Our TOP five winter problems (via our help and advice line)

We know that winter can be a difficult time for horse management and we receive hundreds of phone calls to our help and advice line, via online chat and email.  Here are the top five problems horse owners have encounter this winter.

  1. iStock_000007607700_Small Over exuberance, spooking and generally highly strung horses and ponies. There are several main reasons to cause such behaviour and they usually stem back to regime and diet, commonly horses spend more time in confinement during the winter months putting strain on their mental and physical well-being, many horses in this situation are also being overfed or incorrectly fed. It is amazing what a few small dietary and regime changes can make to your horses overall well-being.



filled leg 2


2. Horses who are standing for long periods of time can be prone to filled legs, the filling is seen in 2 or 4 legs (either the front pair or the back pair or all four) this is caused by fluid gathering in the lower part usually due to the circulation and lymphatic systems becoming sluggish. Often owners bandage their horse’s legs to help reduce the filling, fluid will often disperse once the horse is walked in hand or turned out and feeding selective herbs are said to help horses with filled legs. Remember it is important to check out any unusual filling with your vet.



3. Many equines develop problems with their airways due to a number of reasons, dust, mould spores, lack of ventilation, poor quality hay or haylage. Horses often develop a cough or nasal discharge and it is always advisable to seek advice from your vet if the cough is ongoing. Making changes to your horse’s environment i.e. soaking hay, using dust free bedding, turning out as much as possible can all help to keep your horses airways clear. Certain ingredients can be fed to help clear excess mucus.



4. We receive calls during the summer months when the grass is sparse regarding sand colic but this winter we have seen a dramatic increase in the number of cases especially here on the Norfolk/Suffolk coast. With the very wet weather we have experienced this year grazing is very poached and it appears horses are ingesting more sand particles which gradually build in the horses gut causing the horse to colic. If you live in a sandy area and you are concerned about your horse’s health, speak to your vet or ask for a sample of your horse’s poo to be sent off of analysis.  Many vets recommend a short course of Psyllium husks which can be added to the horses feed.


hormonal mare5. Grumpy horses including those who are sometime aggressive around feeding time and may also show signs of stomach discomfort, a dislike to being girthed, rugged or groomed and if ridden may feel cold backed or buck. If your horse displays one or more of these actions it may be a good idea to talk to your vet about suspected gastric ulcers, they are very common in horses and often can be more obvious to the owner whilst the horse is stabled for long periods. If ulcers are suspected then it is good practice to feed a high forage and fibre diet, try and avoid any cereal or starch and allow as much natural grazing a possible to help increase the horses saliva prodcution. Feeding other ingredients which help to coat the stomach lining and neutralise acid may also help with your horse’s discomfort.

Our Freephone advice line is open 7 days a week so if you would like any further information regarding any of the above mentioned problems or a totally different problem then please don’t hesitate to contact us on 0800 585525 or visit www.feedmark.com and click on live chat or email us at office@feedmark.com.


Place your bets! – Ben Haslan Racing

Image 1We are a small racing yard based in Middleham, North Yorkshire (right, the yard set in the grounds of Middleham Castle), a village steeped in racing history. Picturesque, it’s a wonderful place to train, with beautifully kept gallops and essentially plenty of turnout for our equine athletes!

Racing is a game of margins, and one is always looking for that extra inch at the finishing line. The obvious factor is getting the horses as fit as possible, as every muscle is tested to its maximum. However, their health is equally as important, which is why we have turned to Feedmark for help in giving them all the minerals and vitamins they need to enable them to feel and perform at their best. Every one of them has a Rock Salt Lick in their stable, and they adore them – a very easy way to incorporate essential minerals into their diet. Electrolytes are also very important in the rehydration of racehorses, and not even our fussiest eaters refuse Replenish!

image 2We have had a relatively quiet winter, having mainly flat horses in training here, and most of our jump horses preferring summer ground. The yearlings – now two year olds – have been keeping us from getting bored! Young horses who are growing daily, they particularly adore there salt licks and I have to replace them far too often! We tend to buy our yearlings from Tattersalls in Newmarket around October time, and they then come home where they chill out for a couple of weeks before the education starts. They all took to saddle and rider very quickly this year (with only one or two rider athletics!), and with the warm (sort of…) weather we have had, they are all very forward and going up the canter with great aplomb. We have some very nice types, so let’s hope they do us proud this year! 2 year old are lots of fun to work with – they love to play and enjoy their work so much. We are very careful not to push them if they aren’t ready, but we have two colts (nicknamed Henry and Toby, who is pictured above strutting his stuff) who are finding it effortless, so hopefully they will be out early on once the flat season starts.

Image 3We had a great start to the year with Whisky Marmalade nd we are hopeful she will be giving them more opportunities to open the champagne! One of our first runners since starting with Feedmark, it looks like those winning inches are starting to kick on, so we’ll cross our fingers the luck continues into 2016!

If you want to check out who we have in training, have a look at our website www.benhaslamracing.com!

 Until next time!

Horse Of The Week – Bentley.

Bentley 4Our Horse Of The Week is 27-year-old Bentley, a 14.2hh Arab crossed with a Quantock Pony. He is owned by Michelle Seymour and has been since 1997. Together, the combination often hack out, work on schooling, and compete in Veteran Showing classes.Bentley 5

Michelle explained: “Bentley was born in June 1988, and I have owned him since he was 9-years-old. Back in his day, he has competed in local show jumping classes. He was excellent at this, and very fast in the jump off! We also affiliated in Dressage and got to Medium Level. Bentley has been a star in all the years that I’ve owned him, and I will be hard pushed to find another horse like him. He is scared of cows, but he has become braver over the years! For the last three years we have qualified for, and won, the Golden South West Veteran of the Year.”
Bentley 2“Bentley has a cheeky character, he is very vocal at feed time and knocks his stable door for attention. He knows the sound of my car and my footsteps, which is scary! He knows I’m there before he has even seen me!”

“Bentley has been on ExtraFlex HA with Rosehips for over 10 years and he is still sound and flexible. ExtraFlex HA with Rosehips has given him the ability to continue to be the sprightly thing that he is. Comfortable for all of these years, he will be 28 in June this year, and still looks amazing.”Bentley 1

“My future plans are to continue to love and look after Bentley. I will keep him ticking over to the best of my ability whilst feeding ExtraFlex HA with Rosehips. I’d like him to be around for as long as possible, as long as he is happy.”

A FREE tub of ExtraFlex HA with Rosehips is on its way to Bentley for being our Horse Of The Week!
Bentley 3

Each week, the Feedmark team select a horse of the week from reviews, letters and emails sent to them. If you would like your horse to feature, then please send your horse’s details in to penny@feedmark.com or go online and write a review.

HRF Trooper, The Horse With Five Hooves!

HRF Trooper, The Horse With Five Hooves by Sue Albone.


Troopers Split hoof

Following a call from the Environment Agency the Horse Rescue Fund on the Norfolk/Suffolk border, was asked to take in an abandoned coloured colt – one of an estimated 7,000 equines in the UK currently thought to be at risk of neglect or abandonment.  He was eventually found in an isolated area between a railway and a river, this being his only access to water – not the yearling colt we expected, but a stallion about eight years old!

Trooper on arrival with a tail full of burrs

Trooper on arrival with a tail full of burrs

As it was just prior to Remembrance Sunday it was decided to call him Trooper.  Although his bodily condition was good, what could be seen of his hooves were in bad condition, particularly his off fore, and  his mane, tail and feathers were so matted with burrs that it was clear he had been neglected for some time and that they would have to be cut off, but otherwise he appeared to be healthy.  Shy and wary at first, he was placed in isolation for assessment where the staff were shocked to discover, on removal of his feathers, the most amazing thing of all, he had an extra hoof!  Sometimes referred to as an extra digit, it is situated on the inside of his foreleg, coming off at the fetlock joint, and although not unheard of it is very rare.  Clinical examinations and X-rays by Wherry Vets, Bungay and Rossdales, Newmarket followed to evaluate his bone abnormalities. These showed that he has a duplicate lower limb originating just below the knee with a well developed second cannon bone followed by the other bones which are not completely normal in size or development.  Coincidentally in the early 1900s there was a famous Shire, Norfolk Spider, having been born with six digits, nicknamed the Six Footed Shire.  This can also occur in humans with people having six fingers or toes! When an animal is born with this disorder it is known as a polydactyl or polydactylism, meaning “many digits’’ the cause being unclear as to whether it is either an isolated case or inherited.

hoof-on-arrival-The removal of Troopers feathers had revealed the extent of his problems. Where the extra digit had been allowed to grow and strike the ground repeatedly the pressure had created a large split in the skin which had become infected with maggots. His main hoof, although somewhat shortened should in time improve with regular trimming. The farrier, Jason Finch, first carefully reduced the extra hoof in length by some 4cm, avoiding the sensitive tissues within, thus reducing the risk of injury to his other leg.

An extra digit can be removed for cosmetic purposes or to prevent further injury to itself or the opposite leg, but as Trooper can manage sufficiently, it has been decided not to operate for the foreseeable future. At present it is felt that any operation would carry a significant risk, creating a large wound which could be slow to heal due to him having typically thickened skin often associated with cobs.


Courtesy of Nick Butcher

Currently he is adjusting to life on the yard with the other rescue equines and is a firm favourite with the staff due to his placid and sweet nature. Trooper will continue to receive the regular handling needed as part of his rehabilitation, with the aim being to find a suitable companion loan home for this individual and unique horse to safeguard his future.

Although, on arrival, Trooper appeared to be one of the more healthy abandonment cases he needed blood tests and veterinary checks to rule out any of the underlying health issues common in these equines.  He will require castration, worming, dentistry and regular checks by the vet and farrier.

As with all abandoned horses such as these, it places an additional financial drain on the Charities limited resources.  Anyone wishing to make a donation towards Troopers ongoing care and others at risk may do so via the PayPal facility on the website www.horserescuefund.org.uk or cheques made payable to Horse Rescue Fund at Woodstock Farm, Post Office Road, Toft Monks. NR34 0EH.

Help to keep your stabled horse cough-free!

haynetIn the winter, adverse weather conditions often mean that horses have to live in more, stabled for the majority or even all of the day. Horses that spend so much time in the stable have greater exposure to dust particles, which are present in forage, bedding, dried mud, and scurfy coats. These particles are inhaled, and in a healthy environment they will be trapped by cilia and mucous in the upper respiratory tract, and removed. If the stable environment is too dusty, the respiratory system is overloaded, which impairs usual function causing irritation and inflammation, which in turn restricts the airways, increasing the risk of coughs or respiratory issues. If ventilation in stables is poor or bedding/forage is dusty this risk of respiratory problems is much higher!

If your horse has to be stabled more frequently over the winter, following these tips can help your stabled horse to maintain optimum respiratory health:

  • The Stable: ensure your stable is well ventilated and keep top stable doors, windows and any vents open. Horses do not worry about draughts, and providing they are adequately rugged they will cope well even during bouts of bad weather. If you are worried about snow or rain blowing in, use turnout rugs to keep your horse warm and dry.
  • Forage: a lot of hay is too dusty to feed to horses dry. Soaking hay reduces dust particles, but will also reduce the nutritional value of hay as nutrients are leeched out into the water, notably sugars and water soluble vitamins. While this is ideal for very good doers and those needing low-sugar diets, for horses in a lot of work and poor doers this is not such a good thing- and soaking is also time consuming and can be messy. Another option is to feed steamed hay, which reduces the amount of dust particles without the nutrient losses, or you could consider feeding a good quality haylage.
  • Supplement: feeding a respiratory supplement can benefit horses that are stabled often through the winter by helping to expel excess mucous and dust particles.
  • Bedding: sealed rubber matting in a well-draining stable will help to minimise build-up of ammonia and also help to reduce the amount of bedding needed. Choose a low-dust bedding which is also absorbent- there are various options available, so pick one that suits you and your horse, whether it is good quality straw, shavings or wood chips.
  • Mucking out: muck out without your horse in the stable, and leave the dust to settle before bringing your horse back in. If you use strong disinfectants in the stable, follow manufacturer’s instructions, as incorrectly used these can also be a respiratory irritant.
  • Grooming: when grooming and rug changing, it is advisable to do so out of the stable.
  • Turn out: turn out is very important to help maintain respiratory mental health for your horse, so whenever possible get them out of the stable!

For any more helpful advice or feeding tips for horses that are stabled over the winter call one of our Nutritional Advisors on 0800585525, email us at office@feedmark.com, or use our online chat service available at www.feedmark.com.

Horse Of The Week – Whalley Mystic Diamond.

Whalley Mystic Diamond 2Meet Whalley Mystic Diamond; She is a 15.2hh, Welsh Section D who will turn eleven this year. She is owned by Donna Mair, and has been since she was one-day-old.
Donna explains: “Mystic was backed when she was four, then was given the Winter off to finish maturing. She was then brought back in to work, however this has been rather stop-start as she has either been injured (sustained in the field) or quite poorly. When Mystic is in work we do general schooling, and hacking out. She does enjoy jumping but we haven’t had a chance to do much of that. She can Whalley Mystic Diamond 12be your typical chestnut mare at times when times when ridden, and can also be hot headed but that is all part of the fun. Mystic has competed in a few local shows in hand, and some internet showing being placed each time.”

“Mystic was born in 2005 out in the field to a black mare called Becky (Laddenbrook Rebecca); Whalley Mystic Diamond 6and by Welsh Section D Stallion Maesmynach Enchanter
at Whalley Stud in Darwen, Lancashire. Mystic’s breeders were expecting a black foal as all of her lines are mostly black until you get very far back. However, out popped Mystic, a bright chestnut with four big white legs! I went up to see her the day after she was born, and put down a deposit there and then. It was love at first sight. I also bought her little/big brother from the same stud. Not a true brother though, he was born a month after Mystic in June 2005.”

“I hope to bring Mystic back into proper work in the Summer time, and go out and have some fun with her. Not that we Whalley Mystic Diamond 11don’t have fun now! Mystic is such a sweetie, she loves to give cuddles and kisses and will do anything for a carrot. You would think she is never fed!”

“I am finding Feedmark’s No Fill to be fabulous, as with the amount of Whalley Mystic Diamond 14rain we have had lately, the fields are like a mud bath, and she is now having to stay in for longer periods of time. Mystic is doing great and the No Fill seems to be doing as it says and keeping her legs lovely and slim. Hopefully this will carry on throughout the colder months. I will definitely be sticking with No Fill from now on, and would highly recommend to it to anyone whose horse has to stand in. There is always super-fast delivery Whalley Mystic Diamond 7and great, friendly and helpful staff if you need to speak to anyone regarding a supplement or delivery etc. I have never had problems with Mystic eating No Fill, in fact she has wolfed it down with no problems from day one. My other Welsh D is a fussy eater and will snort at anything new that you put into his feed; however I put some No Fill in there by mistake the other week Whalley Mystic Diamond 1(aimed for the wrong bucket!) and he didn’t bother at all, it was all gone!”

A FREE tub of No Fill is on its way to Mystic for being our Horse Of The Week!
Each week, the Feedmark team select a horse of the week from reviews, letters and emails sent to them. If you would like your horse to feature, then please send your horse’s details in to penny@feedmark.com or go online and write a review.

Horse Of The Week – Humbug VIII.

Bugs 2Our new Horse Of The Week is Humbug VIII, who is owned by Sharon Armstrong. Sharon explains: “Known as Bugs or Bubba to all that know him, he is a black and white coloured cob. Having owned Bugs for four-and-a-half years, he is now 16 years old. We first met Bugs when my partner started having riding lessons as he actually learnt to ride on Bugs. When Bugs then came up for sale, we couldn’t bear to see him go, so we bought him for ourselves and also as a friend for our other horse Snickers.”

“Within the first year of owning Bugs, his eyes started running continually to the point where they were so sore and swollen that they were almost shut. We had many, many visits from the vets; green dye was put into his eyes three timesBugs 3; his tear ducts were cleaned out twice; and we got through around 15 different tubes of cream; after all of this, we still didn’t have an answer to the problem and we just had to try and manage it as best we could.”

“After struggling with his eyes all Winter, they seemed to improve by Spring and he went through the whole of Bugs 4Summer with no issues. Although I was still very careful, making sure he always had his fly mask on to protect his eyes. However, the following October his eyes flared up again. We realised that the problem had started at the exact same time the previous year, almost to the day! So we then thought that the cause must be something seasonal.”

“We did a bit of research, and after talking to Feedmark at Your Horse Live a couple of years ago, we decided to try Eyebright. Well, the results speak for themselves! Bug’s eyes are now fantastic! If I give Bugs a couple of months off of Eyebright, I always make sure that he is back on it again in September, in readiness for the October flare up. Last year there was no sign of weeping eyes at all! I’m so pleased, and could not be happier with Feedmark’s Eyebright! I will certainly continue to use it, to keep Bugs eyes healthy. I can’t thank Feedmark enough, for helping with a painful problem which had not obvious solution or cure… until Bugs 1Eyebright.”

“Bugs always tries his little heart out and always does his very best for me. He has a little fan club wherever he goes!”

A FREE tub of Eyebright is on its way to Humbug VIII for being our Horse Of The Week!

Each week, the Feedmark team select a horse of the week from reviews, letters and emails sent to them. If you would like your horse to feature, then please send your horse’s details in to penny@feedmark.com or go online and write a review.

He was sharp, argumentative and spooky… Now I have him on the buckle whilst enjoying a Sherry!

Libby bradbury

“My Connemara pony Milton can be quite sharp, argumentative and spooky. We started him on Steady Up Advance a few years ago and we’ve never looked back. This supplement just helps him stay a bit more sane but doesn’t hamper his performance at competition either. I can have him on the buckle now whilst enjoying a sherry at the hunt now! If I ever haven’t been organised and we run out, the difference in him is very noticeable. Here is a picture of my friend Claire at Hursley Hambledon Hunt’s pony club day on Milton and leading her 7 year old daughter, Molly who’s riding her pony Charlie”

Elizabeth Bradbury 

Steady-Up Advance is the original natural calmative. Added daily to feed, it provides Magnesium, Yeast, B vitamins and natural calming herbs. These combine effectively to support the horse’s nervous system and promote everyday calmness. For “fizzy” excitable or over-anxious horses and for a more pleasurable riding experience, feed Steady-Up Advance.


10 things you may not know about Feedmark

Beta Award 2

BETA Your Horse Live Best Stand Award 2015

#1 Feedmark was founded by the Townsend family in 1979, run from their farm in the rural village of St Cross on the Norfolk Suffolk border, were it still resides today.

#2 during their employment with Feedmark three of our Nutritionists gained their Registered Nutritionist (Animal) status, Clare MacLeod MSc RNutr, Dr Stephanie Wood RNutr and Emily Smith RNutr. Considering there are only 19 registered in the UK that’s not bad going and hopefully we will have a fourth one soon!


Check for your feeds and supplements for this logo. If it doesn’t appear then it is not covered by the BETA NOPS Scheme.

#3 Feedmark is one of a handful of companies who are accredited to the BETA NOPS Scheme, many companies test their products for NOPS or state they are manufactered at NOPS approved site but this does NOT mean they are accrediated to the official sheme.  Accredited companies are annually audited to ensure they adhere to the strict policies and procedures way beyond just testing to help prevent unnecessary elimination due to feed contamination .  If you’re in any doubt ask to see a copy of the company’s certificate or check for yourself here http://www.beta-uk.org/pages/feed-safety/beta-nops-scheme.php.

#4 we are one of the only nutritional companies to open 7 days a week to provide busy horse owners with the help and advice they may require… even at the weekends! The help and advice line is FREE and always has been!

#5 Benevit Advance is one of our best-selling supplements and it has been for nearly 30 years! Over this time we have seen a few changes such as the removal of Cod Liver oil and the introduction of Linseed and some adjustments to the vitamin and mineral levels in accordance with research.

#6 for years we have been asked for a supplement to help horses with Sarcoids, we have spent a long time researching this subject and finally last year carried out a trial with the help of many horse owners.  The results were beyond our expectations so much so that we had to launch the supplement early as the trial participants didn’t want to stop feeding it!

#7 Our Nutritional advisors are, or have been horse owners so appreciate the time, effort and money that you spend on your horse.  They talk to thousands of customers each year and have dealt with some bizarre and baffling questions, their equine knowledge is amazing and it is important to remember that a small change to your horse’s diet can make a big difference in their demeanour and wellbeing.

#8 Over the years many of our formulations have been copied by other manufactures, we find this a form of flattery! It’s nice to see that we are monitored closely and getting it right!

#9 Over 50% of the customer reviews that are left on our website have to be removed due to VMD regulations for example if a customer writes a testimonial to say that her arthritic horse had improved since being on our joint supplement we are unable to publish it as this would be seen to be a medicinal claim.

#10 We don’t charge for UK delivery this includes the Scottish Highlands and Islands, Northern Ireland, Isle of Man, Guernsey, Jersey & the Scilly Islands they’re all FREE!

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If you would like to learn more about Feedmark please visit our website www.feedmark.com or give our friendly team a call on 0800 585525.


Horse Of The Week – Belle.

Belle 1Our new Horse Of The Week is Belle, she is owned by Samantha James. Samantha told us: “I am not entirely certain of Belle’s breeding, but the general consensus is that she is Clydesdale cross with a Welsh, and she stands at 14.2hh. I have owned her now for 18 and a half years. She enjoys her work, especially hacking out and jumping, and she will sometimes be calm enough for flat work! I have competed with Belle, in some Dressage and show jumping classes, Belle 2and also in shows at the livery yard. I would really like to show her though, in some veteran classes. She is a very good girl most of the time, but she does have the devil in her and enjoys bucking and thinking that she’s a racehorse.”

Belle 4“Belle needed respiratory support, after about 8 years ago, after a period of enforced box rest. A friend recommended Feedmark’s Clarity. Belle’s airways improved so much with the Clarity, that she was back to her old self. She was once Belle 6again acting like a racehorse cross with a Lipizzaner! If I am ever silly enough to run out of Clarity, Belle’s breathing becomes noisy again until I have bought some more and she is back on it.”

“In March 2015, Belle then started to get puffy legs. Belle 9 After resting her she improved, and I brought her back into work. Then in August 2015, I found that the left hind developed the same problem, only worse. After the success I had with Clarity, I looked to Feedmark for a possible answer and found No Fill. The ingredients in the No Fill really helped get her leg back to normal. I now Belle 11have my girl back in slow work again, so hopefully my plans for showing her this year are still on! Thanks to Feedmark, Belle still thinks she’s a 5-year-old.”

A FREE tub of No Fill is on its way to Belle for being our Belle 12Horse Of The Week!

Each week, the Feedmark team select a horse of the week from reviews, letters and emails sent to them. If you would like your horse to feature, then please send your horse’s details in to penny@feedmark.com or go online and write a review.Belle 13