Moorcroft schooling session for your horse

Moorcroft Racehorse Welfare Centre at Huntingrove Stud, Slinfold, will be offering an opportunity for supporters to take their own horses to the centre next month for a short schooling session.

The short constructive session on Saturday February 22 is aimed at giving confidence and is a great opportunity to learn to improve individual riding skills and understanding  in a safe and quiet environment.

A retrained racehorse being ridden at Moorcroft
Photo: Mark Beaumont

The session will be held in the indoor school with Mary Frances BHS11, BHS and BHS.SM. The cost for the 30 minute sessions will be £30 each. All proceeds wil go to help horses being retrained at Moorcroft so that they can go on to a useful and happy life outside racing.

Mary, who has managed the centre for the last 12 years has 40 years experience with many breeds and types of horses.

Book online at


Colne Stud to sponsor at HOYS 2020

Horse of the Year Show is pleased to once again welcome The Colne Stud as class sponsors for 2020. Founded in 1972, The Colne Stud has been going for 45 years under the care of wife and husband team, Ann and Alan Overton-Ablitt.

The stud was started with the aim of breeding Welsh Mountain Ponies suitable for the youngest of children to show and enjoy and has found great success providing starter ponies for professional and home-produced riders.

The Colne Stud will be name sponsors of the Mountain & Moorland Lead Rein Pony of the Year which takes place in the TopSpec Arena, where the highest placed ponies will go on to the Colne and The Feed Shed Mountain and Moorland Mini Pony of the Year Championship.

Thistledown Van Der Vaart in superb form at last year’s event Photo courtesy of 1st Class Images

Alan Ablitt of The Colne Stud commented: “It has been a great pleasure to sponsor The Colne Stud Mountain and Moorland Lead Rein Pony of the Year for the past 22 years. This class is a wonderful showcase for the small Native Breeds of Great Britain.”

Horse of the Year Show Event Director, Emma Williams, commented: “We are incredibly grateful for the long standing support of The Colne Stud, on behalf of our competitors and the show itself. To have the backing of the showing community is incredibly important to the future of the sport.”

Horse of the Year Show takes place from October 7-11 2020 at the Resorts World Arena, the NEC Birmingham bringing another year of breath-taking displays and unbeatable competition.

Tickets and a full timetable of events will be released in March. To stay up-to-date with the latest HOYS news and to be the first to know what’s happening, sign up to the HOYS newsletter here:

BHS Approved Centres win top awards

Congratulations to the BHS Approved Centres which won three out of four categories at Saturday’s SEIB Insurance Brokers Livery Yard and Riding School of the Year Awards 2020.

SEIB Full Livery Yard of the Year winners- Church House Farm, NAFUK and Animal Health Trust

They were:

Wellington Riding School in Hampshire- Winner of Best Riding School title.

Court Bank Farm, Staffordshire- winner of the Best DIY Livery yard (over 80% DIY).

Church House Farm Livery Yard, Essex, winner of Best Full Livery Yard ( over 80% full livery).

Theirs was a significant achievement to even make the shortlist because there were more than 1,400 nominations overall.

A spokesperson for Court Bank Farm said: “Thank you to The British Horse Society for the advice and guidance you have given us over the years. You have been on the journey with us since day one. We could not have done it without your support!”




Pauline is new RDA chairperson for South East

Pauline Roestenburg of Staplehurst’s Chalkdown RDA Group has become the new South East Regional Chair of Riding for the Disabled, with effect from January 2020.

She succeeds Lindsay Correa, who leaves after seven years, having been enticed to higher office by RDA UK as the Trustee responsible for Volunteer  Development.

Pauline joined Chalkdown RDA as a volunteer in 2012 and quickly became a member of the Committee and Trustee, subsequently taking over as Chair of the Group in 2016.

RDA’s new South East Regiona;l Chair, Pauline Roestenburg

She has been able to use her background in recruitment and advertising to raise the Group’s profile, improve volunteer training and generate fundraising opportunities.   This year she also worked as part of the Health & Safety Team at the RDA National Championships.

“It is a great honour to be chosen as the new chair to lead the South East Region into the next decade,” said Pauline.

“To follow in Lindsay’s footsteps will be no mean feat but I will do so with a passion and fervent belief in the amazing work that we all do at RDA. I have come to realise that you never stop learning at RDA, no two days are ever the same and our riders and ponies never cease to amaze me.

“I look forward to getting to know everyone as I strongly believe in teamwork and inclusivity. I know that by working together we will continue to build a fantastic future for RDA in our Region. “

Pauline takes on an active and healthy RDA region following the standard-setting work achieved by Lindsay.

Among the RDA family she was known fondly as the ‘Pocket Rocket’ for her tireless enthusiasm and encouragement. She certainly travelled the length and breadth of one of the largest regions to visit groups, support them and spread the word of the Regional team.

Pauline lives in Staplehurst with her family, dogs, and horses.   She studied at the London College of Music and relaxes by playing classical piano.  She also loves nothing better than hacking out in the woods on her horse Flora.

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

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,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


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.

BHS to train four new access officers

The British Horse Society (BHS) is recruiting for four brand new Access Field Officers to join the Society and help support the Society’s growing Access work.

The new positions, based in the East, South West, Yorkshire, the East and West Midlands are home based roles and have been created to ensure the delivery of defined access objectives in each specific region.

Each officer will work closely with trained voluntary Access and Bridleway Officers in their region and take a coordinated approach to taking access to the next level in the region.

Bridleway and Access officers to be trained by BHS

Director of Access at The British Horse Society, Mark Weston said: “The British Horse Society is the voice for our industry on equestrian access matters and we’re delighted to be able to introduce an additional four Access Field Officer Roles to our expanding Access team. As we move into 2020, the 2026 deadline to protect historical rights of way from extinction moves ever closer and these new positions will make a crucial difference to our access efforts on a local level.”

The successful applicants will be responsible for fuelling the work to research and record lost rights of way as well as taking opportunities to support the establishment of new routes wherever possible. In addition, the new Officers will also coordinate equestrian access activities and meetings which aim to protect and secure routes in their region, as well as looking to recruit more volunteers.

The BHS has two existing Access Field Officers in post in the South and the South East/London.

Applications for the position close this coming Monday,  09 December.  To find out more and download the full job description please visit

Vital work of Injured Jockeys Fund

The Injured Jockeys Fund was the brainchild of founding trustee and past past president John Oaksy and came about following the devastating accidents of Tim Brookshaw and, four months later, Paddy Farrell in the 1964 Grand National

Both falls resulted in severe paralysis which immediately ended both their careers. Since then the Fund has helped more than 1,000 jockeys and their families and has paid out more than £18m in charitable assistance.

The Injured Jockeys Fund helps any rider who holds, or has held, a professional or amateur licence issued by the British Horseracing Authority including apprentice, conditional and point-to-point riders, including any spouse, partner, child or dependant they may have.

The Injured Jockeys Fund was the brainchild of founding trustee and past president, the late Lord John Oaksey. It came about following the devastating accidents of Tim Brookshaw and, four months later, Paddy Farrell in the 1964 Grand National. Both falls resulted in severe paralysis which immediately ended both their careers.
Sir Tony McCoy

Sir Tony McCoy, President of the IJF

Since then the fund has helped hundreds of jockeys and their families and has paid out more than £19m in charitable assistance. It also part funds on course physios and medical services and also research into improved riding protection equipment for jockeys which has resulted in a number of improved manufacturing standards being implemented.
Its first rehabilitation centre, Oaksey House was opened in Lambourn in 2009 and in April 2015  the Jack Berry House followed-a  rehabilitation and fitness centre in Malton for northern based jockeys.
Jockey Andrew Thornton using IJF facilities to recover from injury.

Jockey Andrew Thornton using IJF facilities to recover from injury.

Aims are to improve the lives of injured jockeys and their families in a prompt and sympathetic manner to those jockeys past or present who are injured, unable to ride or generally in need .
The value of their work was highlighted by an horrific freak fall involving four horses, which left jockey Freddy Tylicki paralysed from the waist down.
 The fund provides continued help and support through the purchasing items from its range of products and donations by members of the public, which help it continue vital work in providing help and care for jockeys.
Watch out for the sale of calendars, IJF Christmas cards and other items, at local racecourses in the run-up to Christmas. Purchases of these items by the racing public helps fund this vital work.
See how you can help, and also get the latest updates, by visiting: