End of an era sees Court Meadow Group RDA move to new home

November saw the end of an era for Court Meadow Group RDA, which for 26 years has been holding weekly riding as therapy lessons at Ditchling Common Stud.

Unfortunately, due to the imminent development of land used by the Stud as part of the Kingsway housing development scheme, the Stud has been left with no choice but to close. As a result, over the past few months the local Riding for the Disabled Group has been urgently seeking a new base for its activities.

Chairman Anna Kerr makes a presentation to

Chairman Anna Kerr makes a glassware presentation to John Dudeney to mark his family enbling the group to use  Ditchling Common Stud for so many years

After an exhaustive search to find a new home which could offer the necessary facilities, and importantly be within easy travelling distance of Burgess Hill, agreement has been reached with the owners of Albourne Equestrian Centre.

From January 2014 those children with learning difficulties who are students at Woodland Mead School will be able to continue benefiting from their weekly riding sessions. The RDA Group are immensley grateful to Megan and Lester, owners of Albourne Equestrian Centre, for meeting their requirements.

The Court Meadow RDA Group was founded 36 years ago to provide riding as therapy for pupils of Court Meadow School, Cuckfield. The school has now been amalgamated with Newick House school within the new Woodlands Mead school Burgess Hill.

Some 60 students aged 2 – 19 years who have a wide spectrum of special needs and learning difficulties regularly benefit from their weekly riding lessons. Riding has been proven to encourage co-ordination, develop muscle strength and build self confidence and many of the Groups’ pupils have participated in national RDA events with considerable success and the value of the Groups work was recognised when receiving the Queens Golden Jubilee Award.

Court Meadow RDA Group at one of its sessions at Ditchling Common Stud

Court Meadow RDA Group at one of its sessions at Ditchling Common Stud

More than  40 volunteer ‘helpers’ give up their time not only to assist with the riding lessons but also with the fund raising necessary to keep the Group functioning. Some £15,000 per year is needed to meet all running costs.

Anna Kerr, chairman of the Court Meadow Group RDA would like to express her thanks to the Dudeny family, owners of Ditchling Common Stud, for their support. During the past three decades John Dudeney and his father before him had done everything possible to enable the smooth running of the childrens riding activities and the group is truly grateful.

.Please visit www.courtmeadow-rda.org.uk for more information about the group.

Riding club’s jumping clinics are outstanding success

Goring and District Riding Club,  in association with Chris Watts, has hosted two very successful jumping clinics at its new venue Wanley House, in Fontwell. The clinics have been well attended with some great feedback and personal achievements.

Chris Watts said “Clinics like the ones GDRC run are a great way for riders to learn, work through any problems they might have, build confidence, and have fun. So many riders forget it should be fun.”

Enjoying the benefits of the clinic are Amy Collier and Chester           Photo Luke Gee: LRG Photography

Enjoying the benefits of the clinic are Amy Collier and Chester Photo Luke Gee: LRG Photography

Having evented professionally to a high level, but now with no horses to ride, Chris spends his time helping others in all disciplines. He gets great pleasure seeing riders improve and their horses going better. The most important things he likes to establish are the basics, as these helps to build confidence of horse and rider, without which he says it isvery difficult to move ahead in the future.

If the partnership works well on the flat, the jumping is easy at whatever height the rider wants to do. GDRC will keep an eye on these clinics and future shows when choosing teams for area events such as the area show jumping booked for February 23 at Brendon Pyecombe and of course Hickstead 2014.

Several individual performances by local members at this particular clinic really caught the eye- including one by Tabitha Cranford, who jumped a personal best of 70cm with a new pony which she has had for only three weeks.Tina Cook’s confidence and trust in her horse grew so quickly during the clinic that she progressed from poles on the ground to confidently and smoothly jumping a course of seven fences at 70cm. This was the highlight of Chris’s day.

Two other members who have benefited from the clinics are Sophie Stanley, who  has made huge improvements with her horse this year, and Nicky Butcher who has only owned her mare for a year and has done really well eventing. These clinics are a way to keep their skills fresh during the winter.

GDRC plan to hold more of these clinics after Christmas details of which will be on their website: www.gdrc.co.uk and the AGM and annual prize giving is booked for January 24 at Long Furlong Barn.

Victory in Grand Prix gives Charlotte third world record

Charlotte Dujardin (28) crowned an outstanding 2013 with a phenominal victory at Olympia this week, where she won the Grand Prix Freestyle, which is the British leg of the Dressage World Cup.

Charlotte Dujardin Photo:British Dressage

Charlotte Dujardin
Photo:British Dressage

The victory gave the double Olympic champion a hat-trick of world records and she was partnering Valegro, with whom she won double gold at London 2012 when her performance earned her 93.975 per cent.

She was the first British rider to achieve the treble, previously posting records in International Dressage in the Grand Prix and Grand Prix special. At one time her ride on Valegro had seemed under threat,  with owners wanting to sell the horse, following the Olympics.

The performance has been an exciting taster of things still to come at Olympia, where the action is hotting up and some outstanding performances are expected in show jumping later in the week.

But the rider told reporters this week that he will remain with her for the whole of 2014. She is planning to ride him in the World Equestrian Games next year, where her target is to add to her existing haul of medals.






It’s time to protect your frozen assets and keep stables running smoothly in icy weather!

STABLE buckets stiff with ice, frozen taps, empty field troughs, flooded tack rooms and endless kettles of hot water- does this sound familiar?

The uncomfortably long cold spell last spring stayed fresh in the mind with one West Sussex-based company, MJA Heat Trace Products, which is leading the way with an affordable way to keep stables and other livestock buildings running smoothly through the next Arctic blast, whenever it happens.

Protect your stables with the MJA system

Protect your stables with the MJA system

“March 2013 was the coldest since 1962 with average temperatures dropping to just 2.6C and plummeting overnight to -12.9C in some areas, which took may people by surprise, considering that it was nearly Easter!” said MJA managing director Jane Terris.

She added: ” We had lots of inquiries asking if there was anything we could provide to help not only horse owners  but smallholders and farmers who were struggling to keep water flowing to livestock and diesel fuel lines from tanks for vehicles carrying out other essential tasks. Thermal insulation alone does not prevent pipes from freezing as many found to their cost.”7

Keith Taylor, who runs the Seagry Stud, near Chippenham in Wiltshire, whose Seagry Rohsan and international dressage rider Sam Rahmatalla are currently training with Olympian Carl Hester, was grateful he had already fitted an MJA Digistat frost protection system to his stable block when the last cold spell hit.

Sam Rhamatalla is based at   Stud

Sam Rahmatalla rides Seagry Rohsan based at Seagry Stud

“There’s no heating other than the horses’ bodies and I had been having all sorts of problems, even though the pipes had extra lagging,” said Keith. “The stable block is fed by both mains and rainwater and each horse has an automatic 1.5l drinker in its box. The water in the drinkers also froze and the pipes were freezing, then thawing and flooding. The water tank header is above the tack room and that flooded too.”

Because the MJA system can be retro-fitted to virtually any environment, Keith was able not only to protect his pipes, but also rig up heaters for each of the horse drinkers.

” When the heating system comes on, it warms up inside the drinkers as well. I leave it on year-round now so we can monitor what the temperature is. From a welfare point of view, that is ideal,” he said.

Typically set to come on at 3C and go off at 5C, each of these new thermlostatic controllers has a digital read-pout and can be manually programmed. Operating costs are kept low because there is a low-energy output of 10 watts per metre up to a maximum length of 150m.

Previously used in  critical areas of food manufacturing, health and water and sewerage treatment, the kits have proven to be robust, reliably and safe in some of the toughest conditions.

For Keith the investment was worth every penny since it stopped his pipes freezing and he hasn’t had to run around with buckets of water or turn the horses’ drinkers off once since it was installed.

These frost protection kits, including 123m of trace cable terminated with a 1m cold tail and three-pin plug, Digistat plug and warning labels costs £146 ( including VAT) plus delivery. Extra cabling and plugs and also available.

For more information ring 01403 823560, email jane@mjaheattrace.co.uk

Rock On Ruby wins and Moore family celebrate another Plumpton double

ON ground that was far from ideal for him, Rock On Ruby made a winning debut over fences at Plumpton’s Christmas meeting yesterday. Harry Fry’s runner was an easy winner of the Winter Gala Novices’ Steeplechase over two mile one furlong.

Rock on Ruby and Noel Fehily at Plumpton

Rock on Ruby and Noel Fehily at Plumpton

Last year’s Champion Hurdle winner was 1-10 favourite for the three-horse race, where Lamb’s Cross unseated claimer Patrick Corbett at the third fence, making it a match with Zoe Davison’s  charge, Lindsay’s Dream.

Rock On Ruby, ridden by Noel Fehily, made one mistake at the fourth last but his class showed on the run-in, where he sped clear to win by a comfortable four lengths. Fehily said afterwards: ” The ground was way too soft, but he did what he had to do. He popped round and was quite clever at a few. It’s onwards and upwards from here. He jumped well, but only had to go round on the bridle.”

Harry Fry said Rock On Ruby could run in Doncaster’s Lightning Novices’ Chase on January 25, but wants to get second outing over fences into him before- and would look for better ground. Rock On Ruby could go for either the Arkle or the Jewson at Cheltenham if things go to plan.

Knogk House and

Knock House and Dominic Elsworth

Mick Channon’s runner Knock House was an impressive winner of the JH Builders Novices Hurdle Race, partnered by Dominic Elsworth.  The trainer’s son, Mick Channon Junior saddled up the four-year-old 10-11 favourite, owned by Mrs T P Radford, which  led between last two obstacles,staying on well to go clear in impressive style.

The opening Novice Hurdle Race was the start of a long-price double for local trainer Gary Moore, with son Jamie winning with the opening leg with 14-1 shot Vikehal. The French-bred four-year-old, owned by Nick Roach and Nick Peacock, had run ‘a bit green’ on previous outings as a big, weak horse but did the job well in his Plumpton race.

Jamie Moore and owners with

Jamie Moore and owners with Vikehal

The second half of the double came in the Jean Horsburgh Memorial Handicap Chase over three miles two furlongs with son Joshua riding 7-1 shot Reblis to a 10 length victory over Jeremy Scott’s fancied Glenwood Prince. Moore was pleased with the victory and said he intends to aim Reblis for the Sussex National at Plumpton in January.

Joshua Moore and Rebllis

Joshua Moore and Rebllis

But the trip from the West Country paid off for Jeremy Scott, when Night of Passion, with claimer Matt Griffiths on board , took the Derek Hunnisett Memorial Handicap Hurdle race. The 7-4 favourite had been placed twice in handicaps this season and won this race well. There should be more to come.

Paul Henderson, who trains at Whitsbury, Hampshire, celebrated a 14-1 win with Doheny Bar, ridden by Paddy Brennan to win the J H Builders Handicap Steeplechase. “He’s a quirky horse at home and won well here in March, but was pulled up last time at Plumpton” he said. This time when he appeared to be idling on the flat, the horse responded to being ridden out hands and heels by Brennan.

Doheny Bar with jockey Paddy Brennan and owners

Doheny Bar with jockey Paddy Brennan and owners

Trainer Alan King won the final handicap hurdle race with Our Phylli Vera ridden by Wayne Hutchinson. The next meeting at Plumpton is the Sussex National on January 5.





London venue announced for 2014 Longines Global Champions Tour

A new venue has been announced for the The Longines Global Champions Tour next year, which will take place at the Horse Guards Parade Ground from August 14-16. It will be a high profile event, with top riders from the world competing.

Scott  Brash, one of only two clear rounds in an indiviudal jump off. Photo: British Show Jumping

Scott Brash, one of Britain’s top competitiors in 2013. Photo: British Show Jumping

Thanks to sponsors Longines, some of the highest prize money in the sport will back the event, attracting the world’s top riders. Such is its significancd that two consecutive days of the event will be screened by BBC.

But there is also the opportunity to buy tickets for the grandstand and go along to see the action life. A free big screen will also be erected in St James’ Park.

Horse Guards Parade ground is an ideal choice for this prestigious event, having been used for the Trooping of The Colour on the Queen’s birthday as well as for different pageants and parades over the years.

British riders are expected to put up a strong performance again next year- the overall championship this year was won by Scott Brash who also won the final Grand Prix at the final event in Qatar.

But the prestigious venue and top class organisation of this valuable event will also attract top competitors from all over the world. There will be a grandstand able to accommodate 4,000 spectators, as well as a shopping village and tickets will go on sale early in 2014.





Rock On Ruby star attraction at Plumpton’s meeting tomorrow


Top action at Plumpton

Top action promised at Plumpton tomorrow

Rock On Ruby is expected be a star attraction at Plumpton’s Christmas meeting tomorrow, Monday, making his debut over larger obstacles. This talented eight-year-old Oscar gelding came tantalisingly close to winning the Champion Hurdle for the second time in March, beaten narrowly by Hurricane Fly.

Rock On Ruby with trainer Harry Fry Photo courtesy of John Simpson

Rock On Ruby with trainer Harry Fry
Photo courtesy of John Simpson

He is trained by Harry Fry at Manor Farm, Seaborough, near Crewkerne. Harry worked as pupil assistant to former Champion trainer Paul Nicholls for four years and Rock On Ruby was one horse which went with him when he started out on his own.

Rock On Ruby is entered in the Winter Gala Novices Chase over two miles one furlong- the most valuable race of the day- and has the in-form Noel Fehily booked to ride. The going is currently good at Plumpton, which will suit this talented horse, which has won on good and good to soft ground.

Other combinations to take note of are trainer John Ferguson and jockey Denis O’ Regan- successful at Fontwell Park last week. They have a choice of two entries in the opening two mile novice hurdle, with previous winner Honour System carrying top weight and grey Sadma, which was not given a hard race when finishing sixth on his debut over hurdles at Plumpton’s last meeting.

Denis O'Regan in winning form at Fontwell Park last week

Denis O’Regan in winning form at Fontwell Park last week

Local trainer Gary Moore has three horses entered for the meeting,  with son Jamie booked to ride Auld Sthock in the novice hurdle over two mile five furlongs. Joshua Moore is booked for Reblis in the Jean Horsburgh Memorial Handicap Chase and for Gallioto in the final handicap hurdle of the day.

The first race is at 12.10pm and gates open at 10.30am.


Britain’s young dressage riders excelled at Roosendal CCI

British Junior Dressage rider, Lottie Fry, topped every class she entered in the Netherlands at  the recent prestigious Roosendal CCI. She certainly flew the flag for British Dressage when partnering Leslie Connor’s KWPN gelding, Remming.

She won the Junior Individual test with an outstanding score of 74.079 per cent – almost three per cent above the rest of the class. Maisie Scruton, on her own 16-year old mare Hot Chocolate 43, secured fifth with 68.114 per cent.

Charlotte Fry Photo courtesy of British Dressage

Charlotte Fry
Photo courtesy of British

Riding high and moving on to the last class of the competition, Lottie achieved her third win and highest score of the week, 74.125 per cent in the Junior Freestyle.

Reflecting on her week away, Lottie revealed “The atmosphere at Roosendal was electric and, although Remming felt very hot, he rose to the occasion and everything just seemed to fall in to place. I couldn’t be happier!”

Lottie and Remming’s travel partners, Maisie and Hot Chocolate, also achieved their best score of the week, breaking the 70 per cent barrier and taking an excellent fifth place with 70.042 per cent.

Earlier the small tour saw a closely fought battle in the top four, where only 1.2 per cent separated these riders. Jane Green on Theresa Stokes’ ten-year old W-Valentime was fourth with a score of 68.079 per cent, while Willow Kemp and Dragon Heart II, having settled in to continental competition, grabbed sixth on 67.211 per cent

Britain’s only Young Rider representative, Ryan Todd also had an excellent weekend and took fourth in his last class of the competition, on his family’s 12-year old gelding, Charlex Eskebjerg, with an impressive 70.542 per cent in the Young Riders Freestyle.

Daniel Sherriff, riding his own Westphalian stallion Bayford Hall Dallaglio, grabbed second place in the big tour Grand Prix Special with his score of 67.976 per cent. Following in seventh was Kay Maxted on her own KWPN gelding, Privaldi with 62.833 per cent.

Great 2014 membership offer from Brighton racecourse- buy now

Brighton Racecourse is offering an annual membership offer for 2014, which would make a timely Christmas gift for any racing enthusiast. For only £170, if booked before Monday December 16, the membership gives admission  to 14 other ARC racecourses throughout 2014.

Great racing offer at Brighton: Photo John Connor Press Associates

Great racing offer at Brighton: Photo John Connor Press Associates

Brighton will hold racing throughout seven months of next year, from April to October, hosting 21 flat meetings with something for everyone.

Some of the spring and summer highlights include the season opening free racenight in April, the two day May meeting, the three day August Festival featuring the ever popular Ladies Day and a Family Fun Raceday to finish off a fantastic summer.

The season open with an evening meeting on Thursday April 24, when the first race is at 4pm and the last one at 7pm. Another evening fixture follows on Wednesday April 30, with races at the same times. Afteernoon racing starts on Wednesday May 7 at 2pm and Brighton’s famous Festival of Racing in August runs from Wednesday August 6- Friday August 8 inclusive.

To take up the 2014 membership offer, ring 01273 603580.





Lavant House Stables celebrates social media marketing success

EIGHTEEN months after stepping tentatively into social media marketing, renowned Chichester riding centre Lavant House Stables has been nominated for a global award by ESMA (Equestrian Social Media Awards), for which public voting started this week.

Their Youtube videos and fun daily photos on facebook have been achieving great response, including when one of their donkeys -Two Stroke – posted a rather sad photograph of himself next to a few carrots, asking for more likes for more carrots.


The first donkey photograph

The first donkey photograph

 “That photo was crazily popular and received almost 1300 likes, so we then posted a thank you photo of Two Stroke sharing a huge pile of carrots with his best friend Diesel,” said social media manager, Amelia Thomson. “We are lucky we have such wonderful ‘models’ here and we’re still learning every day about all the tools we can use in the social media world.”

Celebrating the success with carrots

Celebrating the success with carrots

 With 60 horses and ponies, 30 liveries, 15 staff and 250 regular riders every week, plus a full calendar of events for all ages throughout the year, many businesses might not find time for marketing.

 “No matter how busy we are, we are constantly developing our marketing both on and offline” explained owner Lucy Thomson. “We are building a fabulous and fun new worldwide community through social media and being nominated for this award is great reward for our efforts.”

To vote for Lavant House Stables in the ESMAs visit http://www.equestriansocialmediaawards.com/nominations, selecting category 11. 

 The facebook page (/lavanthousestables) is currently running a photo competition to win £100 of riding vouchers and a competition for any local children to win 2 places on an ‘Own your own Pony’ morning in Spring 2014. For more information visit www.lhstables.co.uk