A very successful 2014 season finished with a worrying colic scare just before HOYS which subsequently led Claire and Robert to Saracen Horse Feeds. Here is the story so far, we are very much looking forward to following them during the season ahead.
Chouxdamour or Chewie as he is known at home was born in 2003. He started his racing career in France, but was then brought over to England and trained in Lambourn by Nicky Henderson in 2006. Unfortunately Chewie did not have a very successful career racing and was sold as a hunter and is now owned by Dr Willie Reardon.
Willie enjoyed hunting him in Leicestershire, but we saw his potential as a show horse in the race horse to show horse classes. So Willie is now the proud owner of a show horse!
Last season Chewie had a wonderful season. At the ROR championship at the Derby Meeting at Hickstead he was 4th and so enjoyed his trip round the main ring!! Monmouth County show in August was a memorable day, Chewie qualified for the hoys in the lw hunter class and won the race horse class qualifying for the derby meeting at Hickstead this year. We then went to Burghley horse trials to try to qualify for the SEIB race horse class at hoys. We were 2nd and qualified what a day!!
Chewie finished the season with a reserve champion in the SEIB racehorse class at hoys.
Chewie had a nasty colic scare just before hoys. Luckily with wonderful help from the vets we managed to get Chewie there. I have read and heard Saracen feeds were a very good product and got in touch with them and they are a great help with Chewie's diet now.
Saracen Horse Feeds Senior Nutrionist Lizzie Drury explains -
"Claire called me last year to talk to me about an ex racehorse that was ‘tricky’ to feed and that they had been having some issues with Chewie seeming to have regular bouts of loose droppings and occasionally showing signs of digestive discomfort. They had tried various feeds and strategies with him but nothing seemed to be really helping these ‘niggles’. I went to go and visit Claire, Robert and to meet Chewie and this gave us all the opportunity to sit down and discuss Chewie’s history, work and management routines and importantly for me to actually see the horse in question!
Chewie looked amazing, he held good body condition and had a super coat but obviously underneath this we wanted to see if we could try and reduce the risk of him showing any further digestive discomfort and to try and clear up his loose droppings. Unlike many horses that have loose droppings Chewie gets fed plenty of forage and better still he also has a choice to browse, although he would eat more hay. His appetite has always been good for his hard feed but if he wants to be he can be fussy!
I decided that initially we would take a feeding route that emphasized providing the energy and calories that he needed using digestible fibre sources and high oil levels. This means that starch levels in the ration can be kept low, which helps to manage horses that have sensitive digestive systems. I recommended that Show Improver Pencils and also suggested that these were ‘topped up’ with the Equi Jewel. Equi Jewel helps to maintain top line and condition in show horses, without the ‘fizz’ but more importantly in Chewie’s case it would help to keep his meal sizes small but energy dense and one of the by-products of digestion of Equi Jewel can have a soothing effect on the digestive system."
All seemed to be going well but horses can be horses and Chewie decided that he would give the nutritionist a run for her money and decide that he was not going to eat the Show Improver Pencils! So I had to go back to the drawing board. Against my normal instincts on what to feed in this situation, sometimes you just have to think outside of the box and get pushed out of your comfort zone when the physiology and science says one thing but the horse is saying no way.
I decided that we would should try the Show Improver Mix, which did mean that we had more cereals in the ration and therefore a higher starch level, but we still maintained the high fibre and oil level, with the Equi Jewel still helping to keep his intakes lower. The Show Improver Mix also contains a yeast, so this would help to support the hindgut and maintain an optimum environment for the hindgut bacteria.
Chewie decided that this was the way forward and has been eagerly eating his feed and cleaning up.
So far he seems happy digestively but we will still need to monitor this as the competition season gets underway, as the stresses of travelling and competing can increase the risk of digestive upsets. Working closely with Claire and Robert will help to ensure that we stay on top of any issues and deal with them before they become an issue.