Posted on June 18th, 2018

Olympian Red Gorilla Rider Sharon Hunt to Star at Hickstead Meeting

The Al Shira’aa Hickstead Derby Meeting 21st – 24th June 2018, one of the most popular events in the equestrian calendar, sees Sharon Hunt, bronze medallist champion at the 2012 British Olympics competing as the Red Gorilla sponsored rider.

Sharon has been a Red Gorilla ambassador for over a year and has been using the total stable management package. Her decision to compete was a last minute entry and will bring some great excitement to the meeting as one of her horses Loughnatousa Venture was in winning form in the foxhunter at the Suffolk Show. Sharon hopes he will be winning form again in the classes she will be competing in.

Around 45,000 spectators are expected to flock to the West Sussex showground in June, with visitor numbers peaking during the famous Al Shira’aa Derby on the Sunday afternoon. The Derby course is fearsomely tricky, with iconic obstacles such as the Derby Bank, the Devil’s Dyke and the double of water ditches guaranteeing plenty of thrills and spills for spectators.

To celebrate this great event, Red Gorilla in conjunction with Sharon Hunt Eventing will be offering a lucky person who attends the show a chance to win a coaching session with Sharon at her stables. In addition Weatherbeeta, the leading supplier of horse rugs will be giving the lucky winner one of their WB CFT Classic Lightweight turnout rugs as an additional prize. The one lucky winner will also be the face of Red Gorilla in the equine promotional and publicity material for the season. To enter simply visit the Red Gorilla stand 30 at the shopping village for an entry form.

Posted on June 12th, 2018

Suffolk’s Sam Ward wins the British Horse Feeds Speedi-Beet HOYS Grade C Qualifier at the South of England Show

The South of England Show in Haywards Heath, West Sussex played host to a British Horse Feeds Speedi-Beet HOYS Grade C Qualifier and with a huge seventy starters, there was plenty of action for the spectators. Keeping his cool, Sam Ward rode a convincing double clear to take top spot. 

With three qualification places available for the British Horse Feeds Speedi-Beet HOYS Grade C Championship Final at Horse of the Year Show, each combination came forward with the aim of securing a place at the top of the leader board with a double clear.

As twenty-four riders jumped clear in round one, it was left up to the all-important clock to decide the winner as they headed into the final jump off.

Travelling from Stowmarket in Suffolk, Sam Ward showed a great partnership with Troy III, a 9-year-old bay gelding owned by Michael Bates to secure first place. Posting a clear in the first round, this combination stormed the jump off with a lighting fast round to cross the finish line in 39.93 seconds with a double clear.

Image Credit – Spidge Event Photography

Posted on June 12th, 2018

Celebrate Cookie’s 21st Birthday

Redwings Horse Sanctuary’s latest “Adoption Star” pony Cookie will be celebrating his 21st birthday with a special party this June – and everyone is invited!

Stunning appaloosa pony Cookie – famous for his adorable dotty appearance – was chosen to join the charity’s popular Adoption Scheme earlier this year to commemorate the 10th anniversary of his rescue from horrific conditions at Spindle Farm, near Amersham in Buckinghamshire, in January 2008.

Poor Cookie and 100 other horses, ponies and donkeys were discovered living without food, water or basic care. Sadly, more than 30 of their friends who had already sadly succumbed to injury and illness laid around them.

Cookie was one of 60 survivors who came to Redwings to begin a new life at Sanctuary, as well as six foals born to mares following the rescue. Thanks to the hard work of Redwings’ vet and equine care teams, today an incredible 58 horses and donkeys are still being cared for by the charity or in loving Guardian homes as part of Redwings’ rehoming programme.

This month, handsome Cookie will not just be celebrating his landmark age of 21, but also his first birthday as a Redwings Adoption Star, with a party on Sunday 24th June, from 11.30am, at Redwings Aylsham, north of Norwich – and entry is free!

All are invited to attend the special day where visitors will have the chance to meet Cookie during a parade, watch the birthday boy tuck into his very own cake and join in with a quiz trail and party games.

As part of the Adoption Scheme, supporters can sponsor Cookie for £15 per year and all funds go towards his daily care and that of his four-legged friends at the Sanctuary.

Alison Lanchester, Redwings’ Head of Fundraising, said: “With his friendly nature and striking looks, everyone has taken Cookie to their hearts! His story of survival has really touched our visitors and we’re delighted that so many of them have supported this charming chap by sponsoring him since his launch as an Adoption Star earlier this year.

“His triumph over such a traumatic start in life, however, is symbolic of the struggles all of our inspirational Amersham survivors have overcome and by adopting Cookie our supporters are also helping to ensure we can continue to give all of these beautiful horses and donkeys a safe and loving home for the next 10 years.”

Redwings Aylsham, in Spa Lane, Aylsham, NR11 6UE, is open every Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday (closed on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays) 10am to 4pm, and entry is free.

To sponsor Cookie or to read more about Redwings’ Adoption Scheme, visit

Posted on May 31st, 2018

Stratford Hills Horse Trials Continue Charity Support In 2018

Stratford Hills Horse Trials are once again looking forward to welcoming competitors and spectators to the 16th running of the trials on 16th-17th June.

Each running of the event has run in aid of a different local charity, and 2018 is no different. This year the organising committee have chosen to support ‘The Friends of the Ferns’ – a charity launched in 2013 to raise funds for a Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) called The Ferns located in Ipswich, Suffolk. The centre acts as the first port of call for anyone who has been the victim of sexual assault in Suffolk.  They offer medical care and emotional support in a welcoming, safe environment.  The Friends of the Ferns charity assist by providing funding for various items that make a huge difference to people at such a difficult time –such as travel fares, replacement clothing, toiletries or toys and DVD’s for children.

David Carpenter continues as course designer following very favourable feedback from 2017. This year the course will run in an anti-clockwise direction, along a different track to the recently used course in unaffiliated events. The abundance of rain earlier in the year sees the event benefit from a thick and well-manicured grass covering, creating some of the best ground at Stratford Hills. Despite the current good conditions, the team will monitor the going and will prepared it as necessary, including aerovating all riding areas.

An updated schedule now includes an Open Novice under 18 and BE100 under 18 qualifier relocated from Keysoe in May. The Stratford Hills team are also delighted to be able to include a Novice Regional Final and a Pony Trial, in addition to their BE90, BE100 and BE80(T) classes.

The event are pleased to announce that Carriagehouse Insurance continue as core sponsor and are grateful to all long running class sponsors, as well as welcoming aboard new sponsors including Phillips Shavings and Devoucoux.

Stratford Hills plays host to the second leg of the Devoucoux BE80 Eastern Region League we competitors accumulate points from six events over the summer. Luxury prizes are awarded at each leg of the series with the overall winner receiving £500 in vouchers.

Posted on May 31st, 2018

World’s best head to Little Downham

Little Downham Horse Trials prepares to welcome a number of the world’s best riders this weekend. The smallest site, running the widest number of courses, is set to welcome 4 of the world’s top 10 ranked event riders as part of an entry of over 850.

“We’re delighted to welcome so many of the world’s best riders to Little Downham yet again. Andrew Nicholson has been a regular winner of our Advanced with 4 wins to his name already. It is a great opportunity for local spectators to watch these competitive riders across the five levels.” Tina Ure, event organiser.

World number 4, Gemma Tattersall returns with Billy Senora, Billy Shania and Chillis Gem all challenging for the Childeric Saddles Open Intermediate, while Andrew Nicholson brings forward first time Advanced ride Zacarias as he looks to make it 6 Advanced wins.

Only Izzy Taylor and Mark Kyle have managed to complete the Little Downham Advanced track within the optimum time, both have done it twice. With neither Izzy or Mark competing this weekend will anyone come close? The 2016 Advanced winner Will Furlong also returns to the Little Downham Advanced, this time riding Adele 97. Jemilla, ridden by Emilie Chandler could also be one to watch in Friday’s Advanced. The experienced mare finished 3rd here in 2014 with Mark Kyle, can Emilie go one better?

As a new development for the June event Little Downham are delighted to welcome Lycetts Insurance Brokers on board as new sponsors. The Lycetts team will be onsite for the duration of the event and will be located in the centre of the cross country course, offering owners, riders and spectators free hospitality with a view of the action.

Riders attending the event this weekend will see a number of course developments including the new Delabond Dip.

“We were trying to create a combination to test horse and riders ability to control speed, power and straightness. The placement of the fences around the dip reflects the degree of difficulty at each level. Riders will need to ensure they use the turn to the fence to make sure they have sufficient power and that the horse is truly between leg and hand.” Tina Ure, course designer.

Childeric Saddles will once again return as title sponsors for the 2018 season, along with the Protexin Equine Premium Grassroots Accumulator with it’s £1500 prize fun for BE90 and BE100 competitors.

Posted on May 25th, 2018

Ex-Racehorses invited to take part in vital research

Ex-racehorses entered in the SEIB Racehorse to Riding Horse qualifier at Bury Farm on the 10th June will have the opportunity to take part in Animal Health Trust (AHT) research. By providing a simple DNA swab, horses in the class will be helping vital research into reducing the risk of fracture in racehorses.
At present 11% of horses in training will sustain a fracture during their careers and the goal of this research is to significantly reduce this number. The Animal Health Trust (AHT) have established a link between DNA and the likelihood of fracture in thoroughbreds. A team at the trust are now developing a new test which will identify thoroughbreds with an increased risk of fracture by taking a simple DNA swab. In order to validate this test the AHT will take DNA swabs from racehorses that have finished their careers sound.
The AHT’s Head of Stem Cell Research, Dr Debbie Guest is leading the development of this new DNA test. Debbie and her team will be at Bury Farm on the 10th of June to take DNA swabs from horses entered in the SEIB Racehorse to Riding Horse qualifier with owners that wish to take part in the research.
Debbie said: “We are aiming to take a simple DNA swab test of around 250 control horses that have finished their racing careers sound and also around 250 horses that have sustained fractures during their racing careers. The resulting new DNA test will provide a breakthrough in managing the risks associated with fracture in racehorses. Opportunities such as the SEIB qualifier at Bury Farm where there will be plenty of ex-racehorses together really help us increase the number of horses in our control group.”
Top race and – very recently retired – show horse, HM The Queen’s, Barbers Shop recently had his DNA swab taken as part of the control group in this research. His rider and producer, Katie Jerram said: “We were delighted that Barbers Shop could take part in such valuable research. This new test will be brilliant for the future of British thoroughbreds.”
Debbie and her team will be also be available to take DNA swabs from ex-racehorses at the qualifiers for the SEIB Racehorse to Riding Horse finals at Vale View and the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials.
SEIB’s Marketing Manager, Nicolina Mackenzie said: “We are thrilled to be supporting this valuable research. SEIB set up the Racehorse to Riding Horse series to help ex-racehorses lead better lives and we take anything we can do to support the ongoing welfare of thoroughbreds very seriously. It takes moments to have a DNA swab taken and we anticipate that many of the Racehorse to Riding Horse competitors will be keen to take part.”
Debbie continued: “Over the past 20 years, much has been done to reduce the number of racehorse fatalities on British racecourses. The British Horseracing Authority has made many changes including decreasing the number of runners in some races and changing fence profiles. However, over the past 10 years the level of equine fatalities on the racecourse has remained constant. We now need to look at the biological factors and why some horses are predisposed to fracture.”
If you have an ex-racehorse that has retired sound from racing with no known fractures and you would like to take part in the development of this new test by having your horse swabbed please contact Dr Debbie Guest

Posted on May 22nd, 2018

Suffolk Show-bound

Equestrian and lifestyle estate agents, ECR Properties are looking forward to exhibiting at the Suffolk Show held at Trinity Park, Ipswich on 30th31st May.

Company owner and equestrian enthusiast Emily Cooper-Reade said, “We are very pleased to be sponsoring the Suffolk Show for the fifth year in succession and we are looking forward to two action-packed days in the main equestrian ring, The ECR Properties Trinity Ring”.

Photo: Emily Cooper-Reade presenting an award at the Suffolk Show 2017.


Posted on May 10th, 2018

FEI Saracen Horse Feeds Houghton International

This year’s Saracen Horse Feeds Houghton International, incorporating the FEI Eventing Nations Cup, runs from 24th – 27th May. As usual it is set to welcome riders from across the globe; 19 nations will be represented, from Finland and Sweden to Russia, Japan and Hong Kong. Entries for the headline ‘CICO three-star’ class, which incorporates the only British leg of the FEI Eventing Nations Cup, are full and five teams look set to challenge the winner of the previous three years, Germany.

World class athletes will be heading to Norfolk with the goal of winning this class, and ones to watch would have to be Laura Collett and Tina Cook. Laura has three entries including her uber-talented Mr Bass who along with Tina’s Billy The Red and Calvino II were due to contest Badminton before the spring’s bad weather and a nasty fall for Tina put paid to those plans. Crowd favourites Pippa Funnell, Ben Hobday and Nicola Wilson are also in the line-up. International medal winners include Australia’s Andrew Hoy, New Zealand’s Caroline Powell, Germany’s Dirk Schrade and twice World Champion Kiwi, Blyth Tait.

Aside from the ‘big’ class and fresh from finishing third at Badminton, British team gold medallist Rosalind Canter is bringing one of her youngsters, while Piggy French has two horses entered and Gemma Tattersall, fourth at Badminton behind Ros, has a ride in every class.

Saracen Horse Feeds Houghton International also plays host to the NAF British Eventing Under 21 Championships. Reigning Junior European Champion Bubby Upton will have three shots at this title, including with her medal winning partner Eros DHI. This partnership is very much on song, having won a two-star class at Belton International last month. Last year’s winner Felicity Collins returns, as does 2017 runner up Sam Ecroyd.

Running alongside the International event, there are also showjumping, combined training, dressage, arena eventing and pony club classes, as well as the ever popular Dubarry Burghley Young Event Horse qualifiers.

For those less horse-orientated there will be ‘have a go’ dog agility hosted by EACH (East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices), Musketeer’s charity for this year, children’s entertainment, over 70 tradestands, food outlets, and a licenced bar.

One option worth considering is camping on site. Evening entertainment is laid on – from the Friday night Pub Quiz to the Saturday night disco, so there is plenty to do. This is a truly unique opportunity as camping is not allowed at Houghton Hall at any other time of the year and camping packages can cover anything from one night to the whole event.

Tickets can be bought in advance via the website, and on the Gate, which opens at 8.30am every day. For more information on any aspect of this year’s FEI Saracen Horse Feeds Houghton International Horse Trials, visit

Posted on May 8th, 2018


On Sunday 13th May, Redwings Horse Sanctuary will be welcoming Love Island’s Jonny Mitchell to join in the festivities at Del Boy the donkey’s birthday party at their Ada Cole Visitor Centre in Nazeing, near Harlow.

As part of the charity’s popular sponsorship scheme, Redwings Horse Sanctuary throws each of its “Adoption Star” donkeys and horses a special party to celebrate their birthdays. Visitors, supporters, adopters and, in this case, celebrities are invited to meet the Adoption Star, join in the celebrations and learn more about Redwings’ valuable work in rescuing and caring for horses and donkeys.

Wheeling and dealing donkey Del Boy will be celebrating his sweet 16th birthday alongside partner in crime Rodney and as special guest ITV 2 Love Island contestant Jonny Mitchell.

Commenting on Jonny’s appearance, Redwings’ Head of Fundraising Alison Lanchester said: “Jonny approached Redwings looking to lend a helping hand to a charity based in his home county, and we’re delighted he’ll be supporting our team at Del Boy’s birthday party.

“Our Adoption Star birthday parties are one of the highlights of the Redwings events calendar with plenty of fun to be had by all so we can’t wait to see as many supporters as possible come along on Sunday 13th May to meet not one but two stars!”

Del Boy’s birthday party will kick off at 11.30am, with the highlight of the party – his parade and presentation of his special birthday cake topped with carrots instead of candles – taking place at 1pm. Entry to the visitor centre is completely free of charge.

Posted on May 1st, 2018


Final preparations are underway for Redwings Horse Sanctuary’s annual horse show on Sunday 13th May at Topthorn Equestrian Centre near Stowmarket, Suffolk.

The Redwings Show has a varied schedule of over 40 classes, including In-hand and Ridden showing classes, Working Hunter, Veteran, Heavy Horse and Donkey Breed Society affiliated Donkey classes.

There is also a Novice Ring offering classes for horses and riders who are new to showing and looking to get some practice in at a fun and friendly show, as well as “Just for Fun” classes for those looking to have a fun day out with their four-legged friend!

The ever-popular Rescue classes will also return for 2018 and are open to any horse or pony rehomed from a registered charity. This year, the money raised from the entry fees to the Rescue classes will go towards Redwings’ Amersham 10 appeal as part of the charity’s year-long commemoration of the 10-year anniversary of the rescue of over 100 horses and donkeys from atrocious conditions at Spindle Farm in Amersham.

Redwings Show organiser, Jude Palmer, said: “With just under two weeks until the show we are really excited and looking forward to welcoming competitors old and new.

“As the showing season gets underway, the Redwings Show is the perfect opportunity to get some practice in, with a warm and welcoming environment and plenty of rosettes up for grabs! Not forgetting £100 of vouchers kindly donated by horse feed specialists Spillers for the winner of the Best Condition Championship.

“While we will welcome entries on the day, the closing date for pre-entries is the 7th May and we’re urging competitors to get their entry forms in early so they don’t miss out on all of the fun!”

The full schedule and entry forms are available on Redwings’ website Alternatively, contact the show organiser Jude Palmer by emailing or calling 01508 481032.