Pool House Vets – Question & Answer by Gil Riley – 28th September 6.30pm

Pool House Vets –  Question & Answer by Gil Riley – 28th September 6.30pm

Question and answer session by Gil Riley Pool House Vets on 28th September at 6.30pm at Court Bank Farm.

Gil has very kindly offered to come and spend some of his time with us on Thursday 28th September. Therefore this talk gives us the opportunity to ask any questions related to the health and care of our horses. Gil is a senior partner at Pool House Vets and in 2009 was named Petplan Equine Vet of the Year.  Gil is very familiar with Court Bank Farm and he knows our horses and ponies very well. He will be able to give us some very good friendly advice and I am very much looking forward to the evening. This talk is open to everyone and while Gil’s time is extremely limited, we should make the most of this opportunity. 

Gil Riley Pool House Vets Coming to Court Bank Farm to Do a Winter Talk

Cakes and refreshments will be provided as usual for Gil Riley Pool House Vets questions and answers talk. Due to the high demand for our delicious cakes we recommend getting there early to avoid disappointment. 

home made cakes

Some examples of popular questions especially relevant to the welfare of our horses that we could ask Gil Riley Pool House Vets:  

Should we clip?

When should we clip?

Does my horse need a rug?

How can I limit respiratory problems during the Winter? 

Is it advisable to give my horse ‘down time’ during the Winter months?

What should I be feeding during the Winter months?

Should I treat my senior horse differently to a youthful horse?

How can I prevent my horse from getting mud fever?

What is the best way to treat my horse with mud fever?

Should I hose off the mud in the Winter or let it dry?

These are just some of the questions that we can ask Gil and hopefully we can enjoy the winter months. 

We look forward to seeing you all at the Gil Riley Pool House Vets talk on the 28th September at 6.30pm.

Further more we hope there is a good turn out just like the ride safe talk from the British Horse Society back in August 2017. For more information on the ride safe talk we did back in August please click here.



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Hacking On Cannock Chase & Gentleshaw Common

Hacking On Cannock Chase & Gentleshaw

hacking out on the chase 2 minute hack from court bank farm



In recent years, the BHS has become aware of a great increase in dog attacks on horses – not just on loose horses in fields, but also on those being ridden or driven.

The problem: predator meets prey. It’s that simple.

We don’t think of our lovable companions as either predator or prey, but it is fact that dogs by nature are predatory animals and equines are prey. Today, both species offer companionship and enjoy leisure activities with their owners, meaning they need to exist together and use common areas for exercise. 

Unfortunately, for a variety of reasons, instinct sometimes takes over both horses and dogs, resulting in unwanted behaviour. The consequences for both animals and their handlers or owners can be at best distressing and at worst fatal.


Understanding why dogs chase

Chasing is in a dog’s instinct, just like flight is instinctive to horses. It is how they have survived, passed on the genes, evolved and come to exist today. Today’s dogs may not chase with aggression or biting in mind but the horse doesn’t know this and their reaction will be the same.

Dogs are not direct descendants of the modern day wolf we know of today; both the dog (Canis Familiaris) and the modern wolf (Canis Lupus) are descended from a common ancestor. Dogs have inherited a chain of behaviours from their wild fore bearers, which has seven stages in its fullest form:

Orient – Eye – Stalk – Chase – Bite kill – Bite dissect – Eat

Specific aspects of this chain have been honed (hypertrophied) through selective breeding in different types of dogs to meet the needs of man. Dogs could then assist and ‘work’ for the human.

Today, the number of dogs kept for a specific role have declined and a large number of dogs are now kept as pets, but their instincts are still there. It’s useful to consider what the dog’s role would have been, and subsequently what behaviours would have been honed within the breed to for human needs. This will help the owner understand and, ultimately, train the dog.

Understanding why a horse will run

Horses are flight animals because, historically, they were prey. The instinct to flee from any kind of threat is ingrained and very difficult for a rider to influence. A horse can’t distinguish whether the dog is being playful or otherwise, so the horse’s reaction will be the same. 

If the horse can’t escape from the threat, they’ll attempt to defend themselves with their hooves, which may have steel shoes attached. If a dog is caught by one of these flying hooves, they could be seriously injured or killed. The rider may be limited as to how much control they have over such a powerful animal in a state of fear; the horse will be fighting back in the only way it knows how.

It’s possible to train horses to accept dogs but it takes time and patience, like any aspect of training a horse.

Horse riders should always slow to a walk to pass dogs so they don’t incite the chase instinct in the dog.

Take a look at our leaflet, produced in conjunction with The Association of Chief Police Officers and The Blue Cross. Called ‘Look at it from my point of view’, it aims to explain each animal’s reactions and gives advice on how to use common exercise areas and pass each other as safely as possible.

If you’re attacked

Should the worst happen and you’re attacked by a dog while riding, you should try to:

After the event:





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Pole & Small Course Clinic – Sunday – September 17th

Pole & Small Course Clinic –  Sunday  September 17th    12pm – 4pm



Pole & small course clinic at Court Bank Farm by Natalie Vale who is qualified to UKCC Level 2.

Natalie has a thoroughbred gelding called Rash Promise who is 15 years young that she has owned for 2 years. Rash previously raced and evented and now has a quieter life enjoying dressage at prelim and novice level.


Natalie has been busy this summer holiday teaching with the Pony Club, she also helped with our Ride Safe Demonstration on our last visit from the British Horse Society.


Natalie feels that the main building blocks to riding is the riders position and having confidence in their own ability. Therefore, her teaching methods and how her lessons are structured develops this in both horse and rider but the main aim is to have an enjoyable and relaxed lesson whilst allowing the rider to feel that they have progressed at their own pace.


Natalie is hoping to be able to run these classes on a regular basis therefore allowing progression within your work and to give you something to aim for long term and to develop a repour with Natalie. She is also available for private or group lessons. 


Natalie Vale instructor court Bank Farm

Natalie Vale riding Rash ex race horse


Pole and small course clinic – Sunday September 17th    12pm – 4pm

Lead Rein to 90 cms

A clinic to develop horse and rider balance and rhythm and therefore confidence over ground poles and fences.

Ground poles and raised poles to help improve your horse’s balance, engagement, core strength, suppleness and straightness, and rider’s position and confidence. Moving on to a course of 6 fences focusing on lines rhythm and balance around the course.


There will be 4 groups or if you wish there is the opportunity for private sessions.

Lead rein and just off – ground poles and jumps as low as we can get them.

Novices – Jumps up to 50 cms

Intermediate – Jumps up to 60 cms

Advanced – Jumps 80 – 90 cms


Private £25 – 45 minutes

Groups of 2  £20 – 45 minutes

Groups of 3  £15 

Groups of 4  £10

Lead rein £10  –  for 30 minute session

Arrive earlier or stay after and enjoy a complimentary cup of tea and a slice of cake.

Please contact Natalie on 07476633806 to book.





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Ride Safe Award – British Horse Society

Ride Safe Award – British Horse Society Wednesday 16th August at 6.30pm at Court Bank Farm


Ride Safe British Horse Society


Here is a little more information about our Ride Safe evening on Wednesday 16th August at 6.30 pm by the British Horse society. 

Following the launch of The British Horse Society’s (BHS) Dead or Dead Slow campaign, which highlights the dangers that riders face every day on Britain’s roads, the Society (17 July) has launched its Ride Safe Award. which Court Bank Farm are taking part in and are lucky enough to have the British Horse Society visit us. 

Ride Safe has been designed to help riders feel safer and more confident when riding out on the road and beyond.The award is the equivalent of the cycling industry’s Bikeablity certificate, and has been endorsed by The Department for Transport’s Think campaign which helps vulnerable road users.

To officially launch the new award, Sports Broadcaster, Lizzie Greenwood-Hughes and 18-year-old International Dressage Champion, Phoebe Peters took part in a Ride Safe demonstration to show the importance of being confident when riding out. (as per photograph)

The British Horse Society’s Director of Safety, Alan Hiscox said, “Ride Safe is the foundation of the BHS’ new Equine Excellence Pathway, aimed at all riders, of any age and ability. Just like the Bikeablity certificate, we want to encourage all horse riders to take the award before they go out on the road”.


Court Bank Farm want all our horses and liveries to be safe on the roads and we hope you will all attend this evening which should be really enjoyable.

Please don’t forget to put you name on the list for me so that we can cater for you all. friends and family are most welcome. 


We do need two guinea pigs too! (horses and riders)  Please do let us know if you are willing to participate and help. 



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Time Confirmed For The British Horse Society – Ride Safe

The British Horse Society – Ride Safe talk on the 16th August

Time confirmed

The time has been confirmed at 6.30pm with the Ride Safe Demonstration starting at 7.30pm in the menage.

We need two volunteers along with their horses to help with the demonstration.

If any body would like to volunteer please do let Andy, Viv or Holly know.

Click here to view the link to the ride safe campaign


British Horse Society Time Confirmed For Ride Safe Visit

British Horse Society Ride Safe


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Court Bank Farm, Slang Lane, Cannock Wood, Rugeley, Staffordshire, WS15 4RY