The Best Bits Of Equestrian News in 2019.

I am seeing a lot of round up posts and recaps of the year being published today and thought I would do the same. Mine is slightly different though, like normal! Mine is only the positive stuff. I know that you might say this is not a real look of the world if you only mention positive things, but you can watch the news, read a tweet from Donald Trump or think about Brexit for 2 minutes to feel pretty low and confused to balance it out if you like.

2019 has had a lot of positives, so here are my 12 favourites bits of horsey news that made me smile in 2019.

1) A pony and his boy. The story of a young boy in New Zealand with Downs Syndrome and his pony has been made into a documentary being shown around the world. Josh is eight years old and it shows how his pony Berry who is 28 years old has helped him. The documentary won a Winnie award at The Equus Film Festival this year.

2) Piggy French smashed British eventing results records this season. Piggy claimed 1768 British Eventing points this season after winning 38 events and achieving a further 74 top ten placings after 160 starts. Amazing!

3) Equestrian Pulse Podcast launched! Shameless plug alert! This year I was delighted to be asked to part of this amazing new podcast along side Heather Wallace of The Timid Rider and Andrea Parker of The Sand Arena Ballerina (fellow equestrian bloggers). It has been such fun to be part of this and we even managed to reach 500 downloads in November which was a real surprise since we only launched in September. Be sure to check it out we talk about everything in the equestrian world and features interviews with some really cool and interesting horsey people. You can listen on Spotify, Buzzsprout, Apple Podcasts and iHeartradio.

4) Mark Todd retired. The legend that is Mark Todd retired again this year but this time it is for good. He retired once before after the Sydney Olympics in 2000, but could not keep away and returned to Eventing for the Olympics in 2008. Todd is now 63 and has won 4 times at Badminton, 5 times at Burghley, 2 Olympic gold medals and many many more. He has had a phenomenal career and has now started training race horses. Todd announced his retirement this year at Camphire International Horse Trials in Ireland after finishing 5th.

5) Khadijah Mellah was the first British Muslim woman in the UK to compete and win in a horse race wearing a hijab. Mellah had ridden since she was 12 prior to winning the Magnolia Cup at the Ebony Riding Club in Brixton, an inner city stables consisting of 9 horses aimed at getting deprived youngsters in riding. Although, she had never sat on a racehorse until 2 months before the race.  She now aims to gain an amateur jockey license whilst she studies mechanical engineering at university.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

6) The Queen of England is still riding at the age of 93 years old. She was pictured in November riding one of her fell ponies. That is riding goals right there!

7) Pippa Funnel made an amazing comeback. Funnel won Burghley at age 50 after a massive 14 year gap since her last big win.

8) Burghley cross country course. This I thought needed a mention, not sure if everyone would class it as a ‘best bit’ of 2019 but it was certainly a big talking point! The cross country course was so difficult that only half of the participants finished the course and only 1 person (Piggy French of course) made it round inside the optimum time.

9) Jonty Evans returned to Badminton. After suffering from a serious head injury from a riding accident in 2018. Jonty Evans took part in a dressage demonstration held by Pammy Hutton in front of a crowd at Badminton. It turns out that he was going to Talland for lessons on Art and it was Pammy who helped him achieve his goal of jumping again this year. He even actually managed to compete on Art this year too. Way to go Jonty only 1 year after being in a coma for 6 weeks!

Photo Credit: Sarah Farnsworth

10) France banned trimming of horses whiskers for horses competing in FFE endorsed events. Citing that whiskers are essential in guiding a horse to food and away from other objects and aid their spacial awareness. This is something that many have praised.

11) British Soldier Ezphia Rennock, who served in the Household Cavalry managed to buy his old equine partner when he was retired from service.  Rennock described Agricola as a proper trouble maker, both new to the military when they started in the Queen’s Guard in 2000 but they eventually bonded well. Rennock retired in 2007 and his old colleagues informed him that Agricola his ex equine partner was being retired in 2019. So he placed a sealed bid for him. He later found out that someone had bid 4x times the price he had but because he enclosed a letter stating why he wanted to buy him he was chosen. Agricola now still lives in the Duchy stables in the Queen’s grounds at the palace but is owned by Rennock who visits him everyday.

12) Lastly is a little bit of good news for 2020. A film of Black Beauty is being remade and is set to star Kate Winslet! O.M.G!

So, I hope that your 2019 has been good and that you have enjoyed my round up of Equestrian News. I would like to wish you a very happy new year and let’s hope 2020 is even better!


Here are some of my other blogs that may interest you.

Burghley Cross Country 2019. Tough Course or Too Much?

What a Season It Has Been For Piggy French!








What a Season It Has Been For Piggy French!

As the Eventing season is coming to an end I would like to take a moment to celebrate the success of Piggy French this season. What a season she has had! Wow!

Last weekend saw Piggy smash the record of international wins in a season. After winning two classes at Osberton Horse Trials, then winning the 6 year old World Championship Piggy has now won 15 international events this season alone! Michael Jung previously held this record at 13 international wins in a season in 2009, 2014 and 2015. Woohoo! Piggy has won at Badminton, Blenheim and Chatsworth to name a few.

Photo: piggy


I thought celebrating this with Piggy is so good for women in the sport (I do love it when a girl wins!) but also for perseverance too. I remember watching Piggy when I was younger at events as someone that I noticed because of her name and now she has had the most successful season of eventing in history!

With that in mind I wanted to find out more about Piggy and how she got to be so successful, as although she has had some great success she certainly has had a more than her fair share of disappointment too. Piggy has been competing for over 25 years and started her international career in 2001 in the Young Rider European Championships in Belgium, where she won team gold and individually came 4th. Since then her career has flourished, competing in several European and World Equestrian games successfully. Most recently in 2018 where she was part of the team that won gold at The World Equestrian Games in Tyron, USA. Piggy is not just a one hit wonder either, she has had success with several different horses too including Vamir Kamira, Jakata and Cooley Lancer to name a few.

Did you know that not only did she win badminton this year, she beat her ex Oliver Townend of whom she dated for 7 years to the title leaving him in second place! Yeah! She is happily married now to Tom March and they have a three year old little boy but still that had to feel good!!

Photo credit:

Those are just the hi-lights though, as we probably all know even the best laid plans involving horses never go quite right. Well this has been the case for Piggy over the last few years and that maybe an understatement. Piggy qualified for the London Olympics in 2012 with two horses Jakata and Topper W and dedicated her life to getting these two horses ready for the Olympic games.  But it wasn’t meant to be as both horses picked up injuries just before the event. Meaning that Piggy never made it there. But not only that she lost a lot at that very ‘gloomy time’ as she describes. She lost owners, funding and sponsorship. Luckily a few months later she won an international event on Tinka’s Time and she could see a light again at the end of the tunnel. The pair were shortlisted for the European Championships in 2013, but the day after she received the phone call to tell her that Tinka’s Time was lame as well! Piggy describes this time as a time where she ‘had an anger inside her that she couldn’t overtake’ the harder she tried the less seemed to happen for her. She dreaded headlines of her missing out on another season due to injury, people criticising the way she looks after her horses and really couldn’t see a path forwards. It was rock bottom for her.

Fast forward to the beginning of 2016 and Piggy discovered that she was pregnant. ‘An  emotional bombshell’ for her as of course this would dramatically affect this season too, actually feeling like she was letting her owners down again. She dished out the horses that she had to other riders and took a step back. Now, without any rides of her own she went to visit other riders and observe what they do, she learnt a lot and started feeling more positive again. After taking a step back and remembering why she got into the sport to begin with, the love she has for bringing on horses not just winning titles and once she had her baby, she started to get the competitive spirit back again and managed to secure some new owners including comedian Jennifer Saunders and one year later came second at Burghley in 2017. From there she has not looked back. Back with a renewed passion she just kept winning!

No longer just the girl with the funny name, whose real name is actually Georgina. Piggy actually thought about changing her records back to Georgina, but now finds it quite funny that they will have to write Piggy in the record books!

We are now very close to the end of the 2019 season and its fair to say it has not just been the year of the pig in Chinese calendars but in Eventing too and long may it continue! Well done Piggy I am so glad the years of hard work are finally paying off for you!


Copyright of Louise Dando and In Due Horse 2019.






My Horsey Plans for October 2019

October is going to be a busy month. But luckily it’s full of horsey fun! I thought I would write a post about all of my plans and then we can look back at the end of October to see how I got on!

Firstly I have entered my second Prelim online dressage test. This month I have entered Prelim 12. I was so pleased with my result of 61.5% in prelim 1 in September but looking at the video there are simple things I can do to improve. I came 21st out of 25 in September, so I am hoping to be further up the leaderboard each month I enter.

I am particularly excited about the Perry Woods Horsemanship Clinic. Katie and I are taking Mya to this clinic, which is about 1.5 hours away from where we are in Toulouse. I have never taken Mya anywhere before and it is perfect place to start as it is just some lessons and not a competition! Baby steps! I have written a lot recently that it has taken me a while to click with Mya, so having a clinic to go to is really exciting. Katie and I are sharing the days, so I will ride on the Thursday in both sessions then I am heading home as I have a wedding to go to in the UK and Katie is staying another night and riding in both sessions on the Friday.

At the end of the month I am having a lesson with my French Instructor. I have had one lesson before and really enjoyed it. I go to a local riding stables near where Mya is kept. It really gave me a massive confidence boost last time and I vowed that I would go back. It has taken longer to go back than I planned as the lessons are only available in the afternoons, which doesn’t work for me as I normally child mind every afternoon in the school term. So each school holidays I am going to try to go. Its excellent for my riding and it’s brilliant for my French too.

The final weekend of October I am going to Pau 5* Cross Country day. I went last year and loved it and am excited about going this year. This year Cris and Julian my friends are coming with me and James which I think will be really fun! I saw some big names there last year competing including Oliver Townend and Gemma Tatterstall, so I am looking forward to see what riders are competing there this year.

During the month of October I will be trying to participate in #Horsetober. This is being run by a french blogger from Cheval et Moi, which will be great for my french. I posted a few weeks ago on instagram that I will be posting all my posts in English and in French but I must admit I have been finding this too hard, as I don’t want to write incorrectly and be told I’m rubbish at french! So this is a good middle ground!




Burghley Cross Country 2019. Tough Course or Too Much?

I watched all of the cross country yesterday at Burghley online and it made for very tense viewing! There was fall after fall, refusals a plenty and lot of people retired. This makes me ask the question was that course too hard? The safety pins were a big taking point on the commentary as competitor after competitor was demolishing jump after jump. Is this the point of cross country? To have obstacles that most of the horses can’t clear? There were jumps so wide on the course that it actually got hard to watch horse after horse attempt to clear them, but fail and fall with their rider. It actually reminded me of Lemmings at one point! It was pretty crazy!

Out of 67 starters only 33 finished. Of those 33, 23 managed to go clear. 1 within the time! Whilst 20 competitors were eliminated out on the course. However I’m going to put it out there, it was brilliant to watch. No horses or riders were injured despite the large number of falls and quite frankly all the ups and downs made it absolutely thrilling! Burghley is known to be the toughest 5* event in the world and course builder Captain Mark Phillips certainly made sure it was yesterday.

There are many opinions about the use of frangible pins. Many people saying that this course was more dangerous because of the use of the pins.  However I disagree as it is simply not true. No horses were injured after falling. Ok it was unpleasant to see so many of them fall. But if you compete at this level there is a very high risk of falling to you and your horse. Crikey I never competed at affiliated level and I have been fallen on by my horse several times, it happens.

Frangible pins were designed in 2002 in the UK. They were originally designed to prevent rotational falls. As rotational falls are the most dangerous way of falling. They have become controversial because of course now you can have faults for knocking obstacles. For example if you knock a pin and a fence collapses you gain 11 faults. This was not possible before as these jumps could not be knocked down. Many people have argued that courses are now being made harder because of the pins and that the courses are actually becoming too hard.

It was very interesting to watch the footage of the cross country yesterday. The difference between the calibre of the riders was glaring. You needed to have experience of riding at 5* events to clear this course. There were a few inexperienced combinations that continued too far in my opinion, when they already had a few hairy moments then eventually fell. You simply can’t be competitive if you are struggling on a course like this. If you are struggling it is simply too dangerous to carry on and I think that was a tough lesson for some of the inexperienced combinations. However, the likes of Pippa Funnell, Piggy French and Oliver Townend made the course look easy. They are experienced and not only could ride the jumps well and safely but also knew when it was ok to speed up in between the fences without tiring their horses too much. This makes me wonder if the qualification process for 5* events is too easy? Should the qualification process be more stringent?

Burghley Horse Trials
Photo credit: American Eventing Association

There were many riders that made that course look as hard as it was. I watched an interview with Captain Mark Phillips after the cross country had finished yesterday and he said that the gates in the course were far more unforgiving that he imagined and that they would not be used again. He wasn’t happy that only 33 people completed the course and claimed that was not his intention. When questioned about the toughness of the course, his response was that simply the calibre of riders that attempted the course was lower than normal. I was shocked when I heard him say that at first. However then he listed the riders that were missing and that you would normally expect to see at this event Tina Cook, Mark Todd, Ingrid Klimke, Michael Jung and William Fox-Pitt to name a few that he felt could have tackled the course well and I think he is right. The course was hard but I do agree that all of the people he mentioned could have tackled that course well.

This course is a 5* course after all. I think the frangible pins are a good thing and I think that we shouldn’t lessen the challenge of eventing. To me that event was top level eventing at its finest. It reminded me of going to Badminton when I was child and seeing these enormous fences that felt so scary and dangerous. Now they are scary but the facts show they were not dangerous as despite there being a lot of falls, not one single horse was injured. To me the Maltings combination simply seemed too wide for the majority of horses and I did not enjoy watching people go through there as so many horses fell trying to clear it. Although there needs to be challenges on the course, as it cannot be just a dressage competition that is not the point of eventing.

Burghley Horse trials
Photo credit:

Now, our sport is a dangerous one. We cannot dumb it down too much or how will the sport develop? It is one thing to include safety measures, but we still need to have the toughest courses possible for our elite competitions. A true test for these horses and riders. There were many alternative longer routes that many didn’t use. If that had been my first run at that level, I would have picked the easiest way round possible and retired if it was too much for me and my horse. A lot of the inexperienced combinations did not seem to do that and I don’t know why.

Despite the course being criticised for being too hard, I throughly enjoyed watching it yesterday. No I did not enjoy the rotational falls. But it was a thrilling day of sport and let’s not forget that some of the drama was not down to the course! Tim Price falling on the flat in the lake – what bad luck! Buck Davidson fell, was rolled over by his horse then when the horse got up there was an awful moment he was left dangling upside down as his foot was stuck in his stirrup. Urgh! Zara Tindell falling off at one of the simpler fences because of an unlucky run out And let’s not forget poor Georg Hilton Jones’ horse that jumped a fence but got his leg stuck in his martingale which caused him and his rider to fall after the jump! Wow! It was edge of your seat stuff. Yes it would have been different if people or horses had been injured but no one was so to me that is a successful day eventing!

What are you thoughts? Was the course too tough in your opinion?

Overnight Scores heading into showjumping:

1st – Pippa Funnell – MGH Grafton Street – 26.8

2nd- Piggy French – Vanir Kamir – 26.9

3rd – Oliver Townend – Ballghmoor Class 27.3

Its going to be a exciting showjumping competition this afternoon.

Copyright of Louise Dando and In Due Horse 2019.


The Lesson That Changed Everything!

I wanted to get round to telling you all about my first riding lesson in many years. This something that had wanted to go and do for a long time,  but as I now live in France I was frightened of going incase I couldn’t understand anything the instructor said. Like most people when they start speaking another language, some days I feel fluent, like I can understand anything or there’s those other days that I will make one tiny mistake or not be understood & then think how stupid was to think I can speak French! So going for a lesson to start with was quite the personal achievement.

I picked a stables near where Mya is kept. It was familiar and I was able to book online. The yard is called Encayla. My friend Nic came with me for moral support as she was familiar with the yard as she had previously had a pony on part loan there for her son Jake to learn to ride. Handily Nic is also an ex riding instructor.

The day I went for my lesson, the weather was apocalyptic. Storms and heavy rain continued throughout the day. Marion my instructor had text that morning asking me my size and my riding ability so she knew which horse to put me on. So I knew the lesson wasn’t cancelled. That would have been a good excuse not to go!

We arrived at the yard and the weather seemed to break. I was told I was riding Campa, who to me looked like a big pony. Pretty looking horse but seemingly quite nervy. I was regretting telling Marion that my riding was ‘ bien’,  when I needed to ask Nic to help me tack her up. (At french riding stables you come 15 mins early to brush and tack up the horse you are riding). Campa just seemed nervous or excited, moving around, pawing the ground which was making me a bit nervous too now. Gulp. I tried to be brave so I didn’t look like a complete wimp in front of Nic.

It was time to get on. I led Campa to the smaller arena. There was stuff everywhere. Cones, poles, whips & jumps. But it was only me riding so I tried not to let it bother me. I got on and Campa felt so tense! She felt like a coiled spring ready to explode but I didn’t know how. As we started to warm up Marion told me that Campa does not like any contact on her reins and that I must ride with loose reins to keep her calm. This to me was the opposite of I wanted to do. However I did what I was told. Half relieved that I could understand what Marion was saying to me and half relieved that Campa hadn’t galloped or bucked me off yet.

Marion was right, we walked and trotted and Campa became more and more relaxed. She quite quickly settled down, and riding her with loose contact actually started feeling normal. I no longer had the urge to shorten her up to gain control as it was not necessary. Campa was doing everything I asked of her. I realised as I riding that Campa that my tenseness is the exact same thing that happens when I ride Mya. Mya is strong and can lean on my hands, and instead of pulling her up (which only occurred to me to do after Katie telling me recently) I just get more and more tense.

We went into canter next, and it was so interesting as Campa was very responsive, however when I asked for canter she wouldn’t. Marion said it was because I was too tense and blocking her & you know what it was true! Exactly like when I ride Mya I was a little worried about going into canter. As Mya has a tendency to run across the middle of our enormous arena bucking if she is feeling particularly naughty. I reminded myself that probably wouldn’t happen now and kicked on. Campa was good as gold. No bucks, no gallops. I actually felt a bit silly for being worried about cantering. Nic gave me an encouraging ‘go on’ from the side of the arena and on the other rein we were much better. We then did some walk to canter transitions to help me with my canter transitions and that was good fun. Marion reminded me to keep my reins loose to keep Campa calm and we went for it! By this time I had begun to trust Campa and had relaxed a lot. We did lots of walk to canter transitions on both reins and Campa did them brilliantly responding exactly when I wanted her to.

We finished the lesson and I felt so pleased. I just got Campa back to her tie up paddock (which was covered) and the rain absolutely poured down again. I was so lucky that my hour lesson had been dry.

I realised that I had brought along my insecurities with Mya to my lesson with Campa. For someone that had never suffered with nervousness when riding before. I was relieved that by the end of the lesson those nerves had vanished and I was enjoying riding like I should be! I didn’t realise how nervous I had become riding Mya. I had a few incidents with Mya in hand since Christmas. That involved her rearing and bolting a few times on separate occasions that I had admitted had frightened me but I didn’t realise I had let that worry join me in the saddle too.

But I am delighted to report that since that lesson I have ridden Mya on several occasions and have not been worried. I have been firmer with her, as I now realise I think she was being naughty sometimes when I let her be. She would spook constantly when being ridden in the arena and since my lesson I have found some renewed confidence and she has not spooked once.

I will be certain to book more lessons in the summer. As I really enjoyed it, I liked my instructor and I cannot explain fully how much it has helped me. It took going to ride another horse for me to have a little epiphany about how I had let the fear take over with Mya. The change since that lesson has been incredible. I didn’t want to admit that I was starting to feel nervous every time I went down to see Mya, worried about what she was going to do. I had lost all my trust in her, and I think that lead to her not trusting me either. Mya needs a firm hand, as she can be nappy and spooky. After riding Campa, I realised that I do know Mya and can predict what she will do and that actually I do trust her to not be  a complete idiot all the time. Since then each ride we have had has been so much better!



Danielle Goldstein – So Much More Than The Girl With Feathers In Her Hair

Danielle  Goldstein
Photo by Kathy Russell

We are in the year 2019. We live in a modern society where our differences can be celebrated and respected more and more. However when it comes to Equestrianism does anyone feel that our sport is a bit left behind? Don’t get me wrong, the sport is full of strong women competing against men as equals and that is something to be proud of. It’s just that I feel that it is still expected for everyone to think and dress a certain way. Until now…

I have recently discovered someone that everyone needs to know about ( I may be a bit late to the party but hey). The woman with feathers in her hair. The woman who is a professional show jumper but will be wearing yoga pants and a belly top walking the course and looking fricking cool doing it. The woman who Heels Down Magazine called ‘a rebel with a cause’. It’s Danielle Goldstein.

The articles that drew my attention to Danielle were articles focussing on her appearance. Sure, Danielle has a very unique look. Particularly for a show jumper. But her story is about so much more than that…

Danielle was born in America and grew up in a non horsey family in New York City. She only started riding when she was a child because her friend invited her to ride her horse. After that it was fair to say she dedicated herself to riding. Goldstein, decided on her first trip to Israel at age 12 for her Bat Mitzvah, that she wanted to represent Israel and went on a quest to start an Israeli Show Jumping team.

World of Showjumping reported that after moving to Israel for a short period in 2010 and having lots of friends of family there she applied for and successfully obtained Israeli citizenship. Riding for Israel is something Danielle had always wanted to do . Firstly because she felt that she had a deep connection to the country and secondly because she wanted to help a country that she felt did not get much positive attention in the global media.

Photo by Noelle Floyd

Based in the Netherlands with her partner Alan Waldman, she actually trains half the year in Holland and half of the year at her yard in Florida. Her website Star Wyns Farm states that Danielle firmly believes that there is much to done in terms in impacting Israeli society through Equestrian sports. Danielle has started ‘The International Equestrian Education Series’ from her base from Florida, with a hope to starting a series in Israel too. As she feels young people can learn all sorts of transferable skills such as responsibility, attention to detail and the importance of hard work through her training to encourage a stronger equestrian culture in Israel.

Danielle’s dream is to be the first female Israeli olympic show jumper. Since gaining her Israeli citizenship it’s going well. Global Champions Tour reported that She lead the first Israeli show jumping team in the European Championships in 2013 and again in 2015 & 2017 and since then has competed in 2 world Equestrian Games in 2014 and 2018. She has had success on the Longines Global Champions Tour with her chestnut mare Lizzymary. Winning the Grand Prix class in Portugal in 2017. Danielle also served as the Chef d’equipe for the gold medal winning team in the Maccabiah Games dubbed ‘The Jewish Olympics’ in 2013.

Photo by Sportfot

However Danielle has had her fair share of criticism. Mainly about the way she looks. Noelle Floyd reported that people online accused her feathers of being a safety hazard and a insult to the traditions of showjumping. Danielle took to the internet herself to tackle these cyber bullies and had a strong message ” It’s good to be different – there is no reason we all have to look the same”.

I don’t know about you but I think we could do with more Danielle Goldstein’s in Equestrian sport! She is a fantastic role model and I absolutely love her feathers!

Danielle will be competing for the Scandinavian Vikings in the 2019 Global Champions Show jumping league. For more information head to Global Champions League teams

If you liked this blog then check out these…

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News, Reviews

In Due Horse November Round up: A horsey photo shoot, a very wet one day event & a momentous cross pole!

Well, I have had a fun filled November! A couple of weeks ago Mya & I were lucky enough to have our very first photo shoot with Genie from ezhphotos, who is also based here in Toulouse.

Photo credit: EZH.Photos

I met Eugenie a few months ago at a friends wedding. She was the photographer but also a guest at the wedding & we got along really well. She later contacted me to say that she had always wanted to do a photo shoot with a horse & would I be interested in doing one with her. I jumped at the chance! Genie wanted to do the shoot in the autumn so she could capture the autumn colours in the background, and I am so glad we did as the colours are incredible! I am so pleased with the photos that I have seen so far. I really just wanted to take the time to recommend her. She is so nice and had loads of ideas of what she wanted us to do, which was great for me as I am a photo shoot novice! She was also very attentive of Mya, as bearing in mind she has never photographed a horse before I was really impressed with her patience and understanding if Mya moved suddenly or wouldn’t stand still. That being said Mya was really good. I was so impressed with her as I honestly thought she may make it quite difficult for us but she was a superstar! The whole experience was very enjoyable. So those of you in Toulouse if you are ever in need of a photographer – do not hesitate to contact Genie at

In other exciting news, I went to my first one day event in France today. Although it was only as a spectator! I was dead chuffed when Trudi, someone I had met through a friend invited me to go see her at a local one day event she was competing at today. It great to spend time with Trudi & her horse Violine, but also to see what competing is like here in France.

I think Violine was trying to hide from the camera in this pic!

To be able to compete in France you must pass your Gallop 5 exam. Which from what I gather are kind of like the BHS stage exams (but they do not correlate, unfortunately as I have done a few BHS exams). So you have to show competence in horse care and stable management and in your riding ability. This is something I will need to get before I could consider competing and perhaps a good goal for me next year. I am hoping me & Katie (Mya’s owner) could do this together next year.

Overall the event was really very similar to an event in the U.K. although perhaps slightly more relaxed. Trudi did really well, I didn’t get there in time to see her dressage test but she was pleased with it, she went clear with some time penalties in the cross country, which I thought was understandable as it was very wet today. Then was unlucky and had two poles down in the showjumping. Not placed today but we both had good fun & that’s what is all about really isn’t it?! I’m looking forward to going to watch her compete again and it’s really got me wanting to do it myself…. Although I haven’t competed in over 10 years!!

That being said I did jump Mya for the first time ever this week. We only did a tiny little cross pole as I wasn’t certain if she knew how to jump! But she definitely can & seems to love it.

Mya had a serious leg injury a few years ago & has never really returned to full work since, because Katie understandably was worried it could happen again. So Mya has not really jumped in many years. That combined with me who only returned to riding in May after a break of many years (I had the odd lesson in that time but didn’t really jump). So watch this space! I feel my jumping mojo may have returned. Just need to remember how to be brave!

But in all seriousness all of this has really got me thinking about what Mya & I could be working towards and it’s really exciting! Trudi – you totally inspired me!


Go Team Hobby!

***Incase you missed it! This was my first post on the blog. I recently sent it to Emily King & she responded saying it was a lovely article!! I was so chuffed! ***

So a new modern era has begun in eventing in the form of crowdfunding. This is a modern way of funding your rides whilst making the sport more accessible to the greater public. However it has been met with more than its fair share of criticism in the equestrian world.

Emily King (daughter of Mary – every Brit’s fav event rider because she is just so lovely) launched a campaign on her Instagram account asking if any of her followers would be interested in contributing via crowdfunding to secure her ride on ‘Langford Take the Biscuit’ AKA Hobby. The campaign was successful and she secured the ride via crowdfunding within a matter of days. It was reported that there are 556 people in the ‘Your Horse & Country Magazine HobNob Syndicate’. Emily has also stated that because of the way she raised the money to buy Hobby she will donate all of their future winnings to charities including World Horse Welfare of which she is a patron. Sounds cool right?

I thought so I contributed a whole £20 to become a member of the syndicate. Since then I have had a letter welcoming me to the syndicate, a copy of Hobby’s competition schedule, dates of organised course walks and yard visits (which by the way for the critics are run on a first come first served registration basis with numerous dates so the opportunities will be open to many syndicate members but not all 556 people at once) and regular updates on how Hobby gets on in his competitions. I have been impressed with the organisation and really enjoy hearing how Emily and Hobby get on.

Emily King was not the first eventer to raise money to keep their horses via crowdfunding. In 2017 Irish Eventer Jonty Evans raised £500,000 to secure his ride on Cooley Rookes Draft or Art to his friends. However it seems it is only Emily that has received criticism and man there is A LOT of it online. This is not a dig at Jonty who seems like a very likeable chap. But the only differences I can see in between the two campaigns is that Jonty was at a higher level of competition at the time as he crowdfunded to secure his ride on the horse he had ridden at the Rio Olympics. Emily is competing at BE novice level on Hobby at the moment. The other difference there seems is that Cooley Rookes Draft had an offer made on him to be purchased and Jonty campaigned asking for donations to match that amount. Emily needed to raise £40,000 which was a way lower figure and also the figure she needed to buy Hobby, however non supportive members of the horsey community seemed to have a problem with this amount stating it seemed a lot for a horse competing at that level – but hey this is the sort of thing you need to have an opinion on when you decide if you want to contribute right? Although perhaps not all over the internet in a negative trolling manner.

Perhaps people are not familiar with crowdfunding? Crowdfunding is a form of alternative finance asking a large number of people to contribute to a project or venture online. Crowdfunding is a modern massively growing market that is becoming more and more popular. In 2015 $34 billion was raised through crowdfunding – that is a lot of money! It has been used for a wide range of reasons including artistic and creative projects, medical expenses, travel and community projects. Websites for crowdfunding you may have heard of include Kickstarter, Just Giving and Go Fund Me. The principal is that there is a project instigator that proposes an idea to be funded, individuals that support the idea, and a platform that normally is a website that brings the groups together to launch the idea. What you get from contributing depends entirely on each particular project. There are reward based projects, projects that provide you with equity/shares of a project or donation based crowdfunding just to name a few examples. Emily King offered the chance to be part of a large syndicate called ‘Team HobNob’ as a reward to contributing to her cause, I would like to add that she never said the contribuer would own any tiny piece of Hobby.

Syndicates are no way a new thing in the horse industry with it being common practice in the racing world. With there being more and more larger (and cheaper) syndicates that your everyday Joe or Josephine can join without owning any percentage of a horse. Which I personally feel as a self proclaimed average Josephine is a good thing for the equestrian industry. As the equine industry has been historically elitist with only the super rich being able to be involved in high level competition. Surely expanding our sport to the greater public is a good thing? So my thoughts are, perhaps a syndicate like this is not something to invest in to make money. It is an interest you can follow whilst having the feeling of being part of something you ordinarily could not be.

Hobby and Emily won the BE Novice at Cholmondely Castle, came 2nd at Homme House, 3rd at Bold Heath, 2nd at West Wilts & finished the season doing their first CCI in 6th place to name a few of their results. So look out for them next season and give them a cheer of encouragement!

As part of the HobNob syndicate I am updated on which events Hobby will entering and how he gets on. I am invited to visit the yard and to walk a course with Emily and other fellow syndicate members which I hope to do soon and will of course write about it on here to show you all!

Follow Emily on instagram @emilykingofficial or on Facebook

Photos used were taken from Emily’s Facebook page.


Air Horse One

Ever wondered how our four legged friends travel around the world to competitions? Well, this is a very fancy example but there is one U.S transportation company that has a dedicated aircraft nicknamed ‘Air Horse One’ and it is as luxurious as it sounds!

The aircraft is a Boeing 727 cargo plane that can carry 18-20 horses per flight. Each horse is loaded separately and it’s stall is assembled around each equine passenger. Each horse has in air refreshments in the shape of hay and water and their groom is able to travel with them too. (The grooms have regular seats at the back of the plane in case you wondered!)

The comfort of the horses is the priority as this plane is normally filled with expensive horses on the way to races or competitions. An average plane can be filled with between $50 million – $500 million worth of horse! With this in mind the pilot makes wide turns when flying and ensures extra smooth ascends and descends so the horses don’t lose their balance and get frightened. Each one way flight is said to cost just under $5000 and it has been reported that celebrity horse owners have chartered the entire plane which would cost considerably more! During the flight there are specially trained flight crew members to ensure the needs of each horse are met.

Air Horse One is only available to fly in the U.S, Canada and Mexico however the use of planes to transport horses is becoming more popular due to research showing that lorry trips (especially in the U.S as distances could be very long in between competitions) are more of a burden on the health of these fit competition horses, with Air Horse One rarely running flights longer than four hours. As most of the horses that travel by air are experienced competition horses used to travelling up and down the country in a lorry they don’t have many problems with the horses staying calm. If there is a problem it is normally when the horse first boards the plane and the grooms do what they can to calm the horse down, if that doesn’t work they just remove the horse from the plane. A tranquilliser is available to use on the plane but it rarely is. If the horse needs a travelling buddy (Some horses will stay calm if their friend – whether it be a goat or pony travels with them) they are welcome aboard too! It really is horsey luxury!

I don’t know about you but this makes the way I travel in an economy class seat on EasyJet look quite basic now!

If you would like to read more about this fascinating service information can be found at

Photos used were also from

#news #induehorse