WHW ensures Dolly and Rocket survive poisoning

When Dolly was discovered by a World Horse Welfare Field Officer in Dorset in March 2017 she was emaciated, weak and struggling to survive whilst still taking care of her very young foal, Rocket.

Dolly and Rocket on arrival
Photo: World Horse Welfare

Dolly’s body condition score was recorded as 1 out of 5, and it was clear she needed urgent veterinary attention. Her owner signed her over into World Horse Welfare’s care and she was transported to the safety of the charity’s Glenda Spooner Farm Rescue and Rehoming Centre in Somerset.

Glenda Spooner Farm Supervisor, Grace Vooght, said: “When Dolly first arrived she was very thin with all of her ribs and vertebrae clearly visible. When new horses come into our care they are always examined by our vet and routine blood tests are undertaken to ensure they are not suffering any underlying problems.

“When Dolly’s results came back it became apparent she was suffering from severe liver damage which could have been caused by a number of poisons.

Ragwort is deadly when eaten by equines

“One of the most common causes of liver damage that we see is ragwort poisoning but without knowing her background, it was difficult to determine what had caused Dolly to be in such a terrible condition. The first step was to wean Rocket on to eating more independently so he was less reliant on Dolly’s milk, which worked well as he was quite a greedy foal. This allowed Dolly to put what little energy she had into repairing her damaged liver.

“Unfortunately Dolly’s condition didn’t seem to be improving and new blood tests showed that her liver was not repairing in the way it should be. We continued to monitor Dolly and provide her with all the nutrition she needed so she could bring up her young foal and it was very much touch and go as to whether she would survive.

“After a few months of dedicated care and attention, Dolly miraculously began to recover and her liver finally started to function properly, which amazed us all. Both ponies are now living out in their herds and have undertaken their handling training as well as learning to go into a trailer – all in preparation for them to find loving new homes on our rehoming scheme.

Dolly and Rocket happy and healthy now thanks to WHW

“Dolly’s recovery really is miraculous and I can’t wait to see both her and Rocket settled into happy new homes.”

World Horse Welfare Chief Field Officer Claire Gordon is urging owners to remove the plant which, if eaten, can cause irreparable liver damage to horses.

“It’s vital that your horse doesn’t eat ragwort, and you can’t assume they will choose not to eat it.

“Spraying in April and early May while the plant is growing is the most effective way to eradicate it from your pasture, but you must be able to rest the field after spraying.  For those without access to additional grazing, pulling the whole plant up – including the roots – is the next best option.

“It’s best to do this at the seedling or rosette stage, before the plant flowers and while the ground is still soft – so the sooner you act, the better.

“Seeds can remain in the ground for 15 years before germination, so even if you’ve removed ragwort in previous years, it’s important to do it again every year.”

Goodwood’s Festival success

MORE than 22,000 racegoers enjoyed three days of culinary delights and racing thrills at Goodwood Racecourse’s recent Festival, when the West Sussex track hosted it’s second Festival of Food and Racing from Thursday 24 to Saturday 26 May 2018.

On Thursday, local trainers and jockeys enjoyed multiple successes. Pulborough-based jockey Jim Crowley had a double, as did Horsham-based trainer Gary Moore.

Amanda Perrett, another based in Pulborough, trained Gather to win the seventh on an eight-race card. The feature netbet.co.uk Height of Fashion Stakes was won by Magnolia Springs under Charlie Bishop.

The sun came out on Friday and Aspetar, on only his second start, landed the Listed British Stallion Studs EBF Cocked Hat Stakes for Kieran Shoemark and trainer Roger Charlton.

Perhaps the most exciting finish of the afternoon came in the thamesmaterials.com Handicap, when Frankie Dettori won by the narrowest of margins aboard Uber Cool.

Mirage Dancer winning at Goodwood
Photo: Sam Stephenson

With the weather also warm and sunny on Saturday, racegoers were treated to some fine performances from Natalie’s Joy, who impressed on her debut and Mirage Dancer, who comfortably took Netbet Android Download The App Tapster Stakes.

Amanda Perrett had her second winner of the meeting when Platitude stayed on well to win the NetBet Boost Classic Handicap Stakes.

Platitude giving Pulborough trainer Amanda Perrett her second winner at the meeting
Photo: Sam Stephenson

Alex Eade, General Manager of Goodwood Racecourse said; “We had a really lovely atmosphere across the course for this meeting and it was great to see so many people enjoying the food demonstrations, Table-top Talks, Famers’ Market and House of Fraser space, as well as the racing.

“We now look forward to a busy June, with four fixtures coming up in quick succession. Our Three Friday Nights series kicks off on Friday 1 and we have a brilliant Family Raceday to enjoy on Sunday 10.”

Fontwell treble for Gary Moore

Gary Moore

The opening handicap hurdle over three miles two furlongs saw jockey Kielan Woods ride a good winner for Gloucestershire trainer  Graeme McPherson, when he partnered 7-1 shot Scooby, beating 15-8 favourite Don Lami by half a length, with Mister Serious five lengths further back in third place.
Trainer Neil Mulholland won the two mile two furlongs handicap chase with 10-1 shot Code of Law, under an excellent ride by conditional jockey Harry Reed.  Code of Law was six lengths clear of runner up Spiritofchartwell while 3-1 favourite Two Hoots finished another six lengths further back in third.

Code of Law and Harry Reed

Gary Moore’s treble began in the third race, a maiden hurdle over two miles one and a half furlongs, when Roll of the Dice at 9-4 was well ridden by James Bowen to beat 11-8 favourite Ringa Ding Ding, trained by Paul Nicholls.
The same trainer/jockey combination took the two miles one and a half furlong handicap hurdle with Royal Hall, which beat Paul Nicholl’s 100-30 favourite, Zoltan Varga by half a length. The treble was completed when Gary Moore won the final race- a two-mile five furlongs handicap hurdle with 5-1 shot Waikiki Waves, ridden by Andrew Tinkler beating Moore’s other runner in the race, 9-4 favourite Now Listen Here, by a head.
Colin Tizzard’s double, with both horses ridden by Harry Cobden, was initiated by 11-year-old gelding Kings Lad winning the three mile two furlong handicap chase, beating Gary Moore’s runner, 6-4 favourite, Antony by half a length.

Jockey Harry Cobden

The second part of the double was when his 11-4 joint favourite Never Learns won the three mile two furlong handicap chase.
The next  meeting at Fontwell Park is a Gentlemens Evening on Saturday June 16 when gates open at 4pm and the first of seven races is at 6.10pm and the last at 21.10pm

Nic Roldan’s annual UK Sunset Polo at Cowdray

Top American Polo Player Nic Roldan will be holding his second annual UK Sunset Polo event at the ancestral home of British Polo, Cowdray House in West Sussex on Tuesday June 19 2018.

The event will take place on a Midsummer’s afternoon on the old polo field known as the House Ground at Cowdray House, providing a magical setting. Roldan aims to make it an event to remember, and of course to continue on his mission to raise awareness and funds for both Chestnut Tree House (Registered Charity No. 256789) for whom he is a birthday patron, and for Coach Core (Coach Core is a programme delivered by The Royal Foundation of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and The Duke of Sussex. Registered charity no. ‍1132048).

Nick Roldan in equestrian action

Chestnut Tree House is the children’s hospice for East and West Sussex, Brighton and Hove and South East Hampshire and cares for 300 children and young adults from 0-19 years of age with progressive life-shortening conditions. The Coach Core apprenticeship scheme gives young people aged 16-24 the chance to become the next generation of inspirational coaches.

The event partners include CowdrayThe Lickfold InnJeep UK and Tregothnan, the pioneers of growing tea in the UK, with whom Nic has developed the “Sunset Polo” tea blend, plus The Spread Eagle Hotel & Spa and many other local businesses.

In order to make the occasion as welcoming as possible to the local community, general admittance tickets will be available with 50% off for children under 12 years of age. A new picnic area has been created and a food village with prime viewing for all to enjoy.  Whilst Afternoon Tea tickets give access to the event and complimentary tea adjacent to the demonstrations.

Equestrian displays of the highest calibre, world class food, a magical venue on a British Midsummer’s night and all for two great causes. This is one date that must not be missed in your summer plans and Nick very much looks forward to welcoming everyone on June 19.


Endurance riding in the South East

ENDURANCE riding is an increasingly popular equestrian discipline and enthusiasts in West Sussex come under the umbrella of the South East Group, which is a part of Endurance GB – the National body for endurance riding in England and Wales.
The area covered by the South East group covers Kent, East Sussex, West Sussed and the Isle of Wight. Many of the group’s rides are on the South Downs, offering excellent going and spectacular views.
In addition group members are able to use many beautiful bridleways and also routes where general landowners allow members to cross their land, keeping the amount of roadworks on the routes to a minimum.

Competitors enjoying a British Endurance ride.  Photo courtesy of British Endurance

The South East Group’s events calendar includes National and Group Pleasure Rides, training days, social evenings and the Branch Annual Meeting.  All ages can enjoy endurance riding although riders under 13 must be escorted  by an adult also taking part in the ride.
Routes are clearly marked and maps are provided by the organiser to assist with navigation. Endurance is a sport the whole family can enjoy and crews can meet riders at designated points en route with drinks and refreshment for horses and riders
Although the Arab breed of horse is popular amongst endurance riders, there are many breeds of horse competing very successfully ranging from native ponies all the way up to draught breeds.
The South East Group of EGB  is delighted to welcome new members.
For more information on memberships, contact   endurancegbsoutheast2013@gmail.com
or see its Facebook page – Endurance GB South East.

Dressage at Hickstead set for another season

The Dressage Masters championships held at Hickstead every year, with qualifiers all over the country, were the brain child of Sussex international dressage rider and trainer Dane Rawlins.

Dane felt that there was a need for a competitive league for riders of all levels.To fill this gap, he set up the Dressage Masters League.

Dressage Masters has grown from four regions nationwide to ten. Riders can compete from Preliminary up to Grand Prix, with the finals being held at the prestigious Dressage at Hickstead Premier League show each year.

Director of Dressage at Hickstead, Dane Rawlins riding Lady Pauline Harris’s former Grand Prix Horse, Sydney

The razzmatazz of this big show gives the finals of the Dressage Masters a real championship feel with excitement and anticipation for each of the sections.

Riders get to compete in the arenas with the nations’ flags flying, spectators and mounted prize givings.

This championship league has already seen emerging rider-horse partnerships make their mark with an eye on future selection for national and international representation, challenging established pairings.

“This has to be good for the development of new talent in our sport,” said Dane. “We will be testing our riders and their horses at the highest levels, expecting them to set new standards of excellence.”

For more information see www.dressageathickstead.com

Goodwood racecourse to step up security

Goodwood Racecourse is enhancing its existing security measures for all future fixtures, following an extensive review of an incident that took place on Saturday May 5.

Having conducted an internal review and extensive consultation with the local Safety Advisory Group which comprises Sussex Police, the local licencing authority and other emergency services, the Racecourse will be implementing additional measures to help prevent future incidents from occurring. Goodwood has also worked closely with the Racecourse Association and all the other Large Independent Racecourses to ensure best practice is shared.

Sussex Police will now be present at every fixture throughout the season and all security response teams at the venue will wear high-visibility clothing.

Goodwood Racecourse to step up security measures
Photo : Charles Scott

Though drugs sniffer dogs have regularly been used at certain fixtures, they will now be in operation at every fixture and racegoers will be strongly encouraged to use the existing amnesty bins in place. Random bag searches will continue to be in place at all entrances and any racegoer found to be in possession of drugs inside the venue will be removed immediately.

Goodwood continues to operate the ‘Challenge 25’ policy in all bars and, in line with other UK racecourses, the ‘4-pint rule’ will be actioned, meaning no-one can purchase more than four pints in the retail bars. There will also be Hydration Stations at every bar.

Alex Eade, General Manager for Goodwood Racecourse, said; “We have conducted a thorough and extensive review of everything that happened at our first fixture, of our existing policies and held a detailed consultation with our Safety Advisory Group and Sussex Police.

“We have also been working with the Racecourse Association and our other Large Independent Racecourse colleagues to ensure that we are part of the industry-wide crackdown on anti-social behaviour.

“We have concluded that we will make our security teams more visible, we have changed some personnel and the composition of our rapid response teams as well as taking even stronger measures to discourage drug use and excessive alcohol consumption.

“Sussex Police has agreed to have a presence at each of our future fixtures and we continue to work with them on deploying other covert and overt methods of deterring anti-social behaviour and drug use. We are also still helping them with their inquiries following the incident on May 5.

Pre-purchase examinations of a horse

Pre-purchase examinations of a horse are explained here by equine vet Ed Lyall,  BVetMed, CertEM (StudMed) MRCVS who is  based as a partner at  the Sussex Equine Hospital, Ashington.

Ed Lyall,  BVetMed, CertEM (StudMed) MRCVS who is a director at Sussex Equine Hospital

‘The pre-purchase examination of a horse is broken down into stages. There are two main types of vetting: a two stage or a five stage vetting. Some people choose to go for the shorter and thus cheaper two stage examination (includes stages one and two), risking that some things may not be picked up on. The stages are as follows:

Stage one – This occurs in the stable. The vendor is questioned about previous medical history and vices, then a full clinical examination is performed, assessing conformation, palpation of limbs and back, examination of the mouth and eyes, and listening to the heart. Surgical scars and conditions like sarcoids are looked for.

Stage two – The horse is examined outside the stable in-hand, again assessing conformation. The horse will be walked and trotted in a straight line looking for lameness. Flexion tests are then performed on the limbs. The horse may then be lunged at trot.

Stage three – This is the exercise test where the horse is ridden, usually in a sand school. It is evaluated at walk, trot, canter and gallop. Primarily we are looking for lameness but we are also evaluating the horse’s breathing for abnormalities. The heart is assessed after exercise. The horse may also be lunged on a soft surface.

A horse being trotted up to test for lameness. Photo: Animal Health Trust

Stage four – The horse is rested for approximately 20 minutes before being trotted again in stage five, to check for stiffness following exercise. We also listen to the heart as it slows down after exercise. The horse’s markings will be taken, microchip scanned and a blood sample taken. The blood sample is taken to prove that the vendor had not administered any medication beforehand. The sample is stored for six months and tested if there is a problem after purchase. During this stage vets might examine the horse’s feet.

Stage five – This is a final trot up. Sometimes the flexion test may be repeated.

A pre-purchase examination is very much a legal contract between the vet and the purchaser. The vetting is done on behalf of a specific purchaser, for a specific purpose. The findings about a horse may be acceptable for the intended use by one person and so the horse passes the examination, but not acceptable for another person so the horse would fail.

Choosing between a two or five stage vetting often depends on the horse’s age, value and intended use. The same is true of whether radiographs should be performed. Sometimes a standard set of images is obtained and sometimes images are obtained of issues that have been identified on the clinical examination, such as a swollen joint. A standard set of radiographs would include the front feet, all four fetlocks, both hocks and stifles. Extra images such as of the back and knees can be taken if appropriate.

Many competition horses would undergo an endoscopic examination of the upper airway to assess laryngeal function. This would also be carried out if an abnormal inspiratory noise was heard during stage three. If on palpation, swelling in the limbs was identified then an ultrasound examination could be performed. This too can be done as a matter of routine, especially if the horses has already competed at a very high level.

Sometimes a blood sample is collected and assessed. It is advisable to request that the horse has a blood sample collected and stored at a forensic laboratory, this allows the horse to be screened for some painkillers and sedatives administered by the vendor prior to the pre-purchase examination, if the horse turns out be lame or have behavioural issues when you get it home. Every horse I vet has this sample taken as it protects the vendor and purchaser if something goes wrong after the vetting.

If the horse is to be insured, then the insurance company may dictate what they require to be done in terms of vettings and tests so it may be a good idea to speak to your insurance company prior to the vetting.

As to which vet should do the vetting, most people try to use their usual vet as they trust their judgement, however if a large distance must be covered, this can be cost prohibitive. It may be best to get the vendors vet to examine the horse as they should, with the vendor’s permission, provide you with the horse’s medical history – learning more about the horse than just what is gleaned from the examination. If you employ their vet to examine the horse on your behalf, they will be working for you with your interests in mind not the vendor’s.

Brilliant weekend of polo at Cowdray Park


Cowdray Park Polo Club had the privilege of opening the high goal season of polo in the UK with the 22 goal Murus Sanctus Trippetts Challenge played for the James Wentworth Stanley Cup.  From an entry of six teams, Jean-Francois Decaux’s La Bamba de Areco and Hugues Carmignac’s Talandracas made it to the Final which was a red-hot game of fast, attacking polo and an absolute treat for the huge early season crowd at Cowdray Park on Sunday May  20th May.

For La Bamba de Areco, Decaux took the number 1 position with South African Byron Watson (3 goals) playing at 2, David ‘Pelon’ Stirling (9 goals) at 3 and 10 goaler Juan Martin Nero at Back.  The Talandracas line-up saw Hugues Carmignac at 1, Francisco Elizalde (8 goals) at 2, Alejandro Muzzio (7 goals) at 3, and Julian de Lusaretta (7 goals) at Back.

 Stirling opened the scoring with a 30 yard penalty, following up with a blistering run to goal to take 2-0 La Bamba ahead.  Elizalde and de Lusaretta worked hard to turn the play in favour of Talandracas, but the side failed to score in the first chukka.

Best Playing Pony award was won by Alsina, owned and ridden by Juan Martin Nero, at the Challenge Polo Match at Cowdray Park Polo Club Copyright: Clive Bennett Photography

At the start of chukka 2, wonderful interaction between Stirling and Nero soon saw a third goal on the board for La Bamba de Areco.  De Lusaretta won the ball from the throw in but Stirling intervened, the ball went to Watson and his huge hit resulted in a super goal and 4-0 to La Bamba. 

La Bamba won the throw-in but Elizalde swooped, passed to de Lusaretta and a super under-the- neck shot gave Talandracas their first goal. Nero made his first goal and the second chukka closed at 5-1 to La Bamba.  A 60 yard penalty accurately taken by Elizalde pulled a goal back for Talandracas in the third chukka, but all too soon the team gave away a 30 yard penalty which Stirling slipped between the posts for 6-2.  Two marvelous goals from Watson followed and the number 2 made a great pass to Stirling who scored again, taking La Bamba on to 9-2 by half time.

 Following the tread-in, play was just as intense, the third chukka seeing a goal apiece from ELizalde and de Lusaretta but a 30 yard penalty given away enabled Stirling to send an easy shot through, the chukka ending at 10-4 in favour of La Bamba de Areco.  Fine play by de Lusaretta resulted in two goals for Talandracas in the fifth, with Nero and Stirling each contributing to La Bamba’s continued lead of 12-6. 

The final chukka opened with a swift goal again from de Lusaretta.  Back and forward went the ball until Elizalde secured it for himself and sent a huge shot from way back which went soaring between the posts.  Much to the crowd’s delight, the action continued until the final whistle and the applause for both sides as they left the field was heartfelt, La Bamba winning on a final score of 12-8.

 Clare Milford Haven presented the James Wentworth Stanley Cup, in memory of her son, to Jean-Francois Decaux.  Prizes for both teams were presented by Corinne Ricard of sponsors, Murus Sanctus.  Corinne Ricard was delighted to present a Jeroboam of Perrier Jouët Champagne to Byron Watson, judged the Most Valuable Player of the match, and the Best Playing Pony award was won by Alsina, owned and ridden by Juan Martin Nero.      

Winning team La Bamba de Areco  in the Final of the Murus Sanctus Trippetts Challenge Polo Match at Cowdray Park Polo Club Photo: Clive Bennett 20180520 ©2018

In the 8 goal Barrett Cup which followed, local patron Peter Barfoot’s Maiz Dulce side pipped Carlie Cadogan’s Taittinger to the post in extra time.  Maiz Dulce had lead throughout the match and were on a score of 7-4 going into the fourth chukka, but a trio of goals from Will Emerson for Taittinger saw the score level at 7-7 at the close.  A sudden death penalty goal from Derreck Bratley in an extra fifth chukka sealed victory for Maiz Dulce.  Lady Chelsea presented the Cup. 

Carriage Driving Championships to be at Cricklands

The 2018 British Carriage Driving National Championships will be held at Cricklands, Monmouthshire, it has been announced.
Confirmation of the venue has come after tenders had been submitted by event organisers to hold the prestigious event this year.

Top horse driving competitor Gary Docking seen here with Mrs Maropn Woolley’s horse Striker

A statement from the British Carriage Driving council said: ” We received a first class bid from James Broome, which more than met all of the criteria set out in the tender document and we are therefore delighted to say that the 2018 Championships will, by kind permission of Mr. David Broome OBE, be held at the David Broome Equestrian Centre at Cricklands on 14, 15 and 16 September 2018.

 “Going forwards, Council plans to start the tender process for 2019 much earlier, in the hope that we will be able to identify other equally suitable venues and organisers with a view to holding the championships in different parts of the country in 2019 and thereafter.
“In the long term we would, however, like to identify a geographically central location at which we could hold our Championships each year.