Dame Caroline Spelman joins BHS

THE Rt. Hon. Dame Caroline Spelman DBE has joined The British Horse Society (BHS) as Specialist Trustee for Policy, Campaigning and Government Relations.

She will play a pivotal role in the Society’s lobbying effort across many key causes, including the required support for the equine industry as the United Kingdom emerges from the COVID-19 lockdown.

Dame Spelman, pictured above, served as the Member of Parliament for Meriden in the West Midlands from 1997 to 2019. She has held many senior ministerial appointments including Secretary of State for Defra.

She was Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for the Horse for many years and championed the work of the Society across all of its charitable aims: welfare, education, safety and access.

Access is of particular interest to Caroline and one of her priorities will be working on how best to meet the challenge of the 2026 deadline for the recording of historical routes on the definitive map – which potentially threatens thousands of miles of bridleways.

Tim Lord, Chairman at The British Horse Society said: “We are seeking to expand and develop our interaction with Government at all levels in order to achieve policy changes which will benefit all equestrians.

“I am absolutely delighted that Caroline has accepted this specialist position and her experience, expertise and passion for horses will bring many benefits to the Society, our members and the wider equine community.”

Caroline Spelman added: “I’m honoured to be asked to join The BHS as a Trustee as I’m a huge fan of its work; being a keen rider I have reason to be grateful for its excellent advice and effective campaigning.”

Caroline and her daughter are both keen equestrians and members of British Riding Clubs, which is run by The BHS.

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.

Goodwood racecourse has cancelled its three Friday night music events planned for June this year

Goodwood Racecourse has announced that, following guidance from the British Horseracing Authority (BHA), it is not able to run Its Three Friday Nights events as planned in 2020.

Sigma performing at a previous Goodwood Friday event Photo: Matt Ankers

In a statement, Goodwood said: “We are however pleased to announce that Sub Focus will now play on Friday 28 August, during our Bank Holiday Weekend fixture and Carl Cox is confirmed to play at next year’s Three Friday Nights, on  June 4 2021. ”

BHS to host virtual Windsor Tea Party

The British Horse Society (BHS) is hosting a Virtual Windsor Tea Party on Thursday May 14 at 15:30, with the stars of the Royal Windsor Horse Show, including Katie and Chris Jerram-Hunnable, Richard Waygood MBE, Richard Davison, Lizzie Greenwood-Hughes and BHS President Martin Clunes.

The hour-long virtual event, hosted by Martin Clunes and Lizzie Greenwood-Hughes, will feature fascinating interviews and insights from top names associated with the show.

Martin Clunes : Photo by Ian Gavan/Getty Images

Other highlights will include talks with Captain Sean Nicholls, Riding Master of the Household Cavalry on what it takes to put together the spectacle that is the Musical Ride. Richard Waygood MBE and Richard Davison will also be sharing their highlights of Royal Windsor, what to look for in an equestrian superstar and their memories of the 2012 London Olympics.

Katie and Chris Jerram-Hunnable will be talking about what Royal Windsor means to them, their greatest memories from the show and what it is like to ride Her Majesty The Queen’s horse.

In addition, there will be an opportunity to find out from the BHS Welfare Team about how to spot the subtle signs of laminitis, hear about how the BHS is supporting riding schools through the pandemic, as well as virtual presentations by Martin Clunes for the BHS Long Service Awards recipients.

The event is open to all and free of charge. Full details, including timetable and how to register is available at bhs.org.uk/virtual-windsor.

Registration closes at noon on Wednesday May 13 2020.

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.

French racing restart behind closed doors

RACING in France is set to resume on Monday behind closed doors as a restart to action in Britain edges nearer.

The sport has been suspended in both jurisdictions since March 17 but police have given permission for racing to take place at Paris Longchamp track.

Edouard de Rothschild, president of governing body France Galop, has said the authorisation was “very good news”.

British racing is planning for a resumption this month, including 16 Group races on successive weekends.

British Horse Racing Authority has said that action can start within a week of any go-ahead from the government.

Horse racing action could resume in Britain
Photo: Jeannie Knight

Racing has continued without spectators, and with social-distancing protocols, at some tracks in the United States, Australia and Hong Kong.

Last year’s French Derby winner Sottsass is set to run in Paris for the first time since finishing third behind Waldgeist and Enable in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in October.

The unbeaten Victor Ludorum, favourite for the French 2,000 Guineas, could be among other runners at the meeting.

“We have had some strong support from the ministers in charge of racing – the ministers for finance and agriculture so it was more a question of local areas allowing us to proceed,” said France Galop chief executive Olivier Delloye.

“We have explained in close detail how we will race behind closed doors and we have had positive feedback from them.”

RDA group wins coveted Jubilee saddle

Cobbes Meadow Riding for the Disabled Group near Canterbury in Kent has won the much-coveted, tailor-made Jubilee Saddle that is offered each year by the Worshipful Company of Saddlers for the RDA nationally.

The saddle will be made for Ralph, who is particularly ‘wide-girthed’ and has recently joined the Group from France.

The Saddlers instigated the annual and very generous gift during the RDA’s Silver Jubilee in 1994 and committed to providing 18 tailor-made saddles – one each year to cover a saddle for each region.

When the commitment had been fulfilled in 2012, they offered to continue their sponsorship indefinitely. This has allowed a different region each year to have the good fortune of selecting the right RDA horse or pony who would benefit most from such a precious gift. Nominations are made and votes taken.

French Breton heavy horse Ralph, a gentle giant, is a great hit with RDA riders.
Photo: Joanna Sale

Ralph, a handsome French Breton heavy horse, arrived at Cobbes Meadow last summer and has proved to be a great hit with the RDA riders. He is a gentle giant and despite huge hooves, he is very careful to keep them away from vulnerable toes. He is wonderfully suited to the heavier RDA riders and is already a “really valuable member of the Cobbes Meadow team”.

Carole Mounce, RDA’s Kent County Chair said “As we all know each and every RDA horse is very special so the Cobbes Meadow Group were delighted to win the chance to have a beautiful bespoke saddle made for a wonderful horse who needs a very specific type of tack.

“This comes when all RDA groups are doing their very best to keep things running as smoothly as possible at a difficult time. Each group is a charity so they rely totally on fundraising to keep their horses fed, watered, happy and healthy. This wonderful gift will allow Ralph and his riders to have many hours of fun and exercise in comfort”.

There are 35 RDA groups across Surrey, Sussex and Kent with more than 2,000 riders of all ages. They enjoy the experience of riding, carriage driving, show jumping, dressage endurance and western style, with opportunities to learn a new skill, enter competitions or even take a holiday.

This can bring a new dimension to necessarily restricted lives, encourage independence and does much to improve a wide range of medical conditions.

RDA has the commitment of more than 1,000 volunteers who regularly and cheerfully give up their free time. Instructors work closely with physiotherapists and other health professionals to encourage every individual to aim for attainable goals – some modest, others far more ambitious.