Category Archives: Buying A Horse

The purchase of any horse should be treated as a process rather than an event, as it can be difficult if you lack experience in this area.

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Tina Cook

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Tina Cook

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Tina Cook is one of Britain’s most successful event riders and has been a mainstay on Team GB since the early 1990’s. She is a three-time Olympic medallist, winning individual and team bronze in 2008 and team silver in London 2012 as well as winning a further 11 medals at World and European Championships. She was part of the gold medal winning team at last year’s European Championships with Billy the Red.

Surprisingly, Tina reveals that some of her best horses have seemed “fairly average” as young horses. The good news is for us budding event riders is that Tina believes that you do not need to start with a massive budget to find a suitable event horse, even if have big ambitions. “In my experience it’s all about having a horse with a good brain” she says. “Then by creating a trusting partnership and having good management as I have done with all my top horses, look at where it can get you.”

When I look back on my top horses they have not necessarily been the most outstanding young horses, but what they have all had in common is that they have had a trainable, competitive brain and an attitude to want to please me.”

Buying British and buying blood.

Tina has never felt the need to look abroad and has bought the majority of her horses in the UK. Many have come from bloodstock sales or via her brother, the well -known racehorse trainer Nick Gifford.  “I rarely go out and look to buy horses, they tend to find me, but when I do, I have always leaned towards Thoroughbreds. As I am looking for championship and potential four star horses, the more thoroughbred blood the better, and certainly nothing less than 60% blood. It is also the brain I am used to working with so it suits me best.

The blood horses may be more average in their movement but they tend to stay sounder due to their movement being more economical and effortless. I look for an easy action when they are cantering and they must be able to travel between fences. When a horse finds galloping and stamina easy, it’s not only one less thing you have to teach them and work on, but they are the ones that find the extra gear to get themselves out of trouble, even when they are tired. It is when horses are tired that injuries happen.”

Less is more

“We are lucky in eventing because in many cases, it’s Mr Average who can make it to the top, in a way that probably isn’t possible in dressage or show-jumping where scope and movement is vital.

There have been many times in my 30 year career, when I have had flashy moving horses with huge scope and I’ve thought it was my next Olympic horse but then they have never stayed sound or proved too be difficult to produce for eventing.

I see this a lot with Junior riders. They have a taste of championship level and with some money behind them, they think they need something that looks flashy and throws a big jump. But these horses are more difficult to ride because they are bigger and rangier and use more effort.

Through my career, I haven’t had big money to spend and it’s been a case of making the best of what I’ve got. Smithstown Lad was a 16 hand hunter hireling from Ireland. Together we were on the Junior and Young Rider teams, he took me to my first Badminton and finished 4th at Burghley.

Even Miners Frolic as a young horse had a very “Thoroughbred” technique over a fence and he was naturally the bravest, but he had a lovely attitude. So we had to work on trust and technique. Then Star Witness was a racing reject and I never thought he would make a four-star horse. But he has always tried his heart out. He has now done four, four-stars with a top ten placing in every one.”

I have produced almost all of mine from scratch. Until I got to my 40s and some owners wanted to buy something to go to the Olympics so we found Billy the Red through an agent. This was the first time I have ever done this and was the first I have ridden with eventing form, as he had done a few Intermediates.

“It is definitely important and I am a big believer in “no foot, no horse”. I have had horses with bad feet and they can stay sound if managed very carefully. When buying, I wouldn’t necessarily dismiss poor conformation or weakness if I liked everything else. A lot of my horses have had issues and I have found a way to keep them on track through the levels. It’s partly because I have not had lots to spend but also because I am stubborn. If a horse has some talent and a good attitude and I see them improving, that really excites me and I want to keep going, even if they do face physical challenges.”

Producing the Prize

Tina notes that however talented a horse, there is no substitution for good horsemanship. “Yes, everybody has upped their game, but I believe success comes more from the right training and good management more than relying on exceptionally talented horses. Look at Michael Jung. He turned both Sam and Fischer Rocana from glorified Young Rider horses into four-star winners.

I am very strict with making sure they are really established at one level before I move up to the next, even if that means spending more than a season before you step up. They don’t always have to be jumping big fences and going flat out to get the time in every event. Very few horses can cope with that both mentally and physically on every occasion. So I save that for when it really matters.

The most important thing is that horses enjoy it. It never works to bully a horse into doing something, they will eventually become unstuck because they won’t trust their rider. They have to want to please me rather than be frightened.”

 

Kit that powers Tina’s success

We always want to know what the latest “tack trends” plus the brands favoured by professionals. So here are Tina’s top choices:

“All my horses have been fed on Red Mills feed for years now and my brother Nick has all his racehorses on it too.

I ride in Voltaire saddles and virtually live in my Ariat boots and Gatehouse hat. For the horses I use Prolite boots for every day and competition, and as my horses spend a lot of time in the field we have plenty of rugs from Jumpers Horseline.”

 

Written by Ellie Kelly


Top quality Showjumpers for sale on Horse Scout

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Horse Scout  horses for sale classifieds are selling the best horses on the market.

£100,000
Jaffar is an extremely competitive winner at 1.40m and 1.45m level with an incredible list of results including winning every 7yo GP in MET 2 2016. if you like to win then this is the horse for you.
STATS – 16.2hh 8yo gelding, sire Lord Z and damsire Darco.

jaffar

 

POA

Very powerful and careful gelding with a great technique over the jump, competitive in 1.30m classes and placing in 1.40m. Never stops, no vices, with a proper training will progress to Grand Prix. Ranked 18th in the Gold League.

STATS – 17hh 8yo Westphalian gelding, Sire Stedinger, grandsire Sandro Hit

anfisa

 

£35,000
This quality homebred is a fantastic model of a horse with a fabulous technique over his fences. He has a great amount of scope and is a prolific winner in his class. He has won a 6 bar contest, won 1.30m and qualified Blue chip B&C final. Grade A with wins too numerous to mention. A horse for the future with a great amount of talent.
STATS – 16.3hh 8yo Warmblood gelding by Darius

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£16,000
Fabulous opportunity for ambitious rider looking to gain more experience at the higher levels. Scooby has jumped up to 1.40m level – jumping at the big UK arenas including Hickstead (Derby Stakes) and Royal Windsor and out in Vilamoura Portugal in 2016. Good on the flat with 3 good paces, good flying changes and a great working attitude. Ridden and jumped in a snaffle mouth, This experienced horse really knows his job.
STATS – 16.3hh 11yo bay Selle Francais gelding, sire Iolisco De Quinhon

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 Are you looking to sell you horse, or have a horse for sale? Sign up to Horse Scout today or call the team freephone on 03339 398353 for assistance.


Horse Scout horses for sale from Mark Todd

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Mark Todd

Horse Scout welcomes an exceptional horse for sale.

Three star event gelding produced by Sir Mark Todd to their premium classified horses for sale this month. Kilturbrid Rhapsody recently 9th at Blenheim Palace ERM CIC*** This horse is a definite medal prospect for the World Games next year and beyond. Horse Scout has been developed to show case this caliber of competition horse, and looks forward to following his future. We wish Sir Mark Todd every luck with his sale.


NEW FEMALE TALENT FOR HORSE SCOUT: AMY MURPHY

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“There isn’t much life outside horses but I’ve never been one for shopping anyway” confesses racehorse trainer Amy Murphy. A familiar tale among Equestrians. Ellie Kelly caught up with Horse Scout’s latest advocate about racing dreams, being a woman in a man’s world and unhealthy eating habits.

At 24 years, many young people are still working out what to do with their life but Amy Murphy was already making waves in the racing world. Last August she gained her trainer’s license, departed from the security of a job as Assistant Trainer and set up a race yard, becoming the youngest trainer in Britain.  Her first season got off to a phenomenal start with nine winners and 12 placings from just 30 runners.

Amy Murphy Racing

Training racehorses was the dream from her early pony-mad childhood days. “I was in the Pony Club and did a lot of hunting but I was bitten by the racing bug” Amy explains. I started riding out for local trainers at 15 years old and I became fascinated by the training, buying, management and everything else involved in the industry. I loved the perfectionism and attention to minor details that could be the difference to winning or losing. So I decided that is what I wanted to do.”

Amy’s racing pedigree is excellent- her father Paul is a highly regarded breeder of Flat and National Hunt horses and she grew up on Whychnor Park Stud in Staffordshire deeply entrenched in the world of racing. “Whenever dad had a runner I was always sick that day so I could go to the races,” Murphy laughs. “But Dad was clear with me and told me that I had to get an education before I went into racing.”

Amy Murphy Racing

This started at Hartpury College where Amy completed a course in Equine Science. On finishing here she went straight into getting practical experience. ”I wanted to learn from the best” she says. This included a job with trainer Tom Dascombe before a winter spent in Sydney with leading female trainer Gai Waterhouse. On her return, Amy was then offered an enviable position as Assistant Trainer to Luca Cumani, arguably one of the best flat trainers in the world. This was followed by a stint with one of the best known National Hunt trainers, Nicky Henderson.

After less than a year training from her base Hamilton Stables in Newmarket, Amy has already amassed 27 horses with 12 owners- a mix of Flat and National Hunt horses. These include a Middle Eastern Royalty and Amy is just setting up an affordable racing club “so people can enjoy the social side without huge outlay” she explains. “It’s a small operation at the moment but my dream is to get the business off the ground and eventually be a big trainer with 100 horses” she says “In the short term it’s about keeping my horses healthy and fit”.

And being a woman in a heavily male dominated world? “It just makes me more determined” she states. “It’s certainly never put me off. Although racing is changing and woman are proving they can do it, both as trainers and jockeys.”

Amy Murphy Racing

A typical day starts around 5am and finishes around 6pm and Amy rides out on the gallops with the other stable staff. Unsurprisingly, Amy’s year round season allows for few days off. “It’s seven days a week most of the time but I take the odd Sunday off, which I like to spend with my family” she says.

As well as training and overseeing the day-to-day running of the yard, Amy deals with much of the admin and promoting the business. “Horse Scout will be a great asset to my business in terms of marketing and building up my network” she says.

LAST BOOK YOU READ- AP McCoy’s Autobiography.

HOW DO YOU START YOUR DAY- A Coffee with lots of sugar.

GUILTY PLEASURE- Galaxy chocolate. WHAT COULD YOU NOT

LIVE WITHOUT- My Labrador puppy, Milo.

BIGGEST INFLUENCE ON YOUR CAREER SO FAR- There are so many! Obviously all the trainers I have worked for but also my Dad, Paul Murphy. He has been a real mentor, particularly on the business side.

PHILOSPOHY-  You never stop learning. Anywhere I go, I walk in with open eyes.

To find out more about Amy Murphy or her racing club visit www.amymurphyracing.com

Amy Murphy Racing

 

 


Oliver Townend for Horse Scout

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Eleanore Kelly catches up with Horse Scout Ambassador Oliver Townend, about his journey so far, finding good horses, paying the bills and his computer illiteracy.

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Oliver has had another momentous year. The Shropshire-based rider claimed the Number One spot in the British Eventing rankings for the third year running. He finished a staggering 1000 points ahead of any other rider on a total of 2,341 points. There were numerous top ten finishes at International events for Oliver this year, including becoming the first British rider to win Adelaide CIC3* on a horse he had only ridden a few times before competing! The icing on the cake for Oliver was winning the very first Event Rider Masters Series, pocketing £74,000 in the process.

“It was a huge relief to win it” explained Oliver, who has prepared and campaigned several horses with this series in mind. “To me the ERM is a huge step forward in the sport- it’s a concept that works and for the riders and owners the prize money is seriously attractive. It has certainly made a massive difference in terms of my income this year. I didn’t run the horses I knew would be competitive in this class and people expected me to win it from when it was announced. So it was a relief when I did.”

Oliver has always been famed for his grit and determination. Renowned for his ability to get the best out of notoriously difficult horses. In recent years with such success behind him, he has had the luxury of being able to buy and compete better quality horses but he still relishes the challenge of a difficult one. “I love what I do and always have but riding nice horses is the answer to everything for me now. If I am going to event, I want to be on good horses” he says. “It’s difficult to find them and we have to be open minded- new rides come from all angles. I buy quite a lot from Ireland of all ages but I still have room for more owners. I am still sent horses that are talented but perhaps don’t suit other riders and I make the best of those.”

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There are a number of stars in the Townend stable. “Too many to list but I really rate Cooley SRS, who is only 9 and finished third at Boekelo” he says. He also cites Cooley Masterclass and King Joules as “exceptionally talented”, the latter has been passed from Mary King and Andrew Nicholson with a reputation for being a tricky ride.

I remember interviewing Oliver for an article some years ago. He was still renting a yard and having to sell anything that was any good and ride all sorts, just to make ends meet. Whilst he may be riding a better string of horses, his attitude to the sport has remained unchanged. What seems to motivate Oliver is an insatiable hunger to win but he still relishes riding talented but often challenging horses. With such success behind him, a string of good horses and a beautiful farm in Shropshire he could be forgiven for resting on his laurels but he has lost none of the grit and determination over the years.

Oliver won Burghley and Badminton back in 2009 and can now add the ERM Series to his list of achievements. Yet two goals remain on the agenda- “I need to get to an Olympics” he says firmly, “and I hope to God that happens soon.”

Then there’s the Rolex Grand Slam, which was won for only the second time by German’s Michael Jung this year. Eventing’s most lucrative prize is awarded to the rider who can achieve the near impossible feat of winning Badminton, Burghley and Lexington consecutively. Oliver was on course in 2010 after winning Badminton and Burghley the previous year. Yet in the cruel nature of the sport, a death-defying fall at Lexington put paid to his chances. It was a fall so dramatic that the photos made the front pages of national newspapers.

“A chance at the Grand Slam and the Olympics are the long-term goals but it all comes down to life in the end.” He says. “For me, this is a business and I need to keep doing what I am doing to survive in the sport. That means I need to sell horses, sometimes good ones.”

As well as selling good horses to keep the wheels turning, Oliver is always on the lookout for new blood and finding the good ones is never easy. “That being said, we are in a really good place in the market right now and if you’ve got a good one it can be worth a fortune” he explains. “There sport is growing in popularity- there are lots of new nations competing and more money coming into, it all helps. I was really encouraged by the prices paid at the recent Go for Gold Sale”, which took place last month in Ireland offered a collection of Irish sport horses selected especially for eventing and ranging from three year olds to established eventers, including Euro Prince who represented Ireland in Rio 2016. Record prices were paid, including €160,000 given for a talented six year old, Cornascriebe Glenpatrick who was bought for Millie Dumas.

Oliver argues that such prices area a real step forward for the industry. “It costs a lot of money to produce horses for eventing, people forget that. Good horses should be making these prices for riders to get a return. It’s also great to see owners paying these prices for their riders, it shows a lot of commitment to the sport, which is what we need to win medals.”

Oliver has been impressed by the service provided by Horse Scout. “It’s an interesting concept for the equestrian community and definitely something our industry needs. Anything to help connect the equestrian industry is a welcome addition. Particularly for professional riders but also breeders and trainers who don’t have time to spend on social media all day. For up and coming young riders, it is a good way of getting their profile out there.”

“The site looks impressive and most importantly, it is easy to use- important for me as I’m computer illiterate! I can ride a difficult horse but I can hardly work out an ipad!” he laughs.


Why You Should Consider Horse Shopping in Ireland

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Contrary to belief, a day out horse shopping in Ireland can be a fun and highly cost-effective way to view a multitude of extremely well bred, potential and proven, Irish competition horses in a short space of time.

Within an hour of Dublin airport, you will find several highly reputable breeders, producers and competition yards with quality stock for sale at sensible prices.  Ireland is renowned for many things but breeding great horses and making Guinness easily come top of the list.

Next time you are looking for your next competition horse, consider a quick day trip to Ireland instead of planning several long drives around England and Scotland to view individual horses. Why not view 6-8 horses in one day to find the horse of your dreams?

Equally, if you’re looking to buy more than one horse, you could plan a weekend trip in order to visit a few big yards. Some breeders and producers will offer overnight hospitality so you’ll leave Ireland having made new friends as well as buying new horses to add to your current string.

If you want to set your pulse racing then you should visit one of the many esteemed sports horse sales in Ireland. The atmosphere was electric at Goresbridge Go For Gold and the Supreme Sale of Showjumpers in November, and I have no doubt the horses they sold will be gracing the top of the leader boards in the very near future.

 

How To Get There

The cheapest and quickest way of getting to Ireland is typically by aeroplane; flights from most regional airports start from just £18! No need to pack a good book as you’ll be landing before you know it; the flight takes approximately one hour. Most Irish breeders help arrange pick up from the airport or will collect you in person.

Ferry is another option and costs range from £50-£180 depending on how far in advance you book and what date you travel on. The ferry isn’t the quickest or cheapest means of getting to Ireland but having your own car does mean you can drive around Ireland at your own leisure and travel further afield to view horses.

Travelling by train is the third option with return tickets from your own local train station starting at approximately £78.

 

Three Quality Irish-Based Horses For Sale on Horse Scout

stafford

1.35m Perfect Young Rider HorseISH Bay Mare rising 8 years 16.1 hands.  Grade A mare with 375 points. She has multiple wins and placings at 1.30m – 1.35m level. She jumped clear in the Hankook 6/7 year old Grand final at Cavan Indoor Championships September 2016. She is a serious speed horse and tries her heart out in the ring. Would be a top horse for a competitive young rider or experienced amateur.

 

kaynolan

Super Rising 7YO CIC* Event HorseBeautiful grey ISH mare 17hh rising 7 years old by Carrick Diamond Lad. Placed 2nd as Reserve Champion at Dressage Ireland 4yr old Championships 2014.  Won at BE100, placed 2nd at Tullymurray CNC* – only her second ever 1* event.  6 Eventing Ireland points, 32 Dressage points. She would suit a competitive amateur rider or a professional to realise her full potential as she has been bred and produced to go all the way.

 

cat

Excellent 1.40m showjumper: Talented and experienced mare that has competed up to 1.40m level successfully in Ireland as an 8 yo. This big scopey mare has a good canter and a brilliant attitude in front of her fences. Proven to be brave and careful over her fences and should go on to jump even bigger tracks. Suitable ride for either amateur or professional rider.

 


William Funnell, The Billy Stud and Horse Scout

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Horse Scout are thrilled to announce ‘Billy Congo’ as the most connected Stallion of 2016!

 

v7a4173aHorse Scout do a good job of promoting The Billy Stud, and allow people all over the world to know about us”. – William Funnell 

 

Billy Congo is by the AES & Irish Horse Board Approved stallion Vechta, who is by the famous world class sire Voltaire. Vechta’s extended pedigree carries 3 crosses to influential TB stallions Lucky Boy, Cottage Son and Furioso and top level performance sports horses. These performers and progeny include the great For Pleasure, Heisman, Faust Z and Maximillian Voltucky, Champion young stallion at the SHB (GB) stallion grading.

 

Horse Scout Team are thrilled to see organic connections building on his profile, showing how well he stamps his stock as a fabulous jumping sire. Fellow jump riders endorse Billy Congo, including Steven Franks, with multiple successes with Billy Ginger, one of many Billy Congo offspring !

 

Horse Scout are currently advertising three horses for sale by the illustrious Billy Congo- a BE 100 eventer (Billy Opaque) and a BE Novice eventer (Billy Chicago),  both ready to progress to the next level, and a 6 year old showjumper in Ireland.

 

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Horses for sale this winter

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Horse Scout’s advice for buying horses this winter.

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Winter proves a perfect time for the acquisition of new horses for sale for Horse Scout riding professionals. This contrasts  first time and novice buyers ideal time of year to purchase a new horse unless they have a professional support system in place.

Professional yards overcome the difficulties of riding through the winter months with greater ease than the amateur home.  There is a tendency for better facilities: walkers, staff, lunge pens, structured daily routines, which undoubtably  enable professionals to slot any new horses into their set up with greater ease than smaller private homes.

The Horse Scout Team have found that all too often, first time and novice buyers encounter a negative experience with a new horse through the winter months. Contributing factors range from common and understandable mistakes such as: over feeding, unnecessary clipping out for aesthetics versus logic, poor warm-up options / lack of training support and poor turn out routines.

The  inability to maintain necessary work levels, (or that which the previous home and rider was able to facilitate) tends to be paramount. If you or your friends are having any concerns, we would recommend a winter livery option with a proven professional yard that works within the same discipline you have purchased your horse for.

International Event Rider and Hampshire based trainer Lucienne Elms confirms the relevance for a patient approach, especially with the youngsters or novice rider. “I always give the young horses the chance to relax and warm up on the lunge long and low,  with a loose set of side reins for 10-15mins over the winter. Especially if they have had a day off, it keeps their brains ‘on side’ as they are able to then relax and concentrate when my clients or I get back in the saddle. In my experience horses are two things: memory and instinct. It takes months, even years to train them; but seconds to form an unnecessary habit or bad experience. Clients being bucked off onto frozen ground is never something I want to hear, and when selling its always best to be honest about the ‘quirks’ or needs of the animals, that way these problems can be avoided. Prevention is better than cure!

Horse Scout Team would recommend when buying a horse for sale, it is always best to take a professional with you, ideally one that knows you, and your riding ability, to support your selection process and reduce the chance of being victimised by a sharp or underworked horse over the winter months.


Irish Sports Horse Stallion Sligo Candy Boy has progeny for sale on Horse Scout

Sligo Candy Boy Progeny For Sale

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Sligo Candy Boy Irish Sports Horse Stallion Progeny for Sale on Horse Scout

Sligo Candy Boy is an outstanding Irish Sports Horse Stallion by Balou de Rouet

The Irish Sports Horse Society describe him during his second stage assessments as “…a very attractive modern sport horse. He has a quality in all paces with a light balanced canter. When jumping he has excellent reflexes, with good bascule. He is very good behind and a little open in front which is understandable for his age (4 years). He shows ample scope and looks very careful, obedient, responsive and willing.” He is certainly a wet made good looking stallion standing in Sligo for Padcraig Howley.

Balou de Rouet, his Sire, is a consistently popular stallion with an excellent temperament and movement with a powerful jump.  In 2013, the year of Sligo Candy Boy’s Stallion testing in Ireland, Balou De Rouet was ranked  77 (WBFSH stallion list) in the world and the following year made a meteoric rise to 36th due to the successes of his offspring.

SLIGO CANDY BOY event prospect

Stunning 2yr old by Sligo Candy Boy with class enough to be a top showjumping prospect and the breeding to take him eventing .  God enough to excel in any sphere. Floating movement would make him an eye catcher in the show ring. Produced ahead of the Elite 3 year old sales. Sound and correct open to any vet. Dam side has King of Diamonds and her full sister now events in France having jumped into pole position at 1.20m.  The dam has already bred two brothers to this horse who are also top prospects.

Read more about this lovely 2 year old on his Horses For Sale profile page on Horse Scout by using this link. http://www.horsescout.co.uk/horses-for-sale/profile/2254

Penhills Candy Boy

Another stunning youngster by Candy Boy Sligo, x Princess Cool Diamond, is this gorgeous 3 year old.  Has done well at the Dublin Show and is riding well showing promise for jumping classes next year. This 16.1hh chestnut gelding may have a little more growth in him yet but he is definitely shaping up to make a nice picture in the ring.  Riding well under saddle with a super trot and is being bold over a fence he is charming in the yard and level headed in work.  What a good choice he would make.  Find out more an contact his gluouscetershire based producers by following the link here to his Horse Scout horses for Sale profile page.

 

Experienced 16.2hh Irish Hunter by Sligo Candy Boy – LYREACROMPANE, LISTOWEL

Looking for a hunter for the season, it looks like you could do very well to consider this experienced Field Masters Mount from the Galway Blazers. A Challenging ground are no problem to him! He has proved himself ‘Brave as a Lion” not looking at anything, even the biggest of ditches (and they are big over that country).  He’s taken both men and women out for the day proving himself a star of the field.  To top this he has also done Riding Club and can add carrying side saddle to his CV.  What a super all rounder for year round competing and riding.  definitely worth a hop to Shannon Airport for viewing.

Take a look at his profile page on the Horse Scout Horses for Sale page by using this link.

Horse Scouts also has another Balou De Rouet son standing at stud and profiled on Horse Scout called Balou Star.  An outstanding stallion himself standing for Pippa Allen and advertised on Horse Scouts Stallions At Stud pages here.


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Steven Franks – Top Tips for Top Class Rides

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Steven Franks –   With over 15 years experience in producing horses to Olympic and Grand Prix level, Steven Franks reveals his top tips on training his horses and buying a show jumper.

 When did you become serious about show jumping?

I was 17 when William Funnell spotted me at a show and said I should work for him if I wanted a career in show jumping. I ended up staying with him for seven years. At the beginning I was riding his young horses and, as the years went by, I got the opportunity to ride some of the more established ones and to carve out a career.

Name the highlights.

Back in the day… riding Cevin Z at three Horse of the Year (HOYs) finals and placing at a few international Grands Prix with Mondriaan.

More recently, since setting up my own business, coming second in 2015 at the Hickstead Derby on Carlow Cruiser and second in Spain at the three-star Grand Prix with Brutus III. He was a winner at CSI Bolesworth with Billy Ginger as well as winning the Area Trial at Edenbridge County Show.

Tell us a bit about your horses.

I have three horses with double clears at International Grand Prix:

Brutus III (by Billy Congo) is a really special 10-year old who has jumped nine world ranking classes on the trot without dropping a pole.

Carlow Cruiser (by Cruising) is a veteran at 18! He is a 16.2hh grey gelding, with incredible ability but is a menace in prize givings.

Abdul Aziz (Diamant de Semilly) a 2004-born black 16.2hh gelding.

Then I have Holly Congo (by Billy Congo) who at nine years old is winning 1.40 classes, as well as Billy Ginger who is the winning machine.

I also bought Brutus’ brother, seven-year old, 17.2hh Amethyst. He is currently jumping Fox Hunter classes. I don’t like to work big horses hard when they are young as they are simply too weak — it’s important to work on getting a good canter. And no… 1m30 isn’t big for a horse that size!

Are they for sale?

Every one is for sale but they’re not pushed under people’s noses.

How do you keep your horses sound and happy?

I place an emphasis on keeping them fit for the job but not over jumped — the fitter they are, the less likely they will pick up an injury. If they are established and competing, I hardly jump at all at home and, even then, it’s no bigger than 1m30. It’s purely to keep their jumping muscles strong. The younger horses (under seven) will jump more in order to improve their technique.

So what’s a weekly schedule for an established horse like Brutus?

Five days week they’ll be out in the field for two hours and they will be hacked three times a week. I will also work them in the paddock three times a week – I find that the sand school disguises a few things but in an open field there’s nothing to help you with straightness!

Do you use any training tools or favour any specific bits?

My motto is generally to keep it simple and most of my horses go in snaffles. Sometimes the horses with a high head carriage work with a bungee to work longer and lower and to use the muscles across their back but, in general, for show jumpers I think that if they are comfortable and happy carrying their head high or poking their nose, it’s better than forcing them to go in an outline and lean on the rider.

You now own your own business breaking and producing other people’s horses. What’s the most important thing when training a youngster?

The basics are flat work – straightness, self carriage, working forward, and being responsive off the leg and not dependent on the rider.

Can riders come to you for lessons?

In around five years time I’ll probably teach lessons, but at the moment that’s not a priority.

So do you train with anyone regularly?

In the past, of course, I’ve been trained by William Funnell and Di Lampard and if I had a problem at a show I’d always ask their advice, but no, I don’t train regularly with anyone. Most of the time I figure it out for myself. There’s no right or wrong way. Every horse is different. You just have to be clever…forever thinking.

What advice would you give other upcoming show jumpers?

I find watching certain riders I admire, such as Marcus Ehning, helps. And often it’s more beneficial to watch them in the warm up rather than the ring.

What’s important when buying a show jumper?

The most important thing is intelligence and a big heart. I’d rather they had less talent and a heart of a lion than be ultra talented and only give 80%. Whether you’re an amateur or professional, I think buying the right horse is down to gut instinct – look at a horse, get on and try it. Sometimes what you are looking at on paper simply doesn’t translate when you ride them.

So do you think blood lines are important and which ones do you like?

Yes it does count — I have three horses by Billy Congo: Brutus III, Holly Congo and Billy Ginger.

But my other favourites are similar to most others… Diamant de Semilly and Kannan.

What are your goals for the future?

To keep some young horses coming through so that we can keep going to the top shows. Keep the form and success up so that we can continue to climb the world rankings. Winning a Grand Prix and the Hickstead Derby, now that would be nice!

And why Horse Scout?

The social media side is very good — it’s so important these days to network and market yourself.

Interview by Sam Lewis Journalist and PR for Horse Scout

More about Steven Franks and the horses he produces can be found on Horse Scout

Visit Steven Frank’s profile page to find out more about the horses he has for sale which, at the time of writing include two wonderful youngsters ready to take the stage:

Box Clever a talented 5 year old who had a clear round in the Discovery at his first show. A handsome looking gelding by Box Clever – follow this link to his sales page.

Steven also has a talented homebred mare by  Adorado x an Animo Nimmerdor mare who is winning with double clears in Newcomers ready for 2017 and has also jumped double clears at Foxhunter.  A quality horse ready for a keen amateur to produce. Steven has ore information on her Horses for Sale page, follow this link.

More on Horse Scout about the stallions Steven franks mentions.

Horse Scout is the place to visit if you are looking for any of the top class stallions that Steven has mentioned in his interview.  Horse Scout really does have a top class line up listed on its Stallions at Stud pages. Visit our Stallions At Stud pages or use the links to particular stallions in the text above.