Posted on October 14th, 2019

Stratford Hills Announces 2020 Charity and Dates

The Stratford Hills Horse Trials committee are pleased to announce the Charlie Watkins Foundation as its 2020 charity.  With next season’s dates confirmed as the 13th and 14th June, the event will enter its eighteenth year of running and aims to raise more funds for local charities.

The 2020 charity intends to support the provision of mental health services to young people in the UK.  Charlie Watkins was just 22 when he took his own life in March 2017.  Sadly, Charlie never recovered from the tragic loss of his mother when he was nine years old.  Charlie is one of the many examples of young people who suffer from mental health issues.  The Charlie Watkins Foundation aims to raise funds to support young people struggling with mental health issues and encourages them to talk and remove the stigma of mental health.

The foundation was set up by Harry Watkins, Charlie’s twin brother, in September 2017.  The aim is to accelerate the provision of counselling for young people and to support the lobbying for support at both regional and national level.

“The SHHT committee all have children and are very aware of the mental health issues surrounding young people today.  We therefore welcome the chance to support a local charity which is offering a chat line to anyone who is suffering from anxiety or any other problems” commented organiser Gillie Cranfield.

2019 saw the event run with one of its smallest fields but attracted much praise from riders of all levels.  Benefitting from the extensive rain, that caused other events to abandon, the Suffolk event ran with the best ground they had ever seen.

“A truly lovely event with really good terrain that makes for an exciting and proper cross-country course.  We were super happy with the outcome as we made a plan to come here and everything went to plan.  The organisation and the volunteers were just brilliant and we’re already looking forward to coming back next year.” Francis Whittington

Regular visitor to Stratford Hills, Matthew Heath would also encourage other riders to make the journey to the Suffolk venue.

“I really don’t know why more people don’t support Stratford Hills, it is one of the friendliest and accommodating events on the circuit with easy access straight off a main road.  The courses are great with the hills presenting a good challenge.  There is always a good grass cover and this year was the best ground I’d ever seen.  I’ve been coming for a number of years and will continue to make the effort to come, no matter where I’m based.”

Posted on October 14th, 2019

Halloween Half Term at Bransby Horses

Bransby Horses has a wonderful week of spooky and slime-tastic activities this half term.

The equine rescue charity has been increasing their activity offering this year and October half term is filled with daily activities for all ages. Halloween Spook Walks each day draw you into stories of ghosts and ghouls, whilst you meander around fields and paddocks. If you want to get arty, Creative Halloween Crafts might be for you, where you can make your own Halloween mask, spiders web or let your creepy creative juices run wild with your own imagination.

Young witches and wizards can take part in Wand Making or Potion and Slime Making, creating your own wand or potion, ready for Halloween night. The charity also have two Halloween Fun Days on the 26th and 27th October, with lots of great things to do and see, including a performance of the Julia Donaldson classic, Room on the Broom.

As well as a choice of activities during the week, the charity has hundreds of rescued and rehabilitated horses, ponies, donkeys and mules to meet as well as play areas and a café called The Feedroom which has hot and cold food and drinks including a selection of delicious cakes. To visit the site is free but the charity welcome donations as they are 100% publicly funded. Activity prices range from free to £12 per person.

Please check or the Bransby Horses – Rescue and Welfare Facebook page for details.

Posted on October 8th, 2019

Banish the Winter Blues!

Redwings Horse Sanctuary is offering a free evening of vet talks for horse owners full of advice on how to keep their four-legged friends healthy and safe this winter.

The evening seminar will take place at Redwings Aylsham, north of Norwich, on Tuesday 29th October from 6.30pm.

Head of Veterinary Care, Nicky Jarvis, will be sharing her top tips for looking after horses through the colder months, from common seasonal ailments and winter weight management, to supporting older equines and those with ongoing health problems.

There will also be a chance to hear the latest research into when to rug and not to rug a horse, with recent findings suggesting that over-rugging can have a real impact on a horse’s welfare.

Helen Whitelegg, Senior Campaigns Officer, said: “Winter can be hard work for horse owners and often brings its own horse health challenges. Redwings cares for horses of all ages and breeds so our vets have unrivalled knowledge and experience when it comes to ensuring equines stay happy and safe, whatever the weather.

“We hope as many horse owners as possible will be able to come along to hear our top tips and advice so they’ll be ready for whatever this winter has in store!”

Free places on the seminar can be booked in advance by calling 01508 481055 or emailing

Redwings Aylsham is located in Spa Lane, Aylsham, Norfolk, NR11 6UE.

Posted on October 8th, 2019

An Essex schoolgirl has hosted part of a tour at The National Stud after winning a Discover Newmarket competition.

Fourteen-year-old Paige Peacock from Saffron Walden was named the tourism hub’s official Junior Tour Guide after showing a passion for horseracing in her entry to their competition. Judges were also impressed that she volunteers and educates visitors at her school farm.

Paige received some top tips from Discover Newmarket guide Larry Bowden before relating some interesting facts during a group tour of The National Stud. Larry was the only guide in East Anglia to be shortlisted for VisitEngland’s Tourism Superstar 2019 Award.

Paige commented: “I loved seeing the foals and the retired legends – giving a polo to a Gold Cup winner was very exciting! Everything Larry said was so interesting and everyone on the tour was hooked on every word. He gave me lots of confidence which meant I was able to say far more than I thought I would. The whole experience showed me there is so much more to racing than being a jockey. I can’t wait to be old enough to do the Stud Diploma and definitely want to make a career for myself in the racing industry.”

Discover Newmarket’s Manager, Tracey Harding, added: “Paige’s love of horses came across and she clearly understands that enthusiasm is such an important part of being a tour guide and public speaking in general. We look forward to welcoming many more young people to our family-friendly attractions in Newmarket during Half Term week later this month to help inspire the next generation of racing fans.”

The National Stud is home to impressive stallions, potential superstars of the future and retired racing legends including Jack the Giant and Lord Windermere. Children can visit free with a Blue Peter badge and are given fun quiz sheets to complete as they tour the 500-acre stud farm.

Along with The National Heritage Centre for Horseracing and Sporting Art at Palace House and free entry for children at Newmarket Racecourses on Wednesday 23rd October, Newmarket is a great place for family outings.

Discover Newmarket’s host of educational tours give visitors the opportunity to go behind the scenes of the sport’s training and breeding operations to meet the organisations, trainers, equine stars and dedicated workforce.

Posted on October 7th, 2019

HOYS 2019 Local Roundup

Steve Dent Stunt Harness Horse and Pony of the Year Championship

Yorkshire-based driver Neil Wray clung on to his title as the Steve Dent Stunt Harness Horse and Pony of the Year Champion for the second year running with the eight-year-old black stallion, Plains Royalty.
Out of fifteen turnouts in the class, eight were pulled forward by Judges Mary Ford and Justin Cowles, who then whittled it down to their final two; Neil driving Plains Royalty, along with 2014 and 2015 champion, Jessie Dudley Apicella driving Aghaderg Stand and Deliver. Eventually the hand went in Neil’s favour to be crowned champion for the second consecutive year.


Saving the best until last in the British Showjumping Silver League Championship

Raising the bar and claiming victory in the British Showjumping Silver League Championship was Cambridgeshire-based Stacey Cook riding her stunning 13-year-old bay gelding, Gigant.
It was very close on the leader board as the final competitors took to the arena, each one bettering the previous round. Saving the best until last, Stacey stormed down to the final fence, jumping into the lead and taking the Champion title.
Stacey’s win rounded off a successful year for her as she also won the National Winter Silver League Championship at the British Showjumping Spring Championships in April this year with her homebred Ninola. Speaking of her win on day one at Horse of the Year Show, Stacey said: “We have had such a great season. Having just come back from having a baby I couldn’t believe it when I qualified both of my horses for HOYS in the same year. I decided to let him [Gigant] have the limelight because the other one [Ninola] won the winter league. He is so consistent and a lovely mover. I’ve owned him for eight years now and have produced him myself so it’s so rewarding that he keeps on giving.”
Stacey fits in her training with the horses around her day job working as an equestrian instructor, making her fully invested in the equestrian industry.
She adds: “I hadn’t seen anyone else’s round or even heard how they had got on so I went in a bit blind, but I just wanted to do the best we could and was quite surprised when they said we had won the class. I’m so pleased with him. I think next year we will try some 1.40s and see how we get on

Photo: 1st Class Images



Addington Equestrian 2019 Ltd Talent Seekers incorporating the Brightwells 7-year-old Championship

Rounding off day one of Horse of the Year Show in style, the audience in the Andrews Bowen International Arena were treated to an extraordinary result in the final class of the day and another ‘first’ with a two-way tie in the Addington Equestrian 2019 Ltd Talent Seekers Championship.
Jay Halim and Tim Davies congratulated one another on their joint win in a time of 31.23 seconds, both sharing the same sentiment of gratitude.
Tim from Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk was last to go in the jump off riding 8-year-old chestnut gelding, Lionel Van De Markieslanden, owned by Barrett Watson. “It’s an honour to share the win with Jay; I watched his round and noted his time. My horse is quick but when I looked up at the clock I knew straight away that we’d drew. He’s the perfect person to share it with though and I’m really pleased for him. I jumped the horse here last year and he was very careful, you just never quite know how they are going to react in the arena. I mainly compete here in England producing young horses so it means a lot to win a big Championship here at Horse of the Year Show. I’ve had him since he was four years old and he was a tricky horse but I knew he’d come good. To come here and win with him is just incredible.”


An Incredible 1-2 for Daisy Williams in the Blue Chip Pony Newcomers Championship

Daisy Williams made her first time at Horse of the Year Show one to remember, taking both first and second place with her two ponies, Bermudez BDA and King III respectively.
The Lincolnshire-based teenager, who celebrates her 14th birthday next week, got an early birthday surprise when she took to the Andrews Bowen International Arena on day two at Horse of the Year Show. As first to jump in the seven pony jump off, she cleared a textbook round aboard Bermudez BDA. The pair set an unbeatable time of 31.60 seconds, fighting off close competition from the other riders to maintain her lead throughout.
With two ponies in the jump off, Daisy was last to go with her second ride, King III, and only had herself to beat. Showing experience beyond her years, Daisy rode another expertly ridden course and flew down to the last fence to finish in 31.67 seconds allowing her to take that second-place position.
With the biggest smile on her face, Daisy commented afterwards: “I can’t quite believe that just happened. I was so nervous going in and I just hoped for the best. Billy [Bermudez BDA] is only 6-years-old and hasn’t done many jump offs and I was surprised how fast we went. When I went in again with King, I didn’t even realise that I was in the lead until I heard the commentator on my approach to the first fence and I just couldn’t stop smiling. It is my first time at HOYS and it is such a dream come true to even be here, let alone to win. I came here a few years ago as a visitor and it just gave me the bug and motivation to get training with the ponies. They have both qualified for the Pony Foxhunter Championship on Saturday so I can only hope that they jump just as well in that.”
Both ponies are owned by Daisy’s mother Jill Williams and are apparently like chalk and cheese: “Billy gets into the arena excitable and raring to go, whereas King is a bit more reserved and waits for you to tell him what to do. They are both incredible ponies and I am so thankful to my trainers Kyle Hassle and Kelly Aldous for all of their support.”

Photo: 1st Class Images


A new champion crowned in the Equitop Myoplast Senior Foxhunter Championship

Hertfordshire’s Simon Crippen finally had his day, taking the Equitop Myoplast Senior Foxhunter Championship riding Tim Peake’s 7-year-old gelding, Premier Titanium, at Horse of the Year Show 2019. Often described as the class everyone wants to win, Simon has been placed in the Championship many times, coming closest in 2010 when he took second place with Wembley III.

The Foxhunter Championship started in 1954, it is one of the longest standing Championships at HOYS and its popularity is down to it showcasing the very best of the country’s novice horses. Taking home the highly-coveted Foxhunter goblet after a difficult course, Simon was thrilled with his win finishing on a time of 38.51 seconds. He commented: “Tonight everything went my way. I had a funny feeling today that we would do well, and I was 13th to go which is my lucky number. I’ve been placed in this class a lot over the years, so to finally win was a fantastic feeling.”
Paul Barker and Matt Sampson, two riders known on the circuit for being quick in jump offs, were first in but their tight twisty turns cost them unfortunate penalties, leaving the field wide open to the other combinations.
Simon continues: “Seeing the previous riders pick up faults, I decided to ride a steadier round and aim for clear, then hope it might be just enough. It was a nice smooth round and flowed well. Luckily it paid off and I’m delighted.” Simon’s last big win at HOYS was in 1998 aged just 17 when he won the Senior Newcomers Championship riding Divine Des Cabanes owned by Judy Ross. Today, over 20 years later, he is back on top form with a talented young horse.
Premier Titanium is a really good horse; I think he could be a real star. I’ve been riding him for just over two years now and although he has been tricky to produce, he shows great talent. He was a stallion up until this summer and having him gelded has really helped him to focus which has enabled us to progress quickly over the last few months. To win this traditional stepping stone class feels extremely special.”
Runner up in the class and placing second was this year’s Burghley Horse Trials winner, Pippa Funnell, who last rode at HOYS in 2011 winning the Senior Newcomers riding Billy Balou. With two rides in the class, Pippa’s second place was with 7-year-old mare, Billy Picador, who produced a beautiful double clear just outside of the time, finishing on 40.40 seconds.


Essex’s Cash takes Reserve title

Five-time HOYS Working Hunter Pony winner, Cashel Bay JJ (Cash), owned by Polly Eddis, made it six wins in the 153cm class and took the Reserve Champion title; a victory that has previously eluded him in this particular Championship.
Susie Eddis has ridden Cash for the past two seasons. Her sister Lucy had the ride beforehand and competed him at HOYS between 2014 and 2018. Cash has been placed in Working Hunter classes at HOYS for eight years on the trot and took the Mountain & Moorland Working Hunter Pony Championship in 2016. Now aged 16, this Connemara shows no signs of slowing down.
Speaking after her class, Susie said: “He was amazing in there; I like him with a bit more energy, a bit fiery!” Lucy, who was at HOYS to support her sister, said: “It’s incredible. Just when you think he’s done it all, he does it again.”
Cash will have a rest now over winter while Susie concentrates on her event horse.
Kate Johnston’s 10-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding Elton John II climbed up from third place last year to top the Intermediate section with daughter Daniella in the saddle. Lincolnshire’s Daniella was thrilled with the win. She’s had Elton for four years and is pleased with how he has matured over his three appearances here at HOYS. The pair regularly show jump and came to HOYS fresh from winning the 1.25m Grand Prix at Arena UK just two weeks ago.


SEIB Search for a Star series seeks out future HOYS stars

Lisa Sergeant from Lancs came to Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) with no expectations and was absolutely over the moon when her pony, Linsford Ear to the Ground, not only won the Working Show Pony class, but was crowned overall SEIB Search for a Star Champion.
The SEIB Search for a Star series gives amateur riders, and their horses and ponies, the chance to try and qualify for HOYS and benefit from a thoroughly supportive network in the process.
Lisa now plans to give HOYS qualifiers a go next year, which is just what the series is all about; finding those future stars.
Dorset-based Pippa Tucker was “absolutely buzzing” after her homebred horse, Rambo, clinched the Working Show Horse title and then went on to stand overall Reserve Champion.
Wales’ Sarah Walker and her own, Dr Cookie Monster, took the Riding Horse section.
Buckinghamshire’s Emma Peel and bay gelding, Melin Moldavite (Harvey), won the Hack section.
Wiltshire’s Emily Chambers rode her own mare Wulfstan Evensong (Evie) to victory in the Show Cob section.
The Traditional Horse/Pony class was a new addition for this year and was won by Angela Warnes’ 8-year-old cob, Daffodil, ridden by Kirsty Warnes. Daffodil was bought unbroken, a bit of a “rough diamond”, and intended to be a happy hack for Kirsty’s mother-in-law. However, after showing plenty of quality, Norfolk’s Kirsty has done a bit of everything with her from showing to dressage and cross country. They had a bit of a slow start to Daffodil’s ridden career after realising she was in foal!
Daffodil will eventually go to daughter Ella, but Kirsty was thrilled to find this opportunity for solid coloured cobs within the Search for a Star series.
Finally Isabel Southworth’s 5-year-old Irish Sport Horse, Bloomfield Imperial, won the Show Hunter section.


Simon Constable Equine Vets and Mr & Mrs Roberts Ridden Purebred Arab of the Year Champion

A home-produced 6-year-old Arab gelding, Rafeekah, owned by Kerry Bates and ridden by daughter Kimberley won the Simon Constable Equine Vets and Mr & Mrs Roberts Ridden Purebred Arab of the Year Championship.
“We don’t have anything fancy at home and do all the work ourselves,” explained Northamptonshire’s Kimberley. “He’s kept on a normal livery yard and shares a field with other horses and ponies.”
Overall second place went to Tracey Hateley’s grey gelding, CBeebies, ridden by Darren Crowe from Essex.


British Horse Feeds Speedi-Beet Grade C Championship

The British Horse Feeds Speedi-Beet Grade C Championship was the first showjumping class of the day on Saturday at Horse of the Year Show.
Out of a field of 26 riders, the 1.40m course proved tricky for some. Of the seven horses to make it through to the jump off, Essex’s Allana Clutterbuck set the time to beat of 35.27 seconds riding Vykinbay.
Last to go was Angie Thompson riding 9-year-old bay gelding, Fremont VDL. As no stranger to HOYS, Angie knew exactly what she had to do to secure the victory. Riding a perfectly judged round, Angie took a winning turn to the last fence which saw her come home ahead of the rest in a time of 34.66 seconds.


The Leeman Family Maxi Cob of the Year

Elizabeth Bury’s Irish Draught, Lord Alexander (Alex), took the title of The Leeman Family Maxi Cob of the Year in the Championship’s ninth running at Horse of the Year Show.
Lynn Russell rode Baileys Horse Feeds’ 9-year-old Piebald gelding, Cappa Sham, to second place. They were also placed in this Championship in 2016 and 2018.
Essex-based Richard and Lisha Leeman and the wider Leeman Family are delighted to give back to the discipline through generous sponsorship of both the Cob and Maxi Cob of the Year Championship. Their support also extends to other events including the Kellythorpes Leading Sire and Kellythorpes Leading Breeder Showing Awards Series presented here at the 2019 Horse of the Year Show.


Our Cashel Blue comes back in style to be crowned The Leeman Family Cob of the Year Champion

After a turbulent year, Caroline Tyrrell’s Our Cashel Blue (Blue) has made a triumphant return to Horse of the Year Show with Norfolk’s Allister Hood, claiming The Leeman Family Cob of the Year Championship.
Blue was Cob Champion and Supreme Horse of the Year in 2016, and Cob Champion again in 2017. However, in 2018, the 10-year-old was diagnosed with cancer after developing a lump on his shoulder. Blue underwent surgery to remove the tumour at the Royal Veterinary College at Potters Bar and then followed a long journey of three months’ box rest, walking in-hand and riding at walk.
Allister had also suffered a heart attack earlier on in the year.
Speaking after the Championship, Allister said: “I always had the dream of coming back here [to HOYS]. “He [Blue] has so many followers; we can’t walk around without people wanting to touch him or have a selfie. I’ve never had a horse with such a personality. He’s a grand lad.

Photo: Julian Portch





British Show Pony Society Children’s Riding Pony of the Year Championship

This time last year, Charlotte Caulfield’s pony, Stretcholt New Dimension, was just being backed. Fast forward twelve months and he is now a Horse of the Year Show Champion, having won the British Show Pony Society 138cm Children’s Riding Pony of the Year and standing overall Champion.
This was also Charlotte’s first HOYS win. She said: “We never thought he’d get this far in his novice year; to get here is such a privilege.”
Winner of the 148cm section, Serena Parkhouse’s Jackets Destiny, stood Reserve Champion ridden by Emmy Parkhouse. The winner of the 128cm was Rotherwood Rainmaker ridden by India Till. Second placed in each section were: Dianne Brereton’s Laybalands Fly By Night in the 148cm, Henrietta Till’s Drakemyre Puttin on the Ritz in the 138cm and Essex-based Katie Smith’s Kouros Mayfia in the 128cm.


The Binks Family Show Hunter Pony of the Year Championship

Julie Bankier rode Kate Bankier’s bay mare, Toncynfigg Liberty X (Tina), to victory in The Binks Family Show Hunter Pony of the Year Championship at Horse of the Year Show, rounding off her last year in Show Hunter Pony classes in style.
It was a good day for the large Show Hunter Ponies, as the Reserve Champion also came from the 153cm class; second placed CSF Chantilly Galway Girl (Dolly) owned by Lorraine Scott and ridden by Cambridgeshire’s Jessica Reed-Else. Jessica started riding the 6-year-old in May this year and they’ve fitted a lot into their first season together. She is based with Emma-Jayne Dujardin but Jessica will bring her home over the winter. This is Jessica’s highest achievement to date in her riding career. She first competed at HOYS in 2012 in the First Ridden Mountain & Moorland class when they finished eighth.
The plan now is to come out again next year and contest some Intermediate classes.


Junior Mountain & Moorland Ridden Championship Sponsored by Ponies Association (UK)

A Welsh Section C pony has won the Junior Mountain & Moorland Ridden Championship Sponsored by Ponies Association (UK), after going one better on last year’s second place in the Large Breed class. Rivervalley Flash Jack (Jack) is owned by Janet Cox and is 8-years-old.
Amy Tate gained the ride on Jack in 2017, and the pair have competed in a lot of dressage as well as undertaking showing qualifiers.
A homebred Highland pony stood Reserve Champion, after finishing second to Amy and Jack in the Large Breed class. Austin of Miltonglen is owned by Lincolnshire’s Kirsty Faulkner and ridden by Olivia Faulkner. He had time out last year while the family moved house but has made up for it by competing at five shows this year.
Kirsty also owns his sire, Oscar of Edinglassie, and Olivia rode him in the Open Mountain & Moorland class at HOYS in 2016. They were placed eighth. Olivia is now hoping to progress to Open classes with Austin as well. Reflecting on the Championship, she said: “We’re overwhelmed, it’s the best feeling ever.”


Topham Barnes Riding Horse of the Year Championship

Team Ross rounded off a fabulous week at Horse of the Year Show when her Small and Large Riding Horses both won their classes and took Champion and Reserve Champion in the Topham Barnes Riding Horse of the Year Championship.
Diane Stennett’s Small Riding Horse, Casino III, has been knocking on the door of the Riding Horse Championship for the past four years. Jayne Ross has had three wins with her and two Reserve titles, but they finally clinched the overall Championship.
The winner of the Large Riding Horse and Reserve Champion was CSF Cummer Paradise (Audrey), owned by Tony Reynolds and Michael Cook.
Second placed in the Small and Large classes were Ian Darcy’s Westerdale Regal Max, ridden by Callum Potts, and Kim Colosso’s Trenavey Rational Choice, ridden by Essex’s Rae Colosso.



Posted on October 3rd, 2019

Live Showing Action from Arena UK on Horse & Country

Horse & Country is delighted to be live streaming exciting showing action from Arena UK this October.

Starting with the Rare Breeds of the Year Show on Saturday, 5th October, viewers can enjoy the very best rare breed horses and ponies shown in-hand, ridden and driven.

The individual Breed Societies, whose equines are currently listed by the Rare Breed Survival Trust as endangered, are working together again to produce a magnificent show. The event is a show case for these breeds to highlight the versatility of the horses and ponies in all equestrian disciplines.

Later in the month the coveted BSPS Heritage Championships take place on Saturday and Sunday, 12th and 13th October with Horse & Country capturing the major champions and leading names competing live from Arena UK.

Showing and dressage legend, Louise Bell will also be presenting social media coverage from the championships on 12th October.

The BSPS Heritage Championships, which is specifically for native breeds, attract a large number of competitors with the many breeds including Dales, Fell, Connemara, Exmoor, Dartmoor, Shetland and Welsh ponies remaining hugely popular in the showing world.

Watch on Horse & Country’s web and mobile apps and streaming service, as well as on Sky channel 184, Virgin Media channel 298, Apple TV, Android TV, Amazon Prime, Amazon Fire, Roku.

Visit to subscribe and watch this fantastic live steam coverage from Arena UK.

Posted on October 1st, 2019

Junior Tour Guide winner under starters orders at The National Stud

A 14-year-old girl who is passionate about horses and racing has won Discover Newmarket’s Junior Tour Guide competition.

Paige Peacock from Saffron Walden will be putting her public speaking skills to the test during a tour at The National Stud on Saturday 5th October. It comes after tourism hub Discover Newmarket appealed for youngsters aged between eight and 16 to explain in 50 words why they deserve the coveted title.

During the complimentary tour with her family, Paige will be picking up top tips and delivering some facts to the group under the expert guidance of Discover Newmarket tour guide Larry Bowden. Larry was the only guide in East Anglia to be shortlisted for VisitEngland’s Tourism Superstar 2019 Award.

Discover Newmarket’s new Manager, Tracey Harding, commented: “In an age where children are spending more time inside on their screens, we launched our Junior Tour Guide competition to promote the importance of communication skills and simply enjoying the outdoors. Already a volunteer educator at her school farm, Paige is a very worthy winner and we’re looking forward to welcoming her to one of our prestigious family-friendly attractions.”

The National Stud is home to impressive stallions, retired National Hunt legends and the potential superstars of the future. Children can visit free with a Blue Peter badge and are given fun quiz sheets to complete as they tour the 500-acre stud farm.

Along with The National Heritage Centre for Horseracing and Sporting Art at Palace House, The Jockey Club Rooms and free entry for children at Newmarket Racecourses on Wednesday 23rd October, Newmarket is a great place for family outings during Half Term later this month.

Discover Newmarket’s host of educational tours give visitors the opportunity to go behind the scenes of the sport’s training and breeding operations to meet the organisations, trainers, equine stars and dedicated workforce.

Posted on September 9th, 2019

Stars of sport and broadcasting gather for 50th anniversary RDA awards

Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) is celebrating its 50th anniversary at a star-studded awards evening, recognising the outstanding achievements of riders, volunteers and horses. Host Clare Balding will be joined by ITN news anchor and journalist Alastair Stewart; motor racing legend Damon Hill; W Series’ British racing driver Alice Powell and celebrity auctioneer Philip Serrell for a night of celebration and fundraising.

Each year the RDA Gala Awards celebrates the achievements of its riders and carriage drivers, and the outstanding contribution made by its volunteers and horses. In this milestone year for RDA, the 2019 awards will be extra special. As RDA celebrates 50 years as a leader in disability sport, Damon Hill will be joining Alastair Stewart on stage to talk about the vital role sport can play in shaping lives.

“I’m delighted to be attending the RDA Gala Awards evening,” says 1996 Formula 1 World Champion Damon Hill. “It’s a fantastic charity that currently enhances the lives of more than 25,000 disabled adults and children, so I’m really looking forward to finding out more about it and to meeting some of the people with and for whom it does so much excellent work.”

Alice Powell, a star of W Series, the new single-seater motor racing championship for female drivers only and the winner of the W Series ‘Brand Finale’ race at Brands Hatch, Kent, in August, adds: “As someone who thrives on high-speed competition, I’m inspired and impressed by the work that RDA does for disabled people, harnessing – literally – the athleticism of horses in order to add mobility and empowerment to thousands of disabled people’s lives. I’m really looking forward to attending the RDA Gala Awards evening therefore.”

“The RDA Gala Awards is always an emotional and thought-provoking evening,” says long time RDA supporter Clare Balding, whose latest book, The Racehorse Who Learned to Dance, features a disabled girl who rebuilds her life through riding. “This year’s event will be a great opportunity, not just to celebrate everyone involved today, but also to reflect on the many thousands of people who have benefited over the years – and to the volunteers and horses who have given so much.”

RDA is dedicated to improving the lives of people with disabilities through horse riding and carriage driving and today supports over 25,000 children and adults all over the UK. Awards will be presented to the RDA Rider of the Year, Volunteer and Young Volunteer of the Year, and RDA Horse of the Year.

The RDA Gala Awards 2019 is on 2nd October at Drapers’ Hall, Throgmorton Avenue, London EC2N 2DQ. Tickets and more information from Sal Atkinson, The awards are kindly supported by Childs Farm, players of People’s Postcode Lottery and Snuggy Hoods.

Posted on September 3rd, 2019

Bransby Horses is Given The British Horse Society Stamp of Approval

This year, Equine rescue and rehabilitation charity, Bransby Horses, has received The British Horse Society (BHS) Accreditation. On Tuesday 27th August, BHS Business Development Manager, Sarah Dale, and BHS Changing Lives Through Horses Manager, Phillippa Founds, visited the 600-acre charity site in Lincolnshire to congratulate the team.

BHS Approval represents the highest standards of training, horse welfare, customer care and safety. Approved centres are expected to maintain these at all times. To achieve this status, sites must apply for the assessment, with supporting evidence, undergo a site inspection, including a review of equine training practices and a number of interviews are conducted. After the initial inspection, further annual inspections are carried out to check high standards are being maintained and the centre can retain the BHS approval.

Bransby Horses was graded by BHS as part of their BHS Approved Centres scheme earlier this year after rigorous assessments. The equine charity which rescues, rehabilitates and rehomes equines across the UK, passed in all areas of the accreditation assessment. The charity even achieved ‘Highly Commended’ in the Horse Welfare, Retraining, Customer Care, Grassland Management and Working Procedures categories.

Rachel Jenkinson, Farm Manager at Bransby Horses said:

“We are thrilled with this achievement and this approval from The British Horse Society. It takes a big team of passionate and knowledgeable people to run this amazing charity and whilst seeing rescued equines have a second chance at life is a reward in itself, having this approval shows we are transparent in our working practices and also achieve the highest standards of care for our equines, staff and visitors. We are all incredibly proud of the work that we do and would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has supported us and donated their time and energy over the years – we couldn’t have done this without you!”

In addition, Bransby Horses Farm Manager, Rachel Jenkinson with some of the riding team (and happy horses Mushu, Blueberry, Sooty and Honour) proudly received an Approved Retraining Centre plaque to place on their Riding Barn. This recognition has come just a few months after the entire site achieved BHS Accreditation.

The British Horse Society is dedicated to education, equine welfare, protecting and increasing access to bridleways and equestrian routes, and safety for horse and riders. It currently has more than 109,000 members, making it the largest equine membership organisation in the United Kingdom. It is one of the 19 organisations which form part of the British Equestrian Federation. The BHS is the largest equestrian charity in the UK, helping equestrian businesses by providing them with the highest standards of excellence and health and safety requirements to adhere to.

Bransby Horses is dedicated to rescuing and improving the lives of horses, ponies, donkeys and mules across the UK. With public support, the charity is working harder than ever to continue making positive differences to equines whenever they can. Founded in 1968 by Mr Peter Hunt, Bransby Horses is now one of the UK’s largest equine welfare charities, currently caring for almost 1,000 animals (more than 400 on site and more than 500 in foster homes).


Photo: Bransby Horses farm Manager Rachel Jenkinson accepts the BHS Approved Retraining Centre plaque from Sarah Dale, BHS with Honour

Posted on August 19th, 2019

Voting Now Open for Absorbine National Groom Awards

For the ninth year running, Absorbine are hugely proud to be sponsoring The Groom of the Year Awards. Voting for this year’s nominees is now underway for this prestigious national award, with the winner to be announced at The British Showing Awards on 19th October 2019, at the National Motorcycle Museum, Birmingham.
Finalists have been split into two categories; professional and amateur grooms, with a total of eight individuals. Spanning the country, ranging from Devon to North Yorkshire, the nominees have range of experience but all with a common interest – their love and devotion to horses and the discipline of showing.
This year’s nominees for the Absorbine Professional Groom of the Year Award are:
Alice Tomlinson of Team KMP; Charlotte Grooby of Team Jinks; Hannah Pollard of Emmersons and Mark Chester of Jayne Ross Showing.
This year’s nominees for the Absorbine Non-Professional Groom of the Year Award are:
Claire Batterbee from North Yorkshire, Rachael Longbottom from Lincolnshire, David Woolley from Devon and Laura Marshall from Lancashire.
Leading horse care products company, Absorbine are thrilled to be able to continue their support and sponsorship of these awards. Says European marketing manager, Rachael Holdsworth, “The ethos of Absorbine is reflected in this fantastic award and we are so pleased to support our grooms, without whom many competitors – both amateur and professional – could not be so successful. Our grooming products are used by so many and it’s fantastic to be able to give something back to those who deserve recognition for their hard work and dedication to the discipline.”
To vote for the finalists in this year’s Grooms Award visit Voting closes Saturday 7th September.


Jo Jack receiving her award from Rachael Holdsworth of Absorbine

Photo: Equinational