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Equimins Ltd Blog | Natural Horse Supplements, Supplies & Products Equimins specialises in producing natural horse supplies, products and supplements for the major areas associated with caring for a horse. All products are proudly made in the UK and excellent specification quality products are of paramount importance. Using this blog we want to share some of the knowledge we have gained through nearly 30 years of experience.

17 February 2015 ~ 0 Comments

Buying a ‘baby’ horse – an introduction to Wilma

We’ve excited to say that we’re going to track the progress of Wilma, an 18 month old skewbald filly over the next few months. Wilma has poor quality hooves and has just started on our Hoof Mender 75 supplement. In this first blog from Wilma’s owner Nikki Goldup, Nikki gives us a bit of background on Wilma (and some lovely pics too)…

“Just over a year ago I made the big plunge to buy a 6 month old, barely weaned filly. Having never owned a ‘baby’ horse it was a big decision but I felt slightly assured as I knew her bloodlines and she came from the same yard as my beloved event horse Wanda.

Nikki and Wilma
“Wilma, is Wanda’s niece. A WB x Cob x TB skewbald filly. She was bred by Wanda’s former owner Tessa Frost, a riding school owner, based just outside Cambridge. Wilma’s Sire is Wanda’s full brother and her dam is a former TB racehorse, her grandsire is the well-known coloured stallion Ginko Roska. I purchased Wilma at the beginning of December 2013 and she wintered with Tessa, running with the other weanlings, arriving to our yard in April.

“I decided to buy a youngster as I wanted a second project to run alongside Wanda, and hadn’t the funds to buy an older horse. Wilma was also three weeks older than my youngest son and for some madcap reason I thought buying her was a nice way to celebrate his birthday.

“What I lacked was any experience handling young horses so was very much prepared for a sharp learning curve. In hindsight it wasn’t until Wilma arrived that I realised how little I knew. After feeling swamped in the do’s and don’ts left by Tessa I did feel rather like I may have brought myself a lot of worry. We turned Wilma out to run with the two children’s ponies and it was clear that they were going to make sure she was low down on the pecking order. I guess it’s just natural behaviour and decided to leave them be. True to horse form they were settled within half an hour, with dear Wilma being very much ignored and looking a little lonely. Within a few days she was best buds with Hickory the pony and as I write this blog she Wilmais now leader of the ponies. Wilma is a very friendly yet sharp yearling, with a temperament very much like Wanda.

“As part of my plan, I decided to get as much ground work done with Wilma as I could. My thinking was that it was easier to manage and train a 10 month old foal than it was train a stronger and bolshier two year old. Within a few days Wilma had her first tie up, ate from a haynet and experienced the start of grooming. She also soon learnt that it wasn’t sensible to swing her head and neck into my face and that it was important to stand still when I asked, move to the side and then back up. Our paddocks have a lot of gates so she soon learnt simple move over and back commands.

Feed and Feet… and the dreaded abscesses

“Feed wise I took guidance from my trainer Val Gingell. We don’t have a lot of grazing and so I’ve been very watchful of Wilma’s development, keeping her fed with a balancer and at first Stud Pencils and Alfa A. As the spring grass came she swapped to balancer and pony nuts. She is also fed micronized linseed. I think feeding was my main concern and I have been very aware of the problems that can arise if young stocks are over or under fed.  At this stage it also became apparent that Wilma had inherited her Thoroughbred mother’s feet. She had abscesses over the winter which were tricky to poultice and keep clean in the mud and wet. As the weather got warmer her feet remained cracked and her soles had very poor condition. I stopped counting how many abscesses she had! It was quite a worry as Wanda has brilliant feet. I definitely learnt a range of new skills, while trying to change poultices in the middle of a field with no handler! I also learnt loads from my Farrier Aaron Gent (Pegasus Farriery) about how to spot a brewing abscess, how to draw them out and make Wilma more comfortable. Wilma soon became a pro at getting hot tubbed which is a big ask for a sharp yearling!

Tickly Yearlings!

“At first, grooming tickled and Wilma really fidgeted so I persevered, kept brushing until all her tickle spots disappeared. When she arrived she couldn’t cope with belly and back leg brushing. Now she accepts it calmly and enjoys it. I also started with feet picking, finding out the hard way that a yearling can cow kick very sharply and how much it hurts when they catch your fingers! In the early days I could see that she learnt quickly but I was always a little timid, Wilma and In Hand Bridleworried that I would teach her bad habits.

“My intention was to take Wilma to some in hand yearling classes but I always found they clashed with events which was frustrating. I then found out about British Breeding Futurity assessments that are supported by Baileys Horse Feeds. www.britishbreeding.org

“The Futurity is the fastest growing young horse evaluation programme in the UK. The assessments aim to identify British bred young potential sport horses and ponies destined for top level careers in dressage, eventing, show jumping or endurance, and may even find the Olympic champions of the future.

“Horses and ponies are entered for the Futurity discipline they are bred to perform in, with age groups for foals, yearlings, two and three year olds. Each horse is evaluated in hand and loose in an indoor school as well as undergoing a vet’s assessment. Breeders value the Futurity because it allows them to get their young stock out in public, but in a low stress enclosed environment.

“I decided to enter Wilma, just to get an outing and guidance more than anything. As preparation Wilma needed to get used to thorough grooming, bathing, trimming, mane pulling and plaiting. She also needed to wear an in hand bridle, so essentially be bitted and comfortable wearing it to be trotted up and handled. I also had to ensure she would walk and trot on a 15-20m triangle and feel happy doing so. I had a month or so to work on these points and in this time I’d say her handling really matured and we developed a great bond. It was the start of her really getting tuned into me as a partner and guide and really felt quite magical.

More foot problems!

“Unfortunately futurity at Keysoe wasn’t meant to be as Wilma went lame a few days before.  What I thought was a bruised sole turned out to brew into an abscess. As feet are examined and judged carefully as part of the assessment there was no point taking her, and despite all this she was hopping lame!

“Luckily I emailed the organiser Cat and she transferred our entry to Writtle College which kindly gave Wilma time to recover – yet more trimming and hot tubbing!

“As ever, the two weeks leading up to the assessment were busy and Wilma had a few practices loading and standing on our lorry and being bathed. I had wanted to take her to the local agricultural college to loose school but funds and lack of available time put pay to this. Wilma also had her mane thinned and pulled in preparation. In haste I took her for her first lorry IMG_20140717_144246[1]journey 2 days before the event. My plan had been to do this sooner so it was a major risk. Wilma was her usual laid back self and travelled brilliantly. Not a noise and totally relaxed all the way to the next village and back. At this point I became more confident that we would be able to cope with futurity and all that would be expected of team Black and White…”

To be continued!

Wilma is now using our Hoof Mender 75, the hoof supplement WITH money back guarantee. To find out more, see the website here.

To find out more about Nikki, Wilma and Black and White Eventing, visit Nikki’s blog here. 


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