Don’t miss Fontwell racing today

Fontwell Park’s two day Festival meeting starts today ( Friday) , continuing tomorrow, Saturday October 1.

It kicks off with Fullers Friday today, when, in addition to competitive racing, Fullers bring along their popular Shire horses and Oktoberfest returns for the second year with more beers, more bars, more food and more Bavarian fun.

This will be a great day out with some top class jump racing to be enjoyed and children under 18 go free. Gates open at midday, and the first race is at 2.15pm with the last race at 5.10pm.

A competitive card today offers plenty of action, with West country trainer Colin Tizzard, who does well at Fontwell, is triple handed- sending Newton Abbott winner Temestatefloresco (Aiden Coleman) to contend the novice chase, Theatrical Star (Brendan Powell)  for the Memorial Handicap Hurdle and  Wizards Bridge ( 3lb claimer Paul O’ Brien) in the conditional jockeys handicap chase.

Theatrical Star, Brendan Powell up, with owner Ann Broom

Theatrical Star, Brendan Powell up, with owner Ann Broom  Photo: Jeannie Knight

Dan Skelton has sent out quite a few winners at this local track and his contenders tomorrow include eight-year-old Workbench, ridden by brother Harry, which has won twice at Fontwell and was only narrowly beaten at the last meeting in the handicap chase.

His consistent hurdler Exellent Team, a previous course winner will again have Harry in the saddle in the handicap hurdle race and hoping to score his second victory at Fontwell.

Local trainer Gary Moore has his horses in good form at present and sends out two runners,  Sisania partnered by Jamie Moore in the opening juvenile hurdle race, and previous Fontwell winner Vikekhal, ridden by William Clarke in the conditional jockeys race.

Jockey Jamie Moore with Vikehal

Jockey Jamie Moore after winning with Vikehal  Photo: Jeannie Knight

The second day of the festival is supported by Southern Water and combines some quality jump racing at this figure of eight track with a family fun day out and live music. Returning for the second year, this fixture will also feature more beers, more bars, more food and more Bavarian fun along with live music after racing.

After racing on the main stage will be “Paint it Black” as the unrivalled best tribute to the Rolling Stones on the circuit today, delivering with rock ‘n’ roll perfection performing live.

Plus back by popular demand, the Spirit FM disco will follow plus free children’s attraction, bouncy castle, face painting, mini fun fair and pony rides.

Fly-grazing reduction- but more to be done

IT is more than a year since the Control of Horses Act came into force, and the latest figures show an encouraging reduction in the numbers of horses fly-grazed across England and Wales.

Many case studies prove its effectiveness at tackling a problem which has been a cause of significant horse welfare problems, and blighted local communities, for years.

The most recent statistics show that there are estimated to be 3,000 – 3,500 horses currently fly-grazed across England and Wales, the same number as were estimated to be fly-grazed in England alone in 2014.

This is strong evidence that the Act is having a real impact, providing another vital tool in tackling the welfare problems facing the UK’s horses. However, the coalition of welfare and rural organisations which campaigned for the Act (including Blue Cross, British Horse Society, CLA, Countryside Alliance, HorseWorld, NFU, Redwings Horse Sanctuary, RSPCA and World Horse Welfare) want to highlight the important role that awareness plays in ensuring the Act is used to its full potential.

Fly grazing is being tackled but more needs to be done

Fly grazing is being tackled but more needs to be done

Where the Act is being used it has been effective not only in enabling the swift removal of both large and small groups of fly-grazed horses – safeguarding their welfare and the surrounding local communities – but also, by taking robust action, locations which have previously experienced recurrent problems with fly-grazing have been able to eradicate the practice.

In contrast, areas where the new law is not being used are now seeing more fly-grazed horses, perhaps due to the fact that owners can be assured they will face no consequences as a result.

World Horse Welfare Chief Executive, Roly Owers, said:“As a coalition we campaigned for almost three years for tougher legislation to tackle fly-grazing which blights local communities and puts thousands of horses’ lives at risk every year so it is encouraging to see positive results reported in the fourteen months since the Control of Horses Act came into force.

“We do believe, however, that there is still more work to be done. Awareness of the Act, and the willingness of more local authorities and other landowners to use it are key to its success in tackling fly-grazing, which is just one driver of the UK’s current horse crisis.”

He added:“Landowners and local authorities are the only ones with powers under the Act and they have a responsibility to use it as one of the tools available in helping to further reduce the still large numbers of fly-grazed horses across the country.

“This appalling practice will simply continue and even worse, increase, if there are no consequences for these irresponsible horse owners who put their horses’ welfare at risk by leaving them to fend for themselves on someone else’s land.”

Bronze for GB Junior squad

The GB Racesafe Junior eventing squad successfully defended their 2015 European team medal this weekend as they headed home from Montelibretti in Italy with a bronze medal for the second year in a row.

A strong start in the opening dressage phase from GB saw the team score 134.50 penalties to take third position behind France on 125.5 and Germany on 113.8 penalties. Individual rider Chelsea Pearce, 17 from Wiltshire, also put in a great test on Albert VI to score 45.6 penalties with fellow individual Chelsea Round, 17 from Warwickshire, and her own Fleetwood Mac V scoring 47.7.

Racesafe Junior eveneting team which won bronze at European Championships Photo: British Eventing

Racesafe Junior eveneing team which won bronze at European Championships Photo: British Eventing

Sixteen year old Phoebe Locke from Somerset, and the eight year old gelding Union Fortunus, owned by Phoebe and Miss Jamie-lee Day, finished best of the British team in the dressage on 43.5 penalties with Lincolnshire’s Richard Coney (17) and his own eight year old Irish gelding Kananaskis hot on their heels with 44.9. Felicity Collins, 18 from East Sussex, riding Ms Vicky Collins and Mrs Avirna Milton’s RSH Contend Or posted a 46.1 with 17 year old Bubby Upton from Suffolk on Mrs Rachel Upton’s Eros DHI scoring 47.7 for the team.

Against the beautiful Italian skyline, cross country day produced more brilliant performances with four clear rounds for the British Junior team. With all four combinations coming home within the time the team headed in to the final phase on their 134.5 penalty score and third position with France and Germany both maintaining their second and first placing respectively.

It was unfortunately not individual rider Chelsea Round and Fleetwood Mac’s day as they sadly suffered elimination at fence 16a ending their European campaign, but Chelsea Pearce, also riding as an individual,stormed home with Albert clear inside the time to stay on their 45.6 penalty dressage score.

The team fought hard in the influential show jumping phase to retain their team bronze medal, both Felicity Collins and Bubby Upton produced clear jumping rounds with Bubby adding two time penalties to their dressage score. Richard Coney and Phoebe Locke picked up a pole a piece with Richard also adding one time penalty to his score giving the team a total of 143.5 penalties and the bronze medal.

Top of the British competitors was Chelsea Pearce who finished on her dressage score following a faultless show jumping round to claim eighth place individually.
Germany received the double gold with a team win on a total score of 126.6, France finished in silver with 131.3 and GB achieved bronze with 143.5.

Germany’s Anais Neumann and Pumuckel E took individual gold on 38.5, silver went to France with Victor Levecque and Phunambule des Auges on 40.8 with Sweden’s Sofia Sjoborg and DHI Mighty Dwight taking bronze with 41.3 penalties.

Huge heavy horse and country show plans

The South Eastern Shire Horse Association (SESHA) has been offered the opportunity to take over the Blindley Heath Country Show which has been run successfully for the past 11 years by Graham Page and his team at Osney Lodge Farm.

The amalgamation with SESHA’s own annual Heavy Horse and Country Show which has been growing from strength to strength will make a huge event to be called the Blindley Heath Heavy Horse and Country Show on the first May Bank Holiday weekend for families to enjoy and will further the charity’s aims of promoting the Shire Horse to a wide audience.

The amalgamation of the two shows will without any doubt result in a larger event incorporating all the rural traditions and countryside activities which together with the heavy horses, vintage tractors, historic vehicles, regional crafts marquee and the increasingly popular Dog Show will create two full days of interest for all ages.

Ploughing action at the show Poto: SESHA

Ploughing action at the show Poto: SESHA

The 2017 Show will be held on Sunday April 30 and Bank Holiday Monday May 1 and the venue will remain at East Bysshe Showground on the A22 between Blindley Heath and Newchapel RH7 6LF.

“We see this as a great step forward for the charity as the larger Show with added attractions will allow us to reach more families” said Paul Bower, Chairman of SESHA. “Still central to the enlarged Show will be the ever-popular classes which show off the traditional skills and the magnificent finale parade where more Heavy Horses will be gathered together than in any other place in southern England.”

The amalgamated Show will continue to be organised by SESHA’s Secretary Jackie Shearman and her team. The 2017 schedule for competitors will be available in January and information for trade exhibitors will be available shortly. SHESHA will be contacting sponsors individually and members will be receiving a newsletter within the next few weeks. All relevant information will be published shortly on the merged websites.

“These are exciting times ahead and we sincerely hope that you will want to remain part of our larger Show; your support is essential and much appreciated” said Paul Bower. Anyone wishing to hear more details or be part of this new-look Show should contact the Show Secretary on 01737 645857 or

Showjumpers confirmed for Horse of Year Show

There are  32 spaces for riders competing in the CSI3* classes here at HOYS. Of the 16 places available to GB competitors, the following 15 British riders have been confirmed including two of the Team GB Olympic Showjumping riders and the British Showjumping National Champion 2016.

They are: John Whitaker, Michael Whitaker, Robert Smith, William Funnell, Helen Tredwell, Joe Clayton, Phillip Miller, Kerry Brennan, Anna Power, Guy Williams, Louise Saywell, James Smith, Tim Stockdale, Joe Whitaker, Nicole Pavitt.

Phillip Miller will be one of top contenders Photo by Samantha Lamb

Phillip Miller will be one of top contenders
Photo by Samantha Lamb

From the 16 spaces available to Foreign International riders, the following 16 competitors have confirmed that they will be competing at the prestigious Horse of the Year Show. They are: Francois Jr Mathy (BELGIUM); Jos Verlooy (BELGIUM); Karel Cox (BELGIUM); Julien Epaillard (FRANCE); Cian O’Connor (IRELAND); Denis Lynch (IRELAND); Anthony Condon (IRELAND); Billy Twomey (IRELAND); Shane Breen (IRELAND);Gert Jan Bruggink (NETHERLAND);Harrie Smolders (NETHERLAND); Gier Gulliksen (NORWAY); Victoria Gulliksen (NORWAY;) Mario Wilson Fernandes (PORTUGAL); Angelie Von Essen (SWEDEN); Lauren Hough (USA).

Shane Breen and Cos I Can ( Photograph Samantha Lamb)

Shane Breen and Cos I Can ( Photograph Samantha Lamb)

There are 11 International classes held at HOYS throughout the week, commencing on Thursday  October 6 and finishing with the prestigious Leading Show Jumper of the Year Grand Prix on Sunday October 9.

This class, in addition to three other classes, carries Longines Ranking points and has the biggest prize fund of Horse of the Year Show at £40,000. Taking place during the Sunday evening’s gala performance, it will provide exhilarating competition ahead of yet another equestrian great entering the arena to celebrate his success; Nick Skelton will parade Big Star as part of the HOYS Finale.

The 2016 Horse of the Year Show will host the finals of the most highly regarded national showing and show jumping championships, alongside international show jumping and an exciting line-up of equestrian entertainment.

They include the exclusive display from Gilles Fortier ‘Vulcanium – Dreams of Fire’ Performance, Dressage Master Class sponsored by Arbonne with Olympian Carl Hester MBE, the Virbac 3D Worming Pony Club Mounted Games for the Prince Philip Cup, Osborne Refrigerators Double Harness Scurry Championship, as well as the world famous HOYS Puissance.

Making a nostalgic return to the Show is the Musical Drive of the Heavy Horses under the command of HOYS official Mr John Peacock. The teams of heavy horses will be entertaining the audience every day with two performances on Saturday and on Sunday. Also on Sunday will be the inaugural British Ridden Heavy Horse Championship.

The popular Parelli Interactive Area will make a welcome return, and of course the famous HOYS Retail Village featuring hundreds of trade stands. An extra special finale on Sunday night will include a guest appearance from gold medal winning show jumper Nick Skelton and his horse Big Star as well as a performance by none other than the London Company of the West End Hit Musical ‘MAMMA MIA!’ performing some fun-loving numbers sure to have everyone singing, dancing and celebrating our 2016 winners.

For show information, including the show timetable, and to book tickets, visit or call 0844 581 8282.



Man’s lifetime ban on keeping equines

A 25 year old man from South Yorkshire has been handed an 18-week custodial sentence and a lifetime ban on keeping equines after a group of ponies was removed from his care last winter.

World Horse Welfare was called to a youngster in distress and Field Officer Sarah Tucker attended as a matter of urgency, finding the 6 month old foal collapsed. With the assistance of the RSPCA, Bransby Horses, a vet and the Police, the foal and two other ponies were removed from the field under the Animal Welfare Act (2006).

One of the equines in the Grpve Case Photo: World Horse Welfare

The six-month-old foal rescued in the Grove Case Photo: World Horse Welfare

Matthew Groves from Howbeck Drive, Edlington failed to comply with a Warning Notice issued by the RSPCA over the remaining two ponies regarding provision of a suitable diet and so in early January they were also legally removed due to their deteriorating condition.

Sarah Tucker says: “I can only describe the scene I faced last December as tragic. The collapsed foal had clearly been in a distressed state for some time. Because he was so weak we decided World Horse Welfare’s closest Rescue and Rehoming Centre was too much of a journey for this urgent case, so we worked with Bransby Horses to take them to the safety of their Lincoln centre.”

She continues: “It was a relief to be able to remove the horses; however despite vet Lynn Mabbit’s best efforts to save the colt foal, very sadly he died shortly after he was rescued.  The sentence reflected the severity of this case and it is reassuring to know that Mr Groves will no longer be permitted to keep horses.”

As well as the custodial sentence and lifetime ban, Mansfield Magistrates Court ordered that Mr Groves pay £750 costs and £80 victim surcharge.

Keira stars at Pony Club championship

The inaugural 2016 Land Rover Pony Club Regional Championships have ended, having attracted more  than 2,000 grassroot horse and rider combinations- some of whom were experiencing a competitive environment for the very first time.

Dressage riders and show jumpers took part in qualifying rounds in each of the 19 Pony Club Areas, where the top ten headed to one of five championship events where teams and individuals were crowned winners in their regions.

Pony Club Member Keira Shafiq (10)* pulled out all the stops in the Wales and West Midlands Regional Championship to become the only rider to win both the Individual Dressage and Show Jumping.

Keira, who is a member of the Atherstone Hunt Pony Club, said: “I didn’t expect to do so well. I’ve been practising each weekend, especially our show jumping turns. I’ve only had Fudge a few weeks so I’m really pleased!”

Keira Shafiq in action Photo The Pony Club

Keira Shafiq in action at an event
Photo John Simpson

She hopes to move up to Novice level next year, and  praised the Land Rover Regional Championships because members can compete against people their own age and make new friends.

Mary Tuckett, Pony Club chairman, is delighted with the new addition to The Pony Club competition schedule.

Mary said: “The Land Rover Pony Club Regional Championships provided our members the opportunity to compete in teams at a level they felt confident in, with all the fun and excitement of a Championship environment and the support of their fellow team members and parents.

Burghley Pony Club member Tabitha Leicester and her pony King Photo: Landrover Pony Club Grassroots Championships

Burghley Pony Club member Tabitha Leicester and her pony King Photo: Land Rover Pony Club Grassroots Championships

“We were pleased with the number of entries we received for this initial year of competition, and we expect to see it growing in popularity over the coming years as more Members take their first steps onto the competitive ladder.”

Individual winners were given a beautiful rug courtesy of sponsors Land Rover, and teams received smart saddlecloths along with rosettes and sashes to mark their achievements.

Jaguar Land Rover UK Marketing Director, Scott Dicken said Land Rover was delighted to have worked with the Pony Club on the inaugural Regional Championships. 

A new dressage test was written especially for the Regional Championships, which included walking, trotting and cantering in a 20x40m arena. Show jumpers tackled a course of at least 10 fences at a height of 80cm in the first round and 85cm in the second round. After two rounds a jump off was held to decide placings where riders finished both rounds with no time or jumping faults.

The competition will expand in 2017, with eventing running alongside dressage and show jumping, giving Pony Club members even more opportunities to take part in entry level team competitions.




















Support Moorcroft’s Plumpton Raceday

Two ex-racehorses went on display at Plumpton Racecourse’s recent meeting, demonstrating the superb retraining work done by Moorcroft Racehorse Welfare Centre, based in West Sussex.

Inler and Bien Faire walked calmly round the parade ring, before spectators as they were put through their paces before racegoers, totally unaffected by the buzz and noise of a raceday.

Centre manager, Mary Frances, who is an expert in retraining highly strung ex-racehorses so they can go on to lead active lives outside racing, explained their backgrounds to the crowd.

Bien Faire and Inler parading at the recent Plumpton Raceday Photo: Jeannie Knight

Bien Faire and Inler parading at the recent Plumpton Raceday Photo: Jeannie Knight

Inler, a nine-year-old brown gelding, had been trained by Godolphin and had won three races during his career. He is still a young horse with a bright future ahead of him in other disciplines. Mary explained: ” He earned £31,000 in prize money when racing but has been successfully retrained at Moorcroft and is very established in his schooling.”

She added: ” He has been out regularly in recent weeks and been placed in dressage competitions and is a great project for someone who wishes to pursue that path and further develop Inler’s talents. He has a great temperament.”

The second horse parading before racegoers was Bien Faire, a six-year-old previously trained by Anthony Honeyball. Bien Faire had been only lightly raced and did not take to racing,

“He is a lovely horse but was not suited by racing. It was felt that after retraining, he could be sold on and enjoy life in a different discipline with new owner. He will reward anyone who takes him on for that,” added Mary.

Moorcroft Racehorse Welfare Centre at Slinfold , near Horsham, is one of just three accredited retraining centres for ex-racehorses in the UK.

It relies heavily on fundraising in order to continue the outstanding work it does in giving ex-racehorses a life after racing an provides a temporary home for up to 28 horses coming out of racing. Mary ensures they are retrained so they can be rehomed and go on to another purpose in life.

An example of equine artist Judy Goodman's work, displayed at the auction Photo: Jeannie Knight

Equine artist Judy Goodman’s work being bid for at a previous Moorcroft Raceday lunch Photo: Jeannie Knight

Moorcroft will be celebrating its 17th annual fundraising day at Plumpton Racecourse on Monday October 17. The raceday, which contributes 20 per cent towards the centre’s running costs, features the running of the Josh Gifford Memorial Trophy along with a number of special fundraising activities, including the Shetland Pony Gold Cup, supported by the Andy Stewart Charitable Foundation.

A charity lunch and auction in a special marquee will also take place.

For Moorcroft chairman, Tim Fox, this is the charity’s biggest fundraising day of the year, which is usually supported by more than 350 people. There is a traditional auction of outstanding prizes, along with a raffle for some very special items.

Tim said: “It’s the charity’s biggest fundraising day of the year and I hope everyone will support us.Tickets for the event can be obtained by ringing 01273 890 383.”

Godolphin double at Goodwood

WEST Sussex trainers William Knight and Gary Moore both tasted victory at Goodwood’s penultimate raceday of the current season yesterday, September 21.

There was some good class racing and Pulborough-based jockey Jim Crowley, currently contending for the Champion Jockey title, secured an impressive victory for Angmering trainer William Knight on board 11-8 favourite Sea Shack in the Conditions Stakes.

Winner Sea Shack with owner John Seabrook and jockey Jim Crowley.Photo: Jeannie Knight

Winner Sea Shack with owner John Seabrook and jockey Jim Crowley.Photo: Jeannie Knight

The French-bred Equiano colt is owned by group Seabrook Miller, headed by John Seabrook. He was an impressive winner, racing out in front,  and winning by a short head. He had been placed in two of his first three starts.

Seashack connextions with jockey Jim Crowley prior to the race Photo: Jeannie Knight

Seashack connections with jockey Jim Crowley prior to the race Photo: Jeannie Knight

Owner John Seabrook revealed that he owns an overseas bar by the sea and the horse was named after that. Sea Shack is a progressive sort and was out in front throughout- and there should be more successes to come.

Earlier in the week Sussex trainer Gary Moore had enjoyed a good double over jumps at Plumpton, but was equally comfortable sending out an easy winner at Goodwood on the level with Imari Kid at 20-1 with 5lb claimer Hector Crouch in the saddle.

Imar Kid and Hector Crouch coming into the winner's spot. Photo: Jeannie Knight

Imar Kid and Hector Crouch coming into the winner’s spot. Photo: Jeannie Knight

Owner Patrick Moorhead was there to see the victory and Gary Moore said: ” The horse had a poor run at Ascot previously in July, on good to firm ground over a mile and a half. But he ran well today under Hector Crouch and the ground was not so firm.”

Owners Godolphin really stole the show at the meeting with a good double ridden by William Buick initiated by partnering Celestial Spheres, trained by Charlie Appleby, to a short head victory at 9-2 in the opening Crimbourne Stud Foundation Stakes Listed Race, where every horse was stepping up in trip to one mile one furlong.

Celestial Spheres and William Buick. Photo: Jeannie Knight

Celestial Spheres and William Buick. Photo: Jeannie Knight

That particular victory came at the expense of Frankel offspring Monarchs Glen,  a 3-1 shot trained by John Gosden and ridden by Robert Havlin, which should go on to success.

Buick was also in the saddle when Godolphin’s Sky Hunter, trained by Saed bin Suroor,  took the Crimbourne Stud Foundation Stakes at the expense of Tullius, owned by Kennet Valley Thoroughbreds. Sky Hunter had previously won six races on various ground between one mile two furlongs to one mile four furlongs.

Sky Hunter and William Vuick coming into winner's spot Photo: Jeannie Knight

Sky Hunter and William Buick coming into winner’s spot Photo: Jeannie Knight

Tullius, in turn, has won 11 races from seven furlongs to one mile two furlongs on all types of ground and again put in a solid performance under Jimmy Fortune. But he could not get the better of Sky Hunter, which was a 2,000th worldwide winner for Saeed bin Suroor and is now likely to head for the Melbourne Cup.

Tullius in the parade ring, Jimmy Fortune in the saddle Photo: Jeannie Knight

Tullius, trained by Andrew Balding, in the parade ring, Jimmy Fortune in the saddle Photo: Jeannie Knight

He has been a truly rewarding runner for his owners group with Kennet Valley Thoroughbreds, trained by Andrew Balding and producing consistently impressive performances over versatile distances.  Kennet Valley Thoroughbreds specialises in managing single horse, flat racing partnerships. with 16 shares at an initial cost of between £6,500 to £10,000 per share.

Tullius Owners Group Photo: Jeannie Knight

Tullius Owners Group Photo: Jeannie Knight

There was a Royal winner at the meeting when Daphne, at 9-2,  trained by William Haggas and ridden by Pat Cosgrave, toook the Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association Stakes, beating Graceland  by a nose.  There was a double for Hagggas when Symposium, ridden by Georgia Cox won the Bibendium Stakes.

The final race, the Hildon Apprentice Stakes was won by Stormflower, ridden by Josephine Gordon and trained by John Bridger.

Goodwood’s final raceday of 2016 is on Sunday October 9- don’t miss it.

Pony Pals visit care home

Residents at a Littlehampton care home welcomed some very special neighbours when Pony Pals visited recently.

The friendly miniature ponies created a stir when they trotted into Darlington Court, on The Leas off Station Road, where everyone had the opportunity to stroke and pet the animals, and enjoy an informative talk on their individual personalities and how they are looked after.

The ponies were also taken on a tour of the care home, visiting residents’ rooms to ensure everyone had the opportunity to meet and interact with the animals.

Resident Diana Thompson with equine visitor Mr Kellogs

Resident Diana Thompson with equine visitor Mr Kellogs

Fiona Wiederkehr, home manager at Darlington Court, said: “It was wonderful to see the smiles on everyone’s faces when the miniature ponies arrived at Darlington Court. They created rather a lot of excitement among the residents and Care UK team.

“Petting animals and being in their company has proven therapeutic benefits, particularly for those living with dementia, and you could see from the residents’ reactions just how engaged they were when given the opportunity to get so close to such lovely, affectionate animals.”

Situated on The Leas, off Station Road in Rustington, Darlington Court provides a range of care services for older people including residential, nursing and respite care, as well as specialist dementia and sensitive end of life care.

For further information about Darlington Court, please contact customer relations manager Julie Bartholomew on or telephone 01903 863580.