Product Reviews

Review: Andrea Kacirek of Equine Affinity

When we purchased Amira at the age of five months, the breaking services of Andrea were discussed with us, Andrea was highly recommended and the chosen breaker, by our breeder Martina Kovacs of Sterntaler Equestrian Services. It was at that time we decided Amira would be booked in with Andrea to be broken in.

Andrea has been providing breaking and training services in the Hunter area for just over 10 years, prior to that she was breaking and training in Sydney, together with doing track work. Andrea said it perfectly when she said “every horse presents differently, there is no one rule that fits every horse, you have a general plan and an end result, however the path to get the result is different for each horse, the process is very individual”. Andrea currently offers breaking and training services at Equine Affinity at Martins Creek NSW and Val D’Argent at Rothbury NSW.

Our breaking journey began on 2 November 2017, with Amira going to Andrea’s. We found one of the most difficult things to overcome was that of trust, trusting the care and control of our beautiful girl with another, when we had seen her and tended to her daily. Due to an injury, Amira was agisted with our Thoroughbred Bailey, an upside to the injury was the extensive handling she has had in particular over the past twelve months. It did not take long for Andrea to earn our trust, she was accommodating with our visits, detailing that we were welcome to visit at anytime, and we often did, Amira was always well cared for and looked after and appeared to settle in at Andrea’s quite quickly. By 10 November 2017 Andrea had a saddle on Amira and she was riding her in the round yard by 20 November 2017, with her first venture out of the round yard into the big wide world of the paddock by 27 November 2017. Tahliea had her first sit / walk on Amira on 15 December 2017, only six weeks into the breaking in process…amazing! I observed the relationship between Andrea and Amira on this day, I am not sure what it was about this particular day, but Andrea had earned Amira’s full trust, I could see her look towards Andrea for guidance and reassurance, not only did it pull at the heart strings just a little, but it was truly magical to watch the bond that had developed between the two of them. The environment at Andrea’s was in my mind, very conducive to the cause, it was a busy home environment, children, dogs, animals, other horses, quad bikes, noises, visible traffic, the sounds of a passing train and a distant quarry, all helped Amira’s progression to the wonderful horse she is today. She does not shy at anything, she is very chilled and relaxed, taking everything in her stride.

Andrea continued to work with Amira, until the Christmas and New Year period, at which time Amira had a few weeks off. Slipping back into training with ease, Amira progressed as expected and she was home on 26 January 2017. Amira has continued to go from strength to strength, she has such and an amazing temperament, with a lovely extended trot, in many aspects Amira appears to be quite gifted in the dressage movement. Amira continues to be ridden six days per week at the moment, under the guidance and instruction of Martina Kovacs of Sterntaler Equestrian Services, and honestly we could not be happier with her progress to date. Just on three weeks ago, we decided we would buy another of Martina’s warmblood foals, Zeke was born on 15 January 2018, and I have already spoken to Andrea in relation to his breaking and training in three years.

We could not speak highly enough of the breaking services provided by Andrea Kacirek of Equine Affinity, if you have a horse due to be broken in, you could not go past Andrea.

Andrea can be contacted via facebook at https://www.facebook.com/andrea.kacirek or https://www.facebook.com/Equine-Affinity-36245453715/

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Fetlock Ring

A fetlock ring or pastern ring as they are sometimes called is a rubber donut that is (in this instance) fitted with an adjustable strap that prevents injury to the hind fetlocks. The fetlock ring maybe use for both riding and paddock turnout to prevent injury. When Amira commenced at the breakers, she was knocking the inside of her fetlock area causing injury, albeit superficial. I can advise from the outset that Amira has nothing wrong with her hooves, the farrier trims her hooves every six weeks, she has no issues, no abnormalities, no concerns. This knocking or brushing of the fetlock area could be for any number of reasons, it may simply be because she is green and gangly, not quite knowing what to do with her legs. The immediate concern was treating the injury and preventing further injury from occurring, Andrea Kacirek of Equine Affinity was of great assistance. Initially Amira’s fetlock area was treated with a betadine and water solution to clean the area, followed by the application of Sudo Cream / and or White Healer, it was then strapped with Sudo Cream, gauze and vet wrap prior to being worked, as we were unable to use the fetlock rings until the injury, albeit superficial had healed. Amira wears woof wear brushing boots on all fours, with fetlock rings on her hind legs when worked and this appears to have stopped her knocking or brushing the inside of her fetlock area that is below the reach of the brushing boots. You may be able to see from the photographs and video attached, that with the fetlock rings on that when Amira hits her hind legs together, the hooves simply brush against the rubber fetlock ring. We will continue to use the brushing boots on all fours and the fetlock rings on the hind legs until she is well into her first year under saddle. Prevention is far better then injury. We purchased our fetlock rings from Horseland at Maitland.

Review: Collegiate Leather Headcollar

The Collegiate Leather Headcollar is amazing. Made from high quality European leather, with soft nappa padding for comfort, with the nameplate for that extra personal touch. The Leather headcollar is the ideal showpiece that is not only a little bit of bling, they are very easy to use. Amira and Bailey have one each, Bailey’s is black on black, whereas Amira’s is white on black, with has the classic look white three stitch. They are available in either black or brown leather, in sizes cob and full. We purchased both of ours from Horseland Maitland and had them engraved locally. We purchased one for Amira initially, when she was around two years of age, at that time she was in a large 12 acre paddock with a number of other young foals that did not have a great deal of handling, we needed the quick release clip, so if the other foals and broodmares ran while Amira was being groomed the halter could be removed quickly and easily, without fuss or concern. The Collegiate leather headcollar with the quick release clip to the side was perfect and when it needed to be removed in a hurry it was as simple as releasing the clip. Bailey’s was purchased for comfort, glamour and ease of use, he wears his when he is out and about at shows, competitions or his dressage lessons with the stars. Again it has its benefits, they are easy to use, made with a high quality European leather and a soft nappa padding they are comfortable and durable. We treat ours with leather conditioner to maintain optimal condition, with an occasional wipe down after use. They provide a classical beauty and are very practical, I would highly recommend this product to others.

Key features: 
• Made from high quality European leather
• Soft nappa padding for comfort
• Name plate for personalized look
• Adjustable head and nose strap for a great fit

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Review: Kool Coat Classic Combo

Kool Coat Classic Combo have released new colours, they are now available in Purple/Navy; Pink/Navy; Green/Navy. The new colour range is fresh and vibrant, ringing of spring! With two horses we purchased one in each colour, as rugs are continually used and replacements, and or rug changes are always needed. It is ideal to have spares on hand. I would highly recommend this rug to other users.

The Kool Coat classic combo is generous in size, featuring large shoulder gussets to assist with full range of movement, a large tail flap for greater protection, the touch tape to add a tail bag if required. I have found the Kool Coat rugs to be durable and well wearing, the polyester / cotton blend with the ripstop outer provides that extra bit of protection from rips and tares, and being 270g they do not appear to get overheat on the hot days. They are easy clean and simply go through the washing machine.

They feature:
Durable PVC chest strap
Made with a strong 270g polyester & cotton blend ripstop outer
Nylon lined shoulders to help prevent rubbing
Large shoulder gussets for greater range of natural movement
Large tail flap for greater protection from dust, insects and sun
Removable and adjustable webbing leg straps
Contrast trim

Handy tip: We purchased the baby/toddler car seatbelt strap protectors from the baby section of Big W, they are the perfect size to cover the PVC chest strap and reduce rubbing to the chest area. We use these on any rug with the PVC chest strap, regardless of brand.

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Review: Sudocrem

Sudocrem is a barrier cream that can be purchased from your local pharmacy. I inadvertently caused Amira a rub injury to her shoulders by changing her rug size from a 6.3” to a 6.6” while she is long enough and has enough height for a 6.6” she simply has not yet filled out, and does not have the muscle and body mass to fill a 6.6”. When I removed her rug to groom her I noticed large rub marks to either side of her shoulder area, clearly this was caused by the rubbing and friction of the larger rug and it is not something that has happened to her before. I now know this is one of the most common fitting problems, caused by the rug being too big for the horse. If the rug is too big it tends to slip behind the wither, causing the rug to pull up in the chest area, causing rubbing. I was surprised at how quickly this happened as it was only over a one or two day period. I immediately went to Horseland at Maitland and purchased Amira another two Kool Coat rugs in the smaller size, being 6.3” and sought some advice on what would be best to treat the rubbed area. Sarah advised that Sudocrem would work well, providing an effective barrier and protection to allow healing, together with an anti static barrier to prevent further rubbing to the area. I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge not only Sarah, but the other staff at Horseland Maitland, not only do they have sound product knowledge, they have hands on experience and expertise that is very beneficial to shoppers, so from me to you, thank you!

The good news is….it works!! I have been applying it to the affected area every two to three days and there is a significant improvement, with no further rubbing to the area.

Sudocrem is used on humans, it is safe and effective and used on babies as a nappy rash cream. It is an emollient soothing cream, which has been used for over 80 years. It can be used in the management of minor skin disorders such as Eczema, dermatitis, wounds, rough skin, chapped hands, bruising, abrasions, scratches, cuts and minor burns. For more information on Sudocrem go to https://sudocrem.com/

Review: HandsOn Grooming/Bathing Gloves

HandsOn Grooming/Bathing Gloves take grooming to a whole new level. They are made specifically for the equine and canine industries. Each glove has a palm pad, with nodules, that extend down the fingers and thumb. The nodules have enough depth and structure to easily remove the undercoat, or provide a good scrub, however, they do not appear to be uncomfortable for the horses, if anything they appear to be somewhat soothing for the horses, allowing you to massage the horse and stimulate circulation as you groom. Perfect for de-shedding and scrubbing, the hair does not stick to the glove or the nodules, simply flick your hand or brush your hands together and the hair comes right off. They do not lose their functionality when wet, after use, simply rinse them and allow them to air dry. Used on both of our horses, I have found the gloves to be a comfortable and secure fit, protecting your hands against the elements, they fasten with a velcro wrist strap to hold the gloves firmly in place, which reduces slipping and rubbing. In addition, they have a versatile flexible grip allowing normal operation of your hands, there is no need to remove the gloves to use the hose, lead ropes or other tasks associated with grooming and bathing your horse. They can be used both wet and dry and they appear to wear well. Our gloves were purchased from Horseland Maitland

For more information go to https://handsongloves.com or http://www.horseland.com.au

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Service Review: David Cooper Equine Dentistry

David detailed that he relocated to the Hunter Valley some five years ago, having moved from the Taree area. David has been providing Equine Dentistry services for over 17 years, and currently services between Kempsey and Sydney NSW. He came to us highly recommended and has a well established business and a good reputation.

On 9 October 2017 David Cooper provided Equine Dentistry to our two horses Bailey a 7 year old Thoroughbred gelding and Amira a 3 year old Warmblood mare (unbroken). David has tended to Bailey previously, providing maintenance service approximately 12 months ago and given Bailey is 7 years old and his teeth are in good health, he requires maintenance annually. This was Amira’s first time with the Dentist, she has just turned 3 years of age, is currently unbroken and went to the breakers on 2 November 2017. Amira had some of her baby teeth removed, to make room for her new teeth that where coming up underneath, in addition she had two very small wolf teeth removed, these were removed for her comfort with being broken to the bit. These teeth if they remained could have caused her rubbing and discomfort. Given Amira’s age, David advised she will require maintenance service every 6 months until she reaches 5 or 6 years of age.

I was very happy with the service and treatment provided by David, he provided good, sound dentistry to both horses, without concern or issue. We will continue to use his services and would highly recommend him to others.