Ragwort survey by British Horse Society

The ragwort plant is a constant danger to horses. Every year the toxic plant causes liver damage to horses who eat it unwittingly – and some will die.

The dangers of ragwort led to laws being introduced – The Weeds Act 1959, Ragwort Control Act 2003. But the tragedies that continue to occur suggest that legislation is perhaps not being enforced and the threat to horses from ragwort is still not being taken seriously enough.

Lee Hackett, British Horse Society Head of Welfare, said: “By now, everyone involved with horses should know the danger that ragwort poses. Every year animals die as a result of consuming this deadly plant yet the problem seems to be getting worse.”

Last year, the British Horse Society organised a nationwide survey to try and uncover the true picture of how widespread the weed is and where it is found.

British Horse Society logo

Now a second survey is being held next month (July) as the horse charity believes that hard facts are the best weapon in the fight against the weed and the suffering it causes for horses and their owners.

Last year’s survey found that more than three quarters of reports of ragwort involved land that animals were grazing on or near.  It was reckoned that a total of 13,189 horses were grazing on ragwort-infested pasture. In more than one third of reports, the plant was said to cover at least half of the land.

Hampshire had more ragwort than any other county in England, according to the survey, closely followed by Surrey, Cheshire, Lincolnshire and Cambridgeshire.

There were also reported problems in Clwyd, in Wales, and Strathclyde, in Scotland.

The BHS hopes to hold the survey annually in the same week to build up a picture of if, and how, ragwort is spreading.

BHS Ragwort Awareness Week is July 11-17 and anyone who spots ragwort during this period is asked to fill in a form on the BHS website, www.bhs.org.uk.

Mr Hackett added: “Our 2010 survey was a great success and produced some fascinating results that we can use in our lobbying to get some action taken. But we need more data and we are appealing to anyone who cares about equine welfare to become involved in 2011.

“The survey only takes a couple of minutes to fill out but the information we obtain might just be what we need to effect a substantial change.”

Biotin for horses helps hoof care

Good hoof care is a vital part of the day to day work for owners of horses and ponies.

We all know the value of regular inspections to check for problem areas – which can nip some painful and troublesome issues in the bud.

Horses that have dry, brittle hooves and cracked feet, or who are shod frequently or suffer from chronic, recurrent laminitis will benefit from having a supplement containing biotin added to their diet.

In the wild, horses would get biotin from grazing on good quality pasture. High concentrations of the water-soluble B-complex vitamin are found in alfalfa, with smaller amounts found in barley, oats and soybean meal.
Biotin for Horses from Pegasus Health
Pegasus Health makes its own Biotin for horses with added Zinc and Methionine. Together these ingredients will improve overall hoof quality and also boost your horse’s immune system.

Read more on the product page for Biotin for horses at our website.

Keratex Zeolite offers a breakthrough in supplementary feeding

One of the great things about working at Pegasus Health is having the chance to source new and exciting products which we think will make a difference to the health and wellbeing of horses and ponies – and make their owners happy too.

One of the hot products we’d suggest you check out is Keratex Zeolite™

This breakthrough in supplementary feeding is made from a naturally-occurring volcanic clay mineral ash called Clinoptilolite which wild horses would forage for by instinct in the wild. It contains no additives.

One scoop per day of Keratex Zeolite™ powder will complement and support your horse’s existing diet and any supplements he already takes. It improves the absorption of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients meaning that your horse gets much more from its diet.

Pegasus Health sells Keratex Zeolite supplementary feeding breakthrough productKeratex Zeolite™ acts like a molecular cage as it passes through your horse’s gut. Larger impurities get trapped whilst smaller nutrients get filtered through like a sieve and are evenly distributed throughout the intestine to be absorbed.

Keratex Zeolite™ also works as a long-term detox. It will also draw out toxins from within the body – trapping them before expelling them in the usual way.

Find out more at our Keratex Zeolite product page

Royal Ascot opens – celebrating 300 magical years

Without doubt Royal Ascot is one of the most famous race meetings in the world.

Opening today this five-day meeting showcases some of our finest racehorses but is also known for the fashion style of its racegoers.

The course is celebrating its 300th anniversary this year – dating back to 1711 when Queen Anne founded it.

Down the centuries it has seen some nail-biting finishes and epic races.

At Pegasus Health we supply products that meet the needs of professional racehorse trainers as well as amateurs and hobby riders. Sometimes there’s a product that works for everyone – whatever the level their horse works and competes at.

One of the products that some trainers recommend is The Equine Answer – an all-in-one horse supplement which works on so many areas of your horse’s health and wellbeing.

Benefits of The Equine AnswerJoe Fierro, of Hazel Slade Stables, Staffordshire, said: “I have been training race horses for over 15 years and have never come across a supplement as good as this. Recovery rate and stamina has improved, I have not wormed for months, my horses now have an incredibly shiny coat and bright eyes and hoof health is excellent.”

Rob Woods, of Calke Abbey Racing Stables in Derbyshire, said: “We have been feeding our horses a daily heaped tablespoon of The Equine Answer for the past three months and are delighted with the results. Within a couple of weeks we noticed improved coats and particularly bright, clear eyes. Our farrier has subsequently noticed substantial improvement in hoof quality. Other benefits we have noticed are an increase in stamina, faster recovery time and eas-ier movement in some of our older horses. We have found substantial savings on our feed bills due to the increased feed efficiency and absorption of supplements making mucking out easier and allowing shavings to go further. This allied with the fact there is no need to worm and the intangible savings de-rived from what a healthy horse means, found that The Equine Answer pays for itself many times over.”

Breakthrough in the fight against mud fever misery

Mud fever means misery for many horses and their owners during prolonged wet spells when the ground is covered in mud.

The serious and painful skin infection – chiefly affecting the lower legs – is mainly caused by a microbe found in mud which causes sores and scabs making it hard for horses to lie down and walk and can cause lameness.

Treatment has always been a long and frustrating process – but thanks to researchers from the University of Lincoln a new effective therapy is now available which it is believed can kill the microbe and bring fast relief and healing.

Veterinary Record, the Journal of the British Veterinary Association, has reported on the work of the University’s Frank Ruedisueli – programme leader and senior lecturer in Bio-veterinary Sciences – which has led to the new product Muddy Buddy Mud Kure.

Pegasus Health now supplies the breakthrough product in both powder and cream form which work well together.

Mr Ruedisueli is quoted in Veterinary Record saying: “We are very excited that our research has led to this product being made available which could ease the suffering of many horses.”

Five years of research by the university staff and students into topical, anti-microbial treatments for mud fever led to the new formulation and nationwide tests on horses with severe and stubborn cases of the disease were successful.

The research was adapted and manufactured by Lincoln company Battle, Hayward and Bower.Muddy Buddy Mud Kure tackles mud fever in horses

Horses whose infected legs are too painful to be touched can be treated first with the Lincoln Muddy Buddy Magic Mud Kure Powder which can be puffed on to the sores without physical contact.

As the condition improves, it is recommended to apply the Lincoln Muddy Buddy Magic Mud Kure Cream as the skin becomes less sensitive.

Hot weather advice for horse owners

We’ve already enjoyed some hot and sunny days this year and with more (hopefully) to come we’re looking today at some advice about keeping your horse safe when the weather is good.

It may sound extreme, but do be aware of the warning signs of heat exhaustion in both horses and riders – and don’t try to ‘ride it out’.

A horse with heat exhaustion may stumble or appear weak. It may breathe fast and have a rapid pulse. In extreme cases a heat-exhausted horse stops sweating. Best tips to deal with the issue are to offer small amounts of water to drink, hose down the horse with cool water or stand it in front a fan if possible. Call your vet if you are concerned.

Riders who feel faint, sick and dizzy – and have skin that feels cool and moist to the touch – should also be treated for heat exhaustion. Firstly, get them out of the sun, take off their helmet and loosen their clothing and give them water or a sports drink.

If it’s a really hot day try not to ride when the sun is at its height. If you are competing and you have no choice about when you ride, try and stay in the shade with your horse until the last minute and have water kept ringside for you.

Hot weather brings out the bugs so you and your horse may need fly spray and insect-repellent especially if you are going to ride in wooded areas.

Farnam Tritec InsecticideOne of our newer products on the Pegasus Health website is Farnam TRI-TEC 14™ Insecticide which kills horse flies, stable flies, house flies, face flies, horn flies, deer flies, mosquitoes, deer ticks, gnats, lice – which may all be carriers of infectious diseases.

Riders should always wear sunscreen – but be aware that horses with white on their muzzles are also at risk of sunburn and should be protected against the sun’s rays.

If your horse is kept outside, make sure he has access to fresh water to drink and if he is stabled make sure the stable is well-ventilated. If possible consider plugging in a fan as long as it is safely out of the horse’s reach and won’t cause an accident.

Riding in the sunshine is one of life’s great pleasures, so get out there when the sun shines but take some sensible precautions and all will be well.