Tag Archives: event horses

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TODD TALK: MAKING A MARK ON BADMINTON

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TODD TALK: MAKING A MARK ON BADMINTON

MITSUBISHI MOTORS BADMINTON HORSE TRIALS
Wed 2nd May- Sunday 6th May 2018
#MMBHT

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Winning Badminton is the stuff of dreams for any event rider. So when Sir Mark Todd claimed the title on his first attempt in 1980, it was one of the greatest sporting achievements of any rider. Ellie Kelly caught up with the legendary event rider known as Toddy, to hear about his Badminton memories and his expectations for this year.

“It was a complete surprise and definitely one of the greatest highlights of my career. Badminton always had this huge reputation and the history of being the first major Three Day Event in England. I have been coming for years, it still stands apart from other events. Burghley is amazing but to me Badminton is extra special, maybe because I have such great memories.”

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Badminton is unique in terms of the stabling and event set up, competing horses reside in beautiful stately stables adjoining one of the most important Stately Houses in the country. All this adds to the sense of occasion for riders and represents the tradition and history which entwines Badminton Horse Trials. Toddy sums it up: “There is something magical about taking your horses into those stables. Even now when I arrive, I still have the same feeling I did the very first time. Riding out around Badminton Park and going to the cocktail party in Badminton House with the Duke is also pretty special.”

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Toddy has won Badminton four times now. The first in 1980 on Southern Comfort, with Andrew Nicholson as his groom. He then had to wait until 1994 to win again, this time on Horton Point who was a catch ride he sat on for the first time the week of the event. The following year he displayed another masterful display of horsemanship after steering Bertie Blunt around most of the cross-country course with just one stirrup, after his leather broke. The following year (1996) he won with the same horse.

In 2000 Toddy retired from the sport and returned to his homeland of New Zealand to train racehorses. But he made a return to eventing in 2008, aged 52 and moved back to the UK. Just three years later he won his fourth Badminton title on Land Vision, making him the oldest rider ever to win, on his 20th Badminton completion. “To come back and win after being away from the sport was a particular highlight” he says. But there have also been some low points. “There have been plenty of disappointments at Badminton but I think when I lost a horse there, it was one of the worst moments of my career. It was a horse called Face the Music, who had won Burghley the previous year. He just slipped on take off for a fence and broke his leg.”

This year, Toddy has two horses entered for Badminton and he has high hopes for both of them. He rides the 14 year old Leonidas, owned by Di Brunsden and Peter Cattell. This is a talented horse he has had a long and somewhat checkered career with and is just as capable of winning a championship as crashing out dramatically. “Leonidas is a funny horse. Gentle in the stable but sharp to ride. He is mostly reliable but can do some funny things. He tripped up the step at the last World Championships, then had a disaster in the Showjumping in Rio, costing us a medal and he led the dressage at Burghley, then threw himself on the ground in the cross-country” Toddy says with a smile. “But he has always done well at Badminton. He’s been fourth twice and fifth once so I hope this will be his year because we are both running out of time.”

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Kiltubrid Rhapsody is his other ride. Once advertised for sale on Horse Scout, this horse will be contesting only his second Four Star. The eleven year old Irish bred is owned by Nicky Ryan and Dr Elizabeth Donald and Toddy took over the ride at the end of 2016. He describes the 17 hand impressive grey as “a genuine horse who can jump and do a good test, so he wouldn’t be without a chance.”

This year is a championship year with the FEI World Equestrian
Games being held in Tryon in September. Top riders like Toddy have a point to prove to selectors at this year’s Badminton. “I am lucky because I have a number of horses who could be in contention for the Worlds. The Championships will be Three Star but we are expecting a tough course” he explains. “These two horses will be in the line-up and I hope to have NZB Campino back, as he is just having a rest after an operation to remove a bone spur. Then I also have McLaren- he’s younger and less experienced than the others but he’s just magic to ride.”

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Besides Badminton and the World Equestrian Games, Toddy’s plans include contesting the Event Rider Masters Series. “I want to target as many of those as I can this year. The Series deserves our support. ERM is putting decent money into the sport and giving eventing coverage to a worldwide audience.”

We are proud to include Sir Mark Todd as one of our loyal Horse Scout members. He has used the site to advertise horses. “ It is a great idea and provides a good service to users. Horse Scout has embraced the internet age which is of course, how the world works today ”he says.

What I couldn’t live without:
I use everything from the Mark Todd Collection and I only put my name to something that offers quality and value.

My horses are fed on Key Flow feeds. It is nutritionally the perfect balance for sports horses and innovative in it’s formula.

My owners. I have a number of long-standing owners who I am so lucky with. They are friends as well as supporters.

 

Written by Ellie Kelly

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Tina Cook

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Tina Cook

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

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

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

Buying British and buying blood.

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

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

Less is more

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Producing the Prize

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

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

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

 

Kit that powers Tina’s success

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

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

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

 

Written by Ellie Kelly

Top quality Showjumpers for sale on Horse Scout

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

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

jaffar

 

POA

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

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

anfisa

 

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

euro

 

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

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