The Princess Royal urges debate on link between sale of horsemeat and better care for horses

The Princess Royal has suggested British attitudes to eating horsemeat may to have change because it may improve standards of care for the animals.

She was speaking at the annual conference of the World Horse Welfare charity, of which she is president, in central London this week. Her comments followed charity warnings of a horse welfare crisis, with 7,000 horses currently at risk through abandonment and neglect.

The Princess Royal with a rescue horse she gave a home to recently

The Princess Royal with a rescue horse she gave a home to recently

A keen horse lover and former top eventer,the Princess Royal suggested that horse owners might take better care of their animals when they are alive if they believed they could sell them for meat.

She told the conference “Our attitudes to the horsemeat trade and the value of horsemeat may have to change.

“If that’s true then, that they value their horses, they look after them well, because they’re in the horsemeat trade…should we be considering a real market for horsemeat and would that reduce the number of welfare cases if there was a real value in the horsemeat sector?

“I chuck that out for what it’s worth because I think it needs a debate.”

She said she believed the focus of the horsemeat scandal was that food was improperly labelled, rather than the use of the animal in products.

She remarked that in France a fillet of horsemeat was the most expensive meat in local butchers and added:  ”We’ve got to understand whether that value has also a part to play in how we reduce welfare cases.”


Long equine heritage will be celebrated at town’s special day on November 16

HORSES will come under major focus at Horsham, in West Sussex  this Saturday, November 16, when the town celebrates its equine heritage with a programme of events, and unveiling of the new ‘West Street’.

The town was first mentioned in 947AD as a place where horses were pastured and bred, and today still has links to the local Crawley and Horsham Hunt, and Pony Club. On the special day,  from 10am until 4pm, local people will be showcasing all things equine. There will be farriers and other crafts, carriage rides along the ancient and picturesque Causeway, and a special appearance from the Working Horse Trust.

Smokey and

Smokey and Daisy White

In The Storytellers Theatre visitors will find local authors, supplied by Daisy White’s Pop-Up Indie Bookshop, and professional storytellers with snippets of history for everyone. Daisy is delighted to be one of three local businesses sponsoring the Storytellers Theatre.

She said: “I grew up in the area, was a member of the Crawley and Horsham Pony Club, and still manage to fit in a bit of riding today. We are lucky to have such beautiful countryside to live in and I hope this celebration will draw in everyone who wants to be part of the history of Horsham.

“As a bookshop owner, I would also love to find an equine themed bestseller, so if you are an author do drop in for a chat.”

Outstanding equestrian centre at Royal Greenwich, legacy of the Olympic games, is up and running

A fine equestrian legacy of the Olympic Games in Britain is the Royal Greenwich Equestrian Centre,  at Shooters Hill, Greenwich. It was created on the original site and is now up and running thanks to a partnership between Hadlow College and the Royal Borough of Greenwich.

The centre cost £1.6million to set up, with funding of £250,000 contributed from the British Equestrian Federation’s legacy money from Sport England.

Greenwich Pool site  Photo courtesy of Royal Greenwich Equestrian Centre

Greenwich Pool site
Photo courtesy of Royal Greenwich Equestrian Centre

The centre’s facilities include Monarch stabling for 27 horses, an indoor riding arena, outdoor manege and wash-down and farrier/treatment areas.  There is also an impressive rehabilitation unit.

This unit includes a self-contained equine spa (one of the most advanced units of this type in the UK), a 25metre equine swimming pool, solaria, a laboratory, treadmills, horse-walker, hydrotherapy unit and a dedicated science lab.

It has all been achieved through the partnership, which was determined to create something new, very different, and which would last long into the future, bringing enduring opportunities for young people.

The foundation courses, which started in September, have been well supported with approaching half of the students coming from local residents. These include a  BSc (Hons) degree in Equine Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation plus some some Level 1 and Level 2 Diploma courses, in addition to the part-time courses already up-and-running.

Riding lessons for local people are to follow soon and a course information evening is to be held this Thursday, November 14 at 5pm. For more information ring 0500 551434 or email and see website

For more information about what is on offer, ring  0500 551434.

Take advantage of latest training sessions at Moorcroft Racehorse Welfare Centre in Sussex

MOORCROFT Racehorse Welfare Centre at Slinfold, near Horsham,  is holding more Saturday lectures and demonstrations this month, with the latest taking place next Saturday, November 16 with an 11am start.

A painted horse used at Moorcroft during a training session Photo:Mark Beaumont

A painted horse used at Moorcroft during a training session Photo:Mark Beaumont

It will feature a talk and demonstration on common horse ailments, with advice on how to avoid them, practical demonstration on correct bandaging, warning of the perils of bad bandaging for equines and much more.

This day is aimed at anyone caring for their own horse or horses, and for those wishing to take BHS exams at stage 3 and 4 level. The cost is £10, book with Mary on 07929 666408.

There is also the chance to learn more about your horse’s gaits on Saturday November 23, and this will be in the indoor school if wet or cold. There will be an analysis of the walk,trot an canter-  and see ridden horses.

The session will highlight problems with gaits and horse solve and avoid them. Common ailments in  working horses that can affect their movement and advice on how to correct and avoid many problems associated with unsoundness and altered gaits will also be included. The start time is £10.30am, £10 per ticket and book on 07929 666408.

The mission at Moorcroft is to reschool and re-educate former racehorses so they can have a real chance at a second career and manager Mary Henley-Smith also runs courses like the latest ones on a variety of topics throughout the year to help people caring for their own horses to learn more about caring for them.

For more details on Moorcroft see:

Heartbreaking death of award-winning pony after he was stolen from his field

IN a devastating incident, a talented New Forest pony has had to be put down from an injury sustained after heartless thieves stole him and a companion pony from a field at Shripney, West Sussex, earlier this month.

Oke and ????? in happier times

Oke and Annabelle in happier times Photo: Luke Gee LRG Photography


Oke was only four years old and belonged to Annabelle Harvey-Mason, aged 10,  who is inconsolable about his loss, as is her entire family. Annabelle was due to be presented with a Star of the Future award at Arundel Riding Club’s awards evening later this month to mark the duo’s outstanding successes this season.

Her mother, Kerry Harvey-Mason, who is on the committee of Arundel Riding Club, has a yard in Aldingbourne. She also rents 32 acres of grazing at Shripney where Oke had been turned out with a companion pony.  She had checked and fed both ponies on the evening of Saturday October 12  and the electric fencing around their paddock was intact.

But when she returned early the following morning,  the electric fencing to the field had been unhooked and laid down and the ponies had disappeared.

She said: ” I followed the tracks through the fields until I got to the road  and found that the fencing there had been removed. It was obvious from the depth and manner of the tracks that the two ponies had not simply been out for a stroll.

They had been ridden. When I didn’t find them on the road, I called the police on the non urgent number at 9am to report that they  had been stolen. Both ponies were freezemarked and chipped. I called again at 11am.”

A search party was launched by friends and relatives to try and find the ponies and Mrs Mason said she was told later that at 01.50am, a member of the public had reported  seeing the horses loose on the road, and that a man living nine miles away had seen the ponies on the A259 and had rung the police at 9.30am to say two ponies were loose on the road and one of them appeared to have a broken leg.

She said:”I can’t understand why the police did not relate these two calls  to my missing ponies and ring me back with the information.  The man said that he had also rung the RSPCA, but they were unable to come out to help. I feel very badly let down by the authorities and it would have helped us if police had connected the two calls.

“The only thing we can assume is that when the thieves got into a lit area with the ponies, they saw the freeze markings on them and decided to abandon them because they knew they would be traced.  We will never know now,  but it is possible the injury to Oke could have been caused by a passing vehicle,” added Mrs Mason.

When she found the two ponies in a ploughed field at Oving/Mertson, Oke had sustained a fractured pedal bone, and although vets tried everything possible to treat this, they eventually advised that he would never recover from the injury and the kindest action was to put him down.

Oke and Annabelle during a competition  Photo: Luke Gee LRG Photography

Oke and Annabelle during a competition Photo: Luke Gee LRG Photography

Kerry said:” It was a heartbreaking decision to make. My little girl had put her heart and soul into this pony, which she had backed herself.  He was 13.1hh and being a weight-carrying New Forest breed, she would have had years of competition ahead with him. We are devastated and gutted. From the day she saw him in February, she had established a unique rapport with Oke.

He became a superstar with her this season in dressage, showing, show jumping and gymkhana, winning many competitions. The bond they had was indistructable.”

Sussex Police issued a statement saying:

Police said:”We sympathise with the owners. Police received a report of two missing horses that may have been stolen some hours after receiving calls from the public to say two horses were on the loose.  We informed Farm Watch and twice sent units to search along the A259, which cuts through a large rural area. The horses were eventually found in a field in Merston.”

South East RDA conference success- and Sally receives prestigious Tora Bray award

MORE than 80 members of the Riding for the Disabled Association from across the South East converged on the Haven Centre in Crawley Down for the region’s recent annual conference.

Speakers’ Group, left to right, Lindsay Correa, Chairman RDA South East Region, Corporal of the Horse, Tim Puddifoot, Household Cavalry, David Hamer, Co-ordinator for the World Class Development Para-Equestrian Dressage Programme, Sam Cooper, London Marathon Runner

Speakers’ Group, left to right, Lindsay Correa, Chairman RDA South East Region,  David Hamer, Co-ordinator for the World Class Development Para-Equestrian Dressage Programme, Corporal of the Horse, Tim Puddifoot, Household Cavalry, Sam Cooper, London Marathon Runner    Photograph by Joanna Sale

This year, delegates heard from two inspirational guest speakers with Tim Puddifoot, Corporal of the Horse for the Household Cavalry, whose topic was ‘Training the Military Horse’ and David Hamer, co-ordinator for the World Class Development Para-Equestrian Dressage Programme  who spoke about Training Opportunities for Talented Riders.

David Hamer outlined the selection process and training programmes behind the outstandingly successful para-equestrian dressage teams that continue to dominate the international arena post the Paralympic Games.  He said a  key element was the need to ‘learn how to win’ instead of first riders being taught how to lose.

David Hamer speaking at the conference. Photo: Joanna Sale

David Hamer speaking at the conference. Photo: Joanna Sale

“Once you have truly overcome your fear of losing, then you’ll win” he said. But  he also stressed that talent is not enough and he told of the host of other factors that help shape and contribute to a champion.

Tim Puddifoot gave an insight into the training programme required for a military horse and rider to meet the ceremonial duties of royal and state occasions. He ended with his top tips on winning a horse’s trust sufficiently to train it to lie down. This feat is now only used in displays, but dates back to when wars were fought on horseback and riders and horses had to hide themselves before an attack.

In addition, delegates heard from an informative panel which tackled the issue of fundraising. It featured representatives from the RDA’s South East corporate sponsor Cowan Architects, Sainsbury’s and RDA National Office.  As each RDA Group is run as a separate charity, fundraising is essential to finance the valuable work that they do on the ground or in the saddle.

Sal Atkinson, Head of Fundraising for RDA National Office, Joss Chamberlain, PR Ambassador Sainsbury’s, Phill Mumford, Managing Director, Cowan Architects (Sponsors of RDA South East Region.)

Sal Atkinson, Head of Fundraising for RDA National Office, Joss Chamberlain, PR Ambassador Sainsbury’s, Phill Mumford, Managing Director, Cowan Architects (Sponsors of RDA South East Region.)

Phillip Mumford, Managing Director of Cowan Architects, which sponsors the RDA across the region, suggested groups  should try to approach companies that already might have a natural synergy with them. He used Cowan Architects as an example, saying: “One of our particular specialties is in the care market, transforming living spaces for people with disabilities – so obviously we are a good match and readily committed to the RDA’s wonderfully inspiring work.”

Sally Pointing from Chichester RDA was awarded the coveted Tora Bray Perpetual Trophy for her tireless contribution to the running of the group that went ‘above and beyond’ the normal. Belinda Wilkins of Walberton, near Chichester, nominated Sally for the award, saying: “Sally has endless patience. She brings out the best in riders and inspires them to achieve. She never concentrates on what they can’t do but what they can do. She volunteered to help with the newly formed Chichester group nearly 30 years ago.

Sally Pointing of Chichester RDA receives the Tora Bray Award from

Sally Pointing of Chichester RDA receives the Tora Bray Award from Corporal of the Horse, Tim Puddifoot, Household Cavalry  Photo: Joanna Sale

“Sally ensures that every rider who wants ride with the Chichester Group is given a chance, no-one is turned away and the group has a very wide range of ages and abilities all enjoying the pleasure of riding. She bought and cared for Rosa, the Chichester RDA horse, transpporting her there and back for each session.

“Bella has now replaced Rosa, who has retired many years after receiving her long service record. Sally also transported Rosa to the Kingley Vale sessions for years. She has ensured the future of Chichester RDA by allowing youngsters to hold the reins and take the sessions. They in turn aim to copy her outstanding qualities as leader.”

There was also the opportunity at the conference  for delegates to meet runner Sam Cooper, who is raising funds for the region by competing for the first time in the London Marathon in April.

Horse MOT day organised by West Sussex BHS committee was great success

AN MOT Day was organised by the West Sussex Committee of the British Horse Society recently at Albourne Equestrian Centre, Albourne, which proved to be both informative and extremely enjoyable for all taking part.  In mild Autumn weather four qualified professionals saw 10 equines and their owners/riders on a one to one basis.

The dental session

Horse dentist Chris Keate explains about a horse’s jaw, using a skull

Isabel Harker, a nutritionist from Spillers Feeds, weighed each horse on the portable weighbridge and gave nutritional guidance and a large goodie bag to everyone taking part in the day, so that everyone left fully informed about their equine’s dietary needs.

Weighing a horse at the special day

Isabel Harker supervises weighing a horse at the special day

Master Saddler, Ellie Martin of the Bespoke Saddlery Co. assessed  horses and advised their owners on saddle fitting. Good saddle fitting is vital for both a horse’s welfare and also to enable that it is able to perform to its best without any discomfort or ill effects.

Worming regimes were discussed by Camilla Woodward, MRCVS of the Arundel Equine Hospital, and she also outlined the benefits of worm egg counts according to circumstances. Westgate Laboratories generously donated a worm egg count kit and information pack for every owner and horse taking part in the day.

The West Sussex Committee of the BHS has thanked Albourne Equestrian Centre for hosting the event and to the professionals who gave so much to the day to enable it to be a success and is looking forward to running another day in 2014.

The committee will arrange another day for next year, to take place in the early summer at Brinsbury College.

These BHS MOT days for horses are being rolled out in different parts of the country. They are informative and educational, aiming to get to grass roots horse owners, and non BHS members are welcome and are encouraged to attend.

Goodwood Pony Club’s Open Hunter Trials event on Goodwood estate was a great success

Goodwood Pony Club held its open Hunter Trials on the beautiful Goodwood estate by kind permission of the Duke and Duchess of Richmond and Gordon. Stunning Views welcomed competitors on a glorious sunny day earlier this month when the competition was well attended.

Zoe Lunt winner of Class 1A competing her first ever Hunter Trial on Diva, also finished 6th on her pony Dante. Photo: Luke Gee LRGPhotograpy

Zoe Lunt winner of Class 1A competing in her first ever Hunter Trial on Diva
Photo: Luke Gee LRGPhotograpy

Classes were split into sections for pony club members and non-members, with class heights ranging from 2’3 to 3ft and included a class for Novice pairs.The competition was judged on optimum time over a challenging course including the infamous Goodwood house jump, a water jump and a solid up to height table jump.

Class 1, the biggest class of the day, saw only 15 competitors make it round the course clear. In class 2, competitors had the option of jumping an L Fence as an alternative to the table jump and saw only three competitors complete the course without penalties.
Zoe Lunt was the  winner of Class 1A, competing in her first ever Hunter Trial on Diva, and she also finished sixth on her pony Dante.

Winning pairs were Hannah Quarrey and  Gemma Warr.

Winning pairs Hannah Quarrey and Gemma Warr. Photo: Luke Gee, LRG Photography

Winning pairs Hannah Quarrey and Gemma Warr.
Photo: Luke Gee, LRG Photography

Results for the classes are. Class 1a: 1 Zoe Lunt ( Diva); 2 Araminta Taylor; 3 Brooke Lichtenberg; 4 Gemma Kendall; 5 Charlotte Kennedy; 6, Zoe Lunt ( Dante) Class 1b- 1 Leni Dowling; 2 Sarah Jenman; 3 Maddi Ball; Joint 4- Emma Farnes and Emma Taylor; 5 Leanne Lampard.

Class 2a- 1 Amy Little; 2 Amy Nelson; 3 Hannah Cargill; 4 Honor Uloth; 5 Thomas Whyte Venables; 6 Gemma Kendall. Class 2b- 1 Kim Palmer; 2 Sarah Fisher; 3 Amy Rule; 4 Jane Lee; 5 Alex Eerskine.

Pairs: 1 Gemma Warr and Hannah Quarrey; 2 Phoebe McCall and Rachel Burton; 3 Nikki Lloyd and Emma Verrecchia; 4 Chantal Sparrow and Tilly Gower; 5 Sarah Phillips and Freddie Carden;6Jasmine Penn and Mischa Penn.

Class 4a- 1 Gemma Warr; 2 Olivia Michel; 3 Jess Callow; 4 Henrietta Fooks; 5 Georgina Millward. Class 4b-Jenny Keyton; 2 Tiz Osborne-Shaw; 3 Julie Lawrence; Joint 4- Peter Brown and Fiona Charman; 6 Alan Morris

Goodwood Pony Club would like to all the competitors and helpers who help make the event a great success, and also to LRG Photography for their photographic coverage.

Deep Reflection takes top honours in the 2013 R0R to Riding Horse Championship at HOYS

Deep Reflection and rider Helen Newbold, who put in an outstanding performance to win the 2013 RoR Racehorse to Riding Horse Show Series Championship at the Horse of the Year Show.

Owned by Helen and Jason Newbold, 13-year-old Deep Reflection had won the qualifier at the Hertford Show in May.  Deep Reflection quickly took to his new career as a show horse following his retirement from racing in 2011.

Deep Reflection pictured with Helen and Jason Newbold earlier this year Photo courtesy of Retraining of Racehorses

Deep Reflection pictured with Helen and Jason Newbold earlier this year
Photo courtesy of Retraining of Racehorses


Known as ‘Chunky’ at home, Deep Reflection had enjoyed a successful hurdling career and was last trained by Martin Keighley. Following a period of retraining, he was soon winning at local shows for his new owners and has never looked back.

He qualified for both the RoR HOYS and Hickstead Finals in 2011 and 2012.  In 2012, he finished in second place at HOYS but picked up the RoR Championship at Hickstead that year.

He was impressive this year, in an event which organisers said was of an extremely high standard- with even reaching the final a considerable achievement.

In second place was last year’s Champion, Chivola ridden by Vicky Smart with Sister Gee and Jill Womall finishing in third place.  The final result was:

1 – Deep Reflection owned by Jason Newbold and ridden by Helen Newbold
2 – Chivola – owned and ridden by Vicky Smart
3 – Sister Gee – owned and ridden by Jill Wormall
4 – New Team – owned by C & D Blackham & Langham and ridden by Claire Blackham
5 – Barbers Shop – owned by H.M.The Queen and ridden by Katie Jerram
6 – Whatcanyasay – owned and ridden by Robyn Gray
7 – King of Barbary – owned by Mrs J M Bodycote and ridden by Mrs Claire Herrington
8 – Purple Moon – owned by Sara Cumani and ridden by Chantal Wootten
9 – Steveys Lad – owned by Donna Bamonte and ridden by Samantha Osborne

We would like to congratulate everyone on their achievement reaching the final at HOYS, as ever the standard was very high.

Sadly, Restraining of Racehorses reported the devastating loss of Steveys Lad following the championshop at HOYS.

A statement was issued saying: “ We are very sad to have to report the devastating loss of Steveys Lad, who died tragically in a car accident on the way home from HOYS. Our sincere condolenses go  to his owner, Donna Bamonte and to rider Samantha Osborne. It was the most devastating end to what should have been a fantastic proud day for you all.”


Horsham Riding Club is riding high and takes top awards again

Horsham Riding Club has had another outstanding day, taking most of the top awards at the London and South East Championships last weekend.


The event took place at Munstead, near Godalming, and the club, hot from top successes at the recent National Championships, won the Team Horse Trials Championships.

Horsham was the most successful club at the Championships and won the Natasha Trophy to go with the Horse Trials trophy where Horsham won and was second with another team and, the dressage team also took second place and the riding test a team achieved a creditable third place

The winning horse trial team consisted of  Kath Botting and Bristol  Blue, Vicky Allan and Razzle Dazzle, Elise Gayler and Hotspur Last Tango and Emma Mills and Sarabande.

The club team which was second in the horse trials championship was: Sonia Marfleet and Billwood Tom Putt, Caroline Exley and Copperfield Iris, Ruth Starey and Buzz and Louise Hamilton and Mr Gigilo.

Member Joanna Moyers won the Prelim 14  Dressage Championship with her amazing horse Ratzeputz.     

Vicky Allan and  Razzle Dazzle ( Lyric) receiving their trophy as individiual champion

Vicky Allan and Razzle Dazzle-members of the winning horse trials team and also Riding Test Champions again

There were also many individual placings, including  Vicky Allan and Razzle Dazzle winning the Individual Riding Test Championship, adding to their victory in the National Championship in that category at Lincoln last month.