Category Archives: Eventing

A combination of events that challenge competitors to participate in dressage, cross-country and showjumping.

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Horse Scout Real: Emily King

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Horse Scout catches up with eventing advocate Emily King to find out her thoughts on the UK’s most prestigious three day event – Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials.

 

Why is Badminton such a special event to you?

I have been to Badminton nearly every year since I was young with my mum, and for me, it’s the biggest and best event in the world.

What is your most memorable moment at Badminton?

Competing for my first time there on Brookleigh in 2016. We lay 2nd after dressage but unfortunately had a fall at the second last on the cross country!

What is your top Cross Country tip?

Stay on the tightest line possible, sometimes going slower can get a tighter line and thus making you faster.

What is your top Show Jumping tip?

Rhythm, power, balance. Three very vital words!

What is your top Dressage tip?

Stay cool, calm and concentrate on all of the small things – every corner, every transition, how you’re sitting. This influences everything.

What are your thoughts on the 2019 Badminton Cross Country course? 

It appears a tough, bold, rider testing course. The lake is always so imposing, so I’m sure that’ll cause it’s fair share of problems. Then the corner ditch, corner, (where the vicarage vee was last year) – I think that’ll catch a few horses and riders out this year.

How is Dargun feeling?

Dre’s feeling great! He’s had a couple of good prep runs this spring at Belton & Burnham Market, where he’s been on top form. He feels extremely fit and well, so everything crossed!!

Horse Scout is thrilled to have you as the Eventing brand ‘Face’ of the Horse Scout Collection. Which product do you believe you’ll get the most wear from?

It’s hard to say! But I think I love the Jin Stirrups and Horse Scout Ears the most of all. The stirrups due to their durability and grip, the ears due to their comfort and their thicker material which is fantastic for helping to cancel out any excess noise for the horses.

Will you be using Horse Scout Jin Stirrup irons at Badminton this year?

Yes I will, on all of my saddles! They’re super lightweight, grippy and most of all they’re extremely strong.

What is your aim for Badminton 2019?

I’d just love to come home knowing myself and Dre have tried our hardest. I’d obviously love to have a top result, but with it being his first thing at this level you have to be open minded… so the main thing for me is for him to come home safe and sound having had a wonderful time.

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Horse Scout Real: Joseph Murphy

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Horse Scout catches up with eventing advocate Joseph Murphy to find out his thoughts on the UK’s most prestigious three day event.

Why is Badminton such a special event to you?

For me Badminton is the top of the sport of Eventing . Everyone in the world wants to ride there but when you get there the occasion is as big as the course itself. You need to be on your A game!

What is your most memorable moment there?

My most memorable moment was the first time I walked through the Badminton stable arch on Electric Cruise Cross Country day. The atmosphere just hit me. It was unbelievable, I knew then it was a big day.

What is your top Cross Country tip?

I have made a lot of mistakes in this phase, and they for sure have shaped my Cross Country riding. Riding in point-to-points helped me ride at speed, but Ginny Elliot really broke down the technical side of the Cross Country in my earlier 4 star years and made me understand that each type of fence had a particular way of riding it.

What is your top Show Jumping tip?

The show jumping phase has not always been a strong phase for me, but working with Ian Fearon for so many years has definitely made this phase more consistent. He always says “Joe on Sunday now you need to turn into a show jumping rider“. I never forget it!

What is your top Dressage tip?

This phase I struggle a little more with than the others, but I always seem to pick jumpers to ride and as a result the dressage can be bit more difficult.

Any horses I buy now have to have the temperament to do this phase. I am determined to turn the tables! At the moment, the advice to myself is appreciate the horses I have and get the best from them, but in the future try and put myself in a better position to be more competitive after the dressage.

What are your thoughts on the 2019 Badminton Cross Country course? 

Badminton is Badminton and it’s never easy which is to be expected. What will play the biggest part come closer to the weekend is the weather. All the horses and riders are the top drawer of the sport, and the riders will all question different fences relative to what they’re riding. Jumping into the Lake is a big thrill!

How is Sportsfield Othello feeling?

He’s a fabulous horse with great heart – he feels fantastic! He had his final run on Saturday in an Advanced at Whittington Manor and was great! Running this close to a big event like Badminton has its risks, but also going to Badminton not prepared properly is an even bigger one for me.

Horse Scout is thrilled to have you as the Eventing brand ‘Face’ of the Horse Scout Collection. Which product do you believe you’ll get the most wear from?

The Horse Scout ears are a favourite of mine, they literally blend with any colour of horse. They are very stylish but most importantly the design of them helps Sportsfield Othello in the big atmosphere to keep the noise at bay and help him concentrate.

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Oliver Towend Land Rover Kentucky Three Day Event

Horse Scout advocate makes history at Land Rover Kentucky Three Day Event

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It was “champagne Monday” in Horse Scout HQ today, as our advocates have made us proud again. The boy is already world number one, but Oliver Townend has just become the first British rider to take back to back wins at the Land Rover Kentucky 5*, America’s most prominent Three-Day event.  “This is one of the biggest events in the world and it’s an eventing childhood dream to win at the highest level” Oliver said, after his steely nerves delivered the clear round that was essential to win. Oliver was riding the 14-year-old Irish bred, Cooley Master Class which is owned by Angela Hislop. The Ramiro B sired gelding was also his partner when he lifted the Land Rover title last year.

Oliver led after both dressage and cross-country, but came into the final phase with less than a pole between him and third place. Last year’s Burghley winner Tim Price and Xavier Faer produced a stunning clear to add to the pressure. It was then the turn of the popular American rider, Boyd Martin and Tseterleg. Boyd received the biggest applause of the day by the home crowd, after he too, jumped a clear round. You could have heard a mouse squeak as Oliver entered the arena, his face displaying complete focus and determination. The crowds were suitably rapturous after he produced a faultless round and Oliver delighted them further as he hugged his horse.

“I am so proud, I can’t say what this means” he said, fighting back tears as he explained how his horse Cooley Master Class, has not been the most straightforward. “It’s a huge team effort, it hasn’t been an easy journey, but we always believed in him and the horse is pure class. It was just my job to press the buttons at the right time and he delivered again.”

British based Tim Price, was delighted with the British bred Xavier Faer who is owned by his breeder Trisha Rickards together with Nigella Hall and Tim. Although it was no doubt on his mind that a win here, would have put him in contention for the lucrative Rolex Grand Slam after he claimed the win at Burghley last year.

Britain’s Piggy French moved up from fifth to fourth on Quarrycrest Echo, the horse she took to Tryon for the World Equestrian Games last year.

Oliver claimed the lions share of the $400,000 prize pot as well as a Land Rover Discovery for a year. We look forward to following him and our other advocates Joseph Murphy and Emily king, at the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials this week.

Official Highlights Film From Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event 2019


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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


Horses for sale are sold correctly with Horse Scout

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Making sure your horses for sale are sold correctly with Horse Scout

The majority of us who have ever sold a horse will have experienced tyre kickers, joy riders, greedy agents and trainers with their own agenda. Then there are the international scammers who want to buy the horse from a video without questions- just send all your bank details to that man in Nigeria. It is these individuals who make the selling process an unpleasant experience.

The Legal aspect

Unfortunately when you come to sell a horse, whether you have owned it for a decade or a week you do not have many legal rights and buyers know this. If you are a commercial set up, individual or professional rider who has put expenses for horses through the books, then that makes you a dealer.  It makes no difference if you have owned the horse for years and are selling at a loss.

From a legal point of view, horses are considered as goods. Therefore the jurisdiction relating to the sale of goods applies to them. The law provides people buying from a dealer, significantly more protection than it does as against a private seller.

When someone buys from a seller acting in the course of their business, section 14 of the Sales of Goods Act 1979 will impose terms into the agreement for sale, such as that the horse is of satisfactory quality and fit for the purpose it is being bought for. What this means is that the purchaser has the right to annul the contract and return the horse if it is not in compliance with these terms. For example, if the horse has a behavioural problem that was present prior to the date of purchase, which the buyer only discover after the sale. The buyer is then entitled to a full refund and it is even up to the seller to pick the horse up at their own expense.

However, in the words of an world renowned and highly regarded horse dealer (who shall remain nameless) “you sell the horse not the rider”. Meaning that horses can be ruined very quickly by an unsuitable rider. The good news is that the seller does have some legal rights in this event.

The law regards the purchase of a horse as being the purchase of an unknown quantity. They call it “caveat emptor”, essentially meaning “buyer beware”. So the buyer is responsible for examining the horses thoroughly for suitability and quality before handing over any money. An agreement for the sale of a horse depends both on “express terms”- those specifically agreed between the parties and “implied terms”, which are the conditions implied by the law.

So if you are looking to sell a horse, we have come up with our tips on how to make the process as pain-free as possible. Some may seem obvious but we would hate to say “I told you so”.

  • Honesty is ALWAYS the best policy. If you want to establish and keep a good reputation, it’s never worth deceiving people. We are probably all fools for buying a horse in the first place but not many of us are as ignorant as we may seem, we do our due diligence and insincerity will always come back to haunt you. The horse world is a bitchy place and a hive of gossip and slander- a bad horse is not worth a lifetime of abuse. Remember as a horse seller, many buyers think of you as about as trustworthy as a used car salesman. So surprise them by being totally upfront about a horse’s weaknesses, imperfections and history. It’s a win-win situation and reverse psychology can be an effective tool.
  • Sell quality, correctly produced horses. Quality always sells and usually quickly, meaning less overheads. If you limit yourself to more quality than quantity, you will secure a solid reputation in the industry and have people banging down the door trying to buy your horses. Something ridden with pleasure, is seldom made without effort. You cannot make a Grand Prix dressage horse in two months but train him to stand still when the rider mounts, to load easily and jump around a course without head-butting the rider.

Resist buying it in the first place, solely because it is cheap. Find something desirable that preferably ticks the three boxes- temperament, talent and conformation.

If you do end up with a bad one, consider whether it is worth the effort of trying to make it a good horse. There are other dealers out there who won’t ask the questions and care less about their own reputation.

 

  • Lame horses lose time and money. This goes hand in hand with honesty. If you know it is not 100% on a circle then the vet examining it, certainly will and that just makes you look a fool. There are buyers out there, brave enough to take a punt so if the horse cannot be given time to recover, drop the price and be upfront.

 

  • Market your product. Buyers are unlikely to be convinced to come and look at a horse with blurred iPhone photos and a video filmed from 200 metres away. It can take time to make a horse presentable and make him stand square but it is worth it in the end, whatever the value. So lose the shabby pink headcollar and the muddy legs. Stand him on level ground and throw a few carrots in the air to make him smile for the camera. It’s like internet dating- first impressions do matter!

 

  • The skill of advert descriptions. Make it comprehensive but concise. Imagine you are a journalist or marketeer and try and hook your audience with the opening paragraph. Height, age, sex, purpose and a few buzz words to sum up temperament, looks or ability eg unbelievable scope, wow paces, ultimate schoolmaster. It won’t work on everyone but it helps if you seem positive and excited about the horse you are selling.

 

  • Price appropriately. If you really want to sell, ask a fair price for what the horse is worth today, not what it will be worth in three months’ time after intensive schooling and three wins under it’s belt. When working out price, consider the obvious- the horse’s age, history of soundness, level of training, rideability but also the time of year and your location. It is no myth that the same sound competition horse will command a higher price in affluent part of the country which is easily accessible, than it would if it was based on the North coast of Scotland. Remember everyone likes to feel they are getting a bit of a deal, so be prepared to take something off the asking price. On the other side of the coin (excuse the pun), too cheap will sound alarm bells.

 

  • Realism saves time. Ask the buyer early on, what they are looking for and an honest appraisal of their riding ability. Take a written note of this, it may be useful if you ever get caught in a legal battle over the unsuitability of a horse. Evaluate from their description, their background and their riding as to whether this horse will cope with the partnership. Measure your horse’s height with a real stick rather than relying on what it says in the passport, estimated when it was a yearling.

 

  • Be courteous and prompt Even with suspected time wasters. Respond within 24 hours, even if you cut and paste a ready-made “template”, including video links. Serious buyers will usually pick up the phone first but the downside of living in a digital age is that many people are almost scared of picking up the phone. Keep all prospective buyers in the loop about a horse’s status eg just won a British Novice, still for sale etc. Even if they decide your horse is not for them, be polite and wish them the best of luck in their search. They may end up coming back another time if they enjoyed dealing with you. Or if you know someone selling a horse which may be more suitable, it is always worth sharing. They are more likely to return the favour.

 

Testimonials

“We’ve used Horse Scout for selling horses and I have also been to see horses to buy. There is always a huge selection and you can target exactly what you are looking for.” – Emily King FEI 4* Event Rider. 

“We have advertised multiple horses with Horse Scout and have sold horses quickly and efficiently. We find that responders to the Horse Scout advertisements are genuine and knowledgable horse people which makes advertising with Horse Scout very appealing because you know the horses are going to capable caring homes. The personalised service Hannah and her team provide makes advertising quality horses easy” Alex and Suze Peternell International Event Rider

“I have been using horse scout for the past 8 months. It is a fantastic contribution to the successful running of my business. Easy to use, great service from Hannah. I would recommend to anyone.” Dan Sibley International Event Rider 

 

Written by Ellie Kelly

Photography credits to Libby Law


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.


The Rich History of Badminton Horse Trials

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Regardless of your chosen equestrian pursuit, most of you have probably attended Badminton Horse Trials at least once in your life. Each year, hundreds of thousands of people make the trip to Badminton Estate to shop, walk the cross country course, drink Pimms and most importantly watch the eventing itself. But how much do you know about the history of Badminton?

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Badminton was first held in 1949 by the 10th Duke of Beaufort to let British riders train for international events. In that first year, there were just 22 starters from two countries, Britain and Ireland – how things have changed!

The prize money for the inaugural 1949 event was £150 to the winner; by 1975 this had ‘progressed’ to £1,000; in 1995 it was £22,500 and in 2015 it was £80,000. This year the winner will take home the record prize of £100,000! In this professional era of the sport, the winner of the most prestigious event of them all will be properly rewarded. The overall prize pot amounts to nearly £360,000 with prize money going down to 20th place.

The Badminton Estate has been in the possession of the Beaufort family since 1608. The house and parkland date from the 17th and early 18th centuries and the park was modelled by William Kent and Capability Brown.

In 1953 the very first European Championships were staged at Badminton. In 1956, the Steeplechase course was moved from the Didmarton point-to-point course to the site at The Slaits, where it stayed until discontinued in 2006. Since then the Trials have been “Short Format”, without Roads & Tracks or Steeplechase.

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Messrs. Whitbread sponsored Badminton Horse Trials from 1961 until 1991, making it one of the longest sponsorships in sporting history. Mitsubishi-Motors took over the sponsorship in 1992 and the riders compete for the silver Mitsubishi Motors Trophy designed and produced by the Wiltshire-based sculptress, Judy Boyt.

On just four occasions bad weather has forced the cancellation of the Trials– in 1966, 1975, 1987 and 2012. The terrible weather of 1962/63 which continued into the spring, forced Badminton to down-grade to a one day event. The Foot and Mouth epidemic also caused the cancellation of the 2001 Event.

KEY FACTS

  • In 1995 Mark Todd rode over half the cross-country course on Bertie Blunt with only one stirrup! Sadly the horse was eliminated at the final Horse Inspection the next day.
  • The horses with the most Badminton completions are Ballycotton (6 ), Over To You (7), Lenamore (7) and Comanche (7).
  • Most wins goes to Lucinda Green (6 wins), followed by Captain Mark Phillips and Mark Todd (4 wins), followed by Sheila Willcox, Ginny Leng, Ian Stark and Pippa Funnell (3 wins).
  • Just Four Winning Mares: Emily Little ridden by Captain Mark Darley, Bambi V ridden by Margaret Hough, Peggoty ridden by Captain Martin Whiteley and Headley Britannia, ridden by Lucinda Fredericks in 2007.
  • Ian Stark is the only rider to gain first and second places in the same year.
  • Sheila Willcox is the only rider to have achieved a hat-trick of wins in 1957, 1958 and 1959 on the trot.
  • The smallest horses ever to compete have been Our Solo, Our Nobby and Portersize Just a Jiff, all horses registered as 15hh.
  • The biggest horses to compete have been Durlas Eile, Columbus, Custom Made and Word Perfect II. All were believed to be 17 hh+.
  • The youngest rider to win at Badminton is Richard Walker who won in 1969 aged 18.
  • The oldest rider to win at Badminton is Mark Todd aged 55 in 2011.
  • Completed the most times – Andrew Nicholson (NZL) is the holder of this record with 35 times. Previously Lorna Clarke held the record with 22 times. Lorna retired after the 1992 event.

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Together with the four-star rated Rolex Kentucky Three Day and the Burghley Horse Trials, Badminton forms the Rolex Grand Slam of Eventing. Only two people have ever won the Grand Slam; Pippa Funnell in 1993 and Michael Jung in 2015/16. In 2007 Andrew Hoy nearly took the title but lost out when he had a pole down showjumping at Burghley- a heart-breaking 4 faults!

In 2016 Badminton Horse Trials was the 7th most attended sporting event in the UK, after Wimbledon tennis championships, F1 British Grand Prix, Royal Ascot, Cheltenham Festival, ATP World tennis finals and the Open golf championships. Fast forward to today and the cross-country day at Badminton attracts crowds of up to a quarter of a million and is the second largest for money made in the world.

We look forward to a spectacular event next week and wish all those competing the very best of luck.


Chilli Morning – highest ranked competing stallion ever!

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Horse Scout is pleased to present a world class stallion that needs very little introduction.

Chilli Morning is fast becoming an icon and a legend in the sport of eventing. Partnered by three greats of the sport – Nick Gauntlett, Mary King and most famously William Fox-Pitt, this stunning chestnut by Phantomic rose to the higher echelons of the eventing world to become the first stallion in history to win the prestigious Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials back in 2015, following his World Equestrian Games Bronze in 2014. Chilli Morning finished his illustrious eventing career at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio as the highest placed British combination in 12th place.

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Owned by Mr & Mrs Christopher Stone and bred by Rainer Schicketanz from Neustadt in Germany and sired by Phantomic and out of a Kolibri called Koralle. ‘Chilli’ has always been the most exceptional stallion and competition horse, with striking looks, scope and paces that were the envy of the eventing world.

Chilli started his career with a win as a 6-year old, in 2006 with Nick Gauntlett in what was then called Pre Novice, before finishing his first season with a 2nd place at The Pavo British Eventing Breeding Championships at Tweseldown. From thereon, as they say, the rest is history. A career spanning 10 years with numerous National and International victories including Badminton CCI****, Bramham CIC*** & CCI*** twice, The Festival of British Eventing and Houghton CIC***. Chilli Morning will forever be remembered as an eventing great, as we now look to the future to the progeny that are set to follow in his hoof prints.

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Already proving very fertile, a string of Chilli offspring are already starting to make their mark on the world with Chillis Gem, ridden by Gemma Tattersall, representing GB at the 2016 Le Lion d’Angers Seven Year Old World Championships.

“Although Chilli needs no introduction and his results and reputation speak for themselves, it is still really important to let people know that he is standing at stud and that this year for the first time he is available for fresh/chilled AI. Horse Scout is a good way for us to get the word out and a great platform for people to get more information,” added Elodie Frost, agent for Chilli Morning.

Chilli now stands at the West Kington Stud, owned by Tim & Jane Holderness-Roddam and managed by Tessa Clarke, a yard steeped in as much eventing history and glory as Chilli himself.

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What can we expect from Chilli in the future?

“Chilli is now 17 so we will have to see how he enjoys his first season at stud and then make a decision about the coming years. I think it is very likely that there will be performance related selection criteria moving forwards. We already have some very exciting Chilli progeny and are looking forwards to seeing if they can follow in Dad’s footsteps!” added Elodie. 

All enquiries regarding Chilli Morning should be directed through Elodie Frost.


PREPARING FOR BADMINTON: EXCLUSIVE INSIGHT

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Horse Scout catches up with two of their sponsored riders, Joseph Murphy and Gubby Leech, to find out what the month prior to riding at Badminton involves.

 

Most event riders grow up dreaming of riding at the prestigious Badminton Horse Trials, based in the heart of the Cotswolds. It takes years, sometimes decades of training and hard graft to reach the required 4* level and earn those elusive FEI points to be applicable to enter.

Horse Scout asks two of their sponsored riders, Joseph Murphy and Gubby Leech to provide insight into the one month leading up to the big event.

 

The horse’s training

Joseph Murphy, Irish Olympic event rider, is entered to ride Sportsfield Othello, a 16 year old gelding by Ricardo Z and out of Moyview Lady and co-owned with the brilliantly supportive Alison Schmutz.

Joseph explained that the first two weeks of April are focused on reaching the horse’s fitness goals with a mixture of galloping and swimming to build cardiovascular fitness and stamina. He gallops ‘Frankie’ every 3rd and 5th day followed by a swim and always icing the legs afterwards to reduce inflammation and prevent injury. In fact, Joseph ices the legs of all his horses after they are ridden each day. This fortnight is a ‘scary time for injuries’ said Joseph, and when you would look to do any necessary veterinary work to ensure the horse is in optimal condition.

This intense fitness work will then taper right down and the last two weeks of April focus on technical training, practising dressage movements from the test, agility jumping and specific exercises to fine tune the horse.

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Gubby Leech, British 4* event rider, is entered on Antoinette Denham-Harding’s 12 year old ISH gelding Xavier, by Clover Echo and out of Knightfield Sally.

Gubby is based at the quiet and beautiful Clarendon Park Estate in Wiltshire. He does all his fitness training on the forgiving old turf in the grounds of the estate. There is a perfectly steep hill that Gubby does repetitions galloping up and letting Xavier rest on the way down. They do fitness work every four days and will have their last gallop on the Saturday before Badminton week, with a ‘pipe opener’ after dressage on the Friday afternoon. Gubby said ‘Xavier is a strong and electric horse’ so he puts a lot of work into him to keep the extra fizz to a minimum! The technical training involves weekly dressage training with Lizzie Murray throughout April and showjumping training with William Fox-Pitt. Xavier is a keen horse in the ring, sometimes making up too much ground in combinations. Practising grid exercises at home helps him to shorten his stride in doubles and trebles, especially if the course builder likes to use short distances.

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The horse’s well-being

Joseph will turn ‘Frankie’ out every day on his own so he can have a pick of grass, relax and feel the sun on his back. Joseph chooses not to put protective boots on when turning Frankie out because he tends to be sensible in the field and he would rather keep the legs cool. Regular massages and some physiotherapy throughout April also help get Frankie in the best physical condition possible.

Gubby entrusts the multi-skilled Sue Devereux to keep Xavier in good condition. Sue is an equine vet, chiropractor and acupuncturist who will treat Xavier 2-3 times this April using a variety of techniques. In the stable, Xavier wears a magnetic rug and magnetic boots to optimise blood flow and recovery. He is turned out ‘bootless’ from the time he is ridden in the morning until 8pm when the horses get late feeds. This turnout time helps Xavier chill out and unwind.

Feeding

Joseph is very intuitive and he judges visually and by the feel of the horses on whether their feed needs increasing or decreasing. He monitors each horse closely to ensure it is fed the right mix of hard feed, haylage and supplements. Joseph slightly increases the feed on Frankie’s hardest days of work. Two weeks before Badminton Frankie’s feed regime will be set and won’t change leading up to the event. Joseph uses top quality feeds, Mervue supplements and he brings his own haylage over to Badminton from his base in Northern Ireland.

Like Joseph, Gubby also uses quality supplements to support the nutritional requirements of his horses.  Gubby uses an organic lucerne which is soaked first and helps keep Xavier hydrated, in addition to using high quality linseed, a balancer and electrolytes. Xavier receives 3 feeds a day whilst having his weight, condition and energy closely monitored. He can very quickly go off his food at competitions so it is a fine art making sure he gets what he needs!

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Rider Fitness

Joseph rides all day long from the moment he wakes to the end of the day. He regularly competes 5 horses a day, even at Intermediate and Advanced level, meaning he is extremely fit from his time in the saddle. However, Joseph does extra core stability exercises to help improve his position, balance, core and overall fitness. He is following a 6 week core stability programme and he does the exercises before bed. Did you ever wonder what gives Andrew Nicholson, otherwise known as ‘Mr Stickability’ his amazingly secure seat? The answer is having a rock solid core.

Gubby is in the saddle riding horses back to back all day until the moment he gets home. Having two young children means most of his evening is spent overseeing bath-time and coaxing them to go to sleep! Gubby focuses on eating as healthy as possible, cutting out sugar and only has the occasional drink at special occasions, in order to maintain his perfect competition weight. His wife Sarah is an organic girl so the family gets fed very well!

 

Rider Mindset

Gubby has previously entered Badminton twice but sadly had to withdraw the horses before the event on both occasions. Combining this with a good Burghley experience in 2016 for this duo, Gubby feels ready. He is ‘in a good space, riding well and has a good partnership’ with his ride, Xavier.

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Increasingly, top athletes are using Sports Psychologists to help give them the competitive edge. People talk about ‘marginal gains’ and this simply means that if you have a group of athletes, in this case riders, who are all equally talented on paper with equally talented horses, the rider who wins is the person who performs best on the day. Good sleep and being well rested, thriving under pressure, feeling confident, and focusing only on your performance and not worrying about those around you, are all factors that determine a rider’s overall performance. Doing these things well can make all the difference.

Joseph works with Charlie Unwin, Olympic Performance Psychologist across five sports. Since working with Charlie at the start of 2017, Joseph has been out winning most weekends this season and has never looked better! The work with Charlie helps Joseph to focus on what matters most when it comes to performance and to successfully block out all other distractions.

Horse Scout would like to thank Joseph and Gubby for sharing some of their practises and we wish them the best of luck for May! We look forward to an exciting four days of competition and wait in anticipation to see the new cross country course designed by Eric Winter. Only one question remains- who will be holding the famous Badminton trophy come Sunday afternoon?

 

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Premium Pony Stallions Joins Horse Scout

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Horse Scout is delighted to have one of the most exciting premium pony stallions in the UK listed with them.  Chartsturmer WE is the exquisite, 4 year old, chestnut pony stallion, by Caramel FH and owned by Ann-Marie Manning and ridden by sister Jennifer Manning.

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“We met the Horse Scout team at the Bury Farm Stallion show and agreed that Horse Scout would be a great platform to promote Chartsturmer WE from” confirmed the Manning sisters.

The incredibly smart Chartsturmer WE achieved his Premium status grading and licence with Weser Ems in Vechta, Germany in 2015, where he was only 1 of 5 colts to achieve the prestigious title.

At only 4 years of age this beautifully tempered pony displays three impressive and balanced paces. An elevated, powerful, yet graceful trot with a wonderfully active hind leg, a superbly active walk and canter, that already display so much scope and potential for his future, both as a competition pony and breeding stallion.

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Purchased as a yearling, it has always been the Manning’s aim to both produce ‘Charti’ as a leading competition pony and breeding stallion.

“Our long term aim is to produce him as an FEI dressage pony, but also to help dressage pony breeding within the UK.  We saw that the British Breeding industry was in need of a stallion like Chartsturmer WE, and it has always been an aim of ours to help improve this area of the industry” added Jennifer Manning.

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Backed in 2016 Charti is now into his ridden career and will feature in the Northern Stallion Show later in March, along with Stallions AI in April.  Ann-Marie and Jennifer also plan to aim him at the British Dressage Young Pony classes later this year, as part of his own competition pathway and to build his own profile as both an elite competition and pony stallion.

“He is aimed at the competition mare and we will be looking to work with approved mares, but he has only got one breeding season under him at the moment, with 2 offspring due this season.  As much as it is our aim to support the dressage pony breeding industry in the UK, we have also had interest from the eventing market looking to produce smaller event horses with high quality dressage paces.”

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