Grand Meadows Cares Series: Will You Muddle Through This Riding/Show Season Or Focus With Olympic Fervor?

by Nikki Alvin-Smith

Across the country many professional equestrian competitors are readying their training programs and prepping their noble wee beasties for the forthcoming show season. Keen amateur riders and horse owners are joining in, with plans of their own to get out on the trail or participate at the all-important grass roots competition level, and all equine lovers hope to enjoy more time outside engaging with their own preferred brand of Equus.

Realistic plans for attaining whatever the dream is for a horse owner, be that a modest obedience improvement from their steed in the traces or a full-blown season stacked with shows aiming for qualifying for regional and national championships and beyond, the horse partner in this equation needs to be properly set up for a successful outcome. We want our horses feeling fit and looking fabulous not just at the start of the season, but throughout the months and years ahead.

Based on my experiences riding both here and abroad, for both pleasure and professional purposes, here are a few thoughts to factor into your preparations.

Horses Shine From The Inside Out

 A healthy horse that is receiving and effectively digesting adequate supplies of protein, amino acids, minerals and vitamins will reflect the fact in a glossy coat and great skin condition beneath.

The summer season is fraught with opportunities for invasion through the skin by biting insects.

Any bites and scabs on the skin provide a great gateway for parasites, viruses and bacterial invasion.

While providing superficial care can help assuage the insect issue with sprays and bathing routines with medicated products; flysheets and fly masks; attention to deworming protocols and vaccine needs, the overall well-being of the horse must include a healthy and effective digestive system.

Bear in mind that the stress of learning aspects of new training, transport, and unfamiliar environments will take a toll on any horse’s health. Ensure that you are setting off for the season with the right equine feed supplement support program and pay attention to the balance and nutrition in your horse’s diet.

It is no good just throwing everything in the feed bucket and hoping for the best outcome. There are no shortcuts in nutrition. Beware of taking to heart trending influences such as adding flax to the equine diet as a fix-all solution to solve nutritional issues. Each ingredient of a formulation must be properly prepared itself and be of great quality before it is added to the mix. In the case of flax, that means seek a heat stabilized flax meal.

Doing Little Things Can Make A Big Difference

Are you paying attention to your horse’s temperament and behavior every day? Often little niggly things that bother the horse escalate into major issues if they are not noticed and attended to right away.

Be proactive in helping your horse through the more intense workload of the good weather season by being prepared to interject and help when he showcases a need. In the case of soreness or lameness, this may be in the form or a feed-through joint support supplement, and/or a topical application of an effective product like Nanoflex.

Don’t forget to account for the weather and how it can adversely impact even the healthiest of horses. Here are some quick tips to help identify risky medical situations your horse may face in hot weather and how to avert/manage them.

Work Like A Professional Even If You Aren’t One

There is always more to learn about horses and how to care and interact with them. A lack of understanding about how a horse thinks and reacts, human-horse connection issues that create fear and a lack of understanding, all invite unnecessary stress on both horse and human.

Education in how to work with your equine is key to elevating the overall health of your horse.

Lynn Acton, author of What Horses Really Want, offers some expert advice on making sure you are having the best two-way conversation possible with your Equus, regardless of what discipline you are training in or what level you ride, or indeed whether or not you ride or drive your horse. Why not make this a season of horse-related summer reading.

Working successfully with horses is not all about ribbons and glory, it is mostly about what you do with your horse on a day-to-day basis. Good professional horse folks know this and try hard to do the best at home horse training wise, great professional horse folks continually participate in improving their horse knowledge and always keep an open mind to new or updated ideas on horse care and welfare. Professionals all began as amateur equestrians. There is no place in good horsemanship for status and class division. The more positive things you learn about horses and implement, the better off your horse will ultimately be.

Get Inspired To Leap Into Action

Regardless of the age or breed of your Equus, or the age of yourself, this Olympic year brings forth a tumult of TV coverage and press showcasing the world’s most advanced and elite equestrians and equines offering their best medal-winning efforts. A wealth of inspiration that can rekindle even a dulling flame of talent and ability in the vintage horse or rider.

There are always ways to address the issue of aging up for both the human and horse contingent.

For the human contingent, check out this article on, “How To Find The Energy To Stick With Horses As You Age Up”. Especially useful advice if you find as the author suggests, that your ability to get up and go has got up and gone!

For the senior Equus, a smooth road in retirement is aided by adopting some simple to follow guidelines.

Don’t Muddle Through

There is no reason to muddle through your riding/show season or to rest on your laurels. Don’t be shy to ask for expert help if you need it. A professional trainer can help with most equine antics; an equine nutritional expert can help you address dietary concerns; and in today’s convenient internet access world you can gain a tremendous amount of knowledge from evidence based/thought leadership sources.

PLEASE NOTE: AHP members ~ Please share this content. Kindly include Grand Meadows URL and author’s URL wherever published. Please advise use so we can share your platform too. Feel free to contact Nikki Alvin-Smith for further information and high-res photos.

 About Grand Meadows: Founded in 1989 by visionary Angela Slater, Grand Meadows is a leading horse health product and equine supplement manufacturer driven by the guiding principle of providing affordable, extremely high-quality science-backed horse products to help ensure horses look and feel their best.

For the past 35 years the company’s mission has been honored and developed further, by President Nick Hartog, who among other accomplishments is one of the founding members and current board member of the National Animal Supplement Council (NASC), an organization that has a profound impact on the safety, transparency, and legitimacy of the animal supplement industry.

Grand Meadow products are widely used and trusted across the entire horse community from Olympic medal winning competitors and successful horse racing trainers to backyard horse owners. Their equine supplements are highly regarded for their excellent quality resourced ingredients and completely accurate labelling and effective formulations. Learn more at

Grand Meadows, Orange, CA
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Tel: 607 434 4470

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About Nikki Alvin-Smith:
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