Natural Horse World

Helping people care for horses

New Look Websites

Written By: Cynthia - Oct• 18•14

The Home Page of the new look Natural Horse World website.

My apologies to email subscribers who received a ‘Password Protected’ post earlier – I didn’t realise it wasn’t going to be visible – so here’s the new version :)

I have so much news to publish (and that will happen soon), but for now this is a quick post prior to launching the new version of the Natural Horse World website and store.

The past year has been spent (somewhat sporadically) giving them a design makeover, and totally re-building all the content.

For those that are familiar with the sites, you will understand what a mission this was – with hundreds of articles and posts all needing checking, updating and re-organising. And that was after reviewing hundreds of design ideas and themes!
It’s still a work in progress, but I have got to the point where I’m happy to share and get some feedback. And that’s where I hope you will be able to help me.

Everyone who answers 4 quick questions in a reply to this email will go in the lucky draw for a $50 voucher to spend in the Natural Horse World Store.   Here they are:

  1. How many articles and posts are on the Bitless Bridles page?
  2. What is the number one reason for using a Slowfeed Hay Net?
  3. How many products are in the Halters & Ropes category of the Shop?
  4. Any other feedback you’d like to give on the look, content and use-ability?

To enter click on the Natural Horse World site/blog for the first two questions, and then navigate to the store from there. I look forward to hearing from you :)

The Lucky Draw will take place at 5pm on the 22nd of October (this coming Wednesday) so don’t miss the opportunity to win the voucher and spend it on any product in the store. The winner will be emailed and announced on the Natural Horse World Store Facebook page.

The new look Natural Horse World Store.


Nursed back to health – can you help?

Written By: Cynthia - Aug• 12•14

Jacynta wrote to me with an inspiring story of rehabilitation, and now needs some help to find a future for Midnight.



Introducing Midnight Action, born 09/2009 a black thoroughbred who had no passion to win on the track but has passion for life and people. Midnight came off the track in February 2013 and did not appeal to potential buyers and therefore became my friend.

Being turned out with a herd of many horses, a mix of the retired elderly and the upcoming young, Midnight found himself at the bottom of the pecking order, bullied away from food and spending his time alone at the opposite end of the paddock to the other horses.

On visiting Midnight everyday he was the first to the gate to say hello and equally as fast to be pushed away by the others. The day he was removed from the herd he was eating dock and dirt and scouring so badly that his manure resembled a garden hose on full strength and he was therefore dehydrated.

Slowly walking to the safety of a stable I noticed a wound on Midnights leg that could possibly have been a snake bite. On immediate vet check the wound was dismissed, no bloods or poo sample taken for testing and I was instructed to stomach tube a 5 day double dose of Panacur as worm burden was the potential diagnosis.

Midnight was turned out into a solo pasture with horses on all sides for company with access to fresh clean water, never ending hay supply and 3 feeds a day. Although his appetite has not once wavered and his coat remained shiny he was scouring and losing weight at a dramatic rate.

Midnight at his worst.

Midnight at his worst.

From November 2013 to March 2014 he endured daily tail and back leg washes with warm water and gentle cleansers with the added weekly Pintarsal wash and application of protective cream.  Midnight lost all the hair from his buttocks and legs from the burn of scouring yet remained friendly, tolerant of being washed everyday and battled through severe weight loss, worming treatments, antibiotic injections, banana skin, pro-biotic and electrolyte treatments and the summertime flies.

Having requested treatment and advice of 3 different vets my last attempt at trying to stop the scouring was under vet direction and involved collecting the fresh and still warm manure of the healthiest horse I could find, mixing it with warm water and stomach tubing the solution. Again Midnight was patient and accepted this process as he had everything else. The remaining course of action according to the vets was to either turn him out and leave him be or conduct bowel biopsies –  neither appealed to me.

After many hours of sitting in the paddock with Midnight, researching, time, money, energy and heartbreak I put Midnight onto the Equest plus program having read an article about parasites and finally the scouring ceased and he began putting on weight. So many things had been tried over the months that I am not even sure what worked exactly if anything did.

In June 2014 Midnight was given the ok to travel and was relocated to my home in Somerset, Tasmania. On immediate disembarkation from the horse truck I witnessed Midnight scour as he had in the beginning. Mortified and imagining I was to start back at the beginning I am relieved to say that he has not scoured since.
However he did arrive riddled with lice and having not dealt with this ever before, once again I called a vet for advice. As there was to be a 5 day storm upon us I was unable to perform the suggested chemical treatment but I immediately began using Pestene powder with good results so far.

Feeling better.

Feeling better.

Since arriving on the north west coast Midnight has met cows and even though he was obviously scared to death his behaviour and movements looked to belong in the dressage ring. He has become semi friends with the cows now but he does display initial shock when they show up from nowhere and run around.

Midnight currently only has one friend in the paddock beside him, a pinto pony called Daisy. He has put on weight, still eats like a Trojan, has stopped scratching himself raw and even though his manure is sloppy I am now able to see formation that resembles horse poo as opposed to cow pat.

My situation now is that I have no idea what to do next with a beautiful thoroughbred that is most likely still healing from what ever was wrong as it remains undetermined (cancer, ulcerative colitis, snake bite, poisoning, ulcers, worm burden, stress, starvation, questionable parasites, crop spray ingestion ????)

Loving attention.

Loving attention.

My first instinct was to surrender him to a rehabilitation program for proper assessment and retraining. Perhaps this would be best for him as the result would see him with a loving gentle and knowledgeable leader that he could learn from and enjoy life.

My second thought was to find safe agistment in close proximity to a natural horse trainer and have him remain in our family-  either way I need help. My nursing skills were enough to nurture him back to health ( I hope) but my knowledge and experience with training or rehabilitating horses in the area of riding is zero.

Any advice, guidance, support or ideas will be very much appreciated by both Midnight and myself. My next course of action will to be to get yet another full vet check, have feet and teeth done and a full body treatment of some sort that will ensure no lice. Midnight needs a total going over by the right people (who are proving difficult to find) and a chance at being healthy and free of any discomfort.

Midnight has been through more than I would ever wish on any living being – he is a true fighter and yet still has the most loving and gentle nature so he deserves the very best. Thank you in anticipation.

Jacynta (in Tasmania)
Ph. 0409 255 272

Round Bale Haynet Q&A

Written By: Cynthia - Aug• 12•14

Some common questions about small hole round bale hay nets.

Slowfeed Haysaver Round Bale net inside a Durapoly hay feeder.

Slowfeed Haysaver Round Bale net inside an equine design hay feeder (with carrots inserted as a special treat!).

1. How in the world does a horse not tear up the netting while eating? 

The netting is pretty tough and takes quite a lot of tearing/pulling to make a hole, but a frustrated horse could chew through it if they haven’t learned to pull the hay through the holes.
That’s why we recommend giving them ad lib loose hay while getting used to the net, so they can learn when their stomach is full, without the enthusiasm of hunger and old habits of eating by the mouthful.
Horses actually prefer to eat by ‘grazing’ (nibbling with their teeth) rather than stuffing their mouth’s full and dealing with large amounts of hay, so once they learn to use the net, you will find they won’t need the ad-lib loose hay, and in fact prefer to eat from the net.

Another aspect to consider is that when there is too much competition for the hay (more than 3 or 4 horses on a round bale – or nets placed too close together), a hungry horse will be frustrated because it can’t get enough food for the short time it is allowed at the bale. It’s best to carefully monitor the horses when they are new to using a small hole net (at least twice a day), especially with a round bale, and if any holes are discovered, they are patched right away so the horses don’t learn to benefit from making a hole.

Time and money saver.

Time and money saver.

2. What is the life expectancy of the net? 
It depends on how much you are using it and can vary under different conditions – but we (the manufacturer and I) have experienced the nets lasting 3-4 years and longer provided any small holes are repaired as soon as they are seen. The material they are made from is marine grade UV stabilised netting used in the fishing industry so will withstand a lot of weathering. Be sure to store your net in a safe place away from mice and rats when you’re not using it.

3. Why are there  4cm and 6cm size netting holes?
The 4cm size is designed to slow the horses hay consumption down, while the 6cm  is designed to keep the hay from spreading about and is more suitable for stalky/cereal type hay.
I would recommend the 6cm net for round bales unless you need to slow down the intake of your equines.

4. As the round-bale gets smaller, what an I supposed to do? Does it have drawstrings or something like that?

Yes there is a drawstring you will need to check and tighten, although I put my round bale on a solid pallet and fasten the drawstring around the base of the pallet so it stops the net from being dragged too far.
The horses will push the loose netting aside to get to the parts that are still filled with hay so its not generally a problem.
You can also suspend the net by the drawstring if you have a large shed or a big strong tree to hang it from. Then the hay falls to the bottom of the net as it’s eaten down, and you may only need to adjust the drawstring once or twice if it looks a bit loose.


A home made round bale cover and feeding station.

You could also make your own hay cover like I have to suspend your net from as shown on this page here.

5. Can I use these nets for foals or minis? 

We don’t recommend using the round bale nets for young foals under weaning age, especially mini foals, as they may be able to get a foot through the netting (especially the 6cm netting). If you need to feed mares and foals a round bale, contain it inside something like a large wooden apple/potato bin (they fit the small round bales) or a safe enclosed feeder designed for horses. Please don’t use the hay rings made for cattle as they have spaces that can trap a young foal’s legs or head.
When foals are weaned, the safest way to feed them from a round bale in a net is to suspend the net from a shed roof, or a strong tree branch so there is always tension in the netting. This discourages them from climbing on it and pawing at it.

If you would like to save hay, which equates to saving money, and have healthier horses you will find the original Australian and best round bale nets here:

And here’s some more advice on Choosing, Storing and Feeding Round bales to horses.

Foal survey

Written By: Cynthia - Aug• 12•14

Have you bred a foal since 2010? If so, I need your help!

Newborn foal

When visiting The Horses Back, you may have noticed a piece about my research into foals and issues affecting their development. This is my postgraduate study based at CSIRO, Australia’s national science institute.

I have just launched a survey to gather some more information and would love you to contribute. You’ll need information about the service and birth dates, as I’m really interested in gestation periods.

You can see the survey here: Survey into Foal Development.

The formal analysis will be for Australian bred foals, but please, if you’d like to be involved, feel free to take part – long distance case studies will be of interest!

All the best


New Property Update

Written By: Cynthia - Jul• 29•14
One of the rare days I've had time to ride - Rosie is my dependable girl.

One of the rare days I’ve had time to ride – Rosie is my dependable girl.

They say time flies when you’re having fun, and I think that’s also true when you’re very busy. Last week I celebrated being at my new place, ‘Serenity’ for one year. Starting from scratch with nothing but an old wood barn on the place has been a journey of planning, organising and building – everything from fences, to chicken coops to the house and new steel shed for storage and horse shelter. Living in my new house for the past few months has had me wondering how on earth I managed in the caravan.  With my warm wood fire, and well insulated home, life has become somewhat cosy despite not having any power yet! It won’t be long before the off grid solar system is installed and I won’t know what to do with all the power after living on the meagre amount provided by 1 tiny solar panel and 2 car batteries! One thing I’ll be looking forward to is completing the storage areas in my shed so I can un-pack all my tack and organise the tools.

The buildings and yards are all a work in progress but use-able.

The buildings and yards are all a work in progress but use-able.

The horses are enjoying the under-cover hay feeding area it provides, and it has been a god-send for storing the additional 1,400 bales of hay over what the barn could hold from the bumper crop harvested early this year. Another thing I’m very thankful for is the electric fencing – without many internal fences, I’ve been able to build tracks and paddocks, then change them according to the amount of feed, and restriction of grazing needed. At the moment, I’m making long thin (around 30m wide x 500m long) paddocks that radiate out from the shed/house area so the horses come back to the central area for their hay and bucket feeds and then travel on a track to their water.

The 'girls' herd love to run when released from the night track into the grazing strip.

The ‘girls’ herd love to run when released from the night track into the grazing strip.

This system is enabling me to graze the ‘old folks’ (my three 28-33yo retirees) over a strip first to eat all the long fresh grass, then a few weeks later have the ‘fatties’ follow them. This also allows the previous strip they’ve been grazing to be rested. Due to the excess of grass I have (always dreamed of that!) I am only letting them out to graze during the day. At night they are confined to a track area to eat hay from their Haysaver nets. So far, this place seems to be suiting them as overall the horse’s health has been so much better than at my last property. They have better coats and  hooves with no ‘seedy toe’ occurring at all which was an on-going issue at my last place. And they love the wide open spaces for a good play and gallop every day.

Thanks to Vanessa's help (and lovely present of Blue Gum trees) I was able to plant the first shelter belt for the horses on National Tree Planting Day.

Thanks to Vanessa’s help (and lovely present of Blue Gum trees) I was able to plant the first shelter belt for the horses on National Tree Planting Day.

With 5 new water tanks in place, and pumps working, I can now focus on planting trees that will become shelter belts and habitat for the native animals and birds. So far, one shelter area has been planted, and with another 200 trees coming soon (thanks to Landcare), a few more will be in place over the rest of winter. So it’s been a good move all round. The dogs and I get our regular beach walks which we love, and Timmy the cat is having a lovely time catching the mice that live in the hay. The hens are laying enough eggs to keep me nourished, and all I need now is to establish a vegetable garden.

Tigga and Meg enjoying their run on a local beach.

Tigga and Meg enjoying their run on a local beach.

I’ve also very much enjoyed having closer contact with my family and friends who live nearby, and a steady stream of helpers from overseas travellers has made it possible for me to get so much done in this short space of time. In the not too distant future, I hope to be able to share my journey of developing a natural, horse friendly and sustainable property via open days and workshops. In the meantime, I’ll be continuing to learn from experience and people like Jane Myers (Equicentral systems) and Mariette van den Berg (Equine Permaculture) about the best way to keep horses that also cares for the land.

The boys enjoy the vista from the hill.

The boys enjoy the vista from the hill.

Events added

Written By: Cynthia - Jul• 29•14

Ribbleton presents a magical encounter

Eqi_quotewith Magali Delgado & Frédéric Pignon

31st July – 6th August 2014

Ribbleton invites you to Provence, France for 5 glorious days and 6 nights immersing yourself in the captivating world of Magali Delgado & Frédéric Pignon

Price: $5,000 AUD

Email if you would like to hear more about this trip and the price inclusions & exclusions!


Have you registered for the 10th International Society for Equitation Science Conference to be hosted in Denmark on 6th – 9th August 2014?

Don’t miss out as registrations for the ISES Conference are coming in thick and fast and numbers are strictly limited to a maximum of 300 delegates. Reserve your place today.

The conference theme of ‘Equine Stress’ will include 6 plenaries, 29 oral presentations and 57 posters on learning and training!

“Even though the study of stress in domestic animals goes back many decades”, says Conference Co-Chair, Janne Winther Christensen PhD who is a Scientist with the Research group of Behaviour and Stress Biology in the Department of Animal Science at Aarhus University, “new theories and techniques are constantly being developed. It is important to follow these developments to enable scientists to interpret the symptoms of stress so as to improve horse husbandry and equitation in ways that minimize stress”.

To find out more and register your attendance at the 10th International Equitation Science Conference, Denmark, 6th-9th August 2014 go to:

IAEP Hoof Care Course

Aug. 13-17

Be a part of the first AEP hoof care course being held in Canada! Five full days. Learn modern hoof care from the Institute’s Founder KC La Pierre, RJF, MIAEP Click here for more details.

Bowen Therapy Workshops:

“Essence of Bowen”
Friday 5th and Saturday 6th September, 2014

Venue :- 25 Magnolia Avenue, Davistown. NSW Central Coast

Ever wanted to know what Bowen Therapy is and how it can best assist you in addressing pain and stress. This is a two-day course based upon the “essences and principles” of the Bowen Therapy technique and will provide an introduction for any individual wishing to experience this work; as well as a self-interest basic body balance for use to assist your friends and family.

FFo Contact: Course Organiser – Virginia Ede, Phone : 0414 696355, Email :

Cat & Canine muscle release therapy first aid course
Sunday 7th September, 2014

Venue :- 25 Magnolia Avenue, Davistown. NSW Central Coast

Have you ever been in an emergency situation where you wondered if there was anything that you could do to help your small animal while waiting for the vet? Then this course is for you!

This is an invitation to ALL animal guardians, carers and owners. All animal first aid courses will teach you vital signs, bandaging, what to have in your First Aid kit and what to do in emergencies.

This First Aid workshop also shows you how to handle an animal in distress, and teaches specific First Aid procedures that can be definitely life saving.

Contact: Course Organiser – Virginia Ede, Phone : 0414 696355, Email :

???????????????????????????????Corroboree Equus 2014

Tallangatta – North East Victoria

Friday 26th of September to Monday 29th of September 2014

You are invited to Corroboree Equus 2014 – A place to gather with others of similar ‘horse philosophy’ for a long weekend of interaction and sharing.

The gathering is about connecting and sharing space, conversations and ideas with like minded people – with or without your horse. To find out all the details please visit

Bitless Dressage weekend.

11th and 12th October 2014. Millwood Rd Huntly (near Bendigo) Saturday will be two 3hr Dressage clinics with equestrian coach Lynn MacIntyre. Sunday will be a Bitless Dressage competition with levels from walk/trot through to level 1. Registration forms and prices will be available soon. Please email me if you would like me to email the information when it is ready. This event was a huge success last year. We are looking forward to another great weekend. Camping is available from Friday night.

Carlos Clinic 

Gentle & Effective Horsemanship Clinic with Carlos Tabernaberri
Saturday 25th and Sunday 26th October, 2014

Private one hour instruction by Carlos, Friday 26th October

Venue :- Kariba Blue – 1355 Dooralong Rd, Dooralong. NSW Central Coast

Looking to establish or build a great relationship with your horse?

Carlos starts and trains horses the gentle way, establishing co-operation through clear communication, understanding and trust. He emphasises teaching practical physical, emotional and mental techniques for dealing with issues like loss of confidence, spooking, bolting or picking up feet for example – issues that may prevent you for having the best relationship with your horse.

Contact: Course Organiser – Virginia Ede, Phone : 0414 696355, Email :

Connected Riding Clinic

Trisha Wren will be here for a clinic again Sat Oct 4 – Mon Oct 6.

Also offering a MID WEEK clinic here as well this time Tue Oct 7 – Thur Oct 9.

Early bird price $380, full price $450. Fence sitting available @ $25 per day or part thereof. Privates offered to anyone who has done a Trisha (or Peggy Cummings) clinic before.

Contact Shaunna O’Grady Ph. 03 5784 9210 or 0412 374 759 or email

Farah DeJohnette Clinic

now confirmed for Sat Nov 8 – Mon Nov 10. Privates avail Tues Nov 11.

This three day clinic is designed for EVERYONE. Whether you are a novice, advanced, pleasure or competing, English or Western you will enjoy and benefit from this clinic.

This year there will also be an Intro Demo on Fri Nov 7, 6pm – 8pm, at Mustard Lowdens Indoor Arena in Kilmore, with special guest horse/human Osteopath Candy Dickson. $15, pay on day. Watch Farah’s facebook page for competition details!

Clinic bookings via Farah’s website .

For enquiries contact Shauna (details above) – (esp. re accommodation, lease horse etc), or contact Farah direct via website or her Facebook page here.

3 day clinic – USD $515.
Private: 1hr $100.00, 1.5hrs $150.00
Fence sit $25 – ‘bring a friend’ discount, 2 for $40

Large Animal Rescue Workshops

Saturday 15 November – Coominya, Queensland. QHC one-day Large Animal Rescue workshop. Cost: $140 (includes morning tea and lunch). Venue: 38 Allambie Road, Coominya, Qld 4311. Contact: Lyndsey Ebdon 0411 285 334

To publish your event for free, please email Cynthia via the contact form on this page or reply to your newsblog email with all the event details in the body of the email (no attached files please).


New Classifieds

Written By: Cynthia - Jul• 29•14


Percheron cross 15.2 to 16 hh gelding or mare to match my Percheron cross Standy gelding in pairs harness. Will be kept bitless and barehoof and asked to share the load of a light wagon. Would like a grey but attitude and temperament are more important. Doesn’t have to be started. Phone Glenn 02 6071 0210


Quest is looking for a special home.

Quest is looking for a special home.

QUEST – I am a very handsome solid black half Friesian cross thoroughbred born on 12th January, 2009 and stand 16 hh. I have been allowed time to mature before being ridden under saddle for the last 3 months. My first few years have been spent with 4 paddock mates who kept me in line. I was trickle weaned at 8 months and played lots of friendly ground games. I have been microchipped andregistered. Everyone who visits, loves me because I am so friendly and cuddly. Recently, I went down south to a finishing boarding school, where my dad, Jakel lives at Rosedale Stud and there was taught new things like being mouthed, ridden up over the hills, move to voice commands etc. I am really eager and love to learn new things.

Though my mum and dad love me very much, it is now time for me to open new horizons with my new loving, natural horsemanship owners. I do need at least one companion horse, to go barefoot trimmed, have people who want to keep me forever, and preferably be able to go bitless. I am really healthy, never worn a rug, had minerals to keep me balanced and been allowed to run in a herd.
If you think you are the right family for me to transfer my affections to whom I can trust and tick all the boxes to allow my parents to let me go with you please give them a call on 041 7274340 or email– –They can tell you lots more information about me and share my growing up pictures. $5,500.00

RURAL property for sale – $559.000


Rural 24 acre property with 3 bedroom, 1 bathroom, 9 yr old house situated in Bondoola only 10km from the beach and Yeppoon. This property is in one of the very popular and sought after areas of the Capricorn Coast. An ideal property on which to grow your own veggies, run the dogs and horses and have the secluded rural atmosphere without any work to do. Owner moving to Townsville.

The property:
• Set on 24 acres of tranquil bush is an immaculately maintained, rendered block, nine year old 3 bedroom 1 bathroom home situated just 10 kms from the beach and the heart of Yeppoon on Central Queensland’s Capricorn Coast.
• Two of the 3 bedrooms have built-in wardrobes and the master bedroom has space for a built-in wardrobe.
• The house has four entrance doors opening onto front and rear verandas that shade the inside of the house and the fifth door that opens onto the fernery, with the many large windows creating an open airy well lit sunny atmosphere to the large open plan living / kitchen / dining area.
• Ceiling fans in each room keep the sunlit rooms cool.
• Security screens are fitted to all doors and windows.
• The kitchen has ample cupboard space with an island bench and overhead lights, electric stove and oven with range hood.
• The bathroom has a white vanity / white toilet and white full size bath with shower with clear glass doors / walls and has a ceiling exhaust fan and ceiling heating lights.
• The house has a TV aerial, electric hot water system, TV and AM/FM radio reception, landline phone, mobile phone reception.
• House yard is double fenced with two secure locked access gates keeping children and pets safely in and the horses and larger animals and wildlife out.
• 2 bores provide ample water for gardening, vegie garden, horses, washing horses, dogs and vehicles etc.
• A rain water tank serves the house with a very large rainwater catchment obtained from the house roof and from the full length front of house veranda and half-length back of house veranda.
• There is a triple carport and a double lock up garage for floats and 4WDs.
• The third council approved shelter will protect and store an 8 meter boat or caravan when you are not out and about enjoying the local beach or camping areas with the boat or van.
• Located 50 meters from the house and currently serving as the stable area is a sealed unlined liveable shed which has large front and rear shelters and an additional small lock up garden shed. The shed has power, water, satellite TV dish and TV aerial, roof whirly bird for ventilation, painted concrete floor, roof height water tank filled from the bore, gravity fed water, kitchen sink, bench and cupboard.
• All buildings are impeccably constructed and council approved.
• Fully fenced currently running 3 horses with all outer boundaries and cross boundaries cleared for fire breaks.
• Daily mail delivery, ERGON supplied electricity, daily school bus, sealed road at front gate.
• Yeppoon shopping and the Yeppoon beaches are located within 10 kms with Coles, Woolworths, Big W and Target plus hospital, medical and health centres, pre, primary and secondary education services and community recreation facilities available.
• Rockhampton is 25 kms via the nearby main Rockhampton – Yeppoon road which is a divided road for approximately 20 kms. The city of Rockhampton provides all services and facilities and several large shopping centres along with Central Queensland University, Central Queensland TAFE and a range of government and private schools, hospitals and many mining and resource sector industries. The property is within a few easy hours drive to many of the Central Queensland region mines.

For photos please go to

Want products your horse will love?

We sell only the best - LightRider Bitless bridles.

We sell only the best – LightRider Bitless bridles.

Natural Horse World Store stocks only ‘horse endorsed’ products that have been tried and tested by Cynthia and her herd, and found to be ‘good for horses’.

Do you ride late in the day and need to cool your sweaty horse, but don’t have time before rugging?
Here’s one customer happy to find that the rubber insulators inside this unique rug have yet another purpose besides allowing the horse to regulate their own temperature:
“Being able to put the CoolHeat on a wet horse post ride is a fabulous advantage, as I usually can’t get away to ride until later in the day. This means I can ride on more days without worrying about a wet horse not drying by nightfall. I also really like the reflective quality of the seams on the edge of the blanket. I am very pleased with the rug on my other horse. No shifting so far and I sleep so much better when it’s cold and raining outside, knowing he’s wearing his Cool Heat.” Debby.

We now have new stocks of the Coolheat Rug and many other great products in the store.

The Coolheat Rug has several unique benefits.

The Coolheat Rug has several unique benefits.

To include your classified ad in the next news blog, please email all the details and 1 photo to Cynthia. 


The Correct Way to Use Slow Feeders

Written By: Cynthia - Jun• 17•14

by Juliet M. Getty, Ph.D.

Forage is the foundation of every equine’s diet and needs to flow steadily through the digestive tract. Gaps without forage can lead to ulcers, colic, behavioral issues, stall vices, gorging, choke, cribbing, and even laminitis. Truly, the only way to avoid these problems is to allow your horse steady access to forage, free-choice, all day and all night.

Responding to this inherent need is the slow-feeder industry. The purpose of this article is to provide a clear understanding of slow-feeders and how they can be used safely and effectively. There are many styles and types from which to choose. The best approach is to contact several manufacturers to see which product best meets your horses’ needs.

The purpose of a slow-feeding system is to simulate grazing. Horses in a natural setting eat small amounts of forage as they wander in search of the next tasty morsel. They eat virtually all day and night, taking time to socialize and rest every so often for a few minutes at a time. When they know that they always have access to forage, they become calm and relaxed, rest more often, and walk away from their hay, knowing that it will still be there when they return. In other words, they “self-regulate” and eat only what they need to maintain a healthy body condition.

Forage restriction is incredibly stressful. Why should this matter? Because stress causes the release of the hormone cortisol, which in turn leads to elevated insulin. When insulin is high, it tells the body to store fat. Your goal? Get rid of the stress. Feed an appropriate forage (low in sugar and starch) free-choice and allow the horse to tell you how much he needs. There are some horses, however, who gain weight very quickly when given forage free-choice. The reason has to do with the sluggish metabolic rate they’ve developed over time. When forage is parceled out only a few times a day, the horse responds by going into “survival mode,” where his metabolic rate significantly slows down in an attempt to conserve body fat. A cycle of ever-increasing obesity is created that can be reversed only through exercise and removing the hormonal fat-storing response that forage restriction creates.

Slow-feeders, when used properly, are an excellent way to do reduce stress. As their name suggests, they slow down the rate of consumption by providing hay through small openings. When slow feeders are kept full, they allow the horse to graze whenever he wants, thereby encouraging the horse to eat less and still have free access to forage.

Ad lib hay in a slowfeed net is a great place to start.

Ad lib hay in a slowfeed net is a great place to start.

The best approach is feeding off the ground.

Chewing with the head low is more in line with the horse’s natural physiology, creating even pressure on the teeth and allowing the jaw bone to move freely in all directions. Furthermore, the muscles, joints, tendons, ligaments and bone structure are not stressed when horses can grab hay in a straight downward motion. Eating with their heads down also protects their eyes and respiratory tract against mold spores and dust and provides for better nasal drainage.

How to start

Use at least two feeders per horse and place them as far apart as possible. Even if your horse is in a stall or small paddock, place one on either end of the area. Many slow-feeders made of hard material can accommodate two or possibly three horses at a time, but it is preferable to have more feeders to encourage movement, satisfy the horse’s natural curiosity, and minimize squabbles among herd members.

Gradually allow your horse to become accustomed to this method of feeding by placing some hay in the feeder as well as loose on the ground next to it. After a few days, most horses will get the hang of the slow-feeder. Some take longer, so don’t force the issue; let your horse get used to it at his own pace.

If your feeder contains a grate, leave it off for a few days as your horse becomes familiar with lowering his head inside the feeder. Once you add the grate, pull hay through the openings to help get him started.

Supervise your horse during this period, watching for signs of frustration. Frustration is a form of stress and needs to be avoided.

Types of slow-feeders


Hay nets are not the same as slow-feeder nets. Hay nets typically have very large openings, in which your horse can easily become tangled. Slow-feeder nets provide openings that are much smaller. I recommend 1.5 to 1.75 inches for a full-sized horse; anything smaller may cause undo frustration; fatigue can also set in, causing the horse to stop eating.

On the other hand, if the hole is too large, the horse will typically eat as much as if the hay were loose on the ground. Researchers at the University of Minnesota** demonstrated that horses took longer to consume their hay as the hole size was decreased. Therefore, it is best to choose a hole size that will slow down feeding but not so small that it induces exasperation.

It is best to purchase one from a reputable manufacturer rather than try to make your own. Cheaper fabrics can unravel and break, potentially damaging teeth and worse, tragically leading to colic if your horse swallows fibers. Commercial products are made from heavy duty fabrics that resist tearing and fraying, and provide safety features as well as customer support.

Advantages of slow-feeder nets:

  • They come in a variety of sizes that can hold a few flakes, a whole bale, or even an entire round bale.
  • There is flexibility in mounting them. Many can be attached to a wall, tree, or sturdy post at a low level. Some are designed to be on the ground, allowing the horse to eat in a more natural position.

Potential problems:

If there is room behind the bag, the horse could potentially get his head caught. If the fabric tears, a foot could get tangled in the net.
If the horse is shod, the net must be secured within a bin; you can also hang them high enough to prevent a shoe or nail from snagging on to the netting but this will create an awkward eating position.
If laid on the ground, they must either be totally loose (expect them to get dirty) or be securely mounted so the horse cannot get a foot or his head caught below the feeder.
If dangled from a tree or post, it can quickly become a source of frustration as it sways with every attempt to get a bite of hay. This can defeat your purpose in regulating consumption. Furthermore, if the horse were to rear near a feeder hanging from a tree or placed high in a stall, he could trap a hoof.
They need to be refilled frequently (unless a whole bale size is chosen). Horses who run out of hay (even for 10 minutes) will never get the message that hay is always there and will not self-regulate.

The Natural Feeder

The Natural Feeder

Hard slow-feeders

The best ones are made of sturdy plastic or hard rubber that will not crack in very hot or cold temperatures and can withstand the abuse of being kicked or stepped on. Avoid wooden feeders. You might be tempted to build your own by placing a steel grid on top or on open sides of a container. This can create several hazards:

  • There is high potential for sharp edges.
  • Clips can get caught on halters or catch an ear or eyelid.
  • Grids can tilt.
  • Shod horses can trap a foot on the metal openings.
  • Metal grates can damage teeth; horses can even get a tooth caught in this type of grid.
  • Grated vertical sides force the horse to turn his head sideways, which leads to neck strain.

Here again, choose a reputable manufacturer. Common styles include:

The hay basket — consists of a round metal frame which holds a removable plastic basket with large slats to allow for drainage. Since the basket does not sit on the ground, the hay stays dryer.
Barrel or box type feeders — these are well received by many horses; however, some horses find lowering their head inside a container to be mentally uncomfortable. Nevertheless, it is better to choose one that sits on the ground rather than forcing your horse to pull hay out from the bottom of a barrel that is hung. Make sure the openings are large enough and preferably rounded to prevent damage to the horse’s mouth and teeth.

Quality hard slow-feeders offer several advantages:

  • They allow the horse to eat with their heads in a natural position.
  • They are easy to fill with hay.
  • Feeding can be shared with more than one horse.
  • Dust and dirt tends to flow to the bottom.

Bottom line

When given the chance, horses will self-regulate their intake of forage. We can encourage this grazing behavior through the use of slow-feeders. Using them correctly, respecting the horse’s need to graze at ground level, will help give your horse the opportunity to enjoy a healthy life and be more of what he was meant to be – a horse.

**Gluck, E.C., Hathaway, M.R., Weber, W.J., Sheaffer, C.C., Martinson, K.L. 2014. The effect of hay net design on rate of forage consumption when feeding adult horses, Journal of Equine Veterinary Science, doi: 10.1016/j.jevs.2014.05.006.


For permission to reprint this article, please contact Dr. Getty at

For more on stress and forage restriction, please read these two articles:
(1) Restricting Forage is Incredibly Stressful

(2) Bring Back the Horse’s Instincts


Feed Your Horse Like A Horse
will bring a lifetime of health to your horse.

Dr. Getty’s comprehensive reference continues to enlighten horse owners to ways of feeding in sync with their horse’s instincts and innate physiology. Order Here

June special offers

Written By: Cynthia - Jun• 17•14

Haysaver Tough Nets June Bonus

Round Bale Haysaver Net

Round Bale Haysaver Net

Save hay this winter!

For the rest of June 2014, when you buy a Haysaver Round Bale net, or over $120 of other Haysaver Tough nets, you’ll receive a bonus mini tough net (value $29.95) that holds 2-3 biscuits of hay. Ideal for the float, or to hang when tacking up, grooming and teaching to tie, or in any situation where you want some portable hay. Tough nets are also suitable for Alpaca, sheep, goats, and other hay munching livestock/pets.

Haysaver nets can take the tough ones on!

Haysaver nets can take the tough ones on!

Our nets are the original and the best.

“Really Great Haynet! 

I purchased the 6cm hay net for round bales for winter feeding (did not want to slow down the horses’ intake too much over the winter -we are in Canada), but wanted to reduce waste.
This is really a great product! I also have the 4cm net for summer feeding. Love these haynets – they are great!” Kerry in Canada.

” Easy to use and saved a lot of hay! Simple to put on the bale, seems quite heavy duty, horses certainly had to work harder to get the hay out, there was a noticeable drop in hay consumption.” Emma.

“Save on feed and vet bills! Having used the hay saver net before but only for my fat ponies I now use it for all my horses. Recently a horse cut her eye on the hay because the best hay is always in the middle of the bale. I have spent a-lot of money trying to save her eye. Now every horse on the place is only allowed to eat with a hay saver net so no more hay diving and all eyes are safe.” Kim B. Victoria.

Read more about How to use Slowfeeders here.

Learn Equine Reiki

Hello dear Horse Lover and -Professional!

Last call to take the opportunity to follow your heart and make a difference!

How often have you wished you could support your (or any other) horse in healing and being his or her best in health and in riding or performing?!

Equine Reiki offers you a powerful healing and heart connection you have not experienced before – and horses absolutely loooove it! You can use Equine Reiki anytime and anywhere on a personal or professional level. It’s easy to learn and you can never unlearn it, even when not practised for a while.

The upcoming 2-day Course June 28 & 29 teaches you how to use this wonderful healing modality, specifically on horses but also on other animals and humans, including yourself. For a detailed course outline and further info visit:

There are only a few spaces left and you need to register by June 18. You can sign up here: or phone Sonja. Payment plans are available. For those coming from out of town, accommodation is available at the venue.

I also still have one fully sponsored space available for any horse or animal rescue organisation volunteer! Please forward to anyone you think may be interested. The extensive manual, course, accommodation, food, certification… all of it is paid for!

With cheers and in the hope you’ll take this opportunity to make this world a better place for our horses – and for ourselves.

Sonja Ph. 02 4938 5756 or 0435 776 985

Top 5 tips for Responsibly Rugging your horse

Written By: Cynthia - May• 22•14

Rugging or blanketing horses is something I don’t generally advocate, but there are times when it is necessary. An old, thin or sick horse, or a horse with no shelter from wind and rain will benefit from the ‘moving shelter’ of a rug.
Likewise, a horse that reacts to fly bites will be more comfortable with a light summer rug during the worst periods.

The Coolheat Rug has several unique benefits.

The Coolheat Rug has several unique benefits.

Here are my top five tips for responsibly rugging your horse:

  1. Only rug your horse if you really have to –  horses and ponies in good condition really don’t need a rug unless they are clipped, or being prepared for the show season.
    If you need to use a rug to turn out a sweaty horse after exercise, choose one that will allow them to cool down and dry properly like the Cool Heat Rug which has unique rubber fingers to hold the rug off the horse which allows the air to circulate and the hair to dry.
  2. Always remove the rug daily to check for rubs and allow your horse to have a scratch, a roll or groom them. If it’s not raining, or forecast to, remove the rug for the day and replace it at night when temperatures drop below 10 degrees C.
    It’s ok to leave the rug off for a few days when the weather is warmer and there’s no rain – fortunately, horses are not made of sugar and will not melt when they get wet!
  3. The new improved Cool Heat Rug.

    The new improved Cool Heat Rug fits better and is more comfortable for the horse.

    Choose a rug with good breathe-ability and a temperature control aide such as the Cool Heat Rug. Too much poly fill will make the horse overheat. A canvas rug will also breathe better than some synthetic rugs, especially if lined with a natural wool blanket. The more rugs you put on your horse, the harder they are to maintain. Neck rugs and hoods need to be checked several times a day to ensure they don’t slip over the horse’s head or eyes. It’s better to not use them than risk permanent injury.

  4. Make sure the rug  fits well – it shouldn’t pull at, or rub the shoulders or wither and adjust the straps so they aren’t too tight or too loose. Use a rug bib to protect the shoulders from rubbing. When a horse lies down it needs a bit of room to ‘expand’ into the belly and leg straps. Back leg straps are best looped through each other, and all clips should be facing towards the horse so they don’t get caught on a fence.
  5. Keep a spare rug and a bottle of Tearmender on hand so that if you have several wet days you can replace a saturated rug, or quickly mend a torn one.
Many horses suffer from over-rugging.

Many horses suffer from over-rugging.

Keep in mind that horses have survived for millions of years without the need for man-made rugs to protect them from weather. They have the wonderful ability to grow a thick coat with hairs that stand up to trap air for warmth and lie flat when its hot.

What they can’t do so easily is remove their rugs when they are over-heating, or when they are itchy and suffering from rubbing and pressure. It’s up to us to rug our horses responsibly, and not just because we are feeling cold.

For more on this subject read ‘Should I Rug My Horse or Not?’  and Equiculture’s article on rugging by Jane Myers.

May Classified Ads

Written By: Cynthia - May• 22•14
Horse Agistment at Scenic Equine

Horse Agistment at Scenic Equine

Horse Agistment services in Sydney NSW

Scenic Equine is a horse agistment property situated on 500 acres of land in Denham Court NSW, which is only a 40 minute drive from Sydney CBD. Open from dawn to dask, with quality staff on-site 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The staff have 50 years combined experience in the horse industry and pride themselves on quality care and service. Looking for a farm to provide care for your horse? To find out more information, visit

Handy Hoof Pick only $2.95

Handy Hoof Pick Free with a coupon in May.

Handy Hoof Pick Free with a coupon in May.

New in the Natural Horse World Store and free with all orders using this coupon code in May: Hoofpick1 (remember to add the hoofpick to your order).

These are the handiest hoof pick to have around.

Designed to pick, scrape and brush your horse’s hooves and keep your hoof boots clean – great for your own boots too.


  • a sturdy metal pick,
  • a nice hard brush to get rid of  dirt,
  • a flat scraper for mud caked on the hoof wall.

 Farm property for sale.

Property For Sale in NSW

Property For Sale in NSW

Can you see you and your horses living here?

Price: $1,700,000

Want a beautiful, amazing horse property in the picturesque Yarramalong Valley. Near Wyong, NSW

All ready for you to move in with your herd of horses.

Large paddocks, to run horses as a herd with post and top wooden rail fencing. Or smaller paddocks for single horses. Trees planted for shelter and water troughs with permanent water supply from Wyong Creek. Exercise paddock that can double as an arena.

55 acres with enough pasture to run cattle for paddock rotation and worm control.

Can you see yourself living here?

Can you see yourself living here?

Architecturally designed home with main house, studio and garage and separate tact room and feed room. House only 4 years old. Large machinery shed that could be converted to horse stables and shelters. Two separate titles allowing you to sell or build on the second lot.

Owner moving to Queensland. Call Lynn 0418 446 666 or Ron 0409 446 666.

Coolheat Rugs back in stock.

Just in time for the winter, this innovative horse rug designed by Dave MacDonald, inventor of the Old Mac Hoof boots, is now available again from the Natural Horse World Store. The new improved design offers 1200 denier ripstop fabric that is waterproof yet breathable.

The new improved Coolheat Rug is back in stock.

The new improved Coolheat Rug is back in stock.

The soft ‘rubber insulators’ on the underside of the blanket allow the horse’s hair to stand up, trapping air to warm up, or lay down to cool itself, making this rug one of the healthiest and most comfortable for your horse.  My 3 old horses love the freedom of movement in their rugs that are like ‘portable shelters’. The shoulder gussett is placed in just the right way to stop rubbing, and the neck is cut high so no pulling down on the withers.

This updated design features strong elastic in the leg straps with clips at both ends for easy removal, and clips on the chest straps for quick fastening, that naturally face the horse so no accidental clipping onto the wire fence.

At $220 including postage within Australia, this rug is the best investment that will last for years. My original 600D Coolheat rugs from 5 years ago are still quite serviceable despite being well mended. Get yours now before stocks run out!

Read about Responsible Rugging here.

Got something to sell, give away or want to buy?
If you would like to advertise here please send all the details via the contact form on this page or email Cynthia.  This service is free to all News Blog subscribers.