2019 Pony Club Championships abandoned

The planned 2019 Pony Club Championships at  Cholmondeley Castle in Cheshire have had to be abandoned. The event should have taken place from August 16-20.

Due to heavy rainfall over the weekend and an exceptionally wet summer, there is now standing water on many areas of the site, with the stabling area and lorry park in particular being totally inaccessible.

With more heavy rain forecast over the next week, the organising teams were faced with the horrifying fact that there was no option but to abandon all competitions at Cholmondeley Castle on the grounds of safety.

Hours of agonising deliberation have been spent exploring any possible option to run the event safely, but this has not been viable.

More than 3,000 horses and ponies and around 10,000 people were expected to be moving on and off site over the next week to compete on the already waterlogged ground.

In such extreme circumstances it was not possible to run the event safely.

The state of the ground at
Cholmondeley.     Photo courtesy of The Pony Club

With so many people coming from far and wide including Scotland and Northern Ireland, it was imperative to make the decision to reduce the impact of this decision.

Marcus Capel, event director and acting Pony Club Chief Executive commented: “It has been an incredibly tough and upsetting decision to make and we are so grateful for your understanding and support in this decision.

“The Pony Club Board of Trustees, the Championship Committee and myself would like to thank all of the team at Cholmondeley, Musketeer Events and all our sponsors, staff, volunteers and participants for their dedication to the event. Everyone involved has worked tirelessly to try to find a solution, but the unprecedented British weather has beaten us.”

“We are working desperately hard to mitigate our costs, so that we may be in a position to offer some form of refund. Please bear with us whilst we negotiate with our suppliers as so much infrastructure is already in place.”


Dumped foal lucky to survive

A foal found dumped in a field has survived against the odds and now World Horse Welfare is calling for information.

Skewbald foal in stable with straw bed

The six-week old foal, found dumped in a field on the outskirts of Swaffham in Norfolk has survived against the odds and is now in the care of World Horse Welfare. The charity is appealing for information and is keen to hear from anyone who may have seen the foal previously or spotted anything suspicious in the area.

The skewbald colt foal, who has one very distinctive blue eye, was found by the owners of the field when they were tending to their sheep on the morning of Tuesday July 31. They contacted World Horse Welfare which immediately collected the foal and took him to a safe yard where he is receiving the care and attention he needs.

“At such a young age this poor little chap should still be with his mother,” said World Horse Welfare Field Officer Jacko Jackson who was called out to collect the foal.


“It’s lucky he was found relatively quickly as had he been left for much longer, especially in the extreme heat we have had, it’s unlikely he would have survived.


“Horses are not normally weaned until six months of age but this little foal is clearly a fighter,” he continued. “


“We bottle fed him for a couple of days and he has now learnt to drink milk from a bucket and is doing very well.”

The foal will remain with World Horse Welfare and in time will be introduced to other youngsters at the charity’s Norfolk centre so that he can learn how to socialise and behave naturally within a herd.

Please contact 0300 333 6000 if you have any information that can help the charity.































information that can help us.

Racing legends to top the bill at HOYS

THIS October, the much-anticipated Sunday Evening Gala Performance of Horse of the Year Show, held at the Resorts World Arena, NEC, Birmingham from Wednesday 2nd – Sunday 6th, is set to host an impressive showcase of racing heroes never seen at the show before.

Leading the charge of spectacular equine stars is French-bred, four-time Cheltenham Festival winner: Big Bucks. He will be joined by a host of established racing icons of both the equine and human variety, with combined career winnings in excess of £10 million, in what is set to be a stunning parade of true equestrian excellence.

Big Bucks, a hurdler trained by Paul Nicholls, famously won 18 races in a row and amassed over £1,300,000 in prize money throughout his illustrious career before retiring in 2014 and pursuing a second career in the hunting field. When asked about Big Bucks’ retirement in 2014, Paul remarked that Big Bucks was “among the best of his generation” and continued to say that “he’s been a legend.”

In addition to Big Bucks, Sunday evening visitors are set to experience a defining moment in racing history as one of the finest ever chasers, renowned for his power and grace, Sprinter Sacre joins some of the best Grand National winners in a one-off HOYS appearance.

Big Bucks in the World Hurdle:Photo copyright Martin Applegate

Headliners include another Paul Nicholls graduate, Neptune Collonges; Pineau De Re who famously jump-started the career of his trainer Dr Richard Newland; Bindaree, the son of Roselier, and winner of the 2002 Grand National; the first novice winner of the Gold Cup in over 41 years: Coneygree; and the ever popular hurdler with seven wins at Cheltenham: The New One.

In association with British Horseracing’s official charity, Retraining of Racehorses (RoR), the showcase will provide visitors with the opportunity to see many of the top horses  together for the very first time in the Andrews Bowen International Arena.

Sprinter Sacre in action
Photo: John Simpson

Founded in 2000, following consultation with the racing industry, the charity is committed to providing retired racehorses with a career away from the track. It is a testament to the charity that these superstars will be parading at HOYS, revealing to all the versatility and intelligence of the racehorse.

Emma Williams, event director commented: “I am extremely proud and excited to bring the best of the racing world to Horse of the Year Show this year in what will unquestionably be an evening to remember.  Recent years have seen a huge rise in the popularity of retraining racehorses, and it is a clear demonstration of their adaptability and popularity that we see this incredible line up come together.

“I can’t thank the owners, trainers and riders enough who have made this showcase possible and I would strongly encourage everyone to come and see this one-off spectacle.”

Di Arbuthnot, Chief Executive of Retraining of Racehorses (RoR) said: “It is wonderful to be given a platform such as HOYS on which to stage a parade of retrained racehorses. As a charity, RoR is very grateful for such an opportunity.

“The purpose of the parade is really twofold; firstly, it is a chance for the public to see up close an array of former racing stars of varying ages and see how wonderful and healthy they are looking. Whatever the sport, be it human or equine, it is always a thrill to see genuine living legends in the flesh and in good form.

“Secondly, the parade highlights the versatility of the thoroughbred. As despite being bred with one clear purpose in mind, racehorses are in fact very adaptable. Indeed, RoR now stages series and championships exclusively for former racehorses in over a dozen different disciplines, from showing to polo, from eventing to endurance.

“Although the parade is comprised of Grand National winners, Gold Cup winners and public favourites, we also want to demonstrate that there is an active second career awaiting every racehorse, whatever their ability on the track.”

Sunday evening at Horse of the Year Show presents the crème de la crème of champions and is filled with edge of your seat moments, making it the fitting backdrop for a parade of these horse racing legends. Visitors will also enjoy an entertaining display from the famous performer Mélie Philippot and the culmination of all the showing championships to crown both the Supreme Horse and Pony of the Year.

Horse of the Year Show takes place from October 2 – 6  2019 at the Resorts World Arena, the NEC, Birmingham and plays host to five days of breath-taking displays and unbeatable competition. The racing legends showcase will take place as part of the Sunday Evening Performance of the show.

Tickets are still available for all performances, for further information or to book tickets, please visit www.hoys.co.uk/tickets. Hospitality options are also available, please contact 02476 858205 or view the HOYS website for further information.

Second long reining course to be held at Moorcroft

Following on from the success of a recent long-reining course  at Moorcroft Racehorse Centre at Slinfold, where chief executive Mary Frances ensured participants acquired new knowledge and skills to long rein their own horses, a second course is to be held next month.

Long reining is one of the keys to the enormous success rate of retraining former racehorses at this outstanding centre in Sussex.  Under Mary’s supervision and guidance, the centre excels in re-schooling and rehabilitating former racehorses so that they go on to a happy future outside racing.

A previous well-attended long reining course at Moorcroft Photo:Mark Beaumont

By popular demand from  those who were unable to attend the first course, this second event will take place on Saturday September 21 to enable those who missed the first event to have the chance to learn how to long-rein their own horses and others have the chance to join in too.

Mary said that the team effort in retraining ex-racehorses at Moorcroft enabled these horses to get over any injuries or problems acquired during their racing careers and then  to go to happy futures in suitable homes outside racing.

To ensure you have a place on this second course on September 21 contact Mary at Moorcroft on 07929 666408  to book your place now.


Moorcroft Racehorse Welfare Centre’s charity raceday

Horserace sponsorship gives individuals and companies the opportunity to participate in one of the UK’s most popular sporting leisure activities. Racecourses are widely regarded as one of the best venues to entertain guests in style, at the same time as promoting your company.
By sponsoring a race at the Moorcroft Racehorse Welfare Charity Day on Saturday
September 14 2019 at Lingfield Park, you will not only be promoting your company or celebrating a special occasion, but supporting this very worthwhile charity.
Moorcroft Racehorse Welfare Centre, based at Huntingrove Stud, Slinfold, is renowned for its outstanding work in retraining ex racehorses to go on to a happy life outside racing in other spheres.  Frequent demonstrations at the centre spearheaded by chief executive Mary Frances, are always well supported and show the value of this work.

Mary Frances demonstrating long reining with former racehorse St Denis     Photo Jeannie Knight

The benefits of sponsorship include all of the following:
Naming rights to the race. Have your race title published in daily national newspapers, the racing press and evening newspapers, reaching approximately 30 million readers.
Live TV coverage (and numerous replays) of all races on Sky Digital Tv, “freetoair” on all sky digital packages, attracting over 1.45 million individual viewers per month.
Live TV coverage of all races in over 9,000 betting shops around the country.
Full page colour advertisement in the official race programme
Present a prize for the “best turned out horse” in the paddock before the race
Present a memento and join the winning connections for a celebratory glass of champagne after your race.
Photographs of your presentation provided by Lingfield Racecourse
Opportunity to undertake promotional activity on-course
Your name mentioned during public address announcements, trophy presentation and race commentary
Closed circuit television coverage throughout the racecourse.
Anyone interested in becoming a sponsor for Moorcroft on this day should contact:
Moorcroft Racehorse Welfare Centre
Huntingrove Stud, Slinfold, West Sussex. RH13 0RB
Tel: 07929 666408 Email: moorcroftracehorse@gmail.com

Pippa Funnell leads at Hartpury

Pippa Funnell retains her grip on the NAF Five Star Magic CCI4*-S competition after the second day of dressage, albeit with her third 4* ride – Billy The Biz.
The striking grey looked effortless on Friday afternoon earning a score of 23.3 and setting the standard going into Saturday’s showjumping and cross country phases.
Sarah Bullimore had a busy but successful Friday finishing with her least experienced horse in third place. The first on the board was Sarah’s top horse and reserve on the British squad for the EuropeaChampionships, Reve Du Rouet who scored 28.5 but it was the homebred eight-year-old Corouet who moved into the lead just before lunch with a score of 23.6.
Tom McEwen soon matched Sarah’s score of 23.6 with Toledo De Kerser moving ahead due to collective marks. Speaking to An Eventful Life after his test, Tom said “There was nothing I wanted to particularly aim for this year so we’ve just kept him ticking along at national level.
“He’s got a really expressive medium canter so I really tried to show it off today.”
The final hours of the CCI4*-S dressage phase with a host of top-class names including Piggy French, Tina Cook, Tim Price and Sarah Bullimore who returned with her final ride, Conpierre.
Last year’s winners of this class Tina Cook and Billy The Red put in a solid test to earn a mark of 23.7 ahead of Pippa Funnell and MGH Grafton Street.
This year’s Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials winners, Piggy French and Vanir Kamira, lie in ninth after dressage on a score of 25.8. Piggy’s other ride Quarrycrest Echo goes into the showjumping in 11th with a score of 26.6.
Tom, Piggy and Tina are all headed to the European Championships at Luhmuhlen and all three have brought their Championship horses for a run. A number of other combinations are Burghley-bound.
Twenty-seven riders in the NAF Five Star Magic CCI4*-S earned sub-30 dressage scores setting up showjumping and cross country phases tomorrow.
With the Met Office forecasting high winds on Saturday, organisers have taken the decision to move the CCI4*-S showjumping phase indoors. The cross country course remains in good condition with near perfect going.
In the NAF Five Star Mpower CCI2*-L and NAF Five Star Superflex CCI3*-L competitions the leaders remain unchanged from Thursday with Sarah Holmes and Harley Brown, and Piggy French and Brookfield Quality, leading respectively.

Eric Winter, course designer, with Teddy the Shetland.
Photo: Sally Newcomb Photography)

Emile Faurie dressage masterclass at HOYS this year

Emile Faurie to deliver the Dressage Masterclass at HOYS .The Dressage Masterclass at Horse of the Year Show is a firm favourite amongst fans and has seen advice and training tips shared from the likes of four-time Olympian Richard Davison, Olympic Gold Medallist Charlotte Dujardin and her trainer and fellow team rider, Carl Hester.

For 2019, top international dressage rider, Emile Faurie, is set to inspire the HOYS audience on Dressage Thursday as he hosts the demo for the very first time.

Emile Faurie competing
Photo British Dressage

Born in Cape Town, South Africa in 1963, Emile’s early experiences with horse riding were far from what they are now. It was not until the late Molly Sivewright, founder of the Talland School of Equitation, came to visit Emile at the age of 20 that he decided that this was the career for him. Little did he know that he was about to embark on a journey which would shape the rest of his life.

In 1982 Emile moved to Germany to work for the famous Performance Sales International (PSI), helping back and prepare youngsters for auction. In this he gained understanding on how to recognise a good horse and expand his horse knowledge to form the career he has today. In 1993, Emile won an individual bronze and team silver medal at the European Championships riding a horse called Virtu.

His work with PSI allowed him to set up his own yard in Stow on the Wold in Gloucestershire in 1996, where he continued to train and work with the young horses from Germany. Emile went on to represent Great Britain in three more European Championships, two Olympic Games and three World Equestrian Games, including 2018 in Tryon where he helped Britain secure team bronze with the 12-year-old Dono Di Maggio.

At Horse of the Year Show last year, Emile was placed fourth in the Dressage Future Elite riding Café’s Caletta scoring 74.5%. The 10 year old mare mwas bred to showjump but had a change of career at the age of six. She is now competing successfully at Grand Prix level with Emile this season.

Emile’s picturesque yard is based in the heart of the Cotswolds. There he trains and rides with up and coming rider Tom Goode, who has established a name for himself recently with Grand Prix wins aboard a stunning chestnut stallion Dior III, who is owned by Sam Geddes.

Speaking about what the HOYS audience can expect from his Dressage Masterclass on Thursday at Horse of the Year Show, Emile commented: “It’s a great honour to have been asked to host the Dressage Masterclass; HOYS is such an iconic show and the crowd there really know their stuff, so it is a little bit nerve wracking but an honour all the same.

Emile Faurie
Photo: British Dressage

“HOYS has just got this special quality to it, you can’t encapsulate it in words. It has a great sense of tradition and it is so special to be a part of, I really enjoy competing there.

“For the masterclass I will be bringing three young horses from Germany from the Performance Sales International who I work for; they will demonstrate exactly what it is we look for in a world class dressage horses and I will talk through how we start them out in their training.

Then in the second half, Tom [Goode] will ride Dior who is enjoying his first season at Grand Prix level this year, so they will demonstrate the higher level movements and show the levels of progression through to the finished product.”

Event Director, Emma Williams, commented: “We are so excited to announce that Emile Faurie will be hosting our Dressage Masterclass on Thursday at HOYS this year.

“He is one of the most successful British riders who is still competing on the circuit and has a wealth of experience which he is eager to share with the HOYS crowd this year.

“I am sure that visitors will be left feeling inspired with plenty of ideas of exercises to try and home with their horses.”

Horse of the Year Show takes place this year at The NEC Birmingham Resorts World Arena,  from October 2- 6. Thursday tickets are Gold Tickets, meaning that they allow you full access to the show for the full day.  That is more than 16 hours of equestrian entertainment at its best with prices starting from £34.00.

Visit https://hoys.co.uk/tickets/ or call the Box Office on 0844 581 8282.

Last high goal polo match of Cowdray season

In the last high goal match of Cowdray Park’s 2019 season, the Final of the historic Challenge Cup, first presented in 1911, was played between Jonathan Rothermere’s Ferne Park and Alessandro Bazzoni’s Monterosso sides, writes Liz Higgins.

 Playing for Jonathan Rothermere were Richard Le Poer (5 goals) at number 2, Joaquin Pittaluga (7 goals) at 3 and Rodrigo Rueda (6 goals) at Back, making up the 18 goal team.  Alessandro Bazzoni playing off 1 goal was joined by young  guns Jose Ramon Araya (3 goals) at 2, Bartolomé Castagnola (6 goals) at 3 and the experienced 8 goaler Ignacio Toccalino at Back.

 Five frantic minutes of non-stop action opened the match until a super pass from Toccalino to Araya resulted in the first goal for Monterosso.  In chukka 2, Toccalino started the drive for the next goal, Castagnola picking up the ball and sending it to Bassoni who finished the play with goal number 2. 

Once again Toccalino went on the attack passing a super ball to Bassoni but the patron’s shot went wide.  Le Poer saved the next Monterosso attempt at goal and superfast end to end play saw Le Poer’s own attempt at goal thwarted by Toccalino. Rueda swooped in to try and re-gain possession but fouled Castagnola in the process.  A free hit sent the ball to Bazzoni via Castagnola and another great goal from the patron put 3-0 on the scoreboard.

Winning Harrison team with the cup Photo: Julian Portch

On the way to Monterosso’s goal mouth Rueda left the ball for Le Poer who backed through a neat shot to give Ferne Park their first goal, but from the throw-in Toccalino and Castagnola had full possession of the ball taking it all the way to 4-1 to end the chukka.

 Shortly into chukka 3 Araya stole the ball from Le Poer, Castagnola picked it up and it was 5-1 to Monterosso.  His next attempt went wide giving Le Poer the chance to race off and pass to Pittaluga in the hope of making it to the Monterosso goal, but the ever-present Castagnola snatched it away and was soon running through the posts again to make it 6-1 in Monterosso’s favour. The throw-in was won by Ferne Park and as Rothermere looked to pick up a useful pass from Pittaluga he was fouled.  A 30 yard penalty was awarded which Le Poer put through and the first half ended at 6-2 to Monterosso.

 A hit from the boards started the second half.  Le Poer stole the ball from under Castagnola’s stick and raced away to score.   Hard and fast play continued with once again Toccalino playing to all of his 8 goals and Castagnola the expert back-up.  Together they ran the ball again to Fern Park’s goal mouth with Araya waiting to flick it through for 7-3.  Ferne Park won the next throw-in, but in the ensuring tussle two consecutive whistles finally gave the side a penalty which Pittaluga accurately sent through from 40 yards.  Castagnola raced off from the next throw-in, lost the ball but Toccalino was on hand to see it between the posts and Monterosso ended the fourth chukka 8-4 ahead.

Merengada Best,Polo Pony played by Jose Araya.
Photo: Julian Portch

 The final chukka saw Rueda on the move from the off, fighting all the way to the goal mouth to pull one back for Ferne Park.  Le Poer tried desperately for another goal but his attempt went wide.  Toccalino brought the ball back in, Bassoni was set to carry it forward but was fouled in the process.  Toccalino scored from the 40 yard penalty awarded and it was all over for Ferne Park, Monterosso victorious at 9-5.

 Mrs Emma McRae presented the prestigious trophy to a delighted Alessando Bazzoni and prizes to all players.  The Most Valuable Player prize sponsored by Le Chameau went to Ignacio Toccalino and the Schweppes Best Playing Pony rug went to Merengada played by Jose Araya.     

Final of Harrison Cup at Cowdray Park

The Harrison Cup, Cowdray Challenge Cup and Holden White Cups, played as Cowdray’s Goodwood Week series, are open to all-comers and lead to the overall awards in the HPA’s Victor Ludorum series.  The Final of the 15 goal Harrison Cup, on August 3, is always the first to be played and was a truly exciting contest as befits one of the highest rated 15 goal tournaments in the UK polo calendar writes Liz Higgins.

 From a total of 14 teams entered, Sally Turner’s CPG Nightingale and Momin Sheikh’s Berkeley Healthcare made it through to the Final.  Alongside Sally were Will Harper (2 goals) playing at number 2, George Meyrick (6 goals) at 3 and 7 goaler Juan Gris Zavaleta at Back.  Lachie Gilmore (2 goals) took the number 2 slot for BHC, with 6 goaler Matt Perry at 3 and Jack Richardson (7 goals) at Back.


CPG Nightingale, winners of the Harrison Cup with their trophy cup Photo: Julian Portch

Zavaleta made the opening goal for CPG Nightingale, his score swiftly answered by Matt Perry for BHC. Zavaleta’s next attempt went wide but he was accurate in his following attempt and also made the pass that enabled young Harper to make goal number 3 for CPG Nightingale. 

 Chukka 2 started with a roll-in and the ball came out with BHC. Jack Richardson went on the attack and a brilliant pick up by Gilmore saw him send a mighty shot between the posts to pull a goal back for BHC.  Meyrick finished a lovely hit towards goal by Zavaleta and once more CFG Nightingale had a two goal lead – but not for long. 

A super goal from Perry helped to close the gap and Richardson made the goal that levelled the scores on 4-4.  In a terrific all-action chukka, another massive shot from Lachie Gilmore enabled BHC to take the lead, but their party was spoilt when Sally Turner made a useful pass to Zavaleta and the scores were equal again at 5-5 as the chukka closed.  Harper’s talent came to the fore with two great goals in chukka 3 while BHC failed to mark the scoreboard and the first half ended at 7-5 in CPG Nightingale’s favour.

 Within 15 seconds of chukka 4 opening, Zavaleta had taken CPG Nightingale on to 8-5 and it wasn’t long before he was charging away again, his attempt at goal finished off by Harper. 

Zavaleta’s  huge shot down the field accurately landed with Turner who aimed, hit the goal post, the ball then trickling through to put her side into double figures at 10-5.  Zavaleta obliged with another huge hit and it was seven goals on the trot for CPG Nightingale before a super goal from Jack Richardson saw the score at the end of chukka 4 at 11-6.

 The final chukka saw a rally from BHC with goals from both Perry and Richardson, the latter from a 60 yard penalty.  Was a come-back possible?  Not while Juan Gris Zavaleta was on the pitch.  He finished off a blistering performance with two more goals to give Sally Turner’s CPG Nightingale side a commanding victory of 13-8 and unsurprisingly picked up the Le Chameau prize for Most Valuable Player.  To round off his afternoon, Zavaleta’s pony Oli Vercera  was awarded the Schweppes rug for Best Playing Pony of the match.


High number of equine ‘flu outbreaks

 The British Horse Society has warned that the number of equine ‘flu outbreaks has now exceeded more than 200 this year nationwide with no sign of it slowing down.

This is an extremely worrying situation, especially since outbreaks are likely to continue to rise with the competition season in full swing and horses being travelled and mixed together across the country.

The British Horse Society says that if you are you out and about with your horse this coming weekend, that there are plenty of simple steps you can take to help prevent the spread of disease.

See below: