Exciting end to Cowdray Polo season

A bright sunny day signalled the end of Cowdray Park’s Polo season on Sunday 18 September when a large crowd turned out for the traditional BBQ lunch, subsidiary Finals and Finals of the 12 goal HPA Autumn Cup and the 6 goal Farewell Cup, and a highly popular Dog Show.

The 2016 Autumn Cup had nine entries with Emma McCarthy’s Emlor C and Shane Finemore’s Gardenvale making it to the Final.

An action filled match led to the scores level at 4-4. Early in the fourth chukka, a super run by Beim to Emlor C’s goal and a nifty pass to Perry resulted in another goal for Gardenvale. Both teams fought for every ball, but finally Fernandez-Llorente pounced on a loose ball and passed it to an ideally positioned Ed Morris-Lowe who zipped it between the posts but Gardenvale managed to hold on to their lead and won the 2016 Autumn Cup 6-5.

Auumn Cup winners Gatdenvale Photo: Clive Bennett 20160918 ©2016 Clive Bennett Photography 18/09/2016 _CB_4862.CR2

Auumn Cup winners Gardenvale
Photo: Clive Bennett 20160918 ©2016 Clive Bennett Photography

A delighted Shane Finemore accepted the Autumn Cup from Clare Milford-Haven who also presented prizes of quality polo kit on behalf of sponsors Casablanca. Matt Perry was awarded The Polo Magazine prize for Most Valuable Player, his horse Vasca Irlandes also picking up the Polo TImes award for Best Playing Pony. The subsidiary Final was won by BHC beating E Rosario 8-7.

The Farewell Cup is a historic trophy more than 50 years old and this year received a bumper entry of 11 teams,  with Andrew Swaffield’s Alcedo team meeting Parke Bradley’s Silver Fox in the Final. Alcedo scored yet another victory to finish the season with a fifth report.

Winners Alcedo and the Farewell Cup Photo:Clive Bennett Photography

Winners Alcedo and the Farewell Cup
Photo:Clive Bennett Photography

Mr George Robinson presented his family’s Cup to Andrew Swaffield and prizes to all players. Will Harper’s Exquisite was judged to be Best Playing Pony, the rug being presented by The Hon Mrs Lila Pearson.

Gracious in defeat, Parke Bradley nonetheless said that getting to the Final was a great end to his polo playing career and that he will be returning to Cowdray Park as a non-playing member from 2017. The subsidiary Final was won 6½-5 by Emma McRae’s Ice Craft.

In the final presentations of the season, the Millenium Plate for Umpiring Services was presented by Chris Bethell, Polo Manager, to Adrian Wade and the Pimms Cup for Most Improved Junior Player went to 14 year old Will Harper whose skill and confidence make him certain of a handicap change. The Large Cup for Pony Welfare was presented by Mr. Tam Large to Nick Clague.


Plumpton double for Gary Moore

Horsham trainer Gary Moore, and his son jockey Joshua Moore received awards at Plumpton’s opening meeting of the new jumps season on Sunday, for training and riding most winners there last season.

And they went on to mark the new season at this popular track by winning the Juvenile Novice Hurdle with East Indies.The three-year-old had some form on the Flat for trainer John Gosden and was fluent on his hurdling debut.

Joshua Moore with East Indies Photo: Jeannie Knight

Joshua Moore with East Indies
Photo: Jeannie Knight

Then Gary Moore completed a double when he sent out Osgood, ridden by Jason Nuttall to win the final handicap hurdle race of the day by a neck.

But he was deprived of a treble with Golanova, which had to settle for second place when Watlington trainer Lawney Hill won the three mile one furlong handicap steeplechase for the fifth time.

Jockey Aiden Coleman and trainer Lawney Hill

Jockey Aiden Coleman and trainer Lawney Hill with Take A Bow  and connections Photo: Jeannie Knight

Her victory was with seven-year-old Take A Bow, ridden by Aidan Coleman. The bumper and hurdles winner had been placed on both outings over fences last season and has matured well. He won impressively.

“Aidan gave him a peach of a ride and the horse jumped well. My horses enjoy Plumpton and have been successful in the past, especially in this race,” she said.

Jockey Tommy Dowling defied an injury which kept him sidelined for almost five months to win on his first ride in almost five months on Baltic Storm. The horse. trained by his boss Charlie Mann, took the 2m1½f novice hurdle with impressive ease.

Thumbs up from Tommy Dowling after a winning return following serious injury. Photo: Jeannie Knight

Tommy, a 7lb claimer, was back in the saddle despite massive injuries received when a horse he was riding crashed out at a hurdle at Fontwell Park at the end of October.

His injuries were so bad that doctors had predicted he would be out of the saddle for at least six months. But he was determined he would ride his favourite horse, Baltic Storm, trained by his retainer, Charlie Mann at Plumpton.

He explained: ” The governor’s horses have been winning but there is nothing harder than watching horses you should be riding.”

“This is the horse I’ve been rushing to get back for,” said Dowling. “I think he’s a proper Saturday horse; this is the one who could be a Cheltenham horse and I am glad to be back riding him.”

He is riding currently with two metal rods in his back which will be removed next year, while he also suffered two broken ribs, a broken collarbone, fractured shoulder and badly bruised lungs in his fall. But he said he felt 100 per cent after his winning return.

Marlborough trainer Neil King was in the winner’s spot when his Mercer’s Court produced a good victory with Trevor Whelan in the saddle in the three mile one furlong handicap hurdle race.

Plumpton’s next fiixture is the Moorcroft Racing Welfare Raceday on Monday October 17.

Moorcroft Racehorse centre’s busy month ahead

Moorcroft Racehorse Welfare Centre, at Huntingrove Stud, Slinfold, is looking ahead to a busy October, following on from a summer where ex-racehorses being retrained there have been out to low-level competitions.

These competitions give the horses valuable experience in other spheres- so their retraining is complete before they go to long-term new homes.

Centre manager Mary Frances said: ” We rarely come home without rosettes and it does the horses good to know that they are no longer going to a racecourse every time they travell in the lorry. It also ensures that we know how they load and travel so that there are no new surprises for their new keepers.

A retrained racehorse taking part in a Moorcroft display Photo:Jeannie Knight

A retrained racehorse taking part in a Moorcroft display Photo:Jeannie Knight

She added: ” We are lucky to have a few good venues near us in Bridge House Dressage, Sands Farm and HRH Equestrian, which are all friendly helpful places within easy reach to start young horses competing.”

Moorcroft has a busy October, starting with a lecture on Saturday October 15 at 11am when Rory O’ Shea, MRCVS, who is a specialist in equine lameness, will speak about how hind limb lameness can affect a horse’s back.

This will cover biomechanics- the back as a suspension bridge and hind limbs as an engine. He will also discuss common coinciding back and hindlimb pathologies, as well as diagnostic and treatment protocols for associated hindlimb and back problems.

Book early with Moorcroft on 07929 666408 for  tickets which are £12.50, or email moorcroftracehorse@gmail.com

In addition Moorcroft’s annual race day at Plumpton Racecourse takes place on Monday October 17- offering a great day out at the races with a three course lunch in a marquee with outstanding raffle prizes and an auction- as well as the chance to support the outstanding work done by this fine charity.

Traditionally the raceday starts with some highly competitive pony racing, before racing proper begins..

Chairman of Moorcroft trustees, Tim Fox presenting Vera Akehurst, pony race organiser with a bouquet at a previou raceday Photo: Jeannie Knight

Chairman of Moorcroft trustees, Tim Fox presenting Vera Akehurst, pony race organiser, with a bouquet at a previous raceday
Photo: Jeannie Knight

This is a vital fundraiser enabling Moorcroft to continue the valuable work it does to retrain ex-racehorses for another life.

For raceday tickets, contact Allison at Plumpton on 01273 890383 or ring Moorcroft on 07929 666408.

Safeguarding horses’ futures in wills

World Horse Welfare runs a unique scheme where owners can leave their horses to the charity in their Will, safeguarding their future. The scheme began in 1990 and has more than 800 horse owners who have registered their equines with the charity and left a financial gift to provide for their care.

Horses gifted to World Horse Welfare in a Will are found loving new homes through the charity’s rehoming scheme where they can bring joy and friendship to another family or individual, but as with all horses on the scheme, they remain the property of World Horse Welfare for life giving them a secure future.

World Horse Welfare Chief Field Officer, Claire Gordon, said:“In my role at World Horse Welfare, I see both extremes of horse welfare. Whilst I have first-hand experience of great suffering, I am also privileged to share in the acts of great compassion and empathy shown by those who leave their horses to us in their Will.

World Horse Welfare officer Clare Gordon

World Horse Welfare officer Claire Gordon

” I remember each and every one of the lucky horses whose owners loved and cared for them so much that they saw their responsibilities to their horse’s welfare reaching beyond their lifetime.  Each wanted peace of mind that their beloved horse would be well cared for in the event that tragedy should strike.

“Meeting these owners and hearing about their horse’s likes and dislikes, their foibles and routines is a privilege and an honour.   I don’t meet all the horses bequeathed to us in Wills before the owner has passed but occasionally circumstances arise where it is requested.

“One lady became terminally ill and with only a few weeks to live couldn’t manage to care for her horse so asked that he came in early to us.  She showed great courage and strength by putting his needs ahead of her own.

“Whilst I know that it was very hard for her to let him go at a time in life when his companionship was so important to her, it was tempered by knowing that he would be safe in our care for the rest of his life and this is a promise that every World Horse Welfare horse can be assured of.

“Along with my fellow field officers, we vet all future potential homes and then continue to visit the horses in these homes for the rest of their lives.   It makes it easy for me to reassure people that their horse will be well cared for because it is my job to ensure they are.”

To find out more about gifting your horse to World Horse Welfare in your will please visit: http://www.worldhorsewelfare.org/Leaving-your-horse-in-your-Will

Felicity selected for GB Juniors

A Sussex teenage rider and her two horses have been selected for the British Eventing Racesafe sponsored Junior squad to represent Great Britain in the upcoming FEI Junior European Championships, which place from September 22 -25 in Montelibretti, Italy.

Team member Felicity Collins (18) is from East Sussex, and will compete with either seven-year-old German gelding, RSH Contend, owned by Ms Vicky Collins and Mrs Avirna Milton, or with seven-year-old German gelding, RSH Contend owned by Ms Vicky Collins and Mrs Avirna Milton.

Felicity has more than proved her worth in the team with her eventing achievements, which include a double first in the British Eventing Advanced class at Belton and a sixth place in a three start event. She is ranked in the top ten of the Under 21 event riders in Britain ( Goldman Cup League).

Felicity Collins competing at Brand Hall One Day event Photo: Adam Fanthorpe

Felicity Collins competing at Brand Hall One Day event
Photo: Adam Fanthorpe

Ailsa Wates, 18 from West Sussex, and Mrs Pip Wates and Equine Aqua Training’s 11 year old British gelding Woodlands Persuasion have been chosen as reserves. Ailsa is a student at Cranleigh School.

The British team achieved bronze at Bialy Bor, Poland, in 2015 and will be hoping to better its result in 2016 with the talented members in this squad.

Chairman of selectors for the Junior squad, Darrell Scaife commented: ” We have seen some exellent performances over the last few months and selection has been incredibly close but I believe that we have take the opportunity to select a squad which can challenge for medals on Montelibretti later this month.”

Dealing with Sacroiliac pain in horses

The latest in a series of articles written by Dr Chris Baldwin BVetMed(hons) MRCVS of Arundel Veterinary Hospital.

Dr Chris Baldwin

Dr Chris Baldwin of Arundel Veterinary Hospital this month discusses how to deal with Sacroiliac pain in horses

SACROILIAC pain in horses is a performance limiting condition that can be challenging to diagnose and manage. To understand why horses develop this problem we first need to understand the anatomy involved.

The pelvis is a ring of bones formed of three fused bones; Ilium, ischium and pubis. The lower part of the horses back, the sacrum, is formed of 5 fused vertebrae. The sacroiliac joint (SI) is the joint where the sacrum passes underneath the top of the pelvis (tubera sacrale). The SI joint is strengthened by there ligaments; dorsal, ventral and interosseous sacroiliac ligaments. SI pain is either inflammation of the joint or ligaments surrounding the joint. The SI joint functions to transfer propulsion from the hindlimbs to the spine, supporting the horses back and driving the horse forward from its hindquarters when in motion.

Sacroilac joint

Sacroilac joint

SI pain typically affects heavier, taller horses usually between the ages of 5 and 15 years old. There is no documented association between a horse’s confirmation and developing SI problems. Warm bloods, Thoroughbreds and Thoroughbred crosses are over represented, as are horses used for show jumping and dressage. Which may be due to athletic demands placed on these horses during their work.
The signs that a horse maybe suffering from SI pain are subtle and insidious in onset and progression. Typically the signs are exacerbated when the horse is ridden under-saddle and can be easier to appreciate by the rider than to be seen by an observer. There may be no overt lameness to be seen.

Below are the common signs of SI pain and common complaints related to SI pain:

Poor performance/unwillingness to work/holding back

Lack of impulsion or animation

Intermittent lameness

Relutance to be shod or have leg held in flexed position for prolongued period

Poor or stilted canter work, sometimes manifesting as a four times canter

Dropping out of canter, becoming disunited,taking the wrong lead leg

Stiff through the back, refusing jumps

Poor lateral work

Change in  behaviour or performance when worked on the bit

Diagnosis is challenging due to the mass of muscles surrounding the SI joint. A thorough physical exam by a veterinarian is required to rule out other conditions. SI pain is a consequence of a change in the mechanics of the horse back and hindlimbs. Therefore conditions such as suspensory ligament desmitis or kissing spines (impinging spinous processes) can be a precursor or sequel to SI pain.
Xray and ultrasound of the SI region is limited due to the anatomy. The most sensitive form of diagnosis is a bone scan (nuclear scintigraphy). The SI joint can also be anaesthetised (blocked) and if there is pain at this site an improvement maybe seen or felt.

Treatment of SI pain requires a combination of medication, physiotherapy and a rehabilitation program. The SI region can be injected with steroids to reduced inflammation of the joint and ligaments. This will be performed by your veterinarian when required, usually requires more than one treatment.

Physiotherapy and rehabilitation are important in making sure the horse works to build up strong muscles around its hind quarters so the SI region is protected and used correctly. Each horse with a diagnosed SI condition will have a tailored rehabilitation program outlining the details of exercises and time period. In feed anti-inflammatories or joint supplements maybe beneficial in reducing inflammation and promoting healthy joints.

Other treatments such as acupuncture or magnetic rugs/boots, maybe of benefit however there is little published evidence supporting this.
In summary, the SI is the connection point between the horse and its hindlimbs. The condition mainly affects larger horses undertaking dressage and SJ. the signs of SI pain are very subtle. Diagnosis is challenging and treatment involves a combination of medication and rehabilitation.

Laura wins Blenheim BE100

The British Eventing Kent & Masters Arena Eventing Championships came to an exciting climax in the prestigious surroundings of the Blenheim Palace International Horse Trials.

An ecstatic Laura Durkan, riding the seven-year-old mare Livvy, claimed the BE100 title after producing a double clear and finishing closest to the optimum time, stopping the clock at 122.07 seconds.

The 34-year-old rode from West Chiltington wins a saddle of her choice from title sponsor Kent & Masters. “Pretty amazing,” was Laura’s reaction. “It was nerve wracking at the end because I thought I’d won and then I was told there was still one more to go!

“We’ve had this horse for just shy of two years and have had a really difficult last year with her, so for her to come here and cope with the atmosphere has been amazing and winning is the icing on the cake – I’m really, really chuffed.”

Laura Durkhan and Livvy Photo: Addam Fanshawe

Laura Durkhan and Livvy
Photo: Addam Fanshawe

Laura is looking to step up to Novice before the end of the season with Livvy: “Arena Eventing is absolutely perfect because it switches her on and gets her focussed and listening to me. It’s absolutely amazing to ride at Blenheim and very inspiring, I desperately want to bring her back here for the eight and nine year olds – that would be the dream!”

Fourteen-year-old Ella Bubb and Stirred Not Shaken took second place with a clear jumping round in a time of 121.44 seconds and Camilla Hardie was third on Beau Jangles, clear in 120.33 seconds.

Henrietta Witts set an early target in the BE90 Championship that couldn’t be matched. Sixth to go on the pint sized bay mare Pontesford Sarah Maria, she set the standard with a clear in 113.6 seconds. Lucy Fews, 19, and Mixxy were second, clear in 110.7 seconds, with 15-year-old Victoria Robbins taking third place with a clear in 110.3 on Silver Skywalker.

Successful riders took home an impressive haul of prizes cash prizes, BE training vouchers and BE Membership prizes for the highest placed non-members. With more than 25 years of saddle-making experience, Kent & Masters are proud to produce British made saddles for all levels of horses and riders at affordable prices.

Colette and Pepper to represent GB

A TEENAGER from Haywards Heath, in West Sussex, has been chosen as a member of the British Young Drivers team that will take part in the International Carriage Driving Championships in Eastern Germany later this month.

Colette Holdsworth (14) will be competing there with her 13.2hh KWPN x Welsh Piebald mare, Pepper, which is eight years old.

Colette started driving two years ago in a partnership with her 20-year-old 11.1hh lead rein pony and has now progressed to competing with Pepper.

A member of Brockham Harness club, Colette and Pepper has been driving since November, taking part in indoor events  at Merist Wood, where they came fifth in the Novice Junior class at the Indoor Championships at Keysoe, and the talented duo continue to impress.

Colette Holdsworth and Photo: Kingswood Associates

Colette Holdsworth and Pepper in action
Photo: Kingswood Associates

“I have attended training camps with British Young Drivers at the Unicorn Equestrian Centre and Ashfieeld, and improve my skills, making many new friends at the same time,” said Colette.

This is her first outdoor season with Pepper,  in which they competed  at Catton Park, Ashfields and Only, where she became the Under 14 Junior National Champion.

British Carriage Driving has been represented at international youth carriage driving events since 2008, with the Young Drivers team bringing home gold from Austria in 2012. Two years later two members of the team won individual FEI Bronze medals in Poland.

The team leaves for the show on Saturday September 17 and the event runs from September 22-25.

Goodwood Racecourse’s business day

Goodwood Racecourse will be hosting businesses from Sussex, Surrey and Hampshire on Wednesday September 21 to enjoy a day of hospitality and entertainment, providing the perfect platform for networking and meeting new potential clients.

Organisations large and small will have the opportunity to chat to entrepreneurs and promote their brands.

Goodwood Estate’s CEO, Alex Williamson, will be giving an address during the afternoon, offering his own experience on running a successful business in the South. A guest speaker will provide a Q&A session, giving further insight into how businesses can work together – post Brexit – to best adapt to a changing marketplace.

Fine hospitality and racing at Goodwood's planned business day Photo: Matt Hind

Fine hospitality and racing at Goodwood’s planned business day Photo: Matt Hind

An afternoon card of racing will provide the ideal backdrop to break the ice, with a professional tipster giving expert advice on picking a winning horse.

A champagne reception and two-course buffet lunch, followed by afternoon tea, will be served in the Charlton Hunt private hospitality boxes, with stunning panoramic views of the Racecourse, Chichester and South Downs.

Alex Eade, General Manager of Goodwood Racecourse, said; “At Goodwood we are really keen to support local businesses and initiatives like this are vital in helping to get organisations in the South working together.

“A day at the races is a fine opportunity to meet like-minded individuals from various industries, as the relaxed atmosphere is conducive to making introductions. We hope that by engaging with businesses from the area, we can help learn from each other for the greater good.”

Christopher Burton wins Burghley Horse trials

Report by Wendy Nix

Leading from start to finish, Australian Christopher Burton and his 11 year-old Hanoverian gelding, Nobilis 18, landed the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials Trophy, sharing the £63,000 first prize money with the horse’s co-owners Sue Lawson and Carolyn Townsend.

Winner Christopher Burton at the water Photo: Kingswood Associates

Winner Christopher Burton at the water Photo: Kingswood Associates

“Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would win,” said the rider, fresh from Rio where he helped his country win the Team Bronze medal. Taking second and third places were New Zealanders Andrew Nicholson on Nereo and Jonelle Price on Classic Moet.

As last year, the two best-placed Brits were Oliver Townend (seventh) with Samuel Thomas II and West Sussex’s Tina Cook who climbed up the leader board for tenth place on Star Witness.

Late on the second day of dressage Christopher Burton swept into the lead with an impressive test of 30.2 ahead of overnight leader Bettina Hoy on Designer 10 (34.5) and Andrew Nicholson (35.2). Sussex riders Tina Cook and Harry Dzenis (Xam) were down the field on 52.9 and 51.33 respectively, Harry in equal thirty-third and Tina equal fortieth places.

Cross-country course designer Mark Phillips had warned riders not to be complacent about his course and he was right. As ever, it required bold, attacking riding and any partnerships not on song were soon found wanting; several took the wise decision to retire gracefully while others just did not have Lady Luck on their side – an essential element of any eventing competition but even more so on Burghley’s hilly terrain.

Of the 78 starters just 40 completed, 28 of those jumping clear; no-one was inside the time of 11 minutes 11 seconds although Jonelle Price flew round, making it all look so easy despite the constant rain that soaked the thousands of spectators, to add just 1.6 time penalties to her dressage score of 48.5 and elevate her from twenty-second to fourthovernight. Her husband Tim added six time penalties to his 38.9 dressage on Ringwood Sky Boy to go into second, a place the pair finished on in 2015.

Oliver had three rides, Dromgurrihy Blue (formerly campaigned by Harry Dzenis) who gave him a feel for the course, Samuel Thomas II who rose from equal forty-second to lie tenth, and his best chance, MHS King Joules who had been in fifth after the first phase. However, a time consuming re-route at the Trout Hatchery and a refusal at the Discovery Valley (Fence 24) led to retirement.

Two notable scalps were taken at the Trout Hatchery, those of Andrew Hoy and Pippa Funnell. The latter had been going like a train on Second Supreme until he tripped in the water, depositing Pippa firmly on her backside on the bank. Andrew Hoy’s departure was quite spectacular, The Blue Frontier landed well over the drop fence then floundered, throwing Andrew over his head and full-length into the water, both of them completely submerged. Thankfully neither horse nor rider were hurt although ‘Blue’ spent some time shaking water out of his ears.

Tina Cook at the Trout Hatchery Photo: Kingswood Associates

Tina Cook at the Trout Hatchery Photo: Kingswood Associates

Last year Tina and Star Witness survived a major hic-cup at the Trout Hatchery and once again fate seemed determined to blot their round; the horse tripped in the water, ripping a front shoe off in the process, but kept his feet. Tina stayed in the saddle and after gathering her knitting Star Witness boldly jumped the corner fence off one stride of trot.

Tina, deciding not to chance her luck went for the longer option on the final element but in turning, Star Witness lost both back legs on the slippery bank and sat down. Somehow Tina remained with him and they jumped out of the Hatchery as if nothing untoward had happened. The time lost here and in ensuring her mount stayed upright with only three shoes on the greasy bends cost Tina dear, adding 12.0 penalties to her dressage, however, they pulled themselves up to lie twelfth overnight.

Eight riders had problems at the Hatchery while the first part of the Discovery Valley caused more problems than anticipated, even by Mark Phillips, with another eight faulting here.

Of the forty horses to complete, 38 were presented for the final trot up and pleasingly not one was spun or sent to the holding box. Some even looked as though they could go round the cross-country again.

Despite this, clear rounds in the show jumping were hard to come by; just five adding nothing to their overnight score including Oliver and Samuel Thomas II, which put them up three places, and Frenchman Cedric Lyard who also went up three places for fifth on Cadeau du Roi.

Tina rued having one fence down on the normally clean jumping Star Witness: “He started to get a bit strong and ran on down to the gate and just rubbed it,” she said afterwards. Harry and Xam had a round they would rather forget, dropping nine rails to complete in twenty-eighth place. Harry commented: “At 15 years old he (Xam) is what he is. Yesterday he went like a dream, he’s amazing cross-country, but he doesn’t try over the coloured poles. I don’t beat myself up about it; it’s incredible to be here at all.”

Sussex competitor Harry Dzenis and Photo: Kingswood Associates

Sussex competitor Harry Dzenis and  X am
Photo: Kingswood Associates

With the last four to go, Jonelle had just one down as did Andrew and Nereo, plus two time penalties. Tim and Ringwood Sky Boy had three fences which dropped them below Andrew and Jonelle. In came the leader, Christopher Burton, with four fences in hand – and he used up every one of them! Had Andrew gone clear he would have won Burghley for a joint record sixth time, but it was not to be. Speaking afterwards the winner admitted: “It felt very special going into the arena in the lead. However, I tried to keep it interesting for everyone and make the score as close as I could!”