Monthly Archives: December 2017

From maggot-infested wounds to show champion: Buggy finds his forever home

A pony found as a months-old colt, abandoned and crawling with maggots, has found a new home in time for Christmas.

Buggy, who fought back from his bad start to win the title of rescue horse at the year at Equifest just over a year later, is settling in to his new Northumberland home – where he has become “quite the local celebrity” and is even hosting a carol concert.

Piebald Buggy was close to death, suffering from maggot-infested untreated back wounds, when he was found near Leeds in May 2016.

“He was incredibly weak and spent several days receiving round-the-clock care at the Minster Equine Veterinary Practice where it was touch and go whether he would make it,” said a World Horse Welfare spokesman.

Once he was strong enough, Buggy travelled to the charity’s Penny Farm to start his rehabilitation, which culminated in his winning the Equifest title last summer, “an incredible achievement for a pony who was close to death just over a year earlier”, the spokesman said.

Adding another string to his bow, Buggy, who had by this time joined the charity’s rehoming scheme, ended his time with World Horse Welfare by starring as Prince Charming in the Penny Farm annual pantomime.

His rehomers, Linda and Jim, already have two World Horse Welfare equines – Ethany and Zsonia.

“We had followed Buggy’s story right from the start and felt a real connection with him,” Linda said. “As soon as I heard he would be looking for a home, I was checking the World Horse Welfare website every day to ensure I didn’t miss the opportunity to rehome him!

“He has settled in really well with our seven horses and three alpacas – although he does have a real penchant for exploring the farm whenever he gets the chance.”

Linda said Buggy’s stable door has been made lower as he was too small to see over it.

“I now love seeing his cute face peeping out each morning,” she added. “He’s clearly learnt well from his time in the spotlight as he’s such a poser whenever anyone has a camera around and he’s already quite the local celebrity with carol-singing taking place at the stables in his honour before Christmas!

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“He is a great companion for our other horses but I think he has such a taste for the limelight, we shall have to continue his in-hand showing career. We’re both so delighted to have been able to give this amazing little pony a home and look forward to seeing what the future brings for Buggy!”

For all the latest news analysis, competition reports, interviews, features and much more, don’t miss Horse & Hound magazine, on sale every Thursday.

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Are Christmas presents for horses pointless? H&H readers respond

Christmas is a time for exchanging gifts, but does that extend to your four-legged companions as well as human friends and family?

In a recent Facebook poll, almost 70% of Horse & Hound readers said they bought Christmas presents for their horses.

The topic divided opinion among owners, with many claiming it was unnecessary to buy gifts for their equine friends when they are given “treats” all year round.

In a separate poll, 55% of respondents admitted spending more than £20 on their horses’ Christmas presents.

Once again, the subject proved controversial.

“I buy [presents] for all my animals as they are part of my family,” wrote Rob Harris.

Imogen Norton also treats her horses to an array of gifts at Christmas.

“They tend to get one main present, this year they have a posh saddlecloth each, and then they get a stocking full of treats and fruit and vegetables,” she said.

“Most of my presents will be horse-related as well anyway so they get spoilt regardless.”

Fern Taylor-Wrighton and Jay Craig felt differently.

“Mine just gets extra carrots, but she always manages to get me a present! Clever horse!” wrote Ms Taylor-Wrighton.

“[My horse] gets regular ‘presents’ so no need,” added Ms Craig.

The findings are similar to those of a survey carried out by the Insurance Emporium into Christmas spending on pets.

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The company discovered more than 70% of UK pet owners plan to get presents for their animals this Christmas.

They also found that 11% of owners are likely to spend £40 or more, including 8% who are planning to spend more than

Do you buy your horse a Christmas present? Please share your thoughts in a letter and send to

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‘We have our way and they have theirs’: bitless rider’s dressage petition

Debbie Criddle riding Akilles in indoor school pararider

A passionate rider has launched a petition for bitless bridles to be allowed in dressage competitions at all levels.

Spain-based Amelia Jayne Betney, 18, has been riding bitless for a year and enjoys dressage and showjumping with her three horses.

Her petition, addressed to the Spanish equestrian federation, calls for a revision of dressage rules to allow bitless bridles.

“I choose to ride without a bit because I believe it’s much healthier and more natural for the horse,” Amelia told H&H.

“You can communicate in such an impressive way without having anything in the horse’s mouth.

“Since I went bitless my horses are much happier and more willing to work.”

Amelia’s petition has received more than 700 signatures.

In the petition she states that her goal is to create a separate class or classes for those who compete without a bit.

“That way we’re not bothering people who ride with a bit,” Amelia said. “We have our method and they have theirs, but why should we be criticised and punished for not wanting to use a bit?

“I’ve had so many people from all over the world telling me how much they’d love to compete bitless but it’s simply not allowed.

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“I want to try and make it possible for everyone around the world to ride bitless in all levels of dressage, from preliminary tests up to grand prix.

“I want to help others who want to compete in dressage bitless and also make it possible for myself.”

For all the latest news analysis, competition reports, interviews, features and much more, don’t miss Horse & Hound magazine, on sale every Thursday

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‘I can sleep now’: history made in Olympia grand prix

Alberto Zorzi riding Contanga

Alberto Zorzi made history when winning the Turkish Airlines Olympia grand prix tonight (19 December), becoming the first Italian to ever take top honours in this class.

Riding the 13-year-old mare Contanga, Alberto had his foot flat to the boards to finish clear in 34.05secs.

“I knew I needed to go faster in the turns as there weren’t many other places where you could make up time,” explained Alberto. “I had a very good distance to the last fence which meant I could keep travelling to it.”

Alberto has had the ride full-time on Contanga, owned by Athina Onassis de Miranda and Victory Equestrian Sport, since July and this marked not only his first win at his first ever visit to Olympia, but also his first win on this mare.

“I wasn’t expecting to win, but after I went clear in the first round, I said I wanted to give it a try,” said Alberto. “I’ve always wanted to win at Olympia and now I can sleep knowing I’ve managed it.”

Alberto Zorzi riding Contanga

Based at Stal Tops — the Dutch home of the founder and president of the Longines Global Champions Tour, Jan Tops — since 2015, this win tops off what has been a great year for 28-year-old Alberto, which has also seen him finish fourth individually at the European Championships and as the winner of the LGCT grand prix of Monaco.

Second went to Harrie Smoulders of the Netherlands, riding Zinius. The pair were quick, but a stumble after the wall, the second fence in the jump-off, Harrie had his work cut out. He eventually fell just 0.19sec adrift of Alberto’s time.

“My horse is fast and I knew I had a chance, but that stumble cost me victory,” said a disappointed Harrie, who was the 2017 LGCT series champion. “I had to rebalance and that cost me time.”

Best of the Brits was Michael Whitaker, who finished third on Jb’s Hot Stuff. Fourth to go in the jump-off, Michael posted the first double clear in 34.3sec.

“It was close and after my round I didn’t think I had quite done enough to win, but I was hopeful,” admitted Michael. “The mare is on great form and jumped really well, but I could have done with a flyer to the last.”

Michael Whitaker riding Jb’s Hot Stuff

The 11-year-old, who Michael has had the ride on for the past two years owned by her breeder, Jayne Bean, is by Locarno 62 who was campaigned by Michael’s niece, Ellen.

“I went as fast as I could and probably could have done with a better draw in an ideal world as I had nothing to beat when I went in,” explained Michael. “But this mare is getting better and better.”

Twelve combinations made it through to the jump-off from 32 first round starters around the track built by Guilherm Jorje, which resulted in five double clears.

“The course have been great all week, and this particular one was very fair,” said Michael. “There weren’t many options in the jump-off, and everyone needed to take the same route with a similar number of strides, but it was the same for all the competitors.”

The Netherlands’ Maikel Van der Vleuten was fourth on Dana Blue, while Edwina Tops-Alexander was fifth on the super-smart prospect Inca Boy van T Vianahof.

The next best-placed Brit was Ben Maher, riding Winning Good, who is just an eight-year-old stallion. Guy Williams, trailblazer in the first round and who duly posted the first clear, was 12th on Rouge de Ravel.

To read the full report from Olympia, don’t miss this week’s Horse & Hound magazine, out Thursday 21 December

Original Source File

Winner breaks 32 year hoodoo in Olympia World Cup

Julien Epaillard became the first Frenchman to head the London leg of the Longines FEI World Cup for 32 years, producing the fastest clear by 0.43 sec to pip Scott Brash to victory at Olympia on Sunday (17 December).

The Brit — who headed the class last year on Hello M’Lady — delivered a beautifully stylish round from third draw on Ursula XII that blitzed Edwina Tops-Alexander’s lead by 3.71sec.

But from final draw, Julien utilized all of chestnut Selle Francais Toupie De La Roque’s groundspeed to find the edge, gaining an extra inch with a very tight turnback into the double.

“It’s a grand victory for me to end my year with a win here in London,” said Julien, who has partnered the 10-year-old mare since June, already securing strong CSI4* and 5* results.

While it was disappointing for Scott to miss out on the back-to-back wins — a feat only achieved on two previous occasions by legends Nick Skelton and John Whitaker — he praised his brilliant 16-year-old mare.

“Fairplay to Julien, it was a fantastic round,” said Scott. “I was hoping he would have a jump down but it wasn’t to be.

“I couldn’t have asked any more of my horse, she was amazing.”

Although Scott has previously mentioned plans to retire Lady Harris and Lady Kirkham’s prolific winner and breed from her, he said he felt the time wasn’t yet right.

“I think a horse tells you when they’re ready and she certainly isn’t ready. She’s still out there enjoying ithe sport. I’d love to give her a foal one day, it would be a nice end to her career, but while she’s jumping like this and happy, we’ll take each show as it comes,” he said.

The €40,000 (£35,300) win was the second placing on this year’s World Cup circuit for Frenchman Julien, who now rises to 15th place in the rankings table.

A third place for Australian Edwina and Athina Onassis’s Inca Boy Van Het Vianahof — who was produced in the UK by Tim Wilks — elevates her to the top of the standings, tying with Kevin Staut.

Fourth place went to Sweden’s European individual gold medallist Peder Fredricson, who was first to jump on the 10-year-old H&M Christian K.

Don’t miss the next issue of Horse & Hound (out Thursday 21 December) for the full report from the London International Horse Show at Olympia. It’s essential Christmas reading!








Original Source File

6 of the most expensive horses sold this year (with price tags that will make you weep)

This year, some horses swapped hands for some serious money. Here we round up the top lots at some of the biggest auctions…


Tattersalls December Mare Sale
Price: £6.3million

Double Group One winner Marsha (pictured above) became the highest-priced horse ever sold at a European auction when she was snapped up by Coolmore’s MV Magnier for a new partnership for an eye-watering six million guineas (£6.3million).

The four-year-old thoroughbred filly, who has won seven of her 18 starts notching up £650,114, attracted interest from bidders around the world.

Mr Magnier said: “She really is something special. Sir Mark [Prescott, the filly’s trainer] has done a great job with her, she was very fast and the lads were very keen to have her.”

Marsha will now go to stud and will be covered by champion sire Galileo.

Watch video

Goresbridge Go For Gold
Price: €130,000 (£114,596)

The top lot at this popular Irish event horse sale was Gurtea Mattie Clover, a five-year-old full brother to Nicola Wilson’s four-star mount Annie Clover, purchased by Gerard Alan Kemp

By Newmarket Venture and out of a Clover Hill mare, the 16.3hh brown gelding was described in the catalogue as: “Very well related, this gelding has successfully competed at EI100 level.”

The Monart Select Elite Event Horse Sale
Price: €29,000 (£25,544)

FLS Piltown Bay was the top lot at this annual Irish sale. The five-year-old by Garrison Royale out of a Beneficial (thoroughbred National Hunt sire) mare, described in the catalogue as a “modern blood type event horse that has competed at unregistered shows and is showing great potential”, was purchased by Canadian event rider Katlyn Hewson-Slezak.

Karl and Katlyn Sezak said: “I am keeping hold of him and will produce him with the top levels in mind. I am very excited about my new boy’s future. He’s a really sweet horse.”

Brightwells Addington August Elite
Price: £39,000

In August the two joint top lots were sold for £39,000. The first was Creto, a seven-year-old dressage mare by Conteur. She had been competing at medium level in Holland and was purchased for a young British rider.

The second lot to achieve £39,000 was Gember Z, a three-year-old showjumping stallion who demonstrated an impressive jump. He is by Gemini CL, a thoroughbred stallion and clone of Olympic silver medallist Gem Twist, out of a mare by Berlin.

Tattersalls Ireland Cheltenham Festival Sale
Price: £320,000

A record price for a mare from the point-to-point field was set at this sale in March when Maire Banrigh, a 2012 bay mare by King’s Theatre and out of a Supreme Leader mare was knocked down for £320,000. The mare only made her racing debut four days before the sale, where she saw off competition from 12 other horses in the mares’ maiden at Lingstown (video below).

She was bought for £40,000 at Goffs UK’s Spring Sale 12 months previously by County Wexford-based point-to-point trainer Richard Black. He then sold the mare here to Ryan Mahon, a former jockey who is now working as a bloodstock agent, on behalf of leading racehorse owner John Hales. was bought for £40,000 at Goffs UK’s Spring Sale 12 months ago by County Wexford-based point-to-point trainer Richard Black.

On 6 December, this mare’s Racing Post form noted that her trainer is now Dan Skelton, so she is definitely one to look out for from his stable.

Equine Elite
Price: €210,000 (£184,998)

The top lot at this hugely popular dressage sale in The Netherlands in October was an 11-year-old chestnut Dutch warmblood gelding, appropriately called Bollinger. ‘Bubbles’, who is by Johnson out of an Aktion mare is trained to small tour level.

For all the latest news analysis, competition reports, interviews, features and much more, don’t miss Horse & Hound magazine, on sale every Thursday

Original Source File

AP McCoy leads legendary jump jockeys to Olympia glory

The jump jockeys gained their revenge after last year’s defeat to the Flat boys in Friday night’s thrilling — and fiercely competitive — Markel Champions Challenge over the coloured obstacles at Olympia.

Captained by 20-time champion AP McCoy and trained by H&H columnist Graham Fletcher, the five-man team of legendary former National Hunt jockeys produced the winning performance over Frankie Dettori’s squad, coached by reigning Olympic champion Nick Skelton.

“It’s nice to beat Dettori!” said AP, who lined up alongside former champions Peter Scudamore, Richard Dunwoody, John Francome and Charlie Swan, who boast an astounding 47 championship titles between them.

“The first year we did it [the Markel Challenge], the jump jockeys won, then we were a bit disappointed last year when we had a team of current jump jockeys and the Flat jockeys won — so I sacked them all,” said AP with a grin. “It was time to bring in a slightly older A-team.

“I said we needed a team of champions to put the Flat boys in their place — not knowing that they had lined up a team of champions for this year, too.”

With such huge rivalry between the two teams, who were raising invaluable funds for the Injured Jockeys Fund, the Flat jockeys’ team captain Frankie Dettori announced himself “devastated” to lose.

“You know what AP’s like — he’ll never let me forget this now,” said the Italian. “And now he works for ITV racing, every time I ride a winner he’s going to mention the fact he beat me. But ‘Scu’ [Peter Scudamore, from the winning team] was brilliant he said ‘Imagine how good we were when we were young!’”

Frankie’s team-mates were three-time champion-turned-trainer Richard Hughes, Jamie Spencer, Jim Crowley and three-time champion Ryan Moore.

There was some comeuppance for Frankie, however, as his accomplished round on the brilliant “Barry” — an experienced showjumper borrowed from Tim Gredley — was well over a second quicker than AP’s.

So will the jump jockeys return to the saddle to bid for a winning double next year?

“No — we’re firmly retired again now!” said AP.

Don’t miss the full report from the London International Horse Show at Olympia in next week’s issue of Horse & Hound, out Thursday 21 December.

Original Source File

H&H question of the week: How can my horse and I learn how to jump bigger fences?

Four-star event rider and multi junior and young rider European eventing medallist Georgie Spence provides one H&H forum user with some helpful advice on how to teach both her and her horse how to jump bigger fences

Q: “I have a fantastic horse who only learned to jump about 18 months ago — she’s eight this year. She’s 16hh and she’s got the most wonderful jump. She jumps 80cm courses and leaves lots of room between her and the jump. She’ll do 90cm individual jumps without worrying too but I’d like to build her up to 90cm and 1m courses but obviously I’m happy for that to take as long as it takes.

“I’d like to do some jumping work in the school to increase my confidence and hers, although it’s mostly mine. What I’ve found with my horse is that she won’t pay attention to anything less than 70cm. I was wondering if you could share some good jumping exercises that I could do.

We have a great school at my yard with plenty of wings and poles. Things to bear in mind:
1) All jumps have to be built and put away
2) I don’t have a helper very often so I can’t get off and on throughout the session to change jumps”

Georgie says: “My advice would be that you should stick to a few exercises and use them three or four times each before moving on to the next exercise as you have to put the fences away every time, you don’t want to be building a huge amount every day you want to jump.

“A fantastic exercise is three poles down one side of the school, don’t measure them out, just put them down, roughly five or six strides apart.

“Ride down the poles five or six times, just maintaining the rhythm and then making sure you take the same amount of strides each time. Then repeat this the other way.

“Next try and add a stride in between the two poles. Again, repeat this five or six times on each rein. Then see if you can go through once, just taking the original amount of strides, and then go five to six times each way taking a stride out. This over time will really help you with distances and striding, but also being able to move the canter around.

“This exercise can also be used with small uprights instead of poles.

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“Another great exercise is building a parallel fence down each long side, and an upright fence on each of the diagonals so you can change the rein. You can then jump the fences on a figure of eight. If you start to feel unbalanced or a bit quick you can put a circle in and then continue with the exercise. I always like to start with the fences quite small and then when both you and the horse get more confident you can put them up.

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“Grids are always great exercises, but are more difficult on your own. If you could possibly build a grid, I would suggest three cross poles one stride apart from eachother and then two strides to a parallel.

You could warm up over a couple of fences and then jump through the grid a few times at each height. This grid is slightly easier on your own as you don’t need to raise the height of the first three cross poles, but you can put the parallel up when you feel confident. This then gives you the best chance of producing a powerful canter, where you horse bascules.

“When you have started to crack this at home, I suggest going to you local equestrian centre and either hiring the course or doing a clear round to start to gain confidence jumping the bigger heights but without the pressure of it being a competition. However I would also suggest trying to have someone on the ground while you jump, especially away from home just to be safe.

Visit Georgie’s website or follow her on Facebook

Original Source File

Patrik Kittel claims euphoric Olympia grand prix freestyle victory

Sweden’s Patrik Kittel raised the bar in tonight’s Olympia grand prix freestyle, claiming victory on Delaunay OLD with 80.56%, putting them fractionally ahead of Britain’s Emile Faurie in second.

Patrik and the classy 11-year-old “Dude”, by Dr Doolittle, performed a faultless test with an exceptionally high degree of difficulty, helping them go one better than their second-place grand prix finish the previous night.

He felt amazing and tried his heart out in there. He just wants to please and do his best,” said Patrik, for whom it was an emotional win having returned to the show after 13 years.

Britain’s Emile Faurie was astounded to finish an agonisingly close second behind Patrik in what was his first ever grand prix freestyle on the De Niro breeding stallion Delatio (below).

This horse is extremely exciting for the future, demonstrating great scope and power, coupled with an impressively relaxed attitude. Their fault-free test left them just 0.2% behind Patrik with 80.4%.

“I played it safe in the grand prix last night as I still don’t know him very well,” said Emile, who has only had the ride on Elena’s Knyaginicheva’s 13-year-old for three months. “He’s just such a trier – a really awesome horse who just wants to do it all. The quality speaks for itself and his concentration is incredible. I think there’s a few more percent in there.”

Last night’s grand prix winner Edward Gal finished third with the talented nine-year-old Glock’s Zonik (Blue Hors Zack x Romanov) who just showed his inexperience with a couple of mistakes in the kur. The pair still posted 79.34% with some hugely expressive, powerful work.

“Today he was a little more tense than yesterday and wondering what was happening in there with the music so loud. But he tried his best and he’s only a nine-year-old so what can you expect,” said Edward.

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Fellow Dutch rider Madeleine Witte-Vrees slotted into fourth with Cennin, just edging ahead of Britain’s Lara Butler, debuting a new freestyle with Rubin Al Asad. They posted 76.98% with a fantastic performance to a Dire Straits soundtrack to finish fifth.

Hayley Watson-Greaves took sixth for Britain, riding a beautiful test on the Rubin Royal son Rubins Nite to score 76.68%.

Richard Davison filled seventh with Bubblingh, while Gareth Hughes and Don Carissimo finished 13th.

Don’t miss the full report in Horse & Hound magazine, out on 21 December 2017.

Original Source File

Dec 13, How to Judge Trend Quality by Analyzing Volume and Swing Points

Here is a really neat way to judge the quality of a trend by analyzing two consecutive swing points.

swing points chart

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