From the most memorable moment of his career so far to how he unwinds away from the yard, Michael Jung reveals the answers to your burning questions.
Michael Jung first exploded onto the eventing scene in 2009 by winning Luhmühlen CCI**** and going on to claim individual bronze at the European Championships. Since then, the victories have come thick and fast, year on year, many of which have been achieved with long-term equine partner La Biosthetique-Sam FBW. Michael has proved he can excel in any sphere because alongside all of this he successfully competes in Grand Prix showjumping – we’re exhausted just thinking about it!
Name: Michael Jung
Date of birth: 31 July 1982
Hometown: Horb am Neckar, Baden-Wurttemburg, Germany
Notable achievements: Michael became World Champion in 2010, cleaned up at the 2012 Olympics with double gold, and won gold and silver at Rio 2016, making history as a back-to-back gold medal-winning combination with La Biosthetique-Sam FBW. In the same year, he became the second rider ever to win the Grand Slam of eventing.
Photos: Kit Houghton /Mitsubishi Motors
Which rider has influenced you the most?
My father, Joachim. He did dressage, jumping and eventing and, like him, I enjoy changing between the three disciplines – it was always my dream.
Which competition is the one you most look forward to?
I think that’s Kentucky CCI****. It’s a really nice place and it has very good conditions, so you can prepare your horse perfectly for each phase.
What do you consider to be the best moment of your career so far?
The biggest moment was winning at the 2010 World Equestrian Games – that was the first massive competition for me. But every Championship is a very special experience and I hope I never forget that.
You’ve been all over the world to compete, but what would you say has been your most memorable competition?
The Olympics, as the athletes’ village is amazing. You all sit together to eat and there’s a sporting champion, then another, then another – it’s a fantastic place.
How do you unwind after an intense season of training and competition?
I like to do lots of different things with my friends, like going skiing or to a water park. We have lots of barbecues, too, and I try to fit in some holidays.
What are the ultimate goals you want to achieve?
Every day, my goal is to enjoy my work, but my favourite thing is to train a horse from a youngster, then have him do well at competitions later on – it makes me so happy and proud.
If you didn’t ride, what career do you think you might have chosen?
Anything with a ball – tennis or football, or something like that.
What advice would you give to aspiring eventers?
It’s difficult, so you need a good, clear plan in your head that you can focus on. Know what you want and have the discipline to get there. Most importantly, you must never, ever give up.
Endurance riders across the country completed their first competitive miles of 2019 at events in the New Forest, and in Staffordshire on 3 March. Surrey and Carmarthenshire the following weekend (9 March), too, at the start of what looks set to be a busy Endurance GB season.
The endurance calendar opened with a new competitive ride, New Forest Runway, formerly a pleasure ride starting at an old WW2 airfield, in Fritham near Lyndhurst.
Biosecurity measures were in place here and will be at other Endurance GB rides in March. This is following guidance from the British Equestrian Federation concerning the recent equine flu outbreak, stating that competition should go ahead but that all horses taking part should have their vaccinations fully up to date.
With a number of new rides, including two additions to the FEI calendar, and an extended season that continues until 20 October for the first time, the 2019 Endurance GB season sees the sport poised for growth.
The Golden Horseshoe on Exmoor, now in its 54th year and being staged over a weekend (18-19 May) for the third time, retains its iconic place in the sport’s calendar as the UK’s oldest and arguably one of the toughest competitive endurance rides.
A highlight of the season will be the FEI European Endurance Championships at Euston Park in Suffolk on 17 August. There’ll be a festival atmosphere at the showpiece venue, which plays host to national rides and the Pony Club Endurance Championships over the same weekend.
The calendar also sees the addition of a new FEI International contest over challenging terrain at Wentwood Forest near Newport, which becomes the first international endurance ride in Wales for a number of years.
By contrast, the forest tracks and grassland of Suffolk will provide the test for both the Endurance GB National 160 and YR 120 Championships at the 25th anniversary King’s Forest Ride (31 May-2 June), while the Novice, Open and Advanced Championships find a new home at Boyton Hall near Lavenham on 14 September.
The Home International contest between England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland is scheduled to take place at the British Horse Feeds Red Dragon Festival of Endurance in October, which also plays host to the Riding Club Championships. The popular Inter Regional championship returns to Cirencester Park in July.
The season has been extended until 20 October, with Hanslope Ride near Milton Keynes regaining its FEI International status and set to stage what organisers are describing as a ‘low frills’ FEI event with something for everyone.
Endurance GB Chairman Rebecca Kinnarney said, “We’ve a packed year ahead, which launched with a brand new ride in the New Forest to kick off the 2019 competition season. Riders across the country are ready to bring out their horses and resume building distance fitness in the early part of the season, and make the most of the good ground conditions we’re seeing across the country.
“With our varied schedule, we are making a really concerted effort to widen access and increase participation further.
“Above all we’re keen to inspire and engage riders from across the spectrum to understand how beneficial endurance riding can be for both horse and rider’s health and fitness. To do this we want to showcase our brilliant elite endurance athletes while demonstrating that this is a discipline for any type of horse and any level of rider. This philosophy will be in evidence at the European Championships, which will see Britain’s top riders compete over the same weekend as National and Pony Club riders.”
Horseracing has always been very popular in Great Britain and generates a lot of money for the British economy. It’s a sport with a very long history across the world – it’s said that many of its traditions and rules in the country originated from the Romans. However, there are some some races in the UK that hold a certain prestige.
Cheltenham Gold Cup
The Cheltenham Gold Cup is the most prestigious race of the National Hunt calendar and is the most valuable non-handicap chase in the UK. It takes place on the last day of the Cheltenham Festival, bringing together the best horses from the UK and Ireland. Horses and their jockeys jump 22 fences and cover a distance of 3m2 1/2 f in order to complete the race. This year, the Cheltenham Gold Cup will take place on 15th March at Cheltenham Racecourse in England.
To win this race, horses need a lot of stamina, plus the ability to jump with fluency. Arkle, Golden Miller, and Best Mate are some of the most successful and famous names in the history of the race – Golden Miller won five times, while Arkle and Best Mate both won three times.
Presenting Percy, Clan Des Obeaux and Native River are running as the top favorites to this year. If you have a good idea about who’s going to win the race, then you can place a bet by using the Freebets site. You can get all the finest Free Bets for Cheltenham 2019, along with all the best offers and promotions from the top bookmakers – you can receive 25/1 for Might Bite to win the Gold Cup with Coral, while with Paddy Power you can get 2/1 for Native River to win the cup. You should also check out Betfair, which is giving 70/1 for Might Bite to win the Gold Cup.
Some bookmakers are offering the non-runner, no bet offer especially for the Cheltenham Festival. Avail this offer on the Stayers Hurdle, Queen Mother Champion Chase, Champion Hurdle, and Gold Cup races with Betfred. Betfair is giving this offer on all the Championship races and Paddy Power is covering all the 28 races with their non-runner, no bet offer.
Other offers include the Bet £10, Get £30 offer with 888Sport, and Bet365’s unbelievable £100 in bet credits. Paddy Power is giving you a generous £40 free bet, while Royal Panda is offering a £20 welcome offer. The offers of Sky Bet, Bwin and BetVictor are also worth your attention. With such amazing offers, you are sure to find the perfect one for you.
The Grand National is the most famous jumps race in the world. It can boast of a long history, having started in 1839. The first race was won by a horse named Lottery and jockey Jem Mason. William Lynn, the proprietor of the Waterloo Hotel, was the founder of the race who leased land in Aintree from the second Earl of Sefton for this purpose.
The popularity of the Grand National is vast. The huge prize fund – £1 million in 2017 – attracts some of the best horses and jockeys to Aintree every year.
The Grand National takes place once a year in April at Aintree Racecourse. It’s known for its difficult fences, which often cause horses to fall. The first racehorse to cover the 4 miles 514 yards by jumping all the 30 fences along the way wins the race. Red Rum is the most famous Grand National racehorse, winning three Grand Nationals in total, while Aldaniti, Ginger McCain and Jenny Pitman are also very popular Grand National horses.
Queen Mother Champion Chase
The National Hunt Two-Mile Champion Chase was renamed as the Queen Mother Champion Chase in 1980 to give tribute to the Queen Mother. The race comprises of 12 fences and, as its former name suggest, a distance of 2 miles. The race happens in March during the Cheltenham Festival. Moscow Flyer (2003 and 2005 winner) and Master Minded (2008 and 2009 winner) are the most famous horses to have earned the trophy.
Our top-rider demos are always something that Team H&R gets really excited about. It’s a privilege of watch one of the world’s best riders in action, this time Ben Hobday, at the fantastic and intimate setting of Hartpury College in Gloucestershire, it’s also the perfect opportunity for us to meet some of our readers, which we‘re always keen to do.
The demo was a sell-out event this year, with every seat in the house filled eager fans of the one and only Ben Hobday. Known for his social media stardom, infectious catchphrase #yehboi and his V8 supercob Mulry’s Error, Ben’s won under-21 titles and team gold and bronze medals for his country at the European Championships, as well as racking up several completions Burghley and Badminton – all before his 31stbirthday! Ben’s story is made all the more impressive by his cancer diagnosis in 2015, finishing chemotherapy in September of that year and completing Badminton to finish 33rd the following March. We couldn’t wait to see what he had in store for us and what we might learn.
Ever the entertainer, Ben cantered into the arena on board chestnut gelding Shadow Man to Queen’s We Will Rock You, which certainly had everyone on their feet. What followed was three hours of top training tips, including preparation for jumping and sailing over the fences themselves, working with younger, greener horses and tackling some rather innovative lines and fences. Ben even treated us to an impressive display from five-star superstar Harelaw Wizard, which included an indoor re-enactment of Burghley’s legendary Cottesmore Leap!
Did you miss out on our fabulous sold-out event? Well, fear not – we’ll be bringing all the training content from the night in future issues of Horse&Ridermagazine – so keep your eyes peeled!
The Animal Health Trust (AHT) is encouraging horse owners to be aware of the clinical signs of equine influenza (EI) which include…
harsh, dry coughing
increase in temperature (>38.5°c)
The symptoms may be mild and not all horses will show all of the above signs. If you’re concerned, you should consult your vet as soon as possible. They’ll take a swab and blood sample and send it for testing, free of charge, to the AHT’s EI surveillance scheme, which is funded by the Horserace Betting Levy Board.
EI is a highly contagious respiratory disease that’s spread from horse-to-horse through direct contact, as well as indirect contact. The virus relies on transmission to new horses to survive and one of the most notable features of flu is the very quick spread in groups of horses, as well as its ability to spread large distances in the air. Horse owners are encouraged to consider their existing arrangements in their yard, this includes practising good general hygiene and isolating any horses showing flu-like signs. The AHT is also recommending horse owners re-vaccinate their horse if their vaccination was carried out over six months ago, in order to maximise the chance of being protected.
Dr Richard Newton, Director of Epidemiology and Disease Surveillance at the Animal Health Trust, said: “With frequent movement of horses and an ability to spread without direct contact, equine flu might appear at any time and in any location. With the increase in cases in both vaccinated and unvaccinated horses, we’d urge all horse owners to be extremely vigilant and to follow recommended guidelines on how to detect and prevent the spread of this infectious disease. If horse owners are concerned they should contact their vet immediately for advice.”
Advice on equine flu, including information on precautions horse owners can take can be found at equiflunet.org.uk.
For more information about equine flu, you can check out our article here.
It’s with great excitement that Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) are introducing a brand-new class for 2019. In support of the SEIB Search for a Star series (SFAS), 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, meaning a total of ten traditional cobs will have their time to shine at the UK’s most prestigious horse show.
Event Director for Horse of the Year Show, Emma Williams, said “We’re delighted to be opening up the opportunity for more horses and more riders to be eligible to compete at HOYS, which is so widely recognised as the pinnacle of the showing year. Up until now we’ve 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. The success of the new addition will determine its longevity at HOYS, therefore we’d 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’s Marketing Manager, Nicolina MacKenzie said, “This brand new competition will support the SEIB SFAS ethos of providing opportunities for grass root riders with their beloved horses and ponies. We’d like to say a big thank you to HOYS for their continued support of the series and for giving true amateur riders a shot at the big time. 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 SFAS 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’m 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’m 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.”
This new SEIB SFAS competition for traditional cobs offers an incredible opportunity for the type. Whatever colour they happen to be, they’ll have a chance to compete at HOYS. Nicolina continued, “Traditional cobs come in such a glorious range of colours and to date the coloureds are the only sector that has been represented. This new series will give all traditional cobs, including the solid coloured horses, a pathway to display their beauty and talent.”
The new SEIB SFAS competition for traditional cobs is open to registered cobs only. Horses and ponies will have to have a TGCA passport or have theirs over stamped by the organisation, to prove that they meet the breed standard. However, as always with SEIB SFAS, no competitor has to be a member of any organisation.
This new competition will follow the standard rules for SEIB SFAS, which are strictly enforced. The first qualifier of the season takes place at Osbaldeston Riding Centre on the 14th April. Leading equine Insurance brokers, SEIB Insurance Brokers set up SFAS over 20 years ago so they could offer a unique competition opportunity to many of their amateur rider customers. SEIB has a long association with the showing world and is renowned for supporting many equestrian events and activities in addition to SFAS.
HOYS takes place this year from 2 – 6 October 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 our newsletter here, hoys.co.uk/newsletter-sign-up/
Are you a social butterfly who’s looking to pursue your horsey-dreams and become a sponsored rider? Here’s a great opportunity from Animalife
Do you have what it takes to become part of Animalife’s exciting and dynamic team? Are you great on social media, would you value your sponsors and have an up to date website?
Animalife produces high quality feed supplements for horses and dogs and they’re on the look out for a new rider to join the team – whatever your discipline. If you’re riding at higher levels – at least 1.20m showjumping, intermediate eventing, advanced level dressage or county level showing – Animalife want to hear from you.
Team Animalife riders include international event riders Piggy French, Austin O’Connor, Daisy Bathe and Charlotte Bacon, dressage riders Gareth and Rebecca Hughes, Tor Fenwick and Liz Deigutis plus, lots of other riders who compete across the levels.
If you’re successful in becoming a Team Animalife rider, you’ll receive up to £250 of free product of your choice per month, plus clothing and other goodies.Applying for sponsorship is simple…
tell Animalife, in no more than 500 words, all about yourself, your achievements and your aspirations
write 300 words on why you’d like to be sponsored by Animalife
finally Animalife would like to know, in no more than 250 words, how you would promote the brand.
You’ll need to include full details of your social media channels, including likes and followers and your website address.
Ever wondered what it’s like to compete at The Horse of the Year Show (HOYS)? We follow amateur rider Debbie Fitzpatrick, who rode at the prestigious show thanks to the SEIB Search for a Star showing series
For many amateur equestrians, big events like HOYS are a must-visit. To sit under the bright lights of the main arena and be dazzled by the jaw-dropping displays of horsemanship and equestrian sport is an annual highlight. But, the thought of riding through the gates and onto the sand to the applause of an adoring crowd is the stuff of dreams.
However, for a very lucky few, joining the professionals in the HOYS spotlight needn’t remain a fantasy – all thanks to Search for a Star (SFAS). Run by insurance provider SEIB, SFAS is a showing series set up 20 years ago –specifically for amateur riders who haven’t previously competed at HOYS to give them the opportunity to ride at the top event. Classes for all types are offered, from Working Horse to Riding Horse classes and cobs to mountain and moorland, and each has its own HOYS final round. The top two placings in each qualifier typically go through to the final, but before they do, they have the opportunity to go to a training day to receive tips from the top with the series’ knowledgeable judges.
When Lloyds bank manager Debbie Fitzpatrick and her homebred gelding Atlantic Flight (Indie) qualified for the Riding Horse Hack final, she said the emotions were overwhelming.
She told H&R: “I just burst into tears. It’s been my dream to compete at HOYS since I was four years old.
“I feel especially proud because Indie was difficult as a youngster,” she continued. “In fact, he spent more time on two legs than four. Lots of people told me I should sell him. Just to have got him this far and shown everyone just how smart he is – it’s the achievement of a lifetime. We only started showing two years ago, so it just proves how far we’ve come.”
Despite the electric atmosphere of the venue, Indie showed no sign of returning to his former boisterous ways. “He’s been so chilled all day,” said Debbie, “despite how overwhelmed and emotional I’ve been! It’s probably because he’s used to the spotlight – he’s done a bit of modelling as the Lloyds bank black stallion in the past, so he’s accustomed to being the centre of attention!”
Debbie said that, despite the huge significance of the event, she hadn’t felt a hint of nerves – only excitement.
“I received a great piece of advice from showing judge Russell Marks in training. He told me to ride as if I was in my own arena and enjoy every moment – and I did!
Debbie said she found the SFAS judges very friendly and encouraging, which put her at ease. She told H&R: “They were very complimentary about Indie and said he looked wonderful for 16-years-old. They advised me to take him into some veteran classes, which I think I will. Watch this space!”
Fancy a go at SFAS yourself? Here are the qualifying dates and venues for 2019…
14 April – Osbaldeston Riding Centre, Lancs BB2 7LZ
19 May – Stretcholt EC, Somerset TA6 4SR
9 June – Bury Farm Equestrian Club, Bucks LU7 9BT
7 July – Greenlands EC, Cumbria CA4 0RR
11 August – Arena UK, Lincs NG32 2EF
8 September – Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials (Racehorse to Riding Horse only)
Struggling to find the perfect bit for your young horse? The team at Bombers Bits share their top tips
Eventer Hayden Hankey is an experienced horseman who’s produced some world-class horses for international riders. His own top ride, You’ve Got The Lux, aka Perfect Poppy, is stepping up to CCI4* in 2019. Plus, his young horses will be contesting the lower levels this year.
Gaining in confidence, but lacking experience
“I’ve got three horses stepping up to novice this year. At this level, they’re usually around five years old, rising six, so are gaining in confidence but still lacking in experience. I also have a couple of youngsters starting at BE100 this spring,” Hayden explains.
“Bitting is key when your horse is young. A comfortable bit won’t train a horse, but it does remove an obstacle to training. Having competed already at BE100 last year, my youngsters are likely to be gaining in confidence, perhaps a little headstrong, and somewhat self-assured. However, at this age, they’re still learning the aids and the feel of the rider’s connection, so it’s important to use a kind bit that helps in their education. They often struggle to find and keep the contact and, due to a lack of experience and confidence, can be quite tentative in the contact, even if they’re forward-going.”
Swivel bits – ideal for inexperienced equines
In dressage, the FEI now permits ported mouthpieces that swivel horizontally. This allows the horse to place the port at the angle it finds most comfortable, which helps to eliminate tongue pressure. It also allows the mouthpiece to sit more quietly in the mouth, with a smoother action.
Hayden was one of the first competitors to get his hands on an exciting new bit with a swivel action.
“Many sensitive competition horses react negatively to pressure placed on their tongue, so I’m a big fan of the new breed of swivel bits. I like the Bombers Bits DC Morgan, as I find it helps prevent green horses getting their tongue over the bit and keeps any poll pressure stable, which in turn helps to keep them relaxed and round in front of the fence. The Bomber Blue DC Morgan isn’t ridged or rough and it’s made of a soft material – so it’s not confrontational.
“The swivel element of the DC Morgan allows the cheekpiece and mouthpiece to work independently. When the contact is taken up with a bit, almost all mouthpieces will rotate in the mouth which can cause extra tongue and bar pressure. However, the swivel in the DC Morgan stops the mouthpiece from rotating, keeping the bit quieter in the mouth, and reducing pressure.”
Because of this action, Hayden finds that his young horses don’t tend to set against or brace themselves on the contact.
“A sensitive-mouthed or green horse doesn’t tend to drop behind the contact with these swivel bits. If I want my horse to carry himself with a higher frame, I’d use the DC Morgan without a bit strap behind the bit. For the horses who need to work in a lower frame, I find that adding the bit strap creates more poll pressure, helping to achieve the frame.
“This bit is very useful for a youngster who’s not used to poll leverage. It’s also helpful for teaching directional aids to a young horse when jumping, as the side elements swivel yet the bit stays still.”
The five year olds haven’t really got a mouth yet…
The DC Morgan is available in a sweet iron Happy Tongue version and a titanium version, as well as a version with the Bomber-Blue material that Hayden uses, which is made from a rubber-nylon compound. Hayden has used the Bomber Blue DC Morgan on several of his horses, including Jerry, an older horse that showjumped successfully at the British Masters in 2018 but is sensitive in the mouth, Fools In Love, a green youngster, and five-year old Cartown Galaxy.
Ideal for horses with tricky mouth conformation
Bitting specialist Stephen Biddlecombe of Equine Management Ltd says the Bombers DC range is great for horses with narrow jaws, low palates, large tongue and fleshy mouths, meaning there’s not much room for the bit in the mouth.
“The swivel action of the DC Morgan gives the horse confidence to take the contact and not block the rider,” Stephen explains. “It can help him relax across his back and become more through in his action, in turn creating more swing and engagement from his hindquarters. The DC Morgan has a drop, or hanging, cheek, but the action is a little different to a normal bit of this style, as the loose ring bridle attachment keeps poll pressure stable, as Hayden has found.
“With the DC bits, the reins attach to the large d-ring on the mouthpiece, which swings open independently of the bit’s cheekpieces. Further key features are the swivel mouthpiece and the small, loose ring bridle attachment onto which the bridle’s cheekpiece affixes, which can rotate. This ensures that pressure at the horse’s poll and cheek areas are drastically reduced,” Bomber Nel, who created the bits, adds.
The DC Morgan bit that Hayden uses isn’t dressage-legal, as it has extra rein loops, but Bombers also produces a dressage-legal version called the DC Dressage Swivel. Both versions are ported and are available in a sweet iron Happy Tongue version, as well as in the Bomber-Blue material and titanium.