I have fed Scottie various chaffs in the time I have had him, from alfalfa with added oil, to low calorie molasses free options. At the time, I never had a problem with these feeds. Scottie looked good on them and he was happy. But since switching to Honeychop, I have started to notice some key differences.
Oat Straw = Better
Honeychop have plenty of information on their website about the benefits of Oat Straw vs other straw. But they key takeaways are:
Longer Chewing Time
More Saliva Produced
Lower in Starch
Higher in Protein
Whereas many feed companies use cereal (unspecified) straw, Honeychop use only Oat Straw. Since it is lower in starch it is better for horses which can be sharp.
Lot’s of chaffs on the market contain Alfalfa. Now while this can be a great source of protein and a good forage choice for many horses. Some horses shouldn’t be fed it due to health risks.
For reasons we don’t quite understand yet, feeding alfalfa to laminitic ponies or those prone to laminitis can increase the risk of them having a laminitic episode. Which, is a serious health risk!
It is also important to remember that if a horse has too much protein, they get ride of excess protein in their wee, which gives it a really strong ammonia smell. Which, if your horse suffers with respiratory issues, can irritate the airways further.
And finally, some horses find it too rich and don’t digest it too well, leading to very green and runny poo. Which is never a sign of a healthy digestive system!
Palatable & Slimming
Honeychop being oat straw with a bit of molasses is very palatable. I am yet to find a horse who doesn’t like it and I have known a lot of fussy eaters. But despite being very tasty, it is also fairly low in calories at just 8 MJ/kg. Which is very similar to lower calorie options on the market.
Why I feed it
I originally started feeding Scottie Honeychop as I was interested in the use of Oat Straw. Scottie eats very quickly and the main reason I feed chaff is to bulk out his balancer so he doesn’t just inhale it! With oat straw increasing chewing time and saliva production I thought this could only be a bonus!
But since feeding it, I have noticed more benefits. The main being an improvement in his poo now he isn’t having alfalfa. It is no longer regularly green and it’s actually in little droppings rather than really big massive lumps or cowpats! Yes if we get particularly green hay or the grass shoots up we get a slight return to the old poo, but overall it is much better.
It also seems to be the perfect weight for him. He looks in very good condition coming out of winter but has still managed to lose a little bit of weight which he needed!
Interested in trying?
If you are interested in trying Honeychop I am currently running a give away until the end of March to win 2 x 50p off vouchers on any standard size bag of Honeychop. You can find all the details of this here. But we also have a few vouchers left after this give away, so keep your eyes peeled for other ways to get your hands on these vouchers.
Anyone who works with social media will know that video performs very well and can be a great way to boost engagement and increase your reach. However, sometimes the information you want to share can be difficult to film in an effective way, especially when the majority of videos watched on platforms like Facebook are watched with no sound. This is why animated videos are becoming popular. So I thought I would have a play with some basic animation.
Free online tools
Now since this was a quick experiment for me, I didn’t want to have to pay for or download software. But luckily there are plenty free online tools out there which are easy to find. For my first video I used Animaker. I am happy with this service so far and will continue to use it for future videos for now.
You may have noticed that I am currently working hard to improve my EquiPepper VIP club. I have been improving the benefits and I am now shouting about these benefits to encourage more of my followers to sign up. So I thought a video could be a great way to raise awareness of the benefits of the club. So this is what I created.
Now this video isn’t perfect, but I think it’s a good starting point for what is possible with even a simple free tool.
It’s still too early to see how successful this experiment has been. It is currently on our Facebook and Twitter and I will keep an eye on how much attention it gets on there compared to other VIP posts I have done. But it already appears to be doing better!
But the real test will be if it generates more sign ups or followers. Obviously people signing up is the main goal, but anything improving our following and social awareness is fantastic! And I think bloggers should consider trying this type of content on their social media.
This is a question I see asked regularly on social media and rider forums. I personally don’t feel like there is a straight forward answer to this. So in this post I will explore some of the common answers to how often you should clean your tack and you can decide which one works best for you.
Firstly, why do you need to clean tack?
Despite what you may have thought as a child, cleaning tack is not just so that it looks nice for when you go to shows! Clean tack is more comfortable for you horse. After all, how comfortable would you be wearing a t-shirt you got really sweaty in yesterday without washing it?
Clean and well maintained tack also makes it last longer. Cleaning leather tack helps moisturize the leather and stops it from cracking and breaking. Which means it will be with you for longer.
How often should you clean tack?
I think to answer this question, you need to think about how often you use your tack and how deep a clean you want to do.
After Every Use
If you are using your tack on a daily or near daily basis, it will probably benefit from a clean after every time you use it. Now this doesn’t have to be a deep clean every day! A quick wipe down with a damp sponge after each use is usually enough. You can then do a deeper clean where you take it all apart each month.
If you don’t have the time for a quick clean after every use, a weekly clean is probably the better option for you. If you are using it daily, I would give it a good clean with saddle soap once a week, taking it apart and cleaning under the buckles at least every other week.
2-4 Times a Week Use
After Each Use
If you have the time, it is probably best to at the bare minimum give your tack a wipe down after every use. As with the daily, this could just be a quick once over with a damp sponge. And then clean with saddle soap at least once a month or so.
Similarly with daily use, you could get into the routine of giving your tack a good clean once a week. It could just be a quick clean with some saddle soap, taking the bridle apart for a deep clean once a month or so.
If you are riding closer to 2 times a week, you can probably get away with only cleaning your tack monthly. But in this case I would recommend taking the bridle apart and giving a deep clean.
Even if your tack is rarely used and sat in the tack room for months on end, you should still take the time to look after it. How often will really depend on the conditions in your tack room. But I would recommend having a look at it at least every 3 months and in the bare minimum wiping any dust off of it.
Always rinse the bit!
No matter how often you ride or decide to clean your tack, always make sure to at least rinse the bit off after use. When are horses are working they salivate and there’s a good chance there is still a bit of food in their mouths. This can stick to the bit and harden in the air, making it quite uncomfortable for them.
When you may need to clean more often
If your horse has gotten particularly sweaty or if your tack has been splattered with mud or water, you are better off giving it a quick clean before putting it away. As not only will it be harder to remove at a later date, but it could also be very uncomfortable for your horse and be damaging the leather. Sometimes a quick wipe with a sponge is enough.
As long as you keep an eye on your tack, you can be a good judge of how often you need to clean it. I don’t wipe my tack down after each use. When Scottie is in regular work I typically take it apart 2 or 3 times a year and deep clean it. But the rest of the time, I give it a clean every month or two with saddle soap. And if Scottie has gotten sweaty I will make sure I wipe it with a damp sponge before putting it away.
I probably should clean it a bit more than I do. But my method works for stopping a build up of muck and my bridle has never seemed dry or brittle. However, now that Scottie is coming back into work after about 6 months off I am going to give it a good clean and possibly oil it.
I have recently been feeding Scottie Honeychop chaff after being sent a free bag to review. I have been converted! So I am now giving you all a chance to win 2 x 50p off feed vouchers. These can be redeemed against any standard size Honeychop product at your nearest stock list.
5 Lucky Winners
I will be picking 5 winners who will each receive 2 x 50p off vouchers. There will be:
In case you missed it on our social media, this week I received a really exciting email out the blue telling me EquiPepper had been selected as one of Sparpedia’s Top 20 Equestrian Blogs of 2019!
It was fantastic to have been selected for this as I knew absolutely nothing about it beforehand. So it was lovely to hear others see the value in EquiPepper and the passion I put into it.
While there is no physical prize for this, it still means a huge amount to me as a blogger! I spend so much time planning and writing blog content, promoting it on social media and making sure it is displayed in the best possible way in search engines, that I find it hugely rewarding when new people find EquiPepper and like it.
For them to decide it is worthy of sitting in their top 20 list is still mind blowing for me! And this has been a fantastic start to my month, which with the help of my new content planner, I am hoping will be a very successful month for EquiPepper!
Thank you everyone for all your support, especially the EquiPepper VIPs! When I first started this blog I never thought people would be interested in it as it was just a university project and then a journal for Scottie’s progress. But thanks to all of you who read and engage with us, it has become so much more than that!
On our yard each year we are haunted by a ghostly white creature which lurks next to the arena, spooking the horses. Nearly all the horses have a huge dislike of this creature and when the white pheasant appears, that part of the arena is a spook zone.
Weirdly, Scottie is one of the few horses who doesn’t seem too bothered by the white pheasant. Just the other day I was riding when I clocked it on the grass next to the arena and Scottie didn’t bat an eyelid. But some of the horses can be a nightmare if the pheasant makes an appearance. So much so that there is regular jokes or perhaps prayers that one of the foxes will finally catch this devil!
But needless to say, each year a white pheasant appears and loiters around our arena. While I don’t know how possible it is for it to be the same pheasant each year, it is odd that a white pheasant appears in the same place each year. If it’s not the same pheasant, maybe it’s a cruel trick from one of our neighbours?
Why are the horses so bothered by a white pheasant?
I have been trying to think of a reason why this pheasant is so scary to the majority of the horses on our yard. They all have sparrows and often pigeons nesting in their stables. So are used to birds being around them. Hell, the pigeons even sit on the fence while you ride and take off, flying at you as you pass. This doesn’t seem to pose a threat to our horses.
We also regularly have chickens wandering about. Until recently we have a grey chicken, affectionately known as Susan who used to wander around the same areas as the pheasant and would even come in the arena with us. While the horses would give her a look when she first appeared, none of them reacted to her as badly as they have to the pheasant.
Oddly, all the horses regularly have normal coloured pheasants in their field or out hacking. None of these cause them a problem. So perhaps it is the colour what bothers them so much?
But after this amazing photo was taken of one of the worst pheasant spooking offenders, maybe it isn’t the pheasant at all! Maybe the pheasant is just the perfect excuse to get out of work in the school. Hell, maybe the pheasant is in on it!
Do any of your horses spook at things in one place but not in another?
Today is World Horse Day and National Horse Protection Day, so what better day to talk about how amazing horses are and how they improve our lives. They are more than just pets, they play so many different roles in our lives. Here are just a few of the roles they fill in our lives.
Any horse owner will tell you that it doesn’t matter how bad your day is, the time you spend with your horse at the end of the day always makes you feel better. Whether it is their inability to talk, making them perfect listeners, or how they always know when you have had a bad day. They always seem to do the right thing to cheer you up.
Whether it be putting you through your paces during a session in the school, burying their poo in their bed or refusing to be caught, making you run round the field after them. They are the perfect personal trainers! While I’m not saying horse owners are ready made marathon runners, do to the amount of physical work it takes to look after our horses, I would say we are above average fitness. After all, how many people rack up over 4000 steps before they are even dressed for work in the morning?
Our horses also teach us so much. As a child they teach you responsibility by having to look after a living creature. As a rider they teach you the patience you need to train a living creature. As an owner they teach you to enjoy the present as you never know what is around the corner.
Whether you have a horse to plod around the countryside or to compete in your favourite competitions, the relationship you have with your horse is unique. They are your best friend and working partner. It’s hard to explain but the bond between horse and rider is more than a friendship and more than a working partnership.
Horse riding can be an expensive hobby and if you find that most of your money goes on caring for your horse, there’s not much left to make sure you have everything you need to ride comfortably and safely. The good news is that there are many ways you can kit yourself out with the right equestrian gear – you just need to know where to find it.
Take a look at this guide to finding affordable equestrian gear.
Start with the basics
You only need some basic items to get you started with horse riding. While some appropriate clothing is recommended, it’s important that you put safety first. Prioritise buying items for safe horse riding such as a helmet and boots before you look at specialist equestrian clothing.
Check local listings
Horse riding is an activity enjoyed by many, and it’s because of this that it can be easy to find a bargain on some second-hand horse riding items that have either been barely or lightly used. Check out places like Gumtree to see what you can find, as well as specialist groups on Facebook in your local area. Meanwhile, eBay and Amazon can also be good places to grab bargains on some preloved equestrian wear – just make sure you’re buying from a reputable seller.
Shopping online for equestrian supplies is fantastic when you know what you’re looking for, and offers many ways of finding a good bargain. Start off by searching the sales – you never know what you might find at a heavily discounted price. Many websites also offer discounts with newsletter signups, so it’s worth looking out for those if you’ve got an eye on some Ariat boots or other must-have items. Newsletter signups are also a good way of finding out special deals and offers, so they’re worth signing up for to help you afford equestrian goods when you need them.
Figure out what’s worth splurging on
It’s easy to get carried away buying this and that for you and your horse, but often some of the things you buy could be unnecessary, or cost a lot of money. By doing your research, you can find out which things are worth spending more money on, and where you should look to find bargains. Reading blogs that answer whether you need half pads or boots can help you make more informed decisions from people who’ve been there before. Careful consideration can stop you from wasting your money and concentrate on what’s important instead.
While horse riding is known for being an expensive hobby, it doesn’t have to be. By looking for some money-saving tips and finding areas where you can do things more affordably, it’s possible to keep the costs of horse riding down. Remember that yours and your horse’s health and safety is what comes first, so always put function over fashion and price to help you enjoy riding safely and comfortably.
Some of you may have seen this month that I won an amazing prize from the Equine Business Assistant. Part of this prize was a content calendar from The Equine Business Assistant herself! Now, having received this partway through the month, I have decided to use it to start planning my March content and so far it has been amazing! It seems to have been the kick up the bum I needed to take my blog more seriously.
First things first, I already feel much more organised. Yes I could keep a calendar myself to help keep track of all my posts. But this calendar is designed with social and blog posts in mind. There is plenty of space to plan posts, but I also really like that it includes loads of national days which make great social media content! At the moment I am just stumbling across these national days last minute and then trying to scramble a post together. This handy little calendar is helping me plan these posts in advance.
Secondly, this planning is making me more focused. I have so many post ideas stored in a spreadsheet along with so many improvements I want to make to EquiPepper. But I struggle to organise myself to schedule these things in. But the content calendar has helped me focus all my ideas into groups. This means I can link what is happening in the world to what I am writing about more smoothly.
Finally, being more organised and more focused also means that I have been able to find the time to create and plan some longer term projects. These are mostly things I have been talking about doing for months but haven’t managed to pull together. But with the help of my new content calendar, I feel like I have managed to plan my March nicely. Which hopefully means I will have more time to work on these projects.
If all this planning works as I hope it will, March should be our best month yet! And I will hopefully see more growth that month across all my channels as a result. But if I don’t having a plan means it will be much easier to see where I am going wrong.