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Cheshire Group of EGB banner at the venue STARTER FOR '7
4th February 2007

Report by Sue Norcop
The Venue - Ashbrook Equine Hospital

Just thought I'd drop you a line to say what a brilliant day the Starter for Seven was. Every part of it was so well organised, from the minute we arrived and settled Emily into the lovely post and railed grass paddock (where she promptly made friends with her 2 companions in the adjoining paddock) to the very well marked training ride at the end - which we thoroughly enjoyed in the warm winter sunshine.

It was great to get an exact weight for Emily, especially as she usually loses condition over winter, and the nutritional analysis and advice was excellent too. We will be trying the newer, much simpler diet very soon and hopefully see some more development of Em's backend (which lacks some muscle and weight at the moment).

The vet was very friendly and it was reassuring to hear that her dropped heartbeat that was ocassionaly picked up at rides was nothing to worry about and could, in actual fact, be a sign of good fitness in some horses. When I think about it, it was the summer rides when she was at peak fitness that it was noted. Another thing I'm glad he pointed out to me was that her breathing was noisier than all the other horses he'd examined that day. She'd not been noticeably off at all in herself so I would not have picked it up myself until things had gotten a lot worse.

We discussed her bedding arrangements and decided that the spores etc, in the straw bedding were probably responsible. When I was thinking about it later, this made complete sense. She has been having a few coughs on our weekly flatwork sessions recently which just happens to coincide with the time we put a whole bale of straw down on her bedding instead of just a few sections to soak up the waste. She has rubber stable mats and because of storage problems we have been putting all the spare straw in her stable with her. Thats all going to go now and she can just have a little straw again or shavings/hemp/paper (not quite decided which).

The physio lady was also very, very helpful and demonstrated some stretching excercises I could use to help Emily to be more comfortable and looser in her work. She isn't really reaching through with her back legs as we would like and she was a little uncomfortable with having her front legs pulled back and outward for the podiatrist yesterday. Having said that, she certainly enjoyed the ride and was storming along the lanes, ears pricked, wanting to catch up with anything in a yellow bib. She really changes from my laid back hack around the block horse to "endurance ride mode" when she sees those bibs!

Sorry this was only meant to be a quick note - but please pass on my thanks to everyone concerned for a brilliant day - not forgetting my husband Phil who manned CP1 and helped with the loading, packing, unpacking etc. of trailer and horse.

Thanks - Sue Norcop

We echo those thanks to Phil and all other helpers - Chris.

There are a few photographs taken by Chris Taylor here.


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