Tag Archives: Horse Scout Ambassador

William Funnell, The Billy Stud and Horse Scout


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


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


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


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


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




Horse Scout Ambassador Charlotte Dicker


Horse Scout is proud to have some of the UK’s most talented riders as its Ambassadors.  In the build up to Rio, we’ll bring you the latest news about what they’re up to, how they got to the top, plus their top tips and advice.  

Interview with Horse Scout Ambassador 17 year old Charlotte Dicker

Junior International Team GB Dressage rider Charlotte Dicker

Counting days before she heads to the Europeans, Horse Scout chats to junior International Team GB Dressage rider Charlotte Dicker, currently at the top of the British riders on the FEI ranking list, about growing up, her tips on producing youngsters and her horses — including Tilly, a yearling of Timolin, sired by Totilas.

Horse Scout Interviewer asks: Where do you live and train?

At Catherston Stud under my mum Anne Dicker and grandmother the Jenny Lorriston Clarke (MBE).

That’s some equestrian bloodlines! Did you always want to be a dressage rider?

As a kid I was really crazy on my jumping — and I guess a bit of a daredevil, bombing around fields. Then I started vaulted training under Julie Newell and was a member of the English squad.

Looking back it really helped by seat and core and you have to be physically and mentally fit — mounting a horse on the lunge whilst it’s cantering isn’t easy!

So when did you get into dressage?

At around 13 — on my mum’s 17.2hh horse! Edgehill Drumroll taught me the ropes, although could be a stroppy ginger male at times! He was great at teaching me, if I didn’t ask correctly, he wouldn’t do it — mum trained him so well and I couldn’t have asked for a better horse to learn on. He owes me nothing, and I owe him a hell of a lot!

Who will you be riding at the Europeans?

Soli (Sabatini), an 11-year-old mare owned by Ian McRobbie.

What’s her character like?

She’s been difficult and tricky throughout her entire ridden career. I started riding her about two years ago when she was, quite frankly, a bit of a right off…

She’d had two foals and was so naughty that no one could get on with her and as a result, she had spent the majority of time in the field — basically the less you interacted with her the better she was!

To cut a long story short, Ian had been told that the best thing was to either put her into foal again or sell her as a brood mare, but when I rode her for a week I fell in love with her (even though she tried to get me off every day!).  I asked mum if she thought Ian would mind if I tried to get her going (which he didn’t!) and set myself a goal of Junior selection, which we achieved. I now have the highest score in the squad and I’m proud that I’ve produced her.

Last year you made history by becoming the third generation of one family to represent their country at the European Dressage Championships.What’s your goal now?

I’m aiming for medals — both team and individual — at the Europeans, but in the top 10 – 15 would be great.

Longterm, I’ve a lot to live up to: placing at the Europeans, Worlds and the Olympics on a horse that we’ve bred would be amazing.

What other horses do you ride at Catherston?

I’ve a soft spot for mares…

Ulyssa (Sasha), again owned by Ian McRobbie, is a five-year old mare by my Soli (Sabatini) by Uthopia. She’s very much one for the future and we’d like to save her. Thankfully she has a better mindset than Soli!

Then there’s four-year old Catherston Osiana who is by my stallion Opposition Bombshell. Bred to event, she has three nice paces and a really lovely jump on her. As a late foal, we’re taking it slowly with her letting her enjoy lots of hacking and a bit of unaffiliated dressage with no stress. I’ve got high hopes that she’ll be my next top horse.

I’m also riding Laura and Erin Clothier’s Calva La Cornilliere when Laura is not at university. A nine-year-old gelding (Flemming out of Negro mare).

Training at Inter I at home I’d like to think he could go GP at end of year but we won’t rush him.

Is it harder training with family?

When I was younger I used to struggle a little. Looking back, I’m not entirely sure why. I suppose I took what I had a little for granted, but now we all get on really well, and I train regularly with mum and granny. It’s nice being at home, a real family affair. Having my aunt Lizzie also based at home has given me some great opportunities, including breaking in and producing her horse, Catherston Specific, a mare she bred by Catherston Springsteen to the dressage ring.

Do you train with anyone other than your family?

David Hunt is our team trainer and a big support — he’ll be travelling to the Europeans. Last year I had an apprentice role at Natalie Allen which was really inspiring and a good learning curve. During my time there I was lucky enough to have lessons with Charlotte and Carl. Both were intense lessons — but very different! I only had 20 minutes with Carl warming a young horse up and he gave me lots of tips — he’s got a really sympathetic approach. Interestingly, Charlotte was critical on things like turning one hand over by 20 degrees.

Tell us a bit about what’s going on at Catherston.

My mum, Anne, runs the business and stud now. We have a great team which includes farriers Nathan Appleton and Daniel Dicker (my Brother); vets McGonnell and Gillatt;  and family friends Sarah Marks and Lynne Moles who come to the majority of my shows to support mum and I. Catherston is more livery/competition livery and stud now with quite a few foals. Granny formed a syndicate to buy Timolin and we now have four of his foals with us here now.

That’s Timolin, sired by Totilas?

Yes, I’m really lucky that one of the owners, Sarah Marks, has secured one of the yearlings, Catherston Timeless, out of a Breitling mare, for me. I intend ‘Tilly’ to be our homebred Olympic horse, but that will be in quite a few years to come! We have shown her in hand, and had great success. Tilly won the Sport Horse Yearling class, and then went Champion, and then Supreme Champion, and qualified to the Cuddy class! We are really excited about her and I’m so thankful to have a fabulous team of owners and supporters behind me.

And what do you think of British breeding currently?

We’ve got a strong breeding network and we’d like to think the Timolin foals will add to that… Mt St.John are also doing a lot but their market is mainly abroad.

There’s quite a few studs breeding some very nice horses for all disciplines but it’s a shame that many people still buy from abroad rather than looking over here for horses.

Your family have trained some amazing young horses. What are your tips?

Give as much time as they need — don’t rush or you will jeopardise your future with them. Babies need to be babies. I believe competing them in hand helps them when we come to compete them under saddle, as it gives them experience travelling and going to busy shows. It’s a lot for them to take in, but in the long run spreads out the ‘stresses’ they may face.

And what’s your weekly schedule — and tips — with more established horses?

2-3 days in the school, 2-3 days a week hacking (anywhere from 40-60 minutes to up to 2 hours). One day off and plenty of daily turn out.

We tend to jump a lot of our horses (even Soli jumps when we can), and we try to involve this in their training a lot as it helps their flexibility in their body, and minds.

All of our horses lunge (the young ones more than the older ones) and we use a lot of pole work in their training, we find this really benefits all of the horses.

And what do you like about Horse Scout?

I really like the profiles and twitter feed — it’s great to find out what people in the industry are doing.

You can find a full Horse Scout profile for Charlotte Dicker on her professional rider page through this link.  To read more about the Catherston Stud stallions or Timeline himself use these links.


Horse Scout Ambassador Nicola Buchanan

Interview with Nicola Buchanan (nee Jourdain)


Horse Scout is proud to have some of the UK’s most talented riders as its Ambassadors.

In the build up to Rio, we’ll bring you the latest news about what they’re up to, how they got to the top, plus their top tips and advice.

 Horse Scout Interviews Nicola Buchanan (nee Jourdain)

International Grand Prix Dressage Rider & Trainer, Dorset


How did you get into dressage?

When I was 18, I wanted to do three-day eventing as I found dressage a bit dull. Then it all changed…

To become a more competitive eventer, I went to train with international Grand Prix (GP) dressage rider Gerda Smelt, with the hope of improving my dressage scores whilst eventing. Gerda owned a private yard in Haaksbergen in the Netherlands, I ended up staying for 4 years — and never jumped again.

And you went on to train some great horses, accumulating wins at international level, competing at Olympia and being long-listed for the Beijing Olympics… Please tell us the secret she taught you!

Gerda gave me the drive and ambition to reach my goals. She instilled in me the 3 Ds: Dedication, Determination and Discipline (with yourself).

So what have you been up to this year?

As I sold my GP horse, Don Corleone VH Scheefkastee, at the end of 2015, this year I’ve been concentrating on training three youngsters, two of which are owned by the Countess of Shaftesbury from her St Giles Stud, while the third is from the Half Moon stud.

Tell us a bit about them…

  • St Giles Cosmopolitan is a 4-year-old gelding by Conen x Conteur x Welt Hit.
  • St Giles Fairytale is a 5-year old Premium State mare by Furst Romancier x Donnerhall x Pik Bube. She is currently in embryo transfer to Dream Boy (Vivaldi’s son) and has now qualified at novice for the Nationals coming second at the Regionals in July.
  • Half Moon Dark Magic is a 7-year-old gelding bought bred by Julie Deverill’s Half Moon Stud. Bred by Dimaggio. He is currently competing advanced medium and qualified for medium and advanced medium at the Regionals with the aim of going to the Nationals (if all goes to plan). He is working on Prix St Georges and Inter I at home. Next year I will be competing at small tour at home, with the goal of some internationals towards the end of 2017.

Were you at Hartpury’s Festival of Dressage with them this year — we know you’ve placed at previous years?

I didn’t compete this year, but I was there to help one of my students, Gemma Maddocks, who was competing in her first International Small Tour. Currently my focus is with young horses so it will was very interesting to watch the semi finals of the young horse classes. The extra bonus was watching the Olympic Team riders compete in their last Grand Prix before Rio.

So you train others, but who trains you?

I try to train with Carl Hester as often as possible. It’s important to have eyes on the ground and his, of course, are so experienced. Carl’s training is very matter of fact, alway upbeat and looking to achieve the best possible performance with the horse you are training. He is a true inspiration and whilst maintaining his down-to-earth approach.

So three youngsters! That’s a lot of work. Any tips for others with a young horse?

Consistency — make a plan and maintain a good level of discipline with your training programme — youngsters can be naughty, fresh and exuberant so a good routine helps build their confidence.

So what’s your average day and ultimate goal for these youngsters?

I train my horses in the morning and teach my clients in afternoon — it can get a bit hectic sometimes. I have always enjoyed the training part of dressage, with my end goal being reaching Grand Prix with a fit and happy horse.

And the weekly schedule for your horses?

I school them Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. Wednesdays and Saturdays they enjoy a good hack. Sunday is a rest day. Every day of the week they are turned out to grass for most of the day.

So do you get any downtime?

At the moment I am extremely busy, however Sundays are my day off from the yard, unless competing, a Sunday lie in is always welcome, followed by a full English!

And holidays… Ski or beach?

I love both, but skiing has the edge if it’s a bluebird* day with deep powder!

Looking at the horses you’re riding, they’ve got serious pedigree, but for others buying young horses, what would your advice be?

It’s not always about the pedigree, first you look at the conformation, then I always look for three good paces, ride-ability is very important, that you can only gauge when sitting on the horse. The temperament of the horse is also vital — his (or her) willingness to work and learn is paramount.

Why an Ambassador of Horse Scout?

I see it as the linkedIn of the equestrian industry, connecting you to some of the top people in the equine world, plus it’s also an incredible place go to if you want to see the pedigree and history of a horses. It’s alway fascinating to trace the pedigree of horses, Horse Scout connects bloodlines of the horses profile automatically — it’s clever!

 *A bright clear sunny day after a night of snowfall.

Exclusive interview with Horse Scout, June 2016

You can visit Nicola Buchanan‘s Horse Scout profile by clicking  the link on her name.

Nicola Buchanan’s lovely horse Half Moon Dark Magic is related to a Stallion with DiMaggio breeding profiled on our Horse Scout Horses For Sale Pages here 


Steven Franks Show Jumping Producer

Show Jumping Producer Steven Franks


Steven Franks: A Show Jumping Producer who has a deservedly solid reputation.

Steven Franks has produced some of this countries leading super stars for the big names and is consistently producing horses from the very best gene pools.

His recent daily successes on Billy Ginger (Billy Congo) at Bolesworth reflects just what a consummate professional Steven Franks is when it comes to the profession of the show jumper and as producer of reliable, consistently produced horses and still campaigns horses for The Billy Stud.

What makes Steven Franks the Show Jumping Producer to go to?

Stevens’ strengths are across the board but he certainly excels in the young horse classes giving his rides the best grounding to start their careers for example Aciolet and Kannonko who have both moved to Guernsey and Faize who now competes in Saudi Arabia.

Steven Franks Producing Show Jumpers with the best bloodlines.

He picks the best bloodlines and is very good at producing mares, which for breeders of course means conformation and performance potential, some of his recent sales include:

Chakira Van Het Hek by Kannan

Samma by Landlord/Langraf

Tia Semilly by Diamant de Semilly,  a stallion he has used again on his own Hello Clover this season.

Renkum Bridger Renkum Valentino x the 5* Grand Prix mare Wiston Bridget who was also a successful Puissance horse  

With Cor de Breyer featuring in the successful Renoir Du Rocks’ pedigree.

The Selle Francais Grand Prix winner Image Du Reverdy the dam of Renoir de Rock , Mark Trodes Selle Francais-Chin Chin, Fraggle Rock, steven Franks own Guccio 2010 colt & and Lisa Trodes’ Quick Star filly Vogue du Rock.

His most famous campaign was the Billy Studs Cevin Z who Steven Qualified for 3 finals at the Horse or The Year Show in 2003 and rode him to 4th in the exciting and well contested Foxhunter Final that year. He successfully campaingned the six-year-old Beyonce Z out of Ramona XVI (by Cardino) who was successful in youngster classes in Mijas with Steven Franks by the wonderful Stallion Berlin.

Steven is an ambassador for Horse Scout, and one of the countries most respected riders. He spent 6 years with the Funnels and the Billy Stud, proving not only himelf as a rider and trainer but also a good friend when it counted.

He rode the international Grands Prix horse Mondriaan, to many successes and this horse then went on three Hickstead derbys. Wicklands Stud are consistent horse producers; Grand Prix and Derby Horses not withstanding their horses have been placed at every national final at HOYS, represented GB at the World Breeding championships with several horses also selected for the Equine Pathway.

Wicklands Stud has everything that an owner could want.  Professional and successful campaigners with support from a great team enabling competing on both national and international circuits.

Wicklands Studs’ breeding program is on course to produce its own youngsters in the competitive arena with Steven Franks and this years crop of foals follow in good footsteps.