Courses offered for Monty Roberts Preliminary Certificate in Horsemanship

Sussex-based Monty Roberts Instructor, Chris Morris, will be holding a number of courses, including two Join-Up® courses this spring-and for the first time will be offering all practical element for students wanting to embark upon the Monty Roberts Preliminary Certificate in Horsemanship.

Chris working with a horse using method

Chris Morris using Monty Roberts Method with a horse


These will be held at Pleasant Rise Equestrian Centre in Alfriston and are being run under the banner of Whispering Equus- a talented partnership started last year by Chris in association with Anna Blunden.

Anna has a masters degree in Animal Manipulation from the McTimoney College and Chris is one of only eight qualified Monty Roberts Instructors in the UK. They got together to offer a new service giving access for horse owners to both physical therapy and behavioural therapy, helping to solve common issues.

The Join-Up® courses  which will be held are:
March 10-11-Horsemanship 101 – ideal for beginners that have no experience around horses or people who lack confidence when handling horses, this course introduces the beginner to safe practices around horses.

March 17-18 – Ground Manners – Learn how to eliminate problems on the ground.

March 20-23 and April 21-24 – Join Up®- Learn the language of Equus and Monty Roberts world famous Join Up technique.

April 25-26 – Long Lining – Learn why two lines are better than one, and master the long lining technique, students enrolling on this course need to have completed the Join-Up® course before enrolling on this one.

For more information and to apply for these courses take a look at their website at or email

New courses offered at Moorcroft Racehorse Centre in West Sussex

THE first in a series of courses at Moorcroft Racehorse Centre at Slinfold takes place over three Saturdays in March, offering the opportunity to learn to long-rein using a well-trained Moorcroft horse.

A horse being used to demostrate skeletal structure during a Moorcroft session Photo Mark Beaumont

A horse being used to demostrate skeletal structure during a Moorcroft session Photo Mark Beaumont

This is a rare opportunity to experience hands-on help and a demonstration on a one-to-one basis.

The centre has a fine reputation for the quality of courses it runs every year and these also offer the opportunity to see at first hand the valuable work done by the centre in the retraining of ex-racehorses.

Dates for the courses are Saturdays March 15, 22 and 29, all starting at 10.30am and lasting approximately two hours. Book a place with manager Mary Henley-Smith on 079929 666408 or email

Meanwhile if you are interested  in rehoming one of the centre’s lovely ex-racehorses, discuss your requirement with Mary on the above number.

Time will be given to try suitable horses in a relaxed environment and there will be opportunity to do this is often as needed to be sure the horse is the correct one for you. All these horses hack out safely alone or in company and are schooled with the basics.

A lot of time is spent making sure they are reliable and able to go on to long term, happy and sound working lives.

Stables event helps raise funds for Oliver, who needs money for a vital operation

WHEN Little Danny Stables, on Danny Estate, Hurstpierpoint, held a Christmas drinks event just before Christmas for clients and friends, a raffle on the night raised £340 for a very worthy cause- Oliver.

Oliver is the son of Julie Langmaid and Jean-Marc Poinsignon of Sussex. He was born in 2008 at 26 weeks gestation, weighing less than 2lbs. As a result of his extreme prematurity, he suffers from Diplegic Cerebal Palsy.

The drinks event was hosted by Badr Al Omran, a dressage rider and trainer, who also runs the livery stables and  gives tuition at all levels. He felt that the event was a good opportunity to raise funds for this very worthy Sussex cause.

Oliver loves ponies, and his mother has always had horses. But Oliver has tight and painful muscles in his legs, poor balance and regular falls and walks on tip toe, managing only short distances before legs become painful and tired. An operation is available which would cure this condition, known as Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy, but Oliver has been refused NHS funding for this operation.

He has been accepted for the operation at Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children in London and now his parents and friends are fundraising to achieve the £52,000 needed for this vital operation to transform his life.

Badr and one of his dressage horses, Rubin,  at his stables

Badr and one of his dressage horses, Ruben, at
his stables

The drinks event was hosted by Badr Al Omran, a dressage rider and trainer, who also runs the livery stables and  gives tuition at all levels. It attracted good support, with many prizes donated by liveries, and also by some local businesses.

“I’m grateful to everyone who donated prizes, including local companies, and enabled us to raise some money for this worthy cause,” said Badr.

So far £41,000 of £52,000 needed has been achieved and you too can help Oliver have this vital operation by donating on Oliver’s Just Giving page-

Racing goes ahead today at Plumpton after dry night with air frost

Racing goes ahead at Plumpton today, where the going is heavy and the feature race is the At The Races Sussex National. Local trainer Gary Moore will be bidding to win the race for the second consecutive year.

Josua Moore and last year's winner Well Refreshed

Josua Moore and last year’s winner Well Refreshed

He took it last year with Well Refreshed ridden by son Joshua, and this time his entry is Reblis, again ridden by Joshua. Reblis was a 7-1 winner at the track’s last meeting just before Christmas on very soft ground, with Joshua in the saddle that day.

The eight other contenders for the race include mud-loving Halley, trained by Tom George, and Mortimers Cross ridden by in-form Richard Johnson. Tony McCoy teams up with Jonjo O’ Neill’s Smoking Aces and Henfield trainer Daniel Steele sends out According To Them, with talented conditional jockey Conor Shoemark in the saddle. Jamie Moore will be aboard Peter Bowen’s Ballybough Gorta.

Clerk of the course Mark Cornford said: “There is some uncertainty with the timing of the front coming in from the west later which potentially could see showers during racing. Underfoot conditions are very wet and there was 6mm of rain yesterday afternoon, but it was dry overnight with an air frost.

“This morning is expected to be dry with some sunshine and could feel colder than of late so be prepared.

“The ground will be very wet and very testing, I can’t emphasise that enough, but the horses have declared on it and everyone I have spoken to seems upbeat and wants to have a go.”

“The worst part of the course is the bottom bend from about midway round turning into the home straight. We won’t be jumping the first fence in the home straight, which would have been the first in the National, but we are jumping everything else.”

The first race is at 12.50 and gates open at 11am.



Chevise is a well-deserved winner for Steve Woodman at Lingfield Park

Chichester trainer Steve Woodman got off the mark for 2014 when Chevise put in a determined run to snatch the Sprint Series Round One Handicap at Lingfield Park yesterday at 20-1.

The six-year-old Holy Roman Emperor mare came from behind close to home in the six furlong race to win by a neck under a good ride from Andrea Atzeni, his second on Chevise.

Good ride from Andrea Atzini

Good ride from Andrea Atzini

The mare has been trained at Parkers Barn Stables, Lavant by Steve Woodman since March 2011. She has been a frustrating horse, with prolific places to her credit- but this was only her third win in that time, and well deserved. Her last victory had also been at Lingfield on the all-weather in March last year, again by a neck.

She was blinkered for the first time yesterday, rather than running in her usual cheek pieces, and this could have contributed to the victory..

Another highlight at the meeting came when the Mick Easterby-trained Perfect Pasture completed a six-timer in the six-furlong handicap under Adam Kirby. The 11-4 joint-favourite was two lengths clear of Rivellino (11-4jf) in what proved to be an easy victory.

Jockey Adam Kirby

Jockey Adam Kirby

Newmarket trainer David Simcock enjoyed a good double at the meeting, initiated when Fractal with Martin Lane aboard won the 32Red Maiden Stakes Division II over one mile two furlongs, beating odds-on favourite Anglo Irish by a neck.

The second win came when Jamie Spencer rode 9-2 shot Castilo Del Diablo to another neck victory, defeating favourite Modernstone by a neck in the handicap.

Indian Jack, a 5-1 shot, won virtually on the line to give trainer Ed Walker and jockey Luke Morris a win virtually on the line in the one-mile handicap.

World Horse Welfare backed by almost 44,000 in campaign for CCTV in slaughterhouses

World Horse Welfare can look back on a year in which it made big strides forward in different campaigns, as well as continuing to do its best to rehome horses at risk.

One outstanding success was the campaign aiming for mandatory CCTV inside Britain’s slaughterhouses, which received the backing of 43,737 members of the public.

William and Pippa Funnell handing over the petition Photo courtesy of Woorld Horse Welfare

William and Pippa Funnell handing over the petition
Photo courtesy of World Horse Welfare

The introduction and monitoring of CCTV at all slaughterhouses licenced to take horses in the UK would help the FSA (Food Standards Agency) in their duty of enforcement so that cruelty inside a UK abattoir this year can be prevented from happening again.

The popular petition was signed by the likes of BBC Formula One presenter, Lee Mckenzie; British Olympic equestrian sportswoman, Mary King and three-day eventing elite, Pippa Funnell and her show jumping husband, William. The Funnells handed the petition over to Defra at the end of November.

World Horse Welfare had been appalled at one slaughterhouse by the catalogue of breaches of laws meant to protect horses at slaughter – horses being beaten, dispatched in view of other horses, and other inhumane treatment.

World Horse Welfare called for suspension of all activities at this abattoir until new systems ensuring humane treatment were put in place. The abattoir was subsequently ordered to close temporarily, not on welfare grounds, but because the FSA said that the establishment did not meet all the infrastructure requirements which permit the safe production of meat.

Chief Executive of World Horse Welfare, Roly Owers said: “The public and horse owners need to have confidence that equine slaughter is carried out humanely in Britain. World Horse Welfare believes that complusory CCTV is a vital aid to help protect horses and while we believe there is a role for humane slaughter in Britain, inhumane slaughter has no place and is indeed illegal.”

He said World Horse Welfare hopes to make a strong impact on Defra with the number of signagtures collected from compassionate supporters and Defra could not ignore the importance of the call for action or fail to recognise the importance of public confidence in humane slaughter- or food safety.

The charity had pledged to continue to press the case for CCTV with Defra which is reluctant to compell slaughterhouses on cost grounds. It does not accept this argument and says CCTV can be installed at relatively low expense and would bring with it cost and other benefits.

– See more at:







Plumpton College horse competitions planned for New Year

Plumpton College in East Sussex has announced a Winter Show Series for 2014, starting with a Show Jumping Show on Saturday January 11, followed by CombinedTraining on Saturday February 8 and a Showing Show on Saturday March 15.

Winners at a previous Plumpton show Photo: Plumpton College

Winners at a previous Plumpton show
Photo: Plumpton College

In show jumping on January 11, the first class starts at 9am prompt with Cross Poles for genuine first time competitors, who may be led or assisted. Class 2 for Restricted  Novice and Novice 2 for combinations not having won a show jumping competition. Class 3- Leap frog Novice, is open to all and Class 4, Tom and Jerry Scurry over 2’3″ and 2’6″ and one round against the clock, open to all. Class 5- Time to Take Off, is Intermediate 2’6-2’9, open to all. Class 6 is New Year’s Open, 2’9-3′ Open to all. Fees for all classes are £6.

Combined Training on Saturday February 8 includes Introductory B Walk and Trot (Open to all never placed first or second in any dressage competition).Preliminary 04 (2002)  and 2’3″ jumping course. Class 3 Novice 24 (2010) 2’9″ jumping course. £15 entry for all classes.

An Indoor Showing Show will be held on Saturday March 15 2014 in two arenas. Arena A is indoor school with outside warm-up and Rosettes 1-6 in all classes. These are In-Hand Youngstock, In Hand Condition and Turnout, Lead Rein, Riding Club Horse / Pony Club Pony, Ridden Hunter, Ridden Cob, Ridden Veteran, Ridden Coloured Horse or Pony.

Arena B—Indoor School (Outside warm-up)- Working Hunter Horses under 15hh only – Jumps approx 2ft-2ft3’ Horses over 15.1hh – Jumps approx 2ft6’
Showing: Ridden Mountain & Moorland small breeds; Ridden Mountain & Moorland large breeds. In-hand Classes:Coloured Horse & Pony; Young handlers; Cute and Cuddliest; Prettiest mare; Handsomest gelding.

These events will all be held at the college in Ditchling Road, near Lewes in East Sussex BN7 3AE and full details can be obtained on 01273 892107.


World Equestrian Games eventing 2014 to be held across the channel in Normandy this August

The showjumping  and dressage phases of eventing at the World Equestrian Games 2014 will be held at Haras du Pin, Normandy, in 2014 offering British enthusiasts the opportunity to step across the channel to France to watch their favourite horses and riders perform.
Haras du Pin, site for dressage and cross-country sections of 2014 World Equesgtrian Games

Haras du Pin, site for dressage and cross-country sections of 2014 World Equesgtrian Games

On August  28 2014, an anticipated eighty riders and horses in the eventing dressage will compete at the Le Pin National Stud, in Orne, Normandy to be followed the day after by the cross-country phase.

Le Pin National Stud, located in the Orne area of Normandy, has long been known for its fine cross-country track. Winding beneath the castle and through the Hautbois park that surrounds it, the course has already hosted a 3* competition every August.

The FEI CIC 3* World Cup event, Le Grand Complet, which attracts approximately 20,000 spectators, has been held there for the past three years and has grown in favour with the competitors.

The event is held on the grounds of the impressive National Stud, Haras du Pin whose main Chateau overlooks the cross country course. The course is undulating and the natural terrain will give led itself to an interesting design for the  2014 Cross Country element, where Pierre Michelet is likely to design a tough course.

He has caught the eye with tough courses at Saumur 3* and Pay 4* and was consultant course designer for London 2012, so has plenty of experience to his credit and organisers also predict that the sound system at Haras du Pin will be excellent, enabling it to be heard all over the course.

Work is already underway on the ground to ensure that the course will be well established and mature when the event takes place.

The showjumping section will take place on August 30 in Caen,  which is only an hour north of Haras du Pin.

Stadium at Caen

Dornano Stadium at Caen

That has been chosen because of its capacity and it will enable riders to be awarded their medals in main stadium which seats more than 20,000 spectators.

Van der Vleuten makes history at Olympia’s thrilling Longines World Cup qualifier

MAIKEL Van der Vleuten made history at the weekend at The London International Horse Show  at Olympia, when he matched his father Eric’s achievement in 2009 of winning the prestigious Longines FEI World Cup qualifier presented by H & M.

The packed house was treated to a thrilling 11-horse jump-off which built to the dream finish – the very last rider into the arena pulling off victory. Riding VDL Groep Sapphire B, Maikel beat Belgium’s Francois Mathy Jr on Polinska des Isles by the tiny margin of 5/100th of a second.

Britain’s Daniel Neilson, riding in Olympia’s international classes for the first time, produced an outstanding debut performance on Varo M to take third place- making him one to follow in the future.

Maikel Van Der Leuten (NED) riding VDL Groep Sapphire B to victory at Olympia Photo: Olympia Horse Show

Maikel Van Der Leuten (NED) riding VDL Groep Sapphire B to victory at Olympia
Photo: Olympia Horse Show

Penelope Leprevost (FRA) on Nice Stephanie and Lars Nieberg  (GER) on Leonie W also produced double clears to finish fourth and fifth.

Scott Brash (Hello Ursula Xll, sixth), Michael Whitaker (Viking, seventh) and Peter Charles (Murka’s Odie de Frevent, 10th) kept home hopes alive by making it into the jump-off but they all faulted.

An enthralled audience held its breath as Michael Whitaker made an ambitious switch-back turn to the fifth fence, giving him the fastest time of all, but his gallant horse Viking unfortunately had a penalty when hitting the upright black-and-white Longines FEI World Cup fence.

It was a first Longines FEI World Cup win for Maikel, the fifth Dutch winner since 1979, and he and Eric are the first father-son combination to win this class at Olympia, described by the FEI’s World Cup Director John Roche as “one of the jewels in our crown”.

This Longines FEI World Cup event achieved the highest calibre of performances, as is fitting for an event of this stature in world show jumping, and mesmerised the capacity crowd.


A new Palomino pony is helping to heal Annabelle’s broken heart

HUNDREDS of people responded with sadness when a much-loved West Sussex pony had to be put down in October after being stolen by heartless thieves.

But now a lovely palomino pony is helping to heal the broken heart of Annabelle Harvey-Mason ( 10) who had been so devastated by the loss of her award-winning pony Oke. The tragic story of Oke, who had sustained a broken leg during the theft had tugged at heartstrings all over the country.

Annabelle with he new pony,     Photo by Robert Gee LRG Photography

Annabelle with her new pony, Griashall Gethin Photo by Robert Gee LRG Photography

This Christmas, tragedy has turned into a new beginning  for Annabelle of Aldingbourne, who had been inconsolable by the loss her her pony. The duo had been about to be presented with a Star of the Future award by Arundel Riding Club because of their outstanding partnership in competitions.

Six weeks ago, Annabelle was given Griashall Gethin,  a beautiful three-year-old palomino Welsh Section B, chosen for her in Wales by her mother Kerry’s good friend Lizzie Deacon.

Soon after he arrived, Annabelle took him to the South East Welsh Pony and Cob Association Show at Merrist Wood and they were second in both classes they entered- Best Three Year Old and Best Small Mountain and Moorland.

Her mother said: ” Since Annabelle has been backing him, the pair continue growing going from strength to strength, and each day amaze me more. It is as if Gethin knows he has an important job to do- to try and heal a broken heart. Their bond is growing with each new day it is lovely to see that special spark coming back into Annabelle.”

On Sunday December 15, Annabelle and Gethin entered the Manhood Riding Club Charity Show at Thorney Island, competing against riders which included  adults and other children. Annabelle was the highest placed child in each of her classes.

Annabelle and Gethin in the foreground waiting to be judged Photo by Robert Gee LRG Photography

Annabelle and Gethin in the foreground waiting to be judged
Photo by Robert Gee LRG Photography

The duo were placed third in the Best Solid Colour, third in the Best Novice Pony 12.2-14.2hh and third in the Best Novice Pony Classes. All were good strong classes of 17 entrants.

“We are very pleased with the results so far and it was lovely to see Annabelle and her eight-year-old sister Phoebe both out with their ponies again. The sisters are looking forward to riding together again over the winter months and enjoying our beach rides and wood rides as a family. With Gethin already showing such promise I think the pair will have a lot of fun for the 2014 showing season,” added Kerry.