Posted on May 24th, 2016


The picturesque countryside, near the villages of Stratford St Mary and Higham just outside Colchester, has been the venue for the Stratford Hills Horse Trials for the last 12 years. Now a well-established fixture on the British Eventing calendar it attracts over 500 competitors, from all over the country, to compete in the three disciplines of Dressage, Show Jumping and Cross Country. The jumps vary in height and the standard of difficulty in the dressage changes in the various classes.

This year, as well as the usual full compliment of classes up to Intermediate Novice, they are again running the BE80(T) . The purpose of this new class is to introduce people to the sport. Designed to educate and encourage inexperienced riders, with dressage that is not too daunting and a maximum fence height of 80cm. A trainer provides a Show Jumping and Cross Country course walk and explains the best way to tackle the obstacles and answer any queries competitors may have – such as permitted tack or how to warm up for dressage. Airowear who make air jackets have agreed to be national sponsors of this class.

This year the event will be running a U18BE100 Qualifier and a U18ON Qualifier. These classes will be the last qualifiers and selection event before the championships to be held at the end of July at Frickley Park in Yorkshire.

 Several new cross country jumps have been added to the course since last year and part of the Novice course will take a new route.

The two-day event is organised by a committee led by Gillie Cranfield. In order for both days to run smoothly a huge amount of support is needed from ‘the army’ of volunteers who return year after year to help in all aspects of the event – from catering to scoring and jump judging!

As well as trying to provide an enjoyable day for the competitors and spectators, another very important aspect to these Horse Trials is to raise money for a different charity each year.

The event is very fortunate to have some generous donors and loyal sponsors. Carriagehouse Insurance, based just down the road from the venue, in Stratford St Mary has been one of the main supporters for many years. The organising committee are extremely grateful to them and the other sponsors Airowear, Savills, Lookers, Jim Lawrence, Ipswich Audi, Ark Syndicate, Ames Nissan, New Hall School, Thorpe Horseboxes, R&D Schofield, J.M. Finn, New England Building Supplies, County Linen, Scrutton Bland, Churchmanor Estates, Cavenham Estates, Hugh Pearl Drainage, Prestige Bars, Handelsbanken, Archant, Milsom Hotels, Construct Reason, UBS, Barker Gotelee and Carter Jonas.

This year the organising committee are delighted to be supporting The Porch Project in Hadleigh. This is a charity which aims to support young people’s physical, mental, social, spiritual and educational well-being.

If you would like to know more about the event – follow the newsfeeds on Facebook and Twitter and the new website

Spectators will be very welcome – come and watch all the competitors and enjoy shopping at the tradestands – Entry is only £10 per car and includes all occupants. The Stratford Hills course is just off the A12 near Colchester at Higham.

Or if you would like to compete – entries can be made now via the internet at

MAY16 News STratford Hills

Posted on May 11th, 2016


The organisers of the Royal Windsor Horse Show have cancelled today’s show (Wednesday, 11 May) due to flooding in the public car park and lorry parks. 
“The rain is expected to leave by lunchtime and tomorrow’s events are planned to go ahead as usual,” the show has announced.

Today’s Windsor programme included national show jumping classes and grand prix freestyle dressage.

More updates will be available at and through social media channels. Royal Windsor is due to continue until Sunday, 15 May.

Posted on May 3rd, 2016

Great new column from Nick Ruffle

Check out the May edition of Absolute Horse Magazine for the start of a great new column by Nick Ruffle of Agroco trailers – in the first instalment Nick shares his professional advice on trailer flooring and how you can avoid rotten panels. Visit

MAY16 Agroco Nick

Posted on May 3rd, 2016



Posted on April 26th, 2016

Colour my horse!

MAY16 DressageDeluxe

Got a bright bay but not sure if he should wear grey or maybe just a dun which you want to dress up in colour for a bit of fun? Alison Nye-Warden MD and Personal Shopper for premium online retailer Dressage Deluxe gives some shade advice for this summer’s biggest equestrian style trend of ‘colour complimenting’ your horse! See June edition for full details…

Posted on April 26th, 2016

Ride Like: Hannah Biggs

MAY16 RideLike Hannah Biggs

Top International dressage rider and trainer Hannah Biggs gives readers an insight into how to solve common problems and overcome difficulties with movements. Check out our June edition for the full article.

Posted on April 26th, 2016

Latest Research: Grazing Muzzles

MAY16 Nutrition

New research highlighting the effectiveness of grazing muzzles as a tool to help with weight management has also shown that longer grass can be more difficult for muzzled ponies to graze, and can cause frustration-related behaviour in some individuals.

Read all about this subject and the correct use of muzzles within our June edition.

Posted on April 26th, 2016

May 2016

READ FREE – click here


Posted on April 25th, 2016

Appeal for information after emaciated pony is found in Hatfield Heath

The RSPCA is appealing for information about a small bay pony found abandoned in large crop field in Essex on Wednesday 20th April.

A member of the public spotted the emaciated pony, who is thought to be just a year old, roaming alone around the enormous field near Matching Road, in Hatfield Heath. They immediately called the RSPCA for help.

Nicknamed ‘The Littlest Hobo’ by RSPCA officers, the 10hh filly is now thankfully in veterinary care, although not before giving the rescue team the run around.

RSPCA inspector Kate Fletcher said: “We received a call about this little pony and although when we attended we could clearly see she was in a bad way, she she certainly wasn’t going to come quietly.

“Just as we got near her each time, she would move off again – she was clearly enjoying the chance to have some grass. Despite my best efforts with an officer from Redwings Horse Sanctuary, we did have to use a dart in the end and then use a pen to catch her. Though she didn’t want to be caught she obviously couldn’t stay where she was and was in desperate need of care – the vets gave her a body score of 0.5 out of 5.

“It was nice to see she had some spark left in her, after what has obviously been a really horrid period of neglect and abandonment, but in reality, she was probably only days away from collapse.”

Inspector Fletcher added: “This small, bay coloured pony has not been looked after at all. She’s clearly been kept in a filthy stable up until recently as her belly and legs were caked in faeces. Her mane and tail were really overgrown too. Thankfully she is now being treated at Catley Cross Vets in Halstead, Essex. She’s clearly not used to being handled but she has a sweet temperament and is clearly glad to be in a warm stable with a hay net.

“Anyone with any information about who owns this pony or how she came to be dumped in this field alone, is urged to contact the RSPCA on our inspector’s appeal line on 0300 123 8018, where they can leave me a message.”

APR16 News RSPCA Essex pony appeal

Posted on April 20th, 2016


Some of the world’s most esteemed riders will take part in the National Dressage Grand Prix Freestyle invitational competition at Royal Windsor Horse Show 2016 where they will perform their routines on Wednesday 11th May. For many of the riders, this highly-anticipated exhibition will be the last chance to polish off their choreography in front of a live audience ahead of the summer Olympic Games in Rio.

All eyes will be on Olympic favourite and reigning world champion, Charlotte Dujardin, who will be returning to the iconic Castle Arena, riding the stunning chestnut gelding, Barolo. Charlotte’s last appearance at Royal Windsor Horse Show was in 2014, when she put on a victorious performance aboard Carl Hester’s London 2012 Olympic gold medallist, Uthopia.

Charlotte will have stiff competition in what is shaping up to be a stellar class. One of the biggest challengers will be reigning Royal Windsor Horse Show champion and fellow Team GB rider, Carl Hester riding the world-class Nip Tuck, a combination looking to repeat last year’s triumphant performance which saw them score an impressive 75.38%.

Michael Eilberg, part of the silver medal winning 2015 European Championship team with Charlotte and Carl, will be adding to the excitement around this Grand Prix Freestyle event, along with others pushing hard to impress the Team GB selectors ahead of Rio, such as Olympic gold medallist Laura Tomlinson, Pippa Hutton, Spencer Wilton, Hayley Waston-Greaves and Ryan Todd.

General entry to Royal Windsor Horse Show will be free of charge on Wednesday 11th May, however due to popular demand, reserved seats to watch this unmissable class are available to buy in advance and are expected to sell-out fast. Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased on or via the box office on 0844 581 4960 from the UK and +44 (0) 121 796 6290 internationally.

APR16 News DujardinC_RWHS14kh_0702