A tough team of ten will be running a five-mile relay to raise funds for The Tim Stockdale Foundation. Legacy to showjumper, trainer and broadcaster Tim Stockdale, who died last November, the charity aims to continue Tim’s love for sport, supporting young people with passions for cricket, golf and, of course, equestrianism. Held at the Longines Royal International Horse Show, Hickstead on the 27thJuly, the race, run by members of the Science Supplements team who are major sponsors of Hickstead, will be a huge show of support to the Foundation itself, as well as its core values of encouraging enthusiasm for sport.
We’ve been really busy recently, and all the horses are looking fab on their Dengie feeding plans.
Enzo and I had a great trip to Bexhill Horse Show, he went double clear in both classes, coming 4th and 5th and qualified for the National Amateur Championships at Aintree Equestrian Centre at the end of the year.
I like to keep busy, so with my cousin I recently rode the entire length of the South Downs Way – 100 miles from Winchester to Eastbourne – on Pride, my cob x Irish Draught and Rupert, my cousin Tara’s New Forest cross. It took us three days to four days to complete the journey, and we stayed in a mix of B&Bs and camping. We did the ride just for fun, but are now planning another long distance ride in the autumn that we’ll do for charity.
Of course I can’t forget Mo, my six-year-old mare, who not to be left out recently won her class at the Heathfield Show.
We’ve had a quiet summer so far because poor Finley is just finishing a long two months of box rest following an injury. I’m preparing him to move into a small paddock as the next stage in his rehab, but his long-term prognosis is still quite uncertain, and we won’t know more until we begin to bring him back into work. I’m taking each day as it comes, and have accepted that we may need to rethink his career plans and step down from some activities. I’ve made some tweaks to his diet, swapping his Alfa A molasses free to Alfa A lite + balancer and soaked hay, which has helped him maintain a good weight and, luckily, for now he’s in good spirits. Hopefully I’ll have some better news next time!
Although I’ve been fortunate enough to have worked and trained on large commercial yards, where I’ve gained a diverse range of skills and experiences, I’ve always wanted to have my own set-up. Recently the chance came for me and my husband to live in a small cottage with its own private equestrian facilities, so we took the plunge and I managed to realise a childhood fantasy. My horses, Arty and Ben, and a friend’s pony, Frodo, are very settled and I don’t think I’ll ever tire of being able to see the stables from my bedroom window!
It’s been a lot of work to get everything in order, so competing has taken a back seat so far this year. Ben is 24 now, so is mostly just hero-worshipped nowadays, but I’ve managed to use the time with Arty to improve his training and fitness. It’s not all been homework, though, and I have managed to get out to some showjumping shows. We had a great weekend at the David Broome Event Centre for the Welsh Masters, and I’ve got some summer shows in the diary, with the aim of ticking off my double clears for 2020, as well as planning to get back out eventing this autumn. I’ve also got quite a bit of teaching coming up, including Pony Club camps, which are always great fun. Then this autumn I’ll begin the final year of my degree in Equine Therapy and Rehabilitation at Moreton Morrell, so attention will be directed towards reading around my dissertation.
After some advice from the helpful nutrition team at Dengie, I introduced Performance Plus Balancer into the horses’ diet, complementing their staple Alfa A and grass nuts. Ben maintained a youthful glow right through to spring and Arty, who can eat like, well, a horse kept his condition and his sanity – always a bonus with a spritely 17.2hh!
It’s not all been plain sailing, though, and I was recently reminded recently of how precarious our sport can be. Arty and I were enjoying a canter along a familiar track in the morning sun when the ground gave way over what turned out to be a badger sett, causing us both to fall. I’m very thankful that Arty was unharmed – the only damage being a loose shoe and a muddy saddle. I, however, sustained a fractured hand, concussion and a fat lip. While I’m mostly recovered, I can still feel some effects of concussion four weeks later. It has reminded me of the importance of correct equipment. Riding is outrageous enough without taking unnecessary risks, even if it is very hot and your hair is fabulous!
I look forward to what the rest of the year has in store and hope to continue with happy horses and developing myself so I can aid their performance.
The 2019/20 season of the Petplan Equine Area Festivals kicked off in May. Read on to find out how Petplan is marking its very special 20thyear of Area Festival sponsorship
The current season is a very special one for Petplan Equine as it marks the 20th year of sponsorship of this iconic British Dressage series and it’ll be celebrated at all the Area Festivals around the country this summer.
Petplan Equine Area Festival Awards
As part of the celebrations for the 20th anniversary, Petplan Equine is launching the Petplan Equine Area Festival Awards. These awards recognise the hard work and endeavour that grassroots competitors and their support teams put in to take part in the much-loved Area Festivals.
The award categories are:
Inspirational star of the series
Surprise star of the series
Support star of the series
Progressive star of the series
Perseverance star of the series
Entries are open and close on 1 September. Nominations will then be judged by an independent panel of equestrian experts.
To nominate yourself, a friend or a member of your family, click here. Ts&Cs apply*
Area Festivals explained
The Petplan Equine Area Festivals are aimed at amateur riders and encourage all types of horse and rider partnerships to take part. To qualify, you need…
Preliminary to Elementary – three scores of 62% and above
Medium to Intermediate II – two scores of 60% and above
The top 10 in each class at the Area Festivals qualify for one of eight Area Festival Finals. The top scorers at the Finals then go forward to the Petplan Equine Championships at Hartpury College, Gloucestershire.
Case study: Heather and Harry
Heather Hopkinson and Brackenspa Houdini (Harry) competed in the Novice Bronze class last year at Aintree Equestrian Centre, where all their hard work paid off and they won their class, qualifying for an Area Festival Final at Manor Grange. Heather and Harry then won and qualified for the Area Festival Championships at Hartpury College in April 2019.
However, it’s not all been plain sailing, as Heather explains: “18 years ago I suffered a brain haemorrhage. Although I was extremely lucky and survived, it took me 10 years to recover enough strength and motor skills to get back in the saddle. A kind friend, who’s also a neuro-physio, offered me the ride on her stunning horse, which led to the opportunity to ride on our county show circuit.
“We were having lots of fun, when sadly a field accident ended his show career and prompted me to start my dressage journey.”
This was when Heather met Harry, whose full name is Brackenspa Houdini – named in recognition of the fact that his dam had escaped from the field the night he was born. “He started out eventing and was always well placed after the dressage,” Heather continued, “but he struggled with the showjumping. His owners, who are friends of mine, decided it just wasn’t the career for him and maybe he’d be happier doing pure dressage.
“Having just lost my lovely mum, with whom I’d shared my love of horses, I decided to go and see Harry. His owners knew about me and my ongoing horsey traumas, and even though Harry looked like more like a racehorse than a dressage horse when I tried him, he was beautifully schooled and I loved every moment of our ride so he came home with us.”
Heather’s barely stopped smiling ever since their paths crossed, but getting to ride at the Petplan Equine Area Festival Championships was a super-special occasion. She explains: “I think I was easily recognisable by my big smile during the championships. Competing at Hartpury is one of the highlights of my dressage career and it was the best reward for all our hard work over the season – made even better by finishing third and receiving a ‘well done’ from Charlotte Dujardin just before the prize giving.
“Everyone was so lovely and helpful and it was the perfect opportunity to catch up with some friends and have a wonderful memorable day sharing our love for horses, dressage and picnics,” concludes Heather.
Do you have a special partnership with your horse? Petplan Equine would like to hear it – use #HorseStories to share your story.
People are talking about a new register for physios, chiropractors and oesteopaths who work with animals, called the RAMP (Register of Animal Musculoskeletal Practitioner) Register. You may have heard bits and pieces, but what’s it all about? Here we introduce the RAMP Register and explain its purpose.
RAMP was set up because there was too much confusion about the qualifications, insurance and professionalism in this area. Chiropractic, physiotherapy and osteopathy are popular treatments for horses and, while they don’t use any surgery or medicines, they can support conventional veterinary treatments.
DEFRA became concerned back in 2012–13 that the field was unregulated, so investigated the work that practitioners carried out and found no evidence of any injuries or problems with the treatments. However, they said the complexity of the professions and the variety of qualifications made it difficult for owners and vets to decide who was best to ask to help their animals.
A welfare problem for animals
Around this time, leaders in the three professions of chiropractic, physiotherapy and osteopathy were already concerned about rogue traders, who were suggesting that short courses in these subjects were sufficient for them to treat animals for payment. Part of the problem was that there were so many courses on offer, spanning many educational levels and giving different qualifications. While this was entirely legal, it made the marketplace a confusing place for owners to judge who was really competent.
How was the register created?
One senior council member from each of the largest professional associations (one from each of the three professions – chiropractic, physiotherapy and osteopathy) got together and, with help from DEFRA, the RCVS and practitioners working in the area, they explored several methods of managing the situation.
The only legal and practical way was to create a register and display it on a website. The RAMP Register was set up to accept any practitioner trained to a standardised level in any of the three techniques. This way, owners can make better-informed decisions for their horses’ health. They can reassure themselves that the practitioner they choose is competent.
Did you know?
As well as practitioners in chiropractic, physiotherapy and osteopathy, there are now some vets qualified in musculoskeletal treatment listed on the RAMP Register.
What is the register for?
Everyone listed has proved that they’re competent to the Gold Standard set by the RAMP Council. They’re given a logo for their website, office or vehicle and they have a registration number. Plus, the RAMP Council provides a complaints and disciplinary procedure, so any grievances can be dealt with accordingly. The Council will take serious steps to discover any professional problems and will explain what it is doing throughout the process.
Did you know?
This Gold Standard is set at a high level – to the same degree level as vets. Some of the training in anatomy and physiology is similar, while other techniques are quite different. All registrants have to pass annual renewal requirements and, like many other professions, a small sample are audited after they renew.
For the benefit of the horse
The development of the register took many years. As an innovation, it’s been quietly welcomed by many organisations. RAMP is a not-for-profit organisation, and receives no Government funding. It’s carefully independent of any business that might be affected by its activities, so Council members don’t own related training courses, equipment manufacturers or other commercial activities. This means that RAMP can be impartial and unbiased in working for the benefit of the horse, his owner, the veterinary professionals and insurance industry – and, ultimately, horse welfare.
After perhaps 75 years of do-what-you-want freedom, the industry’s slowly getting used to the Gold Standard. RAMP needs to do more to educate owners and professionals alike, and registrants are encouraged to pass on the news to vets, owners and other businesses.
Education providers see the sense in the Register – it’s in their interests that their graduates are seen to have the best knowledge and skills – and the insurance industry is paying attention to ensure that non-veterinary treatments are done properly and professionally.
With the Register displayed free of charge online, anyone can instantly check whether a practitioner is safe to use. If their name isn’t listed, RAMP can’t vouch for their competence. The Register indicates which species of animals each practitioner treats, and a link to their own website is provided.
The bottom line is, by choosing a RAMP registered practitioner, you’ll be guaranteed that they’ll…
be careful with your animal
check that your vet permits treatment
charge a fair fee
provide proof of suitable insurance, if asked
keep their training up-to-date
Did you know?
Membership of the RAMP Register isn’t compulsory, which means that those who’ve chosen voluntarily to join have a great commitment to the Gold Standard of professional practice.
Qualifying classes for the 2019 British Dressage Online Championships, hosted by Dressage Anywhere, are now open. Into its sixth year, the Championships gives dressage riders the opportunity to compete without leaving their yard.
Until 30 September 2019 riders entering Dressage Anywhere’s regular monthly competition classes at Introductory to Advanced Medium level can qualify for the British Dressage Online Championships. It’s really easy to take part – enter online and then once you’ve ridden and filmed your test, upload the video to the Dressage Anywhere website for judging. Your test will be judged by a BD List 1, 2 or specialist judge, and you can download your scoresheet as soon as your test has been judged.
To qualify for the Championships, riders must be British Nationals or expatriates and achieve three scores at 60% or above at the same level. For more info, click here.
Linda Whetstone, Chairman of British Dressage says: “Congratulations to Dressage Anywhere for hosting a Championships that is accessible to literally any dressage rider in the world with an arena and a mobile phone or video camera, many of whom might never have dreamed that such an opportunity would ever be available to them – best of luck to all participants”.
Nereide Goodman of Dressage Anywhere adds: “We’re delighted to be hosting these Online Championships for British Dressage. By creating opportunities for so many riders to compete and receive feedback from experienced judges we are further fulfilling our mission to make the sport of dressage accessible to all.”
Not cleaning our tack every time we ride. We all know we should, but none of us do. And by the time we finally pull out the tack cleaner from the bottom of our dusty drawers, the girth is caked in dried sweat and dirt. We scrub it off until it’s spotless and we say to ourselves we’re not going to let it get that bad again… until it gets that bad again.
Only brushing your horse’s tail when it starts forming unwanted dreadlocks. By then, it’s wild and resembles a bird’s nest. After a substantial amount of time forcing the brush through this knotty mess, it’s smooth again and running your fingers it is one of the most satisfying feelings.
Daydreaming about being with your horse, which completely distracts you from what you should be doing. We’re all guilty of becoming absent-minded by the thought of a nice long canter on a warm day, or maybe it’s excitement for the weekend’s competition. Either way, it’s difficult to work when you’re thinking about your horse 24/7.
Not cleaning your boots after being at the stables, and getting straight into your car (or worse, someone elses.) We said to ourselves that we’re going to keep this car clean by changing our filthy boots for clean shoes every time we leave the yard, but after a while, the frozen toes from boot changing becomes unbearable and you sacrifice another car.
Neglecting poo-picking duties. After a long day of sorting out the horse(s) or doing yard duties that tend to get priority, such as filling haynets and cleaning stables, poo picking is the last thing that you want to do. Sharing the task always helps, but none of us do it enough.
Our equine friends can be expensive, but we’ve come up with some ways in which they might actually just be saving us money.
Your horse always comes first, which means holidays aren’t an option. Even with six months of planning beforehand, you’ll be worrying that your horse isn’t getting enough attention. You want to be there for your equine love of your life
You won’t need to purchase a gym membership – chasing your horse around its field when it doesn’t want to be caught is a workout in itself
You won’t be spending all your money on coffees as your social life is practically non-existent. By the time you’ve tucked your horse in for the night, you’ll just want to crash on the sofa with the TV on.
Because your social life is practically non-existent, you spend less on clothes for rare social occasions
You won’t need to buy lots of makeup. Mud will cover up that spot, right?
Equally, you have the best t-shirt tan, so you don’t have to worry about getting a fake tan
Forget calling the AA if your car breaks down – you can fix almost anything yourself with a bit of bailing twine and duct tape
Horses are the best listeners so you probably won’t be having many lengthy phone calls, saving on your phone bill
Because living on leftovers after a long day at the yard has become the norm for you, you can probably save on your weekly shop
Because you buy everything for your horse, you’re probably a pro at finding all the sale items
Horsewatch, a North Wales crime prevention project aiming to protect horse owners from thieves, is to spend some of a £5,000 grant on identity chips for horses thanks to cash confiscated from crooks
North Wales Horse Watch, which operates across all the six counties of the region, aims to make it easier to trace stolen horses and catch the rustlers, as well as making members of the equine community more aware of the threat of crime. Founded by Helen Lacey in 2010, the scheme came about after she had a harness and a generator stolen, she hopes that the award of a £4,920 grant will help the group promote crime prevention across the region.
The Your Community Your Choice initiative is also supported by the North Wales Police and Community Trust (PACT), which is celebrating its 21st anniversary in 2019. The money for the awards came partly from that seized by the courts through the Proceeds of Crime Act, with the rest from the Police Commissioner’s Fund. Each of the region’s six counties have up to £2,500 apiece for two groups, with £5,000 each for the two organisations that operate in three or more counties.
In addition this year, thanks to additional funding from the police and crime commissioner and North Wales Police, there are two new grants of £10,000.
The larger grants are designed to fund projects addressing issues related to the emerging threat of County Lines. This is where young people are coerced and threatened with violence to take part in illegal activity across the region.
Around 15,000 votes were cast in an online poll to decide which of the community schemes received support, with the cheque presented to 19 successful applicants at the North Wales Police headquarters in Colwyn Bay.
Through the grapevine
Helen, who had some equipment stolen from her land in Wrexham and is concerned that rural crime is on the rise, said: “The PCSO who dealt with the crime saw that we needed an equine version of Farm Watch. We now have 10 volunteers who security mark tack, equipment trailers, carriages and quads using various forms of marking. Getting more volunteers out giving advice and guidance on welfare issues such as fly grazing is vital, too.”
Norma Morris from Penrhyn Bay is one of the volunteers that helps Helen run North Wales Horse Watch. She continued: “We want to continue promoting North Wales Horse Watch at organised events, as well as carrying out educational visits to pony clubs, schools, colleges, equine clinics and rural communities.
“We identify horses using chip readers, but we need more. They help us trace owners of missing, found or illegally fly grazing horses, and our success rate of reuniting horses with owners is now 100%.”
Police and Crime Commissioner Arfon Jones, who jointly presented the awards with new Assistant Chief Constable Sacha Hatchett, said: “I am delighted that the Your Community Your Choice fund continues to support projects across North Wales for a seventh consecutive year. This unique fund allows our communities to decide which projects should get financial support, and the response has seen almost 15,000 members of the public vote for a total of 30 projects.”
Ever fancied competing at an affiliated dressage competition? Horse&Rider has partnered with Petplan Equine and British Dressage to give you the opportunity to give affiliated competition a go
What is a class ticket?
Class tickets allow you to enter one BD affiliated dressage class at any level, up to Advanced, without being a full member of BD (normal entry fees apply). It’s the perfect opportunity to get a taste of affiliated competition, including the atmosphere and trained, experienced judges.
What’s more, get bitten by the bug and there’s still time to become a BD member and qualify for the prestigious Petplan Equine Area Festivals in 2019 and Area Festival Championships in spring 2020. The qualification period has already begun, but it runs right up until two weeks before your chosen Area Festival.
You can gain qualifying scores towards your Area Festival ticket with Club membership, which costs as little as £45 for you and your horse if you’re competing at Preliminary Bronze level. To ride at the Area Festival, and to qualify at higher levels, you’ll need to upgrade to full membership of British Dressage.
How to get involved
The Petplan Equine Area Festivals series is the perfect affiliated competition for amateur riders. Competitors get to experience a prestigious championship-style dressage competition in a friendly atmosphere. Venues are hand-picked to host the Area Festivals so expect flowers, flags and podiums! What’s not to love?!
Classes start at Prelim and you need to achieve three scores of at least 62% at affiliated shows to qualify for the Area Festivals. Do well there and you’ll be able to enter the Area Festival Finals, from which the top competitors go on to the Area Festival Championships at Hartpury College, Gloucestershire in April 2020, where you’ll be sharing stabling and warm-up space with the likes of Carl and Charlotte.
Class tickets enable those without a paid BD membership and/or horse registration to compete in an affiliated BD class in any section Bronze, Silver or Gold. Both the rider and horse must hold associate BD registration, which is free of charge, and be eligible for the class concerned. Each ticket enables them to enter one affiliated class.
Holders of class tickets must also pay the entry fees and are subject to the rules contained in the BD Members Handbook. Class tickets may be used at any level (except music classes) provided the rider is eligible to compete in the class entered. Class tickets may not be used to compete in music classes as BD membership is required for PPL licensing.
Those riding on a class ticket are eligible to win prize money, rosettes and grading points but are not eligible to qualify for any championships or Area Festivals.
If a rider wishes to start their Area Festival qualification, they will need to become a BD member (category dependent on the level/section), further class tickets cannot be purchased for this purpose. Full details on how to join as an associate rider and horse plus how to make your entry will be sent with your ticket.
Terms & conditions
Horse&Rider readers will be entitled to one complimentary class ticket from British Dressage. Multiple applications will not be processed.
To compete on a class ticket both the rider and horse need to have a minimum of BD Associate registration.
Combinations on a class ticket will be able to win prize money and rosettes and will be able to earn grading points but are not eligible to qualify for any championships or Area Festivals.
Class tickets may be used to enter at any level (except music classes) provided the rider is eligible to compete in the class entered.
Applications for a class ticket must be received by Sunday 30 June.