Moorcroft’s bright future under new trustees

A BRIGHT future is ahead for Moorcroft Racehorse Welfare Centre, based at Huntingrove Stud, Slinfold in West Sussex, which does such outstanding work retraining ex-racehorses to go on to lead active lives beyond the race track.

Moorcroft is headed by chief executive Mary Frances BHSII & BHS.SM.  Mary has an impressive background and her expertise in retraining ex-racehorses is unrivalled.

Her retraining achievements at Moorcroft are outstanding, She is assisted by Lianne Bird who is a skilled yard manager. Both have worked at Moorcroft for many years, achieving consistently good results for this charity.

Mary and head girl Leanne Bird  with Detour Ahead , a chestnut mare currently being retrained  at Moorcroft Photo: Jeannie Knight

Mary now has a new team of trustees at Moorcroft, with Nigel Neville, Pam Tetley and Jeannie Knight helping to take Moorcroft forward, supporting the charity’s retraining work with knowledge and enthusiasm.

Mary said: ” They are already making a difference here and are taking Moorcroft forward to a positive future.”

Mary oversees the retraining of ex-racehorses coming into Moorcroft’s care following a life in racing.  Her expertise is invaluable in achieving good results. Equines are transformed from nervy racehorses into meticulously schooled equines. They take part in special events at the centre which enable Moorcroft supporters to see for themselves the beneficial results of this expert retraining.

Moorcroft’s outstanding work was recently recognised with a much-needed £15,000 donation from Support Adoption for Pets towards the centre’s vet fees. A big thank-you has gone to this organisation.

On hand at the presentation ceremony was Galizzi, a seven-year-old bred by Darley, and originally trained by J Rainier. This horse raced mainly in France, before coming to England, where he raced for Tim Vaughan at Ascot and Epsom.

Galizzi in October 2018 on his arrival at Moorcroft just after finishing racing

Mary said : “He has settled in well at Moorcroft. He is a lovely horse and his retraining is developing well. We are extremely grateful for this financial boost from Pets at Home, which will help us continue our vital retraining work with ex-racehorses so they can go on to lead active lives in the future.”

Galizzi in outstanding condition this year having had careful rehab and retraining at Moorcroft in Mary’s skilled hands.

Meanwhile fundraising continues at Moorcroft, where an extension is being built to the indoor school to help the centre to progress.  A big thank-you from Moorcroft has gone to the Peter O’ Sullevan Trust for its support towards this.

Mary schooling Moonhammer

All Moorcroft horses learn to long-rein for posture improvement and strength. They can work on straight lines in a good outline, strengthening and lifting their backs every step of the way so they become comfortable horses for riders to sit on and therefore happy horses.

A past long reining course at Moorcroft where participants tried their hand at long-reining
Photo: Jeannie Knight

Another long reining course takes place at Moorcroft on May 18. To book your place with Mary contact:

Mary said:”There are many advantages to this schooling method and if taught correctly has huge benefits for any horse. Running around on the end of the lunge line on a permanent circle is something I never understood and it certainly will weaken and strain your horse in many ways – apart from exhausting it.

“We work well with an excellent vet and an ACPAT registered physiotherapist who have never failed to unearth and treat the problems that we often find these ex-racehorses have gone through.

“There are problems, which, if not found and solved, will prevent them from going on to comfortable new careers and therefore we are committed to helping them to change their way of going and their basic understanding of how to carry a rider. To this end they must be sound and pain-free.”

For more information about Moorcroft demonstrations or how to donate to this outstanding centre, please or ring 07929 666408.







Don’t miss Plumpton Charity Raceday next week

PLUMPTON Charity Raceday in aid of the Injured Jockeys Fund (IJF), which takes place on Wednesday February 13, is  looking to raise funds for one of racing’s main charities, the Injured Jockeys Fund.

This charity  is renowned for its outstanding work for jockeys of all distinctions and their families in difficult times.

The IJF will be holding a charity lunch and auction in the Marquee restaurant, priced at £75pp or a table of 10 for £700. If you would like to book a table or have any questions please email quoting Plumpton Charity lunch.

This raceday also marks the end of the Cheltenham Bonus Series for the 2018/19 season. What a great year it has been, with some top quality horses gracing Plumpton, such as Kalashnikov, Ok Corral, Mister Dino and Mister Malarky- the best series to date.

Get close to the action at Plumpton Photo: Jeannie Knight

Last years winner at the corresponding fixture was Eamon An Cnoic, which went on to run in the Ultima Handicap Chase, finishing ninth.

There is still some limited availability in the Paddock Restaurant which can be booked through the office on 01273 890383. It is the perfect way to join all at Plumpton in January, with a three course meal, a table for the day, entrance badge, racecard and a great all round view.

Plumpton’s Easter Festival follows on Easter Sunday April 21 and Easter Monday April 22 and is the pinnacle of the season for Plumpton, a two day bonanza on Easter Sunday, featuring the Sussex Champion Hurdle (Sunday) and Sussex Champion Chase (Monday), both worth £50,000 and ensuring some quality horses will be taking part.

Plumpton offers top racing action and a chance view the horses at close quarters                          Photo: Jeannie Knight

Elsewhere it is a day for all the family with children 17 or under going racing free.There will be a variety of entertainment, music and activities, and, as usual, a great atmosphere at this popular racecourse. Tickets are available now, and the Paddock Restaurant and private suites are selling fast, so do ensure you book now to avoid disappointment.

Boxes at Plumpton are great value for money packages, with amazing service and spectacular views of the home straight, winning post and South Downs. With a range of packages starting at £80 there is something for everyone, whether it be work related or for friends and family.

To book or for more information, please call the racecourse office on 01273 890383 or email:

England v France in arena polo

This year’s Playnation Arena Polo Test Match on Saturday March 2 will see the Flannels England team play France for the first time at Hickstead.

Both teams will be aiming to pick up the Bryan Morrison Trophy, which is presented to the winners of the annual Test Match held at the All England Polo Club. England has an excellent record in this fixture, winning all but one of the matches since the first Test Match was held at Hickstead in 2008.

Fast action by England team in a previous match

“We’re delighted to once again be chosen to host the Hurlingham Polo Association’s annual international test match, and we are very grateful to Playnation for coming on board as title sponsors of this match”, said AEPC Chairman John Bunn.

A full day of polo gets underway with the 12-Goal Challenge at 11.30am, followed by the Test Match at 1.30pm. The Polo Clubhouse will be open from 10.30am onwards, serving a range of food and drinks.

Admission costs just £5, and parking is free. Spectators also have the option of upgrading to the post-match luncheon, which is held in the Al Shira’aa Suite overlooking the International Arena. Tickets for the luncheon cost £49.50 each.

In Arena Polo, there are only three members per team instead of four. The pitch is smaller, the ball is larger and softer, and shots can be played off the boards of the arena, making it an exciting game to watch. The All England Polo Club has fixtures nearly every weekend from October to March, while lessons, livery and pony hire are also available.

Tickets are available at the gate or can be purchased online in advance from


BHS advice to horse riders and gritter drivers

The British Horse Society has issued advice to both horse riders and drivers of gritters in the current icy spell.

It has warned: “Whilst encounters between horses and gritting lorries are fairly infrequent, the nature of these vehicles with flashing lights and the noise from the spreading equipment is not familiar to most horses.

There are areas where horses run loose on moorlands and find their way to roads during snowfalls.

Watch out for riderless horses in moorland areas running along roads in snowy conditions. Photo courtesy of Reuters


The BHS said: “This may cause the horse to react in a way that could be challenging to the rider. ”

It has advised gritter drivers of what to do should they meet horses, saying:

  • Stop, turn off the gritter and lights, and allow the rider to find a safer place where the horse is less likely to react to the lorry, so that you can continue without startling the horse.
  • When the horse is settled and is in a safe position, continue past the horse at a slow speed – no more than 15 mph – (ideally without flashing lights).
  • Once you have passed the horse/rider and can see that they are settled, drive slowly away and reinstate your flashing lights.
  • Remember – it may take a few moments but if there is an accident requiring emergency services or vet you will be delayed even longer. See the below instructions to riders.

To riders it has advised:

  • Familiarise yourself with the gritting status of roads you use regularly and sign up to any notification service provided by your Highways Authority – this will allow you to lower the risk of meeting gritter lorries.
  • Gritter lorries cannot miss sections of road in the salt distribution as to do so risks dangerous ice.  Except on wide roads, the salt is sprayed over both lanes but not beyond the kerb.  So you should move off the main carriageway and as far away from the gritting area, as possible.
  • If your horse is likely to be challenged by being passed or overtaken by a gritter lorry, you should be familiar with these instructions given to the drivers. (See above)
  • If you see that a gritter lorry is behind you, look for somewhere safe to step off the main carriageway.  Turn your horses head so that they can see the source of the noise/flashing lights.
  • Once you have done so, signal to the driver that your horse is settled; they should then pass you slowly.
  • The BHS always recommends wearing appropriate Hi-Viz clothing when riding out, this enables you to increase your conspicuity and visibility to all drivers. See theTransport Research Laboratory Report – Conspicuity of Horses and Riders on Roads.
  • If you have an incident with a gritter lorry that causes you concern please report it to the BHS Incident Website

London’s 2019 Polo in the Park

London’s first polo event of the summer season returns to Hurlingham Park, Fulham to host its tenth birthday. Kicking off the change in seasons with an ultimate three-day summer celebration, Chestertons Polo in the Park takes over the capital’s social calendar on June 7-9 2019.

Limited ‘Early Bird’ tickets have now been released with new prices in celebration of the event’s tenth birthday. Chestertons Polo in the Park will reward the keenest ticket buyers with £10 off. Group bookings of 10 tickets but only pay for 9 and finally, to celebrate the event’s 10th birthday, children 10 and under are now FREE. Tickets available now via

One of the biggest social sporting events of the summer, Chestertons Polo in the Park is one of the largest and most popular polo tournaments in Europe combining world-class sport in the perfect setting of sunny champagne gardens with fantastic food and music.

The three-day sporting spectacle has firmly established itself as one of the most anticipated and sought after events in South West London. Perfect for polo fanatics and social enthusiasts in equal measure, the rules have been uniquely simplified so that newcomers will be able to follow the fast and furious polo without needing any prior knowledge of the game.

International Day, Friday June 7, is set to be an action-packed opening day featuring the Flannels England Polo Team as they take to the hallowed turf against a rival country in a thrilling international match to kick start the tournament.

Ladies Day presented by Lancaster, Saturday June 8, provides the perfect excuse to dress up and enjoy a day out with your closest friends, watching quality sporting action while sipping champagne in the sun.

Finals Family Day, Sunday June 9, rounds off the weekend with a world-class finale match to crown the tournament champions. A day for all the family where parents can watch on from London’s best cocktail bars or Champagne Lanson garden while the children are entertained at the Little Hooves Kids Club and stampede onto the Sharky & George Pitch Invasion.

Over the course of three days, teams representing six different cities from around the world will be taking part in the hotly contested event.

There will be plenty more to see and do all weekend with the Grazing Paddock hosting top restaurants and delicious street food, the Champagne Lanson Garden returns alongside the iconic Mahiki pineapples, Slingsby Cocktail Bar and Fever-Tree Garden. Splash out in the Luxury Shopping Village housing, and on Sunday bring the whole family to enjoy  Little Hooves Kids Club and Sharky & George Pitch Invasion.

For more information and to book tickets

Moorcroft continues its outstanding work

Moorcroft Racehorse Welfare Centre at Slinfold in West Sussex is continuing its outstanding work, training former racehorses to go on to a bright future outside racing itself.

This registered charity’s mission is to re-school and rehabilitate former racehorses that have been gifted to it, so that they can have a real chance at a second career.

Thanks to the expertise of highly qualified centre manager, Mary Frances and her hard-working, caring team of girls at the yard, this thriving charity continues to operate to the highest standards. It also has a new team of supportive trustees, familiar with its work, to take it forward into the future

Moorcroft enables more than 40 ex-racehorses a year to be re-homed after after they have been skilfully been retrained, so that they can to caring and suitable people and enjoy active lives outside racing.

A transformed and retrained Goodtime Boy in a past long-reining demonstration at Moorcroft
Photo: Mark Beaumont

This flourishing charity consistently re-homes these horses each year after they have been re-trained for a life after racing.

As a result of generous legacies and donations from its supporters, Moorcroft has been able to bring its facilities up to a very high standard, and has built an indoor school, a hay storage barn, replaced its twenty year old horsebox with a three horse Betfair sponsored box, and work on a new gallery will soon be completed and unveiled.

A BHS Stage 2 Stable Management Course is being held at the Centre.  For more details contact Mary on 07929 666408 or email to book your place.

HOYS has new class for purebred cobs

HORSE of the Year Show is introducing a brand-new class for HOYS 2019. In support of the SEIB Search for a Star series, which has proved a popular addition to the timetable since it was introduced in 1998, HOYS will this year welcome purebred traditional cobs to compete in the SEIB Traditional Horse/Pony class.

At each of the five SEIB qualifiers, one solid and one coloured horse will go through to HOYS, so a total of ten traditional cobs will have their time to shine at the UK’s most prestigious horse show.

Traditional Gypsy Cob Photo: John Simpson

Event Director for Horse of the Year Show, Emma Williams, said: “We are delighted to be opening up the opportunity for more horses and more riders to be eligible to compete at Horse of the Year Show, which is so widely recognised as the pinnacle of the showing year.

“Until now we have not had a class available for solid coloured traditional cobs so this will provide them with the opportunity to compete amongst the highest calibre of competitors, along with their coloured counterparts. We would like to encourage as many amateur riders as possible who enjoy competing their traditional cob, to make the most of their opportunity to compete under the spotlight at HOYS.”

SEIB Marketing Manager, Nicolina MacKenzie said: “This brand new competition will support the SEIB Search for a Star ethos of providing opportunities for grass root riders with their beloved horses and ponies. Nearly 20 years ago HOYS allowed SEIB to take ex-racehorses there for the first time and look what a success that class has become! We hope and believe that traditional cobs will prove to be as popular.”

Long-standing SEIB Search for a Star judge Richard Ramsay said: “This is a really interesting addition to Search for a Star. The traditional gypsy cob qualifiers deserve plenty of support and I am very much looking forward to judging the classes.”

The Traditional Gypsy Cob Association (TGCA) is wholeheartedly supporting the new SEIB Search for a Star competition. Founding TGCA Director, Andrea Betteridge said: “I am thrilled that the Traditional Gypsy Cob Breed will be showcased within the exceptional SEIB Search for a Star series with its finals at the most prestigious show of the year.”

The new SEIB Search for a Star competition for traditional cobs is open to pure-bred registered cobs only. Horses and ponies will have to have a Traditional Gypsy Cob Association (TGCA) passport or have theirs over stamped by the organisation, to prove that they meet the breed standard and are not part-breds.   However, as always with SEIB Search for a Star, no competitor has to be a member of any organisation.

This new competition will follow the standard rules for SEIB Search for a Star, which are strictly enforced. The first qualifier of the season takes place at Osbaldeston Riding Centre on  April 14 . Leading equine Insurance brokers, SEIB Insurance Brokers set up Search for a Star over 20 years ago so they could offer a unique competition opportunity to many of their amateur rider customers.

Horse of the Year Show takes place this year from October 2-6 2019 at the Resorts World Arena, the NEC Birmingham for another year of breath-taking displays and unbeatable competition. Tickets and a full timetable of events will be released in February. To stay up to date with the latest HOYS news and to be the first to know what’s happening, sign up to HOYS newsletter here:

British 2019 dressage bronze championships

British Dressage has announced three host venues for this year’s Bronze Championships, Summer Music Championships and Nettex Associated Championships.

The Nettex Associated Championships, a unique series of ten title opportunities for horses of all shapes and sizes, is set to be bigger and better than ever with the breeds combining to make two show-stopping festivals.

The first of these will take place from October 31 –  November 3 at Bury Farm Equestrian Village, Buckingham, and will incorporate Championships for Draught, GB PRE, Lusitano, British Native Ponies, traditional gypsy cobs and Arab horses. The second Associated Championship fixture will be hosted by Leicestershire venue Vale View EC and will provide the setting for CHAPS, RoR, Thoroughbred and Veteran Horse and Rider combinations to battle for the accolades.

Returning after a successful debut year, the Bronze and Summer Music Championships has a new home for 2019 in premier venue, Sheepgate Equestrian Centre in Lincolnshire.

Dressage at Sheepgate Equestrian Centre , which will host the 2019 Bronze and  Summer Music dressgage championships.  Photo: courtesy of Sheepgate  Equestrian

The team at Sheepgate are no strangers to the big occasion, as hosts to the annual BD Youth Under 25s Championships, Sheepgate Premier League as well as an Area Festival, the Bronze and Music Championships promise to be well worth the journey.

Date Championships Venue
31 October – 3 November Associated Championships (1)
Inc. Draught, GB PRE, Lusitano, Native Pony, TGCA, Arab horse
Bury Farm, Buckinghamshire
7 – 10 November Associated Championships (2)
Inc. CHAPS, ROR, Thoroughbred, Veteran horse and rider
Vale View EC,
Date to be confirmed


Bronze and Summer Music Sheepgate EC,

The Nettex Associated Championships will come together to form two celebrations of all breeds. The ten-strong championship series has grown steadily in number and gone from strength to strength with the valued support of title sponsor Nettex and proven Championship venues Bury Farm and Vale View EC are on board as hosts.

Sarah Payne’s team at Sheepgate EC is renowned for hosting major events and the Bronze and Music Championships will flourish under their care.

She said: “Both myself and the Sports Operations team have thanked all venues involved in the tender process and offered congratulations to the three successful show centres. We are very much looking forward to the year ahead.”

Fontwell’s competitive Sunday meeting




Harry Charles disqualified from Young Rider Championships

The BEF has been informed by the FEI that Harry Charles has been disqualified from the Young Rider European Championships which took place last July in Fontainebleau, France.

Following the Team Final, samples were taken from Vivaldi du Dom, the horse ridden by Harry Charles and these tested positive for the controlled medication substance Lidocaine.

As a result Harry Charles has been automatically disqualified from all results at the event meaning that he loses his Individual gold medal and that Great Britain drops to Team Silver and Germany move up to Team Gold.

Harry Charles in action

Nick Fellows, Chief Executive for the British Equestrian Federation commented “This was a controlled medication substance not a doping substance, but it should not have been present in Harry’s horse at the time of competition.

“Of course it is desperately disappointing for Harry and the young rider team, but we accept the decision of the FEI and naturally uphold their zero tolerance in respect of the international Clean Sport policy which we also follow at a national level.”

Iain Graham, Chief Executive for British Showjumping said “This is a wake-up call for everyone in the sport and really highlights the necessity for all of our athletes, both national and international, to ensure they both understand and adhere to the FEI clean sport policy.”

On his disqualification from the Championships Harry Charles said: “Words can’t convey how really sad I am for my fellow team members having to receive the news that this has happened. I will speak to each of them individually and I just hope I can then put this behind me and move on”.

The four riders that made up the team with Harry were Graham Babes, William Fletcher, Amy Inglis and Georgia Tame; all of whom have been informed and understand the decision.