Posted on December 22nd, 2021

New post-Christmas Covid advice issued

The Prime Minister has confirmed that there will be no new Covid restrictions for England before Christmas but has not ruled out any further measures afterwards. It has also been announced that people infected with Covid in England can stop self-isolating after seven days, instead of the previous ten, if they show two negative lateral flow tests on days six and seven.


What this means for equestrian activity

As with England, any equestrian activity in both Wales and Scotland can continue with mitigating measures in place, including risk assessments, but should be reviewed to comply with the advice indicated above. Further updates from all home nations are expected over the coming days and weeks, so British Equestrian is asking stakeholders to follow the news.


“The situation is rapidly changing and with differing requirements across the nations, so I’d urge the equestrian community to exercise caution and remain vigilant,” said Chief Executive Jim Eyre. “It’s important you follow the news in your area to makes sure you’re up to date with any rules and guidance in place during the festive period and beyond. We’ll continue to monitor any updates and publish guidance to ensure activity can continue, provided it’s within any government requirements. Keep public mixing to a minimum, make sure you test before meeting others, wear a face-covering indoors and practice good hand hygiene in order to keep yourself and those around you safe.”


British Equestrian, working alongside the British Horse Society, and its member bodies, has been consulting with government on the restricted use of covered arenas and indoor schools, which had a major impact on the industry during the previous periods of lockdown. Collectively, existing research findings have been compiled, and a new study has also been commissioned, which puts forward a strong case that the application of the Smoke-free (Premises and Enforcement) Regulations 2006 on equestrian riding facilities does not take into account their size and volume.


The submission is currently under review with Defra and we’ll keep up the momentum to try and keep our facilities open should there be another lockdown. In the meantime, any equestrian premises which use indoor or covered riding facilities, are encouraged to write to their MPs outlining their concerns for their business and the resulting impact on equine welfare, should any or all of the country come under lockdown.


Posted on December 14th, 2021


Redwings Horse Sanctuary has launched its latest fundraising animation, voiced once again by Stephen Fry.

Last year, the charity released a short animation narrated by the popular broadcaster telling the story of a long-term Sanctuary resident, blind Clydesdale horse Boo, which went on to be viewed by over 225,000 people online.

This year’s animation takes supporters back to the beginnings of Redwings in 1984 and how it has transformed into a national charity caring for more than 1,500 rescued horses and donkeys at its sites every day. Along the way, viewers will meet some of Redwings’ adorable residents who the Sanctuary has rescued and given a loving home to over the years.

You can view the full animation here –

Stars of the animation include Shetland pony Sampson who was rescued in 2004 when he was just one year old, and lonely Wiggins the donkey who was sadly abandoned by his owner on a livery yard leaving the landowner to care for him.

All the rescued horses and donkeys featured in the animation are available to sponsor from as little as £2 per month, with every penny going towards their care and that of their fellow four-legged friends living at the Sanctuary.

Lynn Cutress, Redwings’ Chief Executive, said: “For the last 37 years we’ve worked tirelessly to help horses and donkeys in desperate need and, as a charity 100% funded by donations, we’ve only been able to do this thanks to the kind generosity of our supporters.

“We’re delighted that through this new animation we can show just what a difference their support has made to animals, like Sampson and Wiggins, whose lives would otherwise have been very bleak. We’re also thrilled that the wonderful Stephen Fry has once again helped us to tell these important stories.

“Sponsoring one of our rescued residents for yourself or as a gift for a loved one is a fantastic way to help us continue to look after the horses and donkeys in our care, ensuring they can enjoy safe and healthy lives this Christmas and into the future.”

To sponsor a Redwings rescued horse or donkey, call 01508 505246 or visit

Posted on December 8th, 2021

Tabitha Morgan-Evans from Suffolk is October’s NAF Shining Star

Nine year-old Tabitha Morgan-Evans from Newmarket, Suffolk has been awarded the NAF Shining Star for October. A recent new member to the Suffolk Academy, Tabitha has shown great maturity and is always supportive of her team mates which led lead coach Mia Palles-Clark to nominate her.

“Tabitha has attended training throughout the summer and taken her novice pony to be part of the academy mini team at the academy championships in August. She has since progressed onto a new pony to finish her October half term at the English Home Pony at South View Equestrian Centre as part of the u10s team as well as being placed in the fledgling’s championship,” commented Mia.

“Showing great maturity, she is excellent to coach and is always supportive of her team mates. Tabby is a delight to have around, she is polite to officials and generally an excellent shining example of the sport of showjumping. I see her long-term commitment to showjumping developing through the fun and success she’s already enjoying. She does all of this with a smile on her face and a pat for her ponies!”

After finding out she was the winner of October’s NAF Shining Star, an excited Tabitha said “Thank you for choosing me for the award. I had great fun with my two ponies at the Home Pony show last month. I qualified to jump in the England mini team and I was so proud to be selected. I managed to jump bigger than I have ever jumped and I am very proud of my ponies. It was a big learning curve for me and my younger pony but my coach Mia has really helped me – thank you so much! This has really encouraged me and I can’t wait to do more.”

Lisa Field from NAF added “It is great to hear the progress Tabitha has made with her pony throughout the summer and to end on being part of the u10s team and placed in the fledgling championship is a fantastic achievement. Tabitha’s commitment and dedication, along with the support she provides her team mates makes her a worthy winner of this month’s NAF Shining Star, congratulations Tabitha!”

The NAF Shining Star Award was introduced when NAF became a British Showjumping Business Partner. The award is for members of a Junior Academy who have shown a great deal of commitment, progression, and outstanding behaviour along with their riding ability and much more. Riders are nominated by their lead coach, and then judged and awarded by NAF to one person each month.

Image credit

Posted on December 1st, 2021

SEIB Search for a Star Championships back at Your Horse Live with five action packed finals

The much-anticipated SEIB Insurance Brokers Search for a Star Championships returned to Your Horse Live at Stoneleigh Park on the 12th November in the main SEIB Arena. This time the popular showing finals kept audiences and competitors entertained all morning with five fantastic classes for amateur riders. Each championship winner was awarded a stunning trophy, sash and rosette.  Expert commentary was provided by top show producer, Katie Jerram-Hunnable and her Olympic Eventing husband, Chris Hunnable.

Your Horse Live Event Director, Emma Bedford said: “We were thrilled to welcome and host more SEIB Search for a Star championship classes than ever before. This year we had five championships adding part-bred traditional and in-hand along with some amazing amateur and open veteran finalists. The Search for a Star schedule was packed and ran back-to-back all morning on the opening Friday of the show and even more special was seeing it run in the newly sponsored SEIB 3,000 seater arena! It was a huge success for all and it was lovely to see everybody having such a great competition after such a long break.”

The day kicked off with the first ever Search for a Star part-bred traditional championship which saw four excellent examples come forward. The title went to the 15-year-old cob, Branston Pickle, owned by Lee Uttridge and ridden by Rosie Wrest. The pairing from Surrey qualified at Brook Farm and were delighted with their win, Rosie met Lee when she went to the family livery yard near Gatwick. “I started riding Branston nearly six years ago, we started with dressage and then decided to try showing. Lee and I always said if we got just one rosette, we would be happy. I feel very emotional, to have won this championship is just the best feeling.”

The SEIB Search for a Star Part Bred Traditional class was judged by Sarah Chapman and Andrea Betteridge. Andrea heads up the Traditional Gypsy Cob Association and said: “We had a lovely class here today with some fantastic animals. It was truly great to see the support from the crowd and to be able to give these part-breds a chance to shine in the ring. It is so important to us to promote the breed and show people what these horses are capable of.”

The in-hand championship was next in the ring and did not disappoint. It was judged by Sarah Chapman and Search for a Star first time judge, Jack Moore. All competitors qualified for the championship in a special virtual Search for a Star photo competition hosted by Your Horse Live during the lockdown period where showing competitions weren’t an option. The championship judges were presented with a wide range of breeds and types to select their winner from with people travelling from all corners of the country for the chance to be crowned champion.

The coveted trophy and sash were awarded to Millie Bowles and the 24-year-old, Welsh Section B, Cottrell Riverdance. Known as Ronnie at home, Cottrell Riverdance is owned by Millie’s mother Selina. The pairing are no strangers to the podium positions having recently won the Veteran Horse Society veteran supreme overall final where they competed in-hand.

The SEIB Search for a Star amateur veteran horse championship trophy was presented to Louise Chamberlain and her own 18-year-old Mystical Clover from Wiltshire. The pair previously qualified for and competed in the Search for a Star riding club show horse finals at Horse of the Year Show in 2016. Louise and Clover have previously evented together but decided on a change of career when Clover fell out of love with the sport.

Now in its third year at Your Horse Live, the SEIB Search for a Star mountain and moorland championship did not disappoint. SEIB Insurance Brokers set up the Search for a Star mountain and moorland championship to create more opportunities for amateur riders at a national championship level. The SEIB arena at Your Horse Live truly provides a real feel for the big occasion for each of the Search for a Star finalists and previous competitors have given some lovely feedback from this prestigious event ensuring tough competition for qualifying places this year!

Amateur riders and their mountain and moorland ponies have travelled the length and breadth of the country to the Your Horse Live finals. A total of nine ponies came before judges Sarah Chapman and Paul Cook. The trophy was presented to Simone Harrison and her own Welsh Section D, Wishaw Red Admiral. Winning the 2021 championship has topped a good year for the fashion Talent Acquisition Lead and Red, the pair are no strangers to the show ring having taken 6th place at the Royal International earlier this season.

The SEIB Search for a Star mountain and moorland championship is open to pure-bred mountain and moorland ponies ridden by amateur riders.

The final championship of the morning was the open veteran horse and pony. This was a new and exciting format for the class where competitors were asked to perform a show of their choice in front of four judges. The championship was judged by Sarah Chapman, Jack Moore, Paul Cook and special VIP guest judge, Marcus Capel, CEO of the Pony Club. Judges were asked to score the show in live time with marks being revealed to the audience. It was a fantastic way of engaging the crowd and received lots of positive feedback from spectators and competitors alike.

Marcus Capel commented: “It was a privilege to join this experienced judging panel for the open veteran championship. There was a great atmosphere and the use of public scoring cards made it very easy for the audience to see what we all thought as individual judges with no conferring, including our differences of opinion! All of the horses were a credit to their owners and riders, looking very fit and active.”

The title went to a pairing that are no stranger to the showing circuit, Abigail Sole and her own 18-year-old ex-racehorse, Hero Worship (pictured above). Stowmarket’s Abigail and Hero Worship have been firm supporters of the SEIB Racehorse to Riding Horse classes and last month took second place in the R2R championship at HOYS. Following their win, an emotional Abigail made an announcement: “This has topped off what has been a great season for the both of us. I feel so happy, but also sad as this is our last outing in the show ring, Hero is now going to be retired from showing. I feel like we have left at the top and I cannot ask for more from him. It was a great class and we have really enjoyed taking part in this first one. I really liked the live scoring element.”


Photo:  Credit SMR Photos

Posted on December 1st, 2021

Equine experts celebrate honorary degrees from Writtle University College

Writtle University College (WUC) in Essex has awarded honorary degrees to three outstanding members of the equine sector.

On October 29th, Ros Canter, Justine Harrison and Khadijah Mellah attended WUC’s first in-person graduation ceremony since 2019.

The event, which has held at Chelmsford’s historic Cathedral, celebrated the success of the classes of 2020 and 2021 and highlighted Ros, Justine and Khadijah’s impressive achievements.

WUC’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Tim Middleton, said: “We were delighted to confer honorary awards as part of our graduation ceremony. Khadijah Mellah, Justine Harrison and Ros Canter are an inspiration to our students and have made incredible contributions to the equine sector.”

Ros Canter gained individual and team gold medals in the 2018 World Equestrian Games. Other international wins include Ballindenisk CCI4*-L with Allstar B.

She visited WUC’s campus in January 2020 to provide coaching and showcase her famous ‘Training To Win’ demonstration.

Ros said: “In 2021, Lordships Graffalo and I won the Land Rover Blair Castle International Horse Trials CCI4*-S and finished second at the Blenheim Horse Trials. He’s an incredible horse and was bred and produced by the team at the Writtle University College’s Lordships Stud. It was fun to visit the campus and stud with Lordships Graffalo and see the real passion and understanding the students and staff have for the equine sector. I was excited to have been invited to accept an honorary degree.”

Justine Harrison is one of the UK’s leading equine behaviourists. She strives to encourage the horse-owning population to implement the most ethical training techniques and adopt more horse-centred management methods. She is highly supportive of WUC’s BSc (Hons) Equine Behavioural Science degree.

Justine said: “I feel very honoured and extremely grateful to be receiving this award. It is particularly significant for me to receive this from Writtle University College, as the equine behavioural science team is leading the way with research-led practice. Their BSc (Hons) Equine Behavioural Science degree is the first of its kind – not only teaching evidence-based theory but also training the students how to apply that knowledge in practice.”

In 2019, Khadijah Mellah took first place in the Magnolia Cup at Goodwood, becoming the first British Muslim woman to win a UK horse race. The Riding a Dream Academy, named after a documentary about Khadijah’s story, is inspired by her success and helps young people from under represented areas to pursue a career in racing.

Khadijah said: “I feel extremely privileged to be receiving this honorary degree and to now be connected to Writtle University College. I hope I have encouraged the graduates to open doors to opportunities with confidence as they continue through life. I cannot wait to work with Writtle in the future and lend a helping hand to all students trying to get into the equestrian world.”


Posted on November 15th, 2021

Keep your horse safe from Atypical Myopathy

The British Equine Veterinary Association (BEVA) is reminding horse owners to take steps to minimise the risks of Atypical Myopathy. Bare fields and gusty autumn weather can heighten the chances of horses contracting this fatal disease, which is caused by the ingestion of sycamore seeds.

Horses do not typically choose to eat sycamore seeds, however when pastures are bare, there is a greater tendency for them to be ingested as the animals forage for every last blade of grass. Wind can also cause seeds to spread faster and further, potentially reaching fields where there are in fact no sycamore trees.

Atypical myopathy is caused by the toxin hypoglyxin A. In the UK, the most common source of the toxin is the Sycamore tree (Acer pseudoplatanus), a member of the maple tree family. The Box Elder (Acer negundo) is the most common tree to cause the disease in North America. Both trees share the typical helicopter shaped fruit that help to distribute their seeds over long distances, typically several hundred metres, but reportedly up to 4km.

The ‘toxic dose’ of sycamore seeds can vary from less than 100 to several thousand single seeds. With each tree potentially shedding more than 20,000 double seeded ‘helicopters’, the amount on pasture can be considerable. In the spring, seedlings represent a risk to horses and can affect hay made from contaminated pasture. Seedlings at the edge of watercourses can also contaminate water supplies, especially when trampled as horses walk across them.

Horse owners are advised to take practical steps to prevent the disease by limiting access to sycamore seeds:

Identify trees both around grazed fields as well as those in close proximity. Trees are often easiest to identify in the summer when in full leaf, rather than in the autumn, when leaves have largely fallen. The characteristic maple leaf shape is easy to spot, although if in doubt a test is available from the Royal Veterinary College as a result of work funded by The Horse Trust.

Collect seeds or exclude horses from affected areas using electric fencing or stabling.

Feed supplementary hay to try and prevent horses from excessive foraging for short blades of grass and inadvertent ingestion of seeds. But ensure that hay does not become contaminated by seeds.

Don’t rashly fell trees when laden with seeds as this can cause a sudden and massive contamination of the pasture. Consider local regulations, tree protection orders and tree ownership if felling is the only option.

Monitor horses carefully even after they have been moved from affected pasture as disease can occur up to four days after exposure.

The most consistent clinical sign of atypical myopathy is the passing of dark brown urine (myoglobinuria) as a result of muscle breakdown. Horses usually become weak and reluctant to move and may lay down, but usually have a normal or increased appetite. In the most severe cases the horse will develop very severe colic-like signs due to significant pain. In some horses the severity of muscle pain leads to euthanasia on welfare grounds. These signs occur as a result of the active toxin which prevents muscles from undergoing normal energy metabolism. It can affect all muscles in the body including the respiratory muscles and heart.

“It’s imperative to contact your vet as a matter of urgency if you are concerned your horse may be suffering from Atypical Myopathy,” said BEVA President Huw Griffiths. “We can use a special blood test, thanks to research funding from The Horse Trust, to diagnose and measure exposure to the toxin. The earlier we are able to intervene the more likely a favourable outcome for the horse.”

Posted on October 29th, 2021

How to keep horses safe this Bonfire Night

Bonfire night and fireworks displays are usually a time of fun and excitement. However, for many animals and their owners, the 5th November can be a nerve-wracking experience. Explosions, fire and flashing lights are all things most animals find pretty terrifying and can prove challenging for those with animal companions.

That’s why Bransby Horses, an equine rescue and welfare charity in Lincolnshire, has written a handy guide to make sure horses, their owners and event organisers have a happy and relaxed bonfire night.

Why do horses act so erratically around bonfire night and fireworks? Understanding this, and why they become so frightened, is key to creating a safe and stress-free environment for horses. All horses, ponies, donkeys and mules are flight animals which means they can be easily scared by the loud noises and bright lights of fireworks. This can result in unusual or erratic behaviour, making horses stressed and unpredictable. When horses panic, they go into flight mode; this is when they are most likely to cause injury to themselves and others.

How can owners keep their horses safe?

1) All horses thrive on routine and any change in this can lead to anxiety and stress. By providing a safe, secure environment and keeping to the same management routine, this can help reassure horses during this period.

2) If a horse is being stabled, it can be a good idea to leave the lights on and play the radio to help drown out the effects of the fireworks. This routine should be introduced in advanced and radio licensing laws will need to be considered by commercial yards or businesses.

3) Plan for unforeseen circumstances:

  • Fire – create an evacuation plan to ensure both horses and humans can safely escape a fire.
  • Escape – if a horse escapes, contact the police and obtain an incident number. Keep a recent photo and horse identification documents to hand for this purpose.
  • Injury – ensure first aid kit and materials are fully stocked. Keep emergency vet details so they are easy to access.
  • Accident/damage – most horse owners already have third party and liability insurance. It is advisable to purchase as it will protect both owner and horse should a horse cause an accident or damage to property of others. The British Horse Society has launched a new app where horse related incidents and accidents can be logged, find out more here.
  • Check locally for scheduled displays – contact the organisers to see if the displays can be directed away from the horse’s environment. The organisers will also be able to advise of the timetable so you know when to be on alert.
  • If a horse is exceptionally sensitive to fireworks and associated stress, contact a vet and seek advice on the use of sedatives.

How can firework / bonfire organisers help?

  1. Clearly advertise the event. If possible, try letting local horse owners know when the displays are scheduled. This can be really helpful as it allows the owners to make plans to ensure their animal is kept safe and stress-free.
  2. Think about directing the displays away from known homes with horses.  This can potentially reduce the impact of the noise and light pollution.

How can everyone help?

  1. Attend organised events rather than creating your own display. If you are planning to have a display try to use low noise fireworks – those that create a visual effect but are quieter or produce no bang.
  2. If planning a display, let any local horse owners know what day and time the display is so they can make preparations to settle their equines.
  3. If a horse in distress is discovered, it is not advisable to approach it. They can be unpredictable and could cause an accident or injuries. Wherever possible contact the owner and allow them to manage the situation. If a horse has escaped and is loose on the road, please contact the police for assistance.

Love horses? Pay Bransby Horses a visit!

Bransby Horses rescues, rehabilitates and rehomes approximately 100 equines each year. Their 600-acre site is the perfect place to bring the family for a day out. Entry is free and visitors can learn more about the charity’s rescue and rehabilitation work, as well meeting the horses, ponies, donkeys and mules. Take a stroll through the beautiful countryside walkways and then enjoy the Café, Gift Shop or Donated Goods Shop. There really is something for everyone at Bransby Horses!

Posted on October 1st, 2021


The London International Horse Show, taking place at ExCeL London from 16th-20st December 2021, will host performances from the Musical Ride of the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment as part of the spectacular schedule of equestrian action across the five-day Show.

Organisers have confirmed the attendance of the much-loved Musical Ride of the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment, made up of 28 horses and 36 personnel, adding to the diverse range of equestrian activity already planned. As the only mounted ceremonial soldiers who also serve as fighting soldiers, the Musical Ride of The Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment is unique globally as it demonstrates exceptional horsemanship and the very best of British tradition. The drills, which are based on movements mounted soldiers would have historically used in battle, will be carried out to music and performed in a routine that is strongly focused on precise timing and coordination.

The Musical Ride of the Household Cavalry will join the roster for each performance, which also includes scintillating action from The Shetland Pony Grand National and The Kennel Club Dog Agility.

In addition to the breath-taking display acts, spectators will be treated to world-class competitive action, including FEI World Cup competitions in three disciplines; Dressage, Driving and Show Jumping. The traditional crowd favourites, The Puissance and The London International Horse Show Grand Prix will also take their place at ExCeL London, featuring the world’s best show jumping horse and rider combinations, with the next generation of riders set to star in The Mini Stakes and The U25 British Championship.

Show Director Simon Brooks‐Ward said: “We are delighted to be welcoming The Musical Ride of the Household Cavalry to The London International Horse Show 2021. They are always a firm favourite amongst the crowd, and we can’t wait to see what they have in store this year.”

Captain William Long of The Life Guards, said: “The Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment is thrilled to be returning to the London International Horse Show. It will be very exciting to perform at the Show’s new venue, the ExCeL, this year.  It is always a privilege to take part in the show and truly does signal the start of the festive period.”

Posted on September 30th, 2021


Redwings Horse Sanctuary has launched a brand-new podcast to share stories of their rescued horses and donkeys, and conversations with their expert rescuers and carers.

This #InternationalPodcastDay on 30th September, the charity is celebrating by announcing its podcast series, called Sounds of the Sanctuary.

The weekly podcast takes listeners on a journey through the Sanctuary, with a spotlight each week on a rescued resident and their care, plus conversations with the vets, nurses, carers and support teams who make it possible.

Listeners can expect to go behind-the-scenes and discover more about Redwings’ facilities normally closed to the public, such as its specialist Reception Centre for new arrivals, Horse Hospital, Behaviour Centre and Rehoming Centres.

The charity has also produced a sister podcast, called Field Notes, involving sit down chats with Redwings’ experienced team, delving deeper into the equine care and welfare issues they frequently encounter and sharing their top tips along the way, from worming to land management, basic training to creating the perfect paddock.

The first three episodes of Sounds of the Sanctuary and Field Notes are already available to download from all major streaming platforms, including Apple Podcasts and Spotify. The most recent episode features an update on Phoenix, the foal who was left with life-threatening burns after an arson attack, as his vet shares the latest news on his progress.

New episodes of Sounds of the Sanctuary will be released on Mondays, and Field Notes on Wednesdays. Listeners can also subscribe to the series to ensure they never miss an episode.

Redwings Communications Manager, Stephanie Callen, said: “We’re so excited to share this project with everyone. The Redwings podcast presents a chance to hear directly from our hard-working equine welfare teams and meet our rescued residents – so it’s straight from the horse’s mouth so to speak!

“From the vets and nurses who help our rescued horses back onto their hooves, to the carers and maintenance teams who tend to their daily care, and the rehoming teams who find them loving new homes – this podcast brings a unique insight into life at the Sanctuary which we hope will be enjoyable to Redwings fans, new supporters and horse owners alike!”

To find out more about Redwings’ new podcast and the Sanctuary’s work, please visit

Posted on August 4th, 2021

Can you Hack it for Essex & Herts Air Ambulance?

Following Great Britain’s success at the 2020 summer Olympics, horse-riders from across the region are being challenged to join ‘Tack2Hack’, Essex & Herts Air Ambulance’s (EHAAT) brand-new equine event, that will see supporters and enthusiasts horse ride 100 miles throughout August 2021 in aid of their local life-saving charity. 

Riders can tack up to hack out and conquer their 100 miles at a time that suits them, counting the miles during each ride. Solo, or together with friends, riders can create their own route to take the reins and stride out. All funds raised will go towards helping to keep the regions life-saving service operational for those that need it most.

Kerry Russell Head of Events at EHAAT said, “We are thrilled to launch this new event that will allow riders and enthusiasts of all abilities to choose how and when they hack out with their horses and ponies whilst also enjoying a boost to their wellbeing.  No matter how riders choose to take part, they will be joining hundreds of horse enthusiasts who will be taking advantage of the regions majestic countryside and showing that together we can help save lives.”

To join, riders can find out more information and register for free at to receive their free fundraising pack, t-shirt, mile tracker and safety hi-vis arm bands. Participants can then simply ride out to achieve their 100-mile target.  Those that raise the minimum fundraising amount of £150 will receive a beautiful sash for their horse to wear with pride.

For more information about EHAAT and its work, visit