Posted on November 18th, 2019

VOTE NOW! Nominations open for the SEIB Livery Yard and Riding School Awards

Nominations are now open for the first ever SEIB Insurance Brokers Livery Yard and Riding School of the Year Awards which will be presented at the glamorous British Horse Foundation dinner at the Leonardo Royal London City Hotel on the 11th January 2020. SEIB has set up these awards to celebrate the best in riding schools and livery yards throughout the UK in association with horse care and supplements company NAF.

SEIB Marketing Manager Nicolina Mackenzie said: “The riding school and livery yard awards will make Christmas extra special for those that are short-listed. SEIB know that there are livery yards and riding schools that provide an outstanding service and we want to recognise and highlight their skill and commitment.”

The SEIB Livery Yard and Riding School of the Year Awards have categories for best riding school, best full livery yard and best do-it-yourself (DIY) livery yard. Once the nominating process is closed, the expert panel of judges will draw up a short-list of yards which they will visit in person to decide on the winner. All the short-listed yard proprietors will be invited to the awards dinner and the results will be announced on the night.

NAF Advertising and PR Manager, Melissa Newman said: “NAF are delighted to be in partnership with SEIB to support this award. Riding schools and livery yards are vital to keeping many peoples passion for horses a reality and a stepping stone into the world of life long equestrianism and horse ownership. The support, opportunities and five-star care both riding schools and livery yards provide is invaluable, as well as the friendships created at these establishments, with horses and ponies at the heart of it all.”

To nominate your favourite livery yard or riding school, please visit and simply let us know who they are and why their livery yard or riding school is so special. Nominations open on the 18th November and will close on the 9th December. Everyone placing a nomination in the SEIB Riding School and Livery Yard of the Year Awards will be put into a free prize draw to win a pair of tickets to the black tie British Horse Foundation Awards dinner in January.

Jan Rogers of the British Horse Foundation said: “We are thrilled to be able to host the presentation of the brand new SEIB Livery Yard and Riding School Awards at the 2020 British Horse Foundation Dinner. This event has been held at a glittering London venue for over 21 years and it is always good to welcome innovative new awards to the occasion. We look forward to showcasing these worthy winners in January.”

Nominate your favourite for the SEIB Livery Yard and Riding School Awards at

To purchase tickets for the British Horse Foundation Awards dinner go to:

Posted on November 18th, 2019


Enjoy a festive day out at Redwings Horse Sanctuary this December when the charity hosts its first ever ‘Traditional Christmas Fayre’.

Held in the beautiful rooms and marquee of Caldecott Hall, at Redwings’ Caldecott visitor centre in Fritton near Great Yarmouth, everyone is invited to come along on Sunday 8th December, between 10am and 4pm – and entry is free!

Shoppers will be able to browse a wide variety of stalls showcasing unique goods – from artisan food to jewellery, from local artwork to children’s toys – providing plenty of Christmas gift inspiration and all those magical little touches to help make your home feel truly festive.

For those looking for tips on how to cook up the perfect Christmas lunch, they can also watch a demonstration by chef Nigel Raffles and ask all those burning questions to help solve their cooking conundrums.

There’ll even be the chance to purchase and take home a freshly-cut Christmas tree, as well as relax with a mulled wine or a warming hot chocolate after a busy day’s shopping!

Rescued donkey Esther will also be making a special appearance, as well as Redwings’ mascots Red and Wings, to enjoy plenty of festive cuddles and ensure everyone receives a warm welcome.

Redwings Caldecott is home to over 120 rescued horses, ponies, donkeys and mules, and visitors are welcome to stroll the paddocks and wish a Merry Christmas to these very special residents too.

Nicola Knight, Head of Communications, said: “We’re incredibly excited to be hosting our first ever Traditional Christmas Fayre! Thanks to our amazing supporters, this year Redwings Caldecott has undergone a transformation with the addition of new horse care, rehoming and visitor facilities, and we look forward to this festive event being the first of many more to come.

“We really hope as many people as possible will be able to support the event, pick up plenty of wonderful Christmas gifts and enjoy some time with our rescued horses and donkeys too!”

Redwings Caldecott can be found in Beccles Road, Fritton, Norfolk, NR31 9EY.

For further information, call 01508 481000 or visit

Photo: Esther the donkey will be making an appearance at Redwings’ Traditional Christmas Fayre.

Posted on November 14th, 2019

What Riding For The Disabled Association Means To Me

2019 has been a very special year for Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) and throughout this anniversary year the 50 Faces campaign has been highlighting the amazing people that make the organisation so diverse and inspiring.

As the year draws to a close we decided to catch up with a few of the 50 Faces to find out what RDA means to them.

Yolanda Hansford
Yolanda Hansford began riding with Yeovil and Sherborne RDA in 1974 on the recommendation of her orthopaedic consultant as a form of therapy for scoliosis.

Having been born with a narrowing of the aorta, throughout childhood Yolanda was in and out of hospital, and discovering RDA was the first time in her life that she felt in charge of something.

Following open heart surgery for the third time, Yolanda was diagnosed with lung disease and was devastated to have to give up riding. She then discovered RDA Carriage Driving that enabled her to carry on life with her beloved horses, regularly competing, going on carriage driving holidays and even representing her RDA Group at Royal Windsor Horse Show.

Said Yolanda: “I became Regional Chair for RDA in the South West last year, which has enabled me to not only champion the work RDA does, but at the same time be able to give something back. After all, the RDA has given me so many wonderful   experiences and memories that will last forever.”





Lesley Morrill
Lesley Morrill has been a volunteer at Hope In The Valley RDA since 1985. She has taken on a number of tough challenges to raise much needed funds for RDA, even becoming a member of the 100 Marathon Club.

Completing 100 marathons in two years and six months, Lesley became the oldest woman to start doing marathons and reach the one hundred mark.

The challenges helped remind Lesley of the difficulties faced by RDA riders on a daily basis.

Said Lesley: “We all have different reasons for volunteering with RDA but for me it is the joy of seeing the riders succeed and helping someone to be a part of something. It’s not about rosettes; it is about what you can do for someone to give them a better quality of life.”






Mike Butcher
For Mike Butcher, horses have always been a release. Growing up in a complicated family environment meant he has always appreciated the benefits of spending time with horses.

After leaving school at 16 he had one ambition and that was to work with horses and he was introduced to RDA when he volunteered as part of a college course. This inspired Mike to become an RDA Coach as with his experience he could see how he could help the riders progress.

One of Mike’s proudest achievements is the pivotal role that he played in introducing show jumping as an RDA discipline, adding an exciting challenge to RDA sessions.

Said Mike: “I am always proud to see riders improving year on year at the National Championships. I see all the benefits of RDA – it’s proven, it’s a fact, with the help of the excellent structures they have in place, RDA works.”




Sam Cyrus
Sam Cyrus is a participant and volunteer at Wormwood Scrubs RDA. She began riding about 30 years ago and would cry every time the volunteers tried to take her off the pony.

After leaving school she began volunteering and has just completed her British Horse Society Certificate in Horse Knowledge.

Said Sam: “RDA has encouraged me to push me out of my comfort zone, to do things that I have never done before. RDA has helped me to believe that I can do anything.”

For further information visit

Posted on November 5th, 2019

Essex’s Michael Fursedonn claims the SEIB Winter Novice Championship Qualifier at Addington Equestrian

The Winter Classic Show at Addington Equestrian took place over the back end of last week and the venue played host to a number of qualifiers including the SEIB Winter Novice Qualifier held on Saturday morning. A large field of seventy-two competitors came forward with hopes of claiming one of two qualifying tickets available for the Championship Final at the Longines Royal International Horse Show, Hickstead next summer.  

Course Designer Phil Ashworth built a fair track for the first round with twenty-seven of the initial starters producing a first round clear. The jump-off whittled the clears down to seven and the top of the leaderboard proved to be very tight with the first six placings separated by less than two seconds.

Brentwood based Michael Fursedonn took the win on board his own Cevins Pleasure, a 5-year-old British bred chestnut gelding by Cevin Z. They topped the leaderboard with a double clear in a time of 38.04 seconds. Just 0.06 of a second separated the top two placings with Helen Rees and her own 6 -ear-old British bred mare, Bianca Du Rouet, picking up the second qualifying ticket on offer after they crossed the finish line in 38.10 seconds.


Photo: Hoofprints Photography

Posted on November 4th, 2019

Date for the Diary: Most celebrated equestrian artist in the UK exhibits in Belgravia

Katie O’Sullivan, whose collectors include Duke of Edinburgh, Lord and Lady Lloyd Webber, Earl and Countess of Derby, will be exhibiting 35 new works in a solo exhibition running from 6th November to 28th November.

Born in London 1959, Katie is from an Irish family, and graduated from the Chelsea College of Art. She has been exhibiting her work since 1981, most often at The Osborne Studio Gallery, but also in New York City, Tokyo and Hong Kong.

Married to the trainer Jamie Osborne, who keeps at least 70 horses in their stables at any one time, she lives and works in the middle of the racing scene of Upper Lambourn, Berkshire.

The late Sir Peter O’Sullevan, the Voice of Racing, who was Chairman of the Osborne Studio Gallery, describes her painting with his usual mastery: “Katie is quite simply one of the most original and beguiling interpreters of the power and grace of the horse in the history of equine art.”

Her painting is never dull, she uses gold and silver leaf, paints over collages of old engravings.  Her subjects are not confined to thoroughbred racehorses and jockeys, but inspired by African wildlife and for this exhibition she has been drawn to the beauty and brilliance of birds.

Katie has been working for 18 hours a day to complete this portrait of thoroughbred stallion Northern Dancer, surrounded by portraits of his progeny, all champions.

For more information visit:


Posted on October 31st, 2019

SEIB Insurance Brokers to grant £50,000 to good causes in 2020

The third annual running of the SEIB Insurance Brokers Charity Awards will result in £50,000 being granted to good causes in 2020. SEIB will grant £25,000 to one winning charity and the remaining £25,000 will go to six runners-up. All winning charities will be nominated by the general public and then voted for by customers of SEIB. The grants will be presented to the winning charities at the SEIB Charity Awards luncheon on the 20th March 2020 at the Leonardo Royal London City Hotel.

The public are invited to put their nominations forward for the charity they would like to see win the top £25K prize. Nominations are open now and will close on the 28th November. Once a shortlist of charities has been drawn up, SEIB clients will have the final vote for their favourite project. The winning charity and runners up will be announced at the 2020 SEIB Charity Awards luncheon.

SEIB Chief Executive Officer Barry Fehler explained: “At SEIB we firmly believe in contributing to the common good. I was very proud when we held our first charity awards in 2018 and I am delighted that we are able to be once again granting money to the causes that really matter to our loyal customers. The feedback we have had from recipients of our previous grants is humbling.”

The winners of the 2019 SEIB Charity Awards, World Horse Welfare, have been very quick to voice their thanks for their project of ‘vital new equipment’. The SEIB charity grant paid for a new tractor and trailer at World Horse Welfare’s Penny Farm and drone with a high-res camera to help locate horses in hard to reach areas.

World Horse Welfare’s Field Officer, Rachel Andrews said: “The drone has been invaluable recently in Snowdonia National Park. There were significant concerns regarding a group of up to 30 wild ponies and as the terrain was extremely difficult underfoot, the drone enabled us to locate these ponies so that we could access them from the nearest track.  This meant reduced stress for the ponies and it means that we can continue to monitor them over the winter when they will be even more difficult to access.”

Always known for ‘putting something back’, SEIB is a commercial business with a charitable purpose. The company insures numerous charities and not for profit organisations. SEIB is an independent broker but is ultimately owned by a charity called the Allchurches Trust Limited and profits are used for good causes. The aim of SEIB’s immediate owner, the Ecclesiastical Insurance Office Plc, aims to give £100million for good causes through the Allchurches Trust by 2020.

No charity is too small to be in the running for the 2020 SEIB charity giving, but turnover is capped at £15m. The grant will have to be used for a specific project which will make a true difference to the cause it is aimed at. All charities will need to be UK registered and projects are to be UK based but past winners will not be eligible.

Giving is embedded in the culture of SEIB. From supporting grass roots competition that gives opportunities to amateur riders that they could only otherwise dream about, right through to the company’s long-term support of research carried out by the Animal Health Trust.

To find out more and to nominate your favourite charity please visit:


Photo: WHW L to R Barry Fehler, Roly Owers, Suzy Middleton, Emma Williams and Bipin Thaker

Posted on October 29th, 2019

Showing Judges announced for Horse of the Year Show 2020

The 2020 Horse of the Year Show will take place from Wednesday 7th – Sunday 11th October, with the first qualifier taking place in spring. Here is a list of the judges for HOYS 2020:
















The M&M Ridden Pony of the Year judges will be released later this autumn while changes to the class format are discussed.


Posted on October 29th, 2019

Peaceful gathering of horses and riders in Shouldham Warren

Local riders braved the wet weather recently to show their support for the #sorrynoquarry campaign

Riders both mounted and on foot gathered together on Saturday 26th October to add their voices to the campaign to save Shouldham Warren from the threat of a quarry.  The Warren is a popular place for riders with many travelling from outlying areas to enjoy the wonderful scenery.  It’s one of the few places in this part of Norfolk where riders can meet and ride together without worrying about having to navigate busy roads.

Vikki Muller a horse owner from King’s Lynn who attended with her family said, “We have attended this peaceful protest to show people how much we care about the Warren. We use it regularly to ride our horses in safety and also to walk our dog in this beautiful woodland.”

Sally McCall another horse owner said, “ I came because the Warren is an amazing place of natural beauty where I feel safe to ride my young horse without the danger of riding on the roads with fast traffic and lorries.”

Jenny Simpson from Brook Farm Liveries, who organised the event, said, “This is a beautiful place, full of wildlife and popular with riders, walkers, cyclists and families. It provides safe off-road riding for so many and it is unfathomable that this ancient woodland environment is under threat from the Norfolk County Council mineral and waste plan, particularly given the climate crisis we now face. We wanted to do something to add our voices to the campaign run by CATSS (Campaigners against two silica sites Marham/Shouldham), and so we are standing together with fellow riders to say ‘sorry no quarry’.  At a time where road accidents involving horses and riders are on the rise, protecting safe off-road public access spaces such as the Warren is so important. The fact that so many people came despite the awful weather just goes to prove how strongly we feel about preserving this place for the future.”

A British Horse Society Spokesperson said “It is vital that we are able to secure a safe and substantial off-road network for the future generations. Many equestrian routes are fragmented and can now only be reached using busy roads. Our research has shown that there have been over 3,737 road incidents reported to us since November 2010, which involved the deaths of 315 horses and 43 riders. Therefore the need for off-road places to ride has never been so important. The British Horse Society launched Project Jigsaw with the aim of enabling every rider and carriage driver to access a safe network of off-road paths. We are aiming to tackle the issue of our limited and fragmented routes, and connecting them to build a full and complete picture.”

The deadline for lodging objections to the inclusion of Shouldham Warren in the Norfolk County Council plan is 5pm at 30th October and it’s not too late to get involved. There is an online petition, an electronic objection form and several letter templates on the CATSS website along with lots more information.

Posted on October 22nd, 2019

Christmas Comes to Bransby Horses

Lincolnshire-based equine rescue and welfare charity, Bransby Horses, has a number of great events and activities planned for the festive season. The schedule, which includes a new enchanting Christmas Lights Switch On, is sure to get families into the spirit.

The charity’s first ever Christmas Lights Switch On will take place on Friday 29th November. The focal point, a stunning Christmas tree, will be in the Visitor Centre Courtyard of the site. The Christmas Lights Switch On will start at 4pm on – 29th November with the Westgate Academy School singing Christmas carols and the big lights switch on moment will take place at 5pm with special guests Cinderella and Buttons from Lincoln Drill Hall doing the honour. As well as the lights and carols, there will also be plenty of mulled wine, hot chocolate, mince pies, donkeys and the chance to start your Christmas shopping in the Gift Shop until 7pm.

Charlie McClelland, Fundraising Manager at Bransby Horses said about this new event: “It will be the best Christmas event ever with the sights, sounds and aromas of the festive season. Our tree will stand proudly and twinkle as all Christmas trees should and carol singers and hot spiced drinks will fill the air with everything you think of at this special time of year. To add to that, our charming donkeys will be close by, peeking over their stable doors to be part of the fun. We can’t imagine a better way to start this season of merriness!”

The charity is also holding their annual Christmas Fair on Saturday 7th December 11am – 4pm, with plenty for families to see and do. There will be a wide variety of craft and gift stalls which offer a perfect opportunity to get some very special gifts for loved ones. Father Christmas will arrive with his donkey friends, Harrowby Singers Amateur Dramatic Society will be singing festive songs and hits from well-known musicals and there will also be festive activities throughout the day. The Feedroom Café will also be serving some warm and spiced treats, so you can taste and smell Christmassy things as you wander around the site, seeing hundreds of horses, ponies, donkeys and mules the charity has rescued and rehabilitated over the years.

Seasonal activities are sure to book up quickly so the charity is operating a first come, first served basis on any activities that require advanced booking. As well as the special activities and events the charity are putting on between now and the end of the year, there is also more than 400 horses, ponies, donkeys and mules to meet every day at the site, picturesque walkways, The Feedroom Café and play areas for children. The charity site is open to visitors 362 days each year, from 9am – 4pm.

Vicky Varney, Events Coordinator at Bransby Horses said: “Families from near and far visit us throughout the year but we think there is something super special about Halloween and Christmas. When the nights are drawing in and we’re all getting wrapped up with coats and scarves, we’re all looking for ways to embrace this magical season, get outdoors and celebrate the year!”

Activities start from free of charge to £12 per person, please check the Bransby Horses website and Facebook page ‘Bransby Horses – Rescue and Welfare’ for details. Entry to the site is free but as a charity, relying entirely on public support, donations of any amount are very welcome and go towards the cost of care of the 430 horses, ponies, donkeys and mules living on site.

The charity are also looking for sponsors to help support specific elements of their seasonal events, for more information, contact the Events team by emailing

Posted on October 17th, 2019

Bicton International Horse Trials (Thursday, 24th – Sunday, 27th October)

Members of the public are warmly invited to attend the Bicton Arena International Horse Trials this month (October 24th -27th) and watch world class riders and Tokyo 2020 hopefuls go head-to-head.

Around 600 riders are expected to compete at the UK’s final major international event of the eventing season which will include dressage, show jumping and cross-country action.

Riders and spectators can expect to witness top-level riding every day. All the international dressage classes will take place on the Friday, with show jumping, cross-country and the remaining dressage classes featuring on the other three days.

Bicton Arena manager Helen West has been at the helm of the Westcountry’s finest venue since 2013 and recently became the second woman in Britain to achieve accreditation as a three and four-star cross-country course designer; the International Federation for Equestrian Sports’ highest possible accreditation in Europe held by only a handful of people in the UK. Having already assisted with the design of several CIC(3*) courses, Helen designed her first CIC(4*) course at Ballindenisk, Ireland in September.

A professional rider of 14 years, Helen is committed to raising Bicton Arena’s profile and establishing a three-star cross-country event at the venue in the future. She said: “Our International Horse Trials is one of our most prestigious events of the season and really thrilling to watch.

“We have several Olympic riders competing, many of whom will be hoping to compete in the Tokyo Games next summer, and other riders hoping to make their Olympics debut. We have a high-profile roll-call of top-level riders travelling down to Bicton for this event, some of whom are entering as many as five or more horses, so they’ll be plenty of opportunity to catch them in action.

“We are keen to encourage the public to come along and see some of the world’s best riders and enjoy the setting – it’s not very often you get to see so many top-level sportspeople compete on your doorstep.”

Owned by Clinton Devon Estates, Bicton Arena occupies 156 acres of Grade 1 listed parkland and attracts around 10,000 horses and 20,000 riders and spectators annually. Bicton is currently one of only two venues in the country to host international horse trials as well as top-level show jumping and dressage competitions.

On the Saturday, the Protexin three-day BE100 roads and tracks section will take place up on the beautiful Pebblebed Heaths which surround the Arena. Bicton is the only affiliated BE event to run a long format three-day event at this level, aimed at the amateur rider.

Beccy Barrett, Events and Sponsorship Coordinator for Bicton Arena, added: “All the riders are keen to end the season on a high, so spectators are in for an exciting few days.”

Entry to the event is £10 per car. There will be trade stands and food outlets available as well as a bar. From 7.30pm on the Saturday, members of the public are invited to join the riders in the marquee for PURE Estate Management’s end of season party featuring a live band. Tickets, which can be bought on the door, are £10 and include a hog roast supper and a welcome drink.