Townend wins Kentucky three-day-event

In a thrilling finish, Oliver Townend of Great Britain won the prestigious Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event at the weekend, beating Germany’s Michael Jung.

The British rider had been third overnight, but produced a flawless show jumping round on board Cooley Master Class, to take the title.

He had finishing the previous day with a  dressage score of 28.7 penalties, setting up the showdown with overnight leader Jung on Fischerrocana FST. When the German pair dropped a rail at fence 5, the victory was Townend’s. Jung finished second (31.5).

Oliver Townend pictured following a previous win at Land Rover Horse Trials  Photo courtesy of Land Rover

Townend (35), of Dudleston Heath, Ellesmere, Shropshire, England, said. “There was no funding from Britain to come to Germany this year. The horse’s owners gambled on me to win their money back, and I’m pleased the horses have come through with great results and that I’ve repaid the owners’ gamble on me.”

American duo Marilyn Little and RF Scandalous also put in a double-clear round to move up into third overall, to win the Land Rover/USEF National CCI4* Championship as the highest-placed Americans with a score of 32.8.

The morning started with unexpected tension when Jung’s Fischerrocana was sent to the holding box during the final horse inspection, as was second-placed Christopher Burton of Australia with Nobilis 18. As the crowd held their breath, the ground jury accepted both horses upon re-presentation.

The first rider to post a double-clear round was Kim Severson and Cooley Cross Boarder (21st/55.9) . Oliver Townend had come into the show jumping with Cooley Master Class in third and MHS King Joules tied for fourth. He went early on King Joules, who eventually finished in seventh place and lowered a rail, but Cooley Master Class jumped impressively.

The winner takes home a check for $130,000, and for his seventh-placed finish Townend adds an additional $14,000, making it a profitable weekend for his team. MHS King Joules and Cooley Master Class are both 13-year-old Irish Sport Horses.

For his victory, Townend received $130,000 and  a one-year lease on a Land Rover Discovery.


UK’s charities help improve China’s equine welfare

Two of the UK’s leading equine welfare charities, The Donkey Sanctuary and World Horse Welfare have formed a groundbreaking partnership with the China Horse Industry Association (CHIA) and the Chinese Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) to improve equine welfare in China.

 The signing of the Memorandum of Association (MoU) was announced  during the 15th World Equine Veterinary Association (WEVA) Congress in Beijing this month.

Working towards a common goal to promote equine welfare in China, The Donkey Sanctuary, World Horse Welfare, CHIA and CVMA will collaborate on improving equine welfare through education and research to bring about the highest international standards.

Horses in China

The four organisations’ expertise, skills and strengths will benefit the health and welfare of China’s equines, of which there are an estimated 5.4 million donkeys, 2.9 million mules and 5.9 million horses.

Mike Baker, CEO, The Donkey Sanctuary, sees this unique collaboration as positive step forward for donkey welfare in the country. “Working with World Horse Welfare, CHIA and CVMA will be groundbreaking for equine welfare in China,” he said.

“This agreement is a great opportunity as China clearly needs support to develop the necessary equine veterinary expertise and the practicing vets with specific donkey and horse knowledge and experience.

“This partnership will provide the chance to give these animals the healthcare they desperately need.  We welcome the enthusiasm of CHIA and the equine sector involved with this event to improve animal welfare and it is so encouraging to see the massive strides being taken for better care of donkeys, horses and other animals.”

The Donkey Sanctuary also launched The Clinical Companion of the Donkey, a definitive textbook for clinicians and professionals working in donkey medicine or surgery, which was made available in both Chinese and English.

Welcoming the partnership, Dr Faith Burden, director of research and operational support at The Donkey Sanctuary said: “The response we have received from the Chinese veterinary community has been amazing – the textbook has been really well received.”

Roly Owers, CEO, World Horse Welfare said: “To make a difference we have to work in partnership and we are delighted to support China’s horse industry and their equine vets to help them reach the highest health and welfare standards.

“Equine vets, equipped with the necessary skills, have a fundamental role to play in China’s expanding equestrian market and beyond, and it is essential that they receive the training and support they need to be world class. Together we look forward to adding value to help improve the welfare of all equines in China.”

Huge response to women’s polo championship

 Statistics show that women’s polo is growing at a faster rate than the men’s game and, for the first time, in 2018 the British Ladies Polo Championships at Cowdray Park will be played at two handicap levels, 6-12 goals and 12-18 goals. 

The tournaments will open on July 13 and run through the final week of the King Power Gold Cup. 

Ladies polo action
Photo John Simpson

 Polo Manager Chris Bethell said: “Interest in the British Ladies Polo Championship has grown substantially, especially since women’s polo achieved its own handicap rating, and entry levels this year have been sufficiently high for us to offer two levels of competition. 

“Women had their own tournament for the first time in Argentina during the winter and there are some very talented and powerful lady players in polo today, so I am convinced we shall see quality polo being played here at Cowdray Park in 2018. 

“We are hoping to secure a significant sponsor for this event.”

The 12-18 goal tournament retains the title of British Ladies Polo Championship and the 6-12 goal competition will be the British Ladies Handicap Tournament. 

Both Finals will be played at the famous Cowdray ‘Lawns’ grounds on July 21 – the Saturday of the King Power Gold Cup weekend. 

For further information or to make an entry for either tournament, please contact  Entries for the two levels of competition close on July 2.


Fontwell looks ahead to new jumps season

The jumps season takes place between May and April each year,  and Fontwell  Park can look back on an excellent season of  National Hunt racing, with a season which started on May 5 in 2017 and finished on April 20.

Throughout the season jockey Noel Fehily and trainer Neil Mulholland have been in consistent form since their victory at the Big Bank Holiday Family Fun Day with The Wicket Chicken.

Noel Fehily went into the final  fixture with a very comfortable lead  for the Fontwell Jockey’s title with 13 wins ahead of the 2016/17 champion Jamie Moore in second place with nine victories.

Jockey Noel Fehily

Neil Mulholland went into the day with a comfortable lead in the trainer’s championships. Behind Neil, with three fewer victories, were trainers Paul Nicholls, Colin Tizzard and Gary Moore  all sitting on eight wins this season.

Paul has been known to send multiple winners at Fontwell, most notably at the 2018 National Spirit Hurdle where he was granted a quadruple which included Old Guard in the feature race of the year. Two of the eight winners for the Ditcheat trainer came from one of the most popular horses in training at the moment, Black Corton.

Colin Tizzard tasted his first victory of the season at Fontwell  on June 6 with Tempestatefloresco, which followed up with a second win in the Listed Marston’s Pedigree Summer Cup at Fontwell’s sister racecourse, Uttoxeter.

The opening day of Fontwell’s Oktoberfest meeting saw the Milbourne Port trainer excel with a double as Wizards Bridge and Buckhorn Timothy crossed the line first.

It took longer than anticipated for the 2016/17 leading trainer Gary Moore to find his first winner of the season. This eventually happened in September when Lord E, ridden by son Jamie, gave the Moore family that first victory.

Jamie Moore and Sussex Ranger following their win at Fontwell Park. Photo: Jeannie Knight

This was followed up at the next meeting when the talented Sussex Ranger took the win tally to two. Since then, Sussex Ranger has fulfilled his potential with success at Sandown and was later runner up in a Grade 1 contest at Chepstow Racecourse.

It was a memorable jumps season at Fontwell Park, and the finale was on April 20. There is only a short  break until the new season starts on May 9 with an evening of racing.

Hackwood Park point to point’s new date

The Vine and Craven hunt has announced that its annual point to point meeting at Hackwood Park, sponsored by wealth management company, JM Finn, will take place on Saturday May 5.  The event is traditionally held on Easter Monday, but was postponed owing to heavy rain.

The meeting, which is a brand new date for the point to point calendar, will be a late afternoon/early evening event, taking advantage of the extra daylight.  A packed programme of racing, food and drink and shopping will keep the whole family entertained. 

Competitive racing at Hackwood Park’s point to point

Gates open at 1pm and the event starts with Pony Scurries at 3pm, which we are great fun to watch.  The six sponsored races will start at 4.30pm and the event will close at around 7.45pm.

With many point to point events cancelled in March owing to bad weather, the Vine and Craven JM Finn event is expected to draw in the crowds.  A great afternoon’s racing is expected, as the runners and riders take on the course’s downhill back straight and uphill finish, travelling over 4ft 3” jumps at speeds of up to 30 mph. 

Action at a previous Vine and Craven point to point at Hackwood Park

Race Schedule:

  1. The J Passey & Son Countryside Alliance Club members Conditions Race for Novice Riders
  2. The At The Races Ladies Open Race
  3. The JM Finn Men’s Open Race
  4. The R Hunt Ltd Open Maiden Race
  5. The Fuller’s Brewery and the Jockey Club Open Maiden Race for Mares and Fillies Only
  6. The BFJ Consultants Ltd PPORA Club Members Conditions Race

Off the track there will be a beer tent open from 2pm, plus a variety of food and trade stands, bouncy castles to keep the kids entertained, while family boot picnics are welcomed.  Entry costs £10 per adult and under 16s go free.

Richard Fuller, Chairman of the Vine and Craven Hunt said: ‘We are thrilled to be re-scheduling our popular point to point for 5 May and we would like to thank JM Finn and all our sponsors for their continued support in making the new date possible.  The event promises to be a great afternoon out and we hope to see many of our regular supporters and look forward to welcoming new visitors too.’

Oliver Tregoning, head of marketing at JM Finn and Hampshire resident, commented: “We’ve sponsored a race at this meet for some years now, so this year, stepping up to be the main sponsor at such a well organised, family focussed event, is a natural progression for us.  We are looking forward to a great afternoon of racing”

For more information and to book tickets, visit  Twitter: @VineCravenptp

Sussex Equine Hospital Open Day

The recent open day at Sussex Equine Hospital in Ashington, West Sussex, was a fine opportunity for the general public to see its outstanding state-of-the-art facilities and learn about the expertise of the 20 dedicated equine vets based there.
The hospital was originally founded in 1951 and was known as the Arundel Equine Hospital until it moved to Ashington in 2017. It is an impressive facility, with 20 dedicated equine vets covering different horse disciplines with the back-up of a large team of nurses, grooms and office staff -all with the aim of achieving a standard of excellence.
 It covers an area extending from East and West Sussex into Surrey and Hampshire, caring for all types of equines- ranging from children’s ponies through to racehorses and sport horses.
The equine hospital has state of the art facilities which include 20 standard stables, including two mare and foal stables, seven bone scan stables and two additional care units. Full surgical facilities are always available along with 24 hour supervision of all in-patients.
External trot up strips, both hard and soft, along with a sand school and hard surface lunge pen and an indoor trot up strip are available, along with an enclosed farriers’ area.

Visitors were able to use microscope facilities at the open day   Photo: John Periam

The hospital itself has an HBLB accredited laboratory, MRI and Nuclear Scintigraphy facilities with three examination rooms available.There are full digital diagnostic services available, including radiography, ultrasound and endoscopy, including dynamic endoscopy.
The practice has 11 ambulatory vets out on the road providing routine and emergency care for clients across West and East Sussex, Surrey, Hampshire and Kent. Another excellent feature is that all ambulatory vets have up-to-date mobile digital imaging equipment, which reduces the inconvenience of owners having to take their horses to the equine hospital for the majority of diagnostic procedures.

Bone scanning demonstration for visitors
Photo: John Periam

In stud work, there is a team of dedicated  vets- Ed Lyall, Paula Broadhurst, Simon Staempfli, Noelle Baxter and Una Boyle- which provides a wide range of stud medicine services as well as thoroughbred mare and young-stock management. It also provides an out of hours service 24/7 and is the only practice in the South of England to do this.
The hospital is accredited to deal with mares requiring assisted foalings and caesarean sections as well as nursing sick foals in critical care units.There is specialist veterinary care  with accredited laboratory facilities available 24 hours a day.

Fire Brigade’s horse rescue demonstration at the Open Day Photo: Jeannie Knight

A further team of four dedicated stud vets operates a separate on-call rota providing a specialist service to mares and foals during the stud season. Vets from the hospital can also carry out a wide range of procedures at owners’ premises. These include dentistry, vaccinations, health checks, medical investigations, lameness assessments, reproductive medicine, including artificial insemination and embryo transfer.
A new service that has been introduced this year is semen collection, with stallions travelled to the hospital for collection, ready for chilled shipping of semen.
Thoroughbred mares can be managed for walk-in covers and the hospital laboratory can handle all requirements.
Also present at the well-attended open day were members of Sussex Fire Brigade technical rescue service, based at Horley, who spring into action to rescue horses in difficult situations.
These range from all road rescues, to horses in difficulty when trapped at height, in water or in confined spaces.
The Brooke Charity,  which supports action to improve conditions for working horses and donkeys, was also at the Open Day with several ponies.

Ponies representing Brook charity, pictured with firemen  and Marie-Anne Olivier of Brook charity at the Open Day

Brooke has been chosen as the official charity for the 2018 World Equestrian Games, and it will also receive all money generated from a giant raffle on the veterinary hospital open day .
For more information about Sussex Equine Hospital see or contact 01903 883050

New season of racing at Goodwood

A new season of Flat racing at Goodwood Racecourse is about to begin. On May 5, horses will burst from the stalls for Goodwood’s opening Saturday fixture, an exciting afternoon of high-quality racing, food, drink and entertainment.

The races include two valuable ‘Listed’ contests- the Daisy Warwick Stakes and the Conqueror Stakes, both of which are likely to attract some exciting fillies and mares aiming to get their seasons off to a winning start.

Racing action at Goodwood
Photgo: Jason Fong

2018 will be the first season with new Clerk of the Course Ed Arkell in charge of the groundstaff team. Despite the challenging weather, Ed and his team have been hard at work and will ensure that the turf will be in superb condition ready for the first races of the year.

During the winter months, significant investment has taken place at the racecourse. The inside of the March Grandstand has been redeveloped, creating a superb new betting facility and café. In addition, The Lookout is a beautiful new hospitality space with views overlooking the Parade Ring and across to the Solent and features an effortlessly cool interior crafted by leading designer, Cindy Leveson.

More than £2m has been spent on a new Champagne Bar, which will open later in the summer and will provide guests of the Richmond Enclosure with a stunning and unique space in which to enjoy the racing, the views and a glass of bubbly.

Alex Eade, General Manager for Goodwood Racecourse, said: “Opening Saturday is a real family day out. We have some high-class races and will attract some top-quality horses and the action on track really sets the tone for the rest of the year.

“Our restaurants all use and promote local produce, including that of our own Home Farm, there is a children’s play area for the little ones and the view across the rolling Sussex Downs has to be seen to be believed.

“Whether you are passionate about horseracing or just want a really good afternoon out, Goodwood Racecourse is fantastic place to come.”

Tickets can be purchased from only £12 in advance and children under 18 go free in all enclosures. Please call 01243 216610 or visit for tickets, hospitality and further information.

Sussex Equine Hospital fulfils long-term vision

Sussex Equine Hospital at Ashington opened to the public on Saturday, revealing brand new and impressive state-of-the-art facilities to visitors at a special open day.

Based in Billingshurst Road, Ashington, this equine hospital was purpose-built to allow it to offer patients and  clients the best possible equine health care. This visionary facility has its origins in Arundel Equine Hospital, founded back in 1951.

Outstanding facilities at the new hospital  Photo: Jeannie Knight

As that practice developed,  so the need to create a purpose-built equine hospital to serve the entire county with top class facilities increased. A visionary new hospital became a major target for equine vets involved.

That target was achieved when the hospital moved from Arundel to Ashington in 2017. Today the practice has 20 dedicated equine vets specialising in different equine veterinary disciplines, supported by a large team of nurses, grooms and office staff.

Fire Brigade’s horse rescue demonstration at the Open Day Photo: Jeannie Knight

The Sussex Equine Hospital now provides ambulatory equine veterinary services throughout Sussex and into Hampshire and Surrey. It cares for all types of equine patients, from children’s ponies through to top racehorses and sport horses

The facilities at Ashington are impressive. Its 20 stables include two mare and foal stables, seven bone scan stables and two additional critical care units. There is 24 hour supervision of all in-patients.

Microscope facilities explained to visitors
Photo: John Periam: 01243 584718

Outside facilities include hard and soft trot-up areas, a sandschool, and hard surface lunge-pen as well as an indoor trot-up strip.

An enclosed farriers’ area, MRI and laboratory facilities, nuclear scintigraphy for bone scanning, three examination rooms and full digital diagnositic services are available.

Bone scanning demonstration for visitors
Photo: John Periam   01243 584718

Saturday’s Open Day enabled visitors to see this unrivalled state-of-the art equine hospital in West Sussex.

For a full feature and more photographs, see Jeannie Knight’s equestrian page in the West Sussex Gazette next week.

See excellent retraining of ex-racehorses at Moorcroft

Don’t miss the opportunity to see the fine work done in retraining ex-racehorses at Moorcroft Racehorse Welfare Centre at Slinfold on Saturday May 12, when there will be a demonstration of horses there being ridden and long-reined.

Outdoor demonstration at Moorcroft
Photo: Jeannie Knight

Manager Mary Frances will also give an in-depth explanation of the outstanding work done at the centre to change the lives of ex- racehorses for the better after they come out of racing.

There will be plenty of time for questions and tickets are just £12.50 a head with all proceeds going to help horses at the charity.

Also present on the day will be guest speaker Dr Malcolm Wheatman MRCVS . He will talk about an holistic approach to the importance of well being.

Also a representative of  leading equine insurers will  be present to explain how to understand your equine insurance.

All charities depend upon the generosity of their supporters and volunteers both financially and in achieving their charitable objectives. At Moorcroft this is certainly the case, but as important is the hard-working, caring team of girls at the yard who, under the sure guidance of manager Mary Frances, consistently operate to the highest standards at all times. Their contribution enables our charity to re-home some forty horses each year after they have been re-trained for a life after racing.

As a result of generous legacies and donations from our supporters, we have, in the last two years,been able to bring our facilities up to a very high standard. In particular, Moorcroft has built an indoor school and a hay storage barn and has been able to replace its twenty year old horsebox with a three horse Betfair sponsored box. It is most grateful to all these benefactors who help sustain its worthwhile charity.


BHS Royal International Horse Show

Entries have officially opened for Hickstead’s five-star July event, the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ of Great Britain at the BHS Royal International Horse Show (July 24-29 ). 

There is a wide variety of classes for amateur riders and novice horses, with showjumping classes now starting at British Novice level (90cm), going up to 1.60m International World Ranking classes. 
The show also includes a number of British Showjumping’s Winter Finals, including the SEIB Winter Novice Final, the Champagne Cave Winter Grades B & C Championship and a range of pony finals.

Action at a previous Royal International Horse Show
Photo Craig Payne

Most of the showing classes at the BHS Royal International Horse Show are championship finals, so horses and ponies have already been campaigning all season to qualify for the event. 
The show gets underway on the Tuesday with a full day of Skewbald and Piebald classes, while other championships taking place during the week include Show Hunter Ponies, Miniature Horses, Lead Rein, Hunters, Mountain and Moorlands, Working Hunters, Working Hunter Ponies, Working Show Horses, Riding Horses, Hacks, Intermediates, Riding Ponies and Cobs, with plenty of options for Amateurs and home-produced ponies. Driving classes include Hackneys, Trade Driving classes and the Osborne Refrigerators Scurry.

Competitor entries for the show close on Friday June 1.  

Visitor tickets are on sale now, with discounts applying in advance. This year, the show will conclude with the the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ of Great Britain on the Sunday afternoon, while the Longines BHS King George V Gold Cup moves to Friday afternoon. Thursday’s main highlight is the MS Amlin Eventers’ Challenge, while the Queen Elizabeth II Cup retains its usual slot of Saturday afternoon.

New for 2018 is the Family Zone, featuring a funfair and entertainment from popular West Sussex company Tomfoolery.

Entries, schedules and tickets are available from

Tickets for the Longines Royal International Horse Show are on sale now. Competitor entries are open now and will close on Friday June 2.