Tag Archives: eventing

Laura Collett, Pau 5* France.

Laura Collett beats off top-class field to win the only CCI5* of 2020.

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If anyone understands the sweet taste of triumph against adversity, then it’s Laura Collett. The 16-year journey to winning her first 5* Three Day Event at Pau 5* France last weekend, has involved more challenges than your average rider, including an accident that left her in a coma for six weeks and permanent loss of sight in one eye.

Les 5 Etoiles de Pau was the only CCI5*-L of the entire season so inevitably attracted a world-class field. This included the top six highest-ranked riders in the world. Riding her Boekelo 2019 winner London 52, Laura who is ranked 49th, led the entire competition, beating Piggy French (Brookfield Inocent) into second and Tim Price (Wesko) into third.


Speaking after her victory Laura said: “The dream became a reality and I still can’t believe this is all really happening. This morning I was saying to myself that if I had the choice, I wouldn’t have wanted to ride any other horse than London 52 in this kind of competition! He is a fantastic jumper. It was his first time competing at this level and I really wasn’t expecting this kind of result at the end of the competition. All of last year it was a case of ‘very nearly’. We were unlucky and they were split-second moments that caused our undoing but that’s all it takes in our sport.”


Laura Collett, winner or Pau 5* France
An emotional moment captured by Hannah Cole Photography.

It was one of those moments in 2013 when competing in the cross-country, her horse misread a corner fence at Tweseldown and suffered a rotational fall, landing directly on top of the petite 5ft 3 rider who was instantly knocked out. In the ambulance, the paramedics had to resuscitate her five times and on arrival at the hospital, the extent of her injuries was substantial, including fractured shoulder, broken ribs, a punctured lung, a lacerated liver, and injuries to her kidneys. She was placed in an induced coma for six days and it later transpired that a fragment of her shoulder bone had gravitated to her right eye through her bloodstream. It damaged the optic nerve, and she lost sight in that eye completely.

It took many months to adapt her eyesight even for day to day life and she recounts walking into things a lot. “When I started jumping, it seemed like the jumps would move.” She now wears goggles to protect her eyes from the elements when she is going cross-country.

Fortunately, Laura cannot remember the accident, so she had no confidence issues returning to eventing. “By the time I woke up, it was under control and I was lucky not to have any brain injuries. All I wanted to do was get back to competing.” It might not surprise you that just over six weeks later, she was back riding, which she admits may have been too soon. Although like our Horse Scout CEO Lucienne Elms, Laura spent several months living at the Injured Jockey Fund Rehabilitation Centre, Oaksey House. “They were amazing and there is no way I would have made such a comeback and so quickly, without their help.”


Beyond guts, grit and adversity, eventing is about a partnership, trust and understanding between human and horse. Laura Collett has that ability to make her horses achieve their full potential and she describes her Pau winner London 52 as an insecure horse who has put a lot of trust in her, which ultimately helps. He has only ever known Laura as a rider from an early age in his sporting career. Training from the beginning of a horse’s journey is what builds the partnership, she explains. Laura who rides at least 13 horses a day has trained most of her champions from scratch, having never had the means to buy ‘ready-made’ champions.


Laura Collett abooard London 52
The culmination of years of hard work. Image rights – Hannah Cole Photography.

Laura was smitten from the first time she sat on a pony at the age of two and started out in showing but always her dream was to be a professional event rider. From early childhood, she learned that in order to survive, ponies would have to be bought, produced and sold.

At the age of 12, she found a young pony called Noble Springbok from a one-lined advert and purchased him for the moderate sum of £5500. Her mother allowed her to keep this one, knowing he could be the one to achieve her dreams. Training the pony from scratch, in their first year of competitive eventing, they won everything and attracted the eyes of Youth team selectors. Laura Collett was placed on World Class Programme which meant she received lottery funding. A privilege that requires consistent exceptional results and one that she is still part of, 15 years later.

In 2005 the formidable partnership were selected for the British Pony Event Team at the European Championships, where she won team gold and individual bronze. ‘Spring’ was to launch her career, on both notoriety and monetary grounds. She signed away the right to admit how much he was sold for but a ‘life-changing’ amount passed hands. At just 16 years of age, she bought a new lorry to transport her horses, developed her facilities at home and purchased Rayef. This was another young horse who she trained on to win team and individual golds at both the Junior and Young Rider European Championships and finished 8th at her very first Badminton aged just 22.


There is little time for hobbies and even when the eventing season is over, Laura spends the winters producing young horses and doing plenty of showjumping. She also loves horse-racing and her event yard is partially funded by having racehorses in for some jump training. She was partially responsible for a first and second place at this year’s Cheltenham Festival. Simply the Betts and St Calvados, two National Hunt horses trained by Harry Whittington were sent to her to jump, leading up the Festival where they finished first and second respectively.

Despite eventing often attracting an elitist image, Laura Collett is proof that hard work and talent are the real key to success. She has never felt particularly challenged by not having a big money pot and thinks it makes her success all the more rewarding. “I’ve never known it any different. We would always buy unbroken ones, train them and sell them to be able to afford to do it and I still have to do that now. With all the other challenges it feels extra special because you know exactly what has gone into that win.”


Featured Image rights – Solène Bailly photos.

Tryon

Tryon International Equestrian Center steps up to meet 4* demand.

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The eventing world welcomed a much-needed addition to their calendar this week: Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC) at Tryon Resort will host a new CCI4*-L eventing competition to be held November 12th-15th, 2020.

The event is pending USEF and FEI approval but will feature international competition at the CCI4*-L, CCI4*-S, CCI3*-L, and CCI2*-L levels, including the only CCI4*-L competition on the East Coast for the entire 2020 season. The event will also mark the highest level of eventing competition hosted at the venue since the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018 (WEG). Although the venue hosts international eventing competitions at a lower level, annually.


Since equestrian sport was allowed to resume on June 3rd, 2020, TIEC has successfully operated Hunter, Jumper, and Dressage competitions. They have been praised by riders and visitors for implementing rigorous COVID-19 safety, sanitation, and operations policies to protect competitors and staff. The 19-page Tryon Resort COVID-19 Action Plan includes protocols like mandatory masks and social distancing for all persons on property, temperature checks at the entrance, and a thermal camera system onsite. Attendance onsite for competitions is limited to competitors and their family, barn staff, and essential personnel only and spectators are not permitted.


The three-day event will include a cross-country course designed by one of the most experienced designers in the world, Captain Mark Phillips, who is behind The Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials and was the Course Designer for the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018. The former Olympic event rider was previously Chef d’equipe of the US eventing team for 20 years.

This new fixture will take place on the premier White Oak Cross-Country Course featured at WEG and will make full use of the venue’s 1,200 permanent stalls to allow for ample distancing between competitors, alongside stringent safety protocols.


Image rights: Tryon International Equestrian Center.

“We are thrilled to be awarded the bid for a CCI4*-L this November,” said Sharon Decker president of Tryon Equestrian Properties, Carolinas Operations. “We have worked incredibly hard to keep equestrian sport safe and operational during this pandemic. So far, we have managed beautifully because of strong protocols and guest cooperation, and we don’t take this for granted. We earn the privilege to host equestrian sport every day and are honored to host this premier competition. We will continue to enforce strict protocols to keep everyone safe so we can continue enjoying this sport we all love.”

Jenni Autry, USEF Managing Director of Eventing said this: “Following the cancellation of multiple CCI4*-L competitions this year due to COVID-19, the USEF opened a bid process to add a CCI4*-L for 2020 in order to give athletes the opportunity to secure qualifying results for the postponed Tokyo Olympic Games and the 2021 Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event. We realize what an incredibly difficult year it has been for organizers, and we are grateful to Tryon for stepping up to fill this critical void in the U.S. calendar.”


The 1,600-acre facility also features onsite lodging options, onsite dining with to-go, and online ordering. As well as outdoor seating, an onsite general and grocery store, and other amenities lending to competitor safety.

Sadly, spectators are not permitted to attend any competitions at TIEC throughout 2020 as per the facility’s existing safety policies. However free live streaming will be available for both the November CCI4*-L and Blue Ridge Mountain Horse Trials, a national event set to run September 11th-13th. Live streaming of highlight classes at Hunter/Jumper competition is currently available at www.Tryon.com/streaming


Competition Entry Information:

Entry information and other details will be posted on www.Tryon.com/Eventing. For questions, contact eventing@tryon.com.


COVID-19 Safety: Tryon Resort is committed to providing a safe and fun experience for all competitors and barn staff, Tryon Resort staff, and all members of the equestrian community. In conjunction with local, state, and federal recommendations and mandates, including those from the World Health Organization (WHO), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and United States Equestrian Federation (USEF). TIEC has implemented additional guidelines and cleaning protocols, added to previously existing stringent standards, to alleviate the potential impact of COVID-19 and to ensure that the operation horse shows is smooth, efficient, and most importantly, safe for all involved.


Tryon Resort management is in close communication and collaboration with NC Governor Roy Cooper’s Emergency Preparedness Staff and with the Polk County Manager and the Directors of Health Services and Emergency Preparedness.

Click here to read the full Tryon Resort COVID-19 Action Plan.


Photo rights: Tryon International Equestrian Center.

MARS Great Meadow International 2-4*, VA, US starts today.

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The majority of 2020’s eventing season has taken a huge hit due to the coronavirus pandemic, with the vast amount of riders eagerly anticipating the return to some form of normality. It is, therefore, fantastic to finally see one of the first high-profile shows in North American eventing take place this year at the MARS Great Meadow international in Virginia, USA.

Following the cancellation of the USEA American Eventing Championships along with multiple other high-performance events this season, the organisers of Great Meadow international have introduced a CCI3*-L division to give competitors more opportunity to qualify for the fall season. Needless to say, the excitement leading toward this show has been building, although it will inevitably be unlike any show previously experienced.


The event organisers have taken multiple precautions in order to safely run this show and a strict safety protocol will be in effect for all participants to adhere to. Some of the measures taken will include:

  • Daily temperature checks for everyone entering the competition grounds.
  • Enforced social distancing measures throughout the showground and stabling.
  • Facemasks to be worn at all times on the premises unless mounted.
  • No access to the competition grounds for the general public, spectators, and non-essential personnel.

This ‘new normal’ for equestrians may take some getting used to, but in order for eventing to resume it is vital for shows to provide a safe environment for all participants. It is essential for these shows to run in compliance with both state and local health regulations, FEI regulations as well as the USEF COVID-19 Competition Action Plan.

Regardless of these necessary precautions, the show has seen a significant number of horse and rider combinations registering, with over 200 entries. The MARS Great Meadow International has received 75 entries in the CCI4*-S division alone, so a thrilling competition is guaranteed!


Some of this years riders to watch include:

  • Winner of the 2018 competition, Will Colman with three rides in the 4* – Tight Lines, Dondante and TKS Cooley.
  • Liz Halliday-Sharp with four rides in the 4* section – Flash Cooley, Fernhill By Night, Deniro Z, and Cooley Quicksilver.
  • Clayton Fredericks with FE Coldplay
  • Phillip Dutton with five entries including Fernhill Singapore, Luke 140, Z Sea of Clouds, and Blackfoot Mystery who he is riding for Boyd Martin.  
  • Founder and CEO of Horse Scout Group, Lucienne Elms has two rides in the 4* section, Mistralou her retrained racehorse and Diamond Duette, by Carrick Diamond Lad.

Lucienne Elms and Diamond Duette will be competing at MARS Great Meadow International this week
Lucienne Elms and Diamond Duette by Carrick Diamond Lad.

The show will kick off today (Wednesday 19th August 2020) and the full schedule can be viewed here.


Horse and Country TV will be live streaming the MARS Great Meadow International with Karen O’Connor and Sinead Halpin commentating and are sure to provide some great insights into this year’s competition. The live streaming schedule is as follows –

Friday, Aug. 21: CCI3*-L, CCI2*-S, and Preliminary cross country; CCI4*-S dressage.

Saturday, Aug. 22: Show jumping phase.

​Sunday, Aug. 23: CCI3*-S and CCI4*-S XC.

Don’t miss out on what is sure to be a spectacular event – Live Stream here.


The team at Horse Scout would like to wish the best of luck to all competitors at this year’s event.

Why top event riders choose Horse Scout to find event horses for sale

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HorseScout.com has proven to be the marketplace of choice for advertising top-class event horses for sale and is used daily by world-class, professional event riders, and amateur riders alike. Now in 2020, HorseScoutGroup.com has evolved to become the largest equestrian distribution channel in the world exceeding 10.5 million users! The Horse Scout marketplace is a globally respected business platform for all things equestrian: riders, grooms, coaches, breeders, industry professionals, and horsey enthusiasts.

HorseScout.com has a range of key features which makes the platform the obvious choice to market top quality horses, these include:

  • Automatic bloodline connections.
  • Extensive search functionality.
  • Networking tools.
  • A global equestrian marketing agency leveraging social media platforms, email campaigns, and good old fashioned word of mouth through the world’s best international agents.
  • Horse finder service allowing clients early access to horses that meet their search criteria.

A recent success story..

Event horse sold through horsescout.com

“Heartbroken to say goodbye to RHS Lady Willoughby but so excited to follow her progress in the USA. Couldn’t wish for a better home for her! Thank you to Horse Scout for matching the client!”

Laura Monkman,

Affiliated British Eventing rider, July 2020.


An equestrian marketing platform designed for riders by riders

Founder and CEO of the Horse Scout Group, Lucienne Elms is a competitive 4* event rider herself with 18 years of experience in the professional equestrian industry. This knowledge of the needs and demands for riders has enabled HorseScout.com to become the leading marketplace for equestrian business.

“I am still in contact with buyers and sellers daily myself, for some of the larger international sales, I love working with clients sourcing their perfect horse in my downtime from the other Horse Scout business demands.

Lucienne Elms

Founder and CEO of Horse Scout Group

Find out more about Lucienne –

https://www.horsescout.com/blog/general/lucienne-elms-the-equestrian-entrepreneur-so-far/


Event Horses for Sale

TOP JUNIORS AND YOUNG RIDER EVENTER

Top Juniors / Young Riders event horse for sale

Billy Alberto, 16.3hh, lightweight bay 8 year old gelding bred by The Billy Stud, sire Tangelo van de Zuuthoeve. Oozes quality.

Berty is a stunning-looking and genuine bold, careful horse. He is loving and fun on the yard as well as having all the necessary aptitudes across all three phases of eventing. He has three super paces and is established across all of them.

Click here to find similar horses for sale.


EXCEPTIONAL 3* EVENT MARE

Exceptional 3* event horse for sale

This young mare is a seriously exciting prospect for the future as not only does she have the movement and a faultless jumping technique, she is as brave as they come and ready to take on the world.

Mature and wise beyond her years, La Chunga stepped up to Novice & Intermediate level effortlessly showing so much scope and boldness across country yet so naturally athletic and careful show jumping.

For more information on this horse follow the link – https://www.horsescout.com/horses-for-sale/profile/6249


ONE FOR THE TOP

Top event horse for sale

Imposant ‘Impy’ is a 17.1hh bay KWPN 7 year old gelding. He is the sweetest and kindest horse on the yard as well as being extremely talented across all three phases of eventing.

Can be viewed with current rider, Emily King at her base in North Wales. More photos and videos available on request.

For more information on this horse follow the link – https://www.horsescout.com/horses-for-sale/profile/6243


Recent Testimonials

“We use HorseScout.com to source our quality young stock from Europe”.

Waylon Roberts,

Canadian 5* Event Rider


“I have had a lot of success selling our horses through Horse Scout both in the UK and abroad, gaining access to an impressive global network. Horse Scout attracts both the amateur as well as the professional rider, with a huge database of clients it covers all aspects of connecting the equestrian community. I couldn’t recommend their services more highly.”

Jodie Amos

GB 5* Event Rider


Lucinda Fredericks testimonial

“We use HorseScout.com to advertise our top event horses for sale to attract a quality, competition minded audience.”

Lucinda Fredericks

AUS 5* Event Rider, Olympic Medallist


Badminton Horse Trials

Badminton Through the Years

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Badminton Horse Trials has been a highlight in most equestrians’ calendars since its original conception in 1949, where it was proclaimed ‘the most important horse event in Great Britain’. Since then it has certainly lived up to expectations. The winners have become legends, the fences are now iconic, and lifting the trophy has been the lifelong dream of those riders that strive to qualify each year. 

Now in what would have been its 71st year, the world’s most famous horse trials have been cancelled for only the sixth time in its entire history due to the Coronavirus outbreak. Equestrians’ dreams of attending this year whether it be to compete or just to watch, eat great food, shop till they drop and soak in the atmosphere, have been shattered. Instead of moping around and sulking that we are unable to go, the team at Horse Scout have instead decided to have a look back at the shows history to bring you a few interesting facts and some of its greatest moments of the past seven decades. After all, it’s only another 365 days until the 2021 trials, so we may as well start looking forward to it! 


Age is just a number

Unlike most other sporting events, the equestrian sport holds no bias over age or sex. The pinnacle of a rider’s career could come at any time whether they are an eventing veteran or a fresh young talent, and victory at Badminton Horse Trials would arguably be a career highlight for any professional rider. The youngest competitor to win Badminton was Richard Walker, aged 18 and 247 days, when he rode Pasha to win in 1969. Whereas the oldest rider to lift the trophy is Mark Todd aged 55 in 2011. With an impressive 37 years between these two champions, there is clearly no winning formula when it comes to youth over experience.

The youngest horse to have ever won at Badminton, believe it or not, was five-year-old, Golden Willow, ridden by John Shedden. The pair rode to victory in the very first trials in 1949. Nowadays, seven is the minimum age for all competing horses. Even that seems like a remarkably short amount of time to produce something as well tuned and fearless to take on the challenge. Most horses that compete nowadays are rarely under ten years of age, which makes this even more of an incredible feat on a horse with half the experience. The horse was very quirky and hot, so much so that Shedden would tie a piece of string from the saddle to his belt in the hope that if he fell off, he might still have some control of the horse!

The oldest horse to win Badminton is ‘Nereo’, who won the event in 2017 with Andrew Nicholson at the age of 17. Previously, the oldest horse was the 16-year-old Horton Point, ridden by Mark Todd 33 years earlier in 1994. 


Size doesn’t matter

The smallest horses to win at Badminton were Our Solo (Bill Roycroft in 1960) and Our Nobby (Jane Bullen in 1968). Both stood at a meagre 15hh.

The biggest horses to take the Badminton title have been Durlas Eile (Major E.A. Boylan in 1965), Columbus (Captain Mark Phillips in 1974), Custom Made (David O’Connor in 1997) and Word Perfect II, (Chris Bartle in 1998). All were 17hh.


The Horses 

There have been countless outstanding horses that have ran in the Badminton Horse Trials over the years, from the small and mighty to the giant powerhouses. Some of which have claimed their own records. Four horses hold the joint record for the most completions of Badminton, Ballycotton with Andrew Harris from 1990-1995 and with Sarah Longshaw in 1997, Comanche with James Robinson, 2003-2006 and 2009-2011, Lenamore with Caroline Powell 2005-2011, and Over To You with Jeanette Brakewell in 1998, 1999 and 2003-2007. 

Chilli Morning took the title in 2015 with his Rider William Fox-Pitt, and he remains the only stallion in the history of Badminton Horse Trials to win the event. 



What is it worth?

The prize money for the first event in 1949 was £150 to the winner and the prize fund came to a total of about £500. Since then, the interest in the sport has grown exponentially. Along with its rise to fame thanks to some outstanding sponsorship, the prize fund for the notorious event had made a dramatic increase. A special mention should go to Mitsubishi Motors for its record breaking 28-year reign, whose final year was 2019. Last year, Piggy French took home an astonishing £100,000 for first place. In doing so, she denied Oliver Townend the win and stalled his hopes of becoming only the third person ever to win eventing’s £270,000 Rolex Grand Slam (a highly coveted prize for winning the 5* at Kentucky, Badminton and Burley within the same year).

But is it really the prize money that draws these riders to tackle the infamous cross-country course? Personally, I’m not sure there is an amount in the world that could convince me to aim any horse at the Vicarage Vee, or take the leap into the lake, but these competitors are cut from a different cloth. Winning Badminton to them is much more than a substantial pay day, it is the accomplishment of being victorious at the pinnacle of the world’s 3-Day-Event calendar. Realising the fame and glory that comes with mastering the ultimate test of stamina, power, obedience, and accuracy, and cementing their names in the history books. 


The Greats

Ian Stark – In 1988, Stark became the first, and to date, the only rider to claim both first and second prize in the same year. He won on Sir Wattie and came second on Glenburnie. Having led on both horses after the cross-country phase, he was so busy giving interviews that he missed the course walk for the show jumping and had to rely on a description given by his trainer, Dick Stillwell. ‘Typical Stark’ proclaimed the commentator, but Ian’s famous one-two remains an event record and has yet to be beaten.

Lucinda Green – The current record holder for the most wins at Badminton. Lucinda has won the horse trials on six separate occasions. She won in 1973 on Be Fair, in 1976 with Wide Awake, 1977 on George, 1979 aboard Kildare, 1983 on Regal Realm, and in 1984 riding Beagle Bay. The two riders who have come closest to her record to date is Captain Mark Phillips and Mark Todd both with four wins. With both riders now retired from sport it is uncertain who will be the rider to challenge her record, could Pippa Funnell be the one to claim the title having three wins to date and a quality string of horses in her yard? Regardless, Lucinda Green’s record is unlikely to be broken any time soon. 

Pippa Funnell – Funnell’s first win at Badminton came in 2002 aboard the legendary gelding Supreme Rock. The combination had previously landed two individual European titles in Luhmuhlen in 1999 and in Pau in 2001 and a team silver medal at the Sydney Olympics in 2000, so were clearly in great form and a favourite to win at Badminton. The same horse and rider combination claimed victory for a consecutive year (2003), the success of which, along with that of her other ride Primmore’s Pride, paved the way to Pippa becoming the first rider, and one of only two riders to have ever claimed the coveted Rolex Grand Slam for winning at Kentucky, Badminton and Burley in the same year. 

Sir Mark Todd – In 1980, Mark Todd, a then dairy farmer from New Zealand, attempted his first ever Badminton Horse Trials, to claim victory aboard Southern Comfort III. His win came as such a shock that a newspaper cartoon pictured The Duke of Edinburgh saying, ‘Mark who?’ The now seven-time Olympian, proved his worth on countless occasions since. He took his second Badminton victory in 1994 riding Horton Point, a horse that he had never ridden before due to the owner, Lynne Bevan breaking her collar bone at Bicton the weekend before. He is also well remembered for riding two-thirds of the cross-country course in 1995, on Bertie Blunt with only one stirrup. Sadly, the horse was eliminated at the final horse inspection the following day. Un-deterred, the pair came back the following year to win the Badminton title, Mark’s third victory. He retired from eventing in 2000 after taking individual bronze at the Sydney Olympics. In 2008, Todd completed arguably equestrian sport’s greatest career comeback to win the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials for the fourth time aboard NZB Land Vision. Sir Mark is now one of New Zealand’s most celebrated sportsmen and was voted rider of the 20th century by the FEI.

Andrew Nicholson – Another New Zealand rider and prodigy of Sir Mark Todd, Andrew Nicholson holds the event record for most completions at Badminton since his first completion in 1984. However, victory here had always seemed to elude the six-time Olympian until 2017 on his 37th attempt. He was riding the 17-year-old Nereo, a horse that he had since a four-year-old. His victory here came only 18 months after a fall at Gatcombe where he suffered a severe neck injury that had left him nearly paralysed. 

“The feeling of winning here is different to Burghley and I think after waiting so long for it, and a few times to be so near and not make it, it’s just an unbelievable feeling.” 

Andrew Nicholson


References

https://www.countrylife.co.uk/out-and-about/sporting-country-pursuits/70-years-badminton-horse-trials-pig-sticking-champions-miracle-champion-took-four-decades-win-195581

https://www.badminton-horse.co.uk/history/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Badminton_Horse_Trials


MARK TODD ANNOUNCES HIS RETIREMENT

FacebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailHe has been at the top of the sport for more than 40 years but yesterday, the legendary horseman Sir Mark Todd, announced he was hanging up his boots. He has said and done this before but this time he says it will be for good.

 

Double Olympic champion and five-time Burghley winner, Mark made the staggering announcement at the end of a Nations Cup event at Camphire in Ireland on Sunday after being part of the winning New Zealand team.

 

A supporter and brand advocate of Horse Scout since its inception, Mark competed at seven Olympics, winning six medals. He won gold at Los Angeles (1984) and Seoul (1988) riding the great Charisma and was one of the very few athletes to compete at the Olympics in two disciplines- showjumping and eventing. Mark had previously indicated a desire to compete in Tokyo next year but had concluded 40 years of competing at the highest level was long enough.

 

In addition, he claimed four Badminton Horse Trials titles alongside his five victories at the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials and two team world championship gold medals. He was considered as one of the greatest horsemen of all time.

Mark Todd

Mark was rider of the 20th century by the governing body FEI and is regarded as one of New Zealand’s most successful athletes, receiving a Knighthood. More recently, he was appointed a Land Rover Ambassador.

 

With a previously successful background in racing, he has decided to devote more time to breeding and training race horses in England, something that had become more than a passing interest after securing a training license.

 

“I had initially thought I may stay on for one more Olympic Games but since I got back into the racing my attention has been taken away,” he said. “It is not just about the competition and unless you are 110 per cent focused and driven towards that goal, you won’t succeed . . . and I certainly wasn’t. In fairness to the owners, horses and others hoping to get on the team, this was the best thing. I have been here once before but there will be no comeback this time.”

 

Mark first retired from the sport in 2000, his decision partly driven by a British tabloid newspaper sting claiming he had used cocaine in the lead-up to that year’s Sydney Olympics. He vehemently denied the report.

 

He returned to compete at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and three years later, at 55, became the oldest winner of Badminton Horse Trials when he claimed the title on NZB Land Vision.

 

Mark explained he felt relieved to retire after considering the decision for some time and was delighted to go out on a winning note, alongside world leading team mates Tim and Jonelle Price.

 

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Some Twitter tributes:

 

Andrew Hoy: “We first met 41 years ago- it’s been a blast ever since. A happy retirement to Sir Mark Todd. One of the all time greats of our sport and rider of the 20th century. But more than anything- a dear friend and most wonderful, kind man! We will miss you! Enjoy the next chapter.”

 

Lucienne Elms CEO Horse Scout: “I first met Mark at Blenheim Horse Trials when I was 19yrs old, I can recall having posters of him on my walls as a teenager. Years later I was fortunate enough to support his professional career, via young horse acquisition and sales through Horsecsout.com, I am very grateful for his support as a Horse Scout brand advocate the past few years. He is undoubtably the most multifaceted horseman that has ever been, I hugely respect his choice to go out on a high, myself and all of the Horse Scout Team wish him every success in the next chapter!”

 

The FEI: “Bittersweet brilliance. The man. The myth. The legend. Helped New Zealand to a stunning victory in Ireland in the FEI #Eventing Nations Cup… and then stunned the equestrian world by announcing his retirement!”

 

Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials: “What a legend Sir Mark Todd you are, a true friend, an inspiration and you’ve helped make Burghley so very special for so many people.”

Horse Scout Real: Joseph Murphy

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

Why is Badminton such a special event to you?

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

What is your most memorable moment there?

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

What is your top Cross Country tip?

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

What is your top Show Jumping tip?

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

What is your top Dressage tip?

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

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

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

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

How is Sportsfield Othello feeling?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

 

 

Amy Murphy Racing

FEMALE FOCUS AT THE FESTIVAL

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We are proud of the fact that Horse Scout is an enterprise run by women. We not only love what we do both in business and in our equestrian pursuits, but we have never seen our gender as a limitation. So you could say that for us, every day is International Women’s Day. We also go to great lengths to provide as much coverage of great female equestrian athletes as we do. This week we will be championing the great female jockeys heading to The Magners Cheltenham Festival. Last year history was made when there were four female winners at The Festival, which really is the Olympics of Jumps Racing. The jockey entries have not yet been confirmed but we are expecting to see more girls on the cards than ever before including Lizzie Kelly, Bridget Andrews and Harriet Tucker who all won last year as well as Bryony Frost, Lucy Alexander and Rachael Blackmore who lies second in the Irish jump jockeys table. Will they go beat last year’s record by scoring even more Festival victories and take a share of the? Can Bryony Frost be the first ever woman to win the Gold Cup?

 

National Hunt Racing has always been a sport contested by men and women. Yet of all equine-related activities, it has been the most challenging for women to make their mark in, over sports like Eventing, Dressage or Showjumping. There have been World Champions in all three Equestrian disciplines but there has never been a female Champion Jockey, in either Flat or National Hunt.   Maybe this is because racing is a sport where the boys massively outnumbered the girls. Some say there have been fewer opportunities for women to excel, with many trainers and owners favouring a male jockey over a female for reasons that include physical strength or because they don’t like seeing girls get hurt. Or maybe the female jockeys have simply not been as good as the men.

 

In the last five years, the tide is has turned and since Lizzie Kelly shot to fame in 2015 when she became the first female jump jockey to win a Grade One race when she won the Novices’ Chase on Tea for Two at Kempton Park in 2015. It is now a regular occurrence to see women first past the post. Furthermore, trainers are giving them rides on good horses and there are more female jockeys turning professional than ever before. It is perhaps significant that 10 time Champion Jumps Trainer, Paul Nicholls employs Bryony Frost as one of his leading stable jockeys.

 

There have been 14 winning female jockeys at The Festival in total but with 23 winners between them. The first woman to win at was Caroline Beasley who won in 1983 on Eliograty and Gee Armytage was the first woman to have two winners in one year. The first professional female jockey was Lizzie Kelly last year on Coo Star Sivola who she plans to ride again this year. Whilst the most successful female jockey to date is Nina Carberry with six winners in total.

 

Female trainers have had their fair share of Festival winners. There have been 27 winning female trainers over the years with 68 winning horses between them. The first was Jackie Brutton who trained Snowdra Queen to win in 1966. The most successful so far has been Irish trainer Jessica Harrington, with 11 winners in total, including training Sizing John to win the Gold Cheltenham Cup in 2017. Jenny Pitman was the first woman to train a Gold Cup winner, when Burrough Hill Lad won in 1984, one of two Gold Cup victories for Pitman. The second success came in 1991 when Garrison Savannah won, ridden by her son Mark Pitman. She was also the first woman to train the winner of the Grand National courtesy of Corbiere in 1983. Once again, an achievement she would repeat when Royal Athlete who in 1995.

 

One of the most popular female trainers of all time has to be Henrietta Knight, who trained the legendary horse, Best Mate to three Gold Cup victories and had seven Festival winners in total and over 700 winners throughout her career.

 

This year, there are a number of female trainers presenting some promising horses to the mix. Emma Lavelle saddles Paisley Park, one of the favourites for the Stayers’ Hurdle and Jessica Harrington’s Supasundae will be a decent contender in the same race. Small time trainer, Kayley Woollacott’s Lalor is a strong hope for the Arkle Trophy. Also seen on the entries list are Venetia Williams, Sue Smith (wife of Harvey Smith), Lucinda Russell, Rebecca Curtis and Horse Scout’s ambassador Amy Murphy.

 

Last year’s Festival really reinforced the Women’s Revolution in racing with so many female winners. You can see three of those Festival winners, Lizzie Kelly, Bridget Andrews and Harriet Tucker on this video, discussing what the sport and the win really means to them.

https://youtu.be/F0NOgtvXPCE