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Equestrian Relief: Horse World Unites to Support our NHS Heroes

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Horse Scout CEO Lucienne Elms and all members of the Horse Scout Agency Team  are thrilled to announce that leading Olympic riders from across the disciplines, as well as horse racing jockeys and celebrities have shown their support for a major fundraising initiative launched by the team behind Bolesworth and Liverpool International Horse Shows.

 

Equestrian Relief’ is an urgent fundraising campaign to raise money and change lives, with donations going directly to support the efforts of the wonderful work being carried out by the NHS.

 

Leading names are all showing their support including two Eventing World Champions Ros Canter and Zara Tindall, Olympic Gold Medallists Carl Hester & Scott Brash and racing legends AP McCoy and Frankie Dettori.

 

Each day two members of each team will take part in a daily challenge. The five challenges, which are; On the Gallops, Plankety Plank, Horse Drawn, Showstopper and Dark Horse will test our riders skills physically, creatively and artistically. Much more will be revealed over the coming days so make sure you join in the fun at 7pm each evening from Monday 6 April – Monday 13 April where our daily highlights will be broadcast across all the Liverpool International Horse Show channels and all info can be found at www.equestrianrelief.com

 

Nina Barbour, Bolesworth Managing Director:

“Our priority is to unite the horse world to support our health workers and our goal is to raise a sum of money that will make a real difference. All donations will go directly to NHS Charities Together Covid-19 Crisis Fund - supporting NHS staff and volunteers on the front line as they work under pressure and in the most challenging of circumstances.”

 

“We’ve already got some fabulous sponsors on-board – including long standing Bolesworth supporters Equerry, Equitop and Horse Scout – who have all made generous contributions to get us started.

 

The campaign will also be launching a charity auction On Monday 6 April with a host of ‘money can’t buy’ experiences up for grabs! Bid for the chance to get one on one with some of our equestrian celebrities for an exclusive Q&A session online, go behind the scenes with ITV racing, or even bid for a round of golf with AP McCoy and Oli Bell.  The paintings produced by the teams in the Horse Drawn challenge will also be included in the auction lots!

 

Zara Tindall said: “It’s a very challenging time for the equestrian community right now with so many people affected in so many ways. Being a high-risk activity, we also have a responsibility to minimise the impact on the NHS who are valiantly working to support the nation and save lives. Taking part in Equestrian Relief and knowing that donations are going directly to help NHS workers on the frontline makes it a no-brainer for me.  I am happy to be part of this campaign and look forward to seeing just how much we can raise”.

 

Frankie Dettori said: “I am super excited to announce that I will be taking part in Plankety Plank and Bake Off Easter Showstopper all in aid of Equestrian Relief. It’s going to be great fun, however we are all very competitive so I can’t wait to get started – so please make sure you support us!”

 

Scott Brash said: “All over the country we are coming together to support the phenomenal NHS staff during these very challenging times. As a strong equestrian community we must stay united in the battle against Covid19 and we are hopeful that Equestrian Relief can make a huge impact in raising funds directly to support those who are putting their own lives at risk to help others. Let the challenges commence and please make sure you support us and give what you can to this incredible cause.”
Ellie Orton, CEO of NHS Charities Together said: “Every person on our team and NHS teams throughout the country, are playing a vital role in being there for others during this emergency. Please join in with the Equestrian Relief team effort by showing your appreciation, gratitude and solidarity for our NHS workers who are responding heroically to the biggest challenge the NHS has ever faced’.

 

To donate and for details of the Equestrian Relief campaign visit www.equestrianrelief.com

THE  SPONSORS

 

Equerry Horse Feed – A range of top-quality horse feeds produced using the finest ingredients, manufactured by HJ Lea Oakes

www.equerryhorsefeeds.com

 

Equitop – Manufacturers of Equitop Myoplast – a Unique amino acid supplement designed to support healthy lean muscle growth, and Equitop GLME – a unique joint supplement specifically designed to support healthy joint function in horses containing sustainably harvested Green Lipped Mussel Extract.

www.equitop-myoplast.co.uk

 

Horse Scout - The UK’s leading equestrian marketplace

www.horsescout.com

 

Horse Scout Agency – The largest equestrian distribution in the world

www.horsescoutagency.com

 

 

ABOUT THE TEAMS

 

#TeamRacing

AP McCoy – Racing legend, Champion Jump Jockey (a record 20 consecutive times) and BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2010

Frankie Dettori – Racing Legend and Three-time Champion Flat Jockey

Mike Bushell – BBC Sports Presenter and star of Strictly Come Dancing

Oli Bell – ITV Racing Presenter

 

#TeamEventing

Ros Canter- Current World Champion

Zara Tindall – Former World and European Champion plus Sports Personality 2006

Oliver Townend – Current World Number One

Alex Hua Tian – First rider to represent China in Equestrian at the Olympics

Ben Hobday – Current British Open Champion

 

#TeamShowjumpingNorth

William Whitaker – international Showjumper and former Youth European Gold medallist

Geoff Billington - Two-time Olympian (Atlanta 1996 & Sydney 2000)

Ellen Whitaker – European Bronze medallist

Harry Charles – international rider on the Global Champions Tour and Son of Olympic Gold medallist Peter Charles

Anthony Condon – Irish International Showjumper

 

#TeamShowjumpingSouth

Scott Brash – Olympic Gold medallist

Shane Breen – Irish International Showjumper

Daisy Bunn – Director at Hickstead, TV Presenter and Classical Singer

Jessica Mendoza – former European youth gold medallist

Jay Halim – International Showjumper

 

#TeamDressage

Carl Hester – Olympic Gold medallist

Richard Davison - Four-time Olympian

Gareth Hughes – World Silver medallist

Toni Terry – Dressage Rider and wife of Chelsea Footballer John Terry

Sarah Higgins – International Dressage rider

 

USEFUL INFORMATION

 

Website – We’ve set up a dedicated website which is www.equestrianrelief.com

Accounts – The campaign will be run through the Liverpool International Horse Show social media accounts. Handles for these are:

Facebook: @LiverpoolInternationalHorseShow
Instagram: @liverpoolhorseshow
Twitter: @LiverpoolInt

Hashtags – #EquestrianRelief   #StayHomeSaveLives  #HorseScout

Virgin Money Giving Link:   bit.ly/EquestrianRelief2020

 

 


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Lucienne Elms – The Equestrian Entrepreneur – So Far

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Horse Scout is the brainchild of just one woman: 36-year-old Lucienne Elms from Hampshire, in the UK. The idea spawned from a desire to connect the horse world at a professional level, in a way that had never been done before. Like so many great entrepreneurs, Lucienne has a colourful background story, full of trials and tribulations, which she has recognised to be the catalyst for much of her business and sporting success.

 

Her professional journey with horses began in 2002 when she started working for a local 4* Event rider, alongside completing Biology, Chemistry, Psychology, and English A-levels. It became her goal to reach the top of the sport of eventing, which she duly did during the years that followed. In order to fund her sporting ambitions in what is one of the most financially demanding sports of all, Lucienne set up and managed a successful international sport horse sales business. Through this dedicated approach, she developed a network from all areas of the sports horse industry from sponsorship and industry needs to global sales pipelines. She admits to an unconventional childhood and recalls her father telling her in her teens, that the best thing he could offer was nothing. “It kept me resourceful and hungry” she smiles.

 

An intellectual curiosity and interest in science, prompted Lucienne to do a five-year degree in Chiropractic medicine. “I believed it would give me the autonomy I desired financially, while engaging me on a cerebral level, which riding alone didn’t offer. She became a practitioner for several years, worked in a medical centre, alongside competing to CCI**** level eventing.

 

All these walks of life led to the beginnings of an idea. The often considered ‘behind the times’ equestrian industry, when it comes to the tech space and digital connectivity, Lucienne detected the gap in the market. “There was a definite demand by equestrian professionals for a means for them to expand their customer base and or revenue channels”. Horse Scout was to be the platform which facilitated these connections, in a way that was not dissimilar to LinkedIn. Horse Scout today offers a leading international agency and equestrian services network and is expanding rapidly worldwide with a series of world class European and American relationships.”

 

Lucienne continues the story:

“I had a vision that would actually keep me awake at night, so I started researching the tech world and spending time in start-up hubs like a born-again student. I was internally mapping out how the different offerings of social and digital business could leverage the multi-billion equestrian space. True of most equestrians, I could never carve out enough time to put my vision into action. That at all changed when I had a freak riding accident in 2012, sustained 16 fractures in my foot and ankle and was confined to a wheelchair for 11 months.

 

The writing was on the wall. I had no choice but to lie behind my laptop for months on end and make this thing happen. I became what can only be described as ‘obsessed’ with the idea of Horse Scout. It occupied my every thought. Looking back, I should really apologise to the friends and family who were around me because I became all consumed. As any founder knows you can only rely on yourself to make it work, and you don’t take no for an answer. I have always been motivated by negative feedback, tell me I can’t do something and I will not stop pursue it until I can prove to the contrary. There is a fine line between tenacity and insanity!

 

In 2013 we secured a worldwide trademark for the brand. I took out a start-up loan with Virgin to tide me over and pay staff while rehabilitating. Rehab has been a big feature in my life, and I like to think it is a way of some other force reminding me to be grateful for every day of physical, mental health and independence. Like all riders I was back on board as soon as I could put my foot to the floor and by May 2014 I was back at an international competition. Limping, full of metal plates but grateful.

 

The drama didn’t stop there, in September 2018 I sustained a near fatal car crash. I punctured both lungs, broke 28 bones and woke up wondering quite what I had done to warrant the pain. As a former chiropractor I took one look at my spinal x rays and saw 16 rib fractures, and multiple transverse process breaks (the wings of the vertebral body that contains your spinal cord) and decided that my broken shoulder, arm, wrist, leg was actually a blessing, it could have been so much worse. I spent many weeks in Oaksey House Rehabilitation Centre, run by the Injured Jockeys Fund (IJF), an absolutely phenomenal facility. It was a dark but character-building time for me. I recall seeing others less fortunate than me in a state of paralysis. That sharpened me up every day and motivated me, despite indescribable pain. I hold the record for “Most bones broken in one person ever – IJF, Lambourne”. It might be a cheesy cliché “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” but I really believe in that mantra.

 

My aim by 2025 is to connect, improve and monetise all avenues of equestrian interest, be it social interests specific to the horses, or professional requirements and industry needs. By 2016 the initial Horsescout.com platform was up and running with several hundred thousand dedicated industry users specific to the professional services and building month on month revenues. We had a lot of people taking up premium subscriptions for advertising their services as a coach, trainer rider, or their horses for sale.

 

The users base is both amateurs and professionals. We found that a high percentage of users chose to profile their horses even when they were not for sale. You might ask why? Because the Europeans have a huge thirst to understand and validate their horses whether they are pets or professional competition horses, via breeding. It is no different to the racing industry and that familiar question “how is it bred?” This will always spark interest and communication amongst the community.

 

A small loyal bootstrapped team and I worked with Polish developers to create software that automatically connected the horses together by their bloodline lineage. In essence we had the LinkedIn of the equestrian world, with the intention that by 2022, we would have a second layer of authentication taking the verification of this from Wikipedia status (i.e. not necessarily accurate) to certified. We had British co-founders studying Retinal ID, and other Equi-lab concepts, who knew there were safer and more efficient ways to passport and identify horses in the long run. We have mechanisms in place which will build on the social connectivity around bloodlines which I look forward to launching. This will be as soon as we reach critical mass not nationally but internationally through our new strategic partnerships.

 

Alongside this we started Horsescoutagency.com. An agency to support professional athletes, equestrian events organizers, and brands needing help to test, validate, and launch into the equestrian domain. It was something that happened organically actually. I remember being in Italy with a phenomenal founder of a go-cart racing car company, Filippo Pozza at his HQ in Venice back in 2015. I knew before the social influencer boom had really hit that micro-marketing was going to be a win for the equestrian industry. This was owing to its insane fragmentation: dressage, show jumping, eventing, polo. Owning a network of thousands of users who have already told us their interests, made the ability to directly target athletes as product testers and individuals as consumers, a straightforward task.

 

By 2018 we had integrated social software to efficiently measure product sales against our agency client’s campaigns. Naturally, this was a great step for equestrian businesses. History proved that brands were lacking ability to prove their Return on Investment (ROI), a banner around an arena was no longer well spent budget unless it was tied to both a digital and social strategy. A win-win situation for the Horse Scout advocates too, as we plumbed in a success commission against products sold. Financial autonomy for professional riders is an area I am very aggressive to pursue. I understand that as a rider attempting to maintain an international presence, you become a slave to the sport, running on an eternal hamster wheel. Unless you are fortunate enough to be from a wealthy background, making money in horses is tough.

 

My business road map for all athletes connected to the Horse Scout network, will release a second salary to them based on performance. I have some new commercial platforms in build, set to launch in late 2020. The intention is to ‘give back’ to industry professionals such as equestrian artists and photographers, all the way through to world ranked riders. The world has shifted to an on-demand model in the last five years, gone are the days where you want to hold stock in warehouses. We have new software that assists in business to business merchandise and business to consumer lifestyle goods, much of which is customised. The exclusive partnerships will facilitate fulfilment to Europe and the UK on all our customers products within the week, and generate cash back to our chosen charities, athletes, and commercial counterparts.

 

I have been extremely fortunate to have the support of some of the best athletes along the way including Double Olympic World Champion MBE Mark Todd, MBE Olympic Champion Jennie Loriston-Clarke chairman of British Dressage. Plus, World no.1 event rider Oliver Townend and dozens of other hard hitting, revolutionary people in the sport. They always spoke the truth which helped and still helps shape the future of Horse Scout. Without a doubt, their feedback has been instrumental in helping my rise to the top of my field in the equestrian tech space.

 

Fundraising through 2016 -2017 was a sport in itself. I attended hundreds of meetings all over the UK and Europe and learnt how to pitch by the end of it. It dawned on me that the essence was to value the customer first and foremost and not the nature of the industry. Try using the words ‘horse business’ to a VC fund and see how far through your presentation you get. I knew the global market expenditure for equestrian was around £222 Billion per annum in 2017, and every other statistic to match. So, I kept my faith that one day with enough business collaboration, and industry understanding, domain knowledge, and strategic partnerships would pay dividends. I could now prove an excess of 250 million equestrians expressed equestrian interests via Facebook. Our Horse Scout customer lifetime member value looked very high when compared to the other community platforms.

 

If I was unsuccessful when I pitched for funding, I would ask after the meeting why they didn’t wish to invest. With this feedback, I constantly refined my presentations. I knew the equestrian market size was huge and the direct spend vast. The industry expands consistency year on year, with territories such as China showing 50% growth rate at that point. It was just a matter of educating and convincing people, many of whom had never sat on a horse in their life and had a low but uneducated opinion of our world, a sales background definitely helps you hustle.

 

I slowly raised £600k via five unique British and European tech investors, to support a customer scale strategy into Europe. I was also targeting the US, with a well-defined 27 million rider market. In 2017 I applied to BlackboxVC in Silicon Valley. It’s a world-renowned accelerator for proven start-ups. I was one of only two British founders selected to go after an eight-month interview process.

 

While at BlackboxVC I met some of the best tech entrepreneurs, and mentors none of whom placed any relevance on the equestrian domain but taught me how to identify my strengths. CEO Fadi Bishara stated “all good start-ups need three things, a hacker (tech), a hustler (front runner that can convey the vision), and a hipster (the one who can package it as aesthetic”.

 

I am wholly an extrovert. I need people to converse with, expand with and form alliances with. I want to provide more synergy to the equestrian industry and operate with the most entrepreneurial, elastic, ambitious equestrian organisations. It’s 2020 and the agency supports a diverse portfolio of organisations including Limburg Equestrian Sport in the Netherlands, one of Europe’s most exceptional facilities and professional teams. We also have partnerships with digital distribution channels including Chronofhorse.com, exceeding ten million users making it one of the most influential equestrian websites in the world. We are involved with the gaming industry in the form of Star Stable, a horse focused girls fantasy land proving over 17 million adopted users.

 

This diversity of relationships from true tech to sports innovation inspire me. We have to look at the grassroots and enthusiast market who are the base of the pyramid. I look forward to working with and driving new partnerships and commercial innovation into and organisations all over the world. We already have shared visions with the world’s leaders such as Equestrian Sport Productions and International Equestrian Group and their partnerships. They have invested more than $500m to date into equestrian venues, businesses, and real estate.

 

The Horse Scout journey is in its eighth year. Despite a challenging economic climate, my shareholders still remain, and the fragmented equestrian market still thrives. On the side-lines, I still make time to get my ‘brain fix’ competing at 4* and I will aim for 5* in 2021 despite being 45% titanium, I remain optimistic that I will not rust or damage myself again, before I get there”.

 

 

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Horse Scout Real: Shaun Mandy

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With the summer season quickly approaching, we caught up with Horse Scout Advocate and Dressage rider Shaun Mandy to find out what his plans are for the year ahead. We found out why he says putting the work in at home is so vital to getting the results in the ring and received some useful tips to help you achieve your 2020 goals.

 

Shaun as a coach, offers his clients a bespoke and professional coaching system to work with horses and riders of any level to help them achieve their objectives across multi-disciplines. No two horses or riders are the same, so he works on a flexible approach, tailor-made to suit both horse and rider. He is doing his British Dressage Level 2 in coaching this year followed by Level 3.

 

 

What are your main goals and ambitions for 2020?

My ultimate goal for 2020 would be to get onto the Grand Prix circuit. However, I have yet to sit down with the calendar and plan shows for this year. I will be going to the premiere leagues and high profile shows, but I will be more focused on securing the work and getting the training time in at home. My horse will be stepping up a level this year, so it is important to concentrate on his way of going at home and executing the movements to the best of our ability. This way, we will be able to confidently progress to Grand Prix throughout the year, hopefully resulting in getting the judges scores in the ring. In order to achieve this, I will set lots of shorter term, more achievable goals throughout the year. I will be judging how my horse is coping with these goals, and once I am happy with how he is going, look towards the next.

 

 

Tell us a bit more about your top horse…

My top horse, Euphoria E, is a lovely gelding by Carl Hester’s Uthopia out of a Sandro Hit mare. I acquired the ride on him as a six year old competing at Elementary level before later buying him. I currently have a small syndicate of owners for him and would be looking for a couple of new owners this year. Over the past five years I have produced him through the levels, this year we will be competing at Inter II and hopefully Grand Prix. He is the first horse that I will have produced through the levels and I am so grateful for the experience I have gained through training the horse myself. Yes, it would have been lovely to have been given a ready-made Grand Prix horse to ride, but although it has been challenging, I have come to appreciate the journey for what it has taught me. Saying that, all progress has been solely thanks to the fantastic training I have received from my coaches. Euphoria has been a real learning curve to produce. He is a lovely gentle horse who you would never want to shout at due to his shy character. He is, however, a bit of a silent stressor so I have had to really focus on quietly and confidently bringing him on, knowing that his talent may not have always been reflected in his scores as a young horse. Over the past year or so as he has started to step up to a higher level and has really started to come into his own as if to say, ‘I have arrived, this is what I have been waiting for’.

 

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What would you say your career highlight has been to date?

I’m sure so many riders would have highlights that are purely results based, but for me, my career highlight has to be getting into Carl Hester’s Diary to train! Learning from the best riders possible has always been so important to me and Carl is someone that I have always longed to train with. I am extremely lucky to be able to learn from a rider of his calibre, as I feel that studying other riders and absorbing their knowledge is the only way you can improve, and who better to learn from then Carl himself? I am also incredibly lucky to be based with Matt Hicks and also train with him on a weekly basis, he has been fantastic and has really helped me to get to the level I am at today.

 

 

Do you have any top tips for training your horse?

1 – Patience is key! Never lose your temper with your horse, if he doesn’t understand what you are asking of him, think to yourself ‘How can I re-word this to help him understand what I want.’ If you find yourself getting frustrated, just jump off and put your horse back in his stable, there is no harm in coming back with a fresh approach the following day.

 

2 – Education, find a good trainer and put the work in at home. There is no rush to get out to a show, get your foundations right and build on them.

 

3 – Stay humble. Never think you know it all, there is always something you can improve on or try to work on at home. I remember when I first left home to train in Denmark, I honestly thought I was a decent rider. I had a real shock when I got there and saw how talented the other riders were and thought I can’t ride at all! But I think it was at this point that I realised that these riders that I am looking up to, will have other riders that they aspire to ride as well as and so on. I learnt how important it is to get your head down and keep learning your craft. Training is still so vital to me now, but it’s not only at home you can pick new things up, sometimes I’m in the collecting ring and see another rider warming their horse in and think, I need to try that!

 

 

Is there any horse that you wish you had in your stable?

There are the obvious greats like Valegro, I doubt there is a dressage rider in the world who wouldn’t love to ride a horse like that. But I honestly feel that every horse comes to you exactly the right time for you. I don’t think I would trade my horse for another at all. The journey that we have been on and everything that he has taught me, this has made me the rider I am today.

 

 

How important is training to you?

I can’t stress enough how quality coaching and training is key to progressing as a rider. The training that I have had along the way with Matt and now Carl has really developed and formed me not only into the rider that I am but also the trainer. It’s given me the tools in my kit to use and help others. The more that I can evolve as a rider and understand the sport, the more I can pass my knowledge on to those that I teach. My training hasn’t stopped just because I have got to Grand Prix level, if anything, I am now training harder than I ever have done before, it really is a never-ending cycle. Stay humble, stay focused on your goals and constantly learn from one another.

 


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Horse Scout supports ‘Polo for Life Charity’.

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After Horse Scout CEO Lucienne Elms took to Field One at the International Polo Club Palm Beach in support of the charity ‘Polo for Life’, Ellie Kelly caught up with Lucienne to find out how Horse Scout’s involvement with the charity came about.

 

What made you choose Polo for Life Organisation to support for 2020?


I recently spent time with friends and families who had or had been impacted by cancer.  Sadly it seems we all know someone, scarily frequent. That feeling of helplessness is unbearable. But it spurred me on to help in anyway I could via the Horse Scout network. Polo for Life is a non profit organisation, dedicated to raising funds to support cancer research and treatment for paediatric cancers. Which for me feels one of the cruellest things, to see young children suffering.

 

I myself had a challenging time in 2018 off the back of a car crash that arguably should have killed me, I broke twenty eight bones and punctured my lungs but was fortunate enough to have great surgeons and the Injured Jockeys rehabilitation centre UK to get back to health. I can remember always thinking however painful at least with those injuries I had a level of control. I remained grateful it wasn’t worse and optimistic that with time, patience and hard work with the rehab I would get better, and close to normal. Unlike the vast majority of those touched by cancer. Trauma is one thing, disease is quite another.

 

Furthermore, inflict disease on a child’s life and it really is something quite harrowing for all concerned. To give perspective on Monday afternoon at the event we had a young girl, she was under five years and had undergone numerous chemotherapy treatments already in her life. Her mum was a single mother with two other children to look after. I recognised how much the Polo for Life organisation had helped them.

 

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Who is the brainchild behind this all?

 

The professional polo player and charity co founder Brandon Phillips is a childhood non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma survivor. He is an inspiration both in person and on the field, backed by co Founder Terrie Mooney they really deserve all the help we can offer.

 

You are better known as an event rider, how did you feel playing switching sports to Polo?


At the end of the day I have ridden for a long time, in fact before I could walk! So I feel at home on a horse, although I probably look as stiff as the polo mallet because I have so much titanium holding me together since the accident! I thought “what’s a little public humiliation of missing a polo ball a few times, if it’s helping these children and their families?”.

 

Needless to say, I only contributed one goal, but I intend to play again next year. Not only do I hope to play more of a competitive part in the match 2021 but the real objective is that Horse Scout can help raise awareness and make a significant contribution to the Polo for Life charity.

 

What has also been really exciting is the rise of women in polo. I for one have been bitten by the bug. It has been a welcome contrast to the office and the intensity of my three day eventing ambitions.

 

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Equine Herpes Virus (EHV) – The Facts

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A recent outbreak of Neurological EHV-1 in Hampshire resulting in four fatalities to date, has led to multiple temporary yard closures in the area. As this disease affects all areas throughout the year, it seemed important to share the facts surrounding the disease. We sought advice from veterinary professionals to provide you with the most up-to-date information on the virus, its symptoms and the precautionary measures to take should you be concerned that your horse may have come into contact with the virus. 

 

Equine Herpes Virus is one of the most commonly diagnosed diseases in horses worldwide. Almost every horse will have been in contact with the virus at some stage in its life with no serious side effects, it can lay dormant in carrier horses without causing any problems. It is not yet understood what causes some infected horses to develop neurological forms which can be fatal. It is a highly contagious disease particularly affecting younger horses and in-foal mares. It is spread through both direct (nose to nose) contact, indirectly through tack, rugs, feed buckets, owners’ hands, through sharing drinking water where it can survive for up to one month, and airborne through coughing and sneezing. It is therefore vital that the correct bio security procedures are followed to prevent further spread. 

 

The Equine Herpes Virus is a family of different viruses that are closely linked to the viruses that cause cold sores, chicken pox and shingles in humans. The two most common species in horses are EHV-1, which can cause sudden abortion in in-foal mares, respiratory disease and occasionally neurologic disease; and EHV-4, which will cause respiratory disease but only rarely cause abortion and neurological disease where the infection has damaged the spinal cord, in the event of this occurring, its is generally advised that the horse is euthanized on a welfare basis.

 

Clinical signs of the disease will depend on the form of the disease but can include:

  • Fever
  • Nasal Discharge 
  • Depression
  • Enlarged lymph nodes
  • Loss of appetite
  • Abortion
  • Loss of bladder and tail function
  • Hind limb paralysis

 

‘If you are concerned that your horse may have come in contact with herpes virus it is extremely important that you place your horse in isolation immediately for 14 days. Stringent bio-security measures are paramount. These include regular disinfection of the surrounding environment and equipment, hand washing, disinfection of boots, removal of outer clothing after seeing your horse and visiting no other horses to avoid direct and indirect contact with other horses. You should notify your vet, who will recommend collection of a blood sample for herpes serum antibody at the beginning and near the end of the isolation period. It can take up to 14 days for a horse to develop antibodies which is why two samples are required for comparison. A nasal swab should also be collected at the end of the isolation period to ensure your horse is not shedding virus. During the isolation period regular monitoring including twice daily rectal temperature recording is essential. A fever is often one of the first signs of herpes infection.’

Beth Robinson

New Forest Equine Vets

 

It is important to let others know that you have a suspected case of EHV, these people include, other horse owners, vets, farriers and anyone likely to have come into contact with the horse.  Only through open communication will we  break the stigma surrounding the virus and help prevent the spread of the disease.

 

Treatment for the virus once confirmed is predominantly supportive care as many antiviral drugs used in humans aren’t effective in horses. The virus is allowed to run its course whilst keeping the horse as comfortable as possible, anti-inflammatory drugs such as bute are often administered and some horses might require intravenous fluids.

 

The best methods of prevention are the EHV-1 vaccination which is effective against the Respiratory form of the disease which prevents abortion and correct bio-security. There are currently no vaccinations that can prevent the Neurological form of infection. The vaccination is considered ‘risk based’ so for more information on the vaccine, seek veterinary advice. It is most commonly used in breeding mares, but it begs the question, should we be vaccinating against this virus as religiously as we do with flu and tetanus?

 

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The British Equestrian Federation has issued the following statement regarding the recent outbreak 

‘The Federation supports the actions of the centre who have ceased all activity, including cancelling shows and hire bookings until further notice. The Animal Health Trust has issued advice stating that all horses who have recently visited the centre are immediately isolated for a period of 14 days and that owners seek veterinary advice regarding clinical monitoring and laboratory test clearance.’

 

British Show Jumping stated on 13th January 2020 

‘Following the recent outbreak of EHV-1 it is now a requirement that any horse or pony that has been on site at Crofton Manor, Hampshire since the 20th December 2019 is required to have a negative swab and blood test before competing at any British Showjumping show or organised event.’

 

British Dressage stated on 13th January 2020

In consultation with the Animal Health Trust and on the advice provided in today’s British Equestrian Federation updateBritish Dressage requires members with any horses or ponies who visited Crofton Manor EC between 20 December and 7 January for any reason (training or competition) have them tested by a veterinary surgeon for EHV-1. This is in addition to the originally recommended isolation period of 14 days and daily clinical monitoring. Owners of any horses or ponies who have been to Crofton EC in the specified should liaise directly with their veterinary surgeon on the testing process and advice.’

 

At this stage, there have been no confirmed cases in horses outside of Crofton Manor. It is only with complete transparency and strict bio security procedures that we can control the spread of this awful disease. 

Our thoughts go out to the Centre and the owners of the horses that were sadly euthanised. 

 


London International Horse Show Olympia 2019

OLYMPIA RAISES OLYMPIC HOPES

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The London International Horse Show at Olympia signals a round-up of the equestrian year. This coupled with that festive feel-good factor shared amongst riders and spectators alike, makes it one of the best shows on the European circuit.

 

This year was no different and it further reinforced the gravitas of Olympia, which first took place in 1907 making it one of the oldest and most prestigious shows on the continent. With seven of the world’s top ten show-jumpers competing, including World Number one and two Steve Guerdat and Martin Fuchs. This together with the reigning Olympic dressage gold medalist Charlotte Dujardin plus Carl Hester and the FEI Driving World Champion Boyd Exell, proves the show as one of great significance to the equestrian world. And beyond- Olympia is one of only three British equestrian events still broadcast annually by the BBC.

 

The show attracted riders from a wealth of nations but in almost every discipline, it was British riders who dominated. With the opening ceremony of Tokyo Olympics less than seven months away, riders have something to prove to selectors. In addition, the end of January is the cut off point for horses to change hands if they are to be campaigned by riders at the Olympics. So you could say Olympia gave us a bit of a glimpse of what may be to come.

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The Dressage World Cup class at Olympia is the only British qualifier for the Longines FEI World Cup Final and it was as hotly contested as ever amongst Britain’s leading riders. The top three places in both the FEI World Cup Dressage Grand Prix were filled by Charlotte Dujardin (Mount St John Freestyle) in first, Carl Hester (Hawtins Delecato) in second and Lottie Fry (Everdale) in third. It was something of a deja-vous the following day when the placings were replicated in the World Cup Freestyle to Music.

 

This was Charlotte’s fourth win in the FEI World Cup. Although it was a first with the talented British bred mare by Fidermark, having previously won it and set the record on Valegro. “This was her third ever Freestyle. The crowd felt even closer tonight and it was a difficult floorplan. She really tried and listened to me. I’ve had my highs and lows this year (referring to disqualification at the European Championships for blood on a flank) and it is great to end the year with such a positive ride.”

 

With the Olympics in mind, judge Andrew Gradner was particularly pleased with the British dressage domination: “These horses are young, so there is more to come. This is my favourite show and judging horses of this calibre here is such a treat.”

 

Olympia is a personal favourite for many leading British showjumpers and whilst there was the notable absence of John and Michael Whitaker from the line-up, Olympic gold medallists Ben Maher and Scott Brash both brought a team of horses and Holly Smith had three.

 

Whilst the World Cup was won by Swiss rider, Martin Fuchs on Sinner, Scott further cemented his place at the Longines FEI World Cup Final in Las Vegas with a fifth placing on Hello Jefferson. Speaking in the press conference, Scott believes that this could be his mount for the Tokyo Olympics this year. Indeed the 10 year old gelding by Cooper vd Heffink seems to improve in form with each outing. The pair were crucial to the British FEI Nations Cup victory in Dublin back in August which set them in good stead for a team bronze and Olympia qualification at the European Championships in Rotterdam.

 

Scott pulled off another great display of horsemanship in the final class of the show, The Turkish Airlines Olympia Grand Prix. This time riding Hello Vincent, a recent purchase and previously the ride of Jodie Hall McAteer, the 19 year old British starlet who also had a good show with a win in the Voltaire Design Under 25 British Championship. Scott was notably enthusiastic about the young gelding. “I’m so proud of Vincent- he was amazing. Winning my last grand prix of the year, in front of a home crowd- it doesn’t get any better than that.”

Seven riders made it through to the jump-off and four of them were British. Australia’s Edwina Tops-Alexander was the only non-Brit to squeeze into the top four with a second place on brand new ride Identity Vitserol.

 

Third place went to Holly Smith on Hearts Destiny who has enjoyed her best season yet with a Nations Cup win and the Aga Khan Trophy in Dublin and a bronze medal at the Europeans. Holly enjoyed an outstanding Olympia and took the Leading Rider accolade by an incredible 28 points.

 

“I’m absolutely delighted with all three of my horses but Heart’s Destiny has taken me to places I’ve only dreamed of. The calibre of riders here at Olympia- seven of the world’s top 10- makes it all the more special.”

 

Fourth place in the Grand Prix went to 25 year old James Wilson, a new face on the British Nations Cup team this year. Riding Imagine de Maze, the mare has kept James starry eyed this year. “This horse has made all my dreams come true: my first World Cup, my first Nations Cup and now my first Grand Prix placing. She has catapulted me right up there and now I’ve got Tokyo in my sights.”

 

So in our humble opinion, and if Olympia is anything to go by, the Brits may have more than just Tokyo in their sights. Bring on the medals!

Written by Ellie Kelly


World Horse Welfare Conference

Subjects and opinion from the World Horse Welfare Annual Conference: Part 2

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Who is Responsible?

In the second part of our round-up of the World Horse Welfare Conference, we discuss the importance of communicating the right message, equine flu and the power of social media to educate.

 

We all know that social media can be a vice and a virtue in the equine world. Fake news, incorrect information from “armchair experts” and cyber bullying is a modern day problem. YouTube sensation Esme Higgs talked about how she is trying to put this powerful tool to good use. The 18 year old amateur rider is working with the FEI and other equine organisations, together with charities, to produce videos on horse care and correct horse practice. The objective is to help other young equestrians learn more about horses, riding and welfare. Esme is working closely with World Horse Welfare to deliver positive messages to a global audience.

 

Equine Influenza was a key subject of the Conference and it was a shock to learn that only 30 % of British horses are vaccinated. Speaking on the subject was Dr Madeleine Campbell, a vet and European Diplomate in Animal Welfare Science, Ethic and Law.

 

Equine flu can be devastating. It affects the respiratory system, leading to fever, coughing and mucous. It can be debilitating and effect the lungs long term. Ultimately, it can kill. There was an outbreak in Africa, which resulted in the loss of over 100,000 horses and donkeys. Australia fared even worse with the Hendra virus which killed not only horses but vets and horse owners who came into contact with infected animals. They also suffered an outbreak of equine flu in 2007, the industry was shut down for six months and the country was not declared free of the disease until 10 months later.

 

In the UK, we experienced the fear factor and potential for huge disruption earlier this year, when several racehorses tested positive to equine influenza. All racing and equestrian sport came to a standstill until it was assured to be under control. It made headline news and cost the racing industry between £150m and £200m. It could have been so much worse and trainers and riders alike were praised for their professionalism and discipline in halting the movement of horses. The question remains at large, who is responsible for ensuring that horses are vaccinated? Is it the vets, the owners, the sports governing bodies?

 

Some responsibility lies with the pharmaceutical companies who produce the vaccine, Dr Campbell states. “Flu changes all the time and can become immune to the vaccines. Many of the drugs still available on the market, are old and it is up to the producers to keep it up to date.”

 

What is confusing and raises opinion, is that all the sport bodies seem to regulate a different frequency. For example, FEI rules state that horses competing must be vaccinated every six months, whilst outside of this in sports such as racing and Pony Club, it is once a year. How can we possibly know what is right or wrong for horse welfare, with such conflicting regulations?

 

However, the overall conclusion is that we should focus on the benefits of health and welfare of the horse rather than the competition regulators. At the end of the day, consider that if you choose not to vaccinate your horse and he is exposed to equine flu, he could die. Not to mention the grave consequences, that could arise if it is not kept under control with vaccines as the strains could mutate and be immune to the vaccine.

 

Horse owners often say that their horse doesn’t go anywhere so there is no need to vaccinate but if he is in a stable yard alongside horses who do compete or leave the yard, these horses could bring back the virus. The higher the vaccination percentage in the overall population, the less opportunities there are to infect horses.

 

HRH The Princess Royal, as long standing President of World Horse Welfare closed the conference, with her thought provoking conclusion on “Who is Responsible?”

Princess Anne - World Horse Welfare
World Horse Welfare Conference 2019

 

“Responsibility is not an academic subject. It comes inherently but it needs to be defined. There is so much knowledge out there but it doesn’t translate to power” she said. We must understand and respect the importance of horses to individuals and societies not just the 100 million working horses around the world but also those in first world countries, Princess Anne advocated.

 

Finally, she reinforced the importance of seeing our horses as partners and understanding their needs. “Animals can adapt, as seen with those working for the Riding for the Disabled Association and we should not underestimate horses ability to make decisions. We need to listen to what they are telling us and be prepared to be their partners. It is our responsibility to ensure it is a good partnership and that we learn not just their physical needs but also their emotional needs.”

 

Written by Horse Scout’s Ellie Kelly who was in attendance at the World Horse Welfare Annual Conference 2019.


The power of the horse bond

Subjects and opinion from the World Horse Welfare Annual Conference: Part I

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Who is Responsible?

Who is responsible for a horse? Is it the owner? Or the breeder who made the decision to breed him or the vet who oversees his health? The trainer who educates horse and rider? Or is it the governing bodies who make the rules or even the welfare organisations to protect and remedy?

 

I am lucky enough to be invited to The World Horse Welfare Annual Conference each year, alongside representatives from all the principal equine, veterinary and animal health bodies and societies from all over the world. It never fails to throw up some interesting questions and spark intelligent debate and this year, the theme was “Who is Responsible? A number of high profile speakers came to give their view on who is responsible for equine welfare, the power of horses to human emotion and how we communicate the right message.

 

The first speaker of the conference was Annamarie Phelps, the recently appointed as the Chair of the British Horse racing Authority (BHA). An ex Olympic rower who has worked for a variety of sports governing bodies, Annamarie has first-hand experience of the complex political and regulatory issues which comes with horse sport and equine welfare.

Wold Horse Welfare Conference

Horse racing faces an everyday challenge with image, not just from animal activists but an ever increasing percentage of the general public, who believe that racing is cruel and should be banned. Annamarie reinforced the stringent welfare policy that the BHA conduct but also reminded us of the benefits and happiness which working with horses brings to so many of all ages and social backgrounds. “We have seen the therapeutic power of horses to broken people” she said.

 

She spoke of the financial contribution the BHA is making to health and welfare, with a £32 million levy directed entirely at veterinary research. In addition the BHA have commissioned a project with Bristol University to measure the welfare and wellbeing of a large number of racehorses so that we be able to improve our understanding and identify potential risks for both sport and race horses.

 

Her closing message was clear: “We need to work together as lovers of horses. We must be transparent when communicating our message and inspire with the power of sport. We must also have empathy for the doubters and have a deeper understanding of the people we need to reach”.

 

Rachel Murray from the Animal Health Trust and Rossdales Equine Hospital has led numerous studies on equine training, injury and performance, including improving understanding of horse and tack interaction. Her latest study is on the effect of bridles to a horse’s well-being and way of going. Extensive experiments and analysis were conducted on a number of horses of different breed and sporting use around the world. The following conclusions were drawn:

 

  • There are important and sensitive bone structures in the head, which means a correctly fitting bridle and bit is key to the comfort of the horse.
  • Pressure points on the head, change position with movement.
  • A correctly fitting drop, grackle or crank noseband offers less pressure than a cavesson and flash.
  • By decreasing pressure under the nose and head, the evidence shows improved knee, shoulder and hock action.
  • When fitting a bridle, take each horse as an individual and assess the anatomy of their head and mouth. This means off-the-peg bridles may not be suitable.

 

Lynsey Stride, a Commoner from the New Forest gave an enlightening talk on the importance of the New Forest ponies to the surrounding wildlife. There is scientific evidence that the ponies and their “natural” existence actually help conserve the eco-system. In turn, Lynsey raised the question “How often do we think about the effect of our horse and paddock management to nature?”

 

This included how and where we disposed of muck and what hay and grass our horses were consuming. For example, the fairly recent trend towards rye grass may well be detrimental to horse health and the environment as it is a grass not actually native to the UK. Pasture management was another key issue. “We need to see ourselves land managers as well as horse-owners” Lynsey argues. “You see too many pastures eaten to the bone and not given time to replenish. Seeing fungi in your field is a good indicator of pasture quality and hedgerows are far better for the environment than electric fencing.”

 

“Animal hoarding” was discussed and defined by Bronwen Williams, a former mental health nurse, now an educator and researcher into the impact of animals on human mental health. Bronwen is currently delivering a project with World Horse Welfare which aims to train welfare staff in interventions for those at risk of, or involved in, the hoarding of animals.

 

Many of us know owners and breeders whose number of horses have spiralled out of control. Perhaps we even question our own practice. I know I have, when winter sets in and I question “how have I ended up with so many horses at this time of year?” Beyond the level of my own small holding of much loved horses, animal hoarding is a growing problem in the UK. It is not only horse lovers who can be held responsible. Indiscriminate breeding even at the highest level is rife, with raised ambitions and sky high prices given for good horses, there are few breeders who are not chasing “the one”. So often these horses end up unwanted or are off-loaded on naïve individuals.

 

Bronwyn argued that the problem required more agency input, as well as an understanding for the human behaviour behind animal hoarding, be that horses or other species. “It comes down to human behaviour change and we need to support these owners and at the same time recognise the importance of animals to some people’s mental health.”

 

Coming up in part two: the power of social media to communicate and distort, equine flu and the risk of equine disease and an important message from HRH Princess Royal.

 

Written by Horse Scout’s Ellie Kelly who was in attendance at the World Horse Welfare Annual Conference 2019.


Photo credit: FEI /Massimo Argenziano

Flying Scotsman Scott Brash wins World Cup in Verona

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Scott Brash restored British showjumping hopes after winning the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup in Verona. Riding Lady Kirkham’s Hello M’lady, the Scotsman jumped the fastest clear round in the jump off to claim the title, in a strong field including World Number one Steve Guerdat.

 

“This means a lot and I am delighted with my horse” said Brash who heralds from Peebles in Scotland. “M’lady is a fantastic horse but a delicate mare. She can get a little stressed with the atmosphere so it took me a bit of time at the show just to get her to relax but her talent showed through today. She also jumped at the European Championships to help qualify Great Britain for the Olympics “.

 

Brash was on the team which won gold in the London 2012 but Britain’s success at team championship level has since been erratic. The 34 year old has also occupied the limelight less frequently of late, for a man who has been top of the world rankings more than once and was the first rider to win the Rolex Grand Slam, showjumping’s most lucrative prize in 2015. In a sport where you are only as good as the horse you are sat on, Brash has lacked the horsepower after many of his top horses have been retired or off with injury. Despite a prolific career, he is not yet qualified for Tokyo

 

Olympic ambitions are what motivates Brash. He has aimed for the World Cup Series to increase his chances of Olympic selection and with it, another gold medal. Whilst Britain has qualified for Tokyo, he needs to gain enough FEI points in order to be considered for a team or individual place. “The Olympics is on my mind. M’Lady is going to be one of my strongest contenders for next year. She has been off for quite a while through injury sustained a few years back but it is nice to feel her competitive at the top of the sport again. I have high hopes for next year”.

 

Photo credit: FEI /Massimo Argenziano


Dublin Horse Show 2019

FROM ZERO TO HERO: BRITISH SHOWJUMPING SCORE TRIUMPHANT WIN IN DUBLIN NATIONS CUP

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Ellie Kelly reporting from the Royal Dublin Show

 

Last week we published a story about the future of British showjumping. This week we want to retract it. The Brits are back on top after decisive win at Dublin on Friday following on from Ben Maher claiming his fifth London Global Champions title.

 

When the going gets tough, the British get going. It was the final leg of the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup at the Royal Dublin Show. Team GB were at the bottom of the Western European table after a disappointing season and the chance of qualifying for the Final seemed long gone. Our British riders showed enormous courage, stoicism. Di Lampard’s team of Ben Maher, Scott Brash, Holly Smith and Emily Moffitt, jumped phenomenally to finish the two round competition on just one time penalty. Some 11 points ahead of Italy in second with Ireland in third on 16 points.

 

The Nations Cup victory propelled the British team from the bottom of their division to seventh place – a result which has booked them a ticket to the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup Final in Barcelona. The significance of this is that it offers another chance to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics in addition to the European Championships in Rotterdam, later this month.

 

This has been a challenging period for British showjumping who despite winning team gold in London 2012 and individual gold in Rio 2016 are still not qualified for Tokyo 2020. They are also reliant on good results to retain their significant Lottery Funding. For the majority of the Nations Cup season Britain have existed at the bottom of the table for the Western European League. The pressure was immense in Dublin, yet they put in a stellar performance and pulled off victory without needing Holly Smith to compete in the second round.

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It must have come as a huge relief to Performance Manager Di Lampard who has been challenged by a lack of choice available to the British team in terms of strong horse-rider combinations, for a number of seasons. She was full of praise for the number of loyal British owners who have put their faith in the British system and made their horses available for these championships.

 

“We’ve ridden the storm this season, we’ve had the downs and the difficulties, but it had to change, some time and with a good team and the right spirit I felt it was going to come right this week”said Di after collecting the coveted Aga Khan Trophy, at a prize-giving ceremony attended by The President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins. This was the 27th British win of the prestigious Aga Khan Trophy in the 93 year history of the event.

 

Di herself has been a winning rider of this trophy, during her career as a leading showjumper. “I remember 1996, winning the Aga Khan Cup with Abbervail Dream, the sportsmanship of the crowd was incredible as we went toe to toe with the Irish” she reflected.

Dublin Horse Show 2019

“With the win we secure a place in the Barcelona final and we were determined to carry that out – the Aga Khan trophy was always coming home with us!” As she pointed out, there’s been something of a generational shift going on in British showjumping.

 

“Over the last three years we’ve been producing young riders and a larger squad of riders, and you can’t rush these things. They need the right horses and they need owners to stick with them and that all takes time”she explained. The changing of the guard can indeed be a painful process, but today’s result showed that British showjumping is definitely on an upward curve once again.

 

Rider injury has also plagued the British camp and three of the team members have suffered heavy falls in recent week. This was Holly Smith’s first competition back since breaking her shoulder five weeks ago. Amanda Derbyshire, who has had a successful show at Dublin but was not competing in the Nations Cup. Her other top horse Roulette, was sidelined after a crashing fall of horse and rider at the Hickstead Nations Cup last month which left Amanda in hospital with facial injuries and her horse at Newmarket Equine Hospital where he is recovering well.

 

With this pivotal victory achieved in fine style, Di Lampard is focused on the Longines FEI European Championships later in the month where Maher, Brash and Smith will be joined by Amanda Derbyshire and Laura Renwick on the British Team. “Now we are really confident about going to Rotterdam and winning a medal and our place in Tokyo” she said.