Category Archives: Interesting Horse Facts

Horses are incredible creatures that have complex personalities and habits like humans, and they need to be kept interested and entertained at all times.

NEW FEMALE TALENT FOR HORSE SCOUT: AMY MURPHY

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

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

Amy Murphy Racing

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

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

Amy Murphy Racing

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

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

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

Amy Murphy Racing

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

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

LAST BOOK YOU READ- AP McCoy’s Autobiography.

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

GUILTY PLEASURE- Galaxy chocolate. WHAT COULD YOU NOT

LIVE WITHOUT- My Labrador puppy, Milo.

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

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

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

Amy Murphy Racing

 

 


Horse Scout catches up with showjumper Zoe Smith

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Horse Scout selected 19-year old Zoe Smith to become one of our sponsored riders, out of a huge number of talented young showjumpers on the AASE programme. Zoe is an International showjumper based in Lincolnshire and is certainly one to watch.

 

Hi Zoe, great to catch up with you since completing the AASE programme. How’s it all been going?
It has all been going really well, the horses are really benefiting from a much more structured yard and work scheme that was introduced to us at AASE.

How’s your season going so far?
The season has been going very well so far, both my young horse and top horse have come out of the winter premiers jumping very well. This lead nicely into our first international trip to Belgium where we picked up lots of placings in the U25 and 6yo tours.

It sounds like you’ve got off to a great start this Spring. Can you tell us a bit about the horses are you competing this season?
This season I have two main horses to compete;
The first is Que Sera III, 9yo gelding, by Caretino Glory out of a Goodtimes mare. He is quickly progressing up through the ranks, after starting at Newcomers level with us just over a year ago, he is now jumping 2* world ranking classes and double clears and placings at 1m40.

The second horse in my string is Garcia Lente a 6yo by Bodinus out of a Holland mare. He very quickly showed his class this year winning at the winter premiers, picking up numerous placings in Belgium and recently jumping double clear every day at Chepstow international. I’m very excited about this horse’s future, he could be very, very special!

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We noticed on social media that you were posting from Chepstow International recently, tell us about the show…
The show is the first international jumping competing of the year in the UK, it attracts many of Britain’s top riders such as Peter Charles, Keith Shore, Nigel Coupe, as well as American riders Julie Welles and Emma Heise.

The show ran over 5 days with three different heights at 2* level, two heights at 1* and then a 5yo and 6yo international tour with a Grand Prix for each respective tour. A 6yo class is typically around 1m25 and a 6yo Grand Prix is 1m30.
The competition is also used as a youth team trial so the selectors were also attending.

No pressure then! What did you get up to there, when you weren’t riding? If you’re staying over, are there parties or do you opt for an early night?
On the first night, there was a champagne reception to welcome everybody to the show and to give the sponsors and owners of the showground a chance to talk to the riders and their supporters. As this was the first international show of the year it was packed to the rafters! When not competing, most of the time was spent helping and supporting some of my friends with their horses and watching the other classes and riders.

We saw that you did brilliantly throughout the show; how did you choose which classes to enter and how did it go…
I was fortunate enough to jump the biggest of the 2* tours on Que Sera III picking up double clears and placings, leading on to our first world ranking class grand prix on the last day just picking up a couple of poles.

My super consistent 6yo picked up two equal firsts, a 4th in the accumulator and then 3rd in the Grand Prix.

For the international classes, you get to choose which height you would like to jump from the classes on offer the afternoon before, I really like this system as it gives you freedom to set your horse up for the grand prix in the best possible way that suits your horse. It also means that if a certain type of competition doesn’t suit a particular horse such as an accumulator/speed class, then you can jump a different height that day or give them a day off.

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OK so what next – more UK competitions to come or will you be overseas again?
I think we will be staying in the UK for a little while now to contend second round Newcomers and Foxhunter as well as talent seeker HOYS qualifiers. County shows are also starting up so there are more shows available to us these days. I’m also looking to take on a couple of young horses to bring on and build up my string. I am hoping to get back overseas again at the end of summer, as I feel both myself and the horses improved and benefited from the experience.

That sounds like a good plan and you’ve got loads to aim for. Finally, what are your goals for this season and are your horses currently on track?
After the year started a lot better than I ever anticipated, I think it’s time for me to create some new goals as a few of them have already been achieved! But the horses are definitely on track to achieve their individual goals for the season, including the upcoming second rounds and international shows, as well as my top horse almost having enough points to make him Grade B so he can contend for the bigger titles next year and this coming winter season.

Great job Zoe, we are proud to be supporting you and look forward to hearing how the rest of your season goes!


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?

 

Are you a member of Horse Scout yet? Sign up now for FREE www.horsescout.com

 

 


Oliver Townend for Horse Scout

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


William Funnell, The Billy Stud and Horse Scout

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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Horses for sale this winter

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Horse Scout’s advice for buying horses this winter.

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

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

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

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

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

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


this photograph was taken by Blackhearts imagery and will be replaced with one supplied by the rider if there are objections to this image.

Ibby Macpherson on Equine Hydro Therapy

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Abby Macpherson talks about Equine Hydrotherapy

Ever thought about the benefits of equine hydrotherapy? International event rider Ibby Macpherson chats to Horse Scout about how hydro can help heal injuries and keep healthy horses sound.

 

What made you launch an equine hydrotherapy business?
When my grandmother died she left me some money and instead of buying a horse (which was tempting) I decided to buy an equine hydrotherapy spa. I’ve been running it for nearly 10 years now. I guess it all started when William Fox Pitt gave me the incredible eventer Igor De Cluis, who was difficult to keep sound. He went in the spa once or twice a day to keep him on the road. It seemed to work — he took me around a few CIC three star events, including Blenheim and Boekelo.
Who’s a regular at your centre?
Numerous people including riders like Jodie Amos who sends her horses to me when they’ve had a big run. When they’re here they go to the hydro spa twice a day, get turned out (we have acres of land here) and have the Activo-Med (magnet therapy) rug on twice a day. It’s like having some R&R — even if there’s nothing wrong, it’s a great preventative measure.
How often do your horses have hydro?
All of my horses have hydro after an event or after they’ve galloped, again as a preventative measure.
And how useful is it in healing injuries?
I’ve seen amazing results for a variety of ailments, although the treatment should be relentless — twice a day, seven days a week. Quite a lot of owners who have used it say they wished they’d tried it before going down the needle route. It is very good at drawing out bruising and infection, but it is also very good at helping to heal fleshy open wounds.
What other treatments do you recommend for horses?
I also take my horses to a nearby water treadmill twice a week (we are hopefully going to put one in our centre here soon) — it’s really good for their core strength and for getting their back more mobile and supple without putting strain on their legs.
Can you briefly explain what the equine hydrotherapy looks like and whether the horses get nervous?
For the horses it’s like walking into a single trailer and after the front and back ramps are raised, it begins to fill with water. The level of the water depends on the injury but typically stops at just above their hocks with underwater jets providing gentle massage. We have a very good routine which seems to work when putting horses in the spa and everything is done very slowly and calmly to ensure that every horse is reassured and doesn’t get stressed.
And what’s the theory behind it?
It’s basically similar to rugby players getting in an ice bath. The cold water (around 2-5 degrees Celsius) initially reduces swelling by making the blood vessels constrict (vasoconstriction), flushing out toxins and afterwards a rush of fresh blood (vasodilation) accelerates the healing process increasing circulation. The water contains salt and Epsom salts so has many of the benefits of sea water.
What do you advise if riders don’t have access to a hydro centre?
Cold hosing is very superficial especially in summer, I’m a firm believer in icing and cold therapy, and that the quicker you cool legs down after a run, the better. You don’t have to buy expensive jelly ice boots, you can’t beat simple good old fashioned ice — the sort you make in ice cube bags. Just tuck some into their boots and apply for 20 minutes, using something like a j-cloth to prevent burning their skin.

Interview by Sam Lewis for Horse Scout

Ibby Macpherson has recently joined Horse Scout Professionals and has a professional profile on our site.  To find out more about Ibby Macpherson Eventing and Hydrotherapy click through on the link.

Are we building in redundancy ….. will wormers go on working?

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Its hardly making headlines today but it should. We are helping build in redundancy of effective measures by arbitrarily worming horses rather than worming as and when necessary. So in the spring test your horses for Tapeworm and FEC for redworm and ascarids.

It is big news though that 81% of worming strategies not effective in fight against resistance. If you read this the other way round Horse Scout Blogger draws a conclusion that this means 81% of worming strategies are contributing to resistance to wormers.

According to research published on Country Wide Farmers showing that whilst 67% of horse owners believe they are protecting their horses from the rise of resistance, 81% of those asked are not conducting the adequate level of faecal egg counts (FEC) of which 47% had never conduced a FEC. It should be noted that experts say that FEC’s are the only way to prevent the build-up of resistance to wormers because worms are only targeted when necessary and therefore do not build a resistence.

The survey

Routine testing, not routine worming, is the advice given by experts involved in a survey conducted by Countrywide, a leading equestrian supplier of products and advice. This was in collaboration with Westgate Laboratories, Norbrook and BW Equine Vets. Nearly 1,000 horse owners were surveyed on their current worming practice and knowledge.

The aim of the research that will help build awareness and start to change attitudes and behaviour in the approach to effective worming strategies. The survey has brought out the disparities in current practice against best practice and how this is leading to the rise in resistance to wormers.

Routine testing, not routine worming

Parasitic worms can seriously undermine the health and wellbeing of horses. With worms becoming resistant to some worming drugs, simply dosing all horses with routine wormers is not adequate. With 80% of parasites being carried by only 20% of horses, a targeted approach, which considers each horse as an individual, is needed,” says Mark Hawkins.

Routine testing is simple and the results will help you to decide:

  1. Which horses do, and do not, require worming
  2. Which types of worms are present on your pastures
  3. Which are the appropriate worming products to use
  4. How to achieve the most cost-effective approach to worming
  5. How to reduce unnecessary treatments
  6. How to maintain the efficacy of wormers by only using them when needed

When asked about their current approach to worming practice 59% of respondents do so out of routine, interval dosing at set times of the year with only 31% conducting regular FEC tests. 59% of respondents do so out of routine.  These results show that the majority of horse owners are not updating their worming practice to match the increase in resistance and improvement in testing technology. Previous worming practices have led to the resistance problems we now have so it is vital that there is change.

For more information on Country wide farmers’website here