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Posted on July 12th, 2022

World Horse Welfare response to the British Horseracing Authority’s review of the use of the whip in horse racing

World Horse Welfare, the international horse welfare charity, notes today’s announcement by the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) on the conclusions of its review of the use of the whip in horse racing.

World Horse Welfare supports the responsible involvement of horses in sport and is an independent welfare advisor to horse sport regulators, including the International Equestrian Federation (FEI), the International Horse Sports Confederation (IHSC) and the BHA.

The charity has advised the BHA on a series of welfare matters over the past decade and fed into the BHA’s 2011 whip review, confirming the role of the whip in safety but highlighting the need for a wider debate on the use of the whip for encouragement.

World Horse Welfare’s Chief Executive Roly Owers was a member of the BHA’s 2021 Whip Consultation Steering Group and the only member representing the equine welfare sector, with other members of the group drawn from jockeys, trainers, representatives of the racing industry, politics and media.

The charity wants to see racing move away from the use of the whip for encouragement, and during this review argued that this use should cease on both ethical and welfare grounds.

Roly Owers, World Horse Welfare Chief Executive said:

“We welcomed the formation of the BHA Whip Consultation Steering Group and have been happy to participate actively in the consultation process as the only member representing the equine welfare sector. We thank David Jones, who chaired the Steering Group, for his very hard work, and the BHA for initiating this important process.

“Much good has come out of the work including the focus on education and tougher penalties for breaches of the rules, including disqualification. We are also encouraged by the establishment of the independent stewards committee which the BHA hopes will identify and address any breaches of the rules more consistently.

“An increased focus on training and education on how the whip should be used is also warmly welcomed. We would like to see this education include a focus on how horses learn so that, if the whip is used, it is used in accordance with evidence-based learning theory.

“However, we believe that the recommendation on whip use “to be used in a backhand position only,” while welcome, does not go far enough. We are clear that we want to see a move away from the use of the whip for ‘encouragement’ in horseracing on both welfare and ethical grounds. We simply do not believe its use is justified, especially in light of what we now know about what makes a good horse-human partnership.

“We will continue to work constructively with the BHA and others in racing to support the implementation of the rules and the recommendations of the Horse Welfare Board. Racing of horses, like all horse sport, can only continue to take place if the sport maintains the support of the public, which will require everyone in racing to justify their use of the whip in the context of horse welfare, and show that they can be trusted to adhere to and enforce these rules.”

Posted on July 12th, 2022

Rehomed Redwings Horses Celebrate Success At Royal Norfolk Show

Redwings Patchwork (pictured) triumphed in the Ridden Rescue class and Redwings Edward came 2nd in the In-hand Rescue class at this year’s Royal Norfolk Show, the first held since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020. Joining Edward in the In-hand class were Redwings Matty who took 5th place, Redwings Stardust, 6th place, and Redwings Rocket, 7th place.

Patchwork, a 13.2hh, 13-year-old cob mare, was attending the show with her Guardians Yvette and Victoria. She was rescued by the charity in 2009, as one of 11 horses from a site in Rickmansworth. The horses had been abandoned and were straying onto the grounds of a local school. They were in poor condition, with suspected heavy worm burdens.

As the group had not received even the most basic care, they were all underweight and suffering from lice, which was treated on arrival at Redwings. Patchwork’s blood tests also showed she had problems with both her intestines and liver.

Yvette said: “Patchwork, or Millie as she is known to us, has done us proud today. We don’t show regularly, and she spends most of the time as a happy hacker with my mum, but we love to bring her to the Norfolk Show to represent Redwings and show how great rehomed Redwings horses can be!”

The Rescue classes are judged on a combination of their rescue story and transformation, and their show on the day. For Redwings Edward it was his first ever show, after being rehomed in June 2020 to his Guardians Claire and Ann. The Cob gelding in the ring looked a different sight from the horse that came to Redwings in 2013, severely underweight and with blood tests revealing he was suffering with a high worm burden that had caused damage to his intestines, and with liver damage caused by ragwort toxicity.

Claire, reflecting on their class in the ring, said: “I am beyond proud of Edward. Before this he had never really left our yard before, and now here he is competing at county show level. He behaved impeccably in the ring and I could not be happier with him!”

Before their appearance in the Rescue class, Redwings Stardust and Redwings Rocket had a busy day as they were stars of the Royal Norfolk Show Rescue Village, meeting members of the public and helping promote the Redwings rehoming scheme. Rocket, a 12.3hh Cob gelding, and Stardust, a 13hh Cob mare, will soon both be available to rehome as unbacked projects – looking for experienced Guardians to continue their training to be ridden horses.

Rachel Angell, Head of Norfolk Equine Operations, who heads up the charity’s rehoming scheme said: “What fabulous results for team Redwings at the Norfolk Show. To see our rescued horses doing so well, and their Guardians supporting Redwings by showing them at such a prestigious event, is wonderful! It is such a great opportunity to show what our ponies can do in their new homes and will hopefully inspire others to rehome a horse from Redwings.”

There are currently 500 horses living out in homes through the Redwings Guardianship scheme. Horses are rehomed on a long-term loan, with Redwings retaining ownership in case of any changes in their Guardian’s circumstances. Applications to rehome a horse are welcomed via the charity’s website www.redwings.org.uk/rehoming

As a charity 100% funded by donations, it is thanks to the generosity of supporters that Redwings is able to take in and care for horses, ponies, donkeys and mules who need us.

If you’d like to make a donation please call 01508 505246 or visit www.redwings.org.uk/donate.

Posted on July 4th, 2022

British Equestrian Statement: Allstar B

It is with tremendous sadness that we announce that Allstar B, ridden by Ros Canter, has been put down due to an irreparable injury sustained as part of the cross-country phase today, Saturday 2nd July. The duo was competing as part of the British team at CHIO Aachen in Germany.

They had a run out at the final element of fence 16, after which Allstar B was immediately attended to by the veterinary team on course when he pulled up lame. The vets on the showground made the horse comfortable to travel to a nearby veterinary clinic for further investigation. It was then decided that, due to the nature of the injury, euthanasia was the only action for Allstar B’s welfare.

Owned by Ros and Caroline Moore, ‘Alby’ was a much-loved horse on the eventing circuit and a stalwart of the British eventing squad, having been a part of three gold medal-winning teams and taking the individual title at the World Equestrian Games in Tryon 2018.

Ros said; “There are no words for the love and respect that I have for Alby. Time after time, he has shown his generosity, kindness and love of our sport. He has been such a huge part in building my career, and he will be missed by many.

Caroline added; “For me, he’s been the horse of a lifetime The most generous and brave horse that I’ve ever had the pleasure to work with. He will be deeply missed.”

British Equestrian Eventing Performance Manager Richard Waygood paid tribute to Alby also; “He was a special horse with a huge heart, and the partnership Ros and he shared is one of the greatest the sport has enjoyed. Together, they have given so much to eventing and British teams, and to see them win the Individual World Championship title at Tryon was a very proud moment. Alby will be missed, but will hold a place among the legends of our sport. I would like to thank the veterinary and organising teams at Aachen for their swift actions and professional treatment.”

Posted on July 1st, 2022

Essex teen and pocket-sized ride take top honours in Hickstead opener

“Even just riding in that arena is surreal – I never though we would win it,” says a delighted Madieson Blakesley, who claimed the first class of the week in Hickstead’s Longines International Arena.

Her partner for the winning round in the Hickstead Novice 1.10m Championship is the diminutive Kyra, with whom she’s already formed a sterling relationship – despite only having the little mare for a month.

Previously, the seven-year-old mare had been piloted by young rider Will Rekert, with whom she won last year’s I.C.E. Horseboxes Novice Championship. “So there was quite a lot of pressure, because I know she can do it,” says Madieson with a laugh.

Partnership, and the trust and communication that come along with it, are the keystone of success in showjumping, but despite their short and sweet relationship so far, 19-year-old Madieson and Kyra sang from the same hymn sheet the whole way around the tough track.

“She was a little bit strong when I first got her, and I messed around with bits for a while, but I’ve got the hang of her now,” says Madieson, an alumnus of Raleigh’s Sweyne Park School. “We haven’t done too much together; this is only our fourth show, but she’s awesome.”

Unlike many competitors at Hickstead, who campaign expansive strings of horses, Kyra is Madieson’s only horse – “So she gets very spoiled,” laughs the rider. When she’s not training and competing, Madieson assists with the family mechanics business, which allows her the wiggle room in her schedule to fit in a busy calendar of competitions. It’s a balancing act, but it’s already paying off – and as Hickstead’s 60th anniversary Al Shira’aa Hickstead Derby Meeting gets underway, she’s already got her eyes on the next prize. Next up? The 1.20m classes tomorrow and, if all goes well, a return to the sport’s most famous arena.

Posted on July 1st, 2022

Essex takes another victory in Hickstead’s International Arena

Taking a win in the main arena at the Al Shira’aa Hickstead Derby Meeting is always a great achievement, but doing so on an unfamiliar horse is even more impressive – and that’s exactly what Ronnie Jones did to secure the win in the Mochara 1.25m Open Championship earlier this week.

His winning ride came aboard the elegant grey Cruso J RS, who has been in Ronnie’s string for just a week. “It’s all quite unknown with him, but he just gets better and better, so we’ve got high hopes for him,” said Ronnie of the ten-year-old gelding, who he co-owns with partner Alex Bishop.

Today’s ride was something of a fact-finding mission with the horse, who stepped up to the plate despite being faced with an unknown arena and some tricky obstacles he’d never previously seen.

“It was his first time in the main arena, so I wasn’t sure how he was going to react, but he was really good. I was a little bit worried about jumping the wall, because he hasn’t seen one of those either, but he didn’t bat an eyelid at it. He got in a really nice rhythm, and he’s really careful, so I was able to just trust him to the last.”

Cruso J RS is a grandson of the famous showjumping stallion Cornet Obolensky, who was recently at the centre of a high-stakes evacuation from Ukraine, where he stands at stud – and Ronnie is certain that that’s where his horse’s character and competitive spirit comes from. “He’s quite quirky – quite hot-headed and opinionated, but he just wants to win,” says Ronnie.

The Al Shira’aa Hickstead Derby Meeting takes place at Hickstead, West Sussex, from 23rd-26th June.