Friday, December 19, 2008

Horsemart at Olympia 2008 video

We've just come back from the London Olympia International Horse Show - here is a brief video from behind the scenes, including a chat with Ben Maher.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Conrad Schumacher edited highlights video

Following on from the last blog post, we now have an edited highlights video (4m50s) available from the Conrad Schumacher clinic day at Aderro Dressage - posted below.

To buy Conrad's DVD, visit

Monday, December 08, 2008

Horsemart meets Conrad Schumacher - exclusive video

We recently spent the day down at the Aderro Dressage Centre in Gloucestershire to watch Conrad Schumacher take a day of clinics. Here are some videos from the day, exclusive to Horsemart.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Part 6

Sarah Jepheart - part 1

Sarah Jepheart - part 2

Conrad Schumacher is one of the world's foremost dressage trainers, having trained many students to international Olympic and World Championship level. He has been an influential force for successful teams from Germany, Holland, Great Britain and the USA. With his many years of experience, first as a rider then as a coach, trainer and judge, and his excellent command of the English language, Conrad is able to communicate with clarity and candour the correct path for over 4,000 horse and rider combinations.

Conrad: "I made the DVD to help people to share the secrets! I hope people will watch it 3 or 4 times and find it simple to follow. I can give you a glass of water but I can’t make you drink it."

The DVD can be purchased from

Monday, November 17, 2008

Horse madness poem

This found its way into the Horsemart inbox and as it's rather lovely, we thought it deserved a home on our blog...

Horse Madness

Why do I like horses?
I reckon I must be mad.
My mother wasn't horsey
And neither was my dad.

But the madness hit me early
And it hit me like a curse.
And I've never gotten better
In fact I've gotten worse.

My stables are immaculate.
My house is like a hovel.
Last year for my birthday
I got a brand new shovel.

I hardly read a paper
But I know who's sold their horse
And I wouldn't watch the news
If Mr. Ed was on, of course.

One eye's always on the heavens
But my washing waves in vain
As I rush to get the horses in
In case it's gonna rain.

And though they're wearing 15 rugs,
The best that you can get,
I bring them in to keep them dry
While I get soaking wet.

I spend up every cent I've got
On horsey stuff for sure.
I buy fancy rugs and fancy rugs,
And then I buy some more.

I should have had my hair cut
Or bought that nice blue shirt
At least it wouldn't be now
Ripped to shreds and in the dirt.

I can't make a bloody sponge cake
I don't even try
But I can back a car and trailer
In the twinkling of an eye.

It's jods and muck boots
That I live in night and day
And that smell of sweaty horses
Just doesn't wash away.

Once in every pancake day
I can dress up for a ball.
Make up and a hairdo
With high heel shoes and all.

I ache from long forgotten falls.
My knees have got no skin.
My toes have gone a funny shape.
From being squashed again.

But late at night, when all is still
And I've gone to give them hay,
I touch their velvet softness
And my worries float away.

They give a gentle nicker
And they nuzzle through my hair
And I know it's where my heart is
More than anywhere.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Horse Of The Year Show 2008 video

A montage video from last month's Horse Of The Year Show in Birmingham.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Horsemart meets Liz Halliday

29-year-old Californian Liz Halliday is a unique sportswoman. Now based in Surrey, England, Liz has dedicated her life to the pursuit of not one, but two international sporting careers. On the one hand she is an international motor racing driver who competes in Sportscar and GT endurance racing; whilst on the other, she is an international equestrian in Three-Day Eventing.

Liz has two mighty ambitions: to become the first female driver to win the famous Le Mans 24-hour race and to claim a place on the US Olympic equestrian team.

Liz secured qualifying for CCI**** level competition after recording her best performance of the year on board her horse Fox (Red Letter Day) at the Boekelo CCI*** very recently.

The West Sussex-based dual sportswoman finished 34th overall in her first CCI*** competition for three years, after strong performances in both the Cross Country and Show-jumping phases, moved the pair up over 50 places from their starting Dressage position.

HM – When did you move to the?
LH – I was 21 years old when I moved here. I took a year off form school to work for William Fox Pitt that one year became eight and a half! I just stayed and rode anything he would let me. I t was a fantastic way to learn.

HM – Are you a qualified instructor?
LH – Yes, I did all my BHS certifications during that time. After the first year I commuted between Pammy Huttons base and Williams and did my stage 1 through 4 in one year and preliminary teaching too – it was the busiest year of my life, it was insane!

HM – So, do you train with Pammy Hutton?
LH – Yes, I did. She is the base of all my dressage riding and I am very grateful to her. It’s too far now to travel, which is a shame, as she is amazing she put me on a lot of nice horses and that’s how I got my education from Elementary to Grand Prix.

HM – We are here at Joe Meyer’s yard where you are based, how did you meet?
LH – I actually met Joe when he gave my horse and a ride to a competition in Spain at the end of 2001. Then Pammy suggested to him that he take me on to ride some horses, etc. in 2002. And I have been based with him ever since! So I guess you could say that I met Joe a couple years before on the eventing circuit, but then Pammy helped to get me involved in working with Joe.

HM – How often do you get home?
LH – Not as much as I would like to. When I was racing in America I saw them (her family) a lot, but now its only Christmas time really. My Dad has not been that well lately so I am trying to get there at least three times per year.

HM – When did you start riding and why?
LH – I started at eight yrs old - no one in the family did it, it was just me. There was a stable not far from where I grew up, we just kept driving past and I insisted on a having a go. I started PC and that’s how the eventing started but it’s quite hard to event in California. When I went to University I met more people that were involved in the world games etc and they made me realise the UK is the place to be to event. I took a year off school to focus on my riding and that was it, I was hooked.

HM – Did you buy your horses in the UK?
LH – No, I brought a horse with me to England but he didn’t quite make it competing, he went back to California and I sold him.

I then bought a horse here that took me from Novice to 3star in just a few years – he was awesome! His name was Cheese! He was the best horse, not much ability but just tried so hard, what a heart! – In two years we got to advance, I was lucky to have a horse like that. I lost him in 2005 sadly. He really was my baby.

HM – So when did the racing start?
LH – My dad was a racing driver, historic cars mostly and an instructor. He is an amazing driver, he taught me to drive at 17 – I didn’t start with karting or anything I shared a race car with him that was the start of it! I loved it.

HM – Did you loose interest in the driving when the eventing started?
LH – No I did both but I took two years off racing when I came to UK as my Dad wouldn’t let me drive if he wasn’t there, didn’t trust anyone else!

HM – I know nothing about cars – tell me what type you use?
LH – I do sport car racing and endurance racing. I have done the Le Mans 24hour three times now. My favourite is the proper purpose-built sports cars that run at the front. I did some sprint racing but the endurance is what I love.

HM – Do you own the car?
LH – No I sold the old one – the sports cars are hugely expensive – you buy a seat in the team and hope the sponsors are there to help!

HM – What sort of speed do you get up to?
LH – 200 mph! Probably more. The car I have in the last two races would go over the 200 mph, its fast!

HM – Are you the only woman? How is that?
LH – For two years at Le Mans I am the only woman – and most times I am to be honest, there’s a there's a few but we are still a minority.
It’s not an issue, I know all the drivers. It’s in your own head really, you just have to do the job and if you’re quick, no one cares really. I don’t think about it. It’s only because of the media attention that makes me think about it. I just think of myself as a driver!

HM – How do you juggle all this?
LH – Depends on the season. 2006 was crazy non stop travelling. I was competing every weekend and I had a good seat in the American Le Mans, which I did. This year I have done more riding and focused on the horses and fitted in a bit of TV work too.

HM – Tell me about the horses?
LH – I have a couple of nice horses right now and a horse that is coming up so I have to make sure I am here to work them, and not throw away any opportunity. Oscar, who I bought from William, is very special. He does a fabulous dressage and is now jumping really well.

I was very lucky to get him and I think William is regretting it! He got a knock in the field last week and bruised himself. He’ll be rested for a couple of weeks before being put back to work. It’s disappointing that he had to miss Boekelo, but thankfully there’s no major damage, so he should be raring to go again next year.

It’s been a challenging season and I have put myself under a lot of pressure, but this result makes it all worthwhile. I’ve got to say a big thank you to my sponsors Nupafeed and Performance Drink whose products really brought out the best in my horse, and myself, throughout the competition. I’m thrilled for Fox. He’s definitely a four star horse now in my mind and I’m sure that, if we can work on the Dressage over the winter, then we’re going to be competitive next year, when we progress into that elite league.

Harry is for sale and is on the Horsemart website he is 14 years old, he is nice and would be great for a junior. He will get intermediate level no problem.

Donovan – ‘Intrepid’ I bought from Joe here and he was breed in NZ. He was very green but I think he is very special, he needs some more confidence but I really think he is going to be amazing.

HM – What makes you more scared eventing or driving?
LH – Eventing defiantly. I broke my collar bone, Fox stood on me, two surgeries later it makes you cautious!

HM – Tell me about your groom?
LH – My groom, Katie Good, is just fantastic! I would just freak out if she left me! She is the backbone of the operation.

Fiona Russell travels away with me too, she has also been amazing and I would like to thank her.

HM – What’s next for you?
LH – Portugal at the beginning of the year. Donovan will do his first one star and Oscar will do a three star.

Fiona will groom for me in Portugal, Joe drives the truck and I stay home and help with the riding of his, then I fly down there.

Joe and I help each other all the time. Joe has helped me so much with my jumping, I have really come on thanks to him!

HM – Who else trains you?
LH – Richard Barrett trains me for dressage, he is phenomenal trainer. We travel to him, he has done wonders for my team. I owe a lot to him and he works so hard.

I would now like to train more through the winter and help other people too! So feel free to contact me. 07720 346535

Thanks Liz you really are an amazing lady! Look forward to hearing your results!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

British Eventing - International Rider joins BE Board

Media Release

International event rider joins BE Board

British Eventing (BE) today announced that international event rider Nigel Taylor (49) will represent the interests of riders on the BE Board.
Nigel runs a string of successful event horses from his yard at Aston-le Walls, Northamptonshire, from where his wife Ann and daughter Grace also compete.
Nigel earned his British union jack flag riding on senior teams in the 1990’s, including competing at the World Equestrian Games at Pratoni del Vivaro on one of his favorite horses, The Frenchman II. Nigel has consistently competed at four star level, and first entered Badminton Horse Trials when he was just 22.

“I am keen to get started in the role and I look forward to representing rider’s interests at all levels of the sport,” says Nigel. “Firstly I shall be looking at ways of improving the standard of the going at events, and I shall also keep a close eye on the cost of entry fees, as it is a difficult time for all competitors keeping and running horses. I shall also look at what competitors should expect to get in return for their money.
“I am in a rather unique position in that my family all compete at different levels, so for example, I know what standard of course I would expect to see my daughter ride around at Intro and Pre Novice level, and in the same way what I would like to see at a 4* event.”
British Eventing Chairman, Alex Fox says: “We are delighted to welcome Nigel to the BE Board. Nigel is a renowned eventer who is well-respected amongst riders.
“As well as competing, Nigel has put his vast knowledge and professionalism back into the sport by teaching event riders of the future. He has also helped to further the growth and appeal of eventing by holding the very popular Grassroots Festival at Aston.
“We know Nigel will work tirelessly on behalf or riders to ensure their voice is heard and that their concerns are raised and fully represented on the Board.”

Nigel has a very successful eventing family. His wife Ann rode in the Seoul Olympic Games for Team USA, and his sister Ann-Marie is also an international rider

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Zara Phillips takes a nasty fall

Crunch: Zara lands on her neck, with the crowd fearing the worst Her horse Tsunami II takes a nosedive and Zara Phillips is thrown crashing to the floor, landing on her neck.

As featured in the Daily Mail, this was the moment when fans feared that Zara Phillips had seriously injured herself.
She crash-landed on her neck and shoulders after her horse, Tsunami II, stumbled over a 7ft fence at a three-day event.

The crowd gasped in horror as Zara, 26, who is 11th in line to the throne, tumbled over the mare?s head and on to the turf.
She was thrown forwards and struck the ground with a sickening thump, said witnesses at Bramham International Horse Trials near Wetherby, North Yorkshire.

Zara rolled over several times before sitting up, looking dazed.
Stewards rushed to help as her horse picked itself up and cantered away along the cross-country course.

Astonishingly, Zara was unharmed and walked off the course, smiling wryly. But she withdrew from the competition and was not taking part on the third day today, the showjumping section.

However, she was planning to compete in Luhmuhlen, Germany.
"I'm fine ? it wasn't as bad as it looked," she said. "The horse caught the fence with her feet, stumbled over it and she nosedived. I tumbled off.

"I'm sore and stiff all over but not at all hurt. Nothing's broken and I feel fine. I'll probably be a lot stiffer tomorrow. I have withdrawn from the competition but I am travelling to Germany for another event and I plan to take part."

Zara was at the event with her father Captain Mark Phillips, who told event-goers he believed the fall at the course?s seventh fence was Zara's fault.
Tsunami II is believed to have "banked" the fence ? putting her hind legs on top of it, rather than jumping clean over ? which meant she landed too steeply.

The Bramham trials are among the most prestigious in British eventing and it was the first time Tsunami II had competed at that level.
The nine-year-old had performed skittishly on Friday in the dressage event, apparently unsettled by the crowds and cameras, leaving Zara in 44th place.

The mare also seemed tense on the cross-country course, probably contributing to the fall.
Zara has been riding Tsunami II for three years and they finished seventh in the indoor cross-country event at the British Open this year.

The European and world eventing champion and BBC Sports Personality of the Year is trying to find a successor to Toytown, the horse that has provided her with most success.
Zara has seven horses at the Gatcombe estate in Gloucestershire where she lives with her boyfriend, England rugby player Mike Tindall.

She will be riding another potential successor, Ardfield Magic Star, in Luhmuhlen tomorrow.
Three years ago she was knocked unconscious in a fall from that horse at a three-day event at Lulworth Castle in Dorset.

Zara is following in the hoof-steps of her mother Princess Anne, who was visiting Northern Ireland. She famously fell off her horse at the Montreal Olympics in 1974.

An eventing source said: "Riders fall off all the time and these girls are very bouncy, but things can sometimes go very wrong. It's lucky nothing happened but I'm sure she won't see it that way."

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

horsemart interviews Robert Whitaker at HOYS 2008

Robert Whitaker Numerous wins including Puissance.

HM – So Robert, you are having a great show and that was a great win over the big wall, how do you feel?
RW – It’s great to win that, especially with a full crowd behind you. I won it out right as well, which was good. I’m really, really pleased.

HM – That was your second win of the day?
RW – yes, I won one of the big classes earlier as well so I am having a good day!

HM – The Puissance winner, the big chestnut, has such a big jump. Is he your best horse?
RW – No, he’s not my best horse but certainly my best Puissance horse [laughs].

HM – How do you pick which horses will be good for Puissance?
RW – The owner gave him to me and said ‘he can jump anything’ so I took him, but he wasn’t that great! He had no experience and he couldn’t win any normal classes he was terrible [laughs]! So I took him in the Puissance and he was great, but now he is good in other classes as well.

HM – How old is he?
RW - He is eleven years old.

HM – What sort of training do you do for the Puissance?
RW – I don’t train for this at home – I practised once when I first got him but that was all. I just do normal training with him at home – it seems to work! I think Ben Maher practises a bit but I don’t do anything different.

HM – Do you use the same techniques on all your horses?
RW – No, I use different tactics on different rides. There are all different types.

HM – What else are you doing here this week?
RW – I have the Speed horse class and Grand Prix. I’m riding La Crois and I’m confident – he likes it!

HM – You and all the family seem very relaxed here.
RW – I do like it here, it’s always a great atmosphere. We all feel at home

Good luck – hope you continue to have a successful show.

horsemart interviews Tim Stockdale at HOYS 2008

HM – How’s the show going for you?
TS – Good, it has a nice feel about it that’s for sure. There’s a lot of people here too, which is great.

HM – How many horses do you have with you today?
TS – A total five horses over all.

HM – How are they performing?
TS – They are all going well, I haven’t won one yet but lots of placings. We are doing alright.

HM – Are you doing the Puissance?
TS – Yes I am but I don’t have a good chance as I am on a fresh ride. He has only jumped 190 before and I will need to jump about 220 for that. We are not in it to win it this time, but having said that, you can’t win it unless you’re in it!

HM – How many classes are you doing here this week?
TS - We are in all the International classes. I’m jumping every day, including the leading jumper of the year.

HM – How does the logistics work with so many horses here?
TS – All the International horses came on one lorry as they all have to stay here, that wagon stays on site. Then another lorry came to bring the National horses and the Puissance horse. That one can just come and go each day.

HM – The grooms work so hard don’t they?
TS – Absolutely! Grooms are so important! Couldn’t do it without them.

HM – Where do you stay?
TS – This is a great show for me as I can come in the car! I’m close to home; I stay in a lot of hotels so this is really nice for me.

Good luck Tim we hope you get a win!

Horsemart interview at HOYS with John Whitaker

HM - Hello John – Thanks for talking to us. How’s the show going?
JW – Hello. It’s been quite good so far. I have been placed in the top end of the classes I have done, only to be beaten both times by my sons!

HM – Are you all very competitive amongst each other?
JW - Yes we are, [laughs] very! We always try to beat each other. But, we do like to see each other win.

HM – How many horses do you have here this week?
JW – I have three horses here this week, that’s enough!

HM – What are doing today and for the rest of the week?
JW – I have the jump off this afternoon, then Lactic II in the Accumulator and then the Puissance.

HM – Who from the family is in the Puissance?
JW - Me, Michael, William, Ellen and Robert! We are all in.

HM – How do you like HOYS compared to other big internationals?
JW – It’s very good here. It’s really popular with the crowd, which is nice and the atmosphere is great. It’s buzzing.

HM – Was this one of your first big Internationals?
JW – Yes, it’s where it all started for me as a young kid. It was my ambition to qualify and get here so it’s where it all started for me.

HM – What advice would you give to the youngsters out there that want to get to the top?
JW – Well, you have to work hard and if you want it badly enough you will get it – dedication, sweat and a bit luck! I have been lucky finding good horses.

HM – Where do you find your horses?
JW – Just by being in the right place at the right time. I have been lucky with horses. You have to know when to take a chance and then make the most of it.

HM – Which is your favourite horse?
JW - Peppermill is the best – he wins the most! I have to say that he keeps us on the road!

Many thanks John – great to talk to you.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Horsemart interviews William Whitakers groom 'Robbie Jennings'

HM - How long have you worked for William?
RJ – I have been on Michael’s yard for just over 2 years now.

HM – How many horses do you have here?
RJ – Six in total, William has three and Michael has three so there are two of us.

HM – What about the rest of the family?
RJ - Robert & John have 8 horses here and Ellen another 3

HM – Do you all travel together?
RJ - No we are at different yards, William & Michael come from their Oxfordshire base and John, Ellen & Robert from Huddersfield.

HM – How many hours a day are you putting in?
RJ - Exercising starts at 5am if you want to get in main arena, so we start then to get the horses used to go down there. Most nights finish at midnight, as the big classes are on late.

HM – How do you get through that?
RJ – It’s the highlight being at the big competitions – every day is different you just get on with it.

HM – What is you highlight of your job?
RJ – I love to travel, it’s the best bit. To get to the world cup in Vegas last year with Michael was fantastic.

HM – Where else have you been?
RJ – Canada, KL lots of places, it’s great to see the world, and it’s the best part of the job.

HM – Do you have any horses of your own?
RJ – I do but they are at home with my parents and out on loan.

HM - How did you get the job with the Whitakers?
RJ – I started as a kid in my local riding school and loved it. I then went on to do a Horse Management at College then just followed job adverts. I was with Billy Twomey for 3 years, then to America for a year. After that it was a case of being in the right place at the right time. I then got the job with Michael.

HM – do you fly with horses when you go abroad?
RJ – Yes sometimes, only a certain amount of people can go on one flight so sometimes you’re not necessarily chosen.

HM – Which horse are we standing with now?
RJ - Super Girl.

HM – How often is she competing this week?
RJ – She will jump once a day.

HM – How is she doing?
RJ – She had a couple down yesterday but has had a third and an eighth with William, Michael won the last class so we are all pleased.

HM - What is her exercise programme whilst here?

RJ - Depends on her times really. If she is on during the day then I will just hand walk her. If she is on late she will be exercised, she is a bit scatty so needs a leg stretch! We can change things all the time as they may get tired.

HM - Do you change anything while you’re away?
RJ – We try to keep everything the same as at home as much as we can but I guess the biggest change is feeding times.

HM – Are responsible for what they eat?
RJ – The rider decides, they will ask if they want any extras or changes made.

HM – so to sum up for any aspiring grooms out there – what is the best part of your job?
RJ – The travelling, the experience of working all over the world is great.

Horsemart catches up with a local owner whose horse won SEIB search for a star Riding horse at HOYS 2008

I caught up with a delighted crowd outside the Caldene arena.

Susan Collins, Rider Imogen Yates wins Search for a Star Riding Horse on Tristan H. The horse is stabled up the road from Horsemart in Horley, Surrey

HM – How long have you owned Tristan H?
SC - I have owned him for 3and a half years.

HM - Where did you get him from?
SC - I bought him from a dealer in Northamptonshire as a 4yr old. I just saw something special and that was that.

HM - Has this been your plan from the start to show?
SC - No, I do dressage, which is my first love. I have shown before and it was always my dream to be able to do both.

HM - Tell us about him?
SC - He was really sharp as a youngster but I have built a great relationship with him and we have all clicked. He is a fantastic all rounder I absolutely adore him.

HM - How did you all meet?
SC – Imogen and I met at yard where we are both DIY. We had same standards and became friends! Imogen suggested that we have a go at Search for a Star – I said ‘feel free to have a go, she did and won first on her first attempt, so I have now offered her the ride.

HM - Do you do all the training?
SC - I do all the producing and training at home and I train with Andrew Gould.
I have a great team behind me, I would like to thank my farrier Ricky Gache, physiotherapist Liz Hadland and Ifield Park our local tack shop and feed merchants.

HM – So what’s next for you all?
SC - County level here we come.

Horsemart interviews Ben Maher at HOYS 2008

HM – Hi Ben, how’s it going for you?
BM – I have been unlucky so far! Hopefully it will get better this afternoon.

HM – How are your results?
BM - I have competed in all the international classes and have been placed. It’s frustrating as I have just had one fence down, very unfortunate!

HM – How so you like it here at HOYS?
BM - I like it here as it’s in the UK! I have been abroad a lot lately and it’s really nice to be home in front of a British crowd who have given me a lovely welcome. It’s also nice for the sponsors & owners to be here and watch.

HM – I have watched you today run around from signings to the collecting ring to the stables! How do you plan your days?
BM - Normally I stick to the plan and prior planning is very important! Once your entries are in you can get organised but as always things change! I got double booked for signings today for instance. I got really tired too after so much running around. I have been competing very early morning and then as you know then on again very late.

HM - Which horses have stood out for you this week?
BM - Robin Hood is on great form, I am saving him for the Grand Prix.
I am really pleased with Wonder Boy who is proving to be a lovely horse. He will be a favourite with crowds as he is big and grey and very beautiful.

HM – Do you own him?
BM - I am part owner with Mr & Mrs Phillips

HM – We were all on the edge of our seats watching the Puissance, what happened?
BM – Sadly it’s not the first time I have done that, he is the best wall jumper and that’s well known on the circuit, not due to how I trained him or anything he can just naturally do it. What can I say we just tapped the top pole of the first fence and had it down, rules are rules!

HM – You jumped the wall beautifully and totally clear.
BM – Yes, I managed to get a good approach and I think he would have jumped another round easily! I was really disappointed.

HM – You took a very different line to wall compared to Ellen and Robert Whitaker, why was that?
BM – He is a very experienced horse and been doing this for 3 or 4 years that’s all he does so he knows his job. He is used to jumping the wall and up to then I too took the same line as the others. Recently in training he has started to anticipate the jump so I changed my way on the night to almost confuse him a bit. So I came in and took a wider line then changed to the right lead which he favours which gave me a sound approach. It worked I was really pleased with the way he jumped.

HM – What’s next for you?
BM – I’m off to Belfast then New York and Toronto to qualify for the world cup with Robin Hood.

HM – When will we see you next?
BM – I’m sort of on a world cup final tour if you like! After the states I will be home to do a demo at Addington then Geneva and Olympia.

HM – Thanks Ben it has been a pleasure talking to you and watching you this week – good luck and we will look forward to seeing you at Olympia.

Another year over for HOYS 2008

HOYS ends …. We come home with plenty of news, stories and interviews with all the top riders and go behind the scenes to bring you all the gossip!

I just simply didn’t want it to end. Seven and a half thousand magazines, four very exhausted staff, a few disks full of photos later we left the NEC. Thank you all for coming to see us and supporting us.

I am thrilled to say Katie Price was such a huge hit that she was invited back to take part in the closing ceremonies and again perform her dressage to music display with Andrew Gould and Henry Boswell. The crowd loved her. We at Horsemart take our hats off to you; you have clearly worked really hard and deserve all the credit you get. It was also lovely to hear Richard Davison praise you at the BETA conference this week.

For those of you that didn’t get the chance to visit HOYS here is all the news and behind the scenes gossip.

Sunday concluded with an exciting mix of prestigious showing and show jumping championship finals alongside a memorable Finale that featured our favourite equestrian heroes.
Sunday provided even more thrilling action including the Grand Prix class, leading Show Jumper of the Year, with over £22,000 of prize money on offer. Irish rider Billy Twomey produced a double clear in Bob Ellis’s technical course on Je T’aime Flamenco to be crowned Leading Show Jumper of the Year. Top British rider Michael Whitaker on Insul Tech Wonami Van Den Aard had to settle for second place with only 0.23 seconds separating him from the winner. Ben Maher also rode a double clear on Robin Hood W to take third place. Billy also received the Penwood Forge Mill trophy as the most successful foreign rider at the Show. Guy Williams was Leading Gentleman and Ellen Whitaker received the award for Leading Lady of the Show.

Fifteen year-old Roberta Roe was in great form today in the My Horse Club Leading Junior Show Jumper of the Year. She had two rides in the jump-off and took the title on New York Spritzer and also came fourth riding Aroldo. Second place went to James Smith on Mr Nice Guy.

Brits ruled the roost in this morning’s Grandstand Classic, securing all of the top five slots. William Whitaker took the lead early on with his compact little Puissance horse Insul Tech Leonardo, but his time was quickly squashed by Geoff Billington. Stellar performances from crowd favourites such as Geoff and Helen Tredwell just weren’t enough to catch Paul Barker on Sue Clark’s Darco mare Elegant C. The extremely agile, sparky little chestnut, put in some nail-biting turns to take the lead with a blistering time of 31.71seconds.

The National Grade C Championship is a true indicator of the young talent coming through and gives us a glimpse of the horse and rider combinations that are going to be contesting the A and B grades in the following season. This year was no exception, some top-class horses are being produced and were showcased here today. Laura Renwick built on the fantastic form she has shown all week to put in solid clears and claim the second spot with Roller Coaster III. Louise Whitaker looked a very strong bet but had to settle for third spot. The worthy winner, with a display of pure class, was Phillip Miller on Di Cornish’s beautiful stallion Univeau by the world famous Numero Uno.

Competition was fierce in the Zinc Management Speed Horse of the Year but no one could get near the blistering pace set by Ellen Whitaker and Kanselier who is Ellen’s long term campaigner. The combination proved to be unbeatable with a time of 52.13 seconds. Twenty-five top class speed horses lined up but many struggled to get the perfect balance between speed and accuracy. Only three of the 25 riders managed a clear with fence two causing most of the trouble. Favourites such as Guy Williams, the Whitaker men and Ben Maher all came to the table guns blazing, but it was the women that had this class all wrapped up. Laura Renwick and Beluga came second with a time of 53.84 and Cian O’Connor took third riding Baloufina in a time of 55.98. See pics from the show on our forum

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Whitakers Flying high at Horse of the Year Show!

The atmosphere last night was electric! We were the busiest we have been so far! Thanks again to all of you that came to say hello. The build up to Puissance was so exciting. We were up in the warm up area close to some of the most beautiful looking horses I have even seen. This was definitely the highlight of the evening’s performance. The crowd were treated to an unusually large class of 23 riders in the 1st round. By round 4 it was down to a handful. Ben Maher was on top form and my heart goes out to him as he clipped the top pole of the rails but then flew the wall with grace and style – he really deserved to be in the next round. Watch out for Decembers issue as we are doing an interview with Ben on site here today. By the 5th it was down to two from the same family, Robert and Ellen Whitaker. Ellen gave her all to clear the wall which stood at seven foot and three inches but was unlucky to have a brick out. Robert however, cleared the wall to a rapturous applause of an enthralled NEC crowd. He was crowned HOYS Puissance Champion 2008.

So here’s the round up from the rest of the day.

A packed house on the penultimate night of the prestigious Diamond Jubilee Horse of the Year Show wowed crowds with thrilling world-class show jumping combined with the very best of equestrian entertainment. From youngsters to the professional show jumpers, audiences were kept on the edge of their seats throughout the day starting with the Xerox Special Event Service Cup. Michael Whitaker kicked-off the day with a thrilling win on Fairviews Mirabelle D’or. He set an unbeatable time, although Guy Williams on Onyx V was hot on his heels with only 0.01 seconds separating the two maestros. Young talent William Whitaker, took third place on It’s Super Girl in this exciting speed class.
The youngest show jumpers at HOYS competed in the 128cms Championship class which is only open to riders under 12 years of age. Millie Allen had a truly outstanding round, winning the class on Matthew’s Girl. Amy Inglis took second place on her pony J’s Junior. Third place went to Imogen Pinney riding Show Me Again.
Next came the bigger ponies and bigger fences in the HOYS 138cms Championship. With only two in the jump-off, last year’s runner up, Jessica Crosby with Fountain Ranger, stole the limelight in the fastest time of 33.61 seconds. Laura Robinson and Orlando XI’s round was not quite fast enough, with a time of 34.33 seconds and she had to settle for second place. Lara Whiteway riding My Bugsy Malone followed in third place as the fastest rider with four faults.
The Bob Hurford Memorial Cup proved to be tough competition for first place with five clears in the jump-off. Jurgen Stenfert from the Netherlands is having a fantastic run here at HOYS and took the lead with a lightning round of 34.65 seconds. The Brits were close on his heels in 2nd and 3rd place, Robert Smith and Paul Barker respectively, both with extremely fast times.

To emulate the words of Mike Tucker, ‘What a great start to Saturday evening’s performance!’ Robert Whitaker produced an electrifying round on Mandy Hall’s Rusedski II in tonight’s Accumulator class. He set what proved to be an unbeatable time of 43.49 seconds. Jurgen Stenfert came the closest to threatening Robert’s time but had to settle for 2nd place. Competitors accumulate points for every jump they clear; double points are for the taking if they clear the Joker which is the biggest fence of the course. British riders were very strong in this International competition, securing three of the top six places. Andrew Davies who gained a Wildcard entry to HOYS has been in the money all week, and put a valiant performance to get 6th on the extremely sharp Wonderful Melody Van de Helle.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

News from horsemart for Sat at HOYS

News round up from Saturday
Well I have to say although the team are exhausted we are just still soaking up the atmosphere here. Although our feet are killing us there’s no stopping us. We have handed out over 5000 copies of the National Magazine and placed 100’s of ads on line. It’s been great to see you all and thank you for coming to the stand. Watch out for December’s edition of National Horsemart where I will be writing up all the interviews and you may even spot yourself in the gallery.
We have been behind the scenes today and finding out what goes on behind the scenes. What it takes to be a professional groom, the on site Veterinarian team and the wonderful musical drive with the shires to name but a few.
The Household Calvary had the crowd once again on their feet last night and was given a well deserved rapturous applause. We have interviewed some of the team and they have invited us to go and see them at their base in Knightsbridge London to find out how they train these wonderful horses. We will also be following the story as over half a dozen of the team will soon be leaving to go on active service abroad. So watch out for future editions of National Horsemart and of course the blog.
John Whitaker, Tim Stockdale and Ben Maher have given exclusive interviews to us which will be on line soon. The Whitaker team are all signing autographs here in the shopping village and the kids are just loving it!
The big news of the day is that due to an overwhelming response to her performance and by popular demand Katie is coming back! She will once again perform her dressage to music with Andrew Gould and Henry Boswell at Sunday nights Gala Performance. It really is a must see. Well done Katie.
Show Jumping
After coming so close to victory in Wednesday’s Squibb and Davies Junior Foxhunter Championship, Emily West took the Blue Chip Junior Newcomers title after flying through a superb jump-off round on Scharonie. The pair were followed closely by Pippa Allen riding Farouk Van de Schanshoeve in a time of 30.55 seconds. Rachael Connor and Kellys Mirah took third in 32.63 seconds.
The Dick Turpin Stakes saw Billy Twomey, who scored his first international win since a fall in April in the Sylvia Barnes Memorial Cup yesterday, continuing his fantastic run at HOYS with another win riding Fantasia. But even without the accident his achievement would have been remarkable, as unbelievably he only started riding the eight-year-old mare just over two weeks ago. The competition was on fire, and Ellen Whitaker on her veteran Cortaflex Kanselier, the third to go, set a scorching pace and a time of 59.45 seconds that no one could beat until Twomey and Fantasia raced round in 59.21. Third place went to Sweden's Linda Heed with Columbus H, winner of Thursday's Vinopolis Trophy, who went clear but was 4.10 seconds slower than Whitaker. Equestrian correspondent, Alan Smith, who has been writing for the Telegraph for an impressive 48 years, presented the Dick Turpin Stakes trophy to Billy.

Hanna Paul was crowned the HOYS Young Riders Champion of Great Britain after jumping the only double clear round of the class on Saffier Van De Kreek. Jemma Kirk and Wexford claimed the second spot with four faults and a time of 38.30 seconds closely followed by Louis Godber riding Gabriana also with four faults and a time of 41.36 seconds.

Great Britain’s number one show jumper, Robert Whitaker, took first prize on Rusedski II in one of the most competitive classes this week. The Andrews Bowen Classic is an exciting one round competition where riders go flat out to finish with the best time. Robert’s father John, riding Lactic 2, narrowly missed the top spot by a quarter of a second. Third place went to Irish rider Billy Twomey riding Whinny Jackson.

It was another Whitaker one-two in the last class of the day, the Diamond Jubilee Cup, which was extremely competitive due to the £13,000 prize fund and world ranking points on offer. Not fazed by the tough competition, Robert Whitaker secured his second victory of the day. He rode a double clear on Lacroix 9 in 44.99 seconds to snatch the title, top prize money and the all important world ranking points. Once again, his father John was just behind on Leandros De Semilly and Guy Williams followed in third riding Torinto Vd Middelstede.

See you all tomorrow

Friday, October 10, 2008

Horsemart at HOYS

Well its day three and I am on location at HOYS! Sorry it’s taken me a few days to get all the news up on the site but we have been so busy! Firstly a huge thank you to all of you that have dropped by to see us on the stand and we hope you enjoy your free copy of National Horsemart, October edition. The stand has been buzzing and I have lots to share with you. For those of you that are hard at work and haven’t had the opportunity to get up here I will do my best to keep you posted. I have taken lots of photos and some video footage that we will post up on the sight.
The atmosphere is absolutely amazing and anyone who says the credit crunch is upon us and no one is spending needs to come here and see all the shopping bags being carried around! We have placed over 100 adverts on line from passers by for horses for sale and anything equestrian.
Dressage Masterclass with Katie Price and Andrew GouldI have just watched Katie Price this afternoon doing her dressage to music with Andrew Gould and Henry Boswell. The crowd went wild as she entered the arena to her own husbands famous track Mysterious girl which came booming from the sound system. She did an amazing job – hats off to you Katie that must have been terrifying! Katie’s horse Jordan’s Glamour Girl is stunning, and together they made a very glamorous picture. She had a tough ride as Glamour Girl was very tense and looked ready to explode at any minute! She held her nerve and really wowed the crowd with one and two time flying changes, half pass and some great extended trots! She has clearly been working hard and practicing under the watchful eye of Andrew Gould. Well done, it was a great show and we appreciate your support with helping to raise the profile of our much loved sport. It was very clear that the crowd adored you!

The trade stands are buzzing with all the hottest and new products – watch out for December issue of Horsemart and we will cover a nice selection of the must haves for Christmas.
For those of you who are planning to come to HOYS don’t forget to come and say hello and grab your free copy and maybe some others goodies! We have our stand in the new Caldene arena Hall, stand Y5F. So you must come and see us.

The world’s most famous horse show kicked off to a flying start with an exciting programme packed with gripping showing and show jumping competition and spectacular equestrian entertainment.

The opening show jumping final at Horse of the Year Show, the new BSJA Amateur Classic class, saw a gripping battle between riders from all around the country. This Championship excludes the top 150 riders on the BSJA ranking list in order to focus on the amateur riders and proved a massive hit with the crowds at the Show. It was a super result for the female contingent - with the top five places all going to women riders. Gemma Hallet scooped first place with Wake Up, 2nd place went to Zoe Wilson on Rimilithius and Laura Johnson took third with Kool Kaiser.
Steph Gunn from Lincolnshire and her mare Funfair were next to take home first prize in the Squibb & Davies Junior Foxhunter Championship, beating last year’s Champion, Emily West and Scharonie, with the only two double clear’s in the class. The fight for 3rd place went to Stephanie Babes and Cassandra Van Het Roechof who beat fourth placed Amelia Green and Up-to-Trix by a quarter of a second.

The second day commenced with the first International show jumping class. The Sylvia Barnes Memorial Cup was won by Ireland’s Billy Twomey on Carron Nicol’s chestnut mare, Fantasia. With ten riders through to the jump-off, wildcard qualifier, Andrew Davies, followed closely taking second place riding Sir Graditz. The class was held in memory of Sylvia Rose Barnes MBE who severed as an official at the Show for 50 years and who passed away on Wednesday 28th May 2008 aged 96.
Today also saw a field of top riders battling it out in the Thomas Bates and Son Classic, a two phase in which riders who go clear in the first part of the course then immediately jump the second stage against the clock. Guy Williams and Torinto Vd Middelstede, on outstanding form in this class, had the fastest double clear with a speedy time of 32.23 seconds, preventing runner-up Tim Stockdale from snatching the top spot with Lou Lou. Third place went to Belgian rider Harrie Smolders riding Exquis Powerfee.

Scott Brash and Sauron M.L were crowned 2008 Horse & Hound Senior Foxhunter Champions, taking the top spot with an impressive time of 35.10 seconds. The Horse & Hound Foxhunter series annually attracts around 25,000 starters but only a line-up of 22 promising young horses qualified for tonight’s final. 16 horses made it through to the jump-off, with Ireland’s Billy Twomey narrowly missing out on second place on Blue Thunder in 35.27 seconds. Robert Whitaker took the 3rd spot with Rooney IV in 37.22 seconds.

The last show jumping class of the day was the Vinopolis Trophy with a prize fund of £13,000 as well as world ranking points on offer. It was all about accuracy and speed in this class and tonight it was Sweden’s Linda Heed who rode a fantastic round on Touch in a time of 56.93 seconds – more than two seconds faster than Graham Lovegrove’s ride on Pandur who followed in second place. Robert Whitaker and Lacroix took third place.

One of the BBC Sport’s profiled hopefuls for London 2012, eighteen year-old Daniel Neilson from Essex, scoped the Tri-Zone Senior Newcomers National Championship on Mrs. Celia Mason’s Chauvanist jumping a double-clear in 49.89 seconds. Junior European Team Gold Medallist, Daniel, looks set to continue his route to the top jumping impressively at the NEC today. Second place went to Nicky Boulter riding Super Trooper De Ness who had a quick time of 46.16 but one fence down in the jump-off. Bruce Menzies took third place riding Sultan V. The order list for the 7-Year-Old Championship read like a who’s who of the elite British Show Jumping Circuit. 22-year-old Scott Brash from Peebles in Scotland won the class with Beaujolais after two faultless rounds and a time of 37.2 seconds. The combination fought off stiff competition, including Nicole Pavitt who also jumped a double clear on Gemmaire Precious to achieve second place and David McPherson riding Maxim Trijol who took third.

Have a good weekend everyone and I will be back to update you with the weekends events and some behind the scenes gossip!
Take care

Monday, October 06, 2008

Horsemart head to HOYS

Hello everyone,

The Horsemart team are off to Horse of the Year Show this week.
With now the market leader we have a trade stand for the first time this year and are thrilled to be taking part.

We have an access all areas press pass and I am determined to get behind the scenes and bring you all the news, results and backstage gossip from all the big names. Keep a keen eye on the blog as we will upload to the site every day.

You simply have to come and see us to take advantage of the fantastic offers we have lined up for you.

FREE classified advert online
FREE Horsemart goodie bag
FREE Horsemart hoodie when you subscribe to National Horsemart Magazine
FREE sign up to Horsemart E-newsletter
FREE entry to competitions offering over £1000 worth of prizes for you and your horse

Also, due to the massive recent expansion, we are recruiting – come and see us to find out if you have what it takes to be part of the team! is now live and the new ‘facebook’ of the equestrian world. Come and see us and we will show you how to join this fantastic online pony community, where you can make new friends and share all news and views about you and your pony.

See you all there !

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Horsemart meets Conrad Schumacher

I went to the National Championships at Stonleigh to catch up with some of our top riders. The main focus of the day was my pre-booked interview I had with Mr Conrad Schumacher, I was very nervous! He has released a training DVD which as a dressage fan myself I was very keen to get my hands on! Rhegan White from Aderro Dressage, an accomplished rider in her own right and producer of the DVD, joined us.

Conrad Schumacher is one of the world's foremost dressage trainers, having trained many students to international Olympic and World Championship level. He has been an influential force for successful teams from Germany, Holland, Great Britain and the USA. With his many years of experience, first as a rider then as a coach, trainer and judge, and his excellent command of the English language, Conrad is able to communicate with clarity and candour the correct path for over 4000 horse and rider combinations.

Conrad was born on his family's 300 acre farm in Neuhof, south of Frankfurt. He sat on his first pony when he was 4 years old and his father, a captain in the German cavalry, gave Conrad his first lessons in jumping, hunting, military exercises, carriage driving and dressage.

At the age of 21, Conrad's father negotiated a sale of land to Dr. Josef Neckerman, next door to the family farm and Conrad would begin his dressage training in earnest under the Dr. Neckerman's supervision for the next 12 years. It was during this time that Conrad learnt to ride with the exacting principles of classical dressage and so began his life time passion with the sport.

At the age of 32, after 10 years successfully riding at the national and international level, Conrad focused his extensive knowledge and experience on training others. As his experience and successes grew, Conrad began to understand the importance of placing more emphasis on educating the rider. Enhancing rider's physical and mental awareness to create maximum harmony with the horse is now the cornerstone of Conrad's training philosophy.

This dressage training philosophy has developed into a system with which he has used to train over 4000 rider/horse combinations around the world. The results are impressive!

Olympic Games: ( Dutch Team)
1992 team silver
1996 team silver, individual bronze
2000 team silver

World Championships: (Dutch Team)
1994 team silver, individual bronze
1998 team silver

European Championships (Dutch Team)
1993 team bronze
1995 team silver
1997 team silver
1999 team silver
2001 team silver

The total tally of international medals exceeds 40! In the words of General Secretary of the Royal Dutch Federation, Mr. G.L. De Jong, “Mr. Schumacher has proven to be one of the best dressage coaches in the world. .....several nations make use of the skills of Mr. Schumacher to improve their top riders from average international level to the Olympic top level.”

His focus on mental fitness and rider awareness are enhanced and developed through his training of the horse with the basic foundations of the scales of training, his prerequisites for optimum performance and his selection of working patterns to achieve correct execution of movements throughout the levels.

HM – Thank you for talking to us. How are you enjoying your time here in the UK

CS – I like coming to the UK very much.

HM – What inspired you to make the DVD?

CS – I was inspired because since I stopped training individuals for medals I realised that more help was needed to train trainers!
I hope I have been a big influence on British riders, I feel it is important to bring information to riders and trainers. A lot of the training DVD’s that are available focus on the technical side of dressage.

HM – what is the most common training problem you come across?

CS – Most riders say to me that my half pass to left is better than the right!

HM – Why is that?

CS- I think they think too technical and want to ride with no mistakes! Well that is like getting married and expecting perfection – after a few months you become tense, after a few years you become divorced!

HM – So how do you overcome that?

CS – I change the approach; break it down to the essence of the sport.

HM – How?

CS – You must teach a good seat, (HM- the DVD shows this really well)! become flexible and have good balance and of course the neck in right position then everything comes. Systematic training which creates the relaxed correct outline and not only focusing on the technical stuff. The technical side will come, technique with no feel will not work.

HM – Why do you think riders are fine at home and have trouble when reaching the showground?

CS - Riders are good at home but at show ground it doesn’t go as well. This is due to their own mental fitness and quality of preparation.

HM – You have mentioned mental fitness quite a lot why do you think this is so important?

CS – without is you will not be a champion. If you can improve it and be prepared when you reach the showground, then will become a good competitor.

HM – Is there going to be a series of the DVD’s

CS – Yes, this is the first it is at novice level but the information regardless of your level will help you set up and check your basics are correct.

HM – why is your DVD different?

CS – I am convinced that mine is the best because of the feel and mental fitness the technical stuff is easy!

HM - Can u teach feel?

CS – Absolutely. You must however approach it systematically

HM – so what response are you hoping to get from the DVD

CS – I made the DVD to help people to share the secrets! I hope people will watch it 3 or 4 times and find it simple to follow. I can give you a glass of water but I can’t make you drink it.
Good luck to you all with your training.

Thank you Conrad

I have to say I walked away from meeting him feeling so totally inspired. Not only that there is hope for me personally as a rider but that someone that has trained over 4500 horse and rider combinations to success is still passionate to help us all and share his philosophy and not keep it a secret!!!!

We are going to see Conrad train in November on a Clinic at the home of Rhegan White & Aderro Dressage Centre. We will follow up this remarkable man who is still here to help and so passionate about training in January.

The website to purchase the DVD from is

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

At home with Nicola Ashton

When you turn into the driveway of Sparrow Oast Headcorn in Kent you would expect to then meet a team of people that keep and maintain this beautiful property. Post and rail fences surround well manicured paddocks that are lined by cut hedges and freshly cut verges.

You can imagine my surprise when I asked Nicola if I could meet her team. ‘What team?’ she replied! She runs her livery yard consisting of 10 stables and approx 40 acres. On the yard lives three beautiful competition horses, two brood mares, 2 foals and a few oldies that she hasn’t been able to part with all of her own, then the 5 full liveries and the two extra boxes that are used for training liveries that come in as and when! To say she is a hardworking very hands on professional dressage rider and trainer would be an understatement. She knows exactly what goes on with every horse, for example what every horse eats to which rug belongs to who. She has one full time, live in groom Nikki Gregan and between them they work seven days a week and offer an incredibly high standard of training and livery facilities.

Over the next few months Nicola has offered to run a series of articles for us to follow her life with her horses. We will be following each of her horses progress and competition appearances and Nikki’s training with her trainer Daniel Greenwood.

I spent the morning with Nikki and met the team. The atmosphere is fun and friendly and seems to run like clockwork. The horses are all very chilled and content and know their routine. All the yard is mucked out and cleared by 8.45am and then it’s breakfast. After breakfast the riding begins. Nikki rides 5 – 6 horses each day. I asked Nikki a few questions over our cornflakes and a cuppa!

HM - When did you start riding?
NA – I have been riding since I was a young girl and at the age of 10 I got my first pony. As my parents were not really horsey I am mostly self taught.

HM – How long have you been here at Sparrow Oast?
NA – I have been based at Sparrow Oast for 11 years and the yard has grown and progressed over the years. Its now at a size that’s manageable!

HM – what are your liveries like?
NA - All my liveries are dressage riders and working professional people who do it as a hobby and Im very proud of their achievements.

HM – is there anything you would like to have here that you don’t have?
NA - We don’t have an indoor school but we do have a wide and varied selection of winter clothing and we just get on with it!

HM- So Nikki, I have done a little research on how you have been doing and there are some nice results coming through now. You have been having some great success with your team, introduce me to your boys – Happy Diamond, Ronaldhinio and Rooney
NA – Happy Diamond known as Humer at home is an 8 yr old 17hh warmblood stallion by Harvard. I have had him for 16 months now.

HM – How did you find him?
NA – I went through an agent called Christian Heinherh – he finds horses for people all over the world.

HM - What were you looking for?
NA – I originally wanted something at Grand Prix level but saw Humer and he was exactly what I wanted in so many ways, he had every quality I had ever wanted and although less trained I knew he would be well worth the wait.

HM – What level was he at when you bought him?
NA - Because of his age he was graded Medium level, even though he was only lightly competed in Germany.

HM – Why did you go to Germany?
NA – there was just a wider choice of what I wanted Germany.

HM – How did you get him vetted and then eventually home?
NA – I used a horse transporters that picked him up and then came by boat, I was waiting at home for him to arrive, it was very exciting – I took my own vet Julian Samulson from Bell Equine with me to Germany to vet him. I have worked with Bells for many years and felt it imperative that a senior partner saw the horse for my own piece of mind. The X-rays were done in Germany but viewed by Julian here.

HM – So what is Humer doing now?
NA - He is competing advanced medium and we are working towards PSG. He is very handsome and his trainability and temperament are second to none. He is very good laterally and has great ground cover. He is impressive to watch and always gets good marks.

HM – How quickly has he progressed?
NA – He has progressed a great deal, he was very well trained had great basics and few tricks which is good, however for him to rise through the levels he needed to develop much greater sitability and strength behind to enable him to do the higher levels which is what we have been working on.

HM – Will you breed from Humer?
NA – Yes absolutely, I will purchase new brood mares soon and he will also be available for breeding through others.

HM – Your next horse Rooney – great name, did you name him and why Rooney?
Nikki laughs!
NA – Rooney lives up to his name he is quite a handful and has some character. He is 16.2hh German warmblood who was also found for me by Christian as a four year old and imported.
He is competing elementary working Medium at home and has started his flying changes this summer which he is finding easy

HM whats is character like?
NA – He is quite a talented horse but very tricky mentally – keeping Roonies attention is not so easy we feel its going to be a year or two before he is fully settled in the ring.

HM – What sort of problems do you have with him?
NA - He is very spooky and unfortunately that has let him down on many occasions on the past – his tests are always exciting and he can get the full range of marks on one test sheet from 1’s to 9’s!

HM – do you change your training with him?
NA – No not really the fundamentals remain the same. The important thing is to get him to let go and relax so he can be more focused. Nikki’s trainer Daniel Greenwood has a soft spot for Rooney – he says very capable got good ability to collect and extend and very able to get it, but is a tense character, he is quick to learn very good side ways.

HM – So whats the plan with Rooney?
NA – just keep doing it – he will come.

Spice at home is 5yrs old and 16.1hh by Rubenroyal also and so half brother to Rooney.
HM – Where did you get him?
NA I brought him from Rebecca Hughes as a 3 yr old just broken. I actually went to look at him for a client but he wasn’t quite suitable and a little small. I really liked him and unfortunately I had just lost another horse tragically to colic so I decided to buy Spice.

HM – where is Spice at?
NA - At novice level. He had to have some time off so he is making up some ground. He is doing really well I am pleased with him. He has done a couple of young horse classes, and next year he will be ready for Elementary – he is very easy to do very easy in the stable and very trainable but he has a fun side too which comes out from time to time –
HM – we will follow Spice’ progress and his transition to Elementary.

HM – what is your training routine through the winter?
NA – Training is the same but it varies due to their mental and physical place each horse is in. I go in the school 4 times per week under saddle hack out once then one lunge then a total day off.

HM – Does this change when a competition coming up?
NA - No stays consistent just will maybe run through the test a few times

Nikki trains with Daniel Greenwood. Nikki & Dan have known each other for 10yrs

HM – Why Dan?
I have always found Dan to be extremely professional and sympathetic to the horse and always felt I got a lot out of every session. I Would do a lot more if we lived closer. I go to Dan once per month for 2 days at a time and generally ake all three horses with me.

Dan rides at Inter 2 & Grand Prix level. He is based in the Cotswolds at Lady Inchcape’s farm. Lady I owns Santa Cruise who we will be seeing a lot of in the future. Dan trains with Carl Hester and Lady I, a list 1 judge helps Dan a lot at home.
Dan started ridng at 8 yrs old and when I asked him why dressage he simply replied ‘cause I couldn’t see a stride!’
Best moment – wining at the Nationals Championship Stonleigh
Where do you want to be this time next year? riding Grand Prix with Santa

Nikki also loves teaching and gets a lot of pleasure from her liveries that all compete and train with her – She and Dan said the same thing when I asked if you had to be of a certain level or standard to get their help – the reply was simply ‘I will help anyone that wants to learn’. You can contact Nikki on 07803 255221 if you wish to enquire about lessons or training livery.

We will catch up with Nikki and her team next month and get to grips with her training.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008


Good afternoon we just wanted to warn any advertisers that we have heard someone has received a scam email. Please be wary of any emails that are sent to you that are asking unusual questions and where the English is not always very good.

this is what the 2nd email said:
Thanks for the mail,i am really happy to hear back from you because it really made my day,My dad was from England while my mum is from Netherland,I'm highly greatful you are selling it to me and want you to know that i am buying it for my daughter who has just finished her Doctorate degree and i am buying the car as a present for her.The price Sounds Good too, I really appreciate your prompt reply and i'm glad you are selling to me once again...First,I'm okay with the selling cost and as for the shipping i dont want you to bother about that,I have a shipping company that handles my shipments,All you need do is to keep the car in a safe and good condition... I have a staff associate oweing closed to £5,000 on our last transaction,so i will instruct him to issue it out to you through a Bank Draft drawn from United Kingdom bank.When you get the payment you will deduct your £1470 for the car and extra £200 for the stress and hussle you may go through to cash and wire the remaining funds to my shipper for them to be able to come for the pickup at your location...Also i bought some other things too for my loving daughter and my shipper will be picking them up also, so they will need the remaining funds to enable them come for the pickup....It takes 1 to 2 working days to clear a Bank Draft,so the Bank Draft must clear before pickup can commence.Notify me immediately when you get the funds so i will furnish you with my shipper's information who will be coming for the pickup at your location..HOPE I CAN TRUST YOU....Am sure you can await the payment in the mail, It will be sent to the Information you will provide for me...Full name...Full address...City..State..Zipcode...Country...Phone number... I will appreciate if you can remove the advert and consider it sold to me alone? I will be happy if you can do that today..I will be looking forward to read from you.

And this was the 1st email:

Hello Seller, Am interested in buying your advert which I saw for sale. I'm moved by the advert,which is o.k. for me to buy.I will want you to mail me if it is still for sale and I will like you to email me with your last offering price so as to make plans for the payment.And i will want you to get back to me with the following conditions below: 1, present body condition: 2,Your last offer: 3,The latest pictures,If available : I'll be looking forward to your response. Thanks and Have a Nice day...

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Firle Britsh Eventing 30th and 31st Aug 08

We are off to Firle this weekend; the team will be there with our stand. SO come and buy your copy of the September issue for only a £1! With competitions to enter too there’s no excuse to not stop by and say hello!

It is a lovely venue packed with things to see and do – Sunday August 31st: boasts a Country Fair including: fun fair, archery, lurcher show, longdog racing, terrier racing, terrier show, Companion dog show, food and trade stands, fully licenced Bar and a Pimms Bar by the water jump.

The line up of competitors is impressive with our Olympians Tina Cook & Sharon Hunt competing along side the likes of Pippa Funnel & Sacha Pemble. They all have at least 6 horses competing over the weekend! I intend to be hot on their heels for an interview to find out just how they cope!

Horsemart are sponsoring a fence in the Novice section of the cross coutry it is an open rail oxer so nice and inviting. Good luck to all of those competing!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Horsemart attended Edenbridge and Oxted where we sponosored the Topscore and had a nice chat with William Funnel

This fabulous show began as the East Surrey Society Show, which was established in 1837, the year Queen Victoria came to the throne. Eventually, by 1947, the Edenbridge & Oxted Shows merged and held their August Bank Holiday Show in Edenbridge until 1987, when a new showground was purchased at Ardenrun, Lingfield

The Show has developed a unique friendly atmosphere and had a great turn out despite the weather! With a vast number of diverse country activities from Agriculture & Horticulture to Horses and Country Sports there was plenty to see and lots of shopping! The Horsemart stand was busy as usual and we had sponsored the Top Score Show jumping class so I went over to find William Funnell outside the collecting ring for a chat.

William, what brings you to the Edenbridge & Oxted show?
I have brought some younger horses with me today, it’s a good run out for them to get them used to the main ring and to the atmosphere.

Anything with good potential that we should be looking out for in the future?
The two 7 year olds I have today are both looking good for the future. Beowulf has already qualified for HOYS 7 year old class and Billy Congo won the British seven year old Championship last week.

Which classes are you doing?
Both the 7 year olds are going to do the Horsemart Top Score class, it’s good experience for them. Billy Congo was going to do the International tomorrow but as there has been a few show cancellations lately I probably won’t do that now, but he is nearly ready.
One of them will do the Speed class 1.30 later which I will decide on after the Top Score.

So what are you doing tomorrow?
Im going to bring some of the older horses tomorrow, Kepi D’Elle is a good mare that needs a leg stretch. She is 18 and has had some time off as we have taken embryos from her.

Is it difficult having so many horses at one show to organise?
This is a nice show for us as it is only 45 minutes from home it is easy to pop back and forth with the horses.

How long has it taken to produce Beowulf and Billy Congo?
We broke them both at 3 yrs old and it takes a long time to get to this stage, this is the important year for them as next year they will jump international tracks.

The class was really exciting with the maximum points to be had at 200 which was wiggly planks at maximum height. The arena was quite slippery and there was a couple of falls, we wish Giles Mooney all the best with is own horse that slipped into a fence and left the arena lame.
William took the lead on his second ride Beowulf with a great score of 1520 in a time of 62.59. He was piped to the post by Nicole Pavitt on Amarylliscvan De Heffink who put in an unbeatable performance that had us all holding our breath! Well done Nicole.

1st Nicole Pavitt on Amaryllisvan De Heffink
2nd William Funnel on Beawulf
3rd Louise Pravitt on Make Haste
4th Keith Doyle on Sassy
5th Keith Doyle on Landleibe
6th William Funnel on Billy Congo

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Horsemart catches up at OEC summer regionals with 2 of the judges

I popped my head into the VIP marquee where I found Judge and trainer Sue Rowlands who judged Prelim 17.

Sue says: The first two thirds were lucky to get the sunshine then the weather was unkind and became very windy.

I was sitting at E in the judges’ box which was very scary for the young horses! We had a lot of spooking which brought the percentages down, but there were plenty of quality horses and lots of potential for the future.

Sue added: Oldencraig is a lovely venue, it was well organised and the stewards did a great job with everyone on time!

Jane Kendall Judge, was writing for Novice Restricted and commentated that the weather certainly effected the horses performance – they have seen these horses many times before on the circuit and can go better.
Jane also heads up the British Dressage Supporters Club (BDSC).

What does the BDSC do?
Encourage young riders by supporting the Pony Club Area Dressage Competitions and awarding training grants and rosettes at The Pony Club Championships. We support and sponsor the Talent Spotting Scheme to find and encourage talented young riders. We also sponsor the Development Day for assessors of the scheme.

With membership fees of only £20 per annum there’s no excuses – so come on dressage fans contact Jane and join this worthy cause!

For further information please contact
Jane will be at the Nationals and will be happy to see you on their stand situated opposite the main arena.

Horsemart interviews Dorothy Taylor at OEC Southern Regionals

Oldencraig Equestrian Centre again hosted the British Dressage Summer Regionals on 9th & 10th August.

I went along to see how the weekend went and to meet some of the competitors, judges and of course winners!

The location is fabulous with the International arena and a new indoor and outdoor school the atmosphere is spot on for an event of this calibre, just a real shame about the weather!

The first person I bumped into was Dorothy Taylor riding her own Floriston. She truly is an inspiration to us all, still competing and still determined to get to PSG. Dot was competing elementary and finished a very respectable 7th on 65.73. Dot was also very close to qualifying at Medium with being placed 2nd fives times!!! Got the high scores but just piped at the post! That’s dressage!

I asked Dot a few more questions

So Dot, how long have you been riding.
With a slight blush and a big smile she replies 50 plus years!

How did you start?
I pestered my poor father for 4 years until he gave in and let me start having lessons and finally went and bought me a pony from the market.
Dot continues….
I started with the Pony Club and went on to hunting, show jumping and eventing, I got to intermediate.

When did you focus on Dressage?
After taking a few nasty falls and breaking a few bones I decided to focus on dressage which I have been doing to 25 years now.

Who do you train with?
I train with Paul fielder who is based in Norwich. He comes down to me every 6 – 8 weeks.

Where did you qualify?
I qualified may and June at Hickstead

Tell us a bit about Floriton?
I knew of him and when I heard he was up for sale I had to go. I have had hm for one & half years, he cost me a lot of money but has been worth every penny. He is the perfect horse to finish riding career.

So Dot what’s your goal? When are you going to stop?
I am aiming for PSG and determined to get there!

Good luck Dot – we will keep an eye on you and come and report on your first ride at PSG!

horsemart interviews Simon Laurens

I was just about to go home as by now I was quite wet, I went to the lovely new cafĂ© at Oldencraig and was queuing for a cup of tea when I noticed the two gentlemen in front of me were wearing Team GB jackets. I had just run into Simon Laurens our Para Olympian and self confessed ‘Oldest Olympic Virgin’
We are going to follow Simon over the next few months and keep you informed of the highs and lows of this amazing man and his team.

Major Achievements:
Having become a Grade III para rider in November 2005, he won all four para trials he contested with his partner John Gamlin’s former show horse, Ocean Dream, and qualified for the Winter Para Regional Championships. Ocean Dream was retired after going lame the day before the regionals.
Simon has competed Ocean Diamond since, winning all the competitions he has entered on British soil, three para trials as well as the final selection trial and the BD Winter Paratrial Championships. He competed at his first international in Germany in 2006, finishing second in his first test and third in the freestyle. At the 2006 Hartpury International he won the grade III individual championship test and the grade III team test and was a member of the winning British team. That same year, Simon won the Grade III Disabled Dressage Rider Championship at the National Dressage Championships. In 2007 Simon won a team gold and individual freestyle gold (III) at the World Championships, Hartpury.

When are you off to Hong Kong?
Going to Hong Kong on the 22nd August

How excited are you?
Relaxed at the moment & excited but nervous & I feel cautious about what it will be like.

How did your life change when you were diagnosed?
It wasn’t just me, my partner John Gamlin was diagnosed with parkinsons the same year ! What a tough year that was! Everything changed, Simon laughs ‘what a bloody year that was!!’ But, we just stuck together and said sod it – I’m not going to let some disease beat me and here we are. I always say, I’m not ill just ‘ slightly impaired’ I wont be beaten by the bugger!

I’m now totally focused on the Games and cant wait.

Ocean Don Jon has just won the Novice today and third in the Elementary with Ulrick Molgaard with just under 70% you must be thrilled? Tell us some more about him

My trainer Henrietta Anderson found Don Jon in Denmark chosen for temperament, he really is MR unflappability. He is by Donahaul and has a lovely laid back brain. He will be my reserve horse and is off to quarantine on th 18th August.

Ocean Diamond is your main horse, tell us some more about him?
Ocean diamond is by Rubenstein, we have had him two & half years, he is a tiny little horse with big personality and attitude who has never let me down, I adore him. He is quirky and suits the para games. He was an advanced horse and went Grand Prix in Holland but found the pressure hard to cope with. The owner thankfully recognised this and decided to sell.

John & I started to look and we advertised on the internet. I wrote up a list of wants and needs, John then said ‘seeing as I am paying I want one thing, I want a black one!!!!’
I laughed and added it in but that’s exactly what we got!
It was obviously meant to be.

Tell us some more about your Trainer?
The horses are based at Henreitta’s yard so I practically train every day! Henrietta is always around and keeps an eye on me – she is really strict but I love it, I can’t bare trainers that say ‘that’s nice’ or ‘that’s good’ when it isn’t really! She says ‘Again, again not good enough!’ she is a good hearted bully and gets the very best out of me!!

Where’s home for you?
Home in Jersey, it’s just a livery yard, we have lovely facilities there but I can’t run it anymore, due to my condition some days it can take me hours to get out of bed and I’m just not reliable. The main boys are with Henrietta and Ulrik permanently which just takes the worry out. I love it there, I get in everyone’s way and make the tea and have a lovely time!

Will Quarantine be a problem for you?
Quarantine is the last week in Aug and the base which is really close to the yard makes it all very simple. I will stay at home as we still have dogs and cats to look after.

When do you fly out?
We fly out on 26th and will meet up with the horses there.

What are you expecting?
I am going completely open minded with the objection of winning!
Horses are not machines, you have to stay open minded when competing, anything can happen, they are living breathing thinking things – the conditions apparently are tough and will take time to adjust.

What are your chances?
On paper really good, but the other factors are there. It’s going to be the one that survives on the day and produces the best four & half minutes!

Do you have a groom going?
Michelle Tipper is my Groom – she is freelance now but was with Nikki Barrett – I was asked and I choose Michelle & Jenny Ellis is head girl – grooms are so important and must not be forgotten.
Richard Davison, Nick Skelton and I nominated Jenny for Groom of the year and she won. Well deserved. They really are the unsung heroes, so much work goes on in the background. I have lots of little quirks – He must have sugar lumps, 4 before bridle, 3 after the bridle goes on, girth must be on one hole then four, and so on and so on… The girls know all these and just get the job done I don’t have to worry about anything except my performance.

How long will you be out there?
3 weeks out there – The horses come home on the 14th, then going to Beijing for the closing ceremony which I am really excited about.

Will you bring us some photos back?
Of course I will!

Who’s in charge of the team?
Mr Hunter is our leader, he is charm personified! – His military style sometimes causes a stir, we have to remind him we have bits missing and spend most of time on wheels! Sometimes our bodies let us down, so when we need to pee we have to stop! It’s hilarious sometimes.

We have an amazing team, Lee, Debbie, Ann, Sophie, and the three new people, myself Rikki Balshaw Felicity Coultard. I am honoured to be with them.

Good luck Simon – I look forward to following you over the next few months.

Follow Simons Blog and don’t forget to purchase the Ocotber issue to read the full report.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Edenbridge and Oxted show 24th and 25th August

Come and meet the lovely ladies from at Edenbridge and Oxted for our great show offers.
  1. Copy of September National horsemart magazine for only £1
  2. Exclusive online discounts for any adverts placed
  3. 30% off all subscriptions taken out at the show
  4. Free entry into our show prize draw to win - field shelter, Aquamax bedding and £250 of Tayberry clothing.

We look forward to meeting you there. Remember if you are competing then post your results/ pics on horsemart forum

The horsemart team