Riding school’s long tradition

A LONG-established family riding school, on the edge of the Sussex Downs at Shoreham, is continuing its excellent work 47 years after it was founded by proprietor Esther Turrell.

Esther continues to run this friendly yard today, where the riding school attracts all age ranges. Happy Valley Riding Centre originated when Esther first started her riding school back in 1968.

She recalled: “Things were very different from how they are in the current day. You could just jump on a horse and off you went- no riding hat was necessary.  These days things are very different, and health and safety is paramount for us.  We take that very seriously at our riding school.”

Working with horses definitely runs in the family, Esther and her husband Bill, sons Henry and Billy and niece Carla Pay are all part of the family business.  Esther and Bill’s son, Henry Turrell, is an international show jumper competing all around the world.  Henry also offers first class livery, as well as jumping lessons at Happy Valley Riding School when he is not competing.

Lilly Millford riding her own pony Bertie

Lilly Millford riding her own pony, Bertie, in a recent competition day at Happy Valley Riding School

The centre recently held a competition which attracted all age ranges and abilities of riders and the emphasis was on enjoyment, as well as the all important safety. There was a huge turnout in different classes throughout the day, with the range of classes ensuring there was something for everyone.

Carla Pay (riding instructor and events organiser) teaches riding and jumping lessons.  Carla said “We have horses and ponies to suit all ages and abilities.  The riding school is based on the foot of the Sussex Downs – we offer something for everyone.”

Not only that, but this unique centre is based in superb surroundings, which are enjoyed by everyone riding there.

Sue Priddle with her own pony Winnie

Another successful competitor, Sue Priddle with her own pony, Winnie

Happy Valley Riding Centre holds regular fun days and competitions, which are always well-subscribed. They give riders of all ages the chance to compete in a range of classes, including fun events, putting the skills they have been taught into good use.

The next event coming up is October half-term fun. There will be stable days for younger riders on Monday October 26 and Thursday October 29 for younger riders.

They will be grooming the ponies and having a riding lesson ( or two if they are staying for the whole day), clean tack,  muck out some stables and have plenty of fun. Morning sessions are from 9am-1pm. with all day 9am-4pm .
For more information, contact Carla on 01273 464537.

Slow down for horses

WEST Sussex horse riders have been supporting a petition launched by a Cornish rider to ensure drivers slow down for horses on the road. The petition on change.org topped more than 17,000 in four days after it was launched, appealing to Prime Minister David Cameron and the House of Lords.

With increasing traffic on roads everywhere, including Sussex, it is vital that all drivers are made aware they have a responsibility to pass horses wide and slow on the road- as well as observing hand signals from riders, appealing them to slow down or stop.

The rider, Debbie Smith, said she had experienced numerous incidents  with drivers going too fast on rural lanes.The latest incident occurred when she was out hacking with her 17-year-old daughter.

Petition for drivers to slow down for horses

Petition for drivers to slow down for horses

The car towing a small trailer stopped when he saw the pair riding, but as soon as they started to walk in single file he “drove at us and went straight past ignoring my hand signals to stop,” said Debbie.  There was just one foot between Debbie’s 16hh Andalusian cross horse and the car- the incident was recorded on a camera on Debbie’s hat.

She is urging other riders to have cameras on their hats to record similar incidents and her petition wants to make it a legal requirement to pass a horse wide and slow and abide by hand signals from riders. 

She said: “ As riders on the roads we need to be protected by the law , we need it to be legalised to have to pass a horse wide, slow and to abide hand signals to slow and stop. the roads are becoming busier, faster with heavier traffic and very dangerous.

“Please help by signing and campaign to make it legal. We need to be catching drivers with head cameras to let the them know they will be caught on camera . More people are using head cams now, and we need more riders using them to report incidents to police.”

Her concerns are backed up by the facts:  Latest statistics, for  2012,  show that five horse riders were killed and 26 were seriously injured in collisions with motor vehicles.

Another campaigner wants the British Horse Society to fight for a by -law or a law to make it a legal requirement for motorists to slow down for horses.  She said: “I know it’s in the Highway Code but this isn’t good enough. There are too many ignorant motorists that flash past horses going far too fast and even giving horse riders abuse as they pass.”

To support either campaign go to: www.change.org

WHW seeks special home for Alfie

World Horse Welfare has launched a unique search to find former-racehorse Alfie the perfect loving home where he can continue his specialist rehabilitation and training.

World Horse Welfare’s rehoming scheme is the largest of its kind in the UK and groups each horse or pony looking for a home into one of fourteen different categories from youngsters to companions.

Four year-old Alfie arrived at World Horse Welfare’s Norfolk Rescue and Rehoming Centre, Hall Farm as part of a pilot scheme after his career on the track lasted only a couple of races. He was deemed too slow and was then rehomed by a lady with limited equine experience who struggled to take care of him so he arrived at Hall Farm in February 2015 where he began his rehabilitation.

Emma retraining Alfie for a life after racing Photo: World Horse Welfare

Emma retraining Alfie for a life after racing Photo: World Horse Welfare

Due to a combination of his age and lack of work, Alfie has limited muscle tone and as a result is weak throughout his body and legs. He has spent the last few months undergoing intensive physiotherapy with stretches, in-hand pole work and remedial farriery but needs a rehomer who can continue this work for at least another year to aid his recovery and build up his strength.

Emma Sawyers, specialist groom at Hall Farm said:“Alfie is a very sweet and gentle horse with a lovely character and would be a fantastic addition to anyone’s life, making a great companion for both horses and humans.

“His rehabilitation is progressing at a slower pace than expected and we feel it will significantly aid his recovery by going to a home with an experienced rehomer who can continue his development and give him the love he needs, before being reassessed for his potential to be ridden.

“Although he is four years old, his mentality is akin to that of a two year old and he likes nothing better than to play with the other horses in his field. We just feel he needs more time to grow up and enjoy being a youngster so I really hope we can find him the perfect home.”

Alfie looking contented and fit with Emma Photo: World Horse Welfare

Alfie looking contented and fit with Emma Photo: World Horse Welfare

World Horse Welfare Deputy Chief Executive, Tony Tyler said: “Whilst we usually don’t rehome our horses until they are at a later stage of rehabilitation, Alfie is rather a unique case who would benefit from going to a home where he can relax and carry on his development in a different environment.

“We’re keen to find the ideal rehomer who can help to unlock his potential so I’d urge anyone who is interested to get in touch and see if you can offer Alfie the home he needs.”

World Horse Welfare is currently celebrating its Rehome a Horse month which shines a light on the horses and ponies who are looking for homes but also showcases the stories of the 1,700 World Horse Welfare horses and ponies currently out in homes around the country from those competing at eventing, dressage, vaulting and showjumping to pleasure driving, hacking, side-saddle and those who provide faithful friendship to their rehomers and equine companions.

You can find out more about rehoming at: http://rehoming.worldhorsewelfare.org/


Shalaa impresses in Juddmonte win

Shalaa has been made 4-1 favourite for next year’s Commonwealth Cup following an impressive victory in the Juddmonte Middle Park Stakes today, when he secured his fifth consecutive victory for trainer John Gosden.

Sent off as favourite, he secured his second Group 1 victory after comfortably holding off Buratino by half a length to become top juvenile of the season. Ridden by Frankie Dettori, he was first out of the stalls and the John Goseden-trained colt more than justified his 1-2 starting price.

Frankie Dettori and Shalaa  Photo: John Simpson

Frankie Dettori and Shalaa Photo: John Simpson

He was sent on two furlongs from home to win his race. Afterwards Dettori said: “He’s got tremendous speed and he is the fastest two-year-old I’ve ridden. I haven’t met a horse fast enough to lead him.”I didn’t feel that great coming down the Dip as he changed legs about five times and lost some momentum, but he showed that he is very brave.He’s won two Group Ones now and he’s a great horse to have around.

Trainer John  Gosden said: “He’s been on the go since March and I was a little mindful to bring him here fresh and he was probably a little short of work, but at this stage of the year if you keep working the two-year-olds you can flatten them.

John Gosden

John Gosden

“He’s gone very fast. He got a bit unbalanced going into the dip and changed his legs three or four times. All in all we’re delighted with him. This was his last race this year. He was clocking 41mph and that is very quick for a horse.

“He’s incredibly fast and we’re lucky to have him. We’re over the moon and he’s got a good mind on him, too, which is very important. He reminds me of Oasis Dream, who broke the juvenile record here. He was also champion sprinter at three.”

Battalion wins Goodwood Listed Race

Battalion, trained by William Haggas and ridden by Pat Cosgrave, was a decisive winner of the has the Listed Front Events Foundation Stakes at Goodwood yesterday.

Odds-on favourite Basem, trained by Saeed bin Suroor, could finish only fourth in this feature race of the day, with the John Gosden-trained Wannabe Yours filling runner-up spot , beaten by a comfortable three-quarters of a length.
Battalion had won four times over distances from 1m 2 furlongs to 1m 4 furlong, and had no problems on this 1m 2 furlongs trip on soft going. It was an impressive  victory and his lad Alan Harris also received the Best Turned Out horse award.
Battalion, winner of Goodwood's Listed Front Event Foundation Stakes with Adam Harris Photo: Jeannie Knight

Battalion, winner of Goodwood’s Listed Front Event Foundation Stakes with Adam Harris
Photo: Jeannie Knight

With no connections or trainer to welcome in the horse, a delighted  Alan said:” He is a different horse on soft ground and loved it out there today. He won well.”
The opening Maiden Stakes of the day over seven furlongs was won by trainer Alan King’s entry- Inn The Bull, ridden  by Fergus Sweeney.  The trainer, better known for his National Hunt runners,  said of this juvenile:” He came on a lot for his fifth place at Brighton in his debut run. He learned a lot and he handled the ground well today.”
Inn The Bull, trained by Alan King and ridden by James Doyle: Photo: Jeannie Knight

Inn The Bull, trained by Alan King and ridden by Fergus Sweeney: Photo: Jeannie Knight

He had bought the horse at the Breeze Up sales and is still learning about the Lope de Vega  colt owned by the McNeill family. ” We will see what trip he gets,” he added.
The EBF Stallions Maiden Race over one mile one furlong went to odds-on favourite Good Run, trained by Saed bin Suroor at Newmarket, with James Doyle in the saddle.
This horse was held up midfield while 11-1 shot Cameraman, making his debut for local trainer Amanda Perrett, was running well in the lead. But Good Run took the lead a furlong out, and despite drifting left, won by just under a length.
Good Run, James Doyle Up Photo: Jeannie Knight

Good Run, James Doyle Up
Photo: Jeannie Knight

Cameraman is one to watch for the future and will have learned plenty from that outing.
Kent trainer John Best notched up his 31st winner for the season when Revision, partnered  by Kieren Fox, sprang an 11-2 surprise in the one mile three furlong handicap of the day, easily overturning favourite Silver Quay, which finished last.
John Best and Kieren Fox with Revision Photo: Jeannie Knight

John Best and Kieren Fox with Revision
Photo: Jeannie Knight

Best said: ” This horse has been improving in leaps and bounds. He  looks quite progressive and is very straightforward. looks quite progressive and is very straightforward.The 11/2 chance was hampered as he threatened to take command over a furlong out but his jockey Kieren Fox bided his time to switch him and take the lead nearer the finish, a move praised by Best.

He said: “This horse looks quite progressive and is very straightforward. I think the big race at St Moritz next February will be ideal for this horse. It’s a decent amount of money and he should enjoy the conditions.” He has had considerable success with his horses at this meeting in Switzerland in the  past.

Scrutinise, trained by Ed Dunlop, earned a possible shot at the November Handicap with a determined run in the Universal Meats Chicken Stakes, ridden by Paul Hanagan despite being hampered.

Milton Bradley’s Divine Call came from last to first to beat Popeswood in a tight finish for the Bidvest Food Service handicap with Franny Norton in the saddle. The final race, an apprentice stakes, was won by6-4 favourite Threave ridden by Gary Mahon for trainer Jo Crowley.

Goodwood’s final meeting of the season is Sunday October 11, when the first race is at 2pm.

BEF search for new chief executive

The British Equestrian Federation (BEF) has appointed the leading sports’ executive search firm, SRi, to identify candidates for the pivotal role of its new Chief Executive. The role becomes vacant from 20 June 2016, when the current CEO, Andrew Finding OBE, retires after a fifteen year tenure.

SRi has prepared a Candidate Brief in association with a panel of the Federation’s Directors to set out the scope of this wide reaching role. This aim is to find individuals who have the career status, expertise and competencies to lead the BEF through the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games and beyond, into its next stage of corporate and commercial evolution as a governing body for equestrianism in the UK.

Andrew Finding OBE Photo British Equestrian Federation

Andrew Finding OBE
Photo British Equestrian Federation

The Chairman of the BEF, Keith Taylor, said: “The BEF is determined to select an outstanding candidate to replace Andrew Finding when he retires after a long and impressive career. During his time in office he has made a huge contribution to equestrianism both at home and on the international stage.

To do this we will run an open and transparent recruitment process to secure the best talent from amongst those we take forward to interview.  We will be supported in this by SRI who have an established track record in sourcing excellent candidates for national sporting governing bodies.”

SRi Chairman, Mike Squires said: “We are delighted to be working with Keith and his Board on this important role. British equestrianism has a proud heritage and an enviable record of success at the highest level. This position will undoubtedly attract high calibre candidates keen to play a leadership role in the next stage of the sport’s progress and development.”

First round of interviews for the position will be held week beginning December 1 2015.

For further information please visit www.bef.co.uk or www.sportsrecruitment.com


King Fontaine stars at Plumpton

Competitive racing in warm sunshine marked Plumpton’s opening raceday of the season yesterday, when there were some thrilling finishes watched by a large crowd.

Local jockey Jamie Moore was back in action following a lengthy spell off after breaking his leg last season, riding for his father, trainer Gary Moore, But the duo had a frustrating day, with Dynamic Ranger, Hallings Wish and Nebula Storm having to settle for two close second and two third places.

But Gary Moore did not go away empty handed for he received champion trainer trophy for last season at Plumpton.

Gary Moore receiving Plumpton's Champion trainer award for last season Photo: Jeannie Knight

Gary Moore receiving Plumpton’s Champion trainer award for last season Photo: Jeannie Knight

Trainer Charlie Longsdon had a double on the day, initiated by 2-1 favourite Argot taking the opening novice hurdle under jockey Noel Fehily. It was completed when Kilfinochen Bay, ridden by Richard Johnson won the three mile one-furlong handicap hurdle by just a nose from Neil King’s Princeton Royale, ridden by Trevor Whelan.

The second race, a handicap hurdle over two miles, was won by joint 100-30 favourite Cool Macavity, trained by Nicky Henderson, beating Ballyglasheen, sent out by Evan Williams  by just over two lengths.

Cool Macavity and David Bass  Photo: Jeannie Knight

Cool Macavity and David Bass Photo: Jeannie Knight

The most impressive win of the day came from King Fontaine, a 12-year-old trained by Lawney Hill, in the Andrew Jackson Memorial Handicap Chase over three miles one furlong. The 14-1 skilfully ridden to a seven-length victory by Nick Scholfield.

King Fontaine looked impressive in the paddock Photo: Jeannie Knight

King Fontaine looked impressive in the paddock Photo: Jeannie Knight

Lawney Hill, who is based in Watlington, Oxfordshire, said:” King Fontaine is an old horse who came to me this year needing rejuvenating. His owner, Richard Hewitt, used to ride and train.

” I have won this race  four times now. My son Joe ( an amateur champion jockey) has done all the work with him. The horse has also had physio on his back. We are thrilled with his win today.”

King Fontaine with trainer Lawney Hill and jockey Nick Scholfield Photo: Jeannie Knight

King Fontaine with trainer Lawney Hill and jockey Nick Scholfield Photo: Jeannie Knight

Last year had been a quiet one for Lawney, who normally does well around Sussex tracks of Plumpton and Fontwell- be she expected to be back in normal winning form this season.

Trainer Alan King and jockey Wayne Hutchinson teamed up with Paddys Runner to win the Juvenile Novice Hurdle in impressive style by 29 lengths at a price of  1-3 in a four-runner field. One for the notebook for the future.

Paddys Runner and Wayne Hutchinson Photo: Jeannie Knight

Paddys Runner and Wayne Hutchinson Photo: Jeannie Knight

The novice handicap steeplechase over two miles three furlongs was won by Dancing Dik, trained in neighbouring Hampshire by Paul Henderson, and ridden by Paddy Brennan. This ten-year-old, sent out at 7-1, has always seemed to have the ability to win a race, but placed runs had been interspersed with falls.But this was an impressive performance, winning by 11 lengths.

Empty The Tank, trained at Epsom by Jim Boyle, was an easy winner of the final handicap hurdle over two miles.

The next Plumpton meeting is the Moorcroft Racehorse Welfare Centre Raceday on Monday October 19, first race at 2.30pm. This day will raise vital funds for this Sussex-based charity, which like similar centres, inexplicably no longer receives funding from Retraining of Racehorses.

That charity instead now funds competition classes for ex racehorses, rather than to retrain those emerging from racing so they can go on to an active life in other spheres.

Dandy Boy, impressively retrained by Moorcroft, parading at Plumpton Photo: Jeannie Knight

Dandy Boy, impressively retrained by Moorcroft, parading at Plumpton Photo: Jeannie Knight

Racegoers at Plumpton saw examples of the work done at Moorcroft when centre manager Mary Henley-Smith, an expert in retraining thoroughbreds, and two of her staff paraded Dandy Boy and Lord Kennedy, ridden by her staff members Jessica Hall and Leanne Byrd. Both horses are currently enjoying dressage, with Lord Kennedy placed in a class the previous day.

Mary explained to the crowds the significance of them being able to parade calmly in a racecourse atmosphere.  ” The fact that they are able to come here to a racecourse paddock and remain in their normal comfort zone, staying calm before crowds, indicates the total success of their retraining,” she said.

Please support the vital work of this centre. For more information on the raceday see www.plumpton racecourse.co.uk



Heavy horses star at ploughing match

Three lots of heavy horses took part in West Grinstead Ploughing Match yesterday at Upper Chancton Farm, Washington in West Sussex. It was good to see an extra pair this  years, and some younger horses being brought on to keep this tradition alive in the future.

Jane McInerney, whose late father, David, was well known in the heavy horse community, is passionate about Clydesdales. Her father bred three competing horses, all Clydesdale mares. Two called Madge and Dolly have become familiar figures at ploughing matches, worked by Ian Williams, a ploughman of 20 years experience using a 1930’s Ransome plough.

Clydesdales Belle and Dolly in action at West Grinstead Ploughing match on Saturday Photo: Jeannie Knight

Clydesdales Belle and Dolly in action at West Grinstead Ploughing match on Saturday Photo: Jeannie Knight

But this year, there was a relative newcomer on the scene, with Belle (six) working alongside Dolly (eight). On this occasion Madge (nine) had been left at home  at Chalvington, East Sussex, to give Dolly the chance to gain more experience.

Jane said: “I’ve had Clydesdales all my life and ours are full sisters. Not many people realise that sponsorship is available to help promote the breed and keep it going. A young lad was sponsored last year and Suzanne Russell who works with my horses has also been sponsored.

New on the scene was a pair of Percherons, Max and Meg, just three-years-old, from Hastings. They were having their first taste of a ploughing match to gain experience for the future.

Percherons, Max and Meg travelled from Hastings to compete

Percherons, Max and Meg, aged three, travelled from Hastings to compete  Photo: Jeannie Knight

Meanwhile old stalwarts in these competitions,Major and Tommy, were competing with Derek Hilton, who has been Champion many times in these events. Waiting in the wings is a younger horse, Roger, who will be given experience soon.

Major and Tommy with Derek Hilton Photo: Jeannie Knight

Major and Tommy with Derek Hilton
Photo: Jeannie Knight

Competitive card at Plumpton tomorrow

Plumpton Racecourse looks set to open the new season in style with some well-subscribed races at its meeting tomorrow, Sunday. With going good to soft, competitive racing is guaranteed- and the long summer break will ensure the track is in good condition.

Get close to the racing action at Plumpton Photo: Jeannie Knight

Conpetitive racimg expected
Photo: Jeannie Knight

The meeting opens with a two mile one furlong novice hurdle, where two main contenders are expected to be headed by Mountain Fighter, trained by John Ferguson and ridden by Aidan Coleman- a combination which has won already this season at Fakenham.

He could have most to fear from Argot, trained by Charlie Lonsdon with Noel Fehily in the saddle. There is an interesting newcomer See The Rock, owned by JP McManus and ridden by Richard Johnson. This five–year-old has previously raced on the Flat trained by Germany.

A handicap hurdle follows at just under two miles where two dual winners this season,  King Munro and Sleeping Season, could be tested by  in Cool Macavity, sent out by Nicky Henderson, with David Bass booked to ride.

Trainer Peter Bowen has made the trip from Pembrokeshire with Sandynow, ridden by his son Sean. Sandynow, despite being ten years old, has made the frame in a couple of prep runs this season. He was dual winner last season and the Bowen family has a good record round Plumpton.

Ballyvoneen followng a previous Plumpton victory for trainer Neil King

Ballyvoneen following a previous Plumpton victory for trainer Neil King, ridden  by Mark Grant

But Neil King’s Ballyvoneen can’t be ruled out because of his excellent record and consistent peformances round this track.

Trainer Alan King likes to send young horses to Plumpton for experience and is represented by Paddy’s Runner, a useful sort, which has joined him from the Flat and will have Wayne Hutchinson in the saddle.

The three-mile two furlong handicap hurdle over three and a quarter miles- the fifth race on the card, looks set to be a competitive affair, with triple winner Kilfinichen Bay ( Longsdon-Johnson), Neil King’s Princeton Royal ( Trevor Whelan) and Henri Parri Morgan ( Peter and Sean Bowen) all in with chances.

Racing starts at 2pm and there is plenty of pre-race entertainment, with fun in the centre of th course for families, plus a display of retrained racehorses from Moorcroft in the parade ring, and former jockey Colin Brown on hand with tips.


Ollie has new home thanks to WHW

World Horse Welfare’s pilot scheme to retrain a very small number of ex racehorses has achieved its first success, as Wold’s Agent (Ollie), the first horse to join the scheme, has been found a new home.

The pilot scheme uses World Horse Welfare’s expertise in preparing horses for new lives and finding new homes for them through its rehoming scheme for all types of horses, which is the largest of its kind in the UK.

It is in addition to World Horse Welfare’s existing UK rescue and rehoming operations and led to the appointment of specialist groom, Emma Sawyers, who previously worked at the Darley Racehorse Rehoming and Retraining Centre and now retrains the horses on the pilot scheme at World Horse Welfare’s Hall Farm in Norfolk.

Ollie prior to leaving WHW for a new home Photo: World Horse Welfare

Ollie prior to leaving WHW for a new home
Photo: World Horse Welfare

Ollie arrived at World Horse Welfare’s Hall Farm Rescue and Rehoming Centre in January this year to undergo rehabilitation with Emma. He had a short racing career, running a total of five times before he was purchased by an owner  who began his training outside of the racing world. Unfortunately, due to an injury she became unable to care for him and so he joined the World Horse Welfare’s pilot scheme.

Following physiotherapy and pole work to develop and rebuild muscle tone, Ollie’s ridden work progressed quickly and after a few months he began to take part in low-level dressage competitions receiving high placings each time.

Once he joined World Horse Welfare’s rehoming scheme, Ollie received a lot of interest from potential rehomers but Rossdales Equine Hospital secretary, Rachel Clay, turned out to be the perfect candidate.

Ollie with Rachel Photo WHW

Ollie with Rachel
Photo WHW

Rachel Clay said, “I have been riding for almost 30 years in a range of disciplines but since becoming a mother I have been taking things easy with just hacking and light hunting. Now the children are older I was keen to find a horse which would help me get back into competing and rehoming seemed like the ideal solution.

“Ollie has settled into his new home with us beautifully and it is clear that he has been impeccably schooled during his time at World Horse Welfare. I’m really excited for us to start our dressage career together!”


World Horse Welfare Deputy Chief Executive, Tony Tyler said: “Ollie’s successful rehoming is an important milestone in the pilot scheme and we are delighted that he is going to a home where he will be able to build on his dressage success. We have also recently added Freddie, another of the horses from the scheme to our rehoming website and it’s encouraging to see him already receiving a number of applications.

“We are very pleased with the success of the pilot scheme so far.”