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



25,000 letters answered and counting




16th December, 2014


My appols Folks, for the missing Blog this Week. We had all sorts of bad Luck on this Trip to Victoria, including a major damage to the front left axle, bearings, brakes and backing plate,

caused by a missed and slightly bend Stub Axle from the previous accident and the eventual wear and tear.

Our thanks to Steve at the Litte River Mechanic Garage in Little River and Brumby Horse Floats for their kind help as well.

Our Sincere Thanks to Joyce Hollenberg for hosting us so admirably, loaning us Her lovely Float and Car, whilst ours was in for repair.

Then the Laptop died on the way Home and that really ruined my Day, hence no extended Blog.

Then, nearing Home, almost a Head on Collision when a Car overtook another, on a Blind Bend and was in our Lane. Thanks again for the Horse Float saving us with the Christmas Tree Lights that would have frightened the Crap out of the Idiot who would have thought we were a Semi. He swerved violently and missed us.




In short, much to say about this Event.

You would know that Cappo bombed out......once again hitting the psychological and Physical Wall, just the same as when he made the transition from Advanced to Prix St.George and concerns his SHORT TWITCHED Muscle Fibres, but no fear, all Good and most encouraged for the future, for many reasons which I will explain next Week. Then there is the 'Hitler Judging' which was so bad in relation to Snip and other South Australian Horses, that something has to be done about it. Corruption is also alive as well, so to 'Elitism' and an aversion to Australian Bred Horses, via snobbery. More next Week








Hi Folks. Hope You had a wonderful Week.

We have had cool weather with much threatening of Rain but sadly, 2 mm one Night, 4mm another and 3 last Night, so Bugger all :(

Mrs. HP is off to Melbourne Wednesday, ready for the Victorian Festival and I shall guard the Fort and attend to Bella and Dulcie as well as Postage etc. Hopefully, I will have the front Gates sorted by the time she get's back.



I related the incident at the Spring Dressage Championships, where Cappo made uncommon mistakes in his Tests (which started two Weeks prior at Oakbank) and we knew he was telling us that the Ground was too hard for Performance Work.

Well a Splint grew on one of his front Legs, on an 11 Year Old Horse. There is Your proof. With rest (which is an absolute pain when trying to prepare for the Victorian Dressage Festival) the Splint has now gone (thus proving the point moreso

At the time I remember complimenting the wonderful work done by the Southern Vales Dressage Club where they have installed Sand Arenas, not realizing at the time that Mt. Crawford has also risen to the occasion and also done wonderful work. It is hard to believe that an 11 Year Old could get a new Splint (never having had one) during two 10 Minute warm-ups and 2 7 Minutes Tests, but it just shows You the seriousness of this problem during Global Warming. The Industry must make plans.


11 Year Old in Growth Spurt

We all see the Young Warmbloods in the 4 Year Old Classes at the Dressage, meaning they were broken in at 3 or even 2 Year old but knowing that they don't mature until at least 5-6, being the commonly held view.

We have often noticed that they don't mature until 6 or 7 Years of Age but if I told You that Cappo has just grown at least an inch Higher and possibly the age of 11....would You believe me? Of course You wouldn't, so I'll leave it to Your own powers of observations to witness this fact. It is a Miracle.

Of course, at the end of the Day, this is complete vindication of the Training Methods of Mrs. HP who has built a Super Horse from a Pony at a time when we see the incorrect Muscle Development of Horses across the Land as well as World Class Young Horses changing their Body Shapes in a negative way.






Hope Linda and the boys do well as always!
I treated a guy once who had been wearing steel-caps around horses- got his foot stepped on and the steel cap bent into his foot- only his big toe could be saved....senior doctor (who had been a ringer in his youth before working for the RFDS in north QLD) had seen plenty of those injuries and told me that wearing steel-caps around horses was worse than wearing thongs :)

Thanks RN. Most valuable information and something that I did not realize. Imagine so called 'Steel Capped Boots' not withstanding forces????? False advertising then?



During the last 12 Months, I have been holding Fire on a problem with Australia's much loved and preferred Boot but in respect for RM, I want to pass onto You that the current Management is trashing his hard fought reputation with substandard practices.

I purchased a pair about 12 Months ago and within 6 weeks, had sore heels and soles of my Foot. I struggled with this for some Weeks, almost believing that it must be the shape of my own Feet that was causing the problem, but then got a Phone call from my Brother, ironically about a new pair of RM Williams Boots that he had purchased and he wanted to know if I knew the names of any Doctors who could help Him with a Bone Spur that had been caused by his new Boots.

I sent them back to the Shop and they went back to the Factory. They declared that I had been very hard on them, that the Sole needed replacing and the Uppers needed replacing. $100.

Now, I didn't send them in for Uppers or the Sole, both which were fine, I sent them in because of the INNER SOLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! for this is where the problem lies. So I refused their offer and asked the Shop to send them back to me. Well, that got a result. They then admitted that the Inner Sole was ruined and that they should be replaced every 6 Months!!!!!!!!!!!!

Well of course You are not told that when You purchase and further more, they don't sell them and the Retailer doesn't stock them.

The new Boots came and they were wonderful for 6 Weeks, then sore Feet again. The Inner Sole was ruined. I went back to the wonderful Shop here in Victor and requested new Soles. They got me those as well as an upgraded inner sole from more expensive Boots.


In an attempt to save 10 Cents, they have exposed this Iconic Brand of Boot to such reviews as this one and in the process have damaged the name of old RM. He would turn in his Grave if he knew. :( The Crap Inner Sole is substandard and also poorly designed such that they have to hurt after a few Weeks. The Retailer is embarrassed, I am embarrassed and RM Williams need to get their act together fast.


So compliments to the Wonderful Menswear

The best Menswear Shop in South Australia, now that Trims have closed down.



Back in the Day :) I had just started the Mare....Mrs. HP's first Horse :)



" The Face of a Horse says it all Folks. Depression can be seen on the Faces of countless Horses. How are Your's looking?"







Hi John, I am just after some legal advice re a horse I gave cut a long story short I have a lovely, quiet, professionally broken 3 yr old, who is green broke. I have advertised him as such with 7 weeks at the breaker and 7 weeks trail riding, all the while never putting a foot wrong. I had someone come out and ride him, again the horse did nothing wrong, in fact did everything she asked.....a few days later she messages me saying, yes he's quiet etc, but she thinks he's too green for her.... No problem.... I leave it a few weeks, contact her and offer her the horse for $6,500... I had him at $8,500 when she rode him.....I dropped the price for her because I know she will look after him, and she was going to send him to the same person who broke him in.....ok she came back with if you will take $6,000 for him I will buy him, give me your bank details so I can pay....I did and she paid straight away, she then booked him into the trainers...well that was yesterday, this morning she calls to say she has changed her mind, now she has done this to others I now hear but pulls out before she pays....I. Paying $100 per week for someone to ride him and in agistment....not training, just trail riding which he dilemma I legally obliged to refund her the full $6,000????? She had arranged to collect him today at 11am, so plans were made between the purchaser, the current rider and myself......and it's not at health issue, the purchaser is actually a Vet !!!!! I now find out she does this often with out paying though.. I'm sorry for the huge essay....but would really appreciate your input Thank you so much

Interesting Vet!









I sent you a letter today which I received from this radio station, in reply to a complaint I made about one of their announcers, stating t’breds are not sent to the knackeries only old kids ponies.  The said announcer is involved in racing in WA.  A person representing the radio station returned my phone call today and I told him I was passing the letter on to an organisation who would follow up my complaint and that you would contact him.
Perhaps John O’Leary from Horse Problems Australia could be faxed the letter as he may be interested in posting it on his weekly blog for the world to read.
I would imagine all the horse rescue groups including Animals Australia may be interested in replying to 6PR as well – could you fax this letter to them please.
I am more than happy to make a donation to cover the costs of your involvement in this – please let me know if you are interested in calling for an on air and written apology from 6PR for all the beautiful horses we have lost through the racing industry in this country, by the same broadcaster, in his same time lot and the written apology addressed to horse lovers c/- of you.  John may be interested in adding this to his blog as well.
Many thanks



General Manager : Martin Boylen is standing by the announcer who said t’breds don’t end up at the knackeries.




WESTON, Fla. (WSVN) -- Classmates of a South Florida teen found dead along with a horse she was riding attended school with heavy hearts Friday morning. The teenage rider was identified as 16-year-old Lucia Rodrigo, a student at Cypress Bay High School. "She was always there helping us," said classmate Ana Sofia, "and it's really sad to know that this happened, because you really don't know what can happen next." Davie Police found the bodies of Rodrigo and the horse she was on, at around 4 p.m. Thursday. The disturbing discovery was made at a trail near Southwest 188th Avenue and Griffin Road in Southwest Ranches. There were grief counselors available at the high school Friday, for students saddened to have lost a fellow classmate who died doing what she loved.

"She was a good girl," said another classmate. "She didn't deserve this, neither did the family." "This school has a lot of courage," said one student who did not know Rodrigo personally, "and you know, we're gonna feel sad for this person and we're gonna feel the pain. It's just, many people think, 'It's just one more person,' but we take it seriously here at Cypress Bay." Police are still investigating what caused the accident. According to the owners of Brownie, the 18-year-old male quarter horse, Rodrigo rode him many times prior to the incident. Brownie wasn't easily spooked, but the owners believe he could have suffered a heart attack. "She rode the horse quite a bit. The horse was very well broke. He done a lot of parades. His heart could've gave out and he just dropped quick.

I heard it was quick," said Terry Sheer, a family friend. Sheer's sister owned Brownie. She said Rodrigo went for a short ride but did not return. "She was just supposed to go around the block and come right back," Sheer said. "We all were going to Santa's Enchanted Forest, and we don't know why she went over to Griffin and ran the horse. We have no idea. We didn't even believe that was her, because she was supposed to be right back." A close riding friend of Rodrigo's, Jade Ortiz, said she was on her horse when she learned about Ortiz. "When we heard about it I was actually riding my horse. I just felt, like, weak inside," Ortiz said. Thursday afternoon, Vicky Geddis said she spotted the two racing by. "Literally flying like a race horse," said Vicki Geddis. "I thought that was extremely odd, because we see people on trail rides around here all the time." By Thursday evening, the victim's family and friends were distraught and left questioning what caused the horrific incident. "These are our kids and acquaintances and people that we know; it's just heartbreaking," said Mayor Jell Nelson. "Our prayers and thoughts go out to the family. It's a very difficult time." Rodrigo's family will be going to the morgue Friday to speak with the medical examiner, who will ultimately determine the cause of death. Friends of the victim said she was a member of the National Art Honor Society, and they will be creating a banner in her honor Monday. Rodrigo's funeral is planned for Saturday.





MANITOWOC – A driver was injured and a horse killed on Wednesday evening in a town of Cato accident, said the Manitowoc County Sheriff’s Department. According to the accident report: Elwood C. Koelder, 69, of Milford, Iowa, was driving a Buick LeSabre north on U.S. 151 when the horse ran onto the roadway and was hit. Koelder suffered non-incapacitating injuries and was transported to a local hospital; his car was severely damaged. The horse, one of two that were loose, died at the scene.




A horse and a teenager were found dead on a riding path Thursday in Southwest Ranches, Davie police said.

The discovery was made by a canal off Griffin Road and Southwest 188th Avenue after 4 p.m. Thursday.

Witnesses said they had seen the teen, who appeared to be a very experienced rider, riding her horse at full speed along the canal.

Vicki Geddis told Local 10 News she saw the horse and rider "sprinting past" her. "And I thought, 'That's really odd,'" she said. A family friend told Local 10 the victim is a high school student from Cypress Bay High School in Weston. "As you can imagine, the parents are heartbroken," Southwest Ranches Mayor Jeff Nelson told Local 10. The horse -- an 18-year-old male -- may have had a heart attack, according to the family friend. The horse was taken to Gainesville to undergo a necropsy. A medical examiner will determine the teen's cause of death.

Everybody loves her, she loves riding horses,” said family friend Terri Shure. “She was a great kid.” CLICK HERE To Watch Joan Murray’s Report Shure told CBS4’s Gaby Fleischman that the horse, 18-year-old Brownie, belonged to Rodrigo’s sister. According to friends at the school, Rodrigo was part of the honor society and is described as always having a smile on her face. “She will be missed. We will do something for her in the art honor society,” said classmate Ana Sofia. “Every single day she will be missed.” A woman who helped teach Lucia how to ride told CBS4 she believes the horse, a 18 to 19-year-old Quarter Horse named Brownie, may have suffered an aneurysm and died on the spot—throwing the young woman from the animal. The woman, who did not want to be identified, said the horse was well known in the area and did not have any known health problems. She also said the Lucia was an experienced rider who had ridden Brownie previously.

 Witnesses said they saw the horse running quickly. “Literally like a race horse, she was flying and I though that was extremely odd because we see people on trail rides here all the time,” said Vicky Geddis, who was waiting in her car to pick up her child at Falcon Cove Middle School. “She literally was on the horse sprinting right passed me.” Geddis said the speed startled her. “It’s not normal to see somebody going that fast on a horse around here,” she said. “You would only see somebody going that fast on a horse like on a racetrack.” Investigators are trying to gather details as to how they died. Southwest Ranches Mayor Jeff Nelson did not reveal many specifics but said in this close-knit community, it’s a challenging and emotional moment. “It’s heart-breaking, heart-wrenching,” Nelson said. “Our prayers and thoughts go out to the family at this difficult time.” Davie Police said the horse will be taken to the University of Florida to undergo a necropsy to determine a cause of death. The Davie Police Department says they expect to have more details tomorrow once they know what killed the horse and the young woman. There will be a memorial service for Lucia Rodrigo on Saturday evening at the Plenitud funeral home in Pembroke Pines from 5 to 7 pm. There is also a Facebook page about a “Ride for Lucia” in Davie on Sunday, December 14th at 9:30 am beginning at Robbins Lodge Park.


If this was the Bit in the Mouth of the Horse, on the Day, it would be vivid proof that the "Bigger Bit approach' is meaningless. For the observant.......what do You see in the Face of the Horse?





Spirit, a horse originally beaten with a baseball bat, has had the first ever documented double fusion in his leg in an attempt to repair and straighten it. Dr. Michael Schoonover, assistant professor of surgery at Oklahoma State University’s Center for Veterinary Health Sciences, couldn’t find any literature on fusing both the knee and the fetlock in the same limb on the same horse but that didn’t stop him from performing the innovative procedure to help a rescue horse named Spirit. Schoonover consulted with top veterinarians around the country in an effort to determine the best way to perform this surgery. Spirit had a 20 percent or less chance of survival. After two surgeries and several months in rehabilitation at Oklahoma State University,

 Spirit has now returned to his home at Ranch Hand Rescue in Argyle. Doctors say the surgery has been a complete success. Ranch Hand Rescue is well known for innovative and out of the box thinking because of the history it made by placing a prosthetic leg on Midnite “The Horse of Hope” in March of 2011. Ranch Hand Rescue also used Stem Cells and Nano-fiber Solutions Technology to perform the first-ever procedure in the world on Phoenix, a full size 900-pound, 2-year old quarter horse in 2012 to repair a tendon. Ranch Hand Rescue’s mission is to save abused and neglected farm animals with special focus on animals requiring critical care, to adopt out rehabilitated animals, to provide a caring sanctuary for the animals that have ongoing needs and to help people with personal, mental and psychological challenges to change and better their lives through equine/animal assisted therapy. Sprit's job will be to work in Ranch Hands Rescue Equine & Animal Assisted Therapy Counseling Program. Equine & Animal Assisted Therapy, also referred to as EAAT, is a treatment that includes equine/animal activities and/or an equine environment in order to promote emotional growth in persons suffering from ADD, anxiety, depression, developmental delay, traumatic brain injuries, behavioral issues, abuse issues, and many other mental health problems.

 RHR services clients facing the challenges of drug and alcohol addiction, children of physical and sexual abuse, eating disorders, veterans with post traumatic stress disorder, victims of rape and troubled teens. Equine and animal assisted therapy can help the individual build confidence, self-efficiency, communication, trust, perspective, social skills, impulse control, and help them learn boundaries. Since the horses have similar behaviors with humans, such as social and responsive behaviors, doctors say it is easy for the patients to create a connection with the horse. Children, ages 6 and above, and adults alike are finding healing and hope through this powerful form of therapy. RHR is an IRS 501(c)(3) farm animal rescue center and sanctuary that also provides equine/animal assisted therapy to people needing mental and emotional therapy.





The family were on their way to a showjumping competition when a car hit their trailer, which had their horse Paddy inside

A mum has spoken of her terror when the trailer transporting her son’s prized pony was hit by another driver and overturned.

Heather O’Connor said if it was not for the robust nature of her Ifor Williams Trailer (IWT) and the fantastic response of the emergency services then her son’s beloved pony Paddy may not have survived the incident on the M3.

The mum-of-two was travelling to a show-jumping competition at Sparsholt College in Hampshire with her son Josh, 13, and her husband Brian, 46, when the accident took place.

Paddy, a nine-year-old 13.2hh grey Connemara cross, was travelling in the IWT trailer behind the family’s 4x4 vehicle.

Mrs O'Connor, of Wokingham, said: “The other motorist was going to overtake and we are not entirely sure what happened but from what a lorry driver witness said, he drifted into us, catching the driver corner of the trailer and carried on pushing us over for some while before realising what was happening and pulling away from us.

“The trailer overturned on to its side and you could see the gouge marks in the road where it had been dragged on its side by the force of the accident.

“We ended up stationary with the 4x4 the wrong way round facing back the other way and the trailer up against the hard shoulder crash barrier."

The 43-year-old added: “I opened up the door on the side of the trailer and Paddy was standing there shaking like a leaf.

"He had flipped over the central partition, managed to get himself under the chest bar at the front of the trailer and was standing in the opposite direction with most of his weight on the doors.

“I was amazed at the strength of the trailer holding up. The entire structure has stood firm. If he had broken through and his hoof had come through anywhere, particularly as the trailer was being dragged along the road, the injuries caused could have been devastating.”

Paddy was left with some soft tissue damage to his back and a small cut to his front leg just above where his travel boot had been.

Andrew Reece-Jones, IWT design engineering manager, said: “We are so sorry Heather, her family and Paddy had to go through this awful ordeal but feel very proud that one of our trailers helped protect Paddy from too much harm."

After a well-deserved month of rest, Paddy is recovering well following his ordeal.

The driver who caused the accident was asked to complete a driver’s awareness course, which has now been completed.




BUTTE — Police suspect a confused hunter might have shot and killed an albino quarter horse near Butte. Butte-Silver Bow Undersheriff George Skuletich tells The Montana Standard the horse, which was worth about $5,000, died after a “kill shot” with a high-powered rifle struck its heart.

The horse’s owner found the animal dead in its corral along Moulton Reservoir Road on Sunday morning, and police suspect the shooting occurred sometime over the weekend. Police do not believe the shooting was intentional. The owner of the horse told officers he heard shots fired throughout the weekend, but that is normal during hunting season.





For more than 50 years stray horses in public fields and grassland has been a common sight across the Black Country. Allowing horses to graze in public area may seem like a victimless crime, but council bosses and animal welfare charities claim these animals are not only a risk to themselves and the public, but have often been abandoned by owners, as they are too old or injured to be of any use to them. The act of leaving horses to graze on someone else’s land is known as fly-grazing. It is illegal and is an issue which has long plagued the area. Sandwell councillor Ian Jones said many of the horses are owned by descendants of travellers living in the Black Country. He said: “There have been cases of horses frozen to the spot quite literally by their chain. It is actually a problem in all weathers. We have had fly-grazed horses chocking on their chains and they have had to be rescued.” As well as the obvious concerns about the welfare of the animals the horses can also create problems for pedestrians and drivers if they escape and make their way onto footpaths and roads.


There has been a vast increase of fly-grazing in recent years, something both Sandwell and Dudley Councils in particular have been trying to tackle. Both authorities have spent thousands of pounds contracting bailiffs to round up horses and remove them from council land. Since 2011, more than 460 horses have been removed from public highways in Dudley alone, with the council spending £100,000 on removing them. Earlier this year eight horses were rounded up by police after they wandered on to grassland in Wolverhampton and became agitated by traffic. The animals were herded onto the forecourt of a petrol station on Wolverhampton Road East in Sedgley. And in February, two caused a stir when they were seen near to the ring road on Penn Road in Wolverhampton. Councillor Hilary Bills, cabinet member for environment and culture at Dudley Council, said: “The council has developed a range of policies and services to help deal with the problem, including the introduction of the reactive service to remove horses from the highway, in partnership with the local police and a local horse removal contractor. “Since 2011 there have been more than 460 horses taken from the public highway using this service, reducing the risk to pedestrians, motorists and horses alike, and this service is seen as a model system nationwide.”

The Black Country is an area of the West Midlands in England, north and west of Birmingham.[1] It includes the Metropolitan Boroughs of Walsall, Dudley and Sandwell. During the Industrial Revolution, it became one of the most industrialised parts of Britain with coal mines, coking, iron foundries and steel mills producing a high level of air pollution.











Soaking hay is often used by horse owners wanting to reduce its carbohydrate content, but are there risks? British researchers who carried out a study found that soaking hay caused a worrying rise in bacterial levels when compared to dry hay. The losses in water-soluble carbohydrates from soaking hay – which is why most horse owners soak hay in the first place – varied considerably, they found. “While soaking hay, or steaming followed by soaking, can be an effective way of reducing water-soluble carbohydrate content, the losses were highly variable,” reported Meriel Jean Scott Moore-Colyer and her colleagues, who found a range of 0–53 percent in their study.

They also found that soaking significantly increased the bacterial content, compared to the original, dry, untreated hay, which “reduced the hygienic quality of the hay”. The researchers, whose findings have been published in the open-access journal, PLoS ONE, found that steaming was effective in reducing microbial levels in hay, provided it wasn’t then soaked afterwards, which caused an increase in bacteria. The researchers used five different hays to determine the effect of five different soaking and steaming treatments on the water-soluble carbohydrate and microbial content. The methods used were: Dry hay (no treatment at all); Steamed for 40 minutes in a Haygain-600 steamer; Soaked in water at 16 degrees Celsius for 9 hours; Steamed for 40 minutes then soaked for 9 hours; Soaked for 9 hours then steamed for 40 minutes. After treatment, each of the hays underwent testing for water-soluble carbohydrates and microbial content (with bacteria and mould levels assessed seperately).

 The researchers found that protein and ash proportions were unaltered in any of the treatments, the latter being an indication that mineral content was largely unchanged. Hay shortages are starting to bite in Victoria, Australia.They found that all three treatments that used a soaking element (3.4, and 5) were equally effective at reducing water-soluble carbohydrate levels. Hay that was steamed had significantly less bacteria compared with the hay that had been soaked without any other treatment. Hay that had been soaked and then steamed also had significantly less bacteria than soaked hay. Hay shortages are starting to bite in Victoria, Australia.Mould contents were significantly reduced by steaming alone, including in the hay that had been soaked and then steamed, but no difference was seen between dry, soaked, or steamed then soaked.

 The researchers concluded that soaking for 9 hours followed by steaming for 50 minutes in the Haygain steamer was the most effective method for reducing water-soluble carbohydrates and microbial contamination. “Soaking or steaming-plus-soaking lowered water-soluble carbohydrates, but significantly reduced the hygienic quality of the hay which could potentially compromise the health of the horse,” Moore-Colyer and her colleagues reported. Steaming, and soaking then steaming, reduced microbial counts by 93 percent and 99 percent respectively, while soaking alone increased the levels to four-times the amount of bacteria found in the dry hays. The average loss of water-soluble carbohydrates with steaming was only 3 percent across the hays, with a range of 1.4 percent to 6.9 percent. The use of soaking caused an average loss of water-soluble carbohydrates across all the hays tested in the study of 34 percent.

The average bacterial contamination across all five hays was increased five-fold when the hays were soaked for 9 hours in water. They noted that the hays that underwent being steamed then soaked for the nine hours did not have a reduction in bacterial contamination. “Steaming alone has been reported to kill between 60 percent and 99 percent of bacteria present in hay. “The bacteria remaining in the post-steamed hay are likely to be thermo-stable spore-formers that rapidly proliferate once they become hydrated during soaking,” the researchers suggested. They said that soaking then steaming caused the greatest reduction of water-soluble carbohydrates and the largest reduction in bacterial and mould content. “Thus, this treatment produced clean and comparatively low sugar hay suitable for feeding to obese and laminitis-prone horses and ponies. “Steaming alone produced hygienically clean hay but did not reduce the water-soluble carbohydrate content to below the suggested threshold of 100 grams per kilogram for feeding to horses with metabolic disorders.

 “The commonly used practice of soaking hay does result in losses of water-soluble carbohydrate although these are variable and prolonged soaking also results in a substantial increase in bacterial contamination. “Therefore, soaking hay for prolonged periods without further treatment compromises the hygienic quality of the hay, which could have clinical consequences, but more work is needed to confirm this,” they said. Moore-Colyer, joined in the research by Kimberly Lumbis, Annettee Longland and Patricia Harris, said grass hay was still the most common fodder fed to stabled horses in Britain and globally. Hay was classified into two categories – seed hay, which is generally composed of one or two specially sown grass species; and meadow hay, which is a mixture of different grasses and other herbage in permanent pasture.

The nutrient quality of both is primarily influenced by the stage of growth at harvest as well as the mixture of different grasses and other herbage in permanent pasture. Nutrient quality, particularly the content of water-soluble carbohydrates, is strongly influenced by weather conditions at harvest, while the protein content is more influenced by physiological age and soil nutrient status. However, they noted that even mature hay taken from a stressed pasture that was subjected to drought could have high levels of water-soluble carbohydrates. Such hays would be unsuitable for horses with the likes of equine metabolic syndrome, polysaccharide storage myopathy, and laminitis, they said. Thus, in an attempt to reduce levels of water-soluble carbohydrates, owners sometimes soaked hay for long periods, often for 12 hours or more.

 The researchers said that while soaking did decrease the carbohydrate levels, other research had already shown that its effectiveness varied considerably. In that research, losses of water-soluble carbohydrates ranged from 9 percent to 54 percent after a 16-hour soak in water at 16 degrees Celsius. Furthermore, the extent of these losses did not correlate with grass species, or carbohydrate content, so it was not possible to predict how soaking would affect water-soluble carbohydrate loss from any individual hay. Soaking hay for extended periods left liquid reported to have a biological oxygen demand nine times that of raw sewage. As such, it should be disposed of carefully and not poured down stormwater drains.




Veterinarian Angela Smith BVSc outlines the foaling process and signs to look for in a mare who is about to deliver. Before foaling One of the first signs is the distended udder. During the last month the udder usually enlarges. The mares udder may fill up at night while she is resting and shrink during the day while she exercises. When the udder remains full through out the day then foaling is probably imminent. The mare should be watched closely. Filling of the teats as the udder enlarges. The upper portion of the teat is stretched in a manner that is difficult to distinguish it from the rest of the udder. The lower portion of the teat remains small but as foaling gets nearer the teat enlarges and is reflected outward by the increasing pressure from within the udder. Relaxation of the muscles of the pelvic area - relaxation of this region usually occurs about 3 weeks prior to foaling. These changes allow the fetus to pass through the birth canal with greater ease.

 This process is gradual and may not be seen on all mares but in most a distinctive change in the appearance can be seen. A hollow develops on either side of the root of the tail as muscles of the hip and buttock area start to relax. This area can be examined each day when the mare is checked. The abdomen becomes increasingly pendulous as it enlarges and about a week prior to foaling it may appear to shrink as the foal shifts into position in preparation for foaling. This change is not always seen in all mares.

 Waxing  - when wax like beads appear at the end of each teat ( they are droplets of colostrum). They can appear anywhere between 12-36 hours prior to foaling or a week or two before foaling, and sometimes fails to occur in some mares. So this not a reliable method of predicting foaling occurrence as it can be so variable between individual mares. Relaxation of the vulva  - Within the last 24-48 hours before foaling the mares vulva can be observed to swell and relax in preparation to stretching several times it’s normal size to allow passage of the foal. Milk flow - Appearance of wax on the end of the teats can also be accompanied by droplets of milk. Although wax and milk secretion usually indicate delivery will occur very soon, many mares foal without either . While some mares drip or stream milk for several days prior to foaling. Unfortunately, mares that stream milk prior to foaling lose large amounts of colostrum, the vital first milk that contains antibodies and a laxative for the newborn foal. Mares showing spontaneous milk flow should be closely watched , not only for the onset of foaling but also to determine how much colostrum is lost during this period. If the mare is losing a significant quantity it should be collected and frozen. Colostrum can be thawed and fed to the new born foal at birth.

 Restlessness - Many mares exhibit behaviour changes-during the last few weeks of gestation a mare can become cranky, restless and as she enters the 1ststage of labour , the mare usually wants to be left alone. She may walk continually in pasture or stall, switch her tail, look at her sides, kick at her abdomen. These signs are also indicative of colic, but if the mare eats, drinks , defecates, urinates frequently then the first stage of labour is probably in progress. Sweating -As labour approaches the mare often breaks into a sweat. The mare’s neck, flanks may feel warm and damp or a general sweat over all the body may occur. Parturition, or the process of foaling The progression of the physical changes that occur in foaling are divided in to three distinct stages. -stage one – positioning of the foal -stage two – delivery of the foal -stage three – expulsion of the placenta The ability to recognise each stage and to follow the normal chain of events that occur during each phase allows the attendant of the mare to be able to assess whether that mare needs assistance.

 To be able to recognise if the second or third stage of labour is delayed or altered in some way from the normal expectations. Fortunately ~ 90% of mares foal normally. First Stage -this is when the foetus gradually shifts from a position on its back, rotating until its head and forelimbs are extended in the birth canal. The outward signs are, restlessness, sweating of the flanks, as the uterine contractions become more severe, the mare may become very nervous, pacing, walking fence lines, looking at her flanks, kicking at her abdomen, she may paw the ground, may even get up and down several times to help position the foal. Pastured mares usually move away from other mares and may seek an isolated corner of the paddock.

While some mares show few signs during this stage others show marked distress for several hours. Transitory contractions that occur without cervical dilatation cause the mare to show signs of distress then ” cool off ” several times before the foal actually moves into the birth canal. Once these signs are recognised the attendant should check the mare then observe from a discreet distance. The end of the first stage is marked by rupture of the allantoic membrane and a sudden release of allantoic fluid. A process that helps lubricate the birth canal. This usually occurs 1-4 hours after the onset of the first stage. Second stage – delivery of the foal is characterised by very strong contractions of the abdominal and uterine muscles.

 During this period the mare usually positions herself on her side with her legs fully extended to facilitate voluntary straining that aids her expulsion efforts. She may get up and down several times to help position the foal or may even move around with the foals head and legs protruding. If labour continues while the mare is standing someone should catch the foal and lower it to the ground gently to help it avoiding injury. If the mare should lie down next to a wall or a fence the attendant should make sure there is plenty of room for the foals delivery. If the mare is too close to an obstacle the mare should be made to get up and allow her to find a new position, where the perineal region is free. A strong, healthy foal is the goal of all breeders.  The foal is normally presented in an upright position, with its head tucked between extended forelegs. (This the time the attendant usually checks the foal’s position by inserting an arm into the mare’s vagina after she breaks water.

This should be done with a sterile gloved arm or after the arms are suitably scrubbed thoroughly in the appropriate antiseptic solution). As the head and neck appear, enclosed in the bluish-white amnion, the foal’s shoulders pass through the pelvic opening. One foot is usually positioned slightly in front of the other to help reduce the circumference of the foal’s shoulder and there-by ease its passage through the birth canal. After this critical period the mare usually rests for a short time then delivers the rest of the foal with relative ease. The amnionic foetal membranes are usually broken as the foal emerges or as it first attempts to lift its head. If the membrane is not broken immediately after the foal’s delivery the attendant should tear the membrane to clear the nasal passages so the foal can breathe and so as to prevent suffocation of the foal.

 After the foal’s hips have passed through the mare’s pelvis the mare usually rests once more. The foal’s hindlegs may remain in the mare’s vagina for several minutes, in this time it allows the foal to receive essential blood from the placenta via the umbilical cord and should not be interrupted. In most cases, the time from rupture of the allantochorion to the post delivery rest period is completed in minutes, but a range of 10 to 60 minutes is considered normal. As the mare rises or as the foal struggles to stand the umbilical cord usually breaks. Because the foal receives a significant amount of blood from the placenta via the umbilical cord, the cord should not be prematurely ruptured.

 Third Stage -Expulsion of the placenta is the last stage of labour. This usually occurs within three hours. However the normal range is 10 minutes to 8 hours. During this period the uterine contractions continue to proceed in an effort to expel the placenta. The mare will exhibit signs of discomfort. The placenta is expelled inside out because the contractions cause inversion of the placenta as it comes away from the lining of the uterus. The purpose of these contractions is also to cleanse the uterus of fluid, debris and return the expanded uterus to its normal size. As this stage may last several hours it may be helpful for the attendant to tie the afterbirth in a knot that hangs above the mares hocks. this will help prevent the mare from stepping on the membranes and tearing them out prematurely but also adds gentle pressure using gravity to aid in expelling the placenta.

The attendant should not attempt to pull the placenta from the mare’s reproductive tract as this could cause tears and leave remnants of placenta that could cause future uterine infections. Retention of even small pieces of placenta is a potentially very serious condition. Once the placenta is passed it is a good policy to lay it flat on the ground and check it is all in tact. There is new evidence that suggests that the weight of the placenta correlates to the condition of the mares reproductive tract. and also correlates to the health of the foal. The normal placental weight in light horses is 10 to 13 pounds.

The texture of the membrane is important. If the membrane is thick and tough or if it shows haemorrhagic spots, then placental infection might be suspected. When the placenta has been infected the foal will often show some abnormality at birth. Close examination of the placenta is important, if you have any doubts keep the placenta in a plastic lined and covered bucket with a small amount of water to keep moist till your veterinarian can examine it. The amnion has a translucent white appearance, while the allantochorion is normally red and velvety on one side and light coloured on the other. The placental membranes consist of the amnion that encloses the emerging foal and the allantochorion. Sometimes brown bodies of putty-like consistency can be found when examining the placenta they can also sometimes be expelled when the mare’s waters break.

These are harmless remnants that are believed to originate from minerals and proteins deposited in the allantoic cavity during gestation. So in summary the following points should be noted and recorded by the attendant about the placenta. The time required to expel the placenta after the foal’s birth. Absence of any pieces (this can simply be checked by filling the allantochorion with water to check for holes or tears). The condition of the membranes, weight, colour, thickness, and presence of any haemorrhagic spots). Occasionally the mare can show signs of colic after the third stage of labour is complete. If the pains are caused by cramping of the empty uterus are severe in the mare, veterinary attention may be required to relieve her discomfort during this adjustment period. Post foaling the mare should be watched carefully for 4 to 5 days after foaling. It is normal for the mare to have a dark red discharge for 6 to 7 days, but if a yellow discharge is seen this indicates infection. This requires veterinary attention.  






Good afternoon Mr. and Mrs. HP,   May I start by telling you how glad I am to have found you! I have an 11 yr. TWH gelding I trial ride. He was handled extensively as a foal, ‘imprinted’ at birth then turned out with two older geldings for almost 10 yrs. with very little handling and virtually no training. I have had him for about a year and a half. Our training and relationship and been tumultuous to say the least. I have trained ten or so horses over the years so I've had a little experience but am very much an amateur. There are several things we need to work on that I have been unsuccessful in correcting including separation anxiety, leaning on the bit, bolting, and a weak top line. All of which I recognize but unable to find a method to correct these things or anyone who has experience with these issues and suggestions on how to correct them.

 When I found your website every one of our issues is explained in detail. Finally it all makes sense why we're having these problems and I am excited to get started fixing them! I ride Western, English, and bareback. In the arena and around the barn he responds with a feather touch with a flat halter and a lead rope (or hackamore, walking horse bit, or snaffle) when ridden or lead. He is extremely sensitive and has a mouth like soft butter. He responds to leg cues so well I can drop the reins in the arena and ride him with legs only. I ride him on a loose rein whenever possible. My goal is always to get the response I'm asking for using the least amount of pressure possible. We are usually successful, BUT if he thinks that a horse is getting to far away or leaving him, and always when we head back to the barn (at a walk) he gets very anxious, takes the bit in his mouth and bolts, rears, paws, bucks, spins, essentially loses his mind and becomes dangerous to everyone around, including himself. Using a combination of pressure and release, stopping, standing, lateral flexion exercises, turning and going in the opposite direction have helped make him more comfortable being alone but not corrected the problem.

He still gets extremely anxious, takes the bit in his mouth, does not respond to leg cues, refuse to walk, and without constantly holding him back, he would bolt and be gone. He isn't especially spooky; when encountering something he's afraid his typical response is to stop, blow, relax, check it out, and move on. He's has such a great personality. He's sweet, curious, full of mischief, and eager to please, but I've said since I got him that he's just a little odd and doesn't act like any horse that I've met before, in the field or in hand. I know he's come a LONG way in the time I've had him but I'm out of my league with these issues and have no idea where to go from here to help us find a better way to communicate and enjoy each other's company. It kills me having to lean on the bit when he throws a fit and I don't know how to stop it from being a necessity. He is calm and responsive on a loose rein most of the time but turns into a completely different horse if he thinks he's alone. I’d love to read your e-book and any other suggestions on where to start would be very much appreciated.  Warmest regards!

Hi There. Quite a challenge!

First up, I am dead against Foal Imprinting and have met more than enough these Horses and they have all been less than well adjusted.

The secret to all Problem Horse subject, is to shut down the evasion. Any allowance of it, like Bolting off, just compounds the matter and cancels out all attempts at remedy.

Therefore, it would seem that the first job would be to be able to shut the Horse down should it ever attempt to run through Your Hands and if You need to re-mouth the Horse, gain skills or learn lessons, all the answers are on this Website.

You should also come to learn that you can't hold Horses back or at the walk. It is simply not possible to make a Horse walk, with a contact. It only compounds the problems and pits You against them, in a Battle of strength which completely detracts from all psychological training fixes that may be available.

Hope that helped a little









Hi John,

Woke up this morning feeling awesome about the choice we made for our little Gypsy baby. Feeling absolutely over the moon! I looked at his video (attached) and realised he reminds me sooooo much of Stipulate - -----horse (my previous boss) - and she got to ride Grand Prix and represent NZ with ----- ----- was chestnut though and welsh cob/TB x and only 15.2 - which is also the expected height of Tux. The movement and body type - very very similar. Plus I have super temperament.

Last night I have also spoken to a lady who has bought 6 horses off this old guy - She says if he says 15.2 - it will make AT LEAST 15.2 hh. If he says he will shed out to be black - it will shed out to be black. So I am looking forward to my 15.3hh black gypsy partbred.

I managed to negotiate to -----. I have just found out that I have lost my grazing 2 days ago that has been waiting for me for the last two months which I am absolutely gutted about. It was opposite a beautiful pony club with loads of trail rides through the bush and all the facilities and only $10/week. The people who had offered me the grazing spots spontaneously took on two 20 year old horses that were about to be put down that were drought stressed instead. So the breeder is keeping Tux on his property until I find grazing up here. So I will let you know when he arrives and start on your leg restraints DVD. I have the DVD just need to get the gear associated with it. 

I have attached a little clip as a reminder of the awesome little yearling you and I decided on. Thanks so much for your wise advise through this so I could end up with this cool little dude.
Feel good about giving this old guy my money as well. He deserves it.

Kindest Regards


Well done Dianne. Plenty of fun to come :) Never mind about the Paddock. Australia is a "Big Country"

We looked at 20 Horses but got there in the end. Buying Horses these Days is an extremely arduous task, not made any easier by the 'Feral breeders' in this Country







Hello lovely people at Horse Problems, Just wanting to send through a big thankyou for the DVD’s that I purchased a few weeks ago. We have a little warmblood filly, who was born very small at 314 days. Once she was strong enough, I started her on the info in your DVD’s. This was when she was about four weeks old, and we have been working with her for two weeks now. So now at 6 weeks old – she got her leg through two wires on the fence. The wire cut into her leg as it twisted tight around it. Anyhow… I am able to tie my little 6 week old up, work on her leg, change bandages each day with no stress, no worry, no hassles. She ties up next to Mum – and I work on her leg on with no assistance. I DO NOT believe that I would have been able to do this without the information and techniques that you present in your videos – there is no way that I would be at this point within two weeks with a six week old foal. Thankyou thankyou thankyou!!! I have one happy, confident, obedient little filly (all be it with a well bandaged leg!!) Thanks again, looking forward to using your DVD’s more, and seeing what the future brings us! Cheers Fi

Thanks You Fi. Most kind well done on Your good work!!






Hi John, Just an update on the sand colic preventative. Well have treated the two horses with your recipe and they have produced….nothing! J Well nothing obvious which I guess is a good thing. One horse gobbled the feed down but I had starved her as she can be a bit fussy. The non fussy one wasn’t so keen but ate it over three hours. (I didn’t starve her but will next time). There may have been grit as the droppings felt a bit gritty. Hard to tell. Glad to have done it and just hope the honey was okay and untreated as the company had stated. The honey was a bit granulated so hope it was all ok. The first horse seemed more relaxed and happy within herself after treatment, but then again hard to measure as she is a pretty laid back, well behaved horse anyway. The second horse is very relaxed and haven’t really seen a change in her. So hopefully if there was anything there it has passed through. Thanks for your help and hopefully now I can rest easy on the sand colic score…well for a few months anyway. Regards Malinda


It is not always obvious Malinda but be assured, it would be removing sand. I would do them again, immediately, if they haven't been done before. Often, on the second occasion, there is a lot.
Last Night, in WA, a Horse dying after being treated by Vets 3 times, was fixed by our thing



Hi John,

Thanks for your advice will do so. Only delay will be getting more honey as have to get it sent to me.

I did speak too soon with the second horse that had her treatment on Saturday night. I found a big lump of what can only be described as congealed mud in her droppings and this morning the droppings are not so solid despite her only having hay to eat so think stuff is now coming through.

Thank you so much for your help, and the information about this problem.









Hello John, I made a log track to focus rider traffic and reduce erosion at our local pony club. A few people don’t like it. Most don’t know how to lead a horse. Many don’t have a horse that knows how to lead. It’s probably a 20 degree slope. The thunderstorm rain funnels through the area and I have put in 40 m3 to fix it up. “My other concern was for the set up we currently have to get down to the arenas. I don’t at all in any way understand how using the path is safe for horses or riders. Wasn’t it designed for pedestrians for the gymkhana? If so, then that should remain its purpose and horses and riders should not use this for safety reasons. As the picture shows, it is too narrow for a horse and rider and the footing is uneven and very deep in parts. Even as a pedestrian path this could be unsafe especially for older or very young members of the club or like myself, still recovering from knee surgery.” Regards, Vic



Yes Vic, that is a 'Risk Management issue and I, like You, could relate all sorts of injury scenario's that could arise from it. A good Training Tool perhaps, whereby the Handler is outside of the Logs and driving a Horse through there via Natural Horsemanship perhaps.

This Picture says much about Pony Club and it's attitudes. I see the following:

  • The lack of understanding of 'Risk Managament'

  • The belief that the short hold on the Reins will give the control to provide safety

  • The belief that such control can protect a Handler within the bounds of a narrow space

  • and the lack of Love in the eyes, rather than confrontation

So yes Vic, I agree but now You are in big trouble hahahahaha. "Ya Can't Bloody Tell em Mate"







I have been researching how to build an outdoor arena, and came across your helpful website. I was just hoping I could get some personal advice about my own arena. I am in the Hunter Valley - NSW!
I currently have a 60X 20m outdoor arena, with round metal pipe as fencing. The arena would have to be 10 years old now and desperately needs an overhaul! The biggest problem with the arena is that some parts is actually on clay - so it is like sinking sand in the wet and hard as a rock when its dry! We also just have crusher dust as the surface and NO drainage on the arena except for a small ditch dug out that runs along the length of one side to catch any water the runs down off a hill towards the arena?
If you could please help me out with some suggestions on how to fix the clay areas, how to put drainage in the arena and what the best surface materials would be best to use, I would really appreciate it.
I can easily take some photos of the arena as is and send them through to get a better idea of what condition its in and its surrounding landscape!
Thanks very much for your time,


HI Bree. Firstly, I am not a Fan of Drains, of any description. The World doesn't have drains, nor do paddocks, they just have 'Run Off' The moment You go upsetting the status quo, You invite problems and drains, especially those in front of an Arena, can cause problems such as a damp outside track, mosquito breeding and more. All of the arena's I have built, simply run off with 1% to the long end and.6% to the side.

The way to fix Clay is to put a base on the arena. Forget all other options. The base will also lift the height of the arena and give more RUN OFF.








Hi John, thankyou for the e-book, most interesting. Just wondering, we have used your MHs off on on for awhile, works great for my kids. We dont use them all the time but there are times when the use of it makes a huge difference to their way of going. Sorry if this is a silly question, on a young horse newly started, is the use of a MH a no no, I understand they need to learn forward first & not to confuse the go signal with a stop signal trying to mess with their head postion. So far Ive been on light to long rein contact, he would be in his 4-5 wk of riding in total, he is very quiet & relaxed, he is also only 2yrs so I probhably shouldnt be overdoing things, probhably meant to have left him in the paddock till he is 3yrs? Im just taking him along quietly. Recently ive ridden him in a MH on the loosest setting & just found he seems to go so much more balanced & with a consistant lower head carrage. Am I doing the wrong thing to have a MH on him this early in his training? Appreciate & value your opinion on this. Thanks, Danielle


You may have answered Your own question there Danielle. I felt Your Vibe when You observed that you probably shouldn't "be over doing things' Read my Blog Tonight on the subject of maturity. You will be astounded. However to answer Your question, the Market Harborough is a wonderful and most valuable Tool and on the Day You decide to take up the contact and ask for a Head Set but here is the big tip.....for two Days prior to the event, lunge for 10 minutes in my running reins, to give the Horse the Hint about what FORWARD means whilst being RESTRAINED, the area of most confusion for Young Horses and the cause of many rearers on Arenas around the Country. Regards

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