Posted on July 9th, 2020

Rescued pony and Guardian run two marathons for charity

A Redwings Horse Sanctuary supporter and her rehomed rescued pony have taken on a running challenge together to raise awareness for mental health.

 Having been inspired by the Couch to 5k programme, Jen Brooker, from Saxthorpe in Norfolk, decided to run the equivalent of two marathons over six weeks with pony Redwings Smartie by her side.

It is thought Smartie, a 16-year-old Welsh Section A pony, may be one of the only ponies ever to complete the popular programme!

The dedicated pair completed their challenge with a 9km run on Sunday 28th June which finished outside the entrance to Redwings’ Aylsham visitor centre and used their efforts to raise £240 for the mental health charity Mind.

While Redwings Aylsham is currently closed to visitors, staff and friends were ready and waiting at the gates to cheer them on.

Jen said: “The idea came about when I started the Couch to 5k running programme, and I saw it as an opportunity for Smartie to get fitter too. I decided to raise money for Mind after Smartie helped my daughter so much with her mental health. Plus, with the coronavirus pandemic seeing a surge in the need for mental health support, it seemed fitting.”

Smartie was rehomed with his Guardian Jen in 2011 to be a companion for her late mare Tottie. He was originally one of 13 ponies rescued by the RSPCA, and later cared for by Redwings, from a farm in Wales where they were discovered in an emaciated state.

The lovable pony became firm friends with Jen’s daughter Jessica and helped her to overcome some challenges in a difficult period in her life. Though Jessica is now grown up, Smartie remains with Jen and has helped other children regain their confidence through equine-assisted learning sessions.

“Running has always been a way of reducing my own stress levels and to have Smartie, my very special friend, beside me is magical. We get to chat every day and I always remind him of the memories he has created,” added Jen.

“We’ve had a few strange looks from people who aren’t used to seeing people running with a pony and he is the only pony that we know of in the Couch to 5k group on Facebook, so he may be one of the first ponies to complete the programme! We’ve had a fantastic time and may look to make it an annual challenge and see if we can recruit some friends (with two and four legs) to join in with us.”

Rachel Angell, Redwings’ Head of Norfolk Equine Operations, who oversees the rehoming programme, said: “We’re very proud of this super pair! Whilst Smartie is not being ridden at the moment, this is a fantastic way to keep him fit and healthy and, most importantly, for him to have some fun with his Guardian. The fact that they have raised such a great total for a very worthy cause is just the icing on the cake!”

Kathleen Miles, Director of Fundraising at Mind, said: “This is a wonderfully unique way to raise money and awareness that really does bring a smile to the face. The bond between Smartie, Jen and her family is clearly very special. It’s heartwarming to see creativity from people like Jen who are finding alternative ways to help Mind, and we are so grateful to her for choosing to support us.

“The current situation has meant that people are really struggling with isolation, stress, grief, financial worries and fears about the future, and those of us who already had mental health problems have also seen the usual support and services reduce or disappear. Donations from efforts like that of Jen (and Smartie!) mean that more people experiencing poor mental health in these unbelievably difficult times, are able to get the support they need to see them through.”

To find out more about Redwings rehoming programme and the rescued ponies currently looking for loving new homes, please visit

For further information about Mind, please visit

Posted on July 8th, 2020

Dressage Anywhere Music Festival

Dressage Anywhere, the online dressage competition website, is excited to launch the Dressage Anywhere Music Festival running throughout July.

Although the competition scene is looking a little brighter, many riders are still unable to travel. Dressage Anywhere and a group of enthusiasts are putting on a fun, swinging and all-inclusive competition. All those who would have been enjoying dancing to music at their favourite show can now compete from home by filming a test and entering online. It’s also a great opportunity for those riders who want to try out their music before competing at a live event.

Classes run from Walk and Trot to Advanced Medium and all will be judged by British Dressage qualified music judges. The total prize pot, worth over £1000 includes individually designed competition CDs, sets of educational freestyle to music DVDs, individually designed floor plans and wrist speakers.

Dressage Anywhere’s Ruth Chappell and Nereide Goodman said, “We’re so grateful to our sponsors and are excited for those itching to get dancing. We are still recovering from the success of the Hobby Horse classes we ran during the lockdown and we know some of those riders are looking forward to sitting on four legs rather than on one.”

Over 40 years ago Nereide launched the first national freestyle to music competition under the Wellington Riding banner. As she says, “the quality of music, horses, training and now accessibility has come on some way since then and it still has those elements of fun, innovations and great entertainment”.

Sponsors include: Beat this Dressage to Music, Gaynor Colbourn, Steph Croxford, Equidance, Equivisions and Through the Eye of the Judge.

Posted on July 3rd, 2020

World Horse Welfare confirms its centres will remain closed to the public until 2021

World Horse Welfare has announced that, after careful consideration, it has reluctantly decided to keep its Visitor Centres closed to the public until February (half-term) 2021. This decision affects all four of its Rescue and Rehoming Centres in Norfolk, Somerset, Lancashire and Aberdeenshire.

Roly Owers, CEO of the charity said: “We so very much want to be able to welcome everyone back, but we need to put the safety of our staff and the public first. While we love having visitors on site, without doubt this adds additional risk in terms of keeping our Centres ‘Covid-secure’.  The protective measures we would need to put in place would also inevitably involve taking valuable time from the yard and Visitor Centre staff to ensure measures were being followed. As we have recently been able to start rehoming our horses again, our yard staff are busy once more with rehabilitation work. The charity’s priority over the coming months has to be the rehabilitation and rehoming of our horses as each horse that is rehomed makes a space available for another animal in need. With all four farms currently at full capacity, making space available for the large number of welfare cases expected later in the year is vital.”

Another challenge is that the measures needed to ensure social distancing and high levels of biosecurity would limit the number of visitors that could be welcomed at any one time and, when balanced against the additional costs, would make opening far less viable.

Zoe Clifford, of Penny Farm in Lancashire said: “We are really missing our visitors, many of whom we ordinarily see so regularly they feel more like family. We know that our farm and our horses have a place in people’s hearts as well as the local community, but we have to put the safety of our staff and our visitors first. We will be keeping in touch with everyone through social media, our Facebook page will post updates and let people know about virtual events we will be holding.”

“We are certainly looking forward to welcoming everyone back to the farm, and there will be celebrations when we do, but in the meantime our focus is on rescuing, rehabilitating and rehoming as many horses as possible.”

World Horse Welfare will continue to keep everyone informed of the latest information on its website where supporters are also able to sign up for a free e-newsletter. Regular updates can be found on the charity’s main Facebook page and on each centre’s own Facebook pages, where the progress of some of the rescued horses can also be followed.

Posted on July 3rd, 2020

Burnham Market to host Four Star classes this autumn

Musketeer Event Management is delighted to confirm that a CCI4*-L and CCI4*-S for eight and nine year old horses has been agreed by the British Eventing Fixtures Panel and approved by the FEI. These classes will run at an additional Burnham Market Horse Trials, on 17th-20th September. 

Jude Matthews, BE CEO, commented; “This is excellent news, and it will give combinations a much-needed opportunity to gain important MERs following the sad cancellation of this year’s SsangYong Blenheim Palace Horse Trials.

“The classes will move back to Blenheim Palace in 2021, but British Eventing – and, I’m sure, many competitors and owners – are very grateful to Alec Lochore and the team at Burnham Market for hosting them this year.”

Event Director Alec Lochore said: “We are obviously very happy to be able to step in and fill the gap following the demise of this year’s Blenheim Palace Horse Trials due to the Covid-19 epidemic. Whilst it will be a very different event to Blenheim, not least due to Covid, we are looking forward to providing the opportunity for owners, riders and horses to benefit from a run at this level, over suitably challenging and educational courses.”

Further details on this fixture will be published in due course.

Posted on July 2nd, 2020


It is with great regret that due to public health concerns linked to the coronavirus pandemic we, Grandstand Media Limited, have decided to cancel this year’s Stoneleigh Horse Show scheduled to take place in August at Stoneleigh Park.  The provisional date for next year’s event is Friday 13th to Sunday 15th August 2021. 

Our priority has been, and will remain to be, the health and safety of all of those involved in the show as well as our responsibility to support everyone’s efforts to tackle the coronavirus.

This decision has been made alongside the announcement that Horse of the Year Show will no longer take place this year. The 72nd edition of HOYS will now be staged from Wednesday 6th – Sunday 10th October 2021, at the NEC Birmingham.

We will be communicating directly with the showing judges, showing officials and tradestand holders who support the event about the specific impacts – please bear with us as we work through this.

Emma Williams, Grandstand Media Limited event director commented: “We are extremely disappointed to have to make this decision and it is not one that has been made without considerable thought and discussion; we have done so with the utmost concern for the wellbeing of all those involved in making Stoneleigh Horse Show happen.  Considering the impact of COVID-19 on the showing qualifier season we believe that this decision is inevitably the right one for all concerned.

“I would like to thank all those involved in Stoneleigh Horse Show, and in the wider showing community, for their understanding and patience during these undeniably challenging times.  Our thoughts are with those that have been, and continue to be, affected by this pandemic.”

As communicated by British Showjumping on Friday 26th June, there remains a commitment to deliver the National Finals and the reallocated Spring Championships at Stoneleigh Park this August.  British Showjumping will announce further information about the respective finals through their official channels in due course.

Posted on July 2nd, 2020


It is with great regret, that we, the Board of Grandstand Media Limited must announce the cancellation of the 2020 edition of Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) due to public health concerns linked to the coronavirus pandemic.  We look forward to staging the 72nd Horse of the Year Show from Wednesday 6th – Sunday 10th October 2021, at the NEC Birmingham.

At the forefront of our minds has been, and will remain to be, the health and safety of all of those who come together to make Horse of the Year Show happen – the visitors, competitors, staff, officials, volunteers, partners, trade exhibitors and contractors – as well as our wider responsibility to support the efforts to tackle this challenge to our everyday lives.

Since the outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19) earlier this year, we have followed guidelines from the UK Government and Public Health England for our processes, alongside gaining an understanding of the possible developments of the outbreak in the UK.  This has supported our thoughts regarding the impact of the potential restrictions on Horse of the Year Show 2020 and the significant preparations required to stage the event this year.

These considerations are principally related to the concerns about large gatherings, in addition to the social distancing, movement and travel restrictions within the UK.  With the probability that some level of socially restrictive measures will likely continue for several more months, it is our view that we must act responsibly to safeguard the large number of people who are involved in HOYS.  Over the last few weeks, we have also consulted with, and taken on board the views of, our key stakeholders including judges and volunteers.

The decision to cancel the event this year has not been taken lightly and is the result of considerable deliberation on all the above.  The option to postpone the event has been investigated, however due to a lack of available dates at the venue, and the continuing uncertainty, this has proven untenable.  It is our view that the most responsible course of action is to take this decision now, with the aim of providing some certainty for everyone involved in the equestrian industry and Horse of the Year Show.

Members of the public who have purchased tickets for Horse of the Year Show 2020 will be offered the option to retain their tickets for the same day and seat for the 2021 event or alternatively they can claim a refund.  Over the next few weeks we will be working with our ticketing agent, The Ticket Factory, to communicate directly with all ticket holders, in addition to contacting trade exhibitors and sponsors – please bear with us as we work through this.

Cancelling the 2020 event will come with a significant financial hit for the show, and like many businesses are facing right now, it will take many years to recover.  However, we know that with the support and investment from our valued partners, trade exhibitors, visitors, competitors, staff, volunteers, and contractors the show will come back stronger.

Sandy Anderson, Horse of the Year Show chairman, commented: “We are extremely disappointed to have to make this decision and it is certainly not one that has been taken lightly; we have done so with the utmost concern for public health and the wellbeing of all those involved in making HOYS happen.  It has been on our minds that this will be the first time since the event’s establishment in 1949 that the running of HOYS has been interrupted, and this is not without considerable financial obligation for the event.  However, we have carried out extensive consideration of the scenarios and we believe that this decision is a measure of the current uncertainty surrounding the pandemic.  We believe that this is inevitably the right decision for all concerned and for the future of Horse of the Year Show. Our thoughts are with those that have been, and continue to be, affected by this pandemic.”

Emma Williams, Horse of the Year Show event director, commented: “We strongly believe that this decision has been taken with everyone’s best interests at heart, it is not only to protect public health but to provide certainty to all stakeholders given the current impact of the virus on the qualifier season and wider equestrian events in the UK.  We have appreciated the support of our staff, societies, and partners in coming to this decision.

“I would also like to thank all of our dedicated Horse of the Year Show fans for their understanding during these incredibly challenging times.  It is your passion for HOYS that has made our event what it is today and it is undeniable that without the support of the equestrian community HOYS would not continue to happen.”

Further Information:

If you have already purchased general seating tickets for Horse of the Year Show 2020
The Ticket Factory will be in contact with you as soon as possible. You will have the opportunity to show your support for the event by transferring your booking over to the 2021 edition or you can opt to receive a ticket refund.

If you have vouchers that are to be redeemed prior to Horse of the Year Show 2020
All vouchers not already spent will be automatically extended for use towards Horse of the Year Show 2021; you do not need to contact us to arrange this.  Any vouchers that have been spent towards Horse of the Year Show 2020 for admission tickets will be transferred to the 2021 event.  Any vouchers that have been used for the purchase of merchandise are exempt from any refund or transfer.

If you have already purchased champions bar tickets, season tickets, hospitality tickets or M&M tickets for Horse of the Year Show 2020
We will be in contact with you as soon as possible. You will have the opportunity to show your support for the event by transferring your booking over to the 2021 edition or you can opt to receive a ticket refund.

If you have already purchased accommodation for Horse of the Year Show 2020 through Grandstand Media Ltd.
We will be in contact with you as soon as possible about your reservation, as we work with several different hotel partners please bear with us as we work through this process.


Posted on June 30th, 2020

Bransby Horses reopens to public on 8th July after keeping spirits up during Lockdown 

Lincolnshire-based equine charity, Bransby Horses, is delighted to announce that they will be reopening their doors to the public at 10am on Wednesday 8th July 2020.

The site is still free entry and initially will be running at reduced days and hours, open Wednesday to Sunday, 10am until 3pm.

In line with the UK Government response to the coronavirus, the Charity is asking visitors to ensure they adhere to social distancing regulations and plan for their visit by finding more information and FAQs at

As well as a newly refurbished Gift Shop and Donated Goods Shop and additional picnic fields, visitors can now pre-book a packed lunch or breakfast, through the new Click and Collect Café service that will be available on the Charity’s website from Tuesday 7th July.

The site in Bransby, which welcomes thousands of visitors each year, closed to the public on 20th March 2020. During Lockdown the Charity has been busy keeping the hundreds of horses, ponies, donkeys and mules that live at the Bransby and Barlings sites, safe and well. Since March, measures have been in place to keep employees healthy and safe, strictly following Government guidance including social distancing, office employees working from home where appropriate, high standards of on-site hygiene and strict sanitation.

Jo Snell, CEO at Bransby Horses says: “We are so looking forward to welcoming back visitors to our Bransby site, especially as we have so much outside space for our visitors to enjoy.

“There will be some changes to the normal ways of working for our employees and visitors, as is to be expected. And though petting of our animal residents won’t be allowed, visitors can still enjoy watching our equines at a safe distance whilst walking in the miles of beautiful countryside we have here.

“We’ve been working hard to ensure that the new hygiene and social distancing measures are implemented in a way that will still allow our supporters to enjoy a fun and memorable visit to our Bransby site. The new Click and Collect Café service, our outside Café takeaway kiosk and additional visitor welcomers will all help support the extra social distancing measures that have been put in place. We’re all very excited to see all the smiling faces we’ve missed for so long.”


Bransby Horses keeps 1000’s of supporters entertained and comforted during Lockdown
Bransby Horses’ teams have also been dedicated to keeping their supporters entertained during Lockdown. Local care homes have received regular hand written updates to be read out by care employees, whilst on social media, as well as virtual video tours as part of their Keep on Keeping on campaign, one particular donkey has given and received a lot of hope and joy during the nation’s challenging period.

Raising spirits every day, a social Donkey resident, named Nipper has been visiting many horse, pony, donkey and mule friends and sharing his tales to nearly 30,000 followers! For the three months of the 2020 Lockdown, March, April and May, every morning, a positive, uplifting tale of Nipper’s adventures around the Charity site was posted on the Charity’s Facebook and Instagram accounts.

The response from their supporters has been incredible, so much so, that the Charity is now creating a set of collectible postcard stories, ready for Christmas 2020.

Of the hundreds of comments received, here are just a few that summed up the impact the tales have had on the thousands of readers:

“Nipper, and of course your two legged friend [who interprets for you] thank you for showing the way through these horrible, crazy days. Your posts have been an anchor of positivity to cling to. For a lot of people separated from family and friends the presence of animals in our lives has been a blessing.”

“Thank you Nipper and your friends for the wonderful musings. They get read at work, and are a joy to everyone. As already suggested a little book of ‘Nipper’s Musings’ would be most appreciated by many. Take care all of you at Bransby Horses and continue with your amazing work. Stay safe.”

“Thank you Nipper for your ponderings…you are so widely read!! You have given much calm in this storm. Stay safe…”

“Thank you Nipper, you sure have helped me through this horrible time with your lovely words.”

Posted on June 29th, 2020

Local Horse Charity Needs Your Support at Virtual Open Day Sunday 5th July

Remus Horse Sanctuary is struggling to survive whilst experiencing extreme weather conditions alongside increased vet, medication and food bills – whilst assisting in welfare issues across the county – without its normal summer fundraising events, due to Covid-19. 

Since lockdown on 23rd March, Remus Horse Sanctuary has been managing with a small, skeleton staff, who have been required to care for its 200+ animals. Like so many small charities, it has had to cancel all of its fundraising efforts and is struggling to survive. As a result, its Summer Open Days have turned virtual and the charity will be hosting a further event on Sunday 5 July from 1pm to 5pm across social media.

Sue Burton, Founder of Remus Horse Sanctuary said,this is the third event we will have hosted virtually and we are learning with every one. But our fundraising is down dramatically and we are struggling to survive right now.

“Last week was one of the tougher weeks at Remus, where everyone was pushed to their limits! The weather was so incredibly hot which made it difficult to work in, especially when doing such heavy work. We have been short staffed due to sickness and holiday so have had fewer staff working much harder in such heat. The torrential rain floods the road into us and our fields, meaning we have to walk in and out of work, then the extreme heat plays havoc with the animals.”

 To try and mitigate the huge financial loss, the charity has been organising its Open Day’s virtually across its Facebook and Instagram platforms – until it can re-open to the public.

The next Virtual Open Day will take place on Sunday 5th July 1pm until 5pm. “Instead of you coming to us, we will come to you, by social media. Please, do join us!” said Ms Burton.

The charity will be sharing messages from the humans that work at the Sanctuary and from its animals, via photograph and video. It will also have merchandise for sale, information on conservation, enrichment, a tour of the yard and much more!

Those interested in finding out more about how the Sanctuary is coping during this time and in joining one of its virtual Open Days, can visit: and Details of all of the charity’s Open Days can be found online at:

Ms Burton summarised, “Over the past week, we have experienced sore feet in some of the animals, chest infections, colic due to the heat, bloating and a jaw infection. All of this on top of the whole financial situation caused by Covid and all fundraising being stopped and money starting to dry up, so we really could have done without the added costs of the vets coming in every day this week and extra medications.

 “From a welfare point of view, we have been crazily busy having to deal with cases all over the county from an absolutely emaciated mare to a decomposing foal dumped in the hedgerow. These are such sad and difficult times for us all.”

Any help you can offer by way of donation, fundraising or otherwise would be very much appreciated. You can contact Sue Burton at the Sanctuary on tel: 01277 356191 or by email to

Posted on June 29th, 2020

Endurance GB poised to resume sport in England

Endurance GB is poised to resume the sport in England following steps towards further lifting of COVID 19 restrictions by the Government.

The endurance season will reopen for entries on 29th June 2020 with a series of small-scale pleasure rides aimed both at enabling riders to get back to their sport while ensuring organisers are able to put key social distancing and hygiene measures in place.

The first ride in the calendar is at Park Farm, Stanford on Avon on 12th July with rides in Cheshire, Derbyshire, Cornwall and Hexham the following weekend. Endurance GB are confident that competitive rides will also be back on the calendar very shortly.

However, plans to resume the sport in Wales are on hold until further announcements by the Welsh Government.

Entry numbers at the first scheduled pleasure rides will initially be capped to around 40, depending on the event, to ensure that social distancing can be maintained both at the venue and sufficient space can be kept between riders on the trail. Start times will be staggered to ensure that no more than six people meet at the ride.

Esther Young, Operations Director said: “We are entering uncharted water in resuming the sport and while everyone is excited at the prospect of being back out there, there will be new systems and measures in place to ensure everyone’s safety.”

To ensure safe management of events, entries will be processed online through Endurance GB’s new website for all levels of event, and attendees will need to complete a health screening form.

A thorough risk assessment will be conducted before each event and additional cleaning and hygiene measures will be in place. Camping and corralling to be allowed in line with government guidelines, but no socialising will be possible in groups of more than six.

Phil Nunnerley, Chair of Endurance GB said: “There is no doubt that this is the moment we have all been waiting for and there will be both cheers and sighs of relief when the first riders head off at the first pleasure ride. However, the health of members, officials and supports is our priority and a significant amount of work is going into making sure that none of our venues unwittingly becomes a vector for disease transmission. We are very hopeful that as the season progresses, we will see a resumption of bigger rides and longer distances with the caveat that we remain flexible and able to react quickly to any new Government advice.

“Once again, I would like to thank all those on the board as well as our ride organisers and officials who have done so much to safeguard the future of the sport through this crisis and for the membership for their patience and support. Our endurance community has shown its true strength during this crisis with an impressive support network being there for everyone from members who are key workers to those who are shielding – staging a safe return to the sport will be our chance to thank them for their efforts.”

Photo: Emma Husband and LTF Kalisha at Barbrook, Derbyshire – which will be one of the first rides to resume this year

Photo credit: Kerry Dawson

Posted on June 27th, 2020

BEF update: use of indoor schools permitted from 4 July

British Equestrian has had confirmation this evening from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) that equestrian indoor arenas will be permitted for use from 4th July in England.

Riding/driving in covered arenas from 29th June in Scotland was approved by sportscotland following work done in collaboration by horsescotland and BHS Scotland. The use of indoor facilities in Northern Ireland has been permitted since 23rd June.

British Equestrian Chief Executive Iain Graham commented; “This will be welcome news for many who have been patiently waiting for the government’s agreement. We have gone to great lengths to explain the nature of equestrian indoor schools and today we finally made the breakthrough. I’d like to thank the teams at DCMS and Sport England for working and reasoning with us on a daily basis. We’ll continue to press for change in Wales and are hopeful for a successful outcome here too.”