Articles Written 5
Article Views 13,734

Lindsey Taylor

Achievements

About Lindsey Taylor

Latest Articles Written

Arriving at a Three Day Event: Preparing Your Horse for a Trot Up

Lindsey Taylor works as head groom and barn manager for Boyd Martin in Cochranville, PA. She manages 25-30 horses and travels to events throughout the U.S. almost every weekend. She has also  groomed at several international events including Rolex, Burghley, Boekelo and the 2012 London Olympics. She’ll be sharing what she’s learned on the job in her “View From The Barn” posts here on EN.

Sometime during the last 24 hours, the Bromont horses have arrived in Quebec, Canada, gearing up for a weekend of intense competition at one of the most beautiful venues in North America. Upon arrival, the ground jury has done their initial assessment of each horse, checking temperature, pulse and respiration and running their hands down each of the legs of the 103 entries. This initial assessment provides a baseline status of health, which provides the FEI veterinarians with a background to compare to throughout the weekend, as the horses fulfill the demands of this challenging competition.

This afternoon, first on the formal agenda, the CCI horses and riders will present to the ground jury in a trot up. The ground jury will assess the soundness of each horse, and any horse that is deemed unsound will not be allowed to compete. That being said, the riders go all out to make a good first impression on the ground jury, dressing to the nines and grooming their horses with an impeccable amount of detail.

Just how do you groom a horse for a formal jog? While consistent, day-to-day elbow grease will always win out in the long run when it comes to maintaining the health and luster of your horse’s coat, at a trot up grooming products are essential, and will become your best friend. You want dark, shiny hooves (Fiebring’s Hoof Oil does the trick), a glistening coat (Healthy HairCare Hair Moisturizer), a polished face (baby oil on the nostrils and on the insides of the ears if they are clipped), and a tidy tail (an ace bandage keeps the top of a pulled tail in place, and Vetrolin Shine creates a shiny, flowing tail). The braids should be small and numerous; at a three day event, I usually aim for 20 to 25 braids to give the illusion of a long, elegant neck. The bridle should ideally not have a flash, the number should be placed on the left side, and as always, the leather should be clean and the bit should be polished and sparkling.

As the time nears for the start of the trot up, it is a good idea to get your horse out of the stall and walking around for about 30 minutes before he presents to the ground jury, giving him time to loosen up. If you have to decide whether to brush your horse’s tail one more time or give him two more minutes of walking, remember the purpose of the trot up in the first place: to present a sound, limber horse to the ground jury. Yes, the horse should look beautiful, but if the horse does not trot sound, your weekend is over. When time is of essence, keep things in perspective.

When leaving the barns, I pack a backpack or a bucket with essential items that might be needed. For the trot up, my essential items usually include a hoof pick, hoof oil, a towel with a dab of baby oil on it, Vetrolin Shine and a tail brush. While most of the grooming and preparation should occur in the barns, these items provide a finishing touch if needed. If the weather is inclement, dress your horse in the appropriate clothing; a rain sheet if it is raining, a dress sheet if it is chilly, or even a heavier rug if wintry weather threatens your otherwise beautiful trot up day. Use boots to provide protection for your horse’s legs; I try to avoid wraps because they are time consuming to take off and become quite a hassle if your horse will not stand still.

When all is said and done, you will hopefully return to the barns with a sound horse that has been “accepted” and will move on to think about your dressage test and the rest of the weekend. If you used any products on your horse in preparation for the trot up that might irritate or harm his skin, make sure you bathe your horse promptly to remove any unnatural substances from his coat. Now is not the time for a skin irritation, but rather the time to think about and gear up for the competition ahead.

Good luck to all horses, riders and grooms this weekend! Go Bromont.

 

 

 

 

 

Keeping a White Tail White

Keeping a white tail white is one of the most time consuming grooming procedures. Nevertheless, the maintenance is worth the extra work as a gleaming white tail is both eye catching and stunning.

Some of my favorite washing products for white tails include Ivory soap, Quiksilver, Orvus industrial paste, and Tide with Bleach laundry detergent. I will use Ivory soap on a daily basis to remove any dirt and debris from the tail. I have found that Quiksilver, Orvus paste and Tide with Bleach clean on a deeper level and use these products once or twice a week within my daily washing routine. In my experience, each product washes the hair in a slightly different way and for a truly whitle tail, I would prefer to use all three in rotation with each other. After washing the tail, I like to spray Vetrolin Shine heavily throughout the tail to keep dirt and shavings from sticking to the hair.

If I have a horse with a white tail that is headed to a big show, I use extra caution in the two weeks leading up to the event. It is in these weeks that I use a tail bag during turnout and while being ridden to prevent any kind of dirt or footing from accumulating in the hair. You can even go so far as to douse the tail in Quiksilver, braid the tail all the way to the end and put it in a tail bag for 24 hours. The next day, rinse out the Quiksilver, rebraid and replace the tail bag.

The biggest key in keeping a white tail white is to limit the amount of dirt that comes into contact with the hair. Besides that, some good washing products are important, but these products will not work miracles overnight. A white tail is the result of consistent washing and of preventing dirt from accumulating in the hair.

Let Me Introduce Myself…

Hi Eventing Nation, allow me to introduce myself. You may have seen a few posts that I’ve written floating through the Eventing Nation headlines over the last couple of days and for those of you who don’t know me, let this serve as our official introduction.
Many people know me as Boyd Martin’s barn manager and groom. I have met many of you at events all over the place over the last two and a half years in my time working for Boyd, and I know many more of you Midwesterners from my pursuits of lower level riding in Area IV.
Over the last several years, I have groomed at events almost every weekend and been responsible for the day to day operations at a few of the most successful eventing barns in the country. Although I am no stranger to small town eventing, I have groomed at several big time events including Rolex Kentucky, Burghley, Boekelo and the Olympic Games.
You will begin seeing more and more posts from me here on Eventing Nation covering everything from how to keep a white tail white, to how to set up a worming schedule for your horse. Through these posts, and with the launch of my new Facebook page, “View From the Barn”, I hope to share some of the insight I’ve learned over the years in my work. I’ll share the frustrations and problems I’ve come across, the mistakes I’ve made, and the solutions that I’ve learned or created in order to manage an elite eventing stable and to care for top horses at the peak of their careers.
While I have undoubtedly learned an immeasurable amount from my work with specific horses, I aim to provide an educational resource here, outlining techniques that cover a broad scope of horsemanship and barn management. I hope that the general information that will be shared here will help you in caring for your own horse or managing your own barn.
As always, feel free to ask me questions, or share with me the problems you have been struggling with in caring for horses. While I don’t have all of the answers, I am here to help, bounce ideas off of, and offer my experience.
Happy reading and horsing around!
Lindsey Taylor


Research in Human Athletics Brings New Technology to Cross Country Boots

Leg protection options for the cross county phase have become the source of much discussion, study and industry in the last several years. While the tried-and-true cross country boots still exist, there are many new options which have been based upon research in human athletics, while also tailored to the needs of the equine athlete.

 

 

Featured Product: Majyk Equipe XC Boot by Boyd Martin (Majyk Equipe)

The Majyk Equipe Cross Country Boot by Boyd Martin was just recently launched at Rolex Kentucky, and was such a success that the entire first batch of production sold out that weekend. Because I work for Boyd, I have to say that I am a bit biased in my recommendation of these boots, as I personally tested many of the prototypes and recommended changes based upon my preferences. Nevertheless, these boots are lighter, more breathable, and fit better than any other boots I have tried, and I am seriously impressed by the extensive research and development that inspired their production. Representatives of Majyk Equipe have backgrounds in human athletic textile engineering, and have used the knowledge gained in production of products at companies such as Adidas and Nike to develop this boot with the comfort of the horse in mind.

These boots feature an integrated strike zone over the tendon which provides flexible comfort for the horse without compromising protection. In fact, the protection of these boots is second to none, as shown through vigorous impact testing done by a third-party company, Biokinetics of Canada. This impact testing measured the amount of blunt trauma force able to pass through different models of cross country boots and results showed that the Majyk Equipe model outperformed other manufacturer’s boots by as much as 40%.

 

Not only do these boots hold up to strict performance testing, they fit horses’ legs of any shape and size better than any other boot I have used, eliminating rubbing and preventing any dirt and debris from accumulating between the boot and the horse’s leg. Other advantages include their ability to repel water, keeping them lightweight; their durability, standing up to machine washing and use on multiple horses; and their breathability, preventing any sort of heat buildup against the horse’s leg during a long cross country run. These boots are my top choice for eventing at all levels, with performance features that make them ideal for four star cross country courses, and a price tag that makes them affordable for everyday use.

 

 

Kentucky Boots (Kentucky)

Kentucky Boots prize several key features found in many modern cross country boots including high performance shock absorption, waterproof qualities, protection without heat and a tailored fit. Several noted professionals throughout Europe, Australia and the US have tested and developed these boots, which makes their design stringent and reliable. I am especially impressed with the new Solimbra D3O Eventing Boot, which fits the needs of top riders throughout the world.

 

Another product available through Kentucky is Tendon Grip which I use at all three day events, especially on horses with sensitive, newly-clipped legs, regardless of the choice of boot. Tendon grip eliminates the worry of boot rubs by providing a soft layer under the boot, takes up any space between the boot and the leg to improve the fit of a boot, and also helps to provide some support to the tendon. Tendon grip makes Sunday morning trot-ups easier by eliminating the concern over irritated skin caused by boot rubs.

 

 

 

Premier Equine Boots (Premier Equine)

Premier Equine Boots (PEi), developed in the UK, are popular among professionals at many of the events on the East Coast. The most notable feature of these boots is their patented “Aircooled” technology, which eliminates buildup of heat under the boot, allowing cold air to pass through several vents in the front and side of the boot, keeping the tendon cool and thus reducing injury. They have a sporty look, and have stood up to intense field testing.

 

 

 

Nunn Finer Boots (Nunn Finer)

Nunn Finer boots have been around for over 20 years. I have seen many pairs more than several years old that are still in great shape even after their use on several different horses. They are not as lightweight as other newer models, and in my opinion, don’t cool the horses’ legs as effectively as those listed above, but they fit the horse’s legs well and I would still wholeheartedly recommend the use of these boots at the lower levels of eventing.

 

While Porter Boots were traditionally the choice for upper level event riders, because of their light weight and breathable qualities, there have been so many additions of new cross country boots to the market in recent years that porter boots have almost completely been replaced by models that are less time consuming to use and easier to maintain.

 

When choosing a cross country boot for your horse, look for something that is lightweight, breathable, prevents heat buildup, fits well and is made with materials that will not irritate your horse’s skin. I would advise against boots made with neoprene, as it has been known to irritate the skin of sensitive horses. The cross country boots that are newer to the market have steered away from the use of neoprene, and have made the comfort of the horse their top priority. Research and development at companies such as Adidas and Nike has assured the comfort of human athletes for decades, and now our equine athletes can also benefit from these extensive studies.

 

 

 

Lyme Disease: Knowledge is the best prevention

 

Just yesterday, a working student in our barn noticed a couple of scabs embedded in the mane of a horse she was bathing. Concerned by the appearance of the lumpy, puss filled scabs, she came to me asking for advice on what they were and how to treat them. Upon further examination, we found two ticks in the horse’s mane. It’s that time of year again; the season when the grass is growing, the flowers are blooming, the horses are shedding, and the ticks are appearing.

 

Tick season is upon us, and with the appearance of ticks comes the concern for Lyme Disease. This disease that can so vigorously affect our horses’ well-being is also the variety that has been known to affect humans and dogs. While there is no vaccine to prevent the disease in horses, there are several precautions that can be taken to guard against its effects. Knowledge is often the best prevention and knowing the disease, its causes, symptoms, and treatment is the best defense in providing protection for our horses.

 

Lyme disease is caused by the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi (B. burgdorferi) which is carried by a species of tick most commonly known as deer ticks. These ticks are almost exclusively found in the northeastern and midatlantic states, including Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey, Maryland, Massachusetts as well as some areas of Wisconsin. Baby ticks “nymphs” are usually found beginning in May, and can sometimes be difficult to find on a horse because of their small size. The earliest cases of Lyme Disease are often diagnosed at this time of year, and new cases continue to be diagnosed into the mid to late summer, as ticks grow in size and prevalence.  In some cases, symptoms do not appear until several months after a horse has been exposed to the bacteria.

 

Horses that have contracted Lyme Disease often show varying symptoms, depending upon which system of the horse has been affected. Signs and symptoms often include neurologic impairments, chronic weight loss, low-grade fever, sporadic or shifting leg lameness, muscle tenderness, and arthritis. Other more non-specific symptoms may include behavioral changes, poor performance, and skin hypersensitivity. Because many of these symptoms are often shared with other conditions and diseases, Lyme Disease is sometimes very difficult to diagnose (Loving, 2013).

 

Diagnosis for this disease is made with a blood test, which tests for the presence of antibodies in the bloodstream, indicating that the horse has either been exposed to the disease or has been vaccinated for it. While there is currently no equine vaccine for the disease, some veterinarians are using a vaccine that has been approved for dogs. There are reportedly fewer cases diagnosed among horses that have been vaccinated with the canine vaccine; but contrarily, diagnosis of symptoms in a horse that has received this vaccine can be difficult (Hicks, 2013). No clinical research has been published regarding the use of the canine vaccine in horses.

 

Because there is no approved equine vaccine for Lyme Disease and the protection provided by the canine vaccine is sketchy at best, the most ideal defense against the disease is prevention. The bacterial levels that cause Lyme Disease usually accumulate to concerning levels in the horse’s bloodstream after two days of an infected tick embedding itself on the horse. Therefore, the best prevention against the disease is thoroughly grooming and going over your horse every day to assure that any embedded ticks are caught and removed early. Some horse owners rely on fly sprays that have been marketed to guard against ticks, which do probably deter these insects to some extent. However, they are no substitute for hands on care and attention to detail of your horse. Ticks will attach themselves anywhere on your horse’s body, but are most commonly found along the edge of the tail where the hair meets the skin, in the mane, under the throatlatch, around the ears, under the belly or on the underside of the neck. These are areas where your horse cannot easily rub the ticks off of himself.

Other indirect prevention measures against the disease include controlling the mice population in and around your stable, as mice carry the bacteria B. burgdorferi, which are then transmitted by ticks. Furthermore, mowing pastures to about five inches in length will deter ticks from climbing tall blades of grass and attaching themselves to your horse’s legs (Carter, 2013). In any case, it is always best to talk with your veterinarian about specific measures that you can take to provide the best prevention for your horse.

 

If your horse is showing symptoms of Lyme Disease, it is best to consult your veterinarian, who can perform a blood test. If your horse has been diagnosed, treatment most commonly involves a month of antibiotics (doxycycline) which come in the form of tiny pills, most easily administered in your horse’s feed. Follow up blood tests are performed after several weeks to determine the effect of the antibiotics, which have hopefully served their purpose of decreasing the bacterial population in the bloodstream.

 

While Lyme Disease can be bothersome and debilitating, it is not directly contagious among horses, eliminating the need for quarantine of an infected horse.  Thankfully, the disease is not usually fatal in horses and an infected horse is able to return to full work and function after successful treatment.

 

So when you are out enjoying the beautiful Spring weather and appreciating the fact that the flies have not yet appeared in full force, don’t forget that there are other pesky insects that can harm your horse and be sure to take steps to prevent Lyme Disease from causing problems in your barn.

 

Carter, B. (2013, May 3). Take steps to limit ticks near the stall. The Free Lance-Star.

Retrieved from news.fredericksburg.com

 

Hicks DVM, T. (2013). Lyme disease. Equine Vet Services.

Retrieved from equinevetservice.com

 

Loving, N. (2013, March 17). New test could detect equine lyme disease sooner. Bloodhorse.com.

Retrieved from bloodhorse.com