Groom Clean

Scrolling through social media this week I saw on the horse and hound facebook page that 2 British riders have been stripped of titles after positive dope tests. Dope testing always seems to b a pretty hot topic of conversation across all disciplines. The FEI and other governing bodies such as BSJA, BE, BD do dope testing to help ensure the welfare of horses competing.

So what is a dope test?

The FEI or governing body of the sport can take blood and/or urine samples from any horse competing at any competition. If your horse is chosen for a dope test you will be accompanied by an official to a designated stable with your horse, they will take either a urine or blood sample (sometimes both), not all horses will urinate so if this is the case then a blood sample will be taken. All samples remain anonymous and are identified on a code basis. The samples are then sent off to the lab for testing of any prohibited substances.

What can we do to help prevent positive tests?

Even if you only have 1 horse, its just as important to have good yard biosecurity as a yard of 100 horses. Listed below are som ways in which we can try and ensure this.

• Use separate feed and water buckets for each horse.

• If a horse is receiving medication use a separate feed bucket to normal (if its going in feed), wear disposable gloves when preparing and wash hands after. Wash and store this bucket separately to others.

• Your vet should be familiar with all prohibited substances and know the withdrawal periods.

• Only use feed and supplements form reputable companies companies and that are certified free from any prohibited substances. It’s also a good idea to keep a note of batch numbers.

• Note down in a yard diary or medicines log book if and when any horse has medication.

• Make sure you are familiar with an up to date list of all prohibited substances. The FEI also has an app you can download ‘FEI clean sport’. Using this app you can search any product or ingredient to check its safe to use.

• Be careful if you yourself are taking or prescribed any medicines or cream as cross contamination could easily occur this way.

• If you are a groom or member of the british grooms association make sure you complete the groom clean certificate.

There is lots of information available on the internet and from the FEI and other governing bodies about dope testing so if you are ever unsure there is plenty of information readily available to you.

Planning and preparing for 2018!

Hey guys I hope you all had a lovely Christmas and new year! I am sure that many of you like myself were working or busy looking after your own horses, despite this I hope you managed to spend some time off with family and friends, I know I have definitely eaten far too much!

So I thought I’d kick start the year off with a blog about planning and preparing for the year ahead.

I think being able to plan the year ahead has got easier, I know most organisations now run so efficiently that they know show dates months and sometimes a year in advance, this is certainly true for the more advanced and high profile shows. British dressage for example have a list of all major competition dates available on the website (high profiles, premier leagues, regionals and nationals) and then in the magazine are printed the show dates and venues for the upcoming months.

Its good to invest in a wall planner so you can get a good overview of the year ahead at a quick glance, I’m also a big fan of a family planner calendar, we use this at work and it makes life so much easier as each member of staff has a column and the horses and its so clear to see exactly whose off when and when the horses are booked in for anything, we also write up a daily diary so we know what’s gone on each day and any changes of routine for example feeds, tack, turnout, vets visits, farrier, Physio, dentist, saddler etc and anything of note can be written down and referred back to if needed.

I think it’s a good idea to set out any goals or training plans you have for the year ahead and you can plan which shows you want to do and have it all written on the calendar and/or wall planner, once you’ve got these sorted you can then arrange annual vaccinations, teeth, Physio, saddler and farrier visits around these dates to avoid clashes.

What else can you do to try and get the 2018 off to the best start?

Before we get underway and swept up in the hustle and bustle off another busy season it’s a good time to take stock and check everything is in good working order on the horse box before you need to use it. Iv’e given ours a good Christmas clean and scrub ready to go. If you have separate show kits, brushes, plaiting kit, vet kit, first aid box etc on board then check its all clean and stocked up (hopefully you wont have had to use the vet or first aid kits).

Get your horses reclipped if you haven’t done so already. The later you leave re clipping then you’re at risk of ruining their summer coat as they tend to start coming through around feb/march time. Once you’ve done your last clip get the blades sent off for sharpening and clippers away to be serviced if needed.

Have a good clear out and get rid of anything you no longer use or need. I myself am a massive hoarder and my own ponies have far too many rugs and they definitely cannot wear more than one head collar at a time so my 4/5 spare as ‘just incase’ aren’t really necessary! It’s a good opportunity to make some extra cash, or a nice idea is to take any unwanted items to a local horse sanctuary or charity, they will always be needed and greatly appreciated.

If you are a fellow groom make sure if you haven’t done already get your BGA membership! Brush up on any rule changes for the upcoming season and double check the FEI banned substances list, and if you haven’t done yet do your groom clean certificate with the BGA.

So with that best of luck to everyone for 2018! I’m very much looking forward to a busy season and seeing what the year ahead has in store.