Potters Corner wins Welsh Grand National

Welsh-trained Potters Corner, trained by Christian Williams and ridden by Jack Tudor, aged 17,  was yesterday’s 8-1 winner of the Welsh Grand National at Chepstow. He succeeded in maintaining his lead to hold off the challenge of Truckers Lodge.

The nine-year-old bay gelding is part-owned by Wales rugby player Jonathan Davies.

The horse had shown his capabilities when named Welsh Horse Racing Chaser of the Year before Christmas.  His trainer told the press that the Welsh National had been his target all year.

Potters Corner en route to winning the Welsh National. Photo courtesy of John Simpson

It had been 54 years since there had been a Welsh winner of this race. Owner Jonathan Davies described the victory as ‘ a dream come true’. He praised the trainer for sending out this winner in such good form.

Last yearf’s winner, Elegant Escape was unable to pull off  back to back wins in the race, despite being sent off as favolurite for this year’s race. But he was carrying more than 9lb in weight than last year and this pegged him back in the race.

The Paul Nicholls-trained Truckers Lodge, despite jumping poorly on occasions, looked the most likely to spoil the Welsh celebration at Chepstow.

But Potters Corner held on gamely and pulled clear after the final fence to a well deserved victory.

Moorcroft Racehorse Welfare Centre’s long reining course

Moorcroft Racehorse Welfare Centre will continue its good retraining work for ex-racehorses in good style in 2020.

On Saturday January 11 one-to-one tuition in the art of long-reining will be available at the centre at Huntingrove Stud, Slinfold, West Sussex. This enables horses to develop posture and strength.

Well-trained Moorcroft ex-racehorses will be used and one-to-one tuition will take place in the centre’s  excellent indoor school facilities.

A transformed and retrainedex-racehorse in a long-reining demonstration at Moorcroft
Photo: Mark Beaumont

Chief executive at Moorcroft, Mary Frances, says numbers are limited and early booking is essential to avoid disappointment.

The cost of the session is £40 per person. Contact Moorcroft to book your place on 07929 666408, or email moorcroftracehorse@gmail.com

This is one charity which is continuing to develop and helps an increasing number of ex.racehorses to a better future thanks to excellent retraining work.

Another date for the diary is Saturday, Janjuary 2020, when Kate Akers MVETPHYS RAMP will give an equine massage course from 10am-12pm, cost £40 per person.

For more information see www.moorcroftracehorse.org,uk

Taking a look at how horses sleep

Research is being undertaken by Tuck,  a community devoted to promoting sleep health awareness.  As part of its mission, Tuck has created a resource debunking common myths about how horses sleep.
It has answered questions like whether horses sleep standing up, how much sleep horses need, and more.
Jay Summer of Tuck writes:  “Whether you ride horses or just admire the majestic animals from afar, at some point you might have wondered how horses sleep.
“Maybe you saw a horse lying in a field and wondered if horses sleep lying down or standing up. If you have pets, you probably already know that the sleep habits of dogs and cats differ quite a bit from that of humans.
“Just like other animals, horses have their own unique sleep requirements and patterns that differ from ours.”

A horse asleep on its feet
Photo: John Simpson

This article by Tuck focuses on everything you might want to know about how horses sleep:Do horses really sleep standing up or must they lie down? Can they dream like humans do? How many hours of sleep do they need on a daily basis? How are horses’ sleeping habits the same or different compared to those of other large animals? Keep reading to find the answers to your questions.

How Horses Sleep

Horses Sleep Both Standing Up and Lying Down

Like cattle and some other animals, horses are capable of sleeping in a standing position. Sleeping while standing is beneficial because it tricks potential predators into thinking the animal is awake and less vulnerable. The ability to sleep while standing is due to a series of leg ligaments and bones called the “stay apparatus” that allows certain large animals, such as giraffes and zebras, to lock their legs.

Contrary to popular belief, horses do not do all of their sleeping standing up. Horses engage in light sleep while standing, but cannot experience REM sleep unless they lie down. Horses regularly take short naps while standing throughout the day, which is likely the reason many people assume horses always sleep standing up.

Horse sleeping standing up Photo:John Simpson

Horses Sleep Less Than Humans 

Although horses are much larger than humans, often weighing over 1,000 pounds, they do not require as much sleep as humans do. Most horses only need 5 to 7 hours of rest each day, and less than one hour of that rest is REM sleep, one of the deepest sleep stages. The amount of sleep a horse needs changes over their lifetime. Foals can sleep half the day away, while the oldest horses need only a few hours of sleep each day.

Horses also sleep at different times than humans do. They are not diurnal like us, nor are they nocturnal. Horses can sleep at any time, day or night, and generally spread their sleep out across each 24-hour period by sleeping for minutes at a time instead of one long block.

Horses Experience REM Sleep, But Not While Standing

Horses likely dream since they experience REM or Rapid Eye Movement sleep, while lying down. Horses move their eyes during this deep sleep stage, and sometimes even lightly move their legs. At this point in time, we can’t know what it is that horses dream about, but it seems likely they dream about things they experience in waking life.

Horses Often Sleep with a Buddy Lookout

Horses often lie down to sleep when there is another horse nearby that remains standing. This practice likely evolved as a protective method. If all horses in a herd were to lie down to sleep at the same time, they would become more vulnerable to a predator’s attack.

Horses Can Have Sleep Problems

A horse sleeping with a buddy lookout
Photo: John Simpson

Horses can also have trouble sleeping because they are in pain, their sleeping space is not soft, or they must compete for sleeping space with other horses.

Horses Yawn, But Not Because They’re Tired

Like humans and many other mammals, horses yawn at times. Unlike humans, their yawning isn’t a signal that they’re becoming tired or need to sleep.

Horse Yawning
Photo: John Simpson

Both wild and domestic horses yawn, with male horses yawning much more frequently than female horses. Researchers have found that when horses yawn, it is often a signal of stress or frustration. For example, a horse might yawn because they are enclosed in a small area and want more space, or because they see food they want to eat and cannot access it.


Although there are many differences between the ways humans and horses sleep, there are also similarities.

Horses enjoy sleeping on soft bedding and can have their sleep disturbed by noise and stress.

Sleep helps horses restore their energy and is closely tied to their weight and other aspects of their health. Like us, horses can be negatively affected by sleep deprivation.

You can check out the fascinating work of Tuck here:


For more information contact  Tuck Sleep’s community relations officer below:

Kayla Johnson
Community Relations | Tuck Sleep
PO Box 61293
Seattle, WA 98141-6293

Kayla Johnson



Georgia Tame leads under 25 British Championship Olympia qualifier

Twenty-four talented combinations competed in the Voltaire Design Under 25 British Championship Qualifier and it was 22 year-old Georgia Tame from Horsham, West Sussex who came out on top in the impressive Olympia Grand Hall.

Georgia was on board Quintella, an 11 year-old bay mare owned by Old Lodge. Each and every one of the starting field had been invited to compete in this thrilling two round qualifier at Olympia, the London International Horse Show and they were all focused on achieving a top ten finish.

Securing a place inside the top ten would ensure a coveted spot in the Voltaire Design Under 25 British Championship Final which will run on Sunday December 22 at 6pm.

The twelve fence track set by Course Designer Alan Wade set a stiff challenge with just four able to find the key to jumping clear in the first round whilst six of the starters jumped for just four faults to give us the top ten overall. Those who jumped clear were invited back into the arena for the jump off and two went on to bag a double clear.

Georgia Tame riding Quintella DS

Following an impressive first round, Georgia showed off Quintella’ pace and scope in the jump off when the pair delivered a double clear in 32.21 seconds, a result that they will be hoping to emulate in Sunday’s Championship Final.

Sixteen year-old Oliver Fletcher from Faringdon, Oxfordshire was runner up on Temple Rebus, a 12 year-old chestnut gelding owned by Graham Fletcher. They delivered the only other double clear in 35.37 seconds after two foot perfect performances.

Third place went to 20 year-old Charlie Jones from Lutterworth, Leicestershire who was first to go in both rounds on Dexter, an 11 year-old bay gelding owned by Ardencote Stud. The combination had just a single pole down in the jump off in 35.45 seconds.

The other representative in the jump off was 20 year-old Harry Charles from Alton, Hampshire on Valkiry de Zance, a 10 year-old chestnut gelding owned by Irina Abramovich. They also picked up four faults and jumped round in a time of 42.20 seconds.

The top ten from this qualifier now advance through to the Voltaire Design Under 25 British Championship Final which will run during the evening performance on Sunday 22nd December at 6.00pm. Faults will not be carried through from today, so each rider will start on a score of zero and riders will be jumping for the lions share of the £13,000 prize pot on offer. With a start height of 1.45m, the class runs over two rounds with the top five progressing through to the jump off before the eventual Champion is crowned.

In addition to the four horses and riders above, the following combinations have also qualified for Sunday: Jack Whitaker & Scenletha, Jodie Hall McAteer & Salt˜N Peppa, Millie Allen & Quinu de Pravia, Flo Norris & Con Pleasure 5, Scarlett Charles & Lordanos Junior and Jessica Mendoza & Dublin.



Georgia Tame, Quintella DSC_1034.jpg
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British Eventing’s 2020 fixtures announced

British Eventing (BE) has released its 2020 fixtures list, with new events, and some losses, plus welcoming CCI1*-S events next year.

The CCI1*-S level was rolled out this year to encourage developing eventing nations to get their riders on the international pathway. The old one-star level has stepped up to two-star, the new one-star is effectively a BE100 (US Training level) international.

Three competitions will be trialled at this new level from 2020-2022.

The first will take place at Brand Hall in Staffordshire (May 30-31 ), the second at Chilham Castle in Kent (July 25-26 ), and the third and final one will be at Blair Castle International in Scotland (Augusr27-30). This will give one-star debutants the chance to rub shoulders with fellow international competitors through the CCI4*-L level.

Sussex event rider Gemma Tattersall and Chico Bella Haras competing at Burghley  Photo  courtesy of British Eventing

“Led by the BE Board, the BE Fixtures Team were tasked with developing a framework for this pilot,” explained BE on its website.

“From this framework, the venues have been carefully selected based on various factors, including location, the current event set up, infrastructure and organisers with experience of presenting International competition. The class will run at these selected venues as a pilot from 2020 for three years to provide an opportunity to trial the popularity, viability and value to the BE membership.”

The 2020 fixtures list also sees the addition of three new or returning venues: Cirencester Park returns to the calendar after 47 years, replacing the spring fixture previously held at Gatcombe, and will offer classes from Novice-Advanced on March 21-22.

Thoresby Park in Nottinghamshire makes its BE and FEI debut, filling the hole left by the loss of Belton, and will run classes from Novice-Advanced as well as CCI2*-S, CCI3*-S, and CCI4*-S sections on March 27-29.

Finally, Cornbury Park in Oxfordshire makes a welcome return, running Novice and Intermediate sections alongside a CCI2*-S and a CCI3*-S on September 11-13.

There are other changes afoot, too, particularly to championship and regional final classes. Perhaps the biggest is that the British Open Championship, held at the Magic Millions Festival of British Eventing (August 8-9), will no longer run as a CCI4*-S. Instead, it will run as a national Advanced class, meaning that the prestigious summer fixture will now no longer host any international classes.

The structure of the four-year-old championship at the Osberton International Horse Trials and Young Horse Championships (October 8-11) has been slightly revised, too. Instead of relying on specific qualifiers, the class – now rebranded as a ‘Showcase’ – will require horses to contest regular BE80(T) and /or BE90 classes in the latter part of the year. Full qualification details will be revealed soon.

2019’s BE80(T) championship, which was unfortunately abandoned, will be rescheduled for April 4 at Norton Disney (1), while the 2020 edition will be held for the first time at its new home at the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials

Top results for dressage riders

Anders Dahl dominated the dressage Grand Prix classes at last week’s Keysoe High Profile Show in Bedfordshire (December 5 – 8).

Riding his wife Fiona Bigwood’s Fidelio Van Het Blomenhof (Fidertanz x Jazz), pictured below, the West Sussex-based Dane was the runaway Grand Prix victor with a score of 75.40 per cent.

Anders Dahl riding Fidelio Van Het Blomenhof
Photo courtesy of British Dressage

Second place belonged to Anna Ross with her own and Beverley Brown’s 11 year old Delgado (by Uphill) on 70.73% whilst Rebecca Hughes completed the top three partnered by Lorraine Sattin’s Rubini Royale (by Rubin-Royal).

British Dressage is looking ahead to a successful 2020 for teams selected to represent dressage in this country.

As a member of the British Equestrian Federation (BEF) it has automatic links to the Federation Equestre Internationale (FEI) for all international affairs.

Each year the federation selects teams to represent Great Britain at championships as part of Team GBR for senior, para, young rider, junior and pony levels. It oversees all affiliated dressage in the United Kingdom with around 17,000 members competing at 2,400 shows at 188 venues.

Dressage is a truly equal sport – and in Britain members aged from six to 92, men and women, compete on equal terms. Also disabled athletes compete in this discipline alongside their able-bodied counterparts or in dedicated classes.

Rebecca Baybutt and Hey Mambo winning the Prix St Georges title.
Photo courtesy of British Dressage

Earlier this month, Rebecca Baybutt took top honours when she partnered Hey Mambo to win the Prix St Georges title at the British Dressage Small Tour Championships, which took place alongside Keysoe High Profile Show at The College Equestrian Centre in Bedfordshire.

British Dressage affiliated venues all meet minimum criteria and the competition is judged by qualified judges who undergo continuous training. The sport is also reliant on an immense team of volunteers  who give their time to help maintain high dressage standards at events across the country.

The dressage competition structure in Britain ensures opportunity for all, while the regional network offers a support network and great training opportunities.



Brendon Riding Centre’s Christmas Show

Don’t miss the Pyecombe Christmas Show at Brendon Riding Centre, which this year goes ahead on Monday December 30. All classes will be held in the outstanding indoor arena from 10am.

This is a fine opportunity for young riders to compete in top class facilities in a festive atmosphere at this popular venue, run by the Light family

Christmas fun for all ages at Brendon
Photo: Spidge Photography

Class 1 Marvellous Mare: Any sized mare, open to all ridden non lead rein. Winner qualifies for Championship after Class 7 Entry Fee: £10

Class 2  Marvellous MareAny sized mare, open to all lead reins & in hand. Winner qualifies for Championship after class 7. Entry Fee £10

Class 3 Gorgeous Gelding : Any sized gelding, open to all ridden non lead rein. Winner qualifies for Championship after Class 7. Entry Fee £10.

Class 4 Gorgeous Gelding :  Any sized gelding, open to all lead reins & in hand. Winner qualifies for Championship after Class 7.Entry Fee £10.

Class 5 Pony Club Pony : (approx 12pm) Small x-poles jump included and bending cones. Will be split into lead rein & non lead rein if sufficient entries. Winner qualifies for Championship after class 7. Entry Fee £10.

Class 6 Pony the Judge would like to take Home :Open to all. Will be split into lead rein / in hand and non lead rein if sufficient entries. Winner qualifies for Championship after Class 7. Entry Fee £10.
Class 7 Have a Go on your Own : Open to ponies 14.2 & Under. Class is designed for lead rein riders who would like to have a go off the lead rein. Helpers can stand in corner of indoor school ready to rescue! No cantering in individual show. Winner qualifies for Championship after Class 7. Entry Fee £10
Entry Fee£10.00
Class 8  Clear Round Show Jumping: Bottom Hole X-Poles Clear Round (approx 2pm) No spreads. Can be led/assisted. Ponies can do this class with mulitple riders. Ponies must have lead reins attached to nosebands. All competitors will receive a rosette in this class. Entry Fee £10.

Class 9  Cross Pole Jumping (0.30m – 0.40m) : No spreads. Can be led/assisted. Ponies can do this class with two different riders. Ponies must have lead reins attached to nosebands. All double clears will share equal 1st and receive medal. All competitors will receive a rosette in this class. Entry Fee £10.

To enter, contact: Show Secretary: Caz Light, Brendon Stud, Haresdean Lane, Brighton, Pyecombe, West Sussex, BN45 7EG

Tel: 01273 844508, Mobile: 07815908017, Email: light16@hotmail.co.uk




Outstanding equestrian safety contributions honoured

The British Horse Society’s (BHS) Sefton Awards honours those who have made an outstanding contribution in the field of equestrian safety. Those recognised for 2019 were Helen Goldie, Julie Gooding and Rob Tiller.

Alan Hiscox, Director of Safety at the BHS said: “Improving equestrian safety is a huge part of the work of the BHS and we are incredibly grateful to all those who have helped and continue to help us on our mission to improve conditions for riders and their horses. The Sefton Awards are our way of acknowledging those who have made exceptional and highly commendable efforts over the past year to help improve the safety of riders across the UK.”

Sefton Award winners left to right – Major Richard Chambers, Julie Gooding, Rob Tillier, Helen Goldie, Alan Hiscox

BHS Safety Volunteer, Helen Goldie was awarded a Sefton Award for her efforts in improving the safety of equestrians on the Isle of Man. Helen was instrumental in the recent formation of a BHS Committee on the island and also played a major role in getting the BHS Safety Team to the Isle of Man TT event, one of the biggest motorcycle events in the world. The team, with Helen’s help, were then able to deliver important safety information to the TT visitors. Helen has also worked closely with the Isle of Man Police to help deliver Close Pass operations and educate drivers on key safety messages.

A Sefton Award was awarded to Councillor Julie Gooding for her work in Essex on a Safety Around Horses programme for two schools with the backing of The British Horse Society, Caneowden Equestrians and local head teachers. This safety awareness programme is a tool to be made available for additional schools to deliver with a view to it being available nationwide and would not have been possible without Julie’s enthusiasm and determination.

Rob Tillier was awarded a Sefton Award for his work on a comprehensive driver training programme which was endorsed by DVSA as ‘the programme to which all driving instructors should aspire to deliver’. Rob has been instrumental in involving the BHS to raise awareness of the dangers when young drivers encounter horses on the roads by inviting the BHS to his training days.

Sefton Awards:The Sefton Awards were set up by the BHS in 1984 as a legacy to Sefton, the Household Cavalry horse who survived the IRA bombings in London in 1982. Sefton was 19-years-old at the time of the bombings. He underwent eight hours of surgery and became a household name.

The British Horse Society: As the largest equine charity in the UK, The British Horse Society is dedicated to education, equine welfare, protecting and increasing access to bridleways and equestrian routes, and safety for horse and riders. The Society’s thriving and active community of staff and volunteers are committed to improving the lives of horses everywhere.

Good turnout at Fontwell Park this week

FONTWELL PARK Racecourse enjoyed a good turnout for its December Raceday this week. The going was soft but heavy in places and a good crowd turned out to enjoy the racing.

The successful team of trainer Chris Gordon and jockey Tom Cannon continued their run of successes when winning the opening race of the meeting, a handicap hurdle with 8-1 shot Jimmy.

The Premier Celtic, trained by Pat Phelan and ridden by Sean Houlihan was five lengths further back in second place, and the Ali Stronge-trained Heresmynumber, ridden by Adam Wedge in third place at 33-1.

Only four ran in the Novices Handicap Chase over three miles one furlong, with three finishing the race. It was won  by French bred 4-5 favourite, Christmas In April, trained by Colin Tizzard and ridden by Harry Cobden.

In second place was Irish-bred Gleno, ridden by Joshua Moore, and trained by Gary Moore. The 7/2 shot put in an improved performance,staying on well but was always held by the winner. In third was Tea Time on Mars, trained by Sean Houlihan and trained  by Susan Gardner.

The Juvenile Hurdle attracted a good field of 13 runners, with 5-2 shot Zamani , trained by David Bridgwater winning by six lengths under a good ride from Brendan Powell.

Brendan Powell and Zamani
on their way to victory
Photo courtesy of Fontwell Park Racecourse

In second spot was 20-1 shot John Betjeman, trained by Mark Gillard and well ridden by James Davies, with the Jim Boyle trained Isle Of Wolves, ridden by Robert Dunne, in third, also at 20-1.

The Adam Morey Handicap Chase over three miles one furlong disappointingly attracted only three runners, and was won by Quarenta (5-4 favourite) with Diplomate Sivola (7-4) the only other finisher, in second place.  Eleven-year-old Irish-bred Bally Longford, trained by Colin TIzzard and twice a winner this season, unseated his rider  Harry Cobden at the first obstacle, where the horse knuckled on landing.

The Mares’ Novice Hurdle saw a 20-1 winner for trainer Warren Greatrex, when he sent out Martha Brae, ridden by A P Heskin  to win in the final strides from 11-10 favourite Mystic Dreamer, trained at Findon by Nick Gifford and ridden by Leighton Aspell.
This runner-up impressed when winning at Cheltenham earlier in the year. She is one to keep an eye on, for this five-year-old bay mare is a progressive sort and was unlucky not to win here, having been beaten only by a neck.

Promising mare  -Mystic Dreamer, trained by Nick Gifford

Nick Gifford said afterwards: “She didn’t cope with the extremely holding, tiring ground and got very tired and hung left all the way up the straight . It’s all part of the journey, she was only beaten 14 lengths and they all finished very much in a bunch .
“We will see how she comes out of the race . Then we will look for another bumper with better ground similar to the going on her previous run at Ascot , possibly even a left handed track.”

The Handicap Chase was won by Hugo’s Reflection, swent off at 9/2, trained by Ben Case and ridden by Kielan Woods. This horse was a winner last season and looks to have progressed well, with more to come.

Eleven runners contested the final race, the John and Maryanne Birch Memorial Handicap Hurdle, which was won well by Clondaw Robin, sent off at 11-2, trained by Zoe Davison and ridden by Page Fuller.
Runner up was Moonlit Sea ( 11-1), trained by Pat Phelan and ridden by Sean Houlihan, with 10/3 favourite Pottlereaghexpress, trained by Toby Laws and ridden by Leighton Aspell in third place.
The next meeting at Fontwell Park will be on Boxing Day, when gates open at 10.15am and the first of seven race is at 12.15pm and the last at 3.35pm.
For more information or to book tickets see: https://www.fontwellpark.co.uk/whats-on/boxing-day-racing