Ruwais Bolero Dances to the Tune

EnduranceENDURANCE horse Ruwais Bolero is fighting fit thanks to a change in his feeding regime.

Owned and bred by Pauline Holloway and ridden by her granddaughter Daisy Strang, she describes Ruwais as a ‘good, sound horse’ who was ‘not always producing optimum gut sounds at the vet gates.’

In a bid to try and solve the problem Pauline decided to look into Ruwais’ diet and she put a call in to the TopSpec feed helpline.

After a long chat with one of the nutritionists Pauline started to feed him TopSpec Comprehensive Feed Balancer and TopSpec UlsaKind Cubes.

Said Pauline: “The feed really has made a big difference to Ruwais.  After we started Ruwais on his new feeding regime he received almost all A’s for metabolics at the vet gate and we now feed our all horses on TopSpec.

“This season Daisy hopes to get Ruwais FEI qualified and to compete at 3* level.  He is now 14-year-old and they have developed into a great partnership after Daisy took over the ride from her sister Victoria.

Ruwais and Daisy had a fantastic 2015 season finishing first at King’s Forest 80k, Cranwich 139k and the Royalties 172k.

At the EGB National Awards, Daisy and Ruwais also won the Top Part Bred Arab, Top Home Bred Horse and finished Reserve National Young Rider Champion.

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Guards Jester Battles the Odds to Reign Supreme at First Olympia

Guards Jester Supreme Champion Senior In Hand Showing Series Championships owned by Christina BrooksIt was a day of celebration for Oxfordshire-based rider, Christina Brooks, and her 16-year-old Fell stallion, Guards Jester, who stood Supreme Champion in the Senior In- Hand Showing Series Championships at Olympia Horse Show on their very first appearance.

Having only contested a couple of in-hand classes, the pair secured their ticket to Olympia at Brook Farm in Essex back in September before taking the top spot at the prestigious championships.

However, two years ago it was a worrying time for Guards Jester (Pookie). At the age of 14 he was operated on for a cancerous tumour and lengthy treatment left him lacking condition. Christina worried that he wouldn’t pull through, let alone be back in the show ring, so to have achieved what he has is quite phenomenal.

Said Christina: “Since his recovery and turning 15, I have been aiming him at the ridden Senior Showing and Dressage Ltd. (SSADL) qualifiers. So to win an in-hand championship at Olympia was fantastic as we haven’t done much in-hand showing. He was such a star in the arena and I’m so proud of him.”

Christina and Pookie have notched up some credible results in the show ring under saddle but unfortunately missed out on an Olympia ticket.

Added Christina: “He has stood Reserve Supreme Champion twice at the SSADL Summer Championship Show, but on both occasions we missed out qualifying for Olympia in the ridden section. This year our dreams came true. I’m over the moon with him, he was a real star in the arena.

“Feeding him on TopSpec Senior Feed Balancer has really helped to bring his sparkle and condition back whilst keeping him calm and the results speak for themselves. He is looking very well now and in top show-winning condition, always receiving high marks for suppleness and condition.”

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TopSpec win Nutritional Helpline of the Year Award for unprecedented ninth time

To loud applause and much cheering North Yorkshire based TopSpec secured the HAYGAIN Nutritional Helpline of the Year Award at the BETA Business Awards for the ninth time.

The award recognises businesses that provide outstanding personalised customer service and the TopSpec team were in celebratory mood when winning once again.

Well known for their range of innovative horse feeds and supplements, TopSpec provide horses owners with valuable help and advice, and are well known throughout the industry for their multiple award-winning helpline.

Nominations were invited from retailers and consumers, and the final judging was based on these and mystery callers posing questions designed to challenge each helpline.

The judges described the service offered by the company as “outstanding once again!” Emphasising the speed with which written ration plans and additional information was received in the post.

Nicola Tyler, Nutrition Director of TopSpec said: “We are very grateful to be recognised by the industry for consistent excellence in giving nutritional advice. We would also like to thank HAYGAIN for sponsoring this Award.

“Welfare combined with nutritional excellence is always uppermost in our minds when giving Helpline advice and helping horses to feel in top form and perform brilliantly is very rewarding.”

The awards presented at the hugely successful BETA Gala Dinner are highly sought after throughout the industry and this remarkable ninth win for TopSpec met with much support from those attending.

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Suzi wins Sales Representative of the Year Award

BETA Business Awards 2016 Sales Rep of the YearTOPSPEC Business Development Manager Suzi Law was ‘stunned’ and ‘surprised’ when winning the Equine Careers Sales Representative of the Year at the BETA Business Awards.

Suzi covers Scotland and North Cumbria for the North Yorkshire-based company, well known for their range of innovative horse feeds and supplements.

The award presented at the BETA Gala Dinner in Birmingham rewards excellence in product and customer knowledge with retailer nominations followed by votes and an interview with the finalists.

Now a keen carriage driver, having showjumped, shown and team chased over the years, Suzi has worked for TopSpec for three years and says it is the variety in her role that keeps her motivated in a job she ‘thoroughly enjoys’.

“Winning the award was just amazing and to be honest I was just pleased to be in the shortlist of four,” said Suzi.

“It was a great thrill when my name was announced and I would like to thank the retailers for nominating me and everyone for voting.”

Suzi was described by nominators as having fantastic product knowledge and being extremely friendly and enthusiastic about her work.

A judge said of her interview: “Suzi showed immense dedication and commitment to her job, being prepared to go the extra mile to provide a really good service. Her enthusiasm for her work positively bubbled down the phone.”

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Nicolas Pips Jung to the Post at Pau

FRA-Astier Nicolas (PIAF DE B'NEVILLE) INTERIM-4TH: CCI4* CROSS COUNTRY: 2015 FRA-Les Etoiles de Pau (Saturday 24 October) CREDIT: Libby Law COPYRIGHT: LIBBY LAW PHOTOGRAPHYTopSpec sponsored event rider, Astier Nicolas picked the perfect venue to win his first four star when he claimed the CCI **** on home ground at Pau International Horse Trials.

Riding the talented 12-year-old, Piaf de B’neville, Astier produced an immaculate clear round in the influential show jumping phase to put the pressure on the two riders above him. 

World and European number one, Michael Jung was unfortunate to knock fence three down which ultimately cost him the win by just 0.9 of a penalty.

With two more to jump after him, Astier confessed that he did not feel any pressure saying, “I wasn’t nervous at all because I had two great riders ahead and certainly didn’t think I could win.”

However, much to the delight of the home crowd, the 26-year-old stole the show and produced the first French win at Les 4 Etoiles de Pau since Nicolas Touzaint’s victory in 2007.

Piaf de B’neville has been a successful campaigner for Astier. The combination won the CCI*** at Bramham in 2012 and was a member of the French team at the 2013 FEI European Eventing Championships in Malmo, Sweden. The Selle Francais gelding by Cap de B’neville looked and performed beautifully throughout the competition at Pau.

“It’s fantastic to win my first CCI 4* and to do it in France makes it even more special,” said Astier who is fittingly from Pau.




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10 Things You Didn’t Know About Charlotte Agnew

charlotte agnew & out of africa two. cic3star sec J. photo by manor prCharlotte Agnew’s eventing career is continuing to blossom and it has been helped significantly by one very special homebred horse, Out of Africa. By Welton Apollo and out of her father’s hunter, Africa, ‘Zulu’ as she is affectionately known was initially hunted and hacked out by the Agnew family. Charlotte recalls “he was an absolute saint even as a four-year-old.”

Charlotte celebrated winning their first Pre Novice on her 18th birthday, 10 years ago. By 2007 they had moved up to two star and claimed second place in the Young Riders at Weston Park.  The partnership has since completed Badminton twice and Zulu has exceeded all expectations from best knife sharpener according to CK

Here we talk to the TopSpec sponsored rider and unveil 10 things you may not know about this talented event rider.

1) Charlotte and Zulu were fifth at their first four star at Luhmulen in 2012.

2) Zulu used to get distracted by the big crowds but he has learnt how to concentrate better as he has got more experience.

3) White Heather Eventing is Charlotte’s small syndicate business which owns three very talented horses for Charlotte to ride.

4) Charlotte’s mother, Livy, continues to run a small breeding enterprise at the Scottish family home at Hendersyde Park near Kelso, home to the Scottish and Northern Novice Championships.

5) Tanganyika, bred by Charlotte’s mother was awarded an Elite premium as a foal at the 2011 Scottish Futurity.

6) Charlotte horses are fed on a feed regime developed by her sponsor TopSpec, well known for their range of feed balancers and other innovative horse feeds.

7) I am a previous winner of the TopSpec scholarship and completed my first Badminton Horse Trials aged 20 with Little Beau.

8) Charlotte moved from the family base in Scotland to England five years ago to establish stronger connections and be more centrally based.

9) In December Charlotte moves to an exciting new base near Chipping Campden.

10) If Charlotte didn’t event then she would like to be a rally driver.

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Winter Feed Plan for Horses

When formulating a winter feeding plan it is sensible to make sure we are feeding cost-effectively. The best value feed for horses is grass. Luckily the majority of horses and ponies can have a diet based on grass in the summer, and on hay or haylage in the winter or when stabled. When a horse is stabled sufficient hay/haylage should be fed to satisfy his appetite and keep him occupied; that is ad-lib.

Feeding ad-lib means feeding the amount that results in just a bird’s nest of forage left when you next offer a fresh supply. To make the most of the forage that a horse eats it is important that he digests it efficiently. Efficient digestion means that a horse utilises as many nutrients as possible from his forage which reduces the amount of hard feed he will need to meet his requirements for maintenance, work and condition. This means we can feed him an improved forage to concentrate ratio.

l How do we improve the forage to concentrate ratio?

The first step to take when trying to improve a horse’s forage to concentrate ratio is to feed a top specification feed balancer e.g. TopSpec Comprehensive Feed Balancer. TopSpec Comprehensive Feed Balancer contains concentrated amounts of nutrients and yeast products in a small amount of feed; this reduces the weight of concentrates that need to be fed in three ways: –

1) The micronutrients (amino-acids, minerals and vitamins)

in TopSpec Comprehensive Feed Balancer balance the forage and straights in a ration, improving their utilisation and thus reducing the requirement for extra hard feed.

2) The yeast products in TopSpec Comprehensive Feed Balancer improve the digestibility of fibre in the hindgut, allowing the horse to gain more nutritional benefit from the forage part of the diet.

3) Because TopSpec Comprehensive Feed Balancer is so nutrient dense you are feeding less

concentrate, making room in the horse’s digestive system for more forage, thus improving the forage to concentrate ratio

For help formulating a winter feeding plan for your horse call our multiple-award-winning helpline on 01845 565 030 or go to

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What are Gastric Ulcers

Gastric ulcers are lesions on the inside of the horse stomach wall, often where gastric acid has eroded the epithelial lining, resulting in ulcer formation. Ulcers occur mainly in the upper non-glandular, and therefore unprotected, area of the stomach, especially around the Margo plicatus (the area between the upper and lower stomach) and the exit to the duodenum, but they also occur in the lower glandular region. Vets use a grading system from 1-4 to describe the severity of ulcers, with 1 being the least severe and 4 the most.

How are ulcers diagnosed?

They are best diagnosed by a vet using an endoscope, which is a long tube with a camera on the end which is passed through the nose gently down to the stomach.

What are the symptoms?

The symptoms of gastric ulcers can be vague which is why it is so helpful to use an endoscope to see whether they are present and how severe they are. A horse may go off his feed and generally look unthrifty with a poor coat. Colic may occur when severe ulceration is present. A grumpy attitude and various types of stereotypical behaviour, notably crib-biting and/or windsucking and poor performance are often noted. More specific symptoms include ‘grunting’ when girthed-up or stretching out over a jump; and teeth grinding.

For help and advice on feeding horses with gastric ulcers call our multiple-award-winning helpline on 01845 565 030 or go to

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Record Number of Wins at Horse of the Year Show

Vantage Point, Champion Hunter of the Year, ridden by Robert Walker and owned by Jill DayOnce again this year saw a huge number of wins for TopSpec fed horses and ponies at the prestigious Horse of the Year Show.

It was a hugely successful show for Robert Walker; Vantage Point, owned by Jill Day, won the Lightweight Hunter of the Year before being crowned Champion Hunter of the Year, whilst Rockefeller owned by Joanne Singfield headed the line up in the Heavyweight Hunter of the Year.

It was an emotional sight when Robert and Starry Night, owned by Camilla Neame, took the Maxi Cob of the Year before Robert dismounted to mark the retirement of this uniquely successful cob.

Victoria Hesford also had a fantastic show with Whalton Forgery, owned by Clare Twiston-Davies, claiming the Champion Hack of the Year, and Randalstown Musketeer, owned by Clare Twiston-Davies, securing the Champion Cob of the Year award. Victoria also produced the Ridden (Welsh D) of the Year, Ringside Game Over.

Rotherwood Rainmaker, owned by Katy Carter and Marge Cartlidge, and ridden by Poppy Carter ended their partnership on a high with a win for the Katy Carter Show Team in the 128cm Children’s Riding Pony of the Year. Ellis Taverner-Burns and Scalacre Eclipse, also owned by Katy and her mum Marge, headed the 133cm Show Hunter Pony.

Llanarth Fair Play, owned by Elizabeth Edwards and produced by Katy Carter, was crowned Champion Intermediate Show Riding Type of the Year ridden by Kayleigh Catton.

Clare Curry and Noble Star, owned by Adrian Curry, took the Intermediate Show Hunter of the Year, whilst Cate Kerr and Cadlanvalley Super Ted, owned by Lisa Kerr and produced by Craig Elenor, won the Lead Rein Show Hunter Pony of the Year.

HOYS winners

Sadhbh O’Connor and Valentine Dignity, owned by Aoife O’Connor and produced by Rachael Helliwell, stood Champion Show Hunter Pony.

Laura’s Pride secured top section marks and a win in the Intermediate WHP of the Year, ridden and owned by Victoria Leavesley, whilst Shirley Dennison’s Rotherwood Another Peep headed the 148cm Children’s Riding Pony of the Year, ridden by Harriet Dennison.

The Part Bred Ridden of the Year title went to Myles Cooper and Moluccas Bengal Beauty, owned by Mike Cooper and produced by Stanley Grange Show Team.

Sue-Helen Shuttleworth and Flying Solo headed the line up in the Coloured Ridden Non-Native Pony of the Year, whilst her ride Boston also secured the top spot in the Coloured Ridden Native Cob, Traditional Pony of the Year.

In the M&M sections Townend Schubert ridden and owned by Becky Penny won the M&M Ridden (Fell/Dales) of the Year, whilst Alex Williams and Ringside Game Over, owned by Christine Williams and produced by Victoria Hesford, took the M&M Ridden (Welsh D) of the Year.

The M&M Ridden (Sec B) of the Year went to Katy Marriott-Payne and Cadlanvalley Sandpiper, owned by Mr A J Anderson and Mrs K E Scott.

Doylan Chilli Pepper, ridden by Mollie Mae Jeffrey and owned by Mrs Carol Barker won the 122cm M&M WHP of the Year, before Stephanie Wheway’s Peasedown Mr Muddle took the 143cm M&M WHP of the Year.

Ardbear Spirit, ridden by Jo Callwood and owned by Barbara Bagshaw triumphed in the M&M WHP of the Year exceeding 143cm.

Over in the showjumping arena, Robert Murphy took the honours in the Leading Pony Showjumper of the Year with Rainbows Mocha, owned by Julie Adam – a title that his father, Peter, won exactly 30 years earlier.

What a wonderful show!

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Ten Top Training Tips from Kitty King

Persimmon 4th Individually and Team Silver at the European Eventing Championships at Blair, ridden by Kitty King and owned by Frank and Jane InnsBEST Brit at this year’s European Eventing Championships at Blair Castle in Scotland when finishing individual fourth and also claiming a Team Silver medal, Team TopSpec rider Kitty King has been in great form.

Here we talk to Kitty about her training techniques and the behind the scenes preparation which contributes to her success. She gives advice with her top ten training tips.

1.) Kitty’s training is based upon the Scales of Training which originated in Germany. “Think of a pyramid with rhythm at the bottom, building up to suppleness, contact, impulsion, straightness and finally collection.” This in theory should create a horse which is completely responsive and willingly accepts the rider’s aids.

2.) The key to a good way of going is achieving the basics, “you need to master spring, suppleness and contact.”

3.) Lots of leg yielding and then half pass are used in Kitty’s training to get the horse supple all over his body and easily moving away from the leg.

4.) Always have a plan before you get on any horse. “I have a goal for each session and will only go to a competition knowing I’m fully prepared.”

5.) Get a course of show jumps out on the grass as soon as possible, “I try to get a course out in one of the fields by February so the horses start jumping on grass again and get used to what they’ll face at a competition.”

6.) Pay attention to your own fitness, “It’s no good having a really fit horse if the jockey can’t ride it to its maximum potential. I work on variations of the plank for core strength and shoulder exercises because mine are naturally rounded.”

7.) Make sure you pay attention to detail, “If making changes results in even 1% improvement then it’s worth it.”

8.) Work on grid and pole work over the winter to help develop jumping technique.

9.) It’s important to give the horse a really good experience at a competition, “I don’t go to competitions to train, but to give the horse the best possible experience, regardless of the level it is competing at.”

10.) Finally, work hard, train hard and never give up on your dreams.

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