Posted on April 5th, 2018

Belton International Horse Trials: Amputee jockey Guy Disney and Olympic champion Ginny Elliot in attendance

Eventing and racing enthusiasts will have a chance to get up close and personal with amputee jockey Captain Guy Disney and four-time Olympic medallist Ginny Elliot in Lincolnshire next weekend.

Leading equine and bloodstock insurance broker Lycetts is hosting Q&As with Elliot and Disney at the Belton International Horse Trials, which runs from 13th – 15th April.

Elliot, a British horse rider well-known in the world of eventing, was the 1986 World Champion and three-time Individual European Champion (1985, 1987, 1989). She also won two World team golds (1982 and 1986) and four European team golds (1981, 1985–89).

A four-time Olympic medallist, she won Individual bronze and team silver in both 1984 and 1988. From 2008 to 2013, she was the manager of the Irish eventing team.

Elliot, who competed as Ginny Leng, will be joining Lycetts and The Horsepower Club at Lycetts’ Marquee for a talk and Q&A on Saturday 14th April at 2pm.

Disney, a former army officer who lost the lower part of his right leg in 2009 in Afghanistan, made history in 2017 when he became the first amputee jockey to win at a professional racecourse in Britain, riding Rathlin Rose to victory in the Royal Artillery Gold Cup at Sandown.

He repeated this feat when winning the Grand Military Gold Cup in March 2017 and then again, when he won the former race for the second year running in 2018.

The Lycetts-sponsored jockey will be giving a talk, before answering guests’ questions, at the Grantham Cup Breakfast on the grounds of Belton House on Sunday, from 8.30am.

It is the sixth year that Lycetts has sponsored the CIC*** Grantham Cup, and this year the firm became title sponsor for final day of the trials.

To celebrate, Lycetts will be holding a free prize draw, with prizes including two tickets to the Lycetts box at Cheltenham for the Open Meeting, Fairfax and Favour boots, a Clare Brownlow picture, and Haynes Hanson and Clark champagne.

Guests can enter the free prize draw by visiting the Lycetts Marquee, where drinks will be served throughout the weekend.

Posted on March 26th, 2018

Local riders excel at the British Showjumping Spring Championships 2018

British Showjumping’s Spring Championships took place at Addington Manor recently giving members four days of jumping and eight championship titles to aim for.

The venue attracted competitors from the length and breadth of the country all hoping to claim at least one of the Championships on offer.

The courses, which were designed by London 2012 course designer Bob Ellis and Nigel Jess, gave some great competition across the show’s entirety with members also thoroughly enjoying the opportunity to compete across some former Olympic Games fences.

Jade Meekings from Felsted, Essex took the Silver League Championship on board her own 12-year-old palomino mare, Pauls Lass.

Jade put all her training with John and Laura Renwick to good use in the Winter Silver League Final, guiding Pauls Lass into 0.28 second victory.

“I learn a lot just watching Laura at home, I think a turn is too tight, but it never is,” said Jade, 20, who has been based in Essex with the Renwicks for three years.

The Irish-bred 12-year-old ‘Gracie’ joined Jade five years ago as her first horse.

“We started in British Novice and we’ve done more than I ever thought we would.  I knew we could gallop to the last two fences, she never has problems taking out strides [down a distance],” said Jade.


Tim Davies from Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk became the Winter 7-Year-old Champion with Barrett Watson’s 7-year-old chestnut gelding, Lionel van de Markieslanden.

Tim claimed the 7-year-old Championship from the front of the five-horse jump-off. The Falco-sired gelding was talent-spotted in Lummen, Belgium, when Tim went to try another horse.

“I was told he might have a bit of a jump and when I popped him over a tiny fence, I decided he definitely had a jump and bought him.  I raved about him to Barrett – who though he looked like an Arab when he came home – and the first time I rode him, he napped for 30 minutes,” said Tim.  “But I really like him and he’s getting better.  He’s still silly and spooky sometimes, but he’s naturally quick and wants to jump.”


The Winter 6-year-old Championship title was secured by Harry Bateman from Hockley, Essex on board his own 6-year-old chestnut mare, Zuniek van de Tojopehoeve.

Only three of twenty-one starters came forward to contend the winter 6-year-old jump-off, and Harry Bateman was riding two of them. He claimed the win on first-drawn Zuniek Van De Tojopehoeve with the only double clear and finished third with Jennifer Thompson’s Jaloubet K Z, sandwiching Christina Foley into second on Hendrikje M.

“I’m over the moon, I only came for this class with two horses, it couldn’t have gone more to plan,” said Harry, who bought the Zirocco VDL mare as an unbroken 3-year-old.  “She’s so sweet a 6-year-old child could rider her, everything I do with her is a walk in the park.”

Posted on March 8th, 2018


How to create rewarding training programmes for your horse is the topic of Redwings Horse Sanctuary’s latest evening of free expert talks and demonstrations.

All are welcome to book on to the To Treat or not to Treat seminar, which will take place at the charity’s Aylsham Visitor Centre, north of Norwich, on Wednesday 25th April from 6.30pm.

Redwings’ Equine Behaviour Manager Sarah Hallsworth will be sharing her top tips on how to use food effectively as part of a horse’s handling training. Using practical exercises and compelling case studies, Sarah aims to give owners the confidence to tackle specific behavioural issues and improve their day-to-day interactions with their horse.

Rehoming Manager Rachel Angell will also be revealing how Redwings devises unique training programmes for its rescued horses getting ready to find loving new homes as part of the charity’s Guardianship Scheme. There are currently 500 Redwings horses living in Guardian homes and attendees will be able to find out how they could apply to rehome a rescued horse.

Andie Vilela, Education and Campaigns Manager, said: “After years of training rescued horses and readying them for lives in Guardian homes, our experts are hugely experienced in working with equines from many different backgrounds with a multitude of behavioural issues.

“They’ll be on hand to answer questions, address any worries and share their tried and tested training tips, with the hope that everyone will be able to go away with the knowledge to put their own rewarding training programmes into practice at home.”

To book your free place on the evening seminar, call 01508 481032 or email

Posted on March 6th, 2018

Redwings plans ‘Bunches’ of fun this International Carrot Day

Visitors at Redwings Horse Sanctuary are being invited to give the gift of carrots and support rescued horses and donkeys this International Carrot Day.

From Friday 30th March to Monday 2nd April, Carrot Drop Stops will be springing up at each of the charity’s five visitor centres in Norfolk, Essex, Warwickshire and Angus, where supporters are welcome to leave a bag of carrots or make a £1 or £5 donation towards funding nutritious meals for the 1,500 rescued residents being cared for by Redwings nationwide.

International Carrot Day is celebrated every year on 4th April to raise awareness of the versatility and health benefits of the vegetable.

As well as providing Carrot Drop Stops, Redwings’ visitor centres will also be hosting a special series of activities on Saturday 31st March and Sunday 1st April showcasing just some of the ways carrots can be used to provide enrichment for horses and donkeys.

Using recycled items such as cardboard boxes and ropes, Redwings’ teams will teach visitors how to make simple toys and games which they could even try at home for their own four-legged friend. They’ll then be able to watch the horses and donkeys as they sniff out the hidden carrots in the boxes or tease them from ropes using their teeth and noses!

Visitors will also be able to test their carrot knowledge with a special quiz trail!

Alison Lanchester, Redwings’ Head of Fundraising, said: “Carrots make wonderfully nutritious snacks for our horses and donkeys, but this humble vegetable – coupled with some recycled items from around the house – can soon be transformed into fantastic enrichment games for our rescued residents.

“We hope as many people as possible will come along and have a go, or simply drop off some carrots or donate to help feed our horses and donkeys. Just £1 could pay for a tasty nibble for a rescued resident, while £5 could fund two nutritious feeds! Don’t worry if you’re unable to visit, you can still join in the celebrations by donating online.

“While they make a great snack, it’s also important to remember that carrots should only be given as occasional treats so make sure to leave your donations at our special Carrot Drop Stops and our teams will ensure our grateful residents get to enjoy them in the most healthy and responsible way.”

Redwings’ visitor centres are open every Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday, 10am to 4pm (closed on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays). Entry is free and dogs on leads are welcome.

To find out more, visit

Posted on February 27th, 2018

Equestrian Charity Bring You ‘Cocktails, Canapés & Comedy’

On 24th April, The Mark Davies Injured Riders Fund are presenting an evening of cocktails, canapés and comedy with award-winning comedian, Rory Bremner headlining this very special one-off London event.

Bringing together some of the UK’s hottest comedy talent, the event aims to raise funds for this small but incredibly valuable charity.

Rory, whose family are also passionate equestrians, is an avid supporter of the MDIRF and will bring his own distinctive style & humour alongside special guests to a packed audience during the evening event at Bush Hall in Shepherd’s Bush.

‘The MDIRF Cocktails, Canapés & Comedy Evening’ Tickets from £35. Doors open at 7pm

Posted on February 8th, 2018

Lily Scott-Garret from Essex wins in the ‘Just for Schools’ League

Lily Scott-Garret, aged twelve from Romford Essex, had a very successful outing at Barleylands Equestrian Centre last month securing three wins in the Schools 70cm, 80cm, and 90cm League Classes. Representing Sanders School, Lily rode both her ponies Tooty Fruity and Orlando Sunshine double clear to take the rosettes home.

Making a great start to her season at her first ever ‘Just for Schools’ competition Lily said, “Tooty Fruity is quite fizzy to ride but it makes it fun as he is quick against the clock, whereas, Orlando Sunshine is very different so I have to adapt. I am looking forward to doing more ‘Just for Schools’ competitions in the coming year”.

Proud of her daughter and her achievements her mother Deborah commented, “I think it’s good that Lily’s school is aware of the work and dedication put into the sport after school and at weekends as children should be encouraged to do something they enjoy”.

Lily enjoys travelling to new show centres and meeting new people and hopes that she will be able to encourage others from her school and in the area to follow and give the ‘Just for Schools’ programme a go.

The ‘Just for Schools’ League run by British Showjumping offers riders the chance to compete Individually or as a Team in classes ranging from 70cm to 1.10m with the chance to qualify for the British Showjumping National Championships held at Stoneleigh Park in August 2018.

Photo credit: Sport in Pictures


Posted on February 1st, 2018

Box office is now open!

The box office is now open for both Barefoot Retreats Burnham Market International and Saracen Horse Feeds Houghton International (incorporating FEI Nations Cup).

Tickets are now available online for East Anglia’s two most prestigious Horse Trials. Barefoot Retreats Burnham Market International runs on Easter weekend, from Thursday 29th- Saturday 31st March 2018. Also enjoying a Bank Holiday weekend, Saracen Horse Feeds Houghton International takes place from 24th – 27th May 2018.

Daily hospitality packages and picnic parking are available at both events, with on-site camping a popular option at Houghton – this is the only time of the year that it is possible to camp at Houghton Hall. Adult, child (under 5s free of charge) and family (two adults, three children) tickets can be bought in advance at a discounted price.

Both Horse Trials offer a fantastic day out for all the family, with trade stands and children’s entertainment running alongside world class competition. Also running during the Saracen Horse Feeds Houghton International is an exhibition of around 50 new paintings by Damien Hirst, whilst some of his most recognisable sculptures will be installed in the gardens. Entry to the Hall is not included in Horse Trials entry.

For more information on any aspect of this year’s Horse Trials, and to book advance tickets, visit

Posted on January 4th, 2018


The auction of a limited 1915 edition of Black Beauty has raised vital funds for Redwings Horse Sanctuary, which could pay for enough hay to feed almost 100 rescued horses over Christmas.

Successful bidder Sue Day, currently living in Suffolk, was recently presented with the beautiful book by Redwings’ Chief Executive Lynn Cutress following the end of a silent auction that ran from July to November.

The rare hardback copy of this beloved novel, complete with colour illustrations by famed equestrian painter Lucy Kemp-Welch, was generously donated to Redwings by a supporter who asked that it be sold to help horses in need. Author Anna Sewell was born in 1820 in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, and wrote Black Beauty while living in Old Catton, north of Norwich. Sadly she died just a few months after the novel’s publication in 1877.

The book was placed on public display at the Museum of Norwich at the Bridewell over the summer as part of its own special exhibition celebrating the 140th anniversary of the publication of Black Beauty, which was marked on 24th November 2017.

Redwings also provided fun talks and activities at the Museum for families about horse welfare during the school summer holidays and even lent a life-sized model of a black horse for the exhibition.

Black Beauty fans were invited to submit their silent bids for the book at the Museum or log them with Redwings, with the coveted edition being awarded to the highest bidder at the end of the auction.

Sue said she was first read the book by her mother and she has held the characters of Black Beauty, Ginger and Merrylegs close to her heart ever since. A long-term horse owner, life member of the British Horse Society and member of the British Driving Society, Sue runs her own business providing horse drawn carriages for special occasions and operates horse-drawn boats on canals. She has recently set up a society in celebration of Anna Sewell’s life and passion for animal welfare, which aptly began on 24th November.

“I want this book to be for the society, to be shared with those who have a similar interest in Anna Sewell’s life,” she said.

Commenting on why she supported the auction, Sue added: “Redwings offers horses that are in suitable health the opportunity to live in homes outside of the Sanctuary on loan. Some might be rehomed as companions to other horses, while others lead fulfilling lives being ridden. Their Guardians also have the opportunity to continue their training in their new homes and, where appropriate, can go on to be driven. This I wholly approve of, and I believe Anna Sewell would have believed in this approach too.”

Redwings, whose headquarters are south of Norwich and has five visitor centres across the country, cares for over 1,500 horses, ponies, donkeys and mules every day nationwide. The money raised from the auction could pay for thorough health checks for 20 new arrivals at the Sanctuary.

Redwings’ Chief Executive Lynn Cutress said: “We’re incredibly grateful to Sue for her wonderful bid, which will help us continue to provide vital care for our rescued residents. With 2017 marking the 140th anniversary of Black Beauty, this stunning book was a most fitting donation and we’re so pleased it has found a new home where it will be treasured.

“I’d also like to thank everyone who placed a bid, and to the Museum of Norwich for not just supporting the auction but, through their exhibition, helping us throw a spotlight on the importance of animal welfare and preventing suffering to horses – a wonderful tribute to Anna Sewell’s lifelong passion in a very special year.”

Posted on January 4th, 2018

Suffolk’s Ryan De Sousa becomes NAF Shining Star

We are delighted to announce that Suffolk Junior Academy Member, 10-year-old Ryan De Sousa from Newmarket in Suffolk has become Novembers’ NAF Shining Star. With all British Showjumping Junior Academy Members eligible for nomination, it was Ryan’s work ethic and attitude towards his riding career that shone through.

Ryan was nominated by Suffolk Junior Academy Lead Coach, Mia Palles-Clark; “Ryan is only 10-years-old and has already achieved a lot in his Showjumping career. He works very hard, training every week as well as supporting other members of the academy in training and at competitions. Ryan is currently working hard to complete his NAF 5* awards spurred on by the fact that he wants to represent England in the Home Pony International next year. Like anyone in the sport he has ups and downs which he takes well and is learning to be mentally tough as well as developing strategies to cope with nerves. This is all starting to pay off as he recently achieved his first clear round in a 128cm class with his fantastic pony, Emily. Ryan has also been very successful in style and performance classes, he has the patience and good attitude to develop and produce ponies correctly and with sympathy. Ryan will be in the sport for a long time and if he continues as he has started he will be a successful and shining example for other riders too.”

Since joining British Showjumping in 2015 Ryan has become an active competitor of ‘Just for Schools’ and is hoping to qualify for Horse of the Year Show in 2018. Ryan commented; “I am really thrilled to get this award, I was so excited when I got the news! I have to say a big thank you to my Coach, Mia Palles-Clark. My ponies and I have improved so much since joining the academy.”

Melissa Newman, NAF Brand Manager, commented “Ryan is extremely deserving of the Shining Star award.  His dedication to the sport and hard work is clearly paying off. Ryan’s patience, great attitude and thirst to learn coupled with a wonderful approach to his ponies make him a fantastic candidate for the Shining Star accolade! Well done Ryan, we look forward to seeing you in the future!”

Posted on December 19th, 2017

A Royal welcome awaits local charity at their new home

Over a year’s worth of hard work, a huge fundraising effort and generosity beyond measure will be celebrated on Tuesday 19th December. Her Royal Highness, the Princess Royal, president of Riding for the Disabled will formally open the new home of the RDA’s Woodbridge and District Group.

Her Royal Highness will open the purpose-built premises, which include 40m x 20m indoor and outdoor arenas, community area, 25 acres of paddocks for grazing and a 1km all-weather track for carriage driving.

In a programme designed to showcase their new home and the valuable work of the Group, Her Royal Highness will meet volunteers, riders and horses. After a riding demonstration and awards ceremony, a formal unveiling of a plaque to mark Her Royal Highness’ visit will take place.

Suzanne Hammond Trustee for the Group said “We are absolutely delighted that our new home will be formally opened by Her Royal Highness, the Princess Royal. This will mean so much to our riders, carriage drivers and volunteers. Everyone has worked so hard over the last year to make our new home possible. We are so grateful and today is really the icing on the cake”.

The land and old farm buildings at the Groups’ new home ‘The Bays’, has been provided on a long-term lease by local landowners, the Chamberlain Family.

The Chamberlain family said, “This is a wonderful charity to be associated with and we are sure that the Group’s activities will benefit everyone involved”.

Suzanne Hammond said “We greatly appreciate the Chamberlain family allowing us the opportunity to develop our new home and build the indoor arena. Her Royal Highness, the Princess Royal opening our new premises today is a wonderful Christmas present to all involved. But our work doesn’t stop now, in the New Year we have more fund raising to do to raise money for the continued renovations and a hoist to help some of our riders mount more easily.”

The Group will start riding lessons and carriage driving from their new home in January.