Horse Problems Australia
Post Office Box 1361,
Victor Harbor, SA. 5211


Linda O'Leary

25,000 letters answered and counting



Sunday 1st February, 2015


Hi Folks. Hope You had a Good Week. We got 1.5mm of Rain and were jumping for Joy :)


Unfortunately, due to the tough skin, most of the stitches broke out, leaving gaping hole in Middle of Hand and stitching lines open so put me back a couple of weeks but getting there now. Proud Flesh has done it's job and last Doc visit in Morning.

So no Horsie work or News to give You. :( Plenty lined up though :)


So I'll concentrate on Opinions and Editorials Today.


Due to Buyer seeing damaged packaging, this Saddle sent Home at my cost WITHOUT BUYER SEEING SADDLE!

Quarter Horse Tree

Size 14 inch

$1200 plus Postage.

click to xpand





This is a subject that I don't like to discuss as Mrs. HP has suffered at my Hands over the Years, because of my commentary.

However, the good gains made a couple of Years ago, where Judges lifted scores across the State, whilst stilling getting the very same outcomes but hugely encouraging those spending the Mega Dollars in times when the Economy has been struggling, have been lost. Many Judges have gone back to the same old 56556566556655 Days, with the only difference being the ridiculous half a percent which is an excuse for having Judgment and proof of the intention to be stingy.

FEEDBACK from around the Traps and the back of the Floats has been one of disappointment, frustration and talk of leaving the Industry. What an absolute shame?



There are many other points of unfairness that negatively influence the Industry and this is without Human interference or bias but simply Human Management decisions and 'same Old'

  1. The Dressage Horse of the Year has been presented. Congrats to the Winner but the system gets it wrong. The Winner was beaten consistently at every Level by Cappo, throughout the entire Year but because the "Rule is an Ass' it means that if a Horse doesn't go to all of the designated ( I think 6 Shows) they don't win, regardless of the fact that the Owner of one Horse may not desire to subject their Horse to extreme Heat on the Day or risk Legs and soundness because of Hard Ground and we are talking F.E.I. here, where Comps MUST BE ON SAND!!!!!. I know the Rule was written in another era but Sports must evolve to the conditions and especially to Global Warming./

  2. Then we have the Young Rider of the Year, where "The Rule is an Ass" throws up a Winner who stayed at a lower level where one gets higher percentages, where other Riders continually upgrade to levels where Judges simply score lower and say it is the Rule to do so, and yet the Trophy is based upon PERCENTAGES!!!!!

There are many anti encouraging Old Rules like this in the Industry and they need thinking about and re-vamping.




" In Dressage Training, all Horses are different in brain and build. They must all be ridden in a way that suits them, not systems learnt by Riders"




I'll always remember the words of a Horse behavioral Doctor, that "Horses have the minds of a Goldfish" when I think about the intelligence of the Horse, that Scientists love to study.

I fed this Morning and there is a new system in place, whereby Fatso Cappo who is a faster eater than the Snipster, is left in a Yard over Night, so that Snip can eat the full Meal and then in the Morning, Cappo is let out of his Yard into the Paddock, Hay hung up, he tells Snip to rack off, who Gallops around to his Yard, where he is locked up for the Morning, so he gets his full Meal. Let out when finished and giving the incentive to eat faster to get back to the Paddock.

I arrive this Morning, knowing that I have to let Cappo out and bring Snip in, but first went to Snips Yard which has the Gate open for Him to come in and hung his Hay Net......but he didn't come in, regardless of calling to Him. He stayed at the Tree where Mrs. HP hangs Cappo's Morning Feed, in the Paddock. So I changed the rules. I had to go get Him.

Is he Dumb?

Many would say yes because on all other Mornings, he Gallops into the Yard ready for his Hay Net, but I had changed the system.

In fact I am dumb and the Horse is smart. I saw Him standing beside the Tree, waiting for the ritual, Cappo arrives, Hay Net gets put up, Cappo tells him to Pee Off and he Gallops into his Yard. I, being the Supreme Being here, should have worked out that the Horse was telling me that I HAD CHANGED THE RULES (I would if I was awake :)

So Horses that appear unintelligent, are almost always reacting to poor advice from the Human and are never dumb!!!








By now, almost all of the 27 Horses featured on our "Listen to the Horses" DVD Set, have come full Circle, with one of the last appearing on my aushorse this Week.


and the advert in part, says this......

"Can also be ridden but not a performance horse as she has a slight restriction of her near hind due to a scar."

On behalf of the Horse, let me tell You that this lovely Mare is completely UNSOUND FOR RIDING and anyone who rides Her don't love Horses!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

She came to us for assessment, from Kangaroo Island and was ridden by Mrs. HP for 5 Minutes. Declared completely unsound, released from Her ridden torment. The VERY responsible Owner then sold Her as a Brood Mare and I see she has had two Foals.

Best of Luck to the lovely Mare I hope You find a "Can't be ridden Owner" once more.




The last Chariot Races held in South Australia, were held during our 'Wild Colonial Weekend' and was the real deal. Featuring Vet Bill Harbison and Farrier/Horseman Pete Bath.

The last "Wild Horse Race' held in South Australia, was run at the same event and won by the same two Gentlemen :)





DON'T TRY AND FIX THEM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


This is about a $26,000 Purchase and this is part of what the Buyer says Today.

I had only had the horse home for 3 weeks when he became acutely lame.  Since then the lameness has waxed and waned and then became acutely worse over the last 5 weeks.  During this time we had chiropractors, acupuncturist, farriers, massage people work on him.  

Well the bottom line is that the Vendor should have been approached 2 Months ago, thus saving lot's of money on a range of Horse Professionals, NONE OF WHO HAD ANY CHANCE OF FIXING THE HORSE or even DIAGNOSING the Horse....and........

WHO ALL add to the confusion for any future Court Case!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

USE VET'S ONLY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

first up on possible Court Case situations and then only use Chiro's and the rest, UNDER VET ADVICE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The Lady asks me what should have she done because You can't afford to MRI Horses You Purchase.

My reply is to IMMEDIATELY involve the Seller, furnish them with the Veterinary Records and send the Horse back. If there is a doubt, YOU DON'T WANT THE HORSE!!!!




Hi John, I offered $32k and ended up agreeing on $38k pending vet check. Had the vet check done today - flexion tests etc all fine but the vet expressed concerns that his feet weren't good - slightly pigeon toed, unbalanced (higher inside walls), cracked (unshod). He's slightly offset in the knee but his main concern seemed to be feet. For some reason he didn't do the x-rays requested but is going back tomorrow or Thursday to do them. How concerned should I be about his feet? The vet will send a report through in the morning - I'll send it to you (if that's ok) as soon as I get it. I'll send photos of his legs when I get them too. Are there any specific things I should ask/ask the vet to check regarding feet? Cheers,


Hi Pam

This is of course the great unknown and one that You have to rely on Your Vet's for the answer. It comes down to the individuals judgement and it is always a lottery, which is why Vet's point it out.

No-one and no Vet, can ever guarantee things in this area.

Perhaps get a top Farrier to take a look and give an opinion.

The alternative now is to submit the opinion to the Vendor and see what their position is on it regarding price and then make decisions based upon a reduction.

Once a Horse fails a Vet check (which I take it this Horse has) they are always far more difficult to sell.

Best of Luck. Buying Horses is always fraught with disappointments but DON'T let Your emotions get in the way of judgment, like the majority of Ladies do.


Thanks John. Lol re emotions...I'm trying hard to be practical atm :D I've spoken to the vet again and my plan is to ask them to get his feet properly trimmed (the vet was gobsmacked that they presented him with such bad feet - looked like they hadn't been done for ages and then quickly had the nippers on but no rasp!! And the farrier had just been to the other horses apparently!!) Then the vet will have another look - his advice was that if they're no better or worse, then walk away. Arghh lol. Thanks again - I'll let you know what happens.

Yes, sadly, there are plenty of Folk out there who think of the Money but not the care of the lovely Horse. For the Readers, we recommended You buy the Horse (one of the few) and now You get this :( Best of Luck




I always warn You to NEVER buy "Sight unseen"  - do as I say not as I do :) ....well congrats to one of Mrs. HP's pupils who just took delivery of a lovely well Bred Warmblood for a Budget price and sent Happy Pics last Night of Mother riding and Young Daughter. Well done....(but they did get a Vet check)

Congrats also to another Pupil who just took delivery of Her new Warmblood, whic came here this Week for a Lesson. He too came with our recommendation as his Vendor graciously floated Him to our Property for Mrs. HP to ride.

Then we have the third Pupil, Her too with a lovely Budget prices but unbroken Warmblood who is turning out to be a Darling. Another purchased off a Video. (but Vet Checked)

So a Group of frustrated Pupils who were all going off their Titties being Horseless and now with big Grins on their Faces :) Happy Dressage Queens - Happy Hubbies







The International Equestrian Federation (FEI) has removed the remaining two FEI endurance rides of the winter season in the United Arab Emirates from its official calendar as an “emergency measure” in the wake of escalating concerns about horse welfare. The FEI has been sharply criticised for its reactive stance to regular horse abuse scandals in the Middle East sport. But in a surprise move its newly elected executive board, chaired by FEI president Ingmar de Vos, has disaffiliated the two FEI rides scheduled for next month “to protect horse welfare and to preserve the integrity of the FEI rules and regulations at FEI events”.

 According to a statement, the move follows a mandate from the FEI Bureau, which is responsible for the FEI’s general direction, to the executive board “to urgently investigate horse welfare issues and non-compliance with FEI rules and regulations in the UAE”. “We have made this our top priority and will make our conclusions as speedily as possible so that the recommendations can be presented to the bureau for urgent consideration”, said De Vos, who was FEI secretary-general before succeeding Princess Haya as president in December.

 Doping scandals, fatal injuries, rule-breaking and the running of “ringers” in Middle Eastern endurance, many of which have been exposed by Telegraph Sport, have centred around the many large stables owned by Princess Haya’s husband, Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed, and other members of the Maktoum family. They are estimated to have 700 endurance horses at any time, mostly purchased as ready-trained horses from Europe, Australasia and the Americas. Related Articles FEI faces backlash after Maktoum 'ringer' inquiry ends with no disciplinary action Questions asked over switched horse case 08 Jan 2015 New inquiry into Sheikh's 'ringer’ 11 Mar 2014 Cuckson wins award for doping reportage 09 Jan 2014 On Aug 1, the FEI introduced tougher rules with, among others, the aim of reducing the injurious high speeds at which the races – covering up to 100 miles in a day – are routinely conducted in the Middle East.

 But during the current UAE season (October-March) there has been no evidence of improvement. Instead, one of a growing number of longer distance events has been switched to the less-rigorous national rules of the UAE equestrian federation. At a national race for mares only in Dubai yesterday, the winner completed the last loop at an average speed of 22mph. It was at a “national” ride at Al Reef in Abu Dhabi, last month that pictures emerged of the Maktoum-owned Splitters Creek Bundy breaking both forelegs simultaneously. The FEI’s decision must cast some doubt over Dubai’s ability to host the 2016 World Championships, awarded to it last December despite the scandals.

The Swiss and Belgian equestrian federations announced this week that they would consider a boycott. The FEI is now facing greater pressure to act from member countries. In the wake of the Bundy scandal, the Danish equestrian federation banned its riders from non-FEI sanctioned events staged in the UAE. The American Endurance Ride Conference is due to consider forming an alternative international governing body at its annual convention next week. Equestrian bodies in New Zealand, Australia and Germany have also made strong public statements after the Bundy incident. The British Equestrian Federation has written to the FEI about the concerns registered by Endurance GB, which is still considering a controversial sponsorship proposal from Sheikh Mohammed’s Meydan corporation.





Former FedEx President and CEO Ted Weise is selling his gigantic 50-acre equestrian ranch in South Florida for $US22.9 million, according to the Wall Street Journal. The massive home spreads out in Jupiter, Florida, roughly half an hour from Palm Beach. Weise and his wife bought the land back in 2004 for $US2.7 million, four years after he had retired from FedEx.

The gated ranch comes with horseback riding trails, a guest house, a four-acre lake, eight hours paddocks as well as a 12,000-square-foot mansion. Inside the mansion — which Weise and his wife had custom built — is a 1,000 bottle wine cellar, five bedrooms, and a vault that doubles as a panic room. Todd Peter of Sotheby’s International Realty has the listing. Welcome to gorgeous 50-acre equestrian ranch near Palm Beach, Florida.


The mansion sits on a sprawling amount of land with horse paddocks, a four-acre lake, and plenty of horse-riding trails.


They then custom-built the huge 12,000-square-foot mansion onto the property.




Put Jessica Springsteen of Colts Neck on a horse and there's no stopping her.

Springsteen, daughter of Bruce Springsteen and Patti Scialfa, won the Spy Coast Farm speed class at the Winter Equestrian Festival in Florida on Friday, Feb. 13, according to a report on Horsetalk.

The meet was held at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center. Springsteen, 23, rode the 12-year old mare Davendy S, aka Annie, to victory.

Jessica Springsteen

"I know exactly how she is going to be every time I go in the ring, which is really nice. She makes it easy for you. If you tell her to go, she wants to go, and she wants to win," said Springsteen about Daveandy S in the Horsetalk report. "I had a pretty clear plan today. I was able to watch most of the class go, so I knew what I needed to do and that is always helpful. She is just such a fast horse across the ground and in the air. Even the other day, I added strides in a bunch of places and I still had the leading time. She is so quick on her own, so that is obviously a very helpful advantage."

The cold weather, even in Florida, affected the competition.

"I don't have to do anything with her in the morning, she is always so quiet and so good, but I think the weather definitely gives them a little extra energy. She felt really good today," Springsteen said. "She is really sweet, and she is very calm. She is perfect always, all around."

Last September, Springsteen helped the United States take the Aga Khan Trophy for showjumping at the Royal Dublin Society Horse Show. Earlier at the Winter Equestrian Festival, Springsteen missed out on a Challenge Cup win.

Jessica Springsteen, Bruce's kid, is born to ride
"It is definitely nice to win. I am so happy," Springsteen said. "A few weeks ago we would have won the WEF (Challenge Cup), and then I had the last rail yesterday and we would have won, so I am happy to finally get it right."

Chris Jordan: 732-643-4060;




A four-legged, hooved UF Health Shands Rehab Hospital volunteer is now in a national hall of fame.
Magic, an 8-year-old American Miniature horse, was inducted into the U.S. Equestrian Federation’s Horse Stars Hall of Fame as a humanitarian for her inspirational impact on the public.

She works for Gentle Carousel Miniature Therapy Horses, which has a partnership with UF Health Shands Rehab Hospital. The hospital treats patients who have suffered traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries, burns, amputations, strokes or major joint replacements.
It is also the training hospital for the therapy horses.
Amy Kinsey, a UF Health recreation therapist, said Magic helps patients as they work on standing, reaching, walking and communicating during therapy.
“We have patients that haven’t showed any verbal expression since they have been here but end up smiling after interacting with the horse,” Kinsey said.
Debbie Garcia-Bengochea, Magic’s owner and education and media director of Gentle Carousel, said all of the horses do amazing work, but Magic tends to be in the right place at the right time.

“She seems to find the person in the room that needs someone the most,” Garcia-Bengochea said.

Magic travels around the country to visit communities in need, like Newtown, Connecticut, after the Sandy Hook tragedy. More than 600 people crowded around the Newtown library just to see Magic, Garcia-Bengochea said.
Magic was named one of Time Magazine’s Top 10 Heroic Animals, one of six awards Magic has earned. She also has her own book, “The Power of Magic,” published in 2014.
Magic spent last Christmas at the Ronald McDonald House, and she spent New Years Eve donning a tuxedo shirt while visiting UF Health Shands Rehab patients.
“Rehab is so hard,” Garcia-Bengochea said. “To be able to have something that is so interesting and distracting to allow patients to do something they didn’t think they can do is what it is all about.”






Clark County, NV (KTNV) -- One dead horse and parts of another dead horse were recently found in the desert near Las Vegas Motor Speedway, sparking a Clark County Animal Control investigation.

Valley resident Kacey Hardison says he made the gruesome discovery late last week when he came to the desert to go shooting. "I just drove behind these little cinder blocks and I saw these two dead horses," he tells us. Hardison says he saw one dead horse tied to a cinder block. Another horse was found in two parts.

Action News was alerted by Hardison on Thursday. We called animal control, who sent officers out to investigate. Animal control's Jason Allswang says there's a possibility the finding is a case of cruelty or neglect, but it's too soon to be definitive. "There were other things that were left at the scene that lead us to want to further investigate the situation," he adds.

Animal Control says it could take weeks, if not months to determine what happened.

This is an ongoing investigation. Action News will update this information as soon as it becomes available.




Three ponies were mauled to death by dogs in their field in the West Midlands last week (Saturday 21 February).

Police were called to Parkfield Road, Dudley, just before 5pm after reports that two dogs had attacked the ponies while the were grazing.

When officers arrived, one of the ponies had already died from its injuries.

A vet was immediately called to put down the other two ponies who were seriously injured in the attack.

West Midlands Police has confirmed to H&H that two dogs were seized by authorities later that night at an address in Parkfield Road.

“The dogs are currently being held in kennels while their breed is determined and an investigation carried out,” a police spokesman added.

Dog attacks

H&H has been contacted by many readers in the past who have had their horses attacked by dogs.

Under changes to the law, which came into place in May last year, dog owners can now be prosecuted if their dog causes injury to a rider on public and private land, including livery yards.

It was already an offence under the Dangerous Dogs Act for any dog to be dangerously out of control in a public place.

Riders and industry figures would still like further changes in the law to tackle the growing problem of dogs chasing or attacking horses.

Currently prosecutions can only be brought if the dog harms the rider or puts them in fear of being injured.

“We would still like to see attacks against other animals be criminalised,” said Lee Hackett from the BHS. “At present it is very difficult to take action if a dog attacks a horse. We do need more people to report incidents and even near misses. Without data we will never achieve changes in legislation.”

In 2013 H&H reported that the number of dog attacks on horses had almost doubled in the past year, according to the British Horse Society.


Great work done by in Britain.


Each Flag has up to 200 accidents in an area.






Animal abuse exposes one of the ugliest sides of humanity. Currently, a video of a stagecoach driver beating up his horse is gaining attention in Korea for its brutality.

The incident occurred in the city of Gyeongju at a vacant lot. In the video shown above, the driver can be seen hitting the horse starting at the 0:20 mark with what appears to be either a stick or a whip. The horse attempts to flee the driver, yet once the driver catches up, he continues to flog the horse. Even after the horse collapses from the pain, the driver continues to hit him. The beating actually gets worse, as the driver repeatedly flogs and kicks the horse in the head.

Although other people can be seen slowly gathering around the horse, they appear to be more interested in taking away the stagecoach equipment than actually caring about the horse.

A witness told JTBC News, "The driver felt justified in hitting the horse and there was no person who stopped him. The horse, who was being struck by a wire-like instrument, was gasping for air and looked like it was under extreme torture."

When the reporters showed the driver the video, he reportedly said, "That never happened. I don't know."

Meanwhile, the Korean animal rights group Coexistence of Animal Rights on Earth (CARE) is collecting signatures for their petition to place a sales ban on the driver's business as punishment. The stagecoach driver is reported to work in a business that caters to tourists who want to see the city.

Netizens appear to prefer a harsher punishment, however, as top comments include, "Ah, just beat him up like he did to the horse...," "What are you doing to an animal who can't even speak for itself," and, "The problem seems to be humanity."








 When covering veterinary conferences, there's always that one presentation that stands out among the rest.

 At the 2014 American Association of Equine Practitioners convention held this past December, that presentation for me was one Dr. Rob van Wessum gave on detecting sacroiliac disease (SI) in horses. It was incredibly practical, presented in an easy-to-understand manner, and included lots of imagery and videos, yay! If a horse's haunches make a smaller circle than the rest of the body when longed, he might be showing signs of SI disease.

Photo: Kevin Thompson

 But above all that, it's a topic I'm genuinely interested in. My horse Hannah struggled with some hind-end lameness about two years ago, stemming from the SI region (where the spine meets the pelvis). I've been devouring any information I can find on the issue ever since. What Dr. van Wessum described in his presentation was a "checklist" he's developed over the years to determine whether a horse has SI disease. It's comprised of six simple tests the veterinarian can perform during a standard lameness exam. If a horse shows at least three of the six indicators, chances are he has SI disease. And Dr. van Wessum is pretty confident in his method--he's looked for these signs in 2,467 lameness cases he's evaluated over the last 10 years and used them (along with advanced imaging techniques) to help diagnose 327 horses with the disease. Without further ado, here are

Dr. van Wessum's six indicators of SI disease: Tracking narrow behind.

He said affected horses often look like they are "walking on a cord," placing their hind feet on the same line in front of each other at the walk and, even more so, the trot.

 A lateral walk. Upon walking an affected horse in a serpentine pattern, the front and hind limbs on the same side move forward at the same time, similar to a pacing gait.

 Haunches in/out. If you longe an affected horse in a circle, you'll notice that the hind limbs don't follow the same circle as the front limbs, with the haunches making a smaller circle than the rest of the body.

 Asymmetric tail position. When an affected horse walks in a serpentine, he will lock his tail to one side.

A "bunny hop" canter. When affected horses canter, they lose their normal three-beat pattern, and the hind feet land together in a "bunny hop" motion.

 I distinctly remember Hannah bunny hopping when she first started showing signs of soreness! Reduced lumbrosacral flexibility. Place one hand on the point of the hip and pull the tail toward one side, then repeat this on the other side. Also make the horse "tuck under" by scratching each hamstring with a pointed object. A healthy horse's flexibility should be the same on each side. Walking horses in a simple serpentine pattern can sometimes reveal signs of SI disease. While my own SI case study, Hannah, has been sound and symptom-free for more than a year and a half now, I decided to try a few of these tests on her just to see what I'd find. The results were pretty boring. We serpentined our way around the barn, Hannah cantered on the longe, and I pulled on her tail for a bit. She looked like your average, healthy horse and showed no signs of SI disease. She did, however, give me some very ugly mare faces when I accidently pulled her tail a bit harder than I should have. As you can tell, these are all pretty do-it-yourself tests. But, still have your veterinarian perform a full lameness exam and some diagnostic imaging to confirm your horse has an issue. With appropriate treatment, says Dr. van Wessum, these signs can disappear over time. Have you had a horse that's suffered from SI issues?




FEI Prohibited Substances List The intention of the FEI Prohibited Substance List is to ensure that the performance of horses competing under the FEI Regulations is not affected by Prohibited Substances, and consequently, to ensure fair play in competition and to maintain the welfare of the horse. The Prohibited Substances List is comprehensive and detailed. It allows athletes and their advisors to clearly identify substances they might normally use out of competition which however, are not allowed while competing, referred to as Controlled Medication Substances.

 It also helps to identify the substances which are not permitted for use in horses at all times, referred to as Banned Substances. It should also be highlighted that any other substance with a similar chemical structure or similar biological effect(s) than the substances present on the list are also considered as pertaining to the list. Riders should therefore work closely with their veterinarians when administering any substances. The concept of one detailed List mirrors the approach taken by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) with regard to human athletes. We recommend you review this section of the FEI website regularly for changes in the Prohibited Substances List.

For your information, after any change, a notice period is given before it comes into effect. After this period, sanctions for positive detections will be applied. The Equine Prohibited Substances List first came into force on 5 April 2010. The substances on the Equine Prohibited List are subject to annual review by the FEI List Group. The List review process is continuous and results in the publication of an updated list at least 90 days before it becomes effective on 1 January each year. Permitted Substances of interest to equine feed industry

 The following substances are not currently listed on the FEI Prohibited Substances List and may be used during events: B-vitamins, amino acids and electrolytes. These susbstances may be given to horses in the oral form and in many cases this is still the preferred route of administration. However in some circumstances a veterinarian may prefer to administer them intravenously or intramuscularly. Preventative or restorative joint therapies. Many of these products in the oral form (chondroitin, glucosamine, etc.) can be given inhe ora form and in many cases this is the preferred route of administration.

 However in some circumstances a veterinarian may prefer to administer joint restorative therapy intravenously or intramuscularly. The FEI however cautions athletes, trainers, grooms and veterinarians against the use of herbal medications, tonics, oral pastes and products of which the detailed ingredients and quantitative analysis are unknown and could therefore contain one or more Prohibited Substances. Moreover, the persons administering a herbal or so-called natural product to a horse or pony for health reasons or to affect its performance, who have been informed that the plant of origin or its ingredients do not violate the FEI regulations, may have been misinformed. The use of any herbal or natural product to affect the performance of a horse or pony in a calming (tranquillizing) or an energizing (stimulant) manner is expressly forbidden by the FEI regulations. The use of a calming product during competition may also have important safety consequences.



MANSFIELD — A horse that was in serious condition after being removed from a local farm because of neglect is showing signs of improvement, the Burlington County Humane Police Department said Friday. The 9-year-old gelding named Toby has shown “slow, steady weight gain” under the care of veterinarians at an equine clinic in Millstone, Monmouth County. The horse still awaits surgery for a frostbite injury, but his demeanor has improved, according to the Humane Police.

 “Toby is truly an amazing horse after all he has been through,” the Humane Police posted on the organization’s Facebook social media page. “He is really a gentle soul. Ears forward and beautiful eyes. His demeanor has changed completely since the first day Officer Cooper saw him. ... You would never know based on his personality that he lived the way he did.” Toby and another gelding, Sunny, were seized from a Mansfield farm on Feb. 20 after a Humane Police officer found them emaciated and dehydrated from suspected neglect. Neither horse had been fed for several days, the stock tank was frozen solid, and their malnourishment made them susceptible to cold-weather injuries, the Humane Police said. Their owner, Kelly Schreiber, 45, has been charged with multiple counts of animal cruelty in connection with the case and is due to appear in court later this month. An investigation into the case is ongoing, the Humane Police said Friday. Sunny was returned to its former owner in Gloucester County last week after Schreiber agreed to surrender ownership, the police said. Meanwhile, the Burlington County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the parent organization of the Humane Police, continues to seek donations to cover Toby’s care. The organization also continues to review offers from farmers willing to foster Toby.








Hi John, I have reached a point in time where I need to decide whether to take my horse down the dressage road or the hackamore bridle horse road. I was wondering if you could find the time and inclination to do a piece on your blog comparing the two, advantages, disadvantages, collection on contact vs collection on loose rein, what you can do and can’t do either way, and anything else you feel is relevant. I have no intention of competing in any way, I just want to have quality horse time and would like to work with a relaxed and happy horse, but still be able to work on collection, laterals, shoulder in, half pass etc. I’m leaning away from the more formal dressage riding and as someone who is close to both worlds, I’d love to hear your thoughts on the differences. I’m presuming that most of the work with the horse in terms of relaxation, suppleness, straightness, rhythm, collection etc are all the same. And alas, where does one find an instructor that will allow riding without contact? Cheers


Hi There. Thanks for the question....not :)

I learnt long ago to stand back, lose the 'paralysis of the analysis' and to 'call it as it is' for such 'deep and meaningful' questions such as this one.

I think You are asking with a view to continue with Dressage type work or just go Trail Riding?

So forgive the dot points:

  • First up, I think You are confused, like so many others and such confusion is caused by the competing systems being sold around the World, such as Phillip Karl, those from Spain and Portugal and even Germany versus Holland, but I am not going to argue the for or against of any of them for that would be like arguing Religion. A total waste of time.

  • You can compete at Dressage 'not on the bit' if You don't mind running last. So either conform or don't do it.

  • Of course You can do all the moves and grooves with Loose Reins, Western being an example.

  • You won't find Loose Reins 'English' Coaches.

  • If You are talking about this

    this is not so, it is an archaic tool of torture. This is s Hackamore.

    and if want to learn true sophistication (as I did when I went through this Book as a University Degree approach, only this is acceptable.


  • However, if You are looking for the Dressage Coach who is both technically correct but is KIND TO HORSES first, they are out there but very hard to find. The test is "Do they strictly follow the 'German Training Scale' for most don't.

  • Then of course there is the question of "Fit for Purpose' and of course MOST HORSES are not fit for Dressage!!!!!!

  • and then the question as to whether the COACH has the ability to "Listen to the Horses" for most don't as they are not taught it.

  • but at the end of the Day, Mrs. HP will tell You that all of those ingredients of the Dressage movements that You talk about, come from being 'on the Bit'

now You are more confused :)









Supp question

Hi John, Thank you for your prompt reply. I hope you and Linda recover quickly from your injuries/ surgeries. Are you able to please recommend where to get sand for my arena and yards. This horse stuff is expensive business so I want to get it right the first time. I am in Kersbrook, SA, and It is a little windy on our hill. Thanks for your colic remedy, I will use it soon. I’m sure that mix would flush out the demons in any ones troubled belly ! Regards, Anne.

Hi Anne. Best of Luck with the Horse.

With Sand, you are in a good location but you must choose the Sand in Your own Local Area and they all differ. I can't help You. Do You Homework.

However, no point putting it down unless You control the Wind!!! Therefore Tree Planting in the Long Term but in the short Term, You will need to invest in Shade Cloth up 900mm on the Windward side.




Hi I have been reading your articles  on constructing an arena. Are you able to tell me what surface is best to use on a very sandy soil. Obviously we would get a top layer of soil taken off and levelled. Are you able to give me some advice on building with affordability also. Cheers Alli Madill


Hi Madill

If You surface is SAND, then You may get away with only leveling such and riding to see how you go. Make your decision later then.

However, if You are REMOVING Sand to LEVEL and You get down to some other type of material, that isn't suitable or will hold water, YOU MUST ALWAYS HAVE A BASE!!






Hi, I read your article on floats and that centre dividers to the floor are dangerous. Good point. We have a Shetland, Bobby Joe, and a quarter horse, Pride...I have not floated them together as Bobby Joe can get his lil bottom (and as much body as rope length will allow) underneath the centre divider and I feel that could end in disaster. I want to take them places together but how do I do so safely...any ideas on how to set the double straight load float up safely so Bobby Joe doesn't get under Pride's feet? If I tie him short enough to stop him venturing body parts over then his head is held high and I understand that's not good for them either (nor comfortable). Someone else puts a hay bale to the front to stop their shetland from moving across the other side that way but to stop them going underneath they have a full length centre divider From your experience would a heavy piece of rubber fixed to the centre divider which stops 2 foot before reaching the floor be safe? Thanks so much for your time. Kind regards Renee


Hi Renee. Good question, made my brain work :) Let me see..........

Given the most 'scrambling' is triggered via the back Legs of the Horse, You could try lowering Your division only to half way back along the stomach of the little one and leaving the rest, to the back of the Float, open for the BIg Horse.

You could and should though, try the Rubber but I doubt that will work as smart Pony will soon work out that he can shift it.

Given that Ponies are generally as 'safe as Houses' You could even put a ring Bolt through Your floor, level with FLANK of Pony and on the side of the division. Put another ring in the wall above Pony. Then clip Car Safety Belt from floor, over Loins of Pony, to wall.

The Sky is the limit could even put a safety Belt around the Flanks of the Pony, tied in a knot so it doesn't slide up like a flank rope, and clip that to the wall.

Bottom line is that You can get away with almost anything with such Ponies and in no time, after the initial objeciton which is just good training anyway, give up.








Hi John, I'm hoping you might be able to offer some advice about my Warmblood who I'm having quite a few troubles with.

We purchased Minty sight unseen back in June last year from NSW, he's 10 years old and roughly 16.2hh, he was one of those "mass produced" horses that was bred at Byalee Stud and sold at Auction of the Stars when he was young. He was competing Elementry with his previous rider and training Advanced. He's got a lovely nature and craves attention although can be somewhat dominate on the ground but that's the least of our issues. I seem to be having many issues with forwardness and keeping his legs in the ground. He suddenly developed an issue where he didn't want to go up the top end of our arena one day completely out of the blue, so to get himself out of it he just decided to go upwards until his rider hit the deck, unfortunaly these weren't small rears either.

 Since then he's decided that when he would rather not go forward he just rears and if given a jab with the spurs he'll retaliate, this usually happens less than 30 seconds of me being on him, I think I've been on him maybe twelve times since owning him and probably fallen off within two minutes of being on him during 5 of those rides if not more. We've had my coach on him in which he reared maybe 6 times before giving up and behaving himself, I rode him the next day with no issues, then the day after he went up and received a jab with the spurs, to show me what he thought of that once he got his front feet on the ground he chucked in an almighty pigroot and I ended up in the sand as per usual. I've basically given up and he's been sitting in the paddock for the last few months.

His previous rider has stated that he hasn't done this with her which I'm not questioning, however he seems very controlled with it all, he knows excatly how high he can go without tipping over and where to place his feet upon landing, which makes me believe that it may be well ingrained. My issue is that I believe that if I can get him forward the problem will go away, however it's proving very diffcult. I've ruled out any pain related triggers, he's had his teeth done, has a made to measure saddle from Mal Byrnes, been looked at by vets, etc and given the all clear. He's also ridden in the same bit, a straight bar snaffle, that his previous rider used, I don't believe he's ever had a double bridle on. Here's him with his previous rider a few months before we brought him, it's probably not much help but atleast you can see him, he's certainly no showjumper. Although I do think he's a bit "jammed up" in the video and the tail swishing makes me thinks he's not too comfortable. While I've been riding him his outline hasn't made the list of priorities.

 Any advice would be much appreciated. Thanks, Fran

Hi Fran.

Difficult without seeing the horse ridden now and by You or someone else.

I can comment on the Bit. Change that immediately and do a few 5 Minute rides of flat work to let the Horse experiment with and learn about a new Bit. My experience is that Horses DO NOT like straight Bar Bits.

Go here for a Look

I am puzzled why the Video Person was standing behind the Poles with little attention to close inspection of the Horse. Whilst the Horse looked pretty reasonable at the event and the show jumping edited footage was irrelevant, the Indoor footage did show the Horse not being entirely comfortable.

You need to get better Video. Do 5 minutes of flatwork down the Happy end and have another Horse in the arena at the time, walk, trot and canter both ways. Then put a rough rider on to show us the other end.

As a buyer, the Show Jumping and the Indoor footage was NOT suitable!!! Learn from that.

Go here for the token.




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