Hannah Bown, Hampshire, UK
Sandro’s Storm (Stanley) is a five-year-old British Warmblood,
currently standing at 16hh. Hannah and Stanley took part in a six month feeding
trial and the results were documented in a diary. Their main activity is
dressage, Stanley has no known medical conditions and before the feeding trial
began he was fed on sugar beet, non-heating condition cubes, balancer and chaff with alfalfa oil.
After a summer getting prelim regional points Stanley has
had eight weeks of light hacking whilst he had a growth spurt. He is leveling
off now so is going to be clipped out and his workload will increase to include
more schooling in preparation for the winter regionals.
Current condition – A combination of a rapid growth spurt,
increased workload and the joys of winter have meant that he is running a lot
lighter than ideal and his stamina when working has decreased hugely. I am
conscious that while not carrying condition he will not be able to develop the
correct muscle and top line to allow him to work easily to the best of his
ability. I hope that Fibre-Beet will help him gain weight and carry more
condition, in turn improving his way of going and allowing us to achieve all
our goals in 2015.
The picture below is of him last week mid growth spurt
demonstrating how hard it is to keep weight on while he is growing!
January has been a month of training for Stanley and I –
having had a good rest over Christmas I was apprehensive about starting
‘proper’ work again. This was because I found it very difficult to get him too
hold weight. However I did not need to worry.
I am amazed with the change in his condition in such a short
space of time, despite the increased work load, he has put on more weight than
I could have imagined. He has started filling out and most promisingly he has
started to lay down correct muscle. More noticeably behind the saddle and over
his bum but also his neck is beginning to increase in top line. It has already
allowed a huge change in the way he is working and is filling me with
confidence about the coming year; we have another four weeks until the British
Dressage Regionals and I am really looking forward to it now he is stronger in
When I started feeding the Fibre-Beet I was a little
concerned about his mental attitude; there is a huge stigma attached to sugar beet
about it causing horses to heat up and become very sharp. Stan is already
relatively ‘off the leg’ and I had been cautious not to feed him any cereal
based feeds as I had been warned that these were not conducive to productive
work! However from day one his personality and attitude to work has been
unchanged he is willing, happy and really trying to please and has been a
delight to ride, both hacking and in the school.
We took him to Merrist Wood last week for a pre-regional day
and it was the first time he had been inside with loud speakers, banners, white
boards, judges caravans and flowers; I anticipated a breakdown however he took
a breath in and after a lap of the school it was like he had been in their
everyday of his life!
On recommendation of the British Horse Feeds Nutritionist
Stanley is on 1.8kg of Fibre-Beet a day (one level Stubbs scoop of dry pellets)
split between three feeds over the day. He is still condition cubes and a balancer
to supplement the Fibre-Beet, however I have been able to reduce the balancer
to one cup per day and he is now on one instead of two Stubbs scoops of cubes
per day. I also give him a level Stubbs scoop of alfalfa oil in his dinner (cut
down from one in each feed!). He is looking so much better and I am feeding
half the amount of feed and also wasting far less as a huge bonus about Fibre-
Beet is that it is so palatable that he licks his bowl clean every meal rather
than tipping the bucket over the floor!
February brings us yet more training but also our first
tests of the New Year between the white boards. Fingers crossed the judges
marks will reflect the change in his way of going!
So far so good, Fibre-Beet is getting nothing but gold stars
from us and we can’t wait to update you all again in a month’s time!
I can’t believe a whole month has passed since I last
updated you on Stanley’s Fibre-Beet journey.
February has again been a month of training but we also went
out competing for the first time since October. Our competition journey was put
on hold due to Stanley’s lack of strength and inability to hold weight with the
increased pressure of travelling and competition work. Well he couldn’t have
come back stronger, scoring 72% in his pre-regional outing and finishing 4th in
a very strong class. This left a couple of weeks before the Regionals
themselves. There was a time last November when I thought there was no chance
at all of us competing there; he was so weak and lacking condition it would have
been embarrassing! However with Fibre-Beet’s help he is looking a million
dollars and he went into the arena at Merrist Wood Regionals like he had been
doing it his whole life, no mean feat for a five-year-old in that big
environment. He did a beautiful test for 67.5% and finished just outside the
top 10 in 11th place – always frustrating when prize giving is to 10th! However
I am thrilled and know that we have many more championships ahead of us.
I think this month’s diary picture speaks for itself
(picture taken 26/02/15). He is gleaming, his coat is shiny and his muscle is
developing all the time. He is still licking his bowl clean every meal time and
being able to make it nice and warm is a luxury on these freezing cold
mornings! I love saving a bit of money by still feeding less chaff and
conditioning cubes. His temperament remains unchanged and as well as being my
star baby competition horse my Mum is able to hack him alone and in company
without a worry!
Stanley’s condition has changed so much and with the spring
grass coming through it was decided after speaking with the British Horse Feeds
nutritionist, Dr Tom Shurlock, the the Fibre-Beet would be reduced to 1kg. I don’t
want him getting any fatter, never thought I’d say that!
This month has been fabulous for Stanley and I. After all
the build up to last month’s Regionals I had expected it to be a bit of a quiet
one – I have had pretty awful shifts at work which has meant lessons have been
kept to a minimal but we have really enjoyed learning together and cementing
everything we had been taught over the last few months. We did have one lesson
which was just super and we are beginning to introduce more lateral work such
as shoulder in and simple changes – he’s picking it all up so quickly it’s a
joy to ride him! We also went competing twice to try and gain our summer
regional prelim points and he was a super star. Winning 3/4 of the tests
(finishing second in the other) with scores between 70-74.5% with really positive
comments from the judges; we were very pleased considering he’s only been
lightly competed since his first outing last September. We now have all points
needed so it will be onwards and upwards to some novice tests and more
excitingly we have just received our first freestyle music and floor plan
thanks to Sara-Jane Lanning, so we hope to get out and about to some music
Stanley still isn’t bored of his Fibre-Beet (huge bonus) and
is looking and feeling mega. I didn’t think it would get to the day when we say
he was looking perfect and didn’t need more weight! It’s amazing. Hopefully now
he will be able to convert it into more muscle and next month’s picture will
show him even stronger and his bottom even rounder. I can’t believe that all
this condition has gone on with no alteration at all to his attitude; he is the
same very easy five-year-old and is really starting to sparkle.
So pleased with our progress this month – both the physiotherapist
and the farrier have said ‘wow’! Stanley has really started filling out now and
is looking exceptional – happy, supple and so glossy. The development of muscle
over his back from last month is apparent and his neck is endlessly growing.
Work-wise we have had a quiet time – I have had an operation
on my knee so have been out of action, so Stan has been hacking with my mum a
couple of times a week. Of course even with a reduction in work he has remained
the sweetest most obliging horse and his temperament has remained unaltered.
This period has been perfectly timed with another growth spurt, I was so
concerned he was going to drop all his condition again; however he has
maintained this and continued to develop throughout. Just fantastic and something
I never thought I’d see!
Once again I think the pictures do the talking I am
thrilled! Onwards and upwards now- lessons and competitions entered and full
steam ahead for the summer regionals! Who’d of thought six months ago that my
little weed would have changed so quickly into a big black competition horse.
Thank you Fibre-Beet!
I can’t believe the last six months has gone so quickly and
this is my last diary I will be writing for British Horse Feeds.
When we started the trial Stanley was a very weedy, under
muscled five-year-old who struggled to maintain any weight and who I could only
ride a couple of times a week due to him getting very tired and sore.
Now well…he’s just beautiful! He has carried weight all
through the winter and his muscle tone is improving daily, he now looks like a
competition horse with a top line and I am delighted!
He is ridden five times a week and no longer gets tired or
any areas of stiffness. He has also remained level headed, calm and eaten every
scrap of every meal since the trial started.
The end of our trial has been topped off by stepping up a
level and competing at Novice BD as well as doing our first ever music test. He
came away with a double win and a qualification for the BD Regional Finals at
Novice Freestyle. Getting 70% in a novice is something I never thought would be
happening this quickly, and to win as well was just brilliant!
There is no doubt in my mind that we will continue to use Fibre-Beet as we progress up the competition ladder. I’m so impressed I am now
also feeding it to my elderly ex eventer who is also looking amazing and able
to enjoy his meals even with lack of teeth!
Thank you British Horse Feeds for the opportunity and
allowing me to find a feed which has turned my ugly duckling in to the most
elegant swan! Onwards and upwards from here
Hannah and Stanley x