Event rider Paul Tapner aims for Hickstead treble

Australian event rider Paul Tapner returns to Hickstead next week with the aim of becoming the first person to win the new format MS Amlin Eventers’ Challenge three times in a row.

Paul was victorious in both 2017 and 2018 with the grey Bonza Ring of Rouges, and he hopes he can make it third time lucky with another victory in the Longines International Arena on Thursday July 25.

Paul Tapner, winner of the 2017 and 2018 MS Amlin Eventers’ Challenge
Photo: Nigel Goddard

But there will be plenty of rivals hoping to bring Paul’s winning streak to an end, including talented Gemma Tattersall, based locally in West Sussex. Gemma was part of Britain’s gold medal-winning team at last year’s FEI World Equestrian Games.

She rides Chico Bella P, a mare who has been consistently placed on the Event Rider Masters series.

Gemma competing with Chico Bella   Photo:British Eventing

Other big names taking part in the MS Amlin Eventers’ Challenge include New Zealand’s Lucy Jackson, Ireland’s Joseph Murphy and Brits Alex Bragg, Jeanette Brakewell, Matthew Wright and Nick Gauntlett.

Last year’s runner up Georgie Strang returns for another crack at the title, having finished second to Paul 12 months ago with Cooley Earl.

“The Thursday of the Longines Royal International Horse Show is always an exciting day as we welcome the event riders to Hickstead,” says Lizzie Bunn, Director of the All England Jumping Course.

“We can’t wait to see if Paul Tapner can set a new record, having become the first back-to-back winner of this class already. He was a man on a mission last year, and we’re expecting him to be even quicker this year!”

Tickets for the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ of Great Britain at the Longines Royal International Horse Show (23-28 July) are on sale now from www.hickstead.co.uk

The MS Amlin Eventers Challenge course has 18 fences, including a number of Hickstead’s famous obstacles such as the Devil’s Dyke, the Road Crossing, the less steep side of the Al Shira’aa Bank and the MS Amlin Irish Bank. Horses also have to jump through the Al Shira’aa Mirage – the lake in the centre of the Longines International Arena – and the course finishes with the Privet Oxer.

Hickstead’s original Eventing Grand Prix was the first of its kind – it was the brainchild of Douglas Bunn, showjumper Paul Schockemöhle and event rider Robert Lemieux. Since then it has inspired countless other similar classes around the world.

The format originally included a dressage test, but this was dropped after a couple of years to make it more of a level playing field. Big names to win the class included Michael Whitaker, Trevor Breen, Andrew Nicholson, Pippa Funnell and Lucinda Fredericks.

A change in TV scheduling meant the class ended in 2014, but it was brought back by popular demand as the MS Amlin Eventers’ Challenge in 2015. The new format is open to event riders only, and is held within the Longines International Arena, with the course staying the same year on year.

Hickstead’s Derby meeting has fun for all the family

The Al Shira’aa Hickstead Derby Meeting (24-28 June 2020) at Hickstead is one of the most popular events in the equestrian calendar.

Around 45,000 spectators are expected to flock to the West Sussex showground in June, with visitor numbers peaking during the famous Al Shira’aa Derby on Sunday afternoon.

William Funnell coming down Hickstead’s Derby Bank Photo: Nigel Goddard

The Derby course is fearsomely tricky, with iconic obstacles such as the Derby Bank, the Devil’s Dyke and the double of water ditches guaranteeing plenty of thrills and spills for spectators.

But as well as the eight busy rings of equestrian action, there is a lot more to see and do during the Al Shira’aa Hickstead Derby Meeting.  A new family zone will feature a funfair, with half price rides on Thursday and Friday, as well as entertainment from popular local companyTomfoolery. Admission is free for all children under five for the duration of the show, with discounts available for children aged five to 14, pensioners and on family tickets.

Free entry to Hickstead’s shopping village

There are more than 150 stands in the  Charles Owen Shopping Village, giving shoppers the chance to browse many of the leading countryside brands. This year, there is free general admission on the Thursday of the show, to encourage people to come along to experience the fabulous shopping for themselves.

Then there  is the wide range of bars and eateries, from the street food vans, the artisan food hall or one of the many bars and restaurants, all the way up to fine dining in one of the hospitality options.

Hickstead is set for thrilling Nations Cup

INTERNATIONAL entries are in for the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ of Great Britain at Hickstead on July 28, and it looks set to be a thriller with many of the world’s best riders lining up.

The USA makes a much-anticipated return to Hickstead, following their last victorious visit in 2014. Jessica Springsteen is due to make her first ever appearance at the All England Jumping Course, with fans of her father Bruce no doubt hoping he will be there to cheer on his daughter.

Laura Kraut is a regular at Hickstead, spending half the year based with her partner Nick Skelton in Warwickshire, with Lillie Keenan, Wilton Porter and Catherine Tyree also lining up for Team USA.

Amanda Derbyshire and Luibanta will be  in action for Great Britain
Photo: Nigel Goddard

Reigning champions Ireland return to Hickstead in the hope of retaining the Edward, Prince of Wales Trophy following their superb victory 12 months ago. Last year’s winning riders Anthony Condon and Michael Duffy are back on the squad, along with Brian Cournane, Paul O’Shea and Mark McAuley.

Sweden come to Hickstead in superb form, having just won their home leg of the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup series in Falsterbo. Olympic silver medallist Peder Fredricson has been selected for the squad with team mates Stephanie Holmén, Fredrick Jönsson, Irma Karlsson, and Angelie Von Essen.

Michael Duffy on Westlands Ruby winning last year’s event 
Photo courtesy of Julian Portch

Germany has had plenty of success at Hickstead, winning the Nations Cup leg here five times in the past 11 years. Marcus Ehning, an Olympic gold medallist currently ranked 10th in the world, returns to the showground along with squad mates Patrick Stühlmeyer, Maurice Tebbel, David Will and Holger Wulschner.

Belgium will be hoping for their second ever Hickstead victory, following their first in 2015, with Dominique Hendrickx, Francois Jr Mathy, Jos Verlooy, Wilm Vermeir and Yves Vanderhassel selected for the squad. Brazil return to Hickstead following their phenomenal victory in 2017, with this year’s squad member Pedro Junqueira Muylaert the only rider to have been on the winning team two years ago.

The Italians haven’t won at Hickstead since 1994, but they will be hoping to end the drought with a strong performance next Friday. Their squad of five includes experienced Olympian Gianni Govoni.

There has been a change to the squad for the British team, with Ellen Whitaker replacing William Funnell. Ellen has been selected along with Ben Maher, Amanda Derbyshire, Amy Inglis and James Wilson, with the final team of four to be chosen on Thursday July 25.

Tickets for the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ of Great Britain at the Longines Royal International Horse Show (23-28 July) are on sale now from www.hickstead.co.uk


Raceday to raise funds for Moorcroft Racehorse Welfare Centre

Moorcroft Racehorse Welfare Centre, based at Slinfold in West Sussex, is continuing its outstanding work to retrain and rehabilitate ex-racehorses so that they can go on to a useful life outside racing.
In order to fund the ongoing cost of retraining the deserving horses in its care, a Raceday supporting Moorcroft is to be held at Lingfield Park Racecourse, on Saturday September 14.  There will be a three-course lunch in the Pavilion Restaurant along with an auction of great prizes.
The centre, where Mary Frances oversees the retraining of ex-racehorses in its care, is a registered charity with an ongoing mission to reschool and rehabilitate these horses so they have a real chance of a second career outside racing.
Moorcroft is renowned for the high standard of its work- and fundraising is essential to enable it to continue. When retrained, these horses go on to enjoy a happy life beyond racing. They are retrained and rehabilitated at Moorcroft before going on to suitable new homes.

Long reining demonstration at Moorcroft  show casing work done at  this centre                                                                                        Photo: Mark Beaumont

It promises to be an excellent day out, with some of Moorcroft’s retrained ex-racehorses parading in the paddock before racing starts.  This enables racegoers to see first hand the impressive results achieved by the charity, giving ex-racehorses the opportunity go on to new and caring homes in the future.  To book your place, please contact Mary on  07929 666408.

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

Also, there is a regular programme of events at Moorcroft, with demonstrations and open days, offering the chance to see first hand the outstanding work done at this centre. Visitors can see for themselves the important role Moorcroft plays in enabling horses leaving racing to be retrained and rehabilitated with the prospect of a happy future ahead in carefully vetted new homes.

Please support this Raceday and help achieve funds to ensure Moorcroft’s vital work continues on into the future, enabling ex-racehorses to be successfully rehomed.
In addition Moorcroft can help with schooling ex-racehorses short-term or with veterinary advice regarding ex-racehorses.  Please call Mary Frances on 07929 666408 for any help or information needed, or contact her at: moorcroftracehorse@gmail.com

Survey names UK’s top horse feed

The 2019 British Equestrian Trade Association National Equestrian Survey has showed that once again Dengie is the UK’s favourite horse feed.
The company topped the chart for the most popular feed brand purchased by horse owners for the second consecutive time, increasing its lead from the last survey that took place in 2015.

The Dengie range of horse feed

The survey also showed a marked increase in horse owners feeding fibre-based diets.

With full traceability and accountability at the forefront of its operations, and with crops fully traceable from seed to feed, Dengie is a highly trusted company, known for its consistency in producing good quality crops, traceable from seed to feed, that prioritise the horse’s health, and has  been doing so for more than 50 years.

“We are very proud to say that Dengie is the pioneer of fibre feeding. The benefits of a high fibre diet are now accepted as being the best and most natural way to feed a horse,” said Dengie’s managing director Ian Hassard.

He added: “Our feeds are top quality, traceable and produced to a very high standard, whilst protecting the environment and ensuring a sustainable future. We are delighted with the survey results showing that buyers have total confidence in this product.”

British team named for crucial Hickstead leg

The squad of five riders has been named ahead of this year’s Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ of Great Britain at Hickstead (26 July), with two breakthrough stars lining up alongside experienced campaigners.

Both William Funnell and Ben Maher have made a number of Nations Cup appearances at Hickstead, while US-based Amanda Derbyshire returns for a second year in a row. They are joined by Amy Inglis and James Wilson, both of whom have been very impressive in their first senior Nations Cups this season.

Amanda Derbyshire in action
Photo: Nigel Goddard

Amanda Derbyshire, 31, originally hails from Lancashire but is now based in the USA. She has been selected with either Luibanta BH or Roulette BH. Luibanta BH was on the team at last year’s Hickstead leg, where she impressed with just one down in the first round and a clear round in the second. Amanda also finished third in the Longines BHS King George V Gold Cup with Roulette BH.

Surrey-based William Funnell, 53, is no stranger to success at Hickstead – he is a four-time winner of the Al Shira’aa Derby, with the most recent of these wins coming in 2018 with Billy Buckingham. He has been selected with the talented nine-year-old Billy Diamo, who has had five-star placings at Windsor, Olympia and in Dubai.

Amy Inglis, 22, lives very locally to Hickstead and has been coming to the showground all of her life – her father is international showjumper Duncan Inglis. She rides the 11-year-old chestnut mare Wishes, on whom she made her senior Nations Cup debut in La Baule in May. With a clear and a single time fault across their two rounds, it was an impressive first appearance for this talented pair.

Olympic gold medallist Ben Maher MBE, 36, from Hertfordshire, has been selected with Tic Tac, a 16-year-old bay stallion. Ben has had an extraordinary few seasons on the Longines Global Champions Tour, winning the series in 2018 and currently lying third on the 2019 leaderboard. He returns to Hickstead, where his major wins include the Hickstead Derby in 2005 and the Longines BHS King George V Gold Cup in 2013.

Somerset-based James Wilson, 25, has been selected with the 11-year-old Imagine de Muze. The pair made their senior Nations Cup debut at St Gallen in June where they produced a superb double clear. It will be James’ first time competing at the Hickstead CSIO 5*.

The British showjumping team – gold medallists at London 2012 – has yet to secure qualification for the Tokyo Olympics. Its only chances to do so are at the FEI European Championships in August, or at the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ Final in Barcelona in September.

Only the top eight teams from European Division One qualify for the final, and Britain are currently sitting eighth. They still have a chance to gain points at their home leg at Hickstead and the final leg in Dublin in August, but the pressure is on with both Italy and Sweden (currently ninth and tenth) also eligible to win points at these final two competitions. The other teams competing for honours at Hickstead are Ireland, the USA, Germany, Belgium and Brazil – all of whom have been victorious in recent years.

Britain has not won their home leg of the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ series since 2010, although they came very close last year when finishing runners-up to Ireland. A strong performance at Hickstead will give their chances of making the final – and picking up one of those crucial Olympic qualifying tickets – a real boost.

“This year’s team is a real mix of youth and experience, with two very talented riders in Amy Inglis and James Wilson making their Hickstead team debuts,” says Hickstead Director Lizzie Bunn.

“After winning team gold at London 2012 and an individual gold at Rio 2016, it’s unthinkable that the British showjumpers wouldn’t be at Tokyo. Hopefully a strong performance here at Hickstead will secure a ticket to the Nations Cup Final in Barcelona, as well as boosting confidence ahead of the Europeans in Rotterdam.”

Tickets for the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ of Great Britain at the Longines Royal International Horse Show (23-28 July) are on sale now from www.hickstead.co.uk

Laminitis discussed by Dr Sarah Davidson BVMS MRCVS

In our latest veterinary feature, Dr  Sarah Davidson, BVMS MRCVS of the Sussex Equine Hospital at Ashington, discusses laminitis.



Laminitis is a painful condition that affects all types of horses at all times of the year but in the spring leading into summer vets certainly diagnose it more frequently and unfortunately, seem to see more severe cases.

This is not a coincidence, one of the potentiating factors of laminitis is lush, green grass, not even in large quantities in some cases. The condition involves inflammation of the laminae, these are structures within the hoof that attach the soft tissues within the foot to the hard, keratinous outer hoof wall. In severe cases, these structures separate and the pedal bone within the hoof capsule ‘sinks’ or ‘founders’ and can also rotate.

Horses that develop pedal bone rotation and sinking in an acute presentation of the disease have a poor prognosis for recovery and long-term survival.

Healthy hoof and a laminitiic hoof

There are three broad causes of laminitis, a horse or pony can suffer from one or more of these at any one time and unfortunately, once a horse or pony has had a laminitic episode they are at constant risk of another and careful management must be employed.

  1. Endocrine which encompasses both Equine metabolic syndrome (EMS), which is effectively a form of insulin resistance and Cushing’s disease or PPID, which is a disease that many older horses are diagnosed with. This is characterised by dysfunction of the pars pituitary intermedia, an important endocrine gland found in the brain
  2. Sepsis or infection resulting in the release of toxins into the body can also cause laminitis. Examples would include colitis, complications following colic surgery, retained placenta and also grain overload where abnormal colonies of bacteria in the gut produce toxins
  3. Overload due to
    1. Limb overload due to injury of the opposite limb
    2. Excessive exercise on hard ground

Recognising a horse with laminitis in some cases is very straight forward but in others the signs are subtle and the whole clinical picture must be carefully assessed. Most commonly vets see laminitis in the front feet although it can involve all four feet, one foot and occasionally just the back feet. Typical signs of laminitis include:

  • An abnormal stance, rocking the weight back onto the heels to relieve pressure on the more painful toe region. Horses will often also be leaning back over the hind quarters to reduce overall load bearing on the front feet as they are commonly affected to a greater degree
  • Reluctance to walk or very slow gait with a stilted and stiff appearance, it may also be noted that the heels are loaded first. Some horses may even lie down and refuse to stand
  • Walking on a soft surface is likely to be much preferable. The softer ground fills around the frog and provides support to the internal structures
  • Clinical signs are ‘bounding’ pulses on the back of the fetlock, a hoof capsule that is warm to the touch and snatching of the foot when tested at the toe region with hoof testers.

If you see any of the above symptoms and therefore suspect your horse is suffering from laminitis, you should contact your vet immediately for advice. They may well insist that you have a visit as soon as possible as early treatment will result in the most positive outcome. You may be given some ‘first aid’ advice over the phone, these things will include moving your horse from pasture to a stable with a deep shavings bed, administering pain relief in the form of phenylbutazone if you have any available and make sure well soaked hay and water are close by to minimise the need for your horse to move.

When the vet arrives they will perform a thorough clinical exam of the whole horse or pony and a take a detailed history, this will allow them to determine how best to manage your horse in the immediate, short and long term future. In the first instance, treatment will be aimed at making the horse more comfortable using drugs and padding the feet, if shoes can be removed without causing too much distress, your vet may also do this. Strict box rest is a must to minimise movement and therefore continued damage to the laminae, a feeding regime may also be instigated to tackle any underlying systemic disease.

The recovery period can be prolonged in horses that have had an acute, severe laminitic episode and requires a high level of dedication from the owner. Once your horse is comfortable, this may be a few weeks down the line, enlisting the help of a farrier is essential and if radiographs are possible, this is even better. This allows the feet to be trimmed accurately to minimise rotational force from the toe when walking and can also help to guide the farrier if there has been sinking or rotation.

Long term prognosis is very variable between horses and welfare should remain the top priority. Once the underlying cause is identified, every effort should be made using drugs and management changes to get it under control. Some horses may be lucky enough to only have one laminitic episode in their lifetime and others may only manage a few months between flare ups despite their owner’s best efforts, in these cases euthanasia should be strongly considered.

For more information regarding laminitis and Cushing’s disease, visit http://www.talkaboutlaminitis.co.uk/ and https://careaboutcushings.co.uk/ respectively. You can also discuss any questions, concerns or treatment options with your vet.

Trevor Breen wins at Pyecombe Horse Show

Trevor Breen has won the Equitop Myoplast Senior Foxhunter Second Round at Pyecombe Horse Show in Sussex.

Forty-three combinations went forward with the hopes of producing a treble clear to claim one of two direct qualifying tickets up for grabs for the Equitop Myoplast Senior Foxhunter Championship Final at Horse of the Year Show in October.

Rafael Suarez’s course proved challenging as faults occurred all over but eleven combinations managed to conquer the first two rounds and keep their qualifying hopes alive.

Trevor Breen from Albourne, West Sussex piloted Jenny Bingham’s Donvier, a seven-year-old British bred gelding by Don VHP Z, to victory from the offset by setting a lightning fast time of 36.56 seconds, 3.82 seconds quicker than his nearest opponent William Funnell.

Trevor Breen and Donvier on their way to victory at Pyecombe Horse Show
Photo: Spidge Photography

William steered Billy Take That, a 7 year-old by Billy Mexico bred by the Billy Stud, into the runners up spot crossing the finish line in 40.38 seconds, just pipping wife Pippa and Billy Picador by 0.12 seconds.

The top two combinations secured their place in the Equitop Myoplast Senior Foxhunter Championship Final at Horse of the Year Show and the top five took home the chance to compete in the Equitop Myoplast Senior Foxhunter Masters at the British Showjumping National Championships.

Pyecombe Horse Show Results

Equitop Myoplast Senior Foxhunter Second Round
1st Trevor Breen & Donvier – 0/0/0 – 36.56 seconds
2nd William Funnell & Billy Take That – 0/0/0 – 40.38 seconds
3rd Philippa Funnell & Billy Picador – 0/0/0 – 40.50 seconds
4th Holly Brougham & Chacco Time – 0/0/0 – 42.27 seconds
5th Keith Doyle & Hoxynula – 0/0/0 – 42.54 seconds


Image: Trevor Breen and Donvier competing in the Senior Foxhunter Second Round at Pyecombe Horse Show on Tuesday 9th July [CREDIT: Spidge Photography]

The Horse of the Year Show 2019 will take place from October 2 – 6 at Birmingham’s NEC. The British Showjumping National Championships 2019 will take place during the 6th – 11th August at the National Agricultural and Exhibition Centre (NAEC), Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire.

Pony Club’s 90th anniversary celebrations

There is only a short time to go until Ride Around The World Day on August 3 2019. This day is an opportunity  for Pony Club Members, both past and present, to unite in celebration of the Pony Club’s 90th anniversary year since its formation,

Everyone is welcome to take part whether riding, competing, joining in a musical ride, grooming or simply spending time with horses and friends.

Pony Club celebrations not to be  missed

There is even music kindly provided by Andrew Lloyd Webber, husband of Pony Club President, Lady Lloyd Webber for those who wish to use it as the soundtrack to their activity or on videos created on the day.

The Pony Club is asking everyone to post about their plans in the run up to the day as well as share photos and videos on August 3 by using the hashtag #PonyClubWorldRide on social media.

The Pony Club will be re-posting and sharing its favourite photos and videos from the day on the official Pony Club Facebook and Instagram accounts too. To find out how to get involved with Ride Around The World Day contact your local branch of the Pony Club to see what activities you can get involved with.

Past members are welcome to become involved to and more information is available by email from communications@pcuk.org  

Olympic horse to retire at Hickstead

Tripple X III, the horse who took Britain’s Ben Maher to Olympic team gold at London 2012, is to be officially retired at Hickstead.

A retirement ceremony will take place shortly before the year’s Longines BHS King George V Gold Cup, a class he won in 2013 with Ben Maher.

“It is fitting that Tripple X III will be retired here,” said Lizzie Bunn, director of the All England Jumping Course at Hickstead. “The Longines BHS King George V Gold Cup was the pair’s final five-star Grand Prix win together, and their win was the last time a British rider has taken this historic title at Hickstead.”

Ben Maher bred the dark bay stallion, whose stable name is Hugo, and he went on to huge international success, winning five-star Grands Prix around the world. It was no surprise when he and Ben were selected for the British team for their home Olympic Games in 2012, especially after helping them to secure European Team bronze in 2011.

Ben Maher and Tripple X
Photo courtesy of Hickstead

“Tripple X has had a remarkable career in top level showjumping, and who can forget the part he played in helping Team GB to win gold at London 2012,” added Lizzie. “I was so lucky to be at Greenwich that day to see the British team win their first showjumping team gold medal in 60 years. It was thrilling jump-off, like the equestrian equivalent of a penalty shootout, and Ben and Tripple X’s fast clear round came at a pivotal time to put real pressure on the Dutch riders.”

Shortly after winning the Longines BHS King George V Gold Cup, Tripple X III was sold to Canada, where he was campaigned by showjumper Tiffany Foster. The pair went on to have further international success, including winning a team gold medal for Canada at the Toronto Pan American Games, and they were part of the Canadian team at the Rio Olympics.

Tripple X III is now 17, and the decision has been made to retire him from top level sport.

“After a few attempts to bring him back from minor injuries, his owners – Andy and Carlene Ziegler of Artisan Farms – and I have decided that we think it is time for him to retire from international competition,” Tiffany wrote in an online statement.

“He is happy and sound now and we want him to stay that way so he can enjoy his time out hacking and in the paddock. I can’t really put into words what this horse means to me. All I can say is that for me, he will always be one of the greatest and I will cherish the moments that I had with him.”

Both Ben and Tiffany will be at the Longines Royal International Horse Show later this month, and the retirement ceremony will take place on Sunday July 28.

“We are  honoured that they have chosen our show for Tripple X’s retirement ceremony, which is sure to be an emotional event as showjumping fans get to say a farewell to one of the most prolific horses in recent years,” said Lizzie.

Tickets for the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ of Great Britain at the Longines Royal International Horse Show (July 23-28 ) are on sale now from www.hickstead.co.uk