Our Blog

by Ashley Stewart MRCVS

The warm weather has arrived at long last; the sun is out, the grass is growing and Ashley is even wearing shorts! We all want to make the most of our unpredictable British summer by getting out on our horses during the day. However before you go rushing up onto the Quantocks in the heat of the midday sun, there are just a few things about horses and heatstroke you should remember. Read my new Information Sheet on Heatstroke in Horses to put yourself in the know: heatstroke-horses

Hope you all have a great (and safe) time in the sunshine!


by Brendan John MRCVS

12.30 We are away bang on time with the first race, the Hunt Race, sometimes known as the Farmers' Race. 5 runners took it on. Ballyegan led all through the race and finished first, followed home by Louis Pasteur then Handy Andy.

13.05 Second race, the Open Maiden for 4, 5 & 6 year olds, is split into 2 divisions, with plenty of horses to make 2 good races. 9 runners in this first race. Jabbea led to the last but fell leaving Arctic Fern to come in first, with some backing her at 20/1.

13.40 Second division of the second race. Won by number 10 Doctor Who, the odds on favourite. Quick Question and Something or Nothing in 2nd and 3rd. Hawkins Agri stepped in to sponsor the extra race.

14.15 The third race is the Mixed Open, sponsored by us. Raced over 3 miles and with 13 runners. Universal Soldier. started favourite. And finished in first with plenty in hand. Mr Sawyer came in second and Willem in third.



The fourth race is also split. 10 runners in this first. Won by High Priority followed by Cloudy Lady. 


An  early fall For Bringithomeminty takes him out of the running. Number 16 Jonimo takes it. 

15.50 5th race going to post. 17 going to post. Bathwick Scanno went off at x. But the race was taken by Presenting William. 2nd Ballydub and 3rd Driftway Pride. 

16.15 the 6th race is split with 10 going to post in the first division. Norman Conquest took it from Faraway Star. 

16.55 the final race gets under way. Shesagangster showed some good form. And ends up leading into the last and wins by 5 lengths. 

by Brendan John MRCVS

After months of reading technical specifications, we have finally received our new X-ray machine. And we are really pleased with it!

We chose an AGFA DX-D 45C Wireless DR, which met all our technical requirements:

  • totally portable - X-rays are taken at your premises; no need to load and transport your horse.
  • totally wireless - no tripping over wires trailed across the yard or stable.
  • totally battery powered - we don't need mains power, so we can come to you wherever the horse is.
  • images are displayed on the computer screen within seconds, so we can analyse them there and then. We can also check that we have the views we need before we leave your premises.
  • Images are high resolution, as you would expect from AGFA.
  • We can share the highest resolution images (in DICOM format) with referral specialists to get a second opinion on our cases.

So you can be assured that when needed, we will be able to x-ray your horse without delay.

by Heidi John MRCVS

Last Wednesday we were very excited to host Gillian and Shirley Higgins of Horses Inside Out, who presented their Painted Horse Demonstration. Stretcholt Equestrian Centre provided the perfect venue as we needed somewhere with enough room and an indoor arena as the recent weather could definitely not be relied upon. It worked very well, a lot of organisation behind the scenes had already taken place to advertise and sell tickets for the event. We had some amazing 'helpers' which meant the day ran like clockwork. Firstly Claire Trott and her horses Jimmy and Venus: a big ask to find 2 such horses that don't mind being painted and performing in front of crowds! These 2 fitted the bill perfectly, I could not actually believe how patient they were. We arrived at 10am and had a little rehearsal. Gillian was very good at picking out their strengths and setting exercises to enhance these. The arena party then had to be trained - this consisted of me, Sally and Claire - and it seemed to take us considerably longer than the horses to grasp what we would have to do that evening!

Then the painting could be begin... and it actually did take 5 people 5 hours to paint 2 horses! Really, really good fun, and the horses seemed to enjoy it, being topped up with treats for the horses and snacks for the painters throughout the afternoon. This is where our helpers really came into their own - Lynda Ayre stayed all day to keep the horses calm and placed beautiful plaits in both horses, Miles took lots of photos and Linda, Sally, Claire and myself, under instruction from Gillian, painted and painted!

Finally by about 6pm we could grab a quick sandwich and coffee and get ready for people arriving. Richard Ayre came along to be Jimmy's lunger for the evening, and Jo Roberts came back to put Venus through her paces - but not before bravely dressing herself in a very fetching (and strangely flattering!) Skeleton Outfit.

I had not seen Horses Inside Out before and I can safely say it exceeded my expectations! It is a fascinating approach to training horses - whether you are an owner, trainer, vet or physio there is something everyone can come away with. Gillian is an engaging and euthusiastic speaker who really knows her subject and has a great affinity with the horses. I hope everyone who came enjoyed it as much as I did.

So a big thank you to Venus, Jimmy, Claire, Jo, Lynda and Richard. We also had some very generous sponsorship and would like to give a special thank you to our main sponsors, Nimrod Veterinary Products Ltd who, amongst other things, provided the very attractive and useful bags with which were presented to all who came along. Thank you also to Cannington Equestrian Centre and Protexin, both of whom took the time to support us by bringing along a stand.

A slightly different approach from our previous Evolution Equine events - I hope you enjoyed it. Pictures are online now.... Click here to see them.

Cheers, Heidi

by Heidi John MRCVS

The above phrase has been used in veterinary medicine to encourage vets to think of the more common diseases that animals get as opposed to the weird and wonderful ones. Since common things are common, it can sometimes focus the mind when you are overwhelmed with lots of potential conditions. However this was not the case at the weekend, when I had the pleasure of meeting 'Ziggy' the Zebra for the second time in his life. He is owned by some very good farmer friends of mine in Norfolk, where I worked in my first job. He was brought up in captivity and even broken to saddle as a 3 year old. I first met him when he was younger and he was a brown and white colour but as he has grown up he has become even more striking, as you can see from the pictures. As well as being good farmers, Julie has a passion for everything to do with Zebras so, when the opportunity came up for them to own him, she could not refuse. They had to apply for a special wildlife/zoo licence and with that comes loads of paperwork. After a lot of form filling in and checking, he finally made it to his current home in Norfolk in a field with his pony friend 'Cruze'. He is very friendly, and loves 'barking' (the noise he makes sounds like a high pitched dog bark) at the donkeys and cattle over the fence. I would never have believed I could come so close to such a beautiful, calm animal, but I am assured that he is not so tolerant when he needs his feet trimming! Luckily I was not there in that capacity at the weekend, only a social visit for me this time. It's just nice to share some lovely photos of him here. Thanks to Julie and Bruce for sharing him with me.