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Posted on November 27th, 2014

Essex based Showjumper becomes National Champion

17 year-old Toni Evans from Southend-On-Sea, Essex was victorious on the 17 year-old dun mare Caramel Twist, owned by Kerry Evans, in the Dodson & Horrell National 0.85cm Amateur championship held as part of the Dodson & Horrell National Amateur and Veteran Championships which took place over five busy days of exciting competition at Aintree Equestrian Centre 19th– 23rd November 2014. The Championships proved to be as popular as ever and over 1,500 rounds of showjumping took place. These Championships followed a successful National Amateur Second Round period in which we saw 1,600 combinations start out.

The National Amateur Championships gave amateur riders and horses the opportunity to contest an end of year final across four different heights of fences – 0.85cm, 0.95cm, 1.05m and 1.10m and the Championships also played host to the National Veteran Riders Championships, which are spilt into minor and major categories.

Forty-eight competitors battled it out for the 0.85m Championship title and after two hours of closely fought competition, Toni and Caramel Twist were crowned the victors.

The jump off was contested by twenty-nine of the starters and it proved to be competitive after sixteen double clears were achieved. Toni and Caramel Twist went into the class as one of the hot favourites after winning the two 0.85m Grand Prix qualifiers earlier on in the week and they continued their domination after crossing the finish line in 28.54 seconds with two clear rounds in the bag.

After having been drawn twenty-fifth to go in jump off, Toni admitted that she couldn’t watch the remainder of the class “I was in it to win it, so my plan was to ride as quickly and as carefully as I could and then hope that the music was played to let me know that we had taken the lead. Once I knew we had done enough, I then waited outside until the class had finished. I’m so pleased with how Caramel Twist has gone all week; she really has had a fantastic show.”

DEC14 Toni Evans

Toni Evans & Caramel Twist with Cassie Wright from Dodson & Horrell

Posted on November 20th, 2014

Norfolk: Atypical Myopathy Disease strikes close to home

A recent case of atypical myopathy in Norfolk has prompted Redwings to raise awareness of the dangers to grazed equines. Atypical myopathy (AM) is caused by the ingestion of the toxin hypoglycin-A commonly found in the seeds of sycamore trees, leading to the destruction of muscle tissue including the heart. It is thought that bacterial or fungal toxins prevalent in mild climates (autumn and spring) are additional attributing factors for AM.

Although rare, recent reports have indicated that most cases of AM result in a fatality within 72 hours of symptoms being observed, which include the sudden onset of weakness or stiffness, coupled with a dark coloured urine or difficulty urinating, difficulty standing or walking, difficulty breathing, depressed demeanour and muscle tremors. However, the case in Norfolk – from clinical signs to euthanasia – progressed within less than four hours.

Millie, a 10-year-old 15hh cob, started showing colic-like symptoms on Saturday 1st November prompting an emergency call to Knotts Yard Veterinary Practice by a friend of Millie’s owner who was temporarily caring for the horses. Millie was observed as experiencing stiffness, sweating, discomfort when standing and repeatedly lying down, as well as muscle tremors, low temperature and high heart rate. Blood samples taken by the vet quickly confirmed atypical myopathy, and despite treatment Millie deteriorated rapidly and was sadly put to sleep in the early evening.

Pippa Childs BVetMed MRCVS of Knotts Yard said: “This year has been a particularly bad one for atypical myopathy. We have seen more cases than ever, with a survival rate of about 30 per cent. Prompt diagnosis and treatment give the best chance of survival but Millie’s case illustrates how quickly these horses can deteriorate. A blood test was taken and run immediately at the lab in our surgery, confirming AM. I came straight back to Millie planning to get her onto intravenous fluids and refer her into a hospital facility; however, she had deteriorated so quickly that euthanasia was the kindest option for her. It was only four hours between the initial call out and Millie’s euthanasia”.

Subsequent immediate action was taken to protect Millie’s companions following AM diagnosis, which involved cordoning off grazing where fallen sycamore seeds were present and close observation of the remaining horses for the next 72 hours (the alert period).

Owner Julie Field’s other horses, two Shetland ponies Mason and Passandra, and thoroughbred cross Harvey, have all been rehomed to her from Redwings Horse Sanctuary, making this case particularly compelling for the charity. Commenting on the case, Redwings Chief Executive Lynn Cutress said: “We are devastated for Julie. We feel a real responsibility to raise awareness of this devastating disease for all owners to ensure horses are protected”.

Following the recent rise in reported cases of AM,as identified by the Royal Veterinary College, Redwings is eager to provide practical advice to reduce exposure to hypoglycin-A toxicity. “Millie had been grazed in the same paddock for two and a half years and other horses had been kept in this paddock for over 12 years without experiencing any problems. Millie’s case sadly shows that even if horses have been historically grazed close to sycamore trees, they are always still at risk of contracting AM,” commented Redwings Head of Veterinary and Care, Nicky Jarvis.

“We urge owners to be particularly vigilant in autumn and spring months, and emphasise the importance of effective pasture management in protecting their horses; such as providing water from the mains supply, restricting access to pasture that is tree lined or covered with dead leaves that could hide sycamore seeds, and to ensure hay is free of mould and not given on the ground in a humid environment”.

Since her heart-breaking experience, Julie says she is greatly concerned that despite the recent rise in reported incidents the public may still rest on their laurels and she also calls for the veterinary sector to provide more evidence on what environmental factors increase risk. “I’m worried that horse owners may not take the risk of atypical myopathy seriously and so I want Millie’s story to raise awareness in order that something good may come out of this tragic situation. I am also pleased that Redwings has made a concerted effort in raising awareness of AM, in particular with their issuing of guidance to their Guardians”.

NOV14 Harvey and Millie

Posted on November 20th, 2014

2014 Sunday Times & Sky Sports Sportswoman of the Year Charlotte Dujardin

Charlotte Dujardin was this week named the Sunday Times and Sky Sports Sportswoman of the Year for 2014.

Speaking live via a video link in Australia, Dujardin said: “Thank you very much. I am really privileged to accept this award. I am sorry I can’t be there but I am in Melbourne at present.

“I have an incredible relationship with my horse Valegro. I have been working with him for eight years now. We know each other inside out. He’s like my dance partner out there.

“In fact, he should be up on the stage receiving the award, too. But he’s at home in the stables!

“I would like to thank all my fans and my whole backroom team. People like Carl Hester and many others who have helped me to get to where I am today. I have had an incredible four years in my sport – what I have achieved is unbelievable.”

The double Olympic champion has been recognised after maintaining her dominance of the dressage world throughout this year.

The 29-year-old won two individual gold medals (in the special and freestyle dressage) and a team silver at this summer’s world equestrian games in Caen in north-west France.

The Gloucestershire-based rider currently holds freestyle and special titles at Olympic, European and world level. Elsewhere this year, Dujardin was victorious at the dressage World Cup finals in Lyon in April.

Dujardin is the third horsewoman to win the main Sportswoman award. Pippa Funnell and Zara Phillips were crowned Sportswoman of the Year in 2003 and 2005 respectively.

NOV14 Charlotte Dujardin

Posted on November 11th, 2014

Lest We Forget

Commemorating the day of Armistice with positive news for horse welfare – including a unique Battlefield Centenary Tour Ride which raised £22,000 for the largest horse rescue and rehoming charity in Britain

World War One killed some ten million men, almost 800,000 of them British. But much less known was the fate of a million hapless horses, sent to France between 1914 and 1918, with only 62,000 returning home. These forgotten heroes were remembered during one of World Horse Welfare’s 2014 Challenge Rides – a unique Battlefield Centenary Tour which took participants on a journey through significant sites of the early days of WW1.

Following part of the famous Retreat from Mons (23 August – 5 September 1914) the charity’s bespoke ride took horses and their riders to notable cavalry battlefields such as Mauberge, Le Cateau, Maretz, Saint Quentin, Ham, Compeigne, Villers Cotterets and Nery.  There were many miles of riding each day combined with visits to battle sites, cemeteries, museums and Wilfred Owen’s room and grave. The trip was mainly on horseback but did include bus rides in the evenings, always accompanied by the group’s very own Battlefield Tour Guide who not only brought the events of one hundred years ago to life, but also rode every inch of the ride with the participants.

There was even a trip to a local brewery that was commemorating the centenary of WW1 in their own way by producing a special local ale which the group were able to try.

From the September trip, the group helped to raise nearly £22,000 for World Horse Welfare with the funds helping the many neglected horses across the UK today – and those across the globe. Funds were raised by each individual rider via sponsors in aid of this historic ride.

Organiser of the trip and fundraising officer at World Horse Welfare, Fran Plume, says:

“Our thanks go to all the riders for their enthusiasm and dedication to this cause; our talented guide, former chief executive of the charity and Brigadier, John Smales; and Cerf Cheval for providing our accommodation and the horses. But most of all, we give thanks to the countless horses who gave their lives a century ago and whose sacrifice inspired this moving and challenging event.”

So many of the riders took so much from the event:

“It was a wonderful experience and one I was so glad to be part of,” says Emma Sitch, one of the participant riders.

“Most obediently and often most painfully they died – faithful unto death. I felt privileged to be able to remember our equine friends in such an inspiring way,” says one of the dedicated fundraisers.

“A unique trip to France, but I probably underestimated the power of a shared joy in horses, enquiring minds and team spirit to provide an experience of a lifetime. What more can I say? I can’t. It was amazing,” says Polly Thomas who joined the ride.

It’s not just the charity who organises events to remember horses and the men who fought so bravely – and the long-awaited truce during WW1 – but its supporters too.

One of the charity’s fundraisers, Janet Stewart, is selling enamel purple poppy badges in memory of the horses who fought in the ‘Great War’. She is also holding a series of sponsored rides herself over the summer and special Armistice events. The funds raised from these activities will go towards World Horse Welfare, The Blue Cross and The Romsey War Memorial Project.

NOV14 Images from the Battlefield Centenary Tour Ride

Posted on November 4th, 2014

Second Time Lucky for The Kellythorpe Stud

An evening of glitz and glamour saw The Kellythorpe Stud crowned Alltech Breeder of The Year at the popular Showing World Awards 2014.

Held at the East of England Showground, The Showing World Awards are an annual tradition that brings the curtain down on the showing season and gives the great and the good of the showing world the chance to let their hair down while recognising outstanding achievements.

This was the second year in a row that The Kellythorpe Stud has been nominated in the category for Alltech Breeder of The Year.

Owner Lisha Leeman runs the stud based in Chelmsford Essex with the help of her daughter Janay and the past year has seen their stock take a number of top accolades.

2013 saw Kellythorpes Moulin Rouge take the Horse section of the Cuddy Supreme at HOYS 2013 and also the Ottergayle Supreme, The Martin Wood Supreme and The Royal Mile Supreme.

In the same year the team saw their yearling, Kellythorpes Strike a Pose compete in the Cuddy finals at HOYS, the second year that the stud has seen two homebred animals qualify for this most prestigious of titles, as well as qualify for the 2014 Cuddy final.

Lisha had this to say of The Kellythorpe Studs win: “We are absolutely delighted to win such a prestigious award and be recognised as a serious breeder. It is such a fantastic achievement for the stud; I still am struggling to believe that we have won.”

“As a stud owner to win an award such as this is every breeders dream.”

This is the fourth consecutive year that Alltech have proudly sponsored the Breeder of the Year category.

“Alltech would like to congratulate The Kellythorpe Stud on a successful year.”

“Breeding strong, quality youngstock lays the foundations for producing healthy, sound horses and ponies capable of fulfilling their potential. We believe that the Alltech Breeders Award goes some way to acknowledging the lifelong work and dedication of these important and successful studs,” said Isla Baker-Browne, Alltech’s UK Marketing Manager.

NOV14 Lisha and Janay Leeman

Janay and Lisha celebrate!

Posted on November 3rd, 2014

Calling All Vivacious Veterans: A New BD Championship Just For You!

With age it’s said comes wisdom, experience and knowledge, well, with British Dressage it also brings a new competition experience for 2015!  We’re excited to announce that, in conjunction with the Veteran Horse Society, there will be a new Veteran Dressage Championships for both horse and rider at intro, prelim and novice levels.  Riders can qualify all over Britain for a Championship Final at the Vale View High Profile Show in Leicestershire, 30 October – 02 November 2015.

The Veteran Horse Championship is for horses foaled in 1999 or earlier (15 and over) and to be eligible, they, and their riders, must be members of the Veteran Horse Society.  At the Championship there will be two sections; one for horses aged 15- 19 and one for the ‘golden oldies’ aged 20 and over.

To qualify for the Veteran Rider Championship, competitors must be aged 55 or over, riding horses four years and over and both must be minimum BD Associate registered.

For both Championships, qualifying and the final, horse and rider must be eligible for the level they’re competing at and will be run under BD Rules 2015.

Qualifying for either, or both, Championships is straightforward and opens this weekend, 01 November 2014 and ends 30 September 2015.  Combinations require two score sheets at either intro, prelim or novice at 60% or above at regular BD affiliated competitions or Team Quest fixtures.  At the Championships, combinations may qualify for multiple classes but can only compete in two.  Competitors who aren’t already full BD members will be asked to join for the Championship.

Current Veteran Horse members wishing to qualify at Novice level can claim a free class ticket from BD to help kick start their qualification by emailing karen.beaumont@britishdressage.co.uk.

British Dressage Sports Operations Manager Paul Graham commented; “Dressage is quite unique whereby both horses and riders can continue to enjoy their chosen sport into their twilight years.  BD is thrilled to be working in partnership with the Veteran Horse Society to create a series that recognises that horses and riders can have a competitive career later in life.  The members have been asking for this and it’s great that we’ll see a new Championship in 2015.”

The team at Vale View has great plans for hosting the Championships and the Veteran Horse Society is supporting it with lots of lovely prizes and ribbons so makes sure any of you who are eligible keep the date in your diary!