About Jeannie Knight

Jeannie Knight confesses to a lifelong passion for horses, which started at the early age of four when accompanying her father and uncle to a race meeting at Wetherby. Born and bred in Yorkshire, she has been a journalist all her life, working for a range of northern papers, including the Northern Echo and Middlesbrough Evening Gazette, later moving to the south of England. She worked for The Sporting Life, writing features and racing news for Sussex area when her three sons were small, and later joined the West Sussex Gazette as chief reporter. There she created a full page of equestrian news for the West Sussex Gazette, which still continues. The first woman to fly a hang glider in this country, she and her husband Tom ran a hang gliding school for ten years and when Tom turned to microlights and light aircraft, she sold her hang glider and bought a racehorse that had been destined for Ascot sales. She used her to hack across the Downs around Findon and Washington, later breeding a foal from her, which she sold to go eventing in the north of England. "There are so many untold stories about horses and their riders, whether in racing, show jumping or any other sphere, that my aim is to highlight as much equestrian news and achievements as possible," she said,

Amy Inglis has double clear in CSIO 5*

It was another outstanding performance from the CSIO 5* debutante Amy Inglis when she jumped double clear in the Grand Prix of La Baule, France to finish in fourth place.

Friday had seen Amy make her first appearance on a top level nations cup team in great style when she produced the best result of the Brits by finishing on just a single time penalty across both rounds having left all fences untouched.

As if that wasn’t enough to get her noticed, she later came out and jumped a double clear in the Grand Prix, one of only four combinations to do so, claiming fourth place in what was a world class competition.

Amy Inglis and Wishes  : Photo by: Lewis Harding Photography

Making her performance all the more meaningful was that she was riding her mother’s homebred  11 year-old chestnut mare, Wishes,  who she has produced slowly up through the ranks herself.

It was a field of forty-five riders that came forward to contest the 1.60m course that twisted and turned its way across the vast grass arena at the Stade Francoise Andre..

There was just a total of eight  that managed to achieve a first round clear with Amy being the sole Brit to make it through amid what was a strong and established group. The fourth rider to come forward, and with no clears having been achieved at that point, Amy set the grandstands alight when she posted the first clear putting pressure on the remaining riders coming up behind her.

It was three of them that achieved the challenge set by jumping clear in a faster time with  Simone Blum (GER) taking the win with DSP Alice in a time of 43.33 seconds.  Hot on their heels and just a fraction of a second slower were Steve Guerdat (SUI) on Albfuehren’s Bianca, and Kenny Darragh (IRE) with Important de Muze who took second and third spots respectively.

For Amy, it was a fourth place finish ahead of Gregory Wathelet who was the fastest on 4 penalties with Iron Man van de Padenborre.

Talking afterwards Amy said “ I’m finding it hard to talk about it and take it all in if I’m honest as it hasn’t really sunk in yet.  She [Wishes]  is just so good, she jumped the Nations Cup like it was no effort to her and she’s such a fighter.  Then today when it was even bigger she just fought a bit harder.  She loves it and she is so brave with the biggest heart.

“It was the biggest course we have ever jumped, but I tried not to think about it and I knew there was no reason to worry as she would always do everything I ask of her.  I just wanted to go out and do our best and I am so happy with her.

“When I walked the course I kept saying I thought it was getting bigger, it looked really big as it’s our first time at this level.  Today has meant everything, Friday was amazing but to come out and  jump double clear today in the Grand Prix has just been unbelievable!”

British Showjumping would like to thank NAF, title sponsors of the Senior Nations Cup Teams along with the Children, Junior, Young Rider and Veteran teams.

The GBR showjumping teams are supported by the British Equestrian Federation’s World Class Programme, funded by UK Sport through the National Lottery. The Programme focuses on identifying talent, developing potential and maximising medal-winning performances on the world stage.


RDA Challenge Day success

Despite dodging the ‘April’ showers, the annual Riding for the Disabled Challenge Day saw a record number of young riders from across the South East. Riders representing RDA groups from Sussex, Kent and Surrey converged on East Grinstead’s Felbridge Show Ground onThursday May 9 to display their riding skills in a range of activities.

These included the Countryside Challenge, which was a qualifying event for the RDA National Championships in Hartpury, Gloucestershire in July.

Most of the riders had come to go head-to-head in the Countryside Challenge which enjoyed the most entries ever, but there was also a dressage competition, a Handy Pony, Gymkhana games and the fabulous fancy dress which rounded off the day with a Children’s Books theme.

Liz Rubin of sponsors Cowan Architects presents Fairlight Hall’s Kitty Scarboro with second place rosette
Photo: Joanna Sale

This was judged by Liz Rubin from RDA’s regional sponsor, Cowan Architects, who selected Samber RDA as the ultimate winners with wonderfully home-crafted Little Red Riding Hood entry.

The Countryside Challenge follows a simulated course where the riders put their skills to the test by tackling obstacles and tasks they might find in the country. These include going through a gate, crossing a ‘road’, entering a farmyard, picking an apple from a tree and posting a letter. Although great fun, this also tests their steering, balance and confidence.

Chalkdown’s Robert Hall opens the gate on Merlin Photo: Joanna Sale

In the Countryside Challenge qualifiers, it was a clean sweep for East Park RDA (Newchapel) with Kyle Coleman and Darcy Brown, Orla Wynn, Erin Hunt and Olive Hamilton-Stent all enjoying qualifying places. Fairlight Hall RDA (Hastings) did the same in the senior section with Christopher Bigaignon snatching first for a second year running, and Christopher Tite qualifying in second place. Fairlight Hall also did well in the Independent Class, winning both Junior and Senior qualifying slots with Rosie Turner and Joe Roud respectively. Zoe House of Fairlight Hall also qualified in the Seniors.

Plumpton’s Hope in the Valley RDA stole the show in the another class with Stanley Porter and Fergus Tarr both going through.

It was a day when everyone was a winner but the dressage was dominated in one class by riders from Quest RDA (Chobham, Surrey) who were at the competition for the first time, and ended up enjoying the Newcomer’s Trophy for their successful day.

Quest’s Taha Kiyana picks an apple on Diablo
Photo: Joanna Sale

Bradbourne also did well in the Senior classes with Peter Broome winning twice and Eliza Daus also winning to build on their success from last year.

Samber RDA (Woking) celebrated a win with Hetty Nadin in the Junior dressage, as did Chalkdown (Staplehurst) with double winner, Paul Montgomery, who topped his class in both the Senior dressage and the Countryside Challenge.

Liz Rubin, an interior architect at Cowan Architects, presented the prizes and said “It was such a treat and an honour to participate in this inspiring event and meet such enthusiastic young people. The weather was pretty good, despite a few showers and there were smiles all round”.

Lindsay Correa, Chairman of RDA across the South East praised the volunteers and organisers who had had to cope with the large number of entries and collate the results in super rapid time. “They are all an extraordinary team, and you only had to see the reactions from our riders to see that we absolutely achieved our aim of providing them and their families with a superb day” she said.

Centaurus Trust is HOYS 2019 charity

The Centaurus Trust has been chosen to be the Official Charity of the Year for Horse of the Year Show 2019.  It works in partnership with Equine Learning CIC to provide therapeutic horsemanship opportunities to disabled and disadvantaged adults, young people and children in Warwickshire, Worcestershire and across the UK.

The charity will feature in the NEW Therapy Area as part of the Meet the Horses Zone in the Retail Village at HOYS, where visitors will have the exciting opportunity to meet and interact with two of their therapy ponies.

Equine learning with the group     Photo: Centaurus Trust

It will also provide daily demonstrations in the new feature area, explaining the mental health and personal development benefits of the work they do and demonstrating the effects it has had on the young people they have worked with.

The charity was started in 2007 as a community project lead by Nicola Hepburn, who was first introduced to equine therapy when she volunteered for a local RDA group. In 2005, Nicola trained in Equine Facilitated Learning, something which she found to be completely life changing and sparked her desire to do more.

For her 30th birthday she held a fundraising event which generated £500 and was enough to get the community project underway. Nicola began by offering equine facilitated learning sessions to local disabled and disadvantaged people with her own two horses and a pony. In 2007,

Nicola gave up her full-time job in order to commit more time to running the project, as well as studying for a degree in Equine Studies. In 2008 she set up CIC (Community Interest Company) which enabled her to open her first yard, with four stables, an indoor school and five acres of land.

Once she gained her riding establishment license, she began offering lessons through Equine Learning which helped to fund the community project. In 2009 the community project developed into the Centaurus Trust Charity (registered charity number 1133212) which works in partnership with Equine Learning.

Together they offer personal development through horsemanship to anyone who may benefit, with a particular focus on children and young people with autism and mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety.

In the summer of 2010, Equine Learning hosted their first Horse Boy camp, which is a therapeutic method of working with children with autism developed by Rupert Isaacson and his son Rowan. Nicola trained as a Horse Boy practitioner and Equine Learning continues to offer Horse Boy camps throughout the year during school holidays.

In 2014, Nicola moved to the beautiful new and much larger premises of Wootton Park Estate where she started to run more camps with over 20 horses and ponies, securing lottery funding. The centre has a team of 10 members of staff and volunteers who help Nicola to deliver the incredible ethos of the Centaurus Trust Charity and Equine Learning.

She said:“We are blown away to be chosen as the Charity of the Year for such a huge event that is HOYS and we are so excited to be coming along to showcase what we do. It is such a fantastic opportunity for us to raise awareness of our work and the personal development benefits which therapeutic horsemanship provides.”

She added: We will be in the therapy zone every day at HOYS, so please come along and speak to us to find out more.”

This year there are a range of fantastic packages available which can be purchased via the website https://hoys.co.uk/tickets/ or by calling the Box Office on 0844 581 8282. See you there!


Lingfield Park’s great racing and music events

A summer of great racing followed by a fusion of live music is on offer over eight separate dates at Lingfield Park Resort – with the first event certain to appeal to would-be rock stars.

Sunny raceday at Lingfield Park : Photo:Arena Racing Corporation Ltd

As the horses are led away to the stables for the night on Saturday June 1, visitors to the Surrey racecourse will be invited to celebrate all things ‘Queen’ as a live tribute band takes to the stage for a giant Bohemian Rhapsody-themed Massaoke.

“This is taking the concept of singing along at a gig to a whole new level,” commented Kieran Gallagher, executive director of Lingfield Park Resort.

“As the band sing and play all the best Queen hits on the stage, a giant screen will show the lyrics to the song, allowing the audience to be a complete part of the show.

“This is karaoke at its best!”

The stage for the summer gigs – all which follow an evening of racing – will this year be on the Grandstand side of the racecourse, allowing more people than ever to enjoy the live themed entertainment.

Just a week after the giant sing-along, JD King’s Elvis The Legend and his big band will take to the stage at the racecourse on June 8.  This Viva Las Vegas-themed night will appeal to all Elvis fans as one of his most popular impersonators brings to life some magic from Memphis.

With a sell-out Madness show on June 22,  the mood will change for the final Saturday on June 29 when the popular Take That Experience – regulars at Lingfield Park – entertain the race-goers.

A Lingfield Park capacity concert
Photo: Arena Racing Corporation

“We have tried to choose acts that appeal to our hugely eclectic audience,’ added Kieran Gallagher.  ‘Whether your choice of music is rock, pop or the real thing, we have something for everyone at Lingfield this summer.”

August sees a night to celebrate the roaring 1920’s as Gentlemen’s Day features the legendary Cheaky Blinders taking to the stage after racing. With a Best-Dressed Gents competition offering great prizes, this is sure to be a night to ‘Get you glad rags on’!

Jess Glynne will be increasing the tempo on August 10, with tickets selling out fast for this four-time Brit nominee star.

The season will end on August 31 with a fun School Reunion night featuring a 90’s Revival band. Dig out those school ties and pleated skirts and celebrate the sounds of Madonna, Whitney Houston and U2 as you take a trip down memory lane.

Tickets for all the live events are available from the Lingfield Park Resort website: https://www.lingfieldpark.co.uk or by calling the office on 01342 834800 (option 1).

Save £5 with advance purchase tickets.

BHS minority requests general meeting

The largest equestrian charity in the UK, The British Horse Society (BHS), has been asked by 42 members to hold a General Meeting.

The BHS has more than 107,000 members and promotes the interest of all horses, riders and owners across the UK. Its core focus is education, welfare, safety, participation and equestrian rights of way.

A group of 42 out of 107,000 BHS members have requisitioned a General Meeting for the purpose of voting on a resolution proposed by that group. The requisition, submitted on 12 March, proposed a resolution of a vote of no confidence in the Chairman, the Chief Executive (in post at the time, before taking retirement) and the Board of Trustees.

Under the BHS Articles, the members have a right to call the meeting, but gave no supporting information or evidence for proposing the resolution; they were offered mediation with the Society in line with Charity Commission guidance, which was declined.

The Board will vote against the resolution which requires a simple majority to carry.

The General Meeting vote does not hold legal precedence, but is a political statement in regard to the governance of the Society. The meeting will be held in Warwickshire on the Tuesday June 11, in advance of the Society’s Election Board Meeting in July, in which four new Trustees will join the Board. The Trustee election voting begins in early June.

This year the Society has held a number of members’ meeting throughout the UK and these will continue throughout the year as a platform for the Trustees to listen to members, and consider their invaluable input for inclusion in the future strategy of the Society.

All BHS members can attend the meeting which will take place on Tuesday June 11, at 7.00pm at The Stareton Hall, National Agricultural and Exhibition Centre, Stoneleigh Park, Stoneleigh, Kenilworth, CV8 2LZ. For more information about voting please visit www.bhs.org.uk/general-meeting

Goodwood’s popular May Festival

From May 23 – 25, Goodwood Racecourse’s ever popular May Festival returns and with it the announcement of a new local initiative with Age UK.

Believed to be the first concept of its kind set out by a racecourse in the country, ‘Friends of Goodwood’ aims to connect like-minded individuals who might otherwise face barriers with attending racing due to being alone.

Buses operated by Age UK will run a door-to-door collection service in the local area. Once at the course enthusiasts will be hosted and receive a talk from former Clerk of the Course, Seamus Buckley.

Helen Rice, CEO of Age UK West Sussex commented: “It’s so exciting to be working with Goodwood to provide opportunities for days out. This chance to come together and reduce isolation is massively important to us and knowing Goodwood cares about this means a lot. We hope this relationship will continue to blossom and that together we can serve more people and provide wonderful experiences.”

Don’t miss May Festival race day at Goodwood Racecourse, Saturday 26th May 2018
Photo by Liz Finlayson

Goodwood Racecourse’s, General Manager, Alex Eade said: “We are delighted to welcome this new link with Age UK; we enjoy wonderful views across the South Downs so with ‘Friends of Goodwood’ we very much look forward to giving something back to the local community and in the process putting a smile on peoples’ faces who might not otherwise come racing.”

Over the three days, The Food Market, located on the East Parade Lawn, will invite guests to sample and shop a plethora of locally-sourced food and drink as well as offering family activities for young foodies.

Several culinary displays in the Demo Kitchen will be hosted by chefs including Kenny Tutt, 2018 winner of BBC Masterchef, James Golding from The Pig Hotel Group, and local Michelin starred chef, Matt Gillan. Aside from the food, racegoers can enjoy an exquisite cocktail masterclass with Mirabeau on the Oak Tree Lawn, twenty-minute bespoke demonstrations will enlighten racegoers with beautifully blended recipes to kick start the summer.

Alex Eade continued; “The May Festival is always a flagship event for us; from a superb selection of street food on the concourse, to the jockeys and trainers omelette challenge, there is something for everyone across the three days.”

Tickets can be purchased from only £20 in advance and children under 18 go free in all enclosures. Please call 01243 216610 or visit Goodwood.com for tickets, hospitality, and further information.


BRC Fibre- Beet Festival of the Horse Championships 2019

Sponsors have wished good luck to all competitors ahead of this year’s BRC Fibre-Beet Festival of the Horse Championships which will be taking place this coming weekend (May 18-19) at Aston Le Walls, Northamptonshire.

Almost 800 junior and senior riders have qualified for the Festival Challenge and Combined Training Championships.

2019 will see the introduction of Direct Entry classes which do not require any prior qualification. These classes include; Native Type Dressage, Cob Type Dressage, Retrained Racehorse Dressage, Veteran Horse and Veteran Rider Dressage

Flashback to action at Festival of the Horse 2018
Photo courtesy of British Horse Feeds

BRC has the pleasure of welcoming Fibre-Beet as the title sponsor, who is returning for a second year sponsoring this event. Hatti I’Anson of British Horse Feeds said: “We are really looking forward to the BRC Fibre-Beet Festival of the Horse Championships 2019 and wish all the competitors the best of luck throughout the event. We very much enjoyed our first year as sponsors in 2018 and are hoping for an equally successful event this year.”

Results and pictures will be posted on the BRC Facebook page over the weekend, with full results available on the BRC website after the Championship event and on this website.

Return of Ride Out UK

The British Horse Society (BHS) has announced the return of Ride Out UK (ROUK) for 2019, with the campaign now running from May through to October.

Across the six months, the BHS, Affiliated Equestrian Access groups, BHS Approved Centres and British Riding Clubs will be hosting a range of events from guided rides to the ever popular pleasure rides on National Trust properties and large estates.

The previous two years have seen more than £18,000 raised for the BHS’ Paths for Communities Fund, a vital fund available to equestrians to create or repair multi-user routes in their local area.

Ride Out UK 2019

Tracy Casstles, Director of Fundraising at the British Horse Society said: “ROUK has been hugely popular amongst the equine community and we’ve seen all ages and abilities getting involved.

“From restoring unusable gates in Gloucestershire to draining and resurfacing routes in Somerset, the funds raised make a huge difference to local communities, by getting riders off the road and using their restored off-road routes, both now and in the future”.

As part of the campaign, the BHS is also challenging riders to become a ‘Platinum Rider’ by riding at least 70km whilst also raising a minimum of £70 for the Paths for Communities Fund.

This year’s Ride Out UK is kindly sponsored by Thorowgood.

To find an event in your area or to find out more about becoming a Platinum Rider, visit bhs.org.uk/rideoutuk

Colic awareness week

The British Horse Society (BHS) and University of Nottingham launched the UK’s first ever ‘Colic Awareness Week’ recently as part of their ‘REACT Now to Beat Colic’ Campaign in order to inform horse owners on how to spot the signs of colic.

It also told what to do, should they suspect their horse has the potentially fatal condition. This came after shocking research, conducted by The University of Nottingham revealed that 90 per cent of owners were not confident in spotting its early signs.

Both organisations received a huge amount of support from their 66 ‘Vet REACT Colic Champion’ veterinary practices, as well as Pet Plan, Spillers, The British Equine Veterinary Association and many more in helping them to share expert ‘top tips ‘and up-to-date statistics on recognising the signs of colic.

Early signs of colic in your horse

The importance of being prepared for colic and end of life decision making, with all information being accompanied by free online resources. In addition to this and as part of the week, AB Equine Riding School in Rugely raised money for the campaign.

The week was hailed a great success by horse enthusiasts across the UK with a 600 per cent ncrease in BHS website traffic to colic information pages, a total reach of nearly 600,000 people across social media pages and more than 500 people commented on one BHS Facebook post, sharing their own stories and experiences of colic.

Emmeline Hannelly, BHS Welfare Education Manager said: “Colic is a serious concern for horse owners so we wanted to dedicate a week to highlight and encourage discussions on many of the key issues. If owners are faced with having to make a difficult decision, we want to ensure they are making an informed decision at what will be an exceptionally distressing time. We are delighted with the outcome of the week and want to thank everyone who supported the event”.

The idea to hold an awareness week was suggested by the BHS and by the University of Nottingham’s PhD student Katie Lightfoot. Miss Lightfoot said: “Colic Awareness Week has exceeded our expectations and we are delighted at how engaged both horse owners and veterinary professionals have been. We set out to highlight how important planning for a potential colic emergency is, in order to prevent delays in veterinary treatment and I think the message was well received by horse owners across the country.”

Sarah Freeman, Professor of Veterinary Surgery at the School of Veterinary Science and Medicine, University of Nottingham, who headed up the initial research on colic with the BHS has also recently received the RCVS Impact Award, which is given to a veterinary surgeon or veterinary nurse who has recently, or is currently, undertaking a project or initiative that has had an important impact on the profession.

For further details on the ‘Vet REACT Colic Champions’ scheme and ‘React Now to Beat Colic’ campaign, please visit: www.bhs.org/colic.


Plumpton Charity Raceday 2019

Plumpton Racecourse has announced that it will be hosting its traditional Charity Raceday at on October 21 this year.

For the first time it will support the Bob Champion Cancer Trust. Bob’s connection with racing and, in particular, his links to Plumpton where he rode his first career winner in 1968 on Altercation, make the track a good selection a for this occasion.

Bob Champion MBE said: “Plumpton is one of my favourite courses and I was lucky enough to ride for Isidore Kerman and he certainly had some great horses. I have always enjoyed visiting the course over the years.

“This Charity Raceday will be something special and I am thrilled that it is benefiting the Trust. Our researchers are achieving great results – you never know we may even be able to make a research announcement on the day!

Bob Champion

“I’m really looking forward to it and hope many racegoers will join us on the day.”

The day will aim to build on previous years’ charity raceday successes, when more than £70,000 has been raised on the day in the past for charity Moorcroft Racehorse Welfare Centre, which plays a vital role in retraining ex-racehorses for lives outside racing.

The Bob Champion Cancer Trust  is another extremely worthwhile charity, which plays an important role in raising funds to support cancer research programmes at the
University of East Anglia and the Institute of Cancer Research in Sutton, Surrey.

To date more than £15 million has been raised for this worthy cause. This event supporting the trust at Plumpton promises to make this raceday another memorable
day, boosting funds for cancer research even further.

Tables of 10 or 12 are available with tickets at £95 per person, which includes racecourse entry, drinks reception,a three course lunch followed by afternoon tea.

Shetland pony racing on a previous charity day at Plumpton Photo: Jeannie Knight

Traditional Shetland Pony Race will take place before racing and sponsorship of the ponies, together with many other opportunities to contribute to the day, are available by
contacting Lucy Wilkinson on lucy@bobchampion.org.uk or visit www.bobchampion.org.uk or call the office on 0207 924 3553.

Any inquiries re tickets or the event generally, can be made via racing@plumptonracecourse.co.uk or on 01273 890393.