions because they're never simple. A little scared of my Chisasib Leggings shrinking I wanted to thoroughly test this before writing my review. As per the instructions I washed on a 30 without fabric conditioner and a quick spin afterwards, breathing a huge sigh of relief when they were still a perfect fit!

Most of the Kingsland Collections are limited edition and I love this seasons black and blue Charlotte Dujardin range...I would happily swap my whole equestrian wardrobe for this beautiful collage created by fellow equine blogger Going Dutch Dressage for Equissentials Dressage.

Jessica and Oscar.


Protexin Gut Lix Review

Oscar has to have a lick of some kind, his stable isn't complete without and the flavour of this month is the apple Gut Lix by Protexin.

For those unaware, Protexin are a company who believe nature is an ideal source of effective healthcare solutions to benefit both humans and animals and work closely with leading Universities, hospitals and research centres worldwide from their home here in the United Kingdom. A company always looking to improve their products without compromising their natural basis the Gut Lix is the latest release in the Equine Premium range.

The Protexin Gut Lix is a highly palatable apple flavoured lick containing essential minerals, vital to a healthy horse or ponies diet with the addition of the purest salt from Cheshire and their magic ingredients, Preplex prebiotics. These support and nourish the beneficial bacteria in the gut - you can read more about the science here - and containing no sugar or molasses you can offer without the risk of unnecessary weight gain, making the Gut Lix ideal for all year round use and especially during the hotter, Summer months.

Oscar's Gut Lix is placed into a shallow tub and fed from the floor in his stable with free access, he has had it almost three weeks now and apart from the teeth marks caused when he tried to eat whole at first he soon understood and now goes straight to it after eating his evening feed by habit.

A real benefit to Oscar is that the Gut Lix encourages salivation, something hugely important to me when stabled overnight to help to maintain a healthy gut and at £8.99 for a heavy 2kg lick, I think it will replace Oscar's previous essential of Himilayan salt licks thanks to the science and education from Protexin.

Jessica and Oscar.


The Orscana Sensor by Arioneo Review

How do you decide which rug...?

  • Lick your finger and waft it in the air?
  • Ask yourself how you feel, then take into account how many layers you have on...1, 2, 3....7, 8...
  • Check behind your horses ears?
  • Meticulously study the Met Office app on your phone, cross referencing it to the BBC's? Cursing the 4g signal if it fails to update!
  • The quizzing of fellow liveries..."what rug are you going for...?"
  • And...can he stay in his turnout? Maybe I'll just take the neck down...

Recongnise yourself as any of the above? Me too, I've been all of them and although the Orscana by Arioneo will not take away these equestrian behaviours, it will offer useful insights to validate your choices and educate, enabling you to anticipate the right solution.

Arioneo are experts at linking technology systems to horses and the Orscana is an intelligent sensor that provides all horse owners with the ability to better understand our gee gee's needs. Years of research has gone into identifying the thermal comfort zone across all equine breeds and where best to place the sensor for accurate data. The Orscana detects four levels of equine movement, lying down, standing calmly, active and agitated. Each detection was validated by rigorous testing, including video and statistical analysis.

Insanely curious I received my Orscana on the 2nd March and have seriously put it through it's paces exposing it to numerous situations in varying conditions, here are my thoughts...

For general day to day use the Orscana gave me a sense of comfort and relief, because Oscar is a native breed I would always rather him be too cool than too warm, but not to the extent he would look rough, dull or cold in his coat, it's a balancing act and one the Orscana confirmed I had right 90% of the time! This did however make me stop and think...what if Oscar was on full livery, in a busy or professional yard where some horses are not necessarily known inside and out? Is it going to be cold tonight, therefore does one rug weight suit all? Just like humans some of us feel the weather more than others, the expression 'killing with kindness' is severe but is good way to explain and has highlighted the benefit of modern rugs that offer differing fills around the body and useful layering systems, an investment I am going to make ahead of next Winter.

Also after exercise studies have evidenced there is a higher risk of respiratory disease if the correct rugs are not used at the right time, this is because when a rug is applied immediately after exercise the sweat levels rise and the body temperature decreases. The Orscana monitors both temperature and humidity levels enabling you to know exactly the right time to change out of a simple cooler and into your travel/stable/turnout rug, really useful when at an event or after fitness work to stay in excellent health.

Which leads me onto travelling...does your horse travel warm, cool or as per normal? My answer, erm...well, Oscar always travels quietly, never arrives sweaty, I lightly rug and always open all four windows and his roof vent, whatever the weather, I think probably warm?

The answer:
Oscar travels cool

I have travelled six times using my Orscana, twelve trailer journeys in total, each time Oscar's temperature and humidity level dropped. This surprised me because he often shakes with excitement at even the sound of the trailer being hitched up and by habit I ditch a layer or reduce the fill of his rug, something I am now reconsidering. To compete most of us aren't fortunate enough to have a big venue on our doorstep and travelling long distances can be inevitable, Orscana gives us a real opportunity to ensure our equines travel well and arrive in tip top condition ready to perform at their best. What is right for the 5am start may not be by 9am...? 

There were no variations to the above findings when travelling to and from the vets which was hugely reassuring. After the visit, mid-March Oscar had to be stabled for 24 hours due to a treatment he had and I found the data to be of great comfort, seeing he had laid down, remained calm and at a regular temperature. Therefore for equines on box rest the Orscana would establish distress triggers, measure the success of boredom breakers or monitor risks of colic etc..

To me the above helps understand the secret life of our horses, how often do they lay down at night, in the day, is this consistent, is any behaviour out of character, any midnight distress signals? Does your horse box walk or anticipate a competitive event because you plaited up the night before, is this lack of rest affecting their performance, if so I know I'd sacrifice the extra hour in bed to plait up in the morning. Then there are stay away shows, how well are they really coping with the environment?

I think you can gather I am rather taken with my Orscana and certain I have only scratched the surface of the equine health benefits it can bring...

“This is a brilliant device. Given today’s climate, and the artificial environments we subject our horses to, it’s difficult for both professionals and amateurs alike to select the appropriate rug for each individual horse. To be able to monitor your horse remotely is fantastic and will undoubtedly result in healthier and more comfortable horses. It’s other ‘live’ data is also helpful for checking how much rest your horse is getting when you are not in the stable and we know that can be critical for optimum performance.”

Richard Davison, 

Four-time Olympian and former World Class Dressage Performance Manager

To receive an update you have to be within 30 meters of your horse, at first I was a little disappointed but soon realised Arioneo have done this for our sanity! The right choice for five hours of the day, might not suit for the final two but we can only endeavor to do our best and grabbing your handbag, escaping from work to change rugs in a rush isn't ideal. Neither is texting the yard manager every hour, therefore I ate my words and in hindsight I don't want a 'live' feed of data.
I know that Arioneo's next release of their app will allow the sharing of data from the Orscana sensor between devices for the benefit of yard staff, friends, family when you're not around.

On two occasions the Orscana app has failed to update, both times this has been because the sensor has switched off, possibly when I have handled the sensor, changing from rug to rug or Oscar laying on it? The battery has a life of 6 months and costs less than £3 to replace, the set up is simple with easy to follow step by step instructions. 

Knowledge is power, anything that can improve health, wellbeing and performance of our equines is an excellent investment and in my opinion well worth the £90 price tag, I believe this is the future of our horse care, no more guessing.

Jessica and Oscar.