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,

Boxing Day racing at Fontwell Park

Don’t miss Fontwell Park’s Boxing Day meeting this year. This festive event is one of the most popular fixtures on this racecourse’s calendar.

There is always top class jump racing at this popular fixture, which has seven races scheduled.

Last year the opening Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle, run over two miles three furlongs set the standard for the day with a thrilling finale, in which only a neck separated the first two home.

In the final stages Ben Hicks and Michael Heard fought out the finish in fine style with Michael Heard going on to bring 6-4 favourite Oskar Denarius home to win by a neck for trainer Jennifer Mason from 13-2 shot River Dun, trained by David Pipe.

Last year’s winner of the conditional jockeys’ race, Oscar Denarius  ridden  by Michael HeardPhoto: Fontwell Park Racecourse

Again this year, the racecourse will be transformed into a winter wonderland with reindeers, an Ice Rink and festive food and beverages, as well as plenty of games stalls for family entertainment.

The atmosphere and cheers will continue throughout the day and one of the most prestigious races in England, The King George VI Chase at Kempton Park will be relayed on the big screen for everyone to see.

And at Fontwell Park itself, some top quality jump racing is guaranteed at this popular fixture.

Tickets start from £19 when booked in advanced. The Premier admission tickets are likely to sell out so please book early to avoid disappointment.

Centre course parking on this fixture is FREE of charge, so it is operated on a first come, first serve basis. Be aware that the centre course is all grass, so please ensure you wear the appropriate footwear.

The meeting is sponsored by Southern Cranes and Access Ltd- a locally -owned company which is now a leading provider of mobile crane hire, contract lifting services and powered access hire in London and the South East.


Pageant at Royal Windsor Horse Show 2019

2019 celebrates the 200th Anniversary of the birth of Queen Victoria and to mark this significant occasion, the BAFTA Award winning team of the 2016 Best Live Event (The Queen’s 90th Birthday Celebrations) will stage The Pageant on the evenings of May 9, 10 and 11 at Royal Windsor Horse Show.


Horse Guards will be in action at the pageant

Presented by Alan Titchmarsh, the pageant compere, the 90-minute show will bring together memorable events from the Victorian Era including Elgar, the Music Hall, Gilbert & Sullivan, Dickens, Rail Travel and the Industrial Revolution. With only 3,500 seats for sale each night, the pageant is expected attract a full house.

A cast of artists, dancers and performers, together with 500 participants, over 400 horses and 30 carriages will re-create 19th Century Great Britain and the Reign of Queen Victoria in a theatrical tableau beneath the floodlit Windsor Castle.

The show will be choreographed by Dougie Squires MVO, who was responsible for the stage direction of HM The Queen’s 90th Birthday Celebrations.

Alongside the Household Cavalry and The King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery, will be the Czikos from Hungary, the acrobatic and daring Land of Fire Display from Azerbaijan, Pipes & Drums, Dancers from the Music Halls, performers from Gilbert & Sullivan Operas and a Balmoral Dressage Quadrille.

This joins the Pageant Series at Royal Windsor Horse Show, which over the years has included All The Queen’s Horses (2002), Windsor Castle Royal Tattoo (2008 to 2011), The Diamond Jubilee Pageant (2012) and The Queen’s 90th Birthday Celebrations (2016).

Tickets for The Pageant go on sale this coming week and visitors may purchase them online at www.windsorpageant.co.uk or via the box office on 0844 581 0755 . Local Windsor residents may purchase their tickets at Windsor Information Centre located in Windsor Royal Shopping or by telephone on 01753 743589.

BHS annual awards

Journalist and author Simon Barnes, North Yorkshire Police and Christopher Bartle FBHS, were amongst those recognised at the British Horse Society’s (BHS) annual awards held in Saddlers’ Hall, London on Friday (23 November).

The annual BHS Awards reward and recognise the outstanding achievements of the society’s volunteers, supporters and partners.

Speaking at the event, BHS President, Martin Clunes said: “The BHS Awards are a really nice opportunity for the BHS to say thank you to its volunteers. Don’t forget to nominate your equine heroes for next year, whoever they are, whether they, run an equestrian centre, are an amazing BHS ambassador or even a little pony”.

All BHS award winners
Photo: David Cotter

Journalist and author, Simon Barnes, was awarded the Elwyn Hartley-Edwards Award which recognises a writer, broadcaster or publication whose work has been particularly beneficial to the wellbeing of the horse. Barnes was praised for regularly championing the transformative power of horses in his writing.

The Tarquin Trophy was awarded to North Yorkshire Police for excellent service in the cause of equestrian safety. North Yorkshire Police were one of the first police forces to support the BHS’s vital safety campaign messages and they continue to be strong advocates of the society’s work.

The Changing Lives through Horses Coach Award, brand new for 2018, was awarded to Stephen Bennett of Parbold Equestrian Centre for his exceptional dedication to his participants personal growth and development.

Fellow of the BHS, Christopher Bartle received the President’s Award for exceptional service to the society over a period of years. Christopher has been an outstanding ambassador for the BHS, delivering inspirational training sessions at BHS conventions and always supporting the vital work of the society.

A total of 26 awards were handed out at this year’s ceremony, celebrating the fantastic work carried out by BHS volunteers, Committee members and supporters across all areas of the society’s work.

Nick Gifford’s string in top form

Runners from historic Downs Stables at Findon are coming into good form, with trainer Nick Gifford, assisted by his wife Ruth, currently having their string in top condition.

Downs Stables gateway
Photo: Jeannie Knight

Recent successes include an impressive win at Kempton when Fairway Freddy secured another victory, well ridden by Rex Dingle. Owned by The Gold Dream Partnership, and led up by Andrew Tony Veale,  this progressive young horse continues to improve and is a star for the future.

He benefits from being ridden at home by not only Andrew Tony Veale but also former jockey Gerry Enright, whose vast experience will benefit this rising stable star. He is clearly heading to be a stable star for the future.

Fairway Freddy being led in by Andrew Tony Veale
Photo: Ruth Gifford

Other runners from the yard have also been in the limelight.  Another horse to note is Notre Ami, owned by the Morpheus Partnership.  The seven-year-old had an unfortunate fall in a novice handicap chase at Huntingdon in early October, but has put that behind him.

Notre Ami went on to finish second in a confidence-building handicap hurdle at Lingfield, ridden by Nick Scholfield in mid November. Then on November 26 he ran in the Beginners Steeple Chase over two miles two furlongs on good ground at Kempton finishing third under Leighton Aspell over fences. He was led up by Andrew Tony Veale, who also rides him a lot at home.

Don’t miss Plumpton’s top class festive meetings

PLUMPTON Racecourse offers the chance to get into a festive mood with a racing fixture over jumps at this popular Sussex track on Monday December 3.

There will be live music and top class jump racing in a very special atmosphere with more than £50,000 of prize money on offer. This is bound to attract quality fields again.

At the same fixture last year, Jester Jet was a ready winner of the Class 3 Mares’ Handicap- and went on from that to land a Grade 3 race at the Aintree Festival.

Solomon Grey, Harry Skelton up, was a December Plumpton winner last year. Photo Jeannie Knight

Another good victory was when Frank N Fair,  a firm local favourite from the Zoe Davison yard, landed the Tysers Handicap Chase.

Monday 17th December – Christmas Raceday

The racecourse has more than £50,000 prize money on offer at the fixture on December 17. Trainers and horses come from afar to try and get one final win at Plumpton before the year comes to a close.

And what better way to start 2019 being at Plumpton for the Sky Sports Racing Sussex National on Sunday January 6? Blow away those Christmas Blues and be at Plumpton for this flagship race and fixtures with more than £80k of Prize Money.

The big race itself is worth more than £35,000 and always attracts a good turn out of runners.

Sands Farm is top class equestrian centre

SANDS Farm Equitation Centre in Northlands Road at Warnham, near Horsham in West Sussex, has a busy programme of equestrian events in December, continuing into the New Year in January 2019.

This is a top class equestrian centre offering D.I.Y. livery, a variety of showjumping, showing and dressage competitions, clinics and gridwork throughout the year. There is a large international sized indoor arena with a full race of show jumps, a PA system and electronic timing, dressage boards, judges boxes and full flood lighting.

There is a covered outdoor warm up arena, pictured below, just a short walk away from  the  indoor collecting ring.

This is a dry place to warm up your horse out of the winter elements before you are called for your class. Just a small walk from the indoor collecting ring.

The centre is also available for hire on days when there are no events booked.

The programme leading up until Christmas starts on Sunday December 2 with an Arena TREC event with Jenny Snowden, and is followed with Gridwork with Donald Kear on Thursday December 6.

There will be Surrey Union Pony Club Dressage on Saturday December 8 followed by Chiddingfold Farmers Junior Christmas Show on Sunday December 9. Sands Farm Dressage takes place on Wednesday December 12 and Surrey Union Pony Club’s Fun Show is on Saturday December 15.

Crawley and Horsham Pony Club will be holding its Christmas Show there on Sunday December 30, and another popular  Gridwork with Donald Kear follows on Monday December 31. Dressage is on Wednesday January 9 and Gridwork with Donald Kear on Thursday January 10.

For more details, contact Sands Farm on 07923 385675, 01403 252238 or email linda.wayman@sky.com



Niall Donnelly takes over at Hickstead Polo Club

Irish international polo player Niall Donnelly has taken over the running of the All England Polo Club at Hickstead.

He takes over from Sarah Wiseman from Aspect Polo, who will be focusing on playing international polo on the Women’s Tour.

“Niall has been closely involved with the club for several years, and we are looking forward to a fantastic 2018/19 winter season under Niall’s stewardship,” said AEPC Chairman, John Bunn.

International Arena Test Match action at Hickstead

Niall began his polo career at the age of 14 and has gone on to play all over the world, including Australia, New Zealand, India and most recently, Barbados. He currently plays off an outdoor handicap of 4 goals and an Arena handicap of 6.

Niall Donnelly
Photo courtesy of Images of Polo which holds the copyright

He is a regular on the International Irish team and has won several best playing pony prizes while representing his country. As well as playing, Niall spends his time training polo ponies and coaching players.

“I am looking forward to the upcoming season at Hickstead, and I am hoping to introduce lots of new players to the excitement of Arena Polo, as well as coaching some of the talented young players in the area,” said Niall.

The All England Polo Club has a full-sized 100m x 50m arena, a popular clubhouse and stabling for more than 80 horses. Polo livery is available, as well as rental horses and lessons.

The Hickstead season gets underway with an open weekend of chukkas, followed by regular Club chukkas and tournaments most weekends throughout the winter. The season culminates with the Arena Polo International Test Match on Saturday March 2.

Tickets for the Test Match go on sale later this year, and will cost just £5 per ticket. Admission and parking for all the other tournaments is free of charge, and spectators are always welcome.

Brendon’s successful Children In Need event

Brendon Riding Centre at Pyecombe held a highly successful Showing and Mini Jumping show in aid of Children in Need on Saturday November 18 and Sunday November 19. The event was well supported, as always, and raised more than £2,500 for the charity.

Brendon’s impressive Paris ArenaShowing and Mini Jumping Results Saturday: Marvellous Mare- non lead rein pony- 1 Trixie and Scarlett Poulton; 2 Lizzie Bridey and Bladwin Watt; 3 Peanut and Sophie Moisey-Parry; 4 Goldie and William Dales; 5 Misty and Fleur Gallagher; 6 Dor and Kiya Morley.

Marvellous Mare Lead Rein- 1 St Lucy and Lou Matilda Burnett; 2 Princess and Rosie Crumley; 3 Kentucky Blue Miss Ellie  and Isla  Moisey Parry; 4 Dellas Du Bleau and Florence Humphrey; 6 Cerys and Bertie Harrison.

Gorgeous Gelding and non lead rein rider. 1 St Peter Pan and Maisie Harrison; 2 Kevin and Max Carr; 3 Taboo The Dude and Evita Hine.

Gorgeous Gelding Lead Rein- 1-St Puzzle and Darcey Gilbert; 2 Pip and Jessica Duggan; 3 Gizmo and Teagan Jacob; 4 Chip and Archie Parry; 5 Shaun and Elsie Mae Austin. 6 Sir Howey Karim and Harry Plunkett;

Pony Club Pony and Non Lead Rein Rider:  1 St Fudgie and Poppi Spivey; 2 Black Diamond and Jasmine Chaabane; 3 Goldie and William Dales; 4 Digger and Lottie Adams; 5 Pinky and Izzy Gladwell; 6 Trixie and Scarlett Poulton.

Pony Club Pony- Lead Rein Rider. 1 St Kentucky Blue Miss Ellie and Isla Moisey-Parry; 2 Gizmo and Teagan Jacob; 3 King and Lola Moore; 4 Rave and Roxy Moore; 5 Snowy and Eva Whittome; 6 Lilly and Daisy Scott.

Pony the judge would like to take home- non lead rein- 1 Taboo The Dude and Evita Hine; 2 Shadow and China West; 3 Pinky and Izzy Gladwell; 4 Bungee and Izzie Pollard; 5 Doodles and Faith Shephard; 6 Black Diamond and Jasmine Chaabane.

Pony the judge would like to take home  – lead rein- 1 St Chip and Archie Parry; 2 Lucy Lou and Matilda Burnett; 3 Hammy and Cooper Almeida  ; 4 Goldie and Madeline Rainier; 5 Toffee and Nathan Istead; 6 Shaun and Elsie Mae-Austin

Best Rider Non Lead Rein- 1 St Dinky and Ameilia Duggan; 2 Kentucky Blue and Miss Ellie Sophie Moisey-Parry; 3 Charlie and Esme Oliver; 4 Bungee and Izi Pollard; 5 Black Diamond and Jasmine Chaabane.




BHS Sefton Awards celebrate safety contributions

The recent British Horse Society’s (BHS) annual Sefton Awards celebrated three individuals who have recently made significant contributions to equestrian safety.

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.

Those honoured at this year’s awards were: Derek Thomas MP, Michelle Clark and Julie Doorne.

Alan Hiscox, Director of Safety at the BHS said: “All recipients of a Sefton Award have demonstrated considerable passion and determination to improve the safety of equines and equestrians across the UK. The work these particular individuals have undertaken over the past year has been truly commendable and all of us at the BHS are extremely grateful for their outstanding efforts and commitment”.

Award presentation L to R  David Sheerin (BHS Chairman), Derek Thomas MP, Michelle Clark, Julie Doorne and Ellen Shaw  (Ellen was awarded a Sefton in 2017 but had been unable to attend that year).

Member of Parliament for St Ives, Derek Thomas, was acknowledged for his efforts in bringing the safety of horses and riders to the forefront of parliamentary discussion over the past year. Derek was also commended for his continual support to equestrians in his constituency, championing the BHS’s ‘Dead Slow’ campaign messages.

Derek said: “We have lots of rural roads in my constituency so it makes sense to be doing more to make sure horses and riders are safe. Awareness is the key to this so I was glad I could use what influence I have as a local MP to bring the attention to my colleagues in parliament.”

Michelle Clark was recognised for her work in Surrey, where her fundraising and safety campaigning resulted in additional road signage being erected in her local area. Michelle’s campaigning followed a tragic car incident, resulting in the death of two horses and serious injuries for Michelle. Her efforts will directly improve the safety of many equestrians in her area.

Michelle said: ” “You don’t expect something like that to happen to you on a normal Sunday morning hack, especially when you’ve ridden the road for as many years as I have. I will do as much as I can for everyone but I just want more people to have more road safety awareness. With the money we’ve raised, we will have our road signs up before the end of this year and we’ve got an agreement with local farmers to put them up so they can be clearly seen from the roads.”

Julie Doorne was praised for her work surrounding the effects indiscriminate use of fireworks can have on horses and other animals. Julie has worked effortlessly to raise awareness of the welfare and safety issues surrounding fireworks and has presented two petitions, with a combined 204,000+ signatures to Parliament.

Julie said:“I couldn’t believe it when the letter came through the door, I’ve never received anything like this before. I couldn’t have done this without the help of lots of individuals, people who put in 8-10 hours of work a day in! The petition is on 350,000 at the moment and I would really like to get it to 500,000.”









New fixtures for eventing in 2019

The 2019 British Eventing fixtures list for next season brings new venues and classes to the calendar, along with changes to international class codes.

Stapleton Manor in County Durham will host its first BE event on August 17-18 with classes up to novice.

Ten regular venues will hold new classes next year. Bicton, in April, will host a new CCI2*-S class , Warwick Hall, will hold four- and five-year-old championship qualifiers in July, and Burnham Market,will add an intermediate class.

Changes for Scotland include a new venue.Glamis Castle in Angus will run in August, following the loss of Hendersyde Park and Aswanley this year. Eglinton in June will be hosting a novice regional final, while Forgandenny in July will host a four- and five-year-old championship qualifier. Kirriemuir which previously ran twice will now run only on  May 4.

West Sussex event rider Gemma Tattersall competing with Arctic Soul
Photo: British Eventing

Other changes riders can look forward to include a new BE90Ou18 class, a BE90 exclusively for riders under the age of 18, andthe introduction of the BE80(T) regional finals for riders competing at grassroots levels, with the championship being hosted by Kelsall Hill, Cheshire on September 27-29.