If you’ve seen the imagery from our most recent shoots, you’ll see we were lucky enough to meet the wonderful Friesian stallion Thomas. He has become a huge face on our pages, showcasing our brand new Vega phone pocket riding leggings, as well as our Vivendi Apparel compression leggings in our most classic colours. These images of the beautiful black friesian stallion are nothing short of incredible but it’s not just the beautiful boy in front of the lens that blew us away, as we were lucky enough to meet Kimry, Thomas’ owner.
Kimry spent quite some time prepping Thomas, ensuring he was Vivendi Apparel photoshoot ready and boy did she do an incredible job.
But Kimry isn’t just Thomas’ owner. She also happens to be an equine Vet too. With that in mind, we thought it only fair to pick her brains, not only about her stunning equine friend but her favourite top tips for this winter. We might be super protected in our thermal compression wear, but what about our horses and ponies?
Hi Kimry, we really loved our shoot with you and were absolutely blown away by Thomas. What a beautiful boy he is. We couldn’t however, let you get away without featuring you on our blog and fingers crossed, getting some fab advice from you, considering you’re a vet! So let’s begin shall we?
Jenni: How long have you owned Thomas? And could you tell us a bit about his personality?
Kimry: We bought Thomas in Sept 2019 with the intention of standing him at stud. We wanted to offer something different to the Friesian market in the UK. Just ask Beth (Vivendi Apparel’s Founder & Designer who orchestrated the photoshoot), he is such a sweet, loving cheeky chap. There’s no malice in him whatsoever. My 4 year old daughter rides him around the show ground car parks when we’re out competing; he’s just a little lamb.
He’s pretty happy being stabled next to mares and loves a foal too, having real cuddling sessions with them. He does anything for food though. He follows his tummy. He loves attention, cuddles, grooming and just pretty much loves everyone.
J: What drew you to Friesians and what makes them so incredibly special?
K:I grew up in the Netherlands and part of my family is from Friesland - I’m not personally from Friesland, I’m from a neighbouring county. My parents had a friesian stud too, so I’ve grown up around the breed and always ridden them, from the age of 12 to 13. I get on with the breed so well. I’ve always had ponies and warmbloods but I just click with the friesian so much better than other breeds. They’re very trainable and very amendable.
I feel they have a very human-centred personality too, and really bond with their humans. They’re stunning to look at, and really draw the attention of anyone around them. They drew me in as a child and it’s been that way ever since.
J: Being a vet, does it make ownership easier? Or actually does it make it more difficult as you’re now acutely aware of what can happen/go wrong?
K: I guess it does make it easier for me as I will do a lot of things that will prevent injuries that others may not. I might also spot irregularities a lot quicker, which helps me out hugely. I’ll then be able to determine the appropriate treatment much quicker. So it definitely makes things easier for me.
I also own another youngster which I’m hoping to bring on to stud as well as a brood mare who’ll be going into foal to Thomas this coming year too - being a vet, I can cut out a lot of costs in that respect.
J: We’re coming into the real bitter winter now! What’s your top time saving tip?
K: I’m not really sure what my top time saving tip is to be honest or whether I have an actual time saving tip.
Perhaps, try to avoid getting lured into a hot drink with the yard owner haha! If you’re anything like me, you’ll find yourself chatting away for hours instead of actually getting jobs done.
I guess something that saves me time is ensuring I’m ready. I like to get what I can prepped ready, to make things as easy as possible, so for instance competing; I like to have him prepped the night before. It’s the same for work really, I like to have the car ready with all my equipment for the next day - so all I need to do is flick a brush over Thomas or grab a coffee and go.
J: What’s a common equine condition or injury you come across during winter months the most?
K: I think the most common condition in winter is colic and especially impactions; basically where the large colon gets impacted with fibrous material. That most commonly is related to decreased exercise which typically happens in the winter. The turnout gets reduced or the exercise is reduced thanks to rain or thunder. The horse’s guts work when they’re moving, so when they’re stood still, their guts slow down so if they have reduced movement, it isn’t great for the gut. It’s so important to keep them moving, even if there’s no turnout, I can’t emphasise enough the importance of exercising them. Whether that’s riding or going for a gentle in-hand walk around the yard - it’s so so important. If you have access to a walker or an indoor arena, just keep them moving moving moving. Horses at stand still just get so many problems.
I also notice horses stop drinking, or at least drink a lot less as the temperatures change. I think horses aren’t huge fans of extremely cold water or sudden temperature changes. This can lead to dehydration, which in turn again can lead to impaction colics and other displacements.
It’s so important to keep tabs on your horses drinking, so add a kettle of boiling water to your horses water buckets if you can to take the chill off it. Another great way to encourage them to drink is to add shredded apple or carrot, or even offer a bucket of electrolytes when you get those drops in temperatures.
Another hugely common problem we find during the winter, and it may surprise you, is over-rugging. People tend to treat horses like humans and think, ‘well I’m cold so they must be’ but that isn’t the case. Our comfort temperature (basically defined as the temp for humans that we don’t need to sweat or shiver) is around the 19-23 degree Celsius mark. In horses however, it’s between -5 and 15 degrees Celsius. Horses in 5 degree weather are still not cold. Of course, there are numerous factors to consider, such as whether you’ve let them grow a winter coat, whether they have shelter from wind and rain, constant forage etc. They don’t tend to get cold until about -5 which to them feels like 15 degrees Celsius feels to us. It’s important to have a decent rug that protects them from wet and wind but actual liners, I’d be very cautious with that. They don’t necessarily need it.
My main reason for rugging Thomas is to stop him from growing that thick a winter coat, so he isn’t sweating heavily when worked. He’s only in a 200g rug at the moment. Funny story actually. About 7-8 years ago, I was asked to visit a pony who was severely laminitic. He looked a really odd shape so I asked them to de-rug because he was so sore, and I wanted to take a closer look. We went from a turnout rug to a duvet, to another duvet to a fleece - this tiny welsh section A was rugged up to its eyeballs. When the rugs were off, it was actually able to move around a million times easier. It definitely had a problem but a great deal of that went away as each rug lifted haha.
J: What are your top tips for keeping condition on a horse during winter? Any products you recommend?
K: Overall, ensure your horse has a good health status. Make sure going into winter that they’re fit and well. Make sure they have a good health check before the winter sets in so teeth etc. Give them plenty of roughage i.e. hay and haylage. Having their teeth checked will ensure they can get as much nutrients as possible out of their roughage too.
You should also ensure they’re up to date on their vaccinations, to prevent any viruses like influenza. Make sure they always have shelter from wind and rain and if you have an older horse, make sure they have no underlining health conditions like cushings etc. If the horse isn’t healthy it’s not going to put weight on - it’s as simple as that.
J: What are your plans for Thomas in 2022?
K: The plan for Thomas in 2022? Well, he will be available for stud at the Pottofields Stud for both fresh and chilled. We’re currently also looking at getting a small stash of frozen that we can ship further afield, however this isn’t confirmed yet. If the demand was there however, it’s something we could likely arrange at short notice. In terms of his dressage career; we’re hoping for him to compete in the winter regionals, and then ideally I’d like to be competing him at medium by the summer. I might pop a few shows in there. I’m not sure where but we might pop in a few shows, if we think it’s worthwhile. Right now however, the focus is definitely on his dressage career.
J: What’s your favourite Vivendi Apparel piece?
K: I think my personal favourite of Vivendi Apparel is anything with the classic Black and Gold colouring. I love it so much and think it looks stunning on a horse like Thomas. It just looks so beautiful, it’s so classy. Black is black and luxury on its own but add the touch of gold and it’s pure class; absolutely stunning. I’d love to see the Black and Gold range expanded further, it’s just beautiful.
We’d like to say a huge thanks to Kimry for taking the time to join us in this interview and we cannot wait to get back out to Thomas and Kimry for our next shoot. If you’d like to follow Thomas and Kimry’s journey, make sure you check them out via their links below.
Thomas is on Facebook and Instagram
Facebook - Thomas H - Friesian Stallion
Instagram - @thomas_friesianstallion
My vets page is New Generation Vets (FB)
Pottofields is on Instagram
Instagram - @pottofields_stud