Posted on May 10th, 2018

FEI Saracen Horse Feeds Houghton International

This year’s Saracen Horse Feeds Houghton International, incorporating the FEI Eventing Nations Cup, runs from 24th – 27th May. As usual it is set to welcome riders from across the globe; 19 nations will be represented, from Finland and Sweden to Russia, Japan and Hong Kong. Entries for the headline ‘CICO three-star’ class, which incorporates the only British leg of the FEI Eventing Nations Cup, are full and five teams look set to challenge the winner of the previous three years, Germany.

World class athletes will be heading to Norfolk with the goal of winning this class, and ones to watch would have to be Laura Collett and Tina Cook. Laura has three entries including her uber-talented Mr Bass who along with Tina’s Billy The Red and Calvino II were due to contest Badminton before the spring’s bad weather and a nasty fall for Tina put paid to those plans. Crowd favourites Pippa Funnell, Ben Hobday and Nicola Wilson are also in the line-up. International medal winners include Australia’s Andrew Hoy, New Zealand’s Caroline Powell, Germany’s Dirk Schrade and twice World Champion Kiwi, Blyth Tait.

Aside from the ‘big’ class and fresh from finishing third at Badminton, British team gold medallist Rosalind Canter is bringing one of her youngsters, while Piggy French has two horses entered and Gemma Tattersall, fourth at Badminton behind Ros, has a ride in every class.

Saracen Horse Feeds Houghton International also plays host to the NAF British Eventing Under 21 Championships. Reigning Junior European Champion Bubby Upton will have three shots at this title, including with her medal winning partner Eros DHI. This partnership is very much on song, having won a two-star class at Belton International last month. Last year’s winner Felicity Collins returns, as does 2017 runner up Sam Ecroyd.

Running alongside the International event, there are also showjumping, combined training, dressage, arena eventing and pony club classes, as well as the ever popular Dubarry Burghley Young Event Horse qualifiers.

For those less horse-orientated there will be ‘have a go’ dog agility hosted by EACH (East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices), Musketeer’s charity for this year, children’s entertainment, over 70 tradestands, food outlets, and a licenced bar.

One option worth considering is camping on site. Evening entertainment is laid on – from the Friday night Pub Quiz to the Saturday night disco, so there is plenty to do. This is a truly unique opportunity as camping is not allowed at Houghton Hall at any other time of the year and camping packages can cover anything from one night to the whole event.

Tickets can be bought in advance via the website, and on the Gate, which opens at 8.30am every day. For more information on any aspect of this year’s FEI Saracen Horse Feeds Houghton International Horse Trials, visit

Posted on May 8th, 2018


On Sunday 13th May, Redwings Horse Sanctuary will be welcoming Love Island’s Jonny Mitchell to join in the festivities at Del Boy the donkey’s birthday party at their Ada Cole Visitor Centre in Nazeing, near Harlow.

As part of the charity’s popular sponsorship scheme, Redwings Horse Sanctuary throws each of its “Adoption Star” donkeys and horses a special party to celebrate their birthdays. Visitors, supporters, adopters and, in this case, celebrities are invited to meet the Adoption Star, join in the celebrations and learn more about Redwings’ valuable work in rescuing and caring for horses and donkeys.

Wheeling and dealing donkey Del Boy will be celebrating his sweet 16th birthday alongside partner in crime Rodney and as special guest ITV 2 Love Island contestant Jonny Mitchell.

Commenting on Jonny’s appearance, Redwings’ Head of Fundraising Alison Lanchester said: “Jonny approached Redwings looking to lend a helping hand to a charity based in his home county, and we’re delighted he’ll be supporting our team at Del Boy’s birthday party.

“Our Adoption Star birthday parties are one of the highlights of the Redwings events calendar with plenty of fun to be had by all so we can’t wait to see as many supporters as possible come along on Sunday 13th May to meet not one but two stars!”

Del Boy’s birthday party will kick off at 11.30am, with the highlight of the party – his parade and presentation of his special birthday cake topped with carrots instead of candles – taking place at 1pm. Entry to the visitor centre is completely free of charge.

Posted on May 1st, 2018


Final preparations are underway for Redwings Horse Sanctuary’s annual horse show on Sunday 13th May at Topthorn Equestrian Centre near Stowmarket, Suffolk.

The Redwings Show has a varied schedule of over 40 classes, including In-hand and Ridden showing classes, Working Hunter, Veteran, Heavy Horse and Donkey Breed Society affiliated Donkey classes.

There is also a Novice Ring offering classes for horses and riders who are new to showing and looking to get some practice in at a fun and friendly show, as well as “Just for Fun” classes for those looking to have a fun day out with their four-legged friend!

The ever-popular Rescue classes will also return for 2018 and are open to any horse or pony rehomed from a registered charity. This year, the money raised from the entry fees to the Rescue classes will go towards Redwings’ Amersham 10 appeal as part of the charity’s year-long commemoration of the 10-year anniversary of the rescue of over 100 horses and donkeys from atrocious conditions at Spindle Farm in Amersham.

Redwings Show organiser, Jude Palmer, said: “With just under two weeks until the show we are really excited and looking forward to welcoming competitors old and new.

“As the showing season gets underway, the Redwings Show is the perfect opportunity to get some practice in, with a warm and welcoming environment and plenty of rosettes up for grabs! Not forgetting £100 of vouchers kindly donated by horse feed specialists Spillers for the winner of the Best Condition Championship.

“While we will welcome entries on the day, the closing date for pre-entries is the 7th May and we’re urging competitors to get their entry forms in early so they don’t miss out on all of the fun!”

The full schedule and entry forms are available on Redwings’ website Alternatively, contact the show organiser Jude Palmer by emailing or calling 01508 481032.

Posted on April 5th, 2018

Belton International Horse Trials: Amputee jockey Guy Disney and Olympic champion Ginny Elliot in attendance

Eventing and racing enthusiasts will have a chance to get up close and personal with amputee jockey Captain Guy Disney and four-time Olympic medallist Ginny Elliot in Lincolnshire next weekend.

Leading equine and bloodstock insurance broker Lycetts is hosting Q&As with Elliot and Disney at the Belton International Horse Trials, which runs from 13th – 15th April.

Elliot, a British horse rider well-known in the world of eventing, was the 1986 World Champion and three-time Individual European Champion (1985, 1987, 1989). She also won two World team golds (1982 and 1986) and four European team golds (1981, 1985–89).

A four-time Olympic medallist, she won Individual bronze and team silver in both 1984 and 1988. From 2008 to 2013, she was the manager of the Irish eventing team.

Elliot, who competed as Ginny Leng, will be joining Lycetts and The Horsepower Club at Lycetts’ Marquee for a talk and Q&A on Saturday 14th April at 2pm.

Disney, a former army officer who lost the lower part of his right leg in 2009 in Afghanistan, made history in 2017 when he became the first amputee jockey to win at a professional racecourse in Britain, riding Rathlin Rose to victory in the Royal Artillery Gold Cup at Sandown.

He repeated this feat when winning the Grand Military Gold Cup in March 2017 and then again, when he won the former race for the second year running in 2018.

The Lycetts-sponsored jockey will be giving a talk, before answering guests’ questions, at the Grantham Cup Breakfast on the grounds of Belton House on Sunday, from 8.30am.

It is the sixth year that Lycetts has sponsored the CIC*** Grantham Cup, and this year the firm became title sponsor for final day of the trials.

To celebrate, Lycetts will be holding a free prize draw, with prizes including two tickets to the Lycetts box at Cheltenham for the Open Meeting, Fairfax and Favour boots, a Clare Brownlow picture, and Haynes Hanson and Clark champagne.

Guests can enter the free prize draw by visiting the Lycetts Marquee, where drinks will be served throughout the weekend.

Posted on March 26th, 2018

Local riders excel at the British Showjumping Spring Championships 2018

British Showjumping’s Spring Championships took place at Addington Manor recently giving members four days of jumping and eight championship titles to aim for.

The venue attracted competitors from the length and breadth of the country all hoping to claim at least one of the Championships on offer.

The courses, which were designed by London 2012 course designer Bob Ellis and Nigel Jess, gave some great competition across the show’s entirety with members also thoroughly enjoying the opportunity to compete across some former Olympic Games fences.

Jade Meekings from Felsted, Essex took the Silver League Championship on board her own 12-year-old palomino mare, Pauls Lass.

Jade put all her training with John and Laura Renwick to good use in the Winter Silver League Final, guiding Pauls Lass into 0.28 second victory.

“I learn a lot just watching Laura at home, I think a turn is too tight, but it never is,” said Jade, 20, who has been based in Essex with the Renwicks for three years.

The Irish-bred 12-year-old ‘Gracie’ joined Jade five years ago as her first horse.

“We started in British Novice and we’ve done more than I ever thought we would.  I knew we could gallop to the last two fences, she never has problems taking out strides [down a distance],” said Jade.


Tim Davies from Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk became the Winter 7-Year-old Champion with Barrett Watson’s 7-year-old chestnut gelding, Lionel van de Markieslanden.

Tim claimed the 7-year-old Championship from the front of the five-horse jump-off. The Falco-sired gelding was talent-spotted in Lummen, Belgium, when Tim went to try another horse.

“I was told he might have a bit of a jump and when I popped him over a tiny fence, I decided he definitely had a jump and bought him.  I raved about him to Barrett – who though he looked like an Arab when he came home – and the first time I rode him, he napped for 30 minutes,” said Tim.  “But I really like him and he’s getting better.  He’s still silly and spooky sometimes, but he’s naturally quick and wants to jump.”


The Winter 6-year-old Championship title was secured by Harry Bateman from Hockley, Essex on board his own 6-year-old chestnut mare, Zuniek van de Tojopehoeve.

Only three of twenty-one starters came forward to contend the winter 6-year-old jump-off, and Harry Bateman was riding two of them. He claimed the win on first-drawn Zuniek Van De Tojopehoeve with the only double clear and finished third with Jennifer Thompson’s Jaloubet K Z, sandwiching Christina Foley into second on Hendrikje M.

“I’m over the moon, I only came for this class with two horses, it couldn’t have gone more to plan,” said Harry, who bought the Zirocco VDL mare as an unbroken 3-year-old.  “She’s so sweet a 6-year-old child could rider her, everything I do with her is a walk in the park.”

Posted on March 8th, 2018


How to create rewarding training programmes for your horse is the topic of Redwings Horse Sanctuary’s latest evening of free expert talks and demonstrations.

All are welcome to book on to the To Treat or not to Treat seminar, which will take place at the charity’s Aylsham Visitor Centre, north of Norwich, on Wednesday 25th April from 6.30pm.

Redwings’ Equine Behaviour Manager Sarah Hallsworth will be sharing her top tips on how to use food effectively as part of a horse’s handling training. Using practical exercises and compelling case studies, Sarah aims to give owners the confidence to tackle specific behavioural issues and improve their day-to-day interactions with their horse.

Rehoming Manager Rachel Angell will also be revealing how Redwings devises unique training programmes for its rescued horses getting ready to find loving new homes as part of the charity’s Guardianship Scheme. There are currently 500 Redwings horses living in Guardian homes and attendees will be able to find out how they could apply to rehome a rescued horse.

Andie Vilela, Education and Campaigns Manager, said: “After years of training rescued horses and readying them for lives in Guardian homes, our experts are hugely experienced in working with equines from many different backgrounds with a multitude of behavioural issues.

“They’ll be on hand to answer questions, address any worries and share their tried and tested training tips, with the hope that everyone will be able to go away with the knowledge to put their own rewarding training programmes into practice at home.”

To book your free place on the evening seminar, call 01508 481032 or email

Posted on March 6th, 2018

Redwings plans ‘Bunches’ of fun this International Carrot Day

Visitors at Redwings Horse Sanctuary are being invited to give the gift of carrots and support rescued horses and donkeys this International Carrot Day.

From Friday 30th March to Monday 2nd April, Carrot Drop Stops will be springing up at each of the charity’s five visitor centres in Norfolk, Essex, Warwickshire and Angus, where supporters are welcome to leave a bag of carrots or make a £1 or £5 donation towards funding nutritious meals for the 1,500 rescued residents being cared for by Redwings nationwide.

International Carrot Day is celebrated every year on 4th April to raise awareness of the versatility and health benefits of the vegetable.

As well as providing Carrot Drop Stops, Redwings’ visitor centres will also be hosting a special series of activities on Saturday 31st March and Sunday 1st April showcasing just some of the ways carrots can be used to provide enrichment for horses and donkeys.

Using recycled items such as cardboard boxes and ropes, Redwings’ teams will teach visitors how to make simple toys and games which they could even try at home for their own four-legged friend. They’ll then be able to watch the horses and donkeys as they sniff out the hidden carrots in the boxes or tease them from ropes using their teeth and noses!

Visitors will also be able to test their carrot knowledge with a special quiz trail!

Alison Lanchester, Redwings’ Head of Fundraising, said: “Carrots make wonderfully nutritious snacks for our horses and donkeys, but this humble vegetable – coupled with some recycled items from around the house – can soon be transformed into fantastic enrichment games for our rescued residents.

“We hope as many people as possible will come along and have a go, or simply drop off some carrots or donate to help feed our horses and donkeys. Just £1 could pay for a tasty nibble for a rescued resident, while £5 could fund two nutritious feeds! Don’t worry if you’re unable to visit, you can still join in the celebrations by donating online.

“While they make a great snack, it’s also important to remember that carrots should only be given as occasional treats so make sure to leave your donations at our special Carrot Drop Stops and our teams will ensure our grateful residents get to enjoy them in the most healthy and responsible way.”

Redwings’ visitor centres are open every Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday, 10am to 4pm (closed on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays). Entry is free and dogs on leads are welcome.

To find out more, visit

Posted on February 27th, 2018

Equestrian Charity Bring You ‘Cocktails, Canapés & Comedy’

On 24th April, The Mark Davies Injured Riders Fund are presenting an evening of cocktails, canapés and comedy with award-winning comedian, Rory Bremner headlining this very special one-off London event.

Bringing together some of the UK’s hottest comedy talent, the event aims to raise funds for this small but incredibly valuable charity.

Rory, whose family are also passionate equestrians, is an avid supporter of the MDIRF and will bring his own distinctive style & humour alongside special guests to a packed audience during the evening event at Bush Hall in Shepherd’s Bush.

‘The MDIRF Cocktails, Canapés & Comedy Evening’ Tickets from £35. Doors open at 7pm

Posted on February 8th, 2018

Lily Scott-Garret from Essex wins in the ‘Just for Schools’ League

Lily Scott-Garret, aged twelve from Romford Essex, had a very successful outing at Barleylands Equestrian Centre last month securing three wins in the Schools 70cm, 80cm, and 90cm League Classes. Representing Sanders School, Lily rode both her ponies Tooty Fruity and Orlando Sunshine double clear to take the rosettes home.

Making a great start to her season at her first ever ‘Just for Schools’ competition Lily said, “Tooty Fruity is quite fizzy to ride but it makes it fun as he is quick against the clock, whereas, Orlando Sunshine is very different so I have to adapt. I am looking forward to doing more ‘Just for Schools’ competitions in the coming year”.

Proud of her daughter and her achievements her mother Deborah commented, “I think it’s good that Lily’s school is aware of the work and dedication put into the sport after school and at weekends as children should be encouraged to do something they enjoy”.

Lily enjoys travelling to new show centres and meeting new people and hopes that she will be able to encourage others from her school and in the area to follow and give the ‘Just for Schools’ programme a go.

The ‘Just for Schools’ League run by British Showjumping offers riders the chance to compete Individually or as a Team in classes ranging from 70cm to 1.10m with the chance to qualify for the British Showjumping National Championships held at Stoneleigh Park in August 2018.

Photo credit: Sport in Pictures


Posted on February 1st, 2018

Box office is now open!

The box office is now open for both Barefoot Retreats Burnham Market International and Saracen Horse Feeds Houghton International (incorporating FEI Nations Cup).

Tickets are now available online for East Anglia’s two most prestigious Horse Trials. Barefoot Retreats Burnham Market International runs on Easter weekend, from Thursday 29th- Saturday 31st March 2018. Also enjoying a Bank Holiday weekend, Saracen Horse Feeds Houghton International takes place from 24th – 27th May 2018.

Daily hospitality packages and picnic parking are available at both events, with on-site camping a popular option at Houghton – this is the only time of the year that it is possible to camp at Houghton Hall. Adult, child (under 5s free of charge) and family (two adults, three children) tickets can be bought in advance at a discounted price.

Both Horse Trials offer a fantastic day out for all the family, with trade stands and children’s entertainment running alongside world class competition. Also running during the Saracen Horse Feeds Houghton International is an exhibition of around 50 new paintings by Damien Hirst, whilst some of his most recognisable sculptures will be installed in the gardens. Entry to the Hall is not included in Horse Trials entry.

For more information on any aspect of this year’s Horse Trials, and to book advance tickets, visit