Tag Archives: Great Britain

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THE REAL WAR HORSE

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11th November 2018 marks 100 years since the end of World War One. Also known as the Great War, it remains one of the largest, deadliest conflicts in history with an estimated sixteen million people dying as a direct result of the war. Whilst we remember the men and women who fell this Sunday, we might also spare a thought for the eight million horses and countless donkeys and mules who died whilst serving the war effort.

 

These animals died not just from shellfire but also suffering painful deaths from wounds, starvation, thirst, exhaustion, disease and exposure to terrible weather and appalling conditions from freezing mud on the Western Front to the oppressive heat of Tunisia, Eritrea and Burma.

 

At the start of the war, the British Army had 25,000 horses but a further 115,000 were purchased under the Horse Mobilisation Scheme. Over the course of the war, between 500 and 1000 horses were shipped to Europe every day for the British Army alone.

 

Initially, most of these horses were used as cavalry horses as they had been for thousands of years. But their vulnerability to modern machine gun and artillery fire meant their role changed to transporting troops and ammunition. At the start of the war, military vehicles were relatively new inventions and prone to problems, which meant horses and mules were more reliable, cheaper forms of transport.

 

Many of these animals were used to transport ammunition and supplies to the troops as well as the sizeable field guns. It would take six to 12 horses to pull each gun. Sources also show that Dummy horses were sometimes used to deceive the enemy into misreading the location of troops.

 

Beyond the horror of war, there was some animal welfare in place. Vets treated 2.5 million horses and two million of those recovered and returned to the battlefield. The British Army Veterinary Corp hospitals in France alone cared for 725,000 horses and successfully treated three-quarters of them. A typical equine hospital could treat 2,000 animals at any one time.

 

Well-bred horses were more likely to suffer from shell shock and be affected by the sights and sounds of battle than their less refined compatriots, who could be taught to lie down and take cover at the sound of artillery fire. Records show that one-quarter of all deaths were due to gunfire and gas; exhaustion and disease claimed the rest.

 

During the war, horse food was the single largest commodity shipped to the front by some countries, including Britain. The manufacturers of Quaker Oats put in a bid to supply army horses with cakes baked from oats and molasses, but this proposal was dismissed as too extravagant.

 

Back on the Home Front, some owners took drastic measures such as putting their animals to sleep before the army could seize them to avoid their horses facing the terrible and terrifying conditions at war. War Horses were considered of such value that is a soldier’s horse died, he was required to cut off a hoof and bring it back to his commanding officer to prove that the two had not simply become separated.

 

In a single day during the Battle of Verdun in 1916, 7,000 horses were killed by long-range shelling on both sides, including 97 killed by single shots from a French naval gun. Losses were particularly heavy among Clydesdale horses, which were used to haul guns.

 

Over the course of the Great War, Britain lost over 484,000 horses- one horse for every two men. Yet many more were left or sold off in the places they served for an even worse fate than death- a life of hard labour and torment. It was whilst living in Egypt in the 1930s that a British woman named Dorothy Brooke was struck by the number of Allied war horses and donkeys who had been sold to be workhorses in Cairo. Nearly all were emaciated, old and worn out. She wrote a letter to the Morning Post (now the Daily Telegraph), exposing this reality. It moved readers so greatly that they sent her the equivalent to £20,000 in today’s money to help end the suffering of these noble beasts.

 

Within three years, Brooke had purchased five thousand ex-warhorses. Most had to be humanely put down to end their suffering but they at least ended their lives more peacefully than would otherwise have been the case. In 1934, she founded the Old War Horse Memorial Hospital in Cairo with the promise of free veterinary care for all the city’s working horses and donkeys. Soon after The Brooke charity was established and has been a leading force in helping working animals and their owners in the developing world.

https://www.thebrooke.org/  #everyhorseremembered 

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HORSE SCOUT REAL: Harry Charles

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Harry Charles is the teen sensation everyone is talking about in the world of Show Jumping. Those who rate him highly as a rider and a horseman include Performance Manager Di Lampard, Olympic Gold medalist, Nick Skelton and of course his biggest fan is his dad, Peter Charles MBE. Who also happens to be an equestrian legend in his own right. With many team appearances for both Ireland and Britain, Peter was one of the showjumpers who made history, helping Team GB to Olympic gold at London 2012.

 

2018 has been a storming year for 19-year-old Harry. Not only did he win both individual and team gold medals at the Young Rider European Championships, earlier in the year he finished third his very first Grand Prix, beating dad in the process. The dream continued when he jumped at Aachen, considered as one of the most prestigious and challenging venues in the world against all his childhood heroes. Shortly after that, he competed in the London leg of the Longines Global Champions Tour before making his senior team debut at the Nations Cup in Dijon. We are excited to announce that Harry will join the stellar line-up of riders at this year’s Theraplate UK Liverpool International Horse Show. And it sounds like he is excited too…

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“Last year, Liverpool was the first ever big show I did so for me that was really special,” says Harry who was placed in several big classes. “I had a really good year last year and to top it off, to do well at Liverpool in front of an amazing crowd and some of the best riders in the world was just amazing for me.”

 

Harry explains what riders love about the show “For an indoor arena it is a really good size. Which is good for riders and horses and for course builders too as you can build bigger jumps in there” he explains “I think the crowd love it. They are looking down on the arena so that always creates a really good atmosphere and it drives the riders on to win a class, I think.”

 

Peter, who has also jumped at the show explains what he loves about competing there. “The show brings to the North-West, a different audience and the atmosphere there is really intense. The arena is up, close and personal and I think people really appreciate the art of showjumping” he says.

 

This year the Charles family will be bringing a number of horses and both Harry and his two sisters, Sienna and Scarlett will be competing.

 

“We plan to bring the best horses we can to Liverpool and we are aiming at the big classes like the Grand Prix and the jump-off classes. So we are going to take a team of horses that can be very competitive” he says, highlighting the significance of the show in the equestrian calendar.

 

“It’s one of the few big shows we have in Great Britain and being right at the end of the year, everyone is up for it. It’s always really nice to look forward to. There is a fun atmosphere too. I don’t have any shows or horses to ride on New Years Day so I think if all goes to plan, it will be great to party too.

 

Before Liverpool, Harry is looking forward to spending a Christmas at home with all his family

“We try to have a day off riding but some days we will ride a few horses. The season in showjumping never stops so you have to keep going.”

 

Meeting Harry and Peter at home, it’s clear that their base- Heathcroft Farm, is very much a family operation. Scarlett and Sienna are following closely on their brother’s heels, each winning medals for their country at youth level. Naturally, they live, work and breathe horses and most of the time they all get on. “Me and my sisters have a few disagreements every now and again like everyone does. It’s not always about horses either” smiles Harry. “Even me and my dad, sometimes we can have different opinions on things but we all get on. If we didn’t, it wouldn’t run as smoothly as it does.”

 

“We all have a good work ethic and are usually too tired to argue!” chips in Peter, who along with his son are huge Liverpool FC fans. Peter was born and raised in Liverpool so the city is dear to his heart. “I grew up in Bootle and I have a lot of friends and family up there so it’s very personal to me to go and jump up there with my family. A lot of my wider family will come to watch”

 

Peter trains Harry on a daily basis both at home and at competitions and it is clear, he has huge respect for his father. “Dad is my trainer and of course I would consider other people but for me, I don’t think there would be anyone any better in the world.”

 

To watch Harry and a host of other great riders at the Theraplate UK Liverpool International Horse Show, you can buy tickets from: https://www.liverpoolhorseshow.com

Photo from hopedeamer1-18

AP McCoy on being a dad, sporting idols and why he is coming to the Liverpool International Horse Show

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The rider line-up for the Theraplate UK Liverpool International Horse Show is always a star-studded one. It’s popular with the Whitakers, Harry and Peter Charles and Scott Brash is a regular. But this year, we can expect to see the whole McCoy family there. That’s AP McCoy- perhaps one of the best known and most loved jockeys of all time, plus wife Chanelle, daughter Eve and son Archie. Horse Scout’s blogger Ellie Kelly was lucky enough to interview AP and Chanelle recently and this is what they had to say…

 

“I was told I had to be in Liverpool by the 30th December by my daughter Eve. It just shows you how things change in your life when you start getting bossed around by your eleven-year-old daughter” says twenty times Champion Jockey, AP McCoy. Now retired from National Hunt racing, despite being one of the greatest figures in sporting history, he now finds himself “being dragged to shows and mucking out ponies!”

 

Eve who is an avid young showjumper and clearly a chip off the old block will be competing in the mini-major competition, together with a number of young riders competing alongside celebrity showjumpers. The mini major will feature approx. 14 pairs of kids paired up with top professionals all in fancy dress. Previous pros that have competed in this class include the very fast GB rider Matt Sampson, John Whitaker, and the UK’s leading lady rider Laura Renwick.  The class will be the feature of the afternoon performance on Sunday 30th December.

 

“Eve is mad excited about going to Liverpool and I was told I had to be there so I’m flying back from Leopardstown especially” says AP. “She really loves competing and she’s got plenty of bottle which you can’t teach a kid. I see certain traits in her as I have- she’s not a great loser and she gets upset with herself. Even when it goes wrong or I shout at her, she comes back for more. No matter how much a parent gives their kids they can’t give them nerve and desire, that has to come from within. You can feed it and nurture it but at the end of the day it has to come from the kid.”

 

AP talks about the importance of having sporting idols and watching those riders in order to improve.  For Eve, Nick Skelton is her hero.

 

“I took her and a friend up there last year and Nick and Laura Kraut gave them a riding lesson. For her, it was the best thing ever, she was more interested in him than she was in me.”

 

“We’ve planned the Christmas around it” says an excited Chanelle. “We have no expectations, Eve does of course. But I think it’s a brilliant experience for kids to feel the pressure of the big day when they are young. It really prepares you for the later in life and when you do go into the working world, it helps if you know those emotions already.

 

“She’s very conscious of impressing her dad which is nice but we had to sack AP as an instructor because of that clash of personality” she laughs. “AP and I were very relaxed as to whether she was into ponies or not, it had to be something that came from her but she really loves it and she wants to be the best. It’s lovely that she is so ambitious. It must be in her DNA that she is not satisfied taking part, she wants to win.”

 

“Nick Skelton is her hero, she once asked me if Nick was too old for her to marry. She was so in awe of him when she went up for a lesson. She had lots of questions for him and I thought well isn’t it great that she’s got an icon like Nick rather than some social media influencer.”

 

Chanelle talks about the differing emotions she feels when watching her daughter show jump in comparison with watching AP race.

 

“Watching Eve, I feel excited. With AP it was a different emotion because with being a jump jockey, injury was very much part of the course, so you’re always worried. Watching my daughter showjumping is so enjoyable and I get quite emotional when she does well.”

 

Even though I don’t miss AP riding because I’m so grateful that he has retired in one piece and he doesn’t have any severe injuries but I think we would miss the buzz if we had nothing. Whereas now, there is not a nicer weekend for me where we load up the lorry and head off to show.

 

www.liverpoolhorseshow.com

 

FEI World Equestrian Gamesª Tryon USA

12 interesting (and slightly feminist and Nationalistic) facts about the 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games in Tryon.

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  1. In the Olympic sports of Dressage, Showjumping and Eventing, all three gold medals were won by female riders: Germany’s Isabel Werth (49) and Simone Blum (29) plus British rider Rosalind Canter (32)
  2. In Para Dressage the individual titles in all six grades, were won by women.
  3. Simone Blum became the first female individual gold medallist in the 28 year history of the FEI World Equestrian Games and only the second female rider in the 65 year history of the World Championships.
  4. Gold medalist eventer Rosalind Canter is 5ft2 whilst her horse Allstar B towers at 17.1hh. Whilst Best British showjumper, Amanda Derbyshire is also 5ft 2’’ but her ride stands at barely 16 hands.
  5. Of the top twenty placed horses in the individual showjumping, half were mares.
  6. Of the top five placed dressage horses, three were mares.
  7. Chestnut mares took top honours in both dressage and showjumping. Isabell Werth’s Bella Rose in the dressage and Simone Blum’s DSP Alice
  8. Showjumper Amanda Derbyshire, who finished best of the Brits has been based in the US for the last seven years but started her career as a work rider for Nick Skelton. Nick and his partner, US rider Laura Kraut still train Derbyshire.
  9. Derbyshire’s diminutive mare “Luibanta BH”, was bred in Ireland and produced by Ellen Whitaker. She was bought by current owner’s as a junior horse for their teenage daughter to ride but by far exceeded expectations.
  10. Of the 25 horses in the individual final of the showjumping at WEG, seven were produced in Britain and three were British bred. In eventing, Mr Chunky the silver medalist was bred and produced in the UK and Charlotte Dujardin’s Dressage bronze medalist, Mount St John Freestyle was produced from a foal by Emma and Jill Blundell at the Mount St John Stud Thirsk, Scotland. The Mount St John Stud also produced and still owns Para Dressage individual gold and team silver medalist Mount St John Diva Dannebrog, ridden by Britain’s Natasha Baker
  11. The British Para-Dressage team missed out on a major international gold for the first time in the history of the World Equestrian Games, having won every European, World and Paralympic team gold since the Sydney Paralympics in 2000.  Team GB were beaten by the Dutch into silver by just 0.64% in their total score in Tryon.
  12. A strong British performance at WEG resulted in Team GB finishing third in the medal rankings and receiving 2020 Olympic qualification for Eventing, Dressage and Para-Dressage.
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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