Tag Archives: cross country

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BADMINTON CROSS COUNTRY… REVISITING THE PAST

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Welcome to the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials 

Wed 1st- Sun 5th May 2019

 

This week Horse Scout got a sneak peek at the cross-country course for the 70thedition of Badminton Horse Trials. “It feels like something we might have seen 25 years ago” was how Hugh Thomas described it. Big open ditches, making full use of the lips, dips, mounds, general topography and natural features of this beautiful park. This is a course that retains that “ride on your wits” cross-country feel which it has once again become famed for in recent years.

 

Eric Winter is now in his third year as course designer of Badminton and his philosophy in course design has remained the same throughout. “My aim is to put to the test, the relationship between horse and rider and the training of the horse.”

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The course runs clockwise around the park this year. As always, riders will start in the main arena before heading out to the Staircase fence- a sizeable log parallel down the two stone steps and a tight left turn to another log parallel. “It is an open start to the course to allow riders to get into a rhythm. Unlike last year where there were some early challenges, I didn’t want to break the rhythm early.”

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Things start to get pretty serious by fence 10- The Shogun Sport Hollow. After a long gallop which could be influential before a particularly technical fence, there is a funneling pagoda to direct riders to a narrow coffin ditch which is eerily, even the shape of a coffin, and a left or right choice of chunky, narrow tree trunks out. This is where the new FEI red flag rule could come into play. Where riders will be penalized 15 penalties if the whole horse does not pass between red and white flags- so that is shoulders as well as hindquarters. A rule which has not been well received by leading riders, course designers and officials… who shall remain nameless!

 

Fence 11 and 12 is the massive KBIS Bridge over the infamous Vicarage Ditch. The double numbering allows for a two jump escape route. The next fence has been used in some form at Badminton since 1949 and this year involves the notorious bank followed by a narrow brush roll top.

 

The Rolex Grand Slam Trakehner follows. Whilst impressive to the spectator, it’s big log over gaping ditch should not cause too many problems at this level. Then on to the Hildon Water Pond at 15ab which is perhaps a little softer than previous years with a big drop in before turning to a log trough in the water. Eric describes this as a run and jump fence and a bit of a let up before another tricky part of the course. Possibly an opportunity to make up time, although Eric pointed out that in the last two years of running, not one combination of horse and rider had finished on their dressage score.

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The Vicarage Ditch to the Mirage Water at 17abc and 18 is possibly one of the greatest challenges on course. An enormous right-angled corner is proceeded by an open ditch situated on a dip in the bank which will definitely unsettle some horses. Then a level four strides to another fearsome corner fence. “This is the sort of fence you would see 40 years ago- we could see all sorts of jumps over the ditch which adds to the unpredictability of the course,” Eric says.

 

There is no let up just yet and 19ab, the Nyetimber Heights involves a steep slope to an airy brush on top of a mound. Before plummeting down into the dip and up for a choice of four narrow scrubbing brush skinnies.

 

Finally, there is a course let-up fence at 20 before rider head on to three asymmetric corners in a row at the YoungMinds Brushes. YoungMinds- who help young people with mental illness and struggles is the chosen charity at this year’s event.

 

Fence 24 is an impressive affair to give riders their first taste of the infamous Badminton Lake. The jump is basically a large parallel but the design, with a pump station extending over the Lake to create a waterfall effect, which might unsettle some horses. Especially when added to the considerable crowd that always flock to the Lake. The brush fence in has been pulled back so riders land on grass before entering the Lake, then a step up and the iconic Mitsubishi pick-ups which this year have a trailer attached with dome-shaped spruce which is the part jumped by riders and horses.

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The Lakeside spectators get value for money as riders double back to the Wadworth Lower Lake at 26, a triple bar approached through the water.  After an inviting hedge comes the Voltaire Design Huntsmans Close which involves a birch parallel to a birch spread corner on a right turn.

 

To avoid a flat out gallop Eric has the Eclipse Cross Chicane (29 ab), two open ditch brushes on a U bend out and in of the deer park before the HorseQuest Quarry (30 ab) looms. This is less complicated than in recent years. In over the stone wall to a drop then up and out over a second wall.

 

Even though we are nearly home, Badminton is no place for complacency and we have seen many a rider tip up in the final few fences. The Hayracks at 31ab a roll top spread to a roll top skinny, then fence 32 the Rolex Trunk which is a sculpted log.

 

Back into the arena is the Mitsubishi Final Mount at 33, a fence designed by a member of the public for a competition a few years ago, where riders jump a pair of sculpted wooden saddles.

 

As ever a good completion will be an exhilarating experience for both the old pros and especially for those whose first experience of Badminton this will be.

 

 

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THE CHELTENHAM FESTIVAL- WHO, HOW AND WHY YOU SHOULD WATCH IT THIS YEAR.

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Tuesday 12th - Friday 15th March 

 

£100,000,000- the economic impact of The Festival on the local community each year.

262,637 people attended over four days last year

£4.59 million in prize money

40,000 hospitality guests

100 helicopter movements per day

45,000 bread rolls eaten

265,000 pints of Guinness served

120,000 bottles of wine consumed

45,000  afternoon teas served

£2.35 million was withdrawn from the cash machines at the Festival last year.

£45 million spent on redeveloping Cheltenham

 

But beyond big bucks, betting, boozing and carb loading, The Cheltenham Festival presented by Magners, is a celebration of everything that is great about horseracing. It never fails to deliver sporting action that makes your heart want to explode. A clash of the best- the world’s greatest horses, jump jockeys and trainers. It will always throw up inspiring and moving tales of triumph and heartbreak. And if that is not enough to lift your heart, it also embodies the sense of occasion that we Brits do so well. The chance to flirt and flaunt and embrace the social scene, the fashion, and style. Who would have guessed twenty years ago, that tweed would become ever become sexy?

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Horse Scout will be there to soak up the entertainment and most importantly the sport. As ever it will be a four day spectacular, this year running from Tuesday 12thto Friday 15th March.

 

Tuesday kicks off with Champions Day and the Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at 1.30pm. The headline race is the Unibet Champion Hurdle which has been won for the last two years by Buveur D’Air. The Nicky Henderson champ will be returning to defend his title again and if he wins, he will go into the hall of fame with greats like Istabraq who dominated the race from 1988-2000. The crowd will undoubtedly be behind Lalor in the Racing Post Arkle. Trained by the small-stable of Kayleigh Woollacott who has taken over from her husband, after he tragically took his own life last year.

 

Wednesday is Ladies Day. The fashionistas and socialites are out in force but for racing, it’s all about speed and stamina. The Betway Queen Mother Champions Chase is one of the most high-octane races of the entire week as the fastest two-milers in the business, cream it around a demanding Steeplechase course. All eyes will be on Altior who goes for a second win and has not been beaten in 17 starts over jumps. The RSA Novices’ Chase, at over three miles, is the test for true stayers. Whilst the Cross-Country Chase is always enthralling and perhaps commands more respect after last year’s winner, Tiger Roll went on to win at the Grand National soon after. He will be back to stake his claim this year. Perhaps trainer Gordon Elliott sees this as another dress rehearsal for the National next month.

 

The St Patrick’s Day crowd on Thursday is always a hearty one and for racing enthusiasts, it is set to be an awesome equine lineup. The Ryanair Chase, the Sun Bets Stayers Hurdle, the JLT Novices’ Chase, and the Pertemps Network Final Handicap Hurdle are all Grade One races (the best) which brings out the crème de la crème of the National Hunt fraternity. Paisley Park, trained by Emma Lavelle will be the favourite for the Stayers Hurdle and another moving story if he wins for his owner Andrew Gemmell who was born blind. Plus Love Island’s Chris Hughes joins the ITV team to get involved in the banter and opinion.

 

Friday is Gold Cup Day which rounds off the week with the most coveted prize of all. The Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup is the race they all want to win- trainers, jockeys, owners and punters alike. Nothing beats the “Cheltenham roar” as the world’s best horses thunder up that grueling hill to the winning post, cheered on by 70,000 onlookers in the stands and many millions around the world. This year sees some legendary horses in the entries list. We will never forget that heroic battle between Native River and Might Bite last year and if all goes to plan, both horses will be running again. Let’s not forget “Presenting Percy”, considered in Ireland as the “People’s Champion”. It will also be a first Gold Cup Challenge for Bryony Frost, whose strong partnership with Frodon has seen the pair win three of her last four races. If it was to be their day, Bryony would be the first female jockey in history to win the Gold Cup.

 

If you can’t be there in body, be there in spirit by tuning into live ITV Racing, on ITV daily from Tuesday to Friday 1pm-4.30 pm. The Opening Show is on ITV4 from 9.30-10.30 am. Delivered by the BAFTA award-winning team of Ed Chamberlain and Francesca Cumani and the fun and knowledgeable crew of Oli Bell, A P McCoy, Mick Fitzgerald, Matt Chapman, Alice Plunkett, Luke Harvery and Brough Scott amongst others

 

Although if you are planning to join the fun and look “Insta ready”, don’t forget our friends at Glow & Dry. The luxury styling concierge and their experienced team will be on hand to travel to your home or hotel, offering hair and make-up to have you looking your very best.

 

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Eventers put the Great into Britain at FEI World Equestrian Games

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  1. Great Britain wins team Gold
  2. Ros Canter and Allstar B wins Individual Gold
  3. Great Britain scores the lowest team score in world championship history
  4. Great Britain qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics
  5. Four British athletes finish in the top 20

 

“Our primary objective coming here was qualifying for Tokyo and our next objective was to win as many medals as possible and we have achieved both” said Performance Manager for the British Eventing team, Richard Waygood. “It’s been an amazing day in the office. They all went in there for the team and stuck to the system.”

 

The final day of the eventing competition at the FEI World Equestrian Games in Tyron was one of high dramas. The showjumping phase was postponed from Sunday to Monday after heavy rainfall. Yet despite an extra day of recovery, the showjumping caused problems throughout the field and a big shake-up in the order.

 

Ros Canter must have felt enormous pressure as the final rider for Team GBR, with Britain in the gold medal position. She had no margin for error if she was to win an individual medal and only one fence in hand to take the team title. A text-book clear round from the Lincolnshire rider not only secured Great Britain as World Champions, but also confirmed an individual medal for Ros, and team Olympic qualification for Great Britain at Tokyo 2020.

 

The overnight leader for the individual medals, Ingrid Klimke, also had no room for error on SAP Hale Bob OLD. As they approached the final fence after a promising round, it looked almost certain that the individual gold was going to Germany, but the crowds’ cheers turned to gasps as a pole on the final fence fell and the individual title went to Ros.

 

Speaking after her round, a slightly shell-shocked looking Ros said; “I don’t think it’s sunk in. I can’t believe it; Allstar B was absolutely amazing, he was an absolute hero, I had an amazing experience in there. I kept saying [to myself] just let him do his job, and I’m so proud. There were quite a few tears when I found out which isn’t normal for me.”

 

Ros paid huge credit to her support team. “The team around us is just phenomenal. They make the dream come true really.”

 

In the team competition, Great Britain headed into today’s showjumping with an 8.2 penalty advantage – or just two fences – over Ireland, and, after two clear rounds from Ireland’s team riders, the pressure mounted on the final three GBR combinations. After their incredible pathfinding cross country on Saturday, West Sussex’s Gemma Tattersall got Britain underway in the showjumping phase, picking up 12 faults on The Soul Syndicate’s Arctic Soul.

 

Tom McEwen, who is based at Gatcombe Park in Gloucestershire, was next in for the team and took an unlucky four faults from an otherwise impressive round on his own, Jane Inns and Alison McEwen’s Toledo de Kerser. Their completion score of 32.4 penalties meant that the gap between the team gold and silver had closed to just four faults with two team riders left to show jump.

 

The penultimate rider for GB, Northamptonshire’s Piggy French, also picked up four faults on Jayne McGivern’s Quarrycrest Echo in the final showjumping combination on course, which reduced GBR’s advantage to just 0.2 of a penalty. Ireland’s final team rider, Sarah Ennis, headed into the final phase in individual bronze but an early fence down on Horseware Stellor Rebound dropped them out of the individual medals and also increased the penalty gap between team silver and gold back to four. After Ros’ brilliant clear round the team gold was secured for Great Britain with a score of 88.8, Ireland took team silver on 93 and France bronze with a score of 99.8.

 

Tina Cook who was going as an individual on Elizabeth Murdoch and Keith Tyson’s, Billy the Red, rounded off their championships with a clear round. This pulled them up to finish in ninth place individually and second best of the British riders behind Ros on a score of 31.5 penalties.

 

Roll on Tokyo!

 

Written by Ellie Kelly

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WEG FOCUS: ARCTIC SOUL

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10 things you may not know about Gemma Tattersall’s  eventer, Arctic Soul aka “Spike”

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  1. Born in Ireland he was bred by Michael Whitty.
  2. He started life as a racehorse but he didn’t win a thing. “He was rubbish” says Gemma.
  3. He was rescued off the meat truck in Ireland by Marti Rudd, a Performance horse dealer who bought him for 500 euros. Nicki Roncoroni purchased him for Philip Kerr who rode him for a number of years.  Nikki produced him to 1* level and then Gemma was given the ride in 2012 when he was eight years old.
  4. His first event with Gemma was a novice at Tweseldown in 2012 which he won.  He went from novice to 3* in a year.
  5. His favourite things are going cross-country and rolling. He absolutely loves water and will paw the ground to make a splash. He loves puddles and will find the muddiest wet puddle to roll in.
  6. He eats Gain horse feeds: freedom mix and freedom nuts, hay and haylage, plenty of grass.
  7. The last person who fell off him was Sarah (one of Team Tatts grooms) when he bucked her off.
  8. What he wished he knew at six years old- eg bucking in the dressage warm up is a waste of energy.
  9. His favourite event is Burghley according to Gemma.
  10. What he could not live without: Gemma, his best friend and his field mate Pamero 4

 

Gemma Tattersall and “Spike” are Ambassadors of Equine Charity,  The Brooke and support their “EVERY HORSE REMEMBERED” campaign. www.thebrooke.org

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HORSE SCOUT REAL: MARK TODD

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Undoubtedly one of the most prolific riders of all time, Horse Scout advocate Mark Todd has been competing at the top of the sport for nearly forty years. As well as winning Badminton four times and Burghley five times, Mark (aka “Toddy”) has competed at seven Olympic Games winning medals at five of those, including individual gold in Los Angeles (1984) and Seoul (1988). In 1978 he was part of New Zealand’s first three-day eventing team to contest a World Equestrian Games.

 

Toddy has competed at a number World Championships since, winning team golds in Stockholm (1990) and Rome (1998) and an individual silver in Rome. Despite this unprecedented and sustained success at the top of the sport, one prize has eluded the 62 year old. “I have never won an individual World Championship” he says. “If I retired tomorrow I could say I have had a very fortunate career and I have done way more than I ever imagined I could. But I am still competitive enough that I still strive to win the big ones- Burghley, Badminton and the World Equestrian Games.”

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With three horses qualified for the FEI World Equestrian Games, we will almost definitely see Toddy in the line up. But before the Games which take place next month (11-23rd September), he has a demanding schedule ahead.

 

“From now on it gets really busy. Although I have a smaller team of horses, it is pretty much every weekend. Burghley is the first major coming later this month.” He feels there is unfinished business here this year. “Having had what I thought was being in a good winning position last year, until near the end of the cross-country. I’d love to go and have another crack again” he says referring to his fall from Leonidas just a few fences from home.

 

“Then a few days after Burghley, we leave for WEG. At this stage I am not sure which horse I will be taking but I have Leonidas, Kilturbrid Rhapsody and McClaren qualified.”

 

Toddy will be one of the oldest riders at the Games but also the one with the most experience. He does not feel his age has affected him physically. “I don’t feel it’s any physically more demanding- except when you come off” he smiles. “I have been riding so long that I have that muscle memory. I keep myself fit and healthy.” However, he implies that his competitive drive is perhaps not what it used to be. “I still enjoy the competition but I don’t enjoy all the work involved quite like I used to.”

 

Beyond this year Toddy is undecided on what the future holds. “I would love to take McClaren to Badminton next year but I will see how I feel at the end of this year.  I have young horses coming on and I certainly haven’t made up my mind but if I won a medal at WEG, I might decide to leave it there.”

 

Horse Scout’s Ellie Kelly was talking to Mark whilst test-driving the full range of Land Rovers and Range Rovers in an off-road experience day at Rockingham Castle. Mark Todd is a Land Rover ambassador. Land Rover has been at the heart of equestrian sport for over 30 years. For more information visit  www.landrover.co.uk

To view Mark Todd’s profile click here.

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Ellie Kelly Horse Scout Media

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Trainers in Focus: Eventing Nick Gauntlett

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Nick Gauntlett - Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials 2010

In the first part of our “Trainers in Focus” Series, we catch up with popular trainer Nick Gauntlett. Nick is “a fellow of the British Horse Society” which means he holds the highest level of BHS coaching qualification and is also is one of a small and illustrious group to hold the title of “British Eventing Master Coach”. On top of that, he has competed at the highest level for a number of years and was the rider responsible for producing the great stallion, Chilli Morning to four star level.

 

What are the key things you focus on when teaching jumping?

 

Rhythm and energy. The consistency of these two things is far more important than getting to the right spot at the fence. Even over big fences, if you have great rhythm and energy, you can get away with being a bit off the right spot for take-off. Whereas, you can hit the perfect spot but if you don’t have the rest of it, the jump can feel awkward.

 

How do you teach riders to find a rhythm and see a stride?

I have a few methods, one is to get them to count in a regular rhythm whilst they approach fences. I also get riders to approach a show jump with their eyes closed or looking away. It works unbelievably well in proving to riders that they don’t need to look at a fence to find a stride.”

 

How do you know if you have enough energy approaching a fence?

“In terms of energy levels, you have to keep checking that the horse is truly in front of the leg. Imagine if you are driving a Ferrari and you hit the accelerator, you would feel a surge of power. Where as if you are driving an old Land Rover in the wrong gear, it is all going to feel a huge effort. Andrew Nicholson once said “if it feels nice, you’re not going fast enough”. I have changed this to “if it feels nice, you’re not good enough”. So you need to feel you are a bit out of your comfort zone and then there will probably be enough power.”

 

What are common rider faults which you often see?

The position of the leg and upper body position is often at fault and one that is likely to effect the safety and security of the rider. I tell people to imagine their horse has disappeared from underneath them and ask themselves whether their feet would still support them, whether they are jumping a cross-country fence or down a huge drop. When a rider is ahead of the movement, with their full weight resting on the horse on take-off, the horse’s jump will inevitably be compromised and from a safety point of view, this is a big concern.”

 

How do you develop a more secure seat?

If you are relaxed and soft in the knee and thigh, you will have a more secure lower leg. Whereas if your knee and thigh is tight, it will become a pivot, which will send the lower leg backwards and the body forwards.

 

Why is a light seat and soft knee so important?

It is amazing how relaxed you can make a sensitive horse feel by being soft through your knee and thigh and having a light seat. I often see riders, see a stride and then start driving with their seat, three strides out. This frequently ends up with them missing the stride and you send the front of the horses forwards and the back end, backwards. I tell riders to imagine having drawing pins in the seat and knee areas of their saddle, to encourage them to be light

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What’s your advice for shaving seconds off your cross-country time?

Many people think it’s just about riding faster but actually, you can save more time by just kicking away from each fence. So think of it as saving a second per fence by just landing and kicking as it gets you back into your rhythm as quickly as possible.

 

What should I think about when planning the perfect cross-country round?

When deciding your approach to a fence, remember that you have walked the course and understand the problem ahead, whilst it is completely new to the horse.

I put fences into three groups:

  1. Fence with a sloping profile e.g. steeplechase
  2. Fence with an upright profile e.g. five bar gate
  3. Combination fence- rail, ditch rail

 

Jumping a fence with a sloping profile, a rider should feel confident to let the horse jump out of their stride without changing the rhythm.

 

Jumping an upright fence- we call these “new old fashioned fences” as we see an awful lot more these days. Course Designers at top level talk about designing to encourage “rider responsibility” and this will trickle down to designing at lower levels. As a rider we need to learn from the outset, to get into that defensive position. Keep the energy but allow the horse to see and assess the fence when approaching an upright.  

 

For a combination fence, you should be thinking about which gear to be in and this depends not just on the type of fence but also the experience of the horse. For example, if you are approaching a rail-ditch-rail, all the horse sees as they approach, is the rail. You need to convey to the horse that there is something a bit different about this. It’s like dropping from fifth to third gear- the car slows down but the revs go wild. You mustn’t take the energy away but you have controlled the speed, allowing the horse to understand what is ahead.

The more experienced the horse, the quicker they understand and react to the problem and yours and your horse’s experience should dictate what gear you choose. If you’re just moving up a level, you probably need to give your horse more time so will need a lower gear.

 

I always tell riders to be careful watching other riders jump through fences and basing their decision on that. It doesn’t necessarily mean that is right for your horse’s level of experience. Intermediate can be the worse for that as you have horses just moving up from Novice level. Then you also come across a four star horse having a spin and they make it look effortless. 

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Written by Ellie Kelly

Tom Carlile Upsilon WC

Carlile and Upsilon are King’s of the Castle whilst Wilson and Bulana are Queen’s

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The St James’s Place Barbury Castle Horse Trials delivered masterful action from six of the top ten event riders in the world. Plus fairy tale results for horses and riders who have come back from injury and a crisis of confidence.

 

It was a win for French rider Tom Carlile and his magical grey stallion Upsilon, in the fourth leg of the Event Rider Master Series at Barbury Castle. “Only a three wins left and we can equal the legend, Andrew Nicholson”, said an enthused Tom, who has been experiencing a bit of an “off-period” with the 10 year old French bred. “He did lose a bit of confidence at the Euros (European Championships, Strzegom 2017) and he showed it again in Arville- I think we just need a couple more nice runs like today before we think about anything else too big.”

 

Upsilon was one of just seven horses to jump clear in the showjumping, which otherwise produced some cricket scores from usually reliable combinations. These included World No1 rider Oliver Townend and Cillnabradden Evo, Mark Todd and NZB Campiono and Badminton winner Jonelle Price. So it happens to the best of us!

 

Tom and Upsilon went into the final phase in the lead and his largely fluent looking cross-country round over Mark Phillips challenging track, suggested the horse was back to form. “The way he jumped the first skinny fence, straight through the flags with no hesitation, showed the mood he was in. It was just what we needed. Upsilon loves Barbury and so do I”, he said.

 

World No 2 Gemma Tattersall took second place with Clive Smith’s Pamero 4. This is another horse who has come good this season, having been plagued by injury in the past. “I’m so proud of the horse”, said Gemma. “The beginning of the season wasn’t easy as we have had a few injuries but that is horses.”

 

Australian Chris Burton was the rider to jump clear inside the time in the ERM section, which left him in third place on Polystar I.

Nicola Wilson Bulana WC

Nicola Wilson and the precociously talented mare Bulana took top prize in the CIC 3*. This was Nicola’s first big win after suffering an ankle injury and the result hopefully securing her place on the British team heading to WEG in September.

 

There was a time when stallions and mares were considered far less likely to win at top level eventing and this was often put down to hormones. Increasingly horses like Upsilon and Bulana are dispelling that myth. We would love to hear your thoughts as to why we are seeing more compete successfully as well as your own stories of owning a talented mare or stallion.

 

Written by Ellie Kelly

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B is for Bigger, Better, Barbury

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Chris BurtonImage by Benjamin Clarke Photography

If you want to see eventing at it’s finest and fancy a cheeky preview of many of the horse and rider combinations likely to be heading to the World Equestrian Games in North Carolina this September, then head to the St James’s Place Barbury Horse Trials ( 5-8th July).

 

Barbury has undoubtedly become one of the premier international events of the equestrian calendar. It attracts the leading professional riders as well as the amateurs at the top of their game, so has never been short of thrilling action. With around 1000 horses to see this year, from one of the best spectator-viewing spots around, you certainly won’t be bored.

 

The four day event runs more international horses than any other UK event. Who come from all over the UK and even the world, to contest the ultimate cross-country challenge set by Captain Mark Phillips. He also designs Burghley, Gatcombe and Lexington. This year offers a CIC3* class as well as the fourth leg of the Event Rider Masters Series (ERM) plus sections of CIC2*, a final Pony Trial for the European Championships and seven Novice sections. Even the Novice sections include the best of the best at that level and with the Dubarry Burghley Young Event Horse classes staged on Thursday; this really is a chance to see the stars of tomorrow as well as today.

 

Don’t quote us on this but Barbury has often been used as an “unofficial trial” for major Championships like WEG and the Olympics and this year is expected to be the same. It’s not just the British riders under the spotlight either. With a significant number of foreign eventers based over here, don’t be surprised you are in the midst of team selectors from several nations.

 

The entries list has an eye-popping number of medal and 4* winning riders and the World number one and two- Horse Scout Advocate Oliver Townend and Gemma Tattersall. Then there is Andrew Nicholson, certainly the most successful Barbury rider of all time, having won the CIC3* consecutively, five times from 2012 to 2016. Other gifted Antipodeans in the line-up include Badminton babe Jonelle Price and her husband Tim plus Sir Mark Todd, last year’s Burghley winner, Chris Burton and Blyth Tait- who has also designed this year’s Novice course. The Brits include European Champion Nicola Wilson on her gold medal-winning mare Bulana, Tina Cook, William Fox-Pitt and Horse Scout advocate Emily King. Plus our very own CEO, Lucienne Elms is taking a rare day off to compete her 3* horse, Mistralou who she is aiming to take 4* next year.

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The Barbury nightlife is as good as any at an event. With parties on Friday and Saturday, you may find it hard to leave, especially after you have seen your eventing heroes pulling their moves on the dance floor. From personal experience, I can reassure you that in most cases- their talents lie elsewhere.

 

This year, changes have been made to the event layout, to give a better experience both for the riders and spectators. The final decision on this was made after the Organisers sought feedback from the riders on to improve the event. Which is very positive news, given that the Barbury Estate was sold to new owners last year and some were in doubt that the event would continue to run. The event is now “owned” by ERM, so we can be confident that Barbury Horse Trials, is here to stay.

 

Arena attractions include The JCB Champions’ Challenge on Saturday, all in aid of the Injured Jockeys Fund. This is where top National Hunt Jockeys, including Champion Jockey, Richard Johnson and Sam Twiston-Davies, take on eventers Mark Todd, Jonelle and Tim Price and Lissa Green, in a relay show jumping competition.

 

Furthermore, there will be no need to feel guilty about dragging the family along. There is a “Kidzone” with a mini-zoo and real life meerkats; a dog show and dog agility masterclass with a World Champion agility competitor. Of course there is also tonnes of shopping and some great British nosh. So bring deep pockets and empty stomachs.

… But In the words of Baz Lurhmann, don’t forget to wear Sunscreen.

 

To buy tickets and for more information, visit www.barburyhorsetrials.co.uk

Written by Ellie Kelly

Cover Image by Adam Dale

 

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Derby Victory for Funnell

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We are so excited that Horse Scout Advocate William Funnell, has just claimed his fourth victory in the Al Shira’aa Derby at Hickstead for so many reasons. Not just because he has been a supporter of Horse Scout from the beginning but also because he was riding a British homebred horse. This was the 57th Derby which began in 1961, now sponsored by Al Shira’aa. This year it attracted a strong and very international field of riders but the Brits dominated.

Once again flying the flag for the Billy Stud, William was riding the 10-year-old Billy Buckingham by Billy Congo out of a Clover Hill mare. The impressive 18.2hh gelding was one of two to go clear in the first round of the imposing track. This resulted in a jump-off- almost unheard of in this competition,  against Holly Smith and the equally massive Irish bred Quality Old Joker by OBOS Quality. Holly has produced the 11 year old since a youngster and perhaps surprisingly, the 18 hand chestnut is as good at speed classes as he is at Derby’s and Puissances.

The first to go in the jump-off, Billy Buckingham was clearing the fences with inches to spare. Until the pair fell foul of the water jump and a foot in the splash, meant they finished with four faults in a time of 89.62sec. This gave Holly a bit of breathing space, but she was caught out first by the black gate and then by the water as well, meaning she they had to settle for runner-up.

William is the fifth rider to have four wins in the Hickstead Derby, having previously clocked up a catalogue of victories in 2006, 2008 and 2009 with his legendary long-term partner, Cortaflex Mondriaan. He joins other greats like Harvey Smith, John and Michael Whitaker, and Ireland’s Eddie Macken, who have all had four wins, in what is still perceived as one of the hardest showjumping events to clock a clear round in, let alone win.

William rates Billy Buckingham as the perfect Derby campaigner and believes there will be more wins to come . “As long as I’m fit and the horse is fit you’d like to think you could go on and win it a fifth time. It’s nice to be in the record books with those guys, and to do it this year on a home-bred is special,” he said.

Billy Buckingham was previously ridden by Lucy Townley, the daughter of Hickstead Director Edward Bunn. William took over the ride in 2017 and was the star performer of the British team in the Nations Cup in Denmark last June. Just a few weeks later, the pair finished sixth on their Derby debut having hesitated at the top of the Bank and getting a time fault as well.

“We’ve done a bit of practice to make sure he’d come down the Bank. Last year I wondered if I’d wasted a clear round because they don’t come round here very often, so it’s nice to get another one and win it on a home-bred by Billy Congo.”

William was full of praise for the show at Hickstead, which has always been happy hunting ground for him. “I’d like to congratulate the Bunns on the work they’ve done in the arena, this is the best grass ring in the world with the best footing.”

It was a great event for both British riders but also the girls this year, with Holly in second and Harriet Nuttall in third on another great Irish bred horse,  A Touch Imperious by Touchdown, This super consistent pair who have been together since “Henry” was just five years old, left all the poles up. Alas they were another pair to be caught out by the 15ft Open Water. Harriet shared third place with Shane Breen on the Canturo sired stallion, Can Ya Makan, who had one rail.

James Whitaker ended up in fifth place with one fence down and a time fault on Glenavadra Brilliant, the horse James’ elder brother William Whitaker rode to victory in 2016.

 

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Andrew Hoy: Fatherhood has given me a new lease of life On flying form at The Equerry Bolesworth International Horse Show

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“I’ve had a new lease of life since becoming a father” said Andrew Hoy after winning the Eventing Grand Prix at Bolesworth  International Horse Show. This fiercely competitive pairs competition, sponsored by Cazenove Capital involves showjumpers and eventers joining forces in a thrilling dual sport competition. Andrew’s showjumping partner was Beth Vernon, who left all the rails up in in one of the fastest time, before Andrew completed a short course of arena cross-country fences on to three show jumps to finish. The competition attracted a number of prolific showjumpers and eventers including Chris Burton, Tom McEwen, Alex Hua Tian, Matthew Sampson, Joe Clayton and Harriet Nuttall.

 

Andrew a seven time Olympian, belied his 59 years by storming around the challenging course in the fastest clean round, on Cheeky Calimbo, the horse he has ridden at four star level. “He’s cheeky by name and cheeky by nature” he said after his round, with his 10 month old daughter Philippa sitting on his lap. “I picked him for this class as he is a great jumper and I know him so well. It was a really exciting competition but it was really difficult having to show jump at the end after you have galloped across-country.”

 

Having won four Olympic medal- three gold and one silver, Andrew is one of the most successful event riders of all time. Yet we have not seen as much of the Australian rider at top level in recent years. He explained that he has been quietly working away in the background, producing some new horses. “I have a maximum of 15 horses now and a new generation of horses coming through.”

 

There is one in particular that he is excited about. A nine year old called Vassily de Lassos, who he bought from French International rider, Thomas Carlisle. “I’ve only had him 12 months and when Tom told me about him, he explained that he needed a pony (for company) and was a weaver, so I wasn’t particularly keen.” When Andrew sat on him, he still wasn’t particularly impressed. “But I kept looking at his record which was exceptional. Since 2013, he has only had one showjumping rail in FEI events.”

 

Andrew views him as a horse for the World Equestrian Games later this year and is hoping to run him at Aachen this summer to impress selectors. The impressive French bred horse is by the prolific stallion Jaguar Mail and finished 8th at Blenheim CIC 3* for 8 and 9 year olds. “I couldn’t be more excited for the future with this truly once in a lifetime horse” he said.

 

So no sign of hanging up his legendary boots any time soon then.  “I might be getting older but I am enjoying eventing even more” he smiled.

 

Written by Ellie Kelly