Arundel teenager wins his first British Eventing competition

AN Arundel teenager has won his first British Eventing competition at Borde Hill recently. Ivan Leggett (13), won the BE 80- section at Borde Hill earlier this month. He was riding his own Kilcarrol Lad, a 12-year-old 14.3hh grey gelding.

Ivan Leggett and his new horse       riding to victory at Borde Hill. Photo:courtesy of Spidge Photography

Ivan Leggett and his new horse Kilcarrol Lad on their way  to victory at Borde Hill. Photo courtesy of Spidge Photography

Ivan has an extensive riding background and is continuing a longstanding family tradition. His mother Alison, and his grandmother Joy, own and run Arundel Riding School.

They were thrilled about the victory and very proud of his achievements, especially since he didn’t move on to Kilcarrol Lad until the end of last year. But Ivan has established a good rapport with his new horsea and is looking to progress to even more eventing successes.

He is a good all-round rider and has also represented Lord Leconfield Hunt in dressage at novice level as well as having the distinction of riding in a special pony race at Ascot racecourse. He is an extremely versatile rider, being successful in a range of disciplines.


More Plumpton racecourse improvements for start of season

Plumpton Racecourse has continued its programme of redevelopment during the summer break and will unveil a new entrance building to serve all racegoers using the regular train service which runs alongside the course itself.

It will be in use for the ever popular Family Day, which returns to Plumpton Racecourse on Sunday 21 September for the first meeting of the 2014-15 season. Sponsored by, the Family Raceday has an action packed programme of family entertainments and there is free entry for accompanied children under 18.

Expect competitive racing at Plumpton's first meeting of new season

Expect competitive racing at Plumpton’s first meeting of new season

With admission prices starting from only £10 for Adults with children FREE, it’s a great value day out for all the family.  There is plenty for children of all ages to see and do including free pony rides, funfair, face painting, Rock Climbing Wall, Sussex Peggers display, Retraining of Racehorses display, all the excitement of a day at the races and a host of other themed entertainments.

Family Day is an ideal day to bring the family racing. It has a friendly and relaxed atmosphere, and many racegoers enjoy bringing their own picnics into the Picnic Enclosure in the centre of the course for a day out in the glorious Sussex countryside. You can book a table in advance in the Paddock or Marquee Restaurant for a delicious 3 course lunch, or choose from a selection of food outlets.

Racing celebrity Colin Brown will be on hand to guide you through the day’s racing with features and interviews through the afternoon from the parade ring, and there’s a tipster panel before racing to help you pick some winning selections.

Doors open at 11.30am, with the first race at 2.30pm. Adult Admission is only £10 into the Picnic Enclosure or £14 into the Grandstand and Paddock including a free race programme when purchased in advance, and entry is free for all accompanied under 18s.

Further details can be found at

Long-reining success at top racehorse retraining centre

LONG-reining is one of the keys to the enormous success rate of rehoming and retraining ex-racehorses achieved by  Moorcroft Racing Welfare Centre at Huntingrove Stud, near Horsham, West Sussex.

This centre in Slinfold excells in re-schooling and rehabilitating former racehorses, giving them a real chance at a second career outside racing. And thanks to an initiative by manager Mary Henley-Smith, the techniques used are being passed on to horse owners in the area so that they can get the best out of their own equines too.

Mary, who has extensive experience and skill with horses, said: “Our own team effort at Moorcroft enables the horses to get over any racing injuries or problems and we change them considerably in order to truly give them a sustainable future. “Our emphasis is on education,  which is why we run demonstrations and courses so that we can enable other riders and owners to extend their own knowledge.”

Mary Henley-Smith demonstrating long reining with former racehorse St Denis  Photo  Jeannie Knight

Mary Henley-Smith demonstrating long reining with former racehorse St Denis Photo Jeannie Knight

Moorcroft is a charitable centre for up to 28 recently retired racehorses, and it has been transformed since its early days, now with a careful retraining programme under expert management, backed up by a great team of vets, physiotherapists and riders working with Mary- who also has the full backing of a supportive chairman and board of trustees.

Mary explained: ” Long reining, especially at walk and trot enables an ex-racehorse to be retrained without getting too fit, too soon.  So much differs in riding techniques, with most ex-racehorses  used to having been ridden with short stirrups, and without the rider’s legs, stirrups and stirrup irons by their side. They have also been used to galloping for a large part of their lives and need to have their fitness levels reduced, otherwise they become difficult to manage. ”

An ex racehorse basically needs to be restarted from scratch and at a well-attended new long-reining course held this month on Saturday mornings over three successive weeks, Mary demonstrated techniques on the first day to 16 horse owners keen to learn how to long rein. Before the end of this first two-hour session all course participants had experience of hands-on long-reining with the three participating ex-racehorses- St Denis, Voltigger Hill and Blue Grass Stampede.

Mary hands over the reins to a course participant Photo: Jeannie Knight

Mary hands over the reins to a course participant
Photo: Jeannie Knight

Mary explained that she prefers to long rein tacked up with a saddle rather than a roller, a rein through each stirrup, and a snaffle saying:”  I introduce the rider’s legs  and stirrups very gradually. You are effectively retraining from scratch, and long-reining at walk and trot enables these ex-racehorses to stretch their backs and necks.  Walking in a small circle enables you to connect with them and they can loosen up, learning to do just that. And whatever you do on one rein, you must do on the other one.

“Lines are used to tell them to turn and help them to be rounded. If they do not go forward enough, a little touch on the line will help, and you must never let the line fall below the hock. Weak or young horses come into the school and it should be a happy experience for them with a partnership established. Having your horse too fit works against you, as the horse becomes trickier to manage, but an ex-racehorse is essentially being restarted from scratch and I introduce the rider’s legs by his side very slowly.

Blue Grass Stampede (foreground) enables another horse owner to learn techniques Photo: Jeannie Knight

Blue Grass Stampede (foreground) enables another horse owner to learn techniques Photo: Jeannie Knight

She added:   “Long reining goes hand in hand with general riding, establishing coordination. You can use mirrors to see what you should be doing and keep lines level. It is a new start for ex-racehorses and introduces their ridden training gradually and without stress. It sets firm foundations for them to become all-round riding horses.”

All Moorcroft horses learn to long-rein for posture improvement and strength.They can work on straight lines in a good outline, strenthening and lifting their backs throughout so they  become comfortable horses for riders to sit on, and therefore are happy horses.

Mary added: “There are many advantages to this schooling method and if taught correctly has huge benefits for any horse.We work well both with an excellent vet and an ACPAT registered physiotherapist, who have never failed to unearth and treat the problems that we often find these ex-racehorses have gone through.”

For more information about Moorcroft, any of its courses or to rehome a horse, see, email or ring 07929 666408 7am-4pm.

Don’t miss Hickstead’s All England Jumping Championships

After introducing the All England Jumping Championships as an annual September event in 2011, Hickstead has been delighted with the huge response it has received for this show. It was initially established to continue Hickstead’s support of grass roots participation in the sport and part of its ongoing programme of championing British breeding.

The event has received a very positive response and offers something not only for amateur riders, but also for every calibre of national rider.

With two different sections for amateur riders, it offers them these riders chance to ride and compete in  the prestigious International Arena. Crucially, the show extends the opportunity to gain invaluable experience in the infamous International Arena to a much wider audience than in the past.Sponsors A Touch of Silver, Selwood Equine and Animo give invaluable support, enabling this event to take place again this year. It runs from Thursday September 4 to Sunday September 7.

Michael Duffy on Westlands Ruby Photo courtesy of Julian Portch

Michael Duffy on Westlands Ruby
Photo courtesy of Julian Portch

Friday sees the first full day of competition in the International Arena and a feature event will be the Light Legacy Five Year Old Championship, sponsored by Brendon Stud, as a tribute to the late Cyril Light, champion Sussex breeder and founder of Brendon Equestrian Centre and Stud at Pyecombe.

Saturday has a full range of Amateur Classes and some Open height classes with the main attractions, the Animo Amateur 1.10m Championship and the Douglas Bunn 1.35m Challenge in memory of the Master of Hickstead.

The final day on Sunday has the Selwood Equine All England Novice Championship and some open height classes.  The highlight will be the afternoon’s competition for the coveted All England Grand Prix Trophy, won previously by Tim Davies with Valentijn O, Trevor Breen and Adventure De Kannan and Michael Duffy with Westland Ruby.

For full details see:

Countdown for Osberton’s KBIS Young Horse Championships

With the qualifying season well underway, the countdown has now begun for the KBIS Four, Five, Six and Seven Year Old Young Horse Championships which return to Osberton International Horse Trials by kind permission of Mr Michael Foljambe (Worksop, October 2-5). Guy Prest, Managing Director of KBIS British Equestrian commented: “We are very excited for the forthcoming Championships, now  two months away, and from the qualifying events we have attended the standard looks set to be very high once more. OsbHeader2014 “The Young Horse Championships have been consistently growing and with the change in format to a CIC for the seven year olds, a very positive move for this age class, combined with the new show case facility for young horses for sale, I’m sure the bar will be raised once more. “KBIS will be in attendance throughout the event supporting owners and riders and we look forward to welcoming everyone throughout Friday, Saturday and Sunday with a drink down by the KBIS pond.” While six- and seven-year-old horses qualify throughout the season as part of regular BE classes, this is not the case for the younger horses. Around 20 events host four-year-old qualifiers at BE90 level, and 21 run BE100 five-year-old qualifiers.

 Djakota- 2013 KBIS 5 YO champion - Photo by Adam Fanthorpe

Carly Reid and Djakota- 2013 KBIS 5 YO champion – Photo by Adam Fanthorpe

These are under way and have been well subscribed. Andrew James and Jazz Concerto won the recent Carlton 5YO qualifier, holding back the challenges of almost 30 other combinations. At Nunney International over 40 horses contested the section, a foot perfect performance from Vendredi Biats giving Kitty King the win. Over in Norfolk, at Great Witchingham, Ros Canter dominated the class with three horses in the top five, Spring Ambition taking the spoils, while Alex Postolowsky denied Andrew James another victory, taking the 4YO section on Hedgeholme Gospel. These amongst numerous quality horses to watch come October’s Championships. Osberton is easily the best place to view the finest up and coming event horses, and it is interesting to see how last year’s winners have progressed. The 2013 Four Year Old winner, the stallion Sea Admiral, has been quietly campaigned by Sophie Brise. Djakota EB, who claimed the Five Year Old title has been kept rather busier, establishing himself at Novice level with owner Carly Reid, while runner up to Djakota EB, Danturano K, has switched rider from Ruth Edge to Ireland’s Mark Kyle and recorded a 3rd place followed by two wins in his three outings this season. Ceylor LAN, who took the Six Year Old title under Kitty King and went on to finish fourth at the Young Horse World Championships at Le Lion d’Angers a fortnight later, has posted a string of good results this year including three back to back wins and a successful step up to Advanced. Last but by no means least, the 2013 Seven Year Old Champions, Tom How and Belco HRS, have an enviable record: an impressive hat trick of Five, Six and Seven Year Old titles. They have gone on to record top placings this year, winning last time they ran competitively. Other past stars who have gone on to Four Star success include London 2012 contender Borough Pennyz, Bramham winner and 5th at WEG 2010 Redesigned, WEG 2010 Silver Medallist and Rolex Kentucky 4* winner Cool Mountain, and three times Bramham winner and 2013 European Bronze Medallist Chilli Morning. The format of the KBIS Seven Year Old Championship has now changed from a CCI2* (Three Day Event) to a CIC2* in order to remove some of the qualifying pressures that were being placed on young horses. This change will also create a more natural progression for the next step up to the Blenheim 8/9 Year Old Championships, which run at CIC3*. BEDE events, organisers of Osberton International Horse Trials and the KBIS BE Young Horse Championships, pride themselves on their motto: ‘Developing Quality, Leading Innovation’. Recent innovations include the launch of a live scoring system for display at events and also on smart phones, tablets and PCs. This year they are introducing a Christmas Market at the Trials, which will run alongside the popular Osberton Real Ale and Cider Festival. With an ever growing range of tradestands and attractions, it is guaranteed to be an action packed, fun weekend. For more information visit, and

Here are hound puppies- demonstrating butter wouldn’t melt

After almost 18 years of writing an outstanding countryside column, containing many reflections about hunting, hounds, nature and the countryside, a person known only as ‘Foxglove’ has finally put away his pen.

He has written his final column for the West Sussex Gazette, which published them every week in its countryside pages. More can be found in his book Field Of View, which contains a medley of fascinating columns published during those years. Details of the book and how to obtain it are published at the end of this tribute piece.

As a tribute to this fine, unmatchable writing, here is one of his memorable pieces- about hound puppies,

“Here are hound puppies, demonstrating that butter wouldn’t melt. Soft velvet skins, big dark eyes, well-upholstered feet, despite their extreme youth. Two of them are draped across one human lap, so that you can barely tell where one puppy ends and the other begins. You might, wonder if they will ever grow into those ears, but they seem to manage, generation after generation.

Theirs will be a more difficult task than that of their earlier forebears, for they must retain their hunting abilities in a far less natural arena. Fox sense, the ability to predict which way a fox will run, is too precious a talent to lose, so the onus is on the trail-layers to replicate the runs of real foxes when the time comes for these hound puppies to join the pack.

A pack of hounds

A pack of hounds


The scent of the trail needs to be authentic, too, so that the instinct to follow fox scent above all others is developed. Hounds need to be able to draw coverts searching for this scent, to push into heavy undergrowth, to follow it through cold plough as well as wet grass, to find it along tarmac, on the surfaces of water deep or shallow, rising on warm air or falling with the chill.

Along with this, they need to use their voices correctly and truly, to share what they find with their fellows as well as their followers. All this is inherited and more besides, and some talents come through generation after generation. On occasion there is a catch of breath in a human throat, when the cry of a hound from the past roars from the throat of a hound in the present, having passed on in genes what we have in memory, and bringing us a waft of the timelessness of hunting.

But all this is yet to come for these two hound puppies, who use their undeveloped voices in squeaks and growls and gruff little yips. Already their legs show a hint of the ‘timber’ necessary to hunt wealden clay in winter, and their noses are good at finding food as well as the people in their immediate circle, which is all they need right now. As they grow into wilful adolescence, many small crimes will need to be forgiven, when assistance with gardening, laundry and cooking may be given with the best of intentions if not the greatest success. From round and soft, they will grow on into tall and shapely in a matter of months, enjoying their summer of freedom and gentle tuition before returning to kennels and beginning their education amongst their brethren.

The year will pass, and some more months of another summer, and then these babes, grown on, will take their place working within the pack. They have a job to do, and good teachers to help them to do it. The work may be a little different, but the instincts and talents will surge on through the generations until there comes a time – and it cannot be too soon – when hound puppies such as these will once more fill the pawprints of their ancestors and give voice while running their true vocation.

They sleep, they yip, and twitch big paws, running in their dreams. They cannot run properly when awake yet, but when they sleep and the blood of their forebears whispers in their ears, they are already part of the pack.”

If you would like to continue enjoying Foxglove’s reminiscences there is still opportunity to buy a copy of his book, ‘Foxglove’s Field of View’, available from Kingswood Press, Ivy House, Stickney Lane, New Bolingbroke, Boston PE22 7JQ for £22.00 (inc. p&p). Please make cheque payable to: Kingswood Press

British Para Equestrian dressage squad for World Games

The Great Britain Para Equestrian dressage squad for the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, which takes place in Normandy, France  will be in action from August 25-29 at La, Prairie Racecourse in Caen.

The selected squad comprises:

  • Grade II: Natasha Baker (24) from Uxbridge, Middlesex with Mr & Mrs P Baker, Mrs Alder and Mr Christian Landolt’s Cabral
  • Grade Ib: Ricky Balshaw (27) from Donnington, Telford with The Lady Joseph Trust’s LJT Enggaards Solitaire
  • Grade Ia: Sophie Christiansen (26) from Maidenhead, Berkshire with her own Janeiro 6
  • Grade Ib: Lee Pearson (40) from Leek, Staffordshire with Mr & Mrs D Pearson, Mrs Gillian Chinn and his own Zion
  • Grade IV: Sophie Wells (24) from North Harbury, Nottinghamshire with her own Valerius
The British Paralympic Squad  Photo: British Dressage

The British Paralympic Squad Photo: British Dressage


Selected non-travelling reserve is

  • Grade II: Erin Orford (25) from High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire with Clare Porz’s Candi KA

Sophie Wells (Grade IV) is also selected with Dr Neil and Dr Jackie Walker’s Pinocchio and Charlotte Hogg’s C Fatal Attraction, as direct reserves.

Chef d’Equipe David Hunter commented; “After a good final competition at Hartpury last week, I’m delighted for the five riders who’ve been selected to go to this summer’s Games. We look forward to heading to WEG with a strong team to defend our reputation and achieve the main aim of qualifying for Rio 2016.”

Chef de Mission, Will Connell commented; “The British para-equestrian dressage team has enjoyed many successes over recent years and it is clear that there are a number of nations working hard to push us off our perch. We travel to WEG with a very experienced squad that will be focussed on securing Rio 2016 qualification and winning medals for Great Britain.”

All riders compete as individuals at the championships and a team of four riders will be announced before the start of the competition to contest the team event (the individual results will not have any weighting on the overall team score). Great Britain’s para-equestrian dressage team is the current and undefeated World, European and Paralympic champion.

Equestrian Team GBR is supported by the UK Sport National Lottery funded World Class Programme; the British teams are very grateful to the support they receive from official Team GBR suppliers Dodson and Horrell, Land Rover, Mears Country Jackets, NAF, NuuMed, Point Two Equine, Tagg Equestrian and Toggi.


Veuve Clicquot withdraws from Gold Cup sponsorship

Leading Champagne House Veuve Clicquot has decided to withdraw from title sponsorship of the Gold Cup for the British Open Polo Championship  following a twenty year association with the club.

Victorious Dubai team with the coveted Veuve Cliquot Gold Cup  Photo :Clive Bennett

Victorious Dubai team with the coveted Veuve Cliquot Gold Cup Photo :Clive Bennett

Together, Cowdray Park Polo Club and Veuve Clicquot, with their distinctive and matching yellow branding, have enjoyed a remarkable synergy which has enabled the Cowdray Park Gold Cup to attain an enormous profile in the world of polo.

Lord Cowdray, President of Cowdray Park Polo Club, said:  “It is with great sadness that we say goodbye to Veuve Clicquot with whom we have enjoyed such an amicable association.  With Veuve Clicquot’s support the Gold Cup at Cowdray Park has gone from strength to strength.  Each year, we have offered the best polo tournament on the best grounds in the UK while Veuve Clicquot has added the sparkle which has made attendance of the Gold Cup final so exciting.  We thank them for the twenty years of style and fun which they have brought to the Gold Cup and wish them every success in their new endeavours.”

Jo Thornton, Managing Director of Moet Hennessy UK, commented:  “For the past twenty years, Veuve Clicquot has been honoured and proud to have supported and celebrated the prestigious Gold Cup for the British Open Polo Championship as the highlight of the Veuve Clicquot Season in the United Kingdom.  I would like to take this opportunity to thank Lord and Lady Cowdray, and the entire team at Cowdray Park Polo Club, for all they have done to make the event such a glorious success over so many years.  I wish them every continued success.”

Cowdray Park is in discussion with several luxury brands keen to explore the benefits of sponsorship of the best attended polo tournament in the UK.

Feast of equine Bank Holiday entertainment,displays and competitions

For a feast of equestrian entertainment, displays and competitions, then don’t the Edenbridge and Oxted Show which takes place on Bank Holiday Sunday and Monday, August 24 and 25.

The showground, which is six miles south of Junction 6 of the M25 at Tandridge Lane, Blindley Heath RH7 6LL, covers 140 acres and will have six competition rings for the huge equestrian section.

Concours D'Elegance aat the show

Concours D’Elegance at the show

This has 150 classes from HOYS qualifers to gymkhana event and there is a heavy horse village, show jumping, coaching, and on the Monday a Four In Hand class. In addition there are specialist equine stands and more than 300 shops.

One of the popular events at the show is an assembly of heavy horse trade and agricultural turnouts of all types, recreating an era when horse drawn transport and delivery vehicles were the norm.  Osborne Refrigerators Double Harness Scurry – for both large and small will also be featured.
Hackneys competing at last year''s show

Hackneys competing at last year”s show

Hackneys are always popular for their elegance and they will appear in harness , along with a novice section.

Show jumping will include Senior Discovery, gymkhana and junior jumping and all manner of showing , as well as Side Saddle Concours D’ Elegance will be included.

Show Jumping is a major feature

Show Jumping is a major feature

Other attractions include more than 300 unusual shops, animals big and small, horticultural marquee, BBQ cookery demonstrations, food and beer tents, historic vehicles, fairground rides, country sports, dog show, farrier and new this year on Bank Holiday Monday, will be  the Edenbridge Express fun gun dog scurry.

Timetable of events and details of reduced price advance tickets at

Children go FREE with an adult ticket holder in the party.


See vital work of racehorse welfare charity Greatwood

A chance to give invaluable support and also see first hand the outstanding work done by the longest standing racehorse welfare charity in the UK is been offered by Greatwood at Marlborough in Wiltshire on Sunday August 31 from 11am-4.30pm.

Greatwood plays a vital dual role

Greatwood plays a vital dual role

Don’t miss this Greatwood Open Day at Rainscombe Hill Farm, Clench Common, Marlborough SN8 4DT which will offer the chance to meet the horses, see leading trainer Nicky Henderson’s top stable stars, a riding demonstration by Lizzie Brown, a horse parade, equines great and small and enter or watch a fun dog show, plus entertainment and activities for children.

Greatwood is an outstanding charity which needs all the help it can get to enable it to continue its superb dual rolework, using ex-racehorses to educate disadvantaged children and young adults through Equine Assisted Therapy.

Former racehorses Spirit Son and Charles Street Lad   have a fulfilling role after racing

Former racehorses Spirit Son and Charles Street Lad, happy in racing retirement, have a fulfilling role after racing thanks to Greatwood

As a Wiltshire Council Accredited Alternative Provider of Special Educational Needs programmes, Greatwood offers a variety of unique resources to schools, teachers, parents, carers and local authorities to meet the needs of vulnerable and ‘at risk’ children and young people aged 5-24 in the community.

These are the very individuals who do not respond well to conventional educational settings but thrive on the tailored programmes, developed by its specialist teaching staff, to meet every individual need. Via the interaction with ex-racehorses through Equine Assisted Therapy, Greatwood now educates and helps hundreds of children each year with special educational needs (SEN), whilst providing those horses that couldn’t be re-homed previously with a useful occupation.

The horses that are cared for at Greatwood may have suffered neglect several years after their retirement from racing- often because they have been passed from owner to owner and have fallen into a downward spiral of neglect. But Greatwood rehabilitates them and gives them another purpose in life, using them for teaching, with direct parallels being drawn between the experiences of these horses and the students attending the courses.

Aldaado, formerly trained by Paul Midgley, being retrained for a new role in life

Aldaado, formerly trained by Paul Midgley, being retrained for a new role in life

This is particularly pertinent to those children who may have come from the care system and find it difficult to trust or respect others; as well as engaging in nurturing, caring relationships.

Since 2006 Greatwood’s variety of six educational  programmes has helped and educated more than 3,000 disadvantaged children and young adults from Wiltshire, Hampshire, Oxfordshire, West Berkshire, Gloucestershire and Somerset.

It  helping them to learn life skills, achieve an accredited qualification, and ultimately assist them in achieving independence in adulthood. The programmes are accredited by The National Open College Network and leads to a formal qualification, which boosts the young person’s confidence in their ability to achieve success.

This unique charity need your support to enable it to continue. Make a date in your diary and go along to this open day and see for yourself what its hard work is achieving for both equines and young people.

Entrance on the day is Adults £10; Children under 16 years £5 Under fives free.

For more information see or contact Greatwood on
01672 514535