A day in the life of a farrier


Chris Peacock working on Bertram's feet, helped by his dog Moss

Chris Peacock working on Bertram’s feet, helped by his dog Moss


I MET Sussex farrier Chris Peacock and recently qualified  Tom Hinton, on what was a typical day for them recently

The day had started as usual for Chris, who is based in Steyning, by getting up at 5.45am, and going to his forge at Greenfield Farm , to meet Tom by 7.30am.

The first appointment of the day is between 8-8.15am, and the shoes  needed for the week are always made in the forge in advance on Monday afternoons.

His own forge means visiting horses can be shod under cover. It is on a farm which has a large areas with easy access for horses  and horse boxes. He is able to handle more complex remedial cases in comfort there and the premises make it possible to work later in winter and also to provide an immediate facility for clients with urgent problems.

Tom (21) has completed his apprenticeship with Chris, passing his final exams with a distinction after four years of training, which included a year at Brinsbury College.

He told me: “I absolutely love what I do, and I never don’t want to come to work. No day is ever the same and I enjoy working with horses.”

Tom working on another horse

Tom working on another horse

A third member of the team is Chris’s dog,  Moss, who loves accompanying them on stable visits

Chris comes from an equestrian background- his father was always interested in horses- and he looks after the feet of everything from top competition horses down to Shetland ponies. But nowadays he doesn’t do very heavy draught horses anymore.

He regularly works with highly regarded veterinary surgeons in the area, handling a variety of problematic cases.

“ I have learned a great deal working with these colleagues and the best results require excellent communication between all partners, including trainers and physiotherapists,” he explained.

His specialist areas are foot balance, horse movement, performance and soundness, leading in some cases to the need for some very innovative shoeing requirements.

Chris holds the international Certified Natural Balance Farrier certificate and that of the Equine Lameness Prevention Organisation.

“The key to the job is being comfortable with horses, and then they are comfortable about you,” he said.

His worst scenario is a horse that will not stand still and which has an owner who is not prepared to manage the situation.

“But generally there is never a problem  and most horses are happy enough when they have a hay net in front of them, and trust what I am doing,” he added.

When out on the road, his area covers  Chichester, Arundel, Bognor Regis, Littlehampton, Worthing, Shoreham by Sea, Brighton and Hove, Lewes, Burgess Hill, Horsham, Henfield and Steyning.

Their first port of call that day had been two ponies at West Chiltington, followed by a horse at Steyning, then Shetlands near Ashington- where one was a long term laminitic, benefiting from Chris’s experience in remedial farriery.

Two horses at Coldwaltham were next on the list- one a large grey heavyweight and the second a heavy Irish cob.

“That’s when it becomes tiring, with a big horse leaning against you!” he said.

I met up with Chris and Tom at Lavant House Stables, where Lucy Thompson runs an immaculate yard and a variety of eight equines needed to be re-shod.


They ranged from Bertram, the oldest horse in the yard at 24, and still going strong, down to Silver, a small pony aged eight.

Bertram, who used to event  as Bertie Killinghall, is half brother to well-known eventer Lord Killingall.

He needs  remedial shoeing, and Chris makes special shoes that will  break over in any direction, with a special pads to keep him sound.

“ We do between 23 to 29 horses in a typical day, but no day is ever the same and sometimes local horses come to me at the forge,” he added.

Chris can be contacted on 01903 813445 / 07850 339685

Point to pointing could get off the mark in the South East on Sunday


Point to Point action  could resume in the South East on Sunday

Point to Point action could resume in the South East on Sunday

Point to pointing could resume in the South East this Sunday, February 3 at Charing, with the first race at noon.

The first point to point meeting in the South East at Charing on January 27 had to be cancelled because of snow and ice and  has been transferred to this coming weekend.

All entries will stand for the cancelled fixture will stand and the meeting will include the main feature of the afternoon, the Kent Grand National covering three miles and six furlongs.

The 13 entries for this race include last year’s winner, Kilbeggan Blade, trained in Gloucestershire, who just touched off local horse Horner Woods.

There are hopes that another South East horse, Freddie’s Return, owned  by Messrs Gurney, Fisher and Rhodes,  could make a return to the point to point circuit in the race after missing the whole of last season through injury.

Philip York rode the horse to eight wins in 2011 with Freddies Return being crowned as leading horse of the season.
Entry on Sunday is £10 per person with under 16’s and car parking for free. The course is situated east of Maidstone.

Equestrian photographer’s second book published

Cover for the new book by John Periam

Cover for the new book by John Periam

WEST Sussex equestrian photographer John Periam has just publish his second book- ‘A Veterinary Tail-Up Hill and Down Dale’

It is a true story based on his experiences in the 70’s selling to verterinary surgeons around the UK and overseas. It was an era
when vets were seeing a lot of changes in the way they run their practices with new techniques linked to new products.

The book is full of stories about the many characters he met whilst on the road. Visits to rural practices across the country, and
to most of the major veterinary colleges are described in detail.

Each chapter is a story relating to the experience the writer had in his travels. He called on practices, only to be taken out
with the vets across the bleak Yorkshire countryside to see his products in use, meeting the farmerts who watched every penny they spent,
as did the vets.

Trips to Ireland to visit the equine practices and studs have produced stories of a social nature about things that only the Irish can do.
Conferences also took place in America, Canada and around Europe, where the writer had the rare opportunity to share the veterinary
experiences od those countries, where things often did not go to plan, involving a lot of laughter.

Life on the road was not easy. Hotels were often reminiscent of television’s Faulty Towers.

There were sales figures to meet, sales conferences to attend as well as expense forms to complete, sometimes a little high, due
to the social activities of some members of the veterinary profession encountered by the writer.

This is a book for all animal lovers, about a period of life when selling was just that little bit different. It will put a smile on the
face of the reader while taking a trip back in time. It is published this month ( January) on Amazon’s Kindle, where John’s first book,
‘Shelley the Lifeboat Labrador’ was published last year.

Comfortable Cheltenham win for Vino Griego and Jamie Moore

Jockey Jamie Moore and his father, trainer Gary Moore.

Jockey Jamie Moore and his father, trainer Gary Moore.

A fine ride from Jamie Moore brought out the best in Vino Griego, trained by his father, Gary at Horsham, in Sussex, to win the Timeform Novices Handicap Chase at Cheltenham at the weekend.

The eight-year-old gelding had clocked up eight places over fences prior to this 19-length victory in classy company.

But he was only narrowly beaten at Plumpton  on his previous outing in similar heavy conditions, going under to Alan King’s classy Salden Licht.

As Jamie Moore said after the race: ” He’s been up against 150-rated horses in the past. I also rode him a bit differently today, and tried to take my time. Hopefully that will have given him confidence and we can build on that.”

Jamie also rode Fruity O’ Rooney, owner by Heart of the South Racing and also trained by his father into a good second place in the valuable Murphy Group Chase (Handicap) Grade 3 of the day at 16-1.


Tullamore Dew, trained by Nick Gifford at Findon,  who often seems to have bad luck in running, was a close fourth at 25-1, and deserves to win soon.

Another Findon runner putting in a good effort was Fire King, now trained by Philip Hide at Cissbury Stables. The seven-year-old had been with six other trainers in less than two years, prior to joining his new handler.

He finished third, ridden by Tom Eaves, in the one mile two furlong handicap of the afternoon, only just beaten out of second place.





Plumpton forced to abandon Monday’s meeting

Plumpton waterlogged

Plumpton waterlogged

Plumpton Racecourse has unfortunately had to abandon its race meeting on Monday January 28 due to waterlogging.

Chief Executive Claire Sheppard said “We are very disappointed that racing isn’t taking place.  We have had 22mm of rain overnight, the course is waterlogged and there is not sufficient time to enable conditions to improve enough for us to be raceable for tomorrow’s racemeeting.”

Racegoers who had pre-purchased tickets online will get a full refund.

Plumpton’s next scheduled raceday is Monday 11th February – doors open 12 noon, with the first race at 1.50pm.

Some unusual equestrian sculptures to brighten the winter weather

Some of the amazing horse sculptures in Andraitx

Some of the amazing horse sculptures on a balcony in Andratx


Amazing equestrian sculptures like these can often be spotted far away from normal tourist haunts, during a stroll along the waterfront at Puerto Andratx  in Mallorca.

Sculptor Valentin Burgmann has a gallery-café there and has  involved local schoolchildren in his work .

In the past he donated one of his horse sculptures to the Andratx school and some children took part in painting it.

Horses plus unicorn on a different balcony

Horses and unicorn on a different balcony

Examples of his work have been spotted on balconies, as well as at the side of his cafe, fascinating tourists and residents alike.


Eventing to return to Longleat

Longleat house- the backdrop for eventing

Longleat house- the backdrop for eventing

A NEW venue for unaffiliated eventing has been added to the programme for 2013. The sport will be returning to Longleat, at Lord Bath’s estate in Wiltshire.

A two and three-day event will be held there from August 30- September 3 this year.

Affiliated eventing had ceased there after 25 years in 2011, when British Eventing abandoned the venue because of  ‘changes in land management policy’.

The new company running the unaffiliated event says it is working with the estate’s approval to provide a much-needed event for grass-roots riders in the south.

In order to avoid any conflict, the event is taking place outside the safari park’s busiest time of the year- avoiding the peak time in mid June, when the British Eventing affiliated event used to take place.

There will be two classes at each level- 80cm and 90cm for the two-day event and 9-cm and 1m for the three-day.

Course designer will be Eric Winter, and it will be built by one of the London 2012 course-building team.

The cross-country course is intended to be based more in the park with roads, tracks and steeplechase sections.

There has already been a demand for entries, but according to Longleat Horse Trials Ltd, headed by Chris Eden,  it will cater for up to 500 entries, with people still able to enter as normal before the event.

Outrage at horse welfare abuses at British slaughterhouse

Horses awaiting slaughter

Horses awaiting slaughter

“Disgusting, appalling and totally illegal” is how Roly Owers, chief executive of World Horse Welfare, describes the treatment of horses at one of Britain’s main equine slaughterhouses as was revealed in footage obtained by a Sky News investigation aired earlier this week.

He has called for operations to cease at the plant until new procedures are put in place with FSA ( Food Standards Agency) guarantee of compliance with law. He has also demanded CCTV in all slaughterhouses that take horses to help FSA enforce law.

“What we have seen is a complete, systemic failure of the slaughterhouse to comply with UK welfare laws, and of the Food Standards Agency which should have been enforcing the law.

“We are now calling for all operations at these premises to be suspended until new procedures are put in place and the FSA guarantees the plant will comply with the law. We are also calling for Defra to install and monitor CCTV in all English slaughterhouses to aid enforcement,” said Owers.

“The public and horse owners need to have confidence that slaughter is carried out humanely in Britain. While it may be a sad fact, there is a role for humane slaughter of horses to help prevent them from suffering long and painful deaths due to illness or neglect.”

The revelations come as Defra is finalising the arrangements to introduce new EU regulations to protect the welfare of animals at slaughter which will come into effect this summer.

The footage revealed a multitude of alleged illegal practices resulting in unnecessary suffering for the dozens of horses shown in the film.

“We saw horses being treated appallingly every step of the way – from a poor level of care before slaughter, to slaughter in groups of two or three which is illegal and extremely distressing to such social and intelligent animals, to botched or incomplete stunning that appeared to allow some horses to regain consciousness before they were killed.

“These practices are disgusting, appalling and totally illegal and they must be stopped immediately,” said Owers. “Any chief government veterinarian would agree. There must be a full investigation, and operations at this plant must cease until new procedures are put in place and the FSA guarantees full compliance with the law.”

He has asked people to sign a petition calling for action at: www.worldhorsewelfare.org

Former jockey Philip has made impressive start to training

FORMER jumps jockey Philip Hide has started his new career as a trainer in successful style,  appropriately at Findon,  from where he rode many winners for Josh Gifford.


Philip Hide outside Cissbury Stables

Philip Hide outside Cissbury Stables


He has an impressive yard  at Cissbury Stables in Nepcote Lane, Findon, where 17 of the 18 boxes in an airy, converted barn are already full of classy inmates that will run  mainly on the Flat, but with some over jumps.

“I’d intended leaving it another couple of years before I started training,  but I was offered the chance of  these premises by the Wyatt family and couldn’t turn it down,” he said.

The large flint barn was part of Cissbury Farm and has been converted for him by Ben Hogan, son of locally based racing farrier, Martin Hogan.

“He’s done a brilliant job and barn is light, and has a good airflow through it. It is a major bonus to be able to use Nick Gifford’s gallops, as well as the surrounding downland,” he said.

Philip retired from the saddle two years ago following injury, having ridden more than 400 winners, including two-miler chaser Deep Sensation, Topsham Bay and Brief Gale, on whom he won the Sun Alliance Chase in 1995. He also partnered Bradbury Star to win the 1994 Paddy Power Gold Cup.

Since his retirement he had been assistant trainer Gary Moore at Lower Beeding, near Horsham.

“When I was riding I had ridden horses for him and also for his father, Charlie, before him,” he said.

It’s a family affair with his wife Michelle, handling the office work and riding out. Other staff include long-time John Dunlop employee, Paul Armitage,  and also amateur rider Chelsey Banks, who was previously based with Gary Moore.

Chelsey Banks riding Zamindar

Chelsey Banks riding Zamindar

Chelsey had her first ride for Cissbury Stables at Lingfield on December 6 in an amateur riders’ handicap on board the yard’s  Red Mystique, an Irish-bred four-year-old gelding, when she finished an excellent second out of 13 runners.

“I’ve had eight rides, having previously been an apprentice with Gary Moore, and my ambition is to ride a winner soon,” she said.

Philip is from a racing background, with both his father and grandfather training at Newmarket, and his mother coming from a racing family. His brother-in-law,  Sean Woods, trains in Hong Kong, and bought four horses which are being trained at Findon.

“They are all nice horses, and two of them, Kamchaatkka (by Sahkee’s Secret) and Clarendale ( by Holy Roman Emperor)  cost £250,000 last year.

” I am lucky to have some potentially good horses here.  There is an unnamed filly by Aussie Rules and out of Snow Gonal, which I bought from Brook Stud, is a great mover and strong filly.

” A two-year-old by High Chapparal has great potential, and another juvenile owned by Heart of the South Racing by Zamindar is  a half-brother to the decent winner Shamahan,” he said.

Philip with Stir Trader

Philip with Stir Trader

The horse which got him off the mark is Stir Trader,  bought out of Roger Charlton’s yard at the Horses in Training Sales last autumn.

Stir Trader, ridden by northern claimer Tom Eaves, won at Lingfield on December 12 and was narrowly beaten into second place on January 12 at Kempton.

“He’s four, and will be even better on turf with a strong gallop,” said Philip.

Previous winner over hurdles, Jordan, ten, will be out over jumps out soon, probably at Fontwell, along with Strictly Cissbury, who will run in a bumper race.

Anyone interested in becoming involved in horse ownership with Philip can contact him at pehide@hotmail.co.uk

Forget the snow and look ahead to an action-packed 2013 Goodwood

Looking ahead to an exciting season- Goodwood managing director Adam Waterworth

Looking ahead to an exciting season- Goodwood managing director Adam Waterworth

Goodwood Racecourse has an action-packed programme for the 2013 season, coupled with a brand new concept in ticketing. An exclusive season ticket will allow unlimited access to the Gordon Enclosure throughout the year, for just £175 per person.

The new tickets will be available for Glorious Goodwood and all other meetings except for the Three Friday Nights. Tickets for those three evenings, with a blend of racing and top DJs, will go on sale on March 1 2013 after the music acts have been confirmed.

All tickets can be purchased in person at the Goodwood Ticket Office, online at www.goodwood.com/horseracing or by telephoning 01243 755055.

The packed 2013 calendar starts on May 4 with the opening Saturday meeting, and other highlights will include the three-day May Festival (May 23 – 25), Three Friday Nights (May 31, June 14 & 21), the world-famous Glorious Goodwood festival (July 30 – August 3) and the Autumn Bank Holiday meeting (August 23 – 25). The traditional Season Finale will round off another great year at Goodwood Racecourse on October 13.

Racecourse managing director, Adam Waterworth, said: “Following the tremendous season we had here at Goodwood in 2012, we are looking forward to building on this year.”