WHW celebrates Rehome A Horse Month

Dedicated horse-woman Tasha from Fife rehomed World Horse Welfare Alicia from Belwade Farm Rescue and Rehoming Centre last October and is now encouraging others to do the same as her shy little rescue pony has become a showing super cob!

As World Horse Welfare celebrates Rehome A Horse Month this October, to highlight the benefits of rehoming and encouraging the public to consider rehoming a horse instead of buying or breeding, local rehomer Tasha is keen to share Alicia’s rags to riches story.

Alicia and Tasha pictured above

Alicia was resued by the charity as a frightened, unhandled youngster. The dedicated team at Belwade Farm nursed her back to health and slowly helped her to trust humans again. When the time came for her to be rehomed it would take someone very special to see the potential of this brave little pony. Step forward Tasha.

Tasha was looking for a project to bring on in showing and instantly saw Alicia’s potential. She said: “I saw this little hairy cob in the field, with tonnes of feather and tonnes of hair and thought she would do well in the show ring. We clicked pretty quickly. She was a bit nervous when she first arrived…now everyone loves her. She’s got a lovely temperament. She’s definitely cheeky but she’s well into work.”

Alicia was backed to ride last October and then spent the winter resting, but 2019 has seen the hard-working pair achieve great things. Having competed in a number of disciplines, including dressage, showing in-hand and showing under saddle, they have qualified for the Traditional of The Year 2020 in two categories: Quest for a Star and In-hand Showing, as well as qualifying for the Caledonian Showing Championships later this month.

One of the largest equine events in the showing calendar, Equifest, is next on Tasha and Alicia’s hit list and given their incredible success in their first season, their prospects are looking good.

Tasha said: “Whatever she wants to do, we’ll do. If she just wants to be a hacking pony then that’s all we’ll do, but it will be really nice to get her out…showing off what rescue ponies can do.”

Tasha described her experience rehoming through World Horse Welfare as ‘lovely and supportive’ and said it was good to know that if her circumstances change Alicia can always return to the charity, which will make sure she is looked after for the rest of her life.

World Horse Welfare is asking the horse community to take two simple actions to show their support for horse welfare and help World Horse Welfare to make 2019 a record-breaking rehoming year:

  1. Spread the rehoming message by visiting worldhorsewelfare.org/rehoming and sharing the profile of at least one horse or pony across your social media network.
  2. Display one of its Rehoming Rocks window stickers in your car, lorry, caravan, at home, in your office, at your yard, local veterinary surgery or riding school.
  3. Help it encourage more people to consider rehoming a horse which has had a difficult start in life.
  4. You can get your sticker for FREE at any World Horse Welfare Rescue and Rehoming Centre. Anyone who can carry a small stock of the stickers at till points or reception desks can email RHOTY@worldhorsewelfare.org putting window stickers in the subject line.

There are currently around 80 horses available for rehoming from World Horse Welfare.

Rehomed Horse of the Year Competition 2019

As part of Rehome a Horse Month, World Horse Welfare is launching its annual Rehomed Horse of the Year Competition, which is open to its community of 1,700 rehomers who care for more than 1,800 rehomed horses from the charity.

Rehomed Horse of the Year 2019 will invite rehomers from across the UK to share images that capture a moment in their horse’s life, celebrate the special connection they have with their rehomed horse and reveal hilarious anecdotes that caused jaws to drop.

The three new 2019 categories are supported by three wonderful judges:

  1. In the picture (photography): Judge, The Horse Photographer, Matthew Seed
    Rehomers are asked to share an image that tells a story about their rehomed horse or captures a poignant moment in their life, along with a 100 word picture caption.
  2. An unbreakable bond: Judge, BBC Radio 2 DJ and charity Patron, Sara Cox
    We love hearing about the unique connections our rehomers have with their rehomed horse. This category asks them to share a story that sums about why their horse human bond is so special – whether they had an instant connection or whether their horse was the trusted friend they needed during a difficult time in their life.
  3. I wasn’t expecting THAT!: Judge, internet sensation, This Esme
    We know horses have a wonderful talent for surprising us! We are asking for hilarious anecdotes or red-faced moments that left everyone astounded.

The winner of the overall Supreme Champion will be judged by Showjumper Joe Stockdale.

The winner of the Unbreakable Bond category will be invited to receive their award at the British Breeders’ Awards Dinner in London on 11 January 2020.  World Horse Welfare’s Deputy Chief Executive Tony Tyler explained:

“We are forthright advocates of responsible breeding and so were absolutely delighted to be invited to make our Rehomed Horse of the Year competition part of this event. We strongly encourage accountability, good welfare and responsible ownership in all areas of breeding. Our Unbreakable Bond category underlines the fact that horses are not simply a commodity and they should be given a lifetime of care where their welfare is always of paramount importance.”

Rehomed Horse of the Year 2019 entries close on Thursday 31 October 2019. Full details of the competition, including terms and conditions, can be found at www.worldhorsewelfare.org/RHOTY2019

Ascot big race could move to inner course after 30mm rain

The Qipco Champion Stakes and two other races on the round course at Ascot, due to take place this coming Saturday, October 19, have been affected by waterlogging after 30mm of rain at the weekend.

It is possible they could now  be moved to the inner course following emergency plans drawn up in 2016 to guarantee that racing takes place under the best possible underfoot conditions.

Ascot’s outer track, which would normally be used for the fixture and for all others on the Flat, was waterlogged in places following the downpour.

The inner track, left unwatered through the summer, unlike the Flat track, is good to soft, soft in places despite the heavy downpour that resulted in 134mm  rainfall on Ascot since September 21.

Clerk of course Chris Stickels

After walking the track on Sunday morning, clerk of the course Chris Stickels described conditions as the softest and wettest he had ever known them.

The change in going has resulted in a switch in betting, with French soft ground specialist The Revenant, trained  at Longchamp by Francis Graffard, emerging as current favourite.

Martin Clunes launches new equine partnership

Martin Clunes, actor and president of leading equine charity, The British Horse Society (BHS) visited the Limes Equestrian Centre  at Wattisfield in Suffolk recently to help launch a new partnership between the BHS and RSPC.

The partnership is a bid to help both neglected horses and young people who are *NEET (not in education, employment or training) under the BHS’s Changing Lives through Horses (CLtH) scheme.

Martin Clunes at the launch with Gareth Johnson, equine welfare operations manager at RSPCA , along with a representative of the British Horse Society.


The number of horses being subjected to neglect is at an all-time high and rehoming centres are full. CLtH is now working to get rescued horses from the RSPCA into BHS Approved Riding Centres where they can be rehabilitated alongside participants on the scheme.

Limes Equestrian Centre runs the CLtH programme and is one of the first BHS Approved Riding Centres to rehome two rescue horses, Cobain and Barlow who will work with the young people on the programme.

The programme aims to reignite a desire to learn and encourages participants to return to education or employment. The young people aged from 10 to 24 years old, are more suited to an alternative education due to a range of complex reasons, and the programme helps them to reconnect with society through working with horses.

Martin Clunes, President of the BHS said; “I couldn’t be happier about supporting this new collaboration between the BHS and the RSPCA. I’ve been a massive fan of the BHS’s Changing Lives through Horses programme since it launched three years ago.

“The programme is aimed at the young people and helping them get back into education and the workplace. It’s about learning new skills in a unique environment and now, we are also helping horses to have a new start in life too. It doesn’t get any better.”

For many of the young people on the programme, it is their last opportunity and they have often been referred by their school, local authority or police.

This programme, which is delivered by specially trained BHS Accredited Professional Coaches, gives them the chance to develop their skills enabling them to return to education and/or employment and prevent them from becoming NEET because both charities believe that horses are a powerful, emotive way of inspiring young people to reconnect with society, and the difficult backgrounds experienced by many of the participants makes them particularly able to relate to the horses they are working with.

Gareth Johnson, Equine Welfare Operations Manager at the RSPCA said: “The Changing Lives through Horses programme is undoubtedly one of the best schemes I have been involved with in rehoming RSPCA rescue horses.

“This is a fantastic opportunity for young people and horses to come together and interact. The RSPCA has 886 horses in our care at present; we hope that this collaboration will help to alleviate this problem. ”

This programme relies on public donations and grant funding. Please consider making a donation, visit; bhs.org.uk/changinglivesthroughhorses or text ‘CLTH65 £5’ to 70070 to start changing someone’s life.


Horse safety on roads campaign

Surrey Police is taking part in Rural Crime Awareness Week, a national campaign that started this week and will be focusing on road safety in rural areas.

Chief Inspector, Michael Hodder said: ‘’Rural Crime can affect individuals, businesses and communities and Surrey Police are keen to build the most effective links to ensure we tackle rural crime in the most efficient way.

“The British Horse Society is working with us on operational activities throughout the week.”

Horse safety on the roads being emphasised

Alan Hiscox, Director of Safety at The British Horse Society said: “We’re grateful to Surrey Police for allowing us to work with them during Rural Crime Awareness Week.

“It is important to educate drivers on a horse’s natural flight instinct, which means it can suddenly react to something it’s unsure of, such as a fast approaching vehicle. This sudden reaction to avoid a perceived threat can have potentially devastating consequences for all involved.

“The British Horse Society launched its Dead Slow campaign to help educate drivers on how to safely pass a horse on the road. The key messages to drivers are:

If I see a horse on the road then I will:

  • slow down to a maximum of 15mph,
  • be patient (don’t sound the horn or rev the engine),
  • pass the horse wide and slow (at least a cars width if possible) and drive slowly away

If drivers follow these four simple messages, and both riders and drivers show patience and courtesy to one another, the level of incidents occurring on our roads can be decreased.”

If you have been a victim of rural crime, or have any intelligence relating to crime committed in rural areas please report this to Surrey Police on 101 or anonymously to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.


West Hants Pony Club victory

West Hants Pony Club did it again in the final of the Thistledown Developments Pony Club Mounted Games Prince Philip Cup. Entering the final round of games in the lead on 81 points, there was still all to play for with the double points on offer at Horse of the Year Show.

The four teams through to the final round were; West Hants Pony Club, Atherstone Hunt Pony Club, Staff College & Sandhurst Hunt Pony Club and Strathearn Branch of the Pony Club. The Games this year were themed around the Pony Club’s 90th birthday and included games such as the balloon race, the birthday cake race and the traditional flag race with a celebratory twist.

Winners of the Prince Phillip Cup- West Hants Pony Club                 Photo: Julian Portch

With three riders from last year’s winning team, West Hants members led the way in the Pony Club’s 90th anniversary year. Showing great camaraderie, athleticism and skill, they embodied everything Prince Philip wanted to achieve when he set up the games 62 years ago. Going into the last game over 20 points ahead of the other three teams, it was clear that they would be out right winners.

The final scores were as follows:

  • West Hants: 127 points
  • Atherstone Hunt: 95 points
  • Staff College & Sandhurst Hunt: 85 points
  • Strathern: 83 points

The West Hants Branch was established in 1967 and their mounted games team is trained today by Jo Morris. Team member Libby Hawkins spoke for the team: “It’s absolutely amazing to win here once let alone twice! We just wanted to go out there and have fun because it is the last year on the team for some of us. Competing in the arena in front of so many people is an amazing feeling.”

The Pony Club is a training organisation where you can take part in rallies, train for Pony Club tests and earn achievement badges. The Pony Club is the only equestrian organisation to cover every discipline, including dressage, showjumping, eventing, Mounted Games, pony racing, polo, polocrosse, tetrathlon and endurance. Above all, you can make friends and have fun!

Membership is open to boys and girls under 25 years of age. For more information, visit the website www.pcuk.org or call 024 7669 8300.

Evie (87) fulfills ambition to spend a day at the races

When Evie Wallage pinned her hopes to the Wish Tree at her care home, she
never dreamed it would lead her to the Winners’ Enclosure at Lingfield Park Racecourse.
The 87-year-old not only fulfilled her wish to spend a day at the races, but was
proud to take centre stage at the Surrey track, by presenting the prize to
winning connections of Revestar, which won The Evie Wallage Wish Tree
Maiden Auction Stakes.

Evie Wallace making the presentation at Lingfield Park  Photo: Lingfield Park Racecourse

Evie, who lives at Bowes House Care UK home in East Sussex, was thrilled to see
her name in lights when she visited Lingfield Park.
“I had absolutely no idea there was a race named after me today until I arrived –
what a lovely surprise!’ said Evie, who was accompanied on her day out by Care
UK receptionist Frances Gaunt – a former member of the Lingfield Park raceday
sales team.
Frances, who retired from the racecourse in 2017 after a career spanning 30 years, said she was delighted to help Evie’s wish come true, saying: “It was wonderful to be able to pick up the phone to Lingfield Park and ask my old colleagues to organise this for Evie today.”
“I now work one day a week at the home and love to see the wishes come true for the residents.”

Grandeur wins Racehorse to Riding Horse Championship

It is always exciting to see a line-up of top-quality ex-racehorses who have swapped the track for the arena at Horse of the Year Show (HOYS). This time it was an ex-racer with 10 race victories and just under £600,000 of winnings, which showed that a successful change of career is entirely achievable.

Yvonne Jacque’s 10-year-old grey gelding Grandeur came to showing producer Jo Bates just six months after finishing his racing career as a six-year-old. It was third time lucky for the pair after they claimed the title, having been placed twice before in this class at HOYS.

Yvonne has owned ‘Grandy’ since a two-year-old, and he was race trained by Jeremy Noseda. He is now thriving in his showing career with Jo, having been placed third in the Hack of the Year last year, which he will contest again this year at HOYS.

Grandeur, winner of the Racehorse to Riding Horse Championship. Photo:

“What a star!” exclaimed Jo as she left the Andrews Bowen International Arena. “He was totally with me today and relished the big occasion.”

Jo said it is Grandeur’s intelligence which has made him so successful in the show ring. She said they have “travelled a long, hard road together” but he is “a very special horse.”

In second place was Lizzie Harris riding her own Lough Inch.

Sponsors, leading equine insurance brokers, SEIB Insurance Brokers provide cover for horses, horse boxes, yards and much more. The company has a long association with the showing world and is renowned for ‘putting something back’ by supporting many grassroots equestrian events and activities.

For full details, rules and entry forms visit www.search4astar.org.uk and click through to the RDA section. Find SEIB Search for a Star on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/SEIB.Search4AStar.

Williams and Whitaker share puissance win

The Ripon Select Foods Puissance, the class everyone had been waiting to see at Horse of the Year Show, was finally here. Showcasing an impressive line-up of international riders, including last year’s joint winners, Alfie Bradstock and Guy Williams, as well as Geoff Billington and Robert Whitaker who have both won multiple Puissance classes in their careers.

The riders did not disappoint, performing some breath-taking rounds to entertain the packed-out crowd on Saturday night at Horse of the Year Show. By round five, the 12 starters were whittled down to four to tackle the big red wall, set at an impressive height of 7ft2” (2.20m).

Robert Whitaker was up first riding Major Delacour who had never jumped a Puissance wall before tonight’s class. The 11-year-old chestnut gelding brushed off the pressure clearing the wall in remarkable style.

The win was just out of reach for Simon Buckley and Nano Healy who had each shown great courage to make it through the earlier rounds.

It was all down to Guy Williams to see if he could match last year’s win. A wave of suspense spread around the Andrews Bowen International Arena as he approached the wall riding last year’s winning horse, Mr Blue Sky UK. With experience on his side, the fearless grey gelding took off stride-perfect to take a joint win alongside Robert Whitaker. An exciting end to a crowd favourite at Horse of the Year Show.

Guy Williams has won four out of the four Puissance classes with the striking Mr Blue Sky UK, who is owned by Caroline Phillips. He said:  “He’s a really good horse and he just takes you to the fence. It’s almost like the bigger it gets, the better he jumps.

“He hasn’t done a Puissance since Olympia last year, it’s not something you want to do too often. In a Puissance it is really tempting to attack the fence early on, but I try and hold them until the last round. It’s a fun class to ride in and the audience really enjoy it which makes you want to win. ”

Guy Williams and Robert Whitaker in action Photo: Julian Portch

Robert was delighted that Major Delacour, owned by Clare Whitaker and Elaine Wood, had won his first ever Puissance: “I just knew he’d be a good Puissance horse. I’ve been riding him now for about a year and he is a very brave jumper. I couldn’t have asked any more of him tonight, he felt better and better each round.”

He added: “I’ will probably do the Puissance at Olympia and see if we can win there too.”

Ripon Select Foods are food ingredient manufacturers based in North Yorkshire. Headed up by Martin Wood, the Wood family have supported Horse of the Year Show for several years through their sponsorship of both the Supreme Horse of the Year and Children’s Riding Pony of the Year.

As a company, and a family, they are delighted to extend their sponsorship to cover the ever-popular Puissance class for the first time in 2019.

Charlotte’s fourth Dressage Future Elite title

Charlotte Dujardin maintained her hold on the Dressage Future Elite Champion  title, winning it for the fourth consecutive year at HOYS.

She has won the title with four different horses proving her sheer talent for producing horses to the highest level. Her win this year was with nine-year-old chestnut mare, Mount St John Valencia owned by Emma Blundell, performing a beautiful freestyle to be awarded a score of 78.041%.

Dressage Future Elite Champion Charlotte Du Jardin: Photo Julian Portch

The young mare has only been with Charlotte for six months, but she joins Charlotte’s strong line up of horses ahead of Tokyo 2020.

Becoming a regular at Horse of the Year Show, Charlotte commented: “I’m really proud of her [Valencia]. She only did her first freestyle at the British Dressage Championships in September and to ride into an arena like this with a big crowd and the big screen, I think she found it a little daunting.

“She hesitated a little in the changes, but she stayed composed. It is such great experience for these young horses to be able to compete at a show like this; you can’t replicate this kind of atmosphere anywhere. I feel honoured to be able to bring different horses here each year and she shows a lot of potential, she just needs more exposure and experience in the arena.”

Second placed rider, Katie Bailey, is a student of the training duo Charlotte Dujardin and Carl Hester and was delighted to have come second to Charlotte with Eagle Nouvelle, achieving an impressive 77.625%.

Charlotte commented: “I’m really proud of her [Valencia]. She only did her first freestyle at the British Dressage Championships in September and to ride into an arena like this with a big crowd and the big screen, I think she found it a little daunting.

“She hesitated a little in the changes, but she stayed composed. It is such great experience for these young horses to be able to compete at a show like this. You can’t replicate this kind of atmosphere anywhere. I feel honoured to be able to bring different horses here each year and she shows a lot of potential, she just needs more exposure and experience in the arena.”

Having ridden at Horse of the Year Show as a young girl, Charlotte is the idol of so many young equestrians in the audience this evening, she added: “It’s a privilege to be back here again this year, it was always a childhood dream to ride down that centre line under the spotlight at HOYS and I love coming here and seeing old friends that I grew up and competed with. For anyone out there wanting to follow their dream, I would say to just keep going.”

Simon is new Senior Foxhunter Champion

Simon Crippen has won the Equitop Myoplast Senior Foxhunter Championship riding Tim Peake’s seven-year-old gelding, Premier Titanium, at Horse of the Year Show 2019.

Often described as the class everyone wants to win, Tim himself had been placed in the Championship many times, coming closest in 2010 when he took second place with Wembley III. The Foxhunter Championship started in 1954, it is one of the longest standing Championships at HOYS and its popularity is down to it showcasing the very best of the country’s novice horses.

Taking home the highly-coveted Foxhunter goblet after a difficult course, Simon was thrilled with his win finishing on a time of 38.51 seconds. He commented: “Tonight everything went my way. I had a funny feeling today that we would do well, and I was 13th to go which is my lucky number.

Equitop Myoplast Senior Foxhunter Champion Simon  Crippen:  Photo courtesy of Julian Portch

I’ve been placed in this class a lot over the years, so to finally win was a fantastic feeling.”

Paul Barker and Matt Sampson, two riders known on the circuit for being quick in jump offs, were first in but their tight twisty turns cost them unfortunate penalties, leaving the field wide open to the other combinations. Simon continueD: “Seeing the previous riders pick up faults, I decided to ride a steadier round and aim for clear, then hope it might be just enough. It was a nice smooth round and flowed well. Luckily it paid off and I’m delighted.”Simon’s last big win at HOYS was in 1998 aged just 17 when he won the Senior Newcomers Championship riding Divine Des Cabanes owned by Judy Ross.

Today, more than 20 years later, he is back on top form with a talented young horse.

He said: “Premier Titanium is a really good horse; I think he could be a real star. I’ve been riding him for just over two years now and although he has been tricky to produce, he shows great talent. He was a stallion up until this summer and having him gelded has really helped him to focus which has enabled us to progress quickly over the last few months. To win this traditional stepping stone class feels extremely special.”

Runner up in the class and placing second was this year’s Burghley Horse Trials winner, Pippa Funnell, who last rode at HOYS in 2011 winning the Senior Newcomers riding Billy Balou. With two rides in the class, Pippa’s second place was with seven-year-old mare, Billy Picador, who produced a beautiful double clear just outside of the time, finishing on 40.40 seconds.

Equitop Myoplast® is a unique amino acid supplement specifically designed to support lean muscle growth, helping horses to respond and cope with the demands of training and rehabilitation. The blend of amino acids in Equitop Myoplast supports lean muscle growth in older horses that lose condition easily, those in intensive training or competition as well as young and developing horses.