New head of British Horse Society

THE British Horse Society has appointed Lynn Petersen as its new Chief Executive.
Lynn, who has been chairman of the society since April of this year, has been the board trustee responsible for the society’s modernisation programme.

With her business experience as European Marketing Director for TIME magazine and Global Director for Kraft General Foods sponsorship of Professional Women’s Tennis, she brings a new dimension to the society’s plans for the future.
She also served as director of sales, marketing and fundraising for The Outward Bound Trust, where she worked closely with HRH Prince Andrew in transforming the charity with modern management strategies.
Lynn said: “We are determined to deliver ever more relevant services to our members, our volunteers, our instructors, our schools and
horses throughout the UK. We are determined to serve owners and riders with the very best of British equestrian education and pursue welfare,
access and safety for all horses and riders.”
The Board of Trustees said it looks forward to working with Lynn to take the society into the future.

Lucy breaks new ground with her stables

LUCY Thomson has broken new ground with her achievements at Lavant House Stables, near Chichester,  by finishing runner up in two categories in the December prestigious Sussex Business Awards.

Her achievements were in two top business award categories- Small Business of the Year and Entrepreneur of the Year.

Her love of horses prompted her to start the equestrian business , where her performance  led to her reaching the finals.

. “I think they were surprised to see an equestrian business nominated in the first place,” Lucy explained. “Our business has ridden the waves of the recession through innovation, focus and customer service.

“We  are very proud that the judges have recognised this and were open to considering businesses outside of the traditional corporate world.”

After a professional eventing career and having her two children, Lucy was head-hunted to transform the fortunes of a small riding school attached to Lavant House School when the existing proprietor left in 1998.

She had a background in corporate finance and Lavant House Stables, under her guidance, has seen a consistent annual growth of more than 20 per cent.

“It combined my skills  and passions for both business and equestrianism.  The number of riding schools in the area was declining yet the leisure and recreation industry was burgeoning – that seemed to suggest there was an opportunity in there somewhere to do something different,” she recalled.

Lucy took over the leasehold of Lavant House Stables and  in 2008 the company bought the freehold of the premises plus extra land from the conglomerate landowners Cemex to secure their future.

The business has flourished ever since with more than  300 weekly riders and an events calendar that features more than 250 activities, camps, events and training clinics running throughout the year for riders of all ages and abilities..

It also operates one of the largest, most active Pony Club Centres in the UK and was  recently instrumental in setting up the adult equivalent (Riding Clubs), which is good news for their adult riders whose numbers have increased from 17 per cent to 32 per cent.

“We have seen an upsurge in enquiries from people wanting to learn to ride or coming back to riding from childhood partly due to our GB Olympic successes” Lucy said.

The full team with Lucy at the back with her dog

To cope with increasing demand work  has recently begun on  an extensive equestrian complex on site to  include a large indoor riding arena, stabling and classrooms.

William Knight to train GROG horses next season

Goodwood Racehorse Owners Group (GROG) is set to embark a new phase with the appointment of West Sussex-based trainer, William Knight. Following the recent retirement of John Dunlop, Knight will take responsibility of GROG’s two racehorses – Goodwood Mirage and a new yearling to be purchased recently at the Tattersalls Sales by Independent Bloodstock Agent, Richard Frisby. William Knight said: “It’s exciting times and I am looking forward to the challenge. Goodwood Racecourse Owners Group has been a highly successful syndicate and I very much plan to continue that trend.” GROG membership is a two-year scheme with a one-off payment of £925 buying you a share in a racehorse with all expenses and fees included – that’s £1.30 per day to own your own racehorse. Members receive a share of prize money, any
resale value of the horse and a social diary of events staged at Goodwood and around the globe. For further information visit www.goodwood.| Goodwood’s racing manager, Gail Brown, said: “We are thrilled with the appointment of William Knight. The Board of Management very much felt that the GROG horses should be trained locally. William, having swiftly developed a reputation as one of British racing’s most promising young trainers plus his successful campaign with Illustrious Blue, made him an obvious choice. “We have never known a season when GROG members did not receive a healthy return at the end of the scheme and long may that continue with William at the helm.” GROG was established in 1994 by The Duke of Richard and Gordon to enable racegoers to get even closer to the action and enjoy the

Local winners at chilly raceday

Bright sunshine drew the crowds to Fontwell Park’s pre-Christmas race meeting on Tuesday this week when there was a bonanza of local winners.
Despite chilly conditions, racegoers enjoyed a good day, with local jockey Leighton Aspell winning the juvenile hurdle of the day on board Peter Hedger’s promising three-year-old, Whipcrackaway.
Gary Moore’s yard at Lower Beeding, near Horsham, is coming into form over jumps and he unveiled a good one for the future when De Blacksmith, a four-year-old former Irish point-to-pointer by Brian Boru, took the hurdle race on his first outing for the yard.

Owned by Mrs Elisabeth Kiernan and with Jamie Moore was in the saddle, this genuine young horse looks likely to score again.
Lewes trainer Suzy Smith sent out Invicta Lake to win the handicap hurdle of the day over two miles two furlongs with Colin Bolger in the saddle. The four-year-old Dr Masssini gelding was running in his first handicap hurdle, having previously been seen in novice and maiden events. There should be more to come.

Boxing Day racing at Fontwell Park offers  great day out for the whole family with the chance for some  fresh air and live horse racing with plenty of local interest.

The card features seven races starting at 12.20pm. Children aged 15 and under are admitted free of charge.

There is plenty of children’s entertainment including: Galloping Horses Carousel & Chair-o-plane rides (£1 per ride), plus two smaller rides (these will be free of charge) and plenty of side shows and stalls.
There will be a big screen next to the Winning Post to enhance viewing of the live racing action. Gates will open at 10am and there is a variety of takeaway food outlets and bars to choose from.
Arrive early for this race meeting to avoid any delays in traffic.
On this raceday, Fontwell will be offering FREE parking on the centre course car park, accessed using the westbound carriageway of the A27 signposted Denmans Lane. Sat Nav users should use the postcode BN18 0SX. This is allocated on a first come, first served basis, so please arrive in plenty of time.
Plumpton racecourse has a key fixture early in 2013 with the At The Races Sussex National Raceday on Sunday January 6- an event not to be missed. Gates open at 11am and the first race is at 12.55pm.

Seven to compete in the FEI World Cup™ Driving at Oympia

Olympia, the London International Horse Show, has announced the seven drivers who will compete in the FEI World Cup™ Driving.

Following the successful introduction of the carriage driving competition to Olympia, The London International Horse Show in 2011, it is returning this year as one of the official FEI World Cup™ Legs for indoor driving, generously supported by Hugh and Karen Scott-Barrett.

The event organisers have included two wild cards amongst the drivers who will compete.

World Champion Boyd Exell (AUS) pictured at the Extreme Driving competition at Olympia in 2011

A total of seven  carriage drivers will be competing over two days next week at Olympia.  They will go into the ring on the evening of Wednesday December 19 and the afternoon of Thursday December 20.

Five competitors have been drawn by the FEI from the top ten qualified drivers.

This year, Koos de Ronde (NED), Theo Timmerman (NED), Fredrick Persson (SWE), Christoph Sandmann (GER) and Georg Von Stein (GER) will all be aiming for top honours at The London International Horse Show at Olynmpuia(17th – 23rd December).

Current World No.1,  Boyd Exell (AUS), will be the first wild card entry chosen by the FEI and the Olympia Organising Committee. The second wild card was allocated by the Olympia Organising Committee to the winner of the The British Masters Driving competition, Daniel Naprous.


Breeding success for dressage rider

WEST Sussex-based dressage rider Richard Black is successfully combining breeding his own competition horses for the future with producing and competing horses at top level for High Hoes Stud, near Petworth.

Richard (28) has been based in the county for four years now and had the distinction of seeing his home-bred mare and foal, Daiquiri B and Lord Barnaby B take a top accolade at a  Futurity Evaluation at Catherston Stud in neighbouring Hampshire this autumn,

“There is something immensely satisfying about breeding my own horses for the future. It is such a long term thing in dressage and to buy a good horse is prohibitively expensive, ” he said.

“Breeding is a hobby with me. I want to have nice horses to ride without spending huge amounts of money, ” he added.

Originally from Leicester, Richard left school at 16 to work with horses, initially with Patsy Bartram, where he won a BYRDS Talent Spotting Competition and used the money to spend six months riding in Germany with Hannes Baumgart.

He later worked at the Woodlander Stud, which provides top class competition for the Eilbergs to ride, before joining Nicky in West Sussex.

He said: “ You have to take the long-term view in dressage and I bought Daiquiri B’s mother, Evita, in Germany to breed from. I’d seen one of her offspring and liked him so much that I bought her. She died a few years ago but gave me some nice foals.”

Having produced award-winning Barnaby B, her second foal, Daiquiri B will be ridden throughout the winter, but may well be put in foal again next year to a carefully chosen stallion.

Sponsorship confirmed for show jumping championship

As a part of its continuing support of showjumping, British Showjumping has  announced Fairfax Saddles as the new title sponsor of the British Showjumping Winter JA Classic Championship. Fairfax is also sponsoring the British Showjumping Pony, Children, Junior and Young Rider Teams and the Winter JA Classic Championship is a perfect fit alongside this.
The Winter JA Classic Championship is for Grade JA ponies ridden by Pony or Pony Associate Members. This competition provides riders and ponies with the opportunity to gain experience during the winter ahead of the viewing trials that are held in the summer.
This year, the winner of the Fairfax Winter JA Classic Championship will be presented with the newly developed Fairfax Jump saddle.
Competitors will have ten opportunities to qualify for the Winter JA Classic Championship and up to 30 combinations will go forward to the Championship Final.
The qualifying classes are as follows:
South View- January 5 and 6; Hand Equestrian Centre, January 19 and 20; Ingliston Equestrian Centre February 2 and 3; Arena UK, March 2 and 3; Addington Manor March 16 and 17.

Eventing looks forward to a great Badminton 2013

After the huge disappointment of 2012, when Badminton was cancelled, it horse trials team is working towards next year’s event with an air of excitement.

Running from Thursday May 2 to Bank Holiday Monday May 6, it will stage cross-country again on the Sunday, while its highly popular Mitsubishi Motors Grassroots Championships will be on Thursday May 2.

Double the number of competitors are expected because it will be staging the postponed 2012 championship as well as the 2013 edition.

Admission prices remain unchanged for 2013 and this year the team will be emailing the ticket application form to all those who have booked previously  and  for anyone for whom it has a valid email address

An outstanding entry of competitors in 2013 is expected, including many Olympic medallists from all the top nations.

For 2012 its advance ticket sales were a record, and the big autumn Horse Trials such as Burghley and Blenheim, which, unlike Badminton, survived wet weather,  had record crowds.

In addition to the target of winning the greatest annual Three Day Event in the world, one rider, William Fox-Pitt, will have the possibility of becoming only the second person to win the Rolex Grand Slam of Eventing and is expected to be a huge draw for spectators.

Arena Polo season is underway at Hickstead

A chukka underway in Hickstead’s arena

The new Arena Polo season is well  under way at Hickstead, which boasts not only one of the most modern and impressive successful international matches, arenas in the country, but also hosts highly successful international matches.

It has attracted huge audiences in the past for fixtures such as hotly contested matches between the UK and USA top arena teams.

Hickstead’s arena has been described as one of the most modern and impressive  in the country, and not only hosting internationals, but is also a popular centre for encouraging newcomers to play polo.

Hickstead HPA coach Jack Kidd attributes this success to the huge surge in popularity of arena polo in recent years saying: “In the last ten years the science of arena polo has evolved to create the most passionate, gladiatorial, fast game that I have ever played.”

The difference between Summer and Winter Polo is akin to that of football, and five-a-side football. Arena is played with 3-a-side teams, using a larger and softer ball than traditional polo, and shots and angles can be played off the boarded sides of the arena.

It is an ideal way to bring on young horses or improve those that are too much of a handful on the bigger summer pitch.

Another huge selling point of Arena is that it requires less horse power, thus eliminating the need for a large string of ponies. A club member could happily play with two ponies throughout the season, only having to rent an additional one or two for tournament days.

At least two tournaments a month are held during the season.

Next events will be this weekend, Saturday and Sunday December 15 and 16 Chukkas / Champagne Pommery Challenge Matches  followed on Saturday 22 – Sunday 23 with  The Uber Polo Ladies Arena Tournament. Then    0-4 / 4-8 Goal Tournaments follow on Saturday December 29 – Sunday 30.

For full fixture list and details of learning to play contact: Sarah Wiseman on 07515063981


How horses can help develop leadership skills

A NEW equestrian book describes how the secret lives of horses can impact on your leadership, teamwork and communication skills “Unbridled Success” (£14.99 Ecademy Press) by Julia Felton, shares the profound life and business lessons that horses have taught her.

Horse Assisted Development is a fun and effective way to get a better understanding of yourself through interacting with horses. Horse Assisted Development, also known as Equine Assisted Learning and Equine Assisted Coaching, allows you to learn different ways of communicating and to see the immediate effect of modifying your behaviour.

Horses don’t judge or criticise but provide instand and honest feedback by responding to the non-verbal signals we give them. Through Julia’s candid storytelling, she provides insights into how horses can help us become more self-aware and connected to ourselves and others.

The result is improved leadership skills, as Julia reveals that leadership is an earned position, based on trust and respect. This book provides a refreshing departure from the idea that leaders are always the dominant one.

Julia, said: “Horses are great at teaching leadership, teamwork and communication skills which are all sorely needed in business today. This is particularly in light of the fact that the recent economic climate has left business owners with dysfunctional teams as the spate of downsizing and cost cutting measures.

“This means that we have team members in roles that some are ill equipped to fulfill. Team dynamics have changed and yet we expect our people to deliver even more. For individuals this can cause stress and anxiety.”