Tag Archive: Horses

  1. Michael Jung wins Rolex Kentucky Three-Day (and a new watch)

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    Michael Jung of Germany and Fischerrocana FST have won the 2015 Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event, presented by Land Rover. Jung is returning to Germany today sporting a new Rolex watch.

    Their (dressage!) score of 39.3 trumped Tim Price of New Zealand on Wesko (40.3) and Jung on his second mount, La Biosthetique Sam FBW (44.7).

    Fischerrocana, 10, was first of the three top-placed horses to enter the show jumping arena and completed an absolutely faultless round. When Jung returned 14 horses later on Sam, 15, he brought down two poles. Still, Tim Price needed to be foot-perfect to win the $100,000 winner’s prize.

    Price also lowered fence 10 thus settling for second place of $44,000. Jung also earned $36,000 for third place.

    Jung blames himself for being too relaxed on Sam. He says that the he felt more pressure from himself than from the atmosphere.

    Price, 36, says he tried not to think about what was on the line as he cantered toward the start of the course designed by Richard Jeffery.

    “You just kind of put that to one side and think of what you want to concentrate on in the ring. My horse is really good in the ring, and I think the crowd really did help me,” he says. “I came down after the triple bar [fence 9] and rode a slightly bad line to fence 10, which I think was about the same as Michael did.”

    Jung blames himself for being too relaxed on Sam. He says that the he felt more pressure from himself than from the atmosphere.

    “I think you always have pressure on yourself whenever you compete. This is why you train at home and why you’re always thinking about how you can do better,” he explains. “After my first round I was maybe a little bit more relaxed, but then I was a little bit too fast to the triple combination.

    “Fischerrocana needs more gallop and more speed to the fences, and I didn’t concentrate enough on how to ride Sam, because he wasn’t the only horse I was riding here.”

    Britain’s Zara Philips was forced to withdraw from the horse trials just before her dressage test on Friday after her horse, High Kingdom, kicked out in his stable and split the skin on his off hind on the outside of the pastern.

    Jung, 32, had only ridden at the Kentucky Horse Park once before, when he won the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games on Sam. He then won the Olympics on Sam two years later, but Sam suffered a slight injury prior to the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in France, so he rode Fischerrocana to the individual silver medal and the team gold medal there.

    But he says that Fischerrocana hasn’t replaced Sam as his No. 1 horse.

    “Sam is a good friend. I think no horse is better than him. Sam is my favourite. He’s a very special horse.”

    The combined team of Germany, New Zealand, Australia and Ireland won the Dubarry Nations Team Challenge, scoring 145.6 penalties. The USA was second (250.2), with Great Britain third (1,103.7) and Canada fourth (2,131.9).


  2. Should we be ok about horses entering the food chain?

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    There’s been more news today about the horsemeat scandal that rocked Britain two years ago — a Dutch trader has been found guilty and jailed for supplying horsemeat labelled as beef.

    I don’t personally choose to eat horsemeat, it makes me feel a bit squeamish, but the question for me throughout the scandal was traceability, that we should know what we’re eating and through an informed choice decided beef or horse bolognaise.

    But, more importantly for the welfare of our equines, I believe, is that the consumption of horse meat is more widely accepted to help solve our abandoned horse crisis. Last week, the RSPCA announced its rescue centres were full of horses that had been abandoned by their owners and could take no more. Something the likes of World Horse Welfare and Redwings — among many others — have been saying for years.

    Why all these abandoned equines? I think two reasons — the first being that we are too soft to face putting down our beloved horses and hope that a nice “companion home” will look after our unsound animals until their dying day because we can’t afford to keep a horse that we can’t ride.

    These horses, ponies and donkeys face uncertain futures, are often passed from pillar to post, go missing and end up at the roadside or in the food chain. The second reason is that, if we are responsible and want to face up to our responsibilities, the cost of putting down a horse — even if it goes for dog meat — is hundreds of pounds.

    Two years ago, I wrote in the Mail on Sunday how I wished people were happier to eat horse in the UK, and send their horses for human consumption, to help solve the crisis. Sadly, the situation is muddied because so many of us sign our horses out of the food chain even if they have not been given bute at some point during their lives (which renders them unfit for human consumption).

    I explained that, during seven years manning the Horse & Hound news desk, I saw horror after horror and heard from one naive owner after the other who had given their horse as a “companion” to someone they didn’t know simply because they couldn’t bear to put it down. I get that the decision is a hard one, but it’s one as a nation of animal lovers we must face up to.

    When I wrote this article, in February 2013, with the backing of the UK’s major equine welfare charities and the British Horseracing Authority, I was shot down. Yet, a year later, Princess Anne said the same thing at a World Horse Welfare conference and her opinion was more widely accepted. I hope that’s a sign that the tide is turning.

    It’s a hard decision as a horse owner — one of the worst — but it’s a decision we have to take. It’s not about disposing of an animal when we no longer have use for it, but about taking the right decision for his welfare while we are still in control of it. Otherwise, what a dismal end.

  3. Don’t call me horsey!

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    I’d like to think I have a good sense of humour. I will happily be the first person to poke fun at myself (my nickname among some friends is Bridget, as in Bridget Jones because of my accident-prone, dating-disaster lifestyle) but one thing guaranteed to rile me beyond all else is calling me a “horsey girl”.

    A few weeks ago, at a dinner party, a girl I hadn’t met before said I was “definitely a horsey girl” because I had worked at an equestrian magazine and used to own a four-legged friend. Our definitions of the term “horsey” are slightly different, I countered, as I throttled the urge to shove her face-first into her baked apple.

    The term “horsey girl” conjures, for me, visions of the type of female (barely girl) you see wearing jodhpurs in the supermarket. Theirs cars, which sport an old “please slow down for horses” sticker, are filthy and full of bits of tack, hay and pony nuts.

    Like their own appearance, these vehicles play second fiddle to the horse. Their conversation, even at dinner parties — if you’ve got them to leave said horse, which is sometimes hard — is about where the next dressage competition is and who at the livery yard has most recently upset them.

    As “horsey girls” age, they start to morph into their horse, spending less time and effort on themselves and more on their horse. They cease to wear make-up and (sorry, I’m aware this will insult a few people!) their thighs and bottom might spread a little more each year. Go the gym? They don’t have time — that, like their money, is spent on the horse.

    I might have worked for a leading equestrian magazine, but I’ve never particularly warmed to people who embrace “horseiness”. As a child I grew up with horses at home on our farm and I adored my own horse, but I also enjoying leaving him in the stable at the end of the day and get togged up and go out.

    I’m not sure many of my friends even knew I had a horse. I am known for putting jodhpurs on just before I ride and peeling myself out of them before I even start untacking. I’m not embarrassed about riding, or my love for horses (I do love them), but I would be embarrassed about smelling of horses, finding straw in my socks and catching people yawn when I tell them how I was bucked off.

    I now make my living as a travel journalist, and was at said dinner party, resisting the urge to flick peas at my table neighbour, having just returned from skiing in South Korea. She simply wanted to poke fun at me. Perhaps I take it too seriously — but please, no one call me horsey. It’s the ultimate put-down.

  4. 15 mins with Izzy Taylor

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    As the eventing season kicks off, we spent 15 minutes with elite squad member Izzy Taylor who will be a regular contributor to Derby House Post over the coming months.

    What are your ambitions for the 2015 season?

    Selection for the Europeans this year is a major goal and I’m also aiming for good results at Badminton and Burghley. I hope all the younger horses have an educational season and grow in confidence and knowledge to become the stars we hope they are. I’m also always looking to discover more future stars!


    What have you been doing over the winter?

    I haven’t been skiing or on a sun kissed beach holiday. I thought it best to steer away from the slopes. There’s just too much at stake to end up being injured and I can’t sit still for long enough to enjoy a beach holiday. So it’s been all about the horses.

    How have you been getting them fit?

    I believe in the old fashioned method of plenty of hacking, roadwork and early season fitness work. KBIS Briarlands Matilda, KBIS Starburst, It’s Chico, Thistledown Poposki and not forgetting Allercoombe Ellie returned to me from their holidays with their owners and are all back in full work.

    And what about you? Have you been at the gym?

    If hunting three times a week, mucking out, riding and general yard duties weren’t enough to keep me fit, thanks to Yogi [Briesner, team GB coach], I have discovered the benefits of an “Equicizer”, which is widely used by the racing fraternity. If you Google it you’ll understand why no-one is allowed to witness me riding it! But if there was ever a way to gain core strength, stability and technique it is this. I can recommend it whole heartedly but not for the faint hearted. I could only manage a minute to begin with!!

    As part of the Elite Squad with World Class funded by UK Sport & the Lottery, since November last year I have been attending regular training sessions, meetings and one to ones with our performance coaches. I am also fortunate that some of my horses are on British Eventing “Equine Pathway” so I also attend their regular training sessions at Aston Le Walls. Our last XC Performance riders schooling session was last week when I rode 17 horses. I’m pretty sure we are more than ready for Eventing 2015 to begin at Isleham this weekend – lets hope all the training has paid off!

    So tell us about your current team of horses?

    This season I have five advanced horses to campaign; Allercombe Ellie, Dax Van Ternieuwbeke, KBIS Briarlands Matilda, KBIS Starchaser and Thistledown Poposki.

    I also have a number of intermediate rides who will be looking to move up a level including Briarlands Birdsong, Call Me Maggie May, It’s Chico, KBIS Starburst and Little Maestro.

    Bugbrooke, Calibro, Extreme II, KL Omar, Van Dyke II and new horse, Mythical Lark, make up the Novice eventers for this coming season.

    We also have some exciting new youngsters on the yard including two Equestrian Direct Surfaces horses, six-year-old Direct Cavalier and five-year-old Direct Casino, as well as four other five-year-olds Allercoombe Flora, Constance O Cool, Otmoor Prince and Serfina who will be starting their eventing careers.

    Who are you trainers?

    I train with Yogi Breisner as part of the Elite World Class Performance Squad, Charlotte Dujardin helps with dressage and Sarah Ward visits the yard once a fortnight to assist me on developing the horses’ flatwork.

    And who is helping you behind the scenes?

    When the season gets busy I have over 21 horses to compete so I couldn’t manage without my amazing support team, which includes my mother, Nicola, sister AB, and partner Charlie, who all help out with different aspects of my business. I also have a great team of grooms, overseen by my yard manager Phillipa Ariss who keep things on track, and Anna Mildner comes to all the events and looks after the horses and myself.

    Becky Rowland BVSc MRCVs is our team vet, Bob Livock is our equine dentist and Charlie Sands, who is also my partner, is our farrier, keeping all the horses feet in top condition. Ellen Stanwell is our Chiropractor and Rachel Greetham provides physiotherapy for the horses.

    But I couldn’t do any of it without my super owners and sponsors who all put their faith in me with their horses. They’re the reason I’ve been able to make it to the top of the sport.

  5. Why I’m an ex-racehorse addict

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    You’d think I was about to enter a lion’s cage by the looks I get for riding ex-racehorses.  “I don’t know how you can ride these,” said an owner at my friend Liz’s yard as she legged me up onto one of Liz’s ex-racehorses.

    But over the past few years I’ve become an ex-racehorse addict. These Thoroughbreds come out of racing aged anywhere between two and ten, if not older, and while some are, admittedly, completely unhinged — as any horse, dog, human can be — the majority are really not.

    Let me state my case. I’ve owned three former racehorses of varying ages, two of which came straight out of racing, and for many years I’ve ridden out (exercised) racehorses in training in Epsom, Newmarket and Gloucestershire. I’ve also ridden in three charity flat races, during the eight years that I was news editor at Horse & Hound. So, I’ve got a little bit of experience with these beautiful creatures.

    My last ex-racehorse, Porky, was more of a loyal dog than a horse.

    He trusted me with his life, and would follow me or do anything I asked of him. He had an incredible sense of humour — when he’d have enough of being brushed he would pick brushes up with his teeth and throw them out of his stable. We had an amazing bond and I haven’t owned another horse since losing him to colic four years ago — the hole in my heart is still too big.

    Yes, ex-racehorses can be highly strung, but on the whole they’ve seen it all and are pretty unfazed by things. Think about it: as racehorses they are travelled frequently, they are ridden out in company (in the case of Newmarket, hundreds of horses at time) and most are ridden regularly along roads — in short they are used to real life. They’re also used to being poked and prodded by vets and farriers, they’re used to being groomed and tacked up frequently and being ridden with long stirrups and a contact.

    What they’re not used to, when they’re immediately out of racing, is new stabling environments, frequent turnout and general “riding horse” life. Which is why the transition has to be long, slow and gentle. You have to be patient. If you rush it, there will be problems — with some horses it can take some years, others adapt within months.

    They’re highly strung when they’re in racing simply because they are being fed large quantities of energy food and racing fit. This changes when they come out of training — surely that’s just common sense.

    I liken ex-racehorses to “dangerous dogs”. In the right hands, a Rottweiler or German Shepherd can be a joy — loyal, gentle and kind. In the wrong hands they can be lethal.

    It’s the same with an ex-racehorse — like a child they need firm, gentle handling. They need you to understand and heed their quirks (think of the old saying “tell a gelding, ask a mare and consult a stallion” — it is often wise to consult an ex-racehorse) and, to a large extent, ignore their foibles. Like any horse, the more they feel they can trust and follow you, and rely on you, the more loyal and rewarding they will be.

    Which gets me to the best bit. Racehorses are “people” horses. This is because they are generally assigned one stable lad to take care of them during training, and are often “coaxed” to the start line through careful care and attention. They respond to care and attention; they look to their owners for support and if you earn their trust an ex-racehorse will do anything for you. Porky would do anything for me.

    Yes, Thoroughbreds can be sharp, but in my experience no more so than some lines of Irish Draught or some warmbloods — and unlike the latter they actually have a brain and a great sense of self-preservation.

    The only real downside is that some are sadly not built to last and can have many miles on the clock before they come out of training — so pick carefully, from someone you trust and have the horse vetted before you buy.


  6. Horse drenches owner to become a viral film star

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    Derby House HQ enjoyed this video of Magic, a dark bay gelding, tentatively stepping into a river before discovering the joys of water.

    So vigorous is his splashing that his owner, Anna Paterek, is soaked to the skin by the time they head back to the riverbank.

    But Magic isn’t the only horse to play a joke on her owner, right?

    We’re launching a competition to find the best equine jokers of 2014. If you think your horse qualifies, just send us a short video file or Youtube link before 17 December to derbyhousepost@gmail.com.

    There are prizes for the best films, which will be screened at the beginning of January.

    Time to get filming…

    horse drenches owner to become a viral filmstar



  7. Rescue Horse of the Week: Find Chocolate Egg a home

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    Chocolate Egg,  a pretty 14.2hh Haflinger, is Derby House’s inaugural Rescue Horse of the Week. 

    The six-year-old mare enjoys hacking out and cantering around the school where she’ll even jump a small fence. Rescued by Redwings Horse Sanctuary a few months ago having been found in appalling conditions with 100 other horses on a farm in Buckinghamshire, she’s now desperately seeking a new home. #CanyouhelpRedwings


    Chocolate Egg is currently being cared for and trained by Redwings, the largest horse sanctuary in the UK with more than 1500 horses, ponies, donkeys and mules in its direct care. Every year at least 70 horses and ponies such as Chocolate Egg are successful rehomed through the charity. Their work is funded solely by donations – with your help they can give distressed animals the best possible care so they can eventually be rehomed or enjoy a home for life at the Sanctuary.

    Given her age, Chocolate Egg requires an experienced home but in capable hands we’re sure she’ll thrive in any discipline. She is sweet-natured and hacks out and schools well.

    Please tweet #CanyouhelpRedwings to help give Chocolate Egg a second chance at a happy life and if you’re interested in rehoming yourself, click here for more details

    For more information about the Redwings Guardianship Scheme and for the areas in which they rehome, click here.

  8. Ex-serviceman undergoes ‘horse therapy’

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    This is an amazing story for Friday! A Gulf War veteran from Coldstream who lived as a recluse for 15 years after developing severe post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), has rebuilt his life after undergoing “horse therapy”.

    Gulf war veteran healed through horses

    Gulf war veteran Vince Davidson underwent “horse therapy”

    The treatment, which has been developed by the charity Dare to Live, uses horses to help servicemen overcome feelings of anxiety and anger by building their trust with horses.

    “Horses are highly sensitive to subtle energetic signals in human body language. They only interact willingly with humans when our actions, words and thoughts are aligned with what we are feeling,” explains Hugh Forsyth, operations manager for Dare to Live, an ex Royal Engineer who also suffered from PTSD (diagnosed in 2006).

    “They show you what actions, behaviours and attitudes work for or against you, offering opportunities to experiment and recalibrate your way of being. The results are extraordinary and the outcomes are immediately effective and sustainable.”

    Vince Davidson was in the Army from the age of 23, serving in Northern Ireland and the Gulf. But after leaving the military he lived as a recluse in a shed for 15 years before undergoing “horse therapy” through Dare to Live’s veteran’s programme.

    BBC Scotland’s Emma Ailes went to meet Vince and hear how the treatment has helped him. You can watch the amazing video footage here.

    Read more about this amazing charity on our blog next week.

  9. Vittoria Panizzon: 10 things I can’t live without

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    In a new series, we’re asking the top names in equestrianism to reveal their most treasured pieces of equestrian kit. Our inaugural guest blogger is talented event rider Vittoria Panizzon who represented Italy at the 2012 London Olympics riding Borough Pennyz. She lives in the Cotswolds and runs a busy yard with 16 horses. Read on for Vittoria’s most coveted equestrian kit…

    Screen Shot 2014-11-13 at 11.19.10Screen Shot 2014-11-13 at 11.19.35

    1. My grooming kit
    I’ve had exactly the same things in it since Pony Club: a dandy brush, a hoof pick, a body brush, a metal curry comb, a mane comb and a rubber curry comb for teasing out the winter coat in spring. Oh, and baby oil to shine up noses, knees and the area around the eyes. Just don’t use too much, it can make the coat rather sticky! £13.50 from Derby House


    2. Canter conditioning spray
    The ultimate horsey hair product for silky, tangle-free manes and tales. I even spray it on my own hair at competitions when I haven’t had time to wash it. £14.80 from Derby House


    3. Equissage massage pad
    I think I’d be bucked off a lot more without my Equissage massage pad! It helps loosen up a ‘cold back’ by delivering powerful cycloidal (three-way) vibrations to the whole body, which have been scientifically proven to improve local blood circulation, lymphatic drainage, relaxation and joint mobility. It’s rather like a good sports massage, warming up a horse before a competition or cooling them down after hunting, breaking down the excess lactic acid and chilling them out.

    4. Pariani saddles
    These elegant, close contact saddles are made in Italy from beautiful, soft leather ensuring they are extremely comfortable for both horse and rider. They’re more technical than many saddles out there, helping me to balance in the correct position and communicate effectively with the horse.


    5. Ariat glovesariatgloves
    I like wearing thick, warm gloves in winter but these Tek Grip ones from Ariat are super grippy and still have plenty of feel. I can wear them to fasten a bridle and do up a rug although admittedly I still struggle to send text messages! £22.50 from Derby House

    6. My new lorry
    My long-awaited Empire horse box arrived this year and is absolutely brilliant. It’s not an enormous monster – it only takes four horses – but it has storage for feed and rugs underneath and, crucially, a large fridge and big, comfy beds in the living accommodation.

    7. A really good quality broom
    I didn’t know what a good broom was until I saw the ones the Americans were using at the World Equestrian Games this year. A good broom gets the yard looking pristine in seconds and is kind on your back. The Derby House Equestrian broom costs £20.62.

    8. Pure feeds
    I truly believe that my horses have been more chilled out since I discovered The Pure Feed Company. The mixes are low sugar and low starch so they don’t fizz them up too much and they’re fortified with optimal levels of vitamins and minerals. For more information see here
    9. A quality turn out rug 

    Good turnout rugs are very important to me as I like to keep horses out as much as possible all year round. It must be warm, light, easy to put on and well designed to prevent rubbing on the shoulders or mane. I’m a fan of the Derby House medium-weight standard turn out and I also love H-Zone turn out rugs. I came across the brand at Olympia and have been seriously impressed by the quality, the warmth and the extremely reasonable prices. And they don’t rub! See here for more information.

    10. Ariat Grasmere boots
    I wouldn’t usually choose a boot with laces but these are utterly amazing, padded the whole way up the leg, very stylish and warm as toast. I haven’t had cold toes once! £245 from Derby House


    ariat grasmere



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  10. Pony dies from sycamore seed poisoning – PLEASE SHARE

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    A much-loved pony is one of five horses to have died of sycamore seed poisoning in the Henley area this autumn. Painted Paula, a skewbald mare who won the dressage competition at her local Pony Club Camp this summer, fell ill at a show at Addington, Bucks last Wednesday.


    She died of heart failure two days later after being diagnosed with equine atypical myopathy – poisoning from sycamore seeds – leaving her owner, Eva Machan, devastated.

    Eva’s mother, Juliet, noticed something wasn’t right with Painted Paula, or PP as she was known, as she unloaded her at the competition and Eva began to warm her up. “She was sluggish which everyone assumed was because she was ‘tying up,” Juliet explains. “After two further visits by the vet we still thought it was the same thing but by Friday she looked much worse and was constantly lying down.”


    It was then that the vet suggested testing for equine atypical myopathy – sycamore poisoning – and PP was rushed to the vet hospital where her condition deteriorated rapidly. “A urine test confirmed the worse and she had to be put to sleep. It was a horrible and completely unexpected experience and we need to avoid this happening to other horses,” Juliet says. “The tree wasn’t even in her paddock – it was nearby. We’ve cut down it down and moved our other horses away.”

    Experts believe that a wet and warm autumn has led to an abundance of “helicopter” sycamore seeds, which can be fatal if eaten by a horse or pony.

    Typically horses suffering from atypical myopathy become dull, weak, tremble and struggle to lift their heads or even stand up.

    There is no known cure for the condition; the horse’s muscles are weakened so it struggles to breathe and later dies of a heart attack. It is fatal in around 75 per cent of cases.

    However, with prompt treatment cases can recover very quickly. If you think your horses could have contracted atypical myopathy contact your vet IMMEDIATELY.

    To prevent it happening in the first place:
    Fence off parts of the field where sycamore seeds and leaves have fallen

    Pick up/ hoover seeds as and when you see them

    Provide hay or haylage if your pasture is poor

    This article on the BBC Northern Ireland News site published just last Thursday describes the death of six horses in Northern Ireland and the type of poisoning that sycamore seeds cause.

    Please share Painted Paula’s story to prevent this kind of tragedy happening again.