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Join us in The Tack Room Fridays 8-9pm for chats, videos, interviews, tweets and the #TopHorseTweets of the week  #ShowJumpingHour #TackRoomFriday 

Tack Room Friday host Dave Darragh chats to TV Producer Anna May Mullins about her television documentary “Paddy Mullins – The Great Stayer”. A compelling portrait of the trainer who passed away in 2010. Paddy is best noted for his association with the wonderful horse Dawn Run. In this interview at Punchestown races, Anna May explains how the documentary came about and briefly outlines many of the successes of this unique trainer. Produced by Anna May Mullins at Bankos TalesProductions, The great Stayer – Paddy Mullins has been nominated for two Nice IFF 2016 TV Awards; Best Director of a Short Documentary and in the Scientific and Educational section. Adjudication takes place in France in May 2016. The Documentary was aired on Setanta and RTE One Television and is now available on DVD details at

Our ‪#‎KEP‬ Brand Ambassador Robbie Power has had a ‘power-ful’ week at Punchestown. Winning yesterday’s 3 Mile Handicap Hurdle for JP McManus and placed 2nd on Rock The World in the second race earlier in the day – trainer Jessica Harrington. Listen as Robbie tells us how his #KEP safety helmet has saved him from certain head injury after a fall… great interview with Dave.

Our first Interview from Punchestown Festival 2016 for Tack Room Friday. Dave Darragh chats with Eamon Egan – who raced in the Charity PKRF Race (Last race of the festival) in aid of Kidney Research Foundation.

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Feed hay before grain – a bored and hungry horse is likely to quickly gulp down his grain. Feeding hay first will give him something to do and to take the edge of his hunger. When his grain is presented, he will be more likely to eat slowly and digest his feed properly, decreasing the chance of a colic. Feed little and often – to approximate the horse’s natural tendency to graze constantly, presenting the grain in three or four small feeds per day, instead of one large one, will lessen the chance of colic by allowing the gut to maintain constant levels of the bacteria needed to digest food – See more at:



Every time you groom your horse you have the perfect opportunity to assess his health, check him over for injuries and to use your grooming techniques to help ensure that he stays healthy and catch any problems while they are still minor.  First of all, gather together the items listed below. This is a basic list. If you are going to be showing you will probably want and need a selection of body brushes of differing stiffness, which you would use in progression to remove every last speck of dust from your horse’s coat.

Dandy brush

Body brush.

Small, soft face brush.

Rubber curry comb — for raising the dust and loose hair in the horse’s coat.

Metal curry comb — to be used only for cleaning brushes.

Mane and tail comb — either a wide-toothed plastic one, or one with rotating teeth
Hoof pick — I prefer the ones with a brush on one end and the Hoof pick on the other.

Hoof dressing.

Kitchen Towel — for giving the horse a final rub, removing any dust remaining on the coat and face.

Show Sheen

Fly Repellent

I keep my grooming kit in a wire basket in my tack cabinet — this allows any dust that I haven’t removed from the brushes to fall through. Small items such as the hoof pick and mane and tail comb go into a plastic container which is kept in the basket. Plastic totes are also useful for carrying grooming kit. – See more at:

How to check horse’s Vital Signs

When you suspect colic and call your vet, she’ll need to know your horse’s vital signs. Here’s how you get accurate readings for temperature, pulse and gut sounds.

How to take your horse’s temperature:
Use a glass or electronic rectal thermometer (available at tack/feed stores, and through veterinary-supply catalogs). If you use a glass one, tie a string with a clip on the end to the thermometer’s end loop. Shake down a glass thermometer; activate an electronic one. Lubricate the tip with a dab of K-Y or petroleum jelly. Tie your horse and gently insert the thermometer into his anus the depth of about two inches. Clip a glass thermometer to his tail for security. Hold the thermometer in place. Wait about two minutes for a glass thermometer to register; 30 seconds for an electric one (listen for the beep). Remove the thermometer and record your reading. His normal temperature range is between 99 and 101.5 degrees Fahrenheit.

How to take your horse’s pulse:
Place your horse’s left front foot forward (if he’s standing). Place the head of the stethoscope against his chest wall, just beneath the left elbow, then push the scope as far forward under the elbow as possible. Listen for the “lub-dub” sound of his heartbeat. Count the number of beats in a 15-second period, and multiply that number by four to determine his beats-per-minute (bpm). An average resting heart rate is between 30 and 40 bpm.

How to listen for gut sounds:
Hold a stethoscope against your horse’s lower flank for at least one minute. Move the stethoscope higher on his flank and listen again. Move to his other flank and repeat. Normally you’ll hear two to four soft bubbles/gurgles per minute, and one loud grumbling sound every two to three minutes. If his gut sounds are louder and/or more frequent, he may be experiencing mild colic. If you hear nothing (and your stethoscope is working) he may be experiencing severe colic. Silence indicates no gut movement.

H&R Contributing Editor Karen E. N. Hayes is an Idaho-based equine practitioner with a large performance-horse patient base.

– See more at:

Here’s a helpful link we came across for the new horse owner


Horse Care Basics All Horse Owners Should Know
About Exercising, Pasture Mainenance, Bedding and More

Owning a horse is a great responsibility. Horses are, by nature, companionable animals designed to graze in open spaces with their herd.

While they will learn to adapt to stable life, it is vital to exercise your horse to satisfy its physical needs. Also, a horse will become bored and discontented if it does not have the regular company of humans and other horses.

While there is no exact acreage requirement for horses, it is generally considered that one acre of pasture per horse is sufficient. Before pasturing your horse, check the pasture for trash, holes in the fencing, and other hazards.

You must check for poisonous plants in your pasture weekly, at the very least. The most harmful plants are yew, deadly nightshade, ragwort, foxglove, buttercups, oak leaves and acorns, bracken, laurel, privet, meadow saffron, castor bean, locoweed, horsetail, star thistle, and sorghum.

Your pasture must be fenced, of course, to prevent your horse from escaping or being injured. White rail fences look great, but are costly to install and maintain. Plain wire fencing is fine if it is well-secured to strong wooden posts. Barbed wire is not recommended for horse fencing.

Your horse will require shelter to protect it from wind, rain, and the sun. A natural grove of trees provides good shade, but for shelter from the elements, a three-sided enclosure works the best. Make sure your shelter is large enough to enable all your horses to fit inside together, and build it so the back wall faces the prevailing wind.

Horses require a constant supply of fresh, clean water. If you plan to use a watering bucket, you must refill it at least twice daily and whenever it is empty. Putting the bucket inside a tire will keep it from being easily tipped over. A watering trough, supplied by a pipe, is better, but must be checked during winter weather to ensure the pipe and water surface have not frozen.

Proper bedding is vital for horses kept in a barn or stable. Horses should not stand all day on a hard floor, and they will lie down to sleep or rest. Straw is a popular bedding choice because it is inexpensive, warm, and comfortable. However, straw occasionally contains fungal spores, and the horse will occasionally eat straw bedding.

Dust-free wood shavings are clean and hygienic. You can also use rubber matting for a soft resting and standing surface, but you should put straw or wood shavings on top of it to provide warmth. Also, hemp has become a popular bedding choice recently.

The stable must be cleaned (‘mucked out’) daily. If your horse is stabled all day, it should be cleaned three times daily. To muck out the stable, you will remove any droppings with a shovel and wheelbarrow, and level the horse’s bedding.

After you have removed the droppings, separate the soiled bedding from the still-clean bedding material. Sweep, and then clean the floor with a stable disinfectant. After the floor is dry, return the clean bedding to its place, then add fresh bedding material to make up for the removed soiled amount.

If your horse is stabled most or all of the day, it will require grooming daily to keep its coat healthy. However, don’t over groom a horse that spends most or all of its time in the pasture. The natural oils in its coat help to keep your horse warm and dry.

see more at:


12 Astonishing Facts About Horses

Great Article by Jamie Heimbuch

Skidding across the yard on sheet ice is a distant memory as we bask in the last glimmer of British summertime.

But don’t be fooled — knee-deep mud and frozen troughs are only a matter of months away. Take a look at these 9 ways to get your yard and fields in shape before the clocks go back and the cold weather sets in.

1. Stay on your feet — stock up on salt and grit in advance as prices tend to soar during a cold snap. “People tend to order late,” explains Lucy Tate of agricultural wholesaler Armstrong Richardson. “I’d advise getting in there now. Make sure that you have the right winter equipment too, such as snow shovels for clearing the yard.”

2. Dealing with the pipes — you can protect pipes and taps to some extent by using lagging from DIY stores and old duvets as insulation, but it’s a good idea to have a back-up plan for serious cold periods. If you have a reliable indoor water supply then it might be worth investing in a special connector that allows hosepipes to run off internal taps.

3. Beat frozen troughs — insulated troughs and submersible water tank heaters can be bought at farm supply stores and are a good — if pricey — solution. A simpler and cheaper option is to keep a football floating on the surface of the water. This should prevent an ice sheet forming in all but the most bitter conditions.

4. Keep your exercise area frost-free — Nicholas Collins of equestrian surface solutions provider Martin Collins recommends keeping an eye on the weather forecast and letting it guide your arena maintenance plan. “If a surface is even slightly over-compacted then surplus water will not drain through the material as easily,” he explains. “This causes a backlog of moisture in the surface, which can then freeze.”

5. Get the most out of your maintenance machine — if you use a maintenance machine, Nicholas suggests setting the tines a quarter to a half-inch deeper than usual to help excess water disperse, ideally carrying out the process just as the frost is catching. The following morning, use a roller or rake to disrupt any ice crystals that may have formed on the surface.

7. Prepare your grazing — James also has several tips on how to prepare your grazing for winter conditions. “The autumn is a great time to cultivate and seed grassy areas lacking vigour. Heavily trafficked areas may have become compacted over the summer, so suitable decompaction should be carried out to maintain an open soil structure. I would also advise moving feeders regularly to ensure that areas of the field are not poached during wet weather.”

8. Managing mud — extreme poaching can be managed to some extent by limiting turnout and taking a conservative approach to stocking levels during the winter months. Laying hardcore in gateways and other problem areas while the ground is still dry can help as well, while a more innovative option is to install honeycomb mats to protect the ground. “Honeycomb mats are more effective than hardcore, which tends to just disappear in muddy areas,” says John Mathews of field accessories company Fieldguard. “Now is the time to install them, when the grass is still growing. If you wait until the area is muddy then they will sink in and work less effectively.”

9. Spot checks on stables — David Wilson, the director of Warwick Buildings, suggests carrying out a series of spot checks to make sure everything is in working order. “Pay particular attention to your roof, monitoring for any tears, as well as noting glass that needs repairing, doors that stick and blocked gutters,” he says. “If your horses have been out all summer and the stables out of use, it’s also important to look at whether the lights are still working as wires can corrode over time. “Finally, remember that your stables will need treating with a proofing agent such as Stable Coat from Shedcare every two years. You should be looking to do this now before the horses come in for the winter — once the weather breaks, you’ve had it.”

Article courtesy of Horse and Hound


More helpful tips and links to follow soon….



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