Tom McEwen – Preparing a horse for the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials

Training and preparing the event horse takes time, precision and dedication. Dodson & Horrell Brand Ambassador Tom McEwen is no stranger to this, with a string of talented horses, Tom has qualified not just one, but two horses for the world’s premier 3-Day-Event, the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials taking place at the Badminton Estate (2-6 May 2018). 

Europe’s leading equine feed manufacturer, Dodson & Horrell, works closely with Tom to ensure that his horses are being given the right feed in order that they can perform at their very best. We caught up with Tom to find out how he is preparing his horses for this special event.  

Tom’s 2018 Mitsubishi Motors Badminton horses are:

Strike Smartly, also known as Paddy, is an 11 year old, 16.3hh grey gelding by Ghareeb, owned by Fred & Penny Barker. 

Toledo de Kerser (Toledo) is also 11 years old, 16.1hh bay gelding by Diamant De Semmilly, owned By Jane Inns, Alison McEwen & Tom McEwen

Training for Badminton 

“Both horses only had a short three week break at the end of last year at Penny, Paddy’s owners house, they then came back into work for a couple of weeks walking then building up slowly – there’s no need to rush.  We are really lucky and have a gallop only 10 minutes away from the yard. Since January they have been galloping as part of their hack and the canter work builds up as well, so they aren’t going from 0 – 100 and the hacks get longer as part of that.  They have been galloping twice a week since mid-February and then in March they have been working at an even faster pace.”

It’s all in the detail

“I have been to a few two-day training sessions at Addington and Unicorn Equestrian Trust which included dressage sessions with Angela Tucker and Ferdi Eilberg, showjump and cross country tuition with British Eventing Team’s High Performance Coach, Chris Bartle. We have also had rider positional analysis and a dressage saddle check with Gill Watson, Kate Davis, Russell Guire and Mark Fisher. Gill Waston has also given sessions on lunging methods and training benefits. Liz Brown (Vet) and Pippa Bennett (Doctor) and Ashlee Bryne (Lead Physiotherapist) were also on site looking at our horses and providing support and advice.”

Pre-Badminton runs 

“Paddy is better going to a big show fresh and Toledo tends to just need a run closer to the event, so they only have a couple of preparation runs before Badminton and then normally one bigger run just beforehand. However, with the weather this year we have only run at Great Witchingham and then both horses will run at Belton in the Advanced for Toledo & CIC*** Paddy. I will then plan to run Toledo at Bicton International Horse Trials – just for fun!”

Fuelling Toledo and Paddy

“Ensuring that my horses are being fed correctly is crucial to our performance. We have a simple feeding system and have worked closely with Dodson & Horrell’s Performance Horse Specialist, Amie Hicks to establish a regime.”

“Both horses are fed on a ¾ scoop of Dodson & Horrell’s Fibre Fusion, ¾ scoop of Dodson & Horrell’s new Elite Sport Muesli and a cup of balancer twice a day. All our horses are fed ad lib hay and are fed at 7.00am and 5.00pm.”

Final preparations before the big day 

“Now Paddy and Toledo are very fit and well, so I won’t change anything in the lead up. We will just keep a very close eye on them in case we notice anything out of the ordinary. Luckily for us, we aren’t very far away from Badminton so from a travelling point of view they aren’t affected, we take everything with us as well, so there is no change in their diet. Badminton is a big occasion, so we will keep in touch with Amie in the lead up to ensure they are getting everything that they need from a nutritional point of view.”

Best of luck to Tom, Paddy and Toledo! 

No matter what level you are working towards, if it’s your first BE80T or you are preparing for four star level, Dodson & Horrell is ready to help you find a feeding regime for your horse that’s suits his/her nutritional requirements.  For further information please visit the website or call the free helpline on +44 (0) 845 345 2627 to speak to one of the expert nutritionists.

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