Dragged across a road by her horse after he was spooked by mindless dirt bikers, teenager Megan Hill feels lucky to be alive.

What should have been a pleasant daily ride turned into a nightmare for the 17-year-old who ended up being dragged semi conscious behind horse Sox.

The teenager told how idiot bikers frightened the seven year old gelding which bolted, leaving Megan with a shattered ankle, bruised pelvis and other injuries.

 “They don’t have any common sense. Before when I’ve been on that track, riders have been coming towards us.

“Some have no respect and come flying up from behind us.”

Mum, Kelly added: “We could understand if these riders didn’t see them, but they’ve come back at them again - it’s unbelievable.

“They need to think of the consequences of what could have happened.”   READ MORE

Northumbria Police is investigating the incident, and anyone with information is urged to call 101 quoting reference number 769 28 12 17.


Published in Articles

2018 New Year’s Resolutions

I want to make some changes for 2018 and in order to do so I’m doing something I’ve never done before; I’m setting New Year’s Resolutions.

2017 didn’t go to plan

2017 was not my year and frankly I will be glad to see the back of it from an equestrian perspective.

My 6yo who I had from a 3yo (for whom I was super excited about) was diagnosed with kissing spine at the start of the year.  I then had to search for another horse, which in itself was super-difficult with a very limited budget.

After months of searching I purchased a smart little chestnut mare at the end of August and I’ve been riding her on these last few months in preparation for our first show in the New Year.

What I’ve mostly struggled with this past year is my mindset. Specifically, being able to keep a positive mindset when things are not going to plan.

It’s almost been a year to the day since I last competed and I’ve found that really frustrating as I am someone who has the competitive bug.  So, with New Year around the corner, I am determined that I’m not going to let another year pass without progression. To help me do this I’m setting some resolutions.

A positive 2018

Here’s my New Year’s Resolutions for 2018:

1.  To set goals

I’ve never really formally set goals. I’ve set them in my head but I’ve decided to cement them by writing them down and also speaking about them on the blog.  I feel that will really help me stick to them.

I’m going to set a combination of small goals and bigger ones. I’m also going to put together a competition diary so that I know what I’m working to.  In the past I’ve just looked at what’s coming up competition-wise but I’ve never really thought and planned things strategically. This year it’s going to be different.

2. Keep a positive mindset

I always try and maintain a positive mindset however this can be very difficult at times.  This year if things are not working, I’m going to make changes quicker. What I’ve learnt is that when horses break or things are not working out, then you should be quick to make a change. I’ve spent months and months praying horses would come sound etc and what I’ve learnt is that you need to keep moving forward and not waiting too long for things to sort themselves out.

3. Exercise; Socialise; Eat Well

There’s several other things which ensure I maintain a positive mindset and I am going to make sure I do them all to put me in the best position to achieve my goals:

• Exercise – I’m loving CrossFit at the moment and plan to continue it. It’s great for body and mind.

• Eat well – I really notice that eating rubbish food affects my mood so I’m going to ensure I eat well.

• Socialise – I feel like I know myself very well now. I am someone who loves to socialise.  In 2018 I’m going to make more effort to see friends and be social as much as possible.

4. Reflect & be grateful

It’s so easy to focus on the negative things in life. I can often be guilty of this.  I really want to try hard this year to keep focusing on all the positive amazing things in life and to not think about ‘What I don’t have’ or ‘What I can’t do’.

Do you have any horsey New Year Resolutions? If so, I’d love to hear them.

Lots of love,

Abi x

A Country Lady

 abi acl 150A Country Lady is a blog devoted to equestrian fashionistas around the world. Run by UK based amateur Show Jumper, Abi Rule. 


Published in Trot On Blogs
Wednesday, 06 December 2017 11:54

Riding Challenge MyHackathon raises £20,000

There's no doubt that taking our horses out for a hack is not only beneficial to us as riders, but to our horses too. This year, doing just that so has also raised a massive £20,000 for animal welfare charity, Brooke.

#MyHackathon challenged equestrians to ride 100 miles in 100 days and raise £100 for the charity’s campaign, How The Other Horse Lives, which highlighted the differences between the lives of well-kept horses in the U.K, and those working in developing countries.

Some famous faces leant their support to the cause, including Charlotte Dujardin, Richard Waygood and Anthea Turner.

Over 400 people signed up for MyHackathon and the majority of sign ups came through Facebook, so Brooke also set up the Myhackathon Facebook group, where people could share stories and riding tips. Many people of different ages and skill levels took part. 

Brooke’s Senior Community Fundraising Officer Louise Cooke said: 

“I’m so thrilled with the success of MyHackathon.

"The public really got behind us and it was great to see how the campaign really brought people together from all over the country as they shared their stories with each other on social media."

"It’s fantastic that our UK horses are doing their bit to help the less fortunate working equines overseas and the huge amount of money they helped raise will support Brooke’s vital work."

Brooke plans to relaunch MyHackathon in 2018 to tie in with its new campaign, Every Horse Remembered, which highlights the struggle of horses past and present, remembering the war horses and mules of the First World War.


Published in Articles

A stable fire which killed a number of horses in Burnham is being treated as suspicious by police.

The incident happened at around 11.30pm on Sunday, December 3 in a large stable building on Maldon Road, with firefighters working through the night to extinguish the fire.

Passers-by, after spotting the fire, called 999 and tried to save some of the horses.

Sadly, despite their best efforts, a number of them died at the scene.

Seven crews were called to the blaze, with some firefighters remaining at the scene until 8am today (December 4) to dampen down the area and check for hot spots.

Station manager Craig McLellan said: "When firefighters arrived they found the fire was already well developed.

"The whole building was alight and the roof had collapsed..." READ MORE

*** Chelmsford City Racecourse has announced on their Facebook page that they would be accepting any donations of any equestrian equipment that could help following the fire. It said: "Please deliver your donation by the end of the week to the Racecourse offices via Moulsham Hall Lane." ***


Published in Articles

The British Grooms Association (BGA) have announced a project, ‘Grooms Minds’ in conjunction with World Mental Health Day. 


Grooms Minds will focus on the mental health of grooms and those working in the equestrian industry, a subject which many people are still not keen to talk about. With an increasing number of grooms, riders and employers contacting the BGA for help and advice, the project aims to identify the specific issues associated with mental health within the industry to allow the BGA to raise awareness of these issues and then focus on and develop within this area. This work will include employees, employers and those who are self employed. 

The inspiration from the project came from founder of the BGA Lucy Katan, who said, “My experience of being bullied whilst working at a high profile dressage yard was the catalyst for the formation of the BGA. It is something that I will never forget, and at the time there was no organisation for me, as a groom, to turn to.

"I am always concerned when we receive communications from grooms who are suffering from mental health issues in their workplace, and the BGA is determined, through the Grooms Minds project, to raise the awareness of such.”

'Life as a groom can be challenging. That’s what makes it so interesting and rewarding. But it sometimes can start to feel out of control, leading to levels of stress that can adversely affect your work and your personal life.' - BGA

One former groom who has been badly affected by these issues, and who doesn’t wish to be named added,

“Being a groom was my dream career I enjoyed every aspect of it. The long hours and hard work didn't bother me. I was so proud to have this job, to have the responsibility of such top class horses and to be part of a team. My anxiety snuck up on me, grooms are expected to conscientious and a bit OCD so again I was proud to have these qualities. However I started to take this to the extreme, whilst doing a double check is always a good idea, doing a quintuple check is time wasting, exhausting, unnecessary and the first sign of my anxiety. I didn't acknowledge this, to me this was still being conscientious. And if I am completely honest I didn't want to be held responsible if something went wrong. 

“I also completely lost confidence in my own ability, handling some of the more difficult horses became an impossible task. I never had an accident, nothing ever happened to make be believe that I couldn't deal with those horses but I became completely crippled by fear. I didn't feel I could talk to anyone about it because not only did I think it was ridiculous (I had been handling these horses and been in sole charge of the yard whilst my boss was competing since I started the job) but I also didn't understand why I had become so terrified. I was angry and disappointed with myself. I eventually decided that I should leave the job. At this point I was asked by my employer if I was ok, unable to come up with anything else I replied with a rather shaky nod. This was taken at face value despite the fact that I clearly was not ok. I hope that the Grooms Minds project will help employers and grooms themselves be more alert to their mental wellbeing.” 

The first step in this important project is to discover how widespread the issues are and so the BGA is urging that all grooms take part in a quick survey, which is 100% anonymous.

Published in Trot On Blogs

We all know (and love!) Tom Selleck for his roles on TV shows like Blue Bloods and Magnum P.I., but what you probably didn't know is that he's a country boy at heart.

In addition to his acting gigs, the Hollywood hunk is also an avocado farmer and horse breeder. The actor and his daughter, Hannah, 28, have a side business breeding horses, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Hannah is a champion equestrian who regularly competes around the world, and she says her dad and mom, actress Jillie Mack, have always encouraged her to pursue her passion for horses.

 "I loved being around the animals, and as a kid, taking care of different ponies and hanging out at the barn all day...As I progressed in the sport, I fell in love with the competition itself."
Published in Articles
Monday, 02 October 2017 13:39

Did You Know? All About Melanoma

Did you know that 80% of grey horses will get melanomas at some point in their life?

A few months ago we made the startling discovery of a few small black lumps over Archie’s tail, around his bottom and on his sheath. Being grey he is of course at significant risk of developing melanomas in his lifetime but being 7 years old I was surprised to see so many. My first instinct (after a confirmed diagnosis from the vet and initial consultation regarding treatment options) was of course to head straight online to investigate the existing evidence for various treatments. Simply put melanomas in grey horses are benign, although they can become malignant, and usually cause local issues due to pressure or damage to surrounding structures. They can often result in problems with fitting tack, particularly if they are on the face. Single or large problematic melanomas are often removed surgically, however for horses with multiple small melanomas there are some exciting new treatment options.

Archie was carted off to Oakham veterinary hospital after I read about the “Oncept” melanoma vaccine. A relatively new treatment for horses, the vaccine was originally created for dogs who also suffer with the same issue of benign melanomas. So how does it work and above all does it work?

The vaccine targets tyrosinase, a protein found in melanoma cells. This protein is the enzyme which is the “rate-limiting step”, i.e the limiting factor, which controls production of melanin (the pigment produced by melanoma cells). The vaccine acts by triggering the horse’s body to produce an immune response again the protein. This means that the horse’s own immune system targets the abnormal cells, both those that are visible and those that you cannot see. As a fairly new treatment the data available regarding long term effectiveness and side effects and is limited, but in an area of equine medicine where there is little else of proven benefit it is an exciting new option in the battle against melanomas.

I am delighted to say that Archie responded well to the course of injections, and although it’s early days in his treatment we are full of hope that we have stopped this tricky beast in it’s tracks.

A huge thank you to Oakham Veterinary hospital, and in particular our friendly vet Mark, for their support and kindness during the treatment.
If you are looking for further information on Oncept or Melanomas theses links can get you started… (Please always consult your vet for diagnosis and advice)
Re-published by kind permission of Journey of an Amateur Eventer|Blog
Published in Trot On Blogs

Like a lot of us equestriennes, medal-winning equestrian vaulter Joanne Eccles, wanted to make sure her stallion, WH Bentley was a huge part of her wedding day. Joanne married Fraser Littlejohn on 13 August at Caputh Parish Church in Perthshire.

The newlyweds had only planned to have some pictures taken with WH Bentley the day after the ceremony, but they surprised guests as both rode on the horse in wedding attire - she “couldn’t resist” jumping on and vaulting in canter.

Photo: Caters News Agency

What fab pics for the wedding album!

Joanne, who received an MBE in the Queen’s 2017 Birthday Honours List won all of her medals with WH Bentley. She started slowing down her career in 2015 and now works as a trainer.
Published in Trot On Blogs

Grit and determination - the rider's facial expressions say it all...

Close up of Eventing rider Oliver Townend riding grey horse Ballaghmor Class Burghley Horse Trials 2017

Oliver Townend (GBR) riding Ballaghmor Class

Eventing rider Tom McEwen riding bay horse Toledo De Kerser in front of spectators and lake at Burghley Horse Trials 2017

Tom McEwen (GBR) riding Toledo De Kerser

Eventing rider Ludwig Svennestal riding bay horse Balham Mist Burghley Horse Trials 2017

Ludwig Svennestal (SWE) riding Balham Mist

Eventing rider Caroline Powell jumping bay horse Balham Mist with red jump flag and spectators Burghley Horse Trials 2017

Caroline Powell (NZL) riding Spice Sensation

Eventing rider Tom Crisp riding bay horse Cooleys Luxury Burghley Horse trials 2017

Tom Crisp (GBR) riding Cooleys Luxury

Eventing rider in red Paul Tapner on grey horse Bonza King of Rouges with nasal strip

Paul Tapner (AUS) riding Bonza King of Rouges

Eventing rider Oliver Townend jumping brush fence on bay horse Samuel Thomas II with red jump flag and lake Burghley Horse Trials 2017

Oliver Townend (GBR) riding Samuel Thomas II

female eventing rider Lillian Heard riding bay horse LCC Barnaby with official photographers and spectators Burghley Horse Trials 207

Lillian Heard (USA) riding LCC Barnaby

female eventing rider Emma Hyslop-Webb wearing pink colours jumping bay horse Pennlands Douglas Burghley Horse Trials 2017

Emma Hyslop-Webb (GBR) riding Pennlands Douglas

female eventing rider Sophie Brown riding grey horse Wil Burghley Horse Trials 2017

Sophie Brown (GBR) riding Wil

close up bay horse Veronica II neck and head jumping fence with female eventing rider Lauren Kieffer Burghley 2017

Lauren Kieffer (USA) riding Veronica II

side on eventing rider Tim Price riding bay horse Ringwood Sky Boy Burghley Horse Trials 2017

Tim Price (NZL) riding Ringwood Sky Boy

Head and shoulders close up of grey horse Ballaghmor Class jumping with eventing rider Oliver Townend red jump flag and spectators Burghley Horse Trials 2017

Oliver Townend (GBR) riding Ballaghmor Class

Grey horse Away Cruising jumping fence with eventing rider Harry Meade with spectators Burghley Horse trials

Harry Meade (GBR) riding Away Cruising

eventing rider Piggy French riding bay horse Vanir Kamira through water Trout hatchery Burghley Horse Trials 2017

Piggy French (GBR) riding Vanir Kamira

close up side view head of bay horse Drumbilla Metro with eventing rider Simon Grieve wearing air jacket Burghley Horse Trials 2017

Simon Grieve (GBR) riding Drumbilla Metro

female eventing rider Louise Harwood leaning back in saddle jumping on bay horse Mr Potts at Dairy Farm jump Burghley Horse Trials 2017

Louise Harwood (GBR) riding Mr. Potts

eventing rider Louise Milne Home riding grey horse King Eider into the light from trees Burghley Horse Trials 2017

Louise Milne Home (GBR) riding King Eider

female eventing rider Tina Cook in despair at missed jump with bay horse Calvino II Burghley Horse Trials 2017

Tina Cook (GBR) riding Calvino II

 MORE... Big Jumps at Burghley 2017. Trot On Quick-Pics *VIDEO*

Published in Trot On Blogs
Tuesday, 05 September 2017 10:06

It's a Horse's Life!

Horses Rule Okay?

I treat my horses better than I treat myself.

In fact they have me pegged as their domestic servant, and I think they’ve nailed it.


They have a regular pedicure, performed by a professional. The closest I get to beauty treatment is discussing the possibility with the farrier.

“How much  does it cost for women to get a pedicure these days?” he asked while rasping at Charlie’s toes.
"No idea, the horses have one, I don't."
"Well I'll do one for you," he offers.

"I don't think your tools are up to the job!"

Beauty Products

Years ago I painted one of my horses feet with Stokholm Tar. He was bare-foot (like ours are now), as he was terrified of being shod. Horses have nail varnish after pedicure. I’m lucky if my nails see a nailbrush once a week.


The horses have all the food they need roaming 70 acres. Their menu consists of many different types of grass to fulfil all their dietary needs. They drink spring water from the creek.

We drink plastic tasting rain water from the new tank, which is sometimes smokey-flavoured when we've had the fire on and the smoke has 'flavoured' the roof (we catch all our own water).

As far as food is concerned, sometimes we find time to stuff two-minute noodles down our throats.

More Beauty Treatment

The horses are groomed, mane and tails are combed, we scratch their itchy spots and they’ve even received a soft massage from Noel (he’s a trained masseur).

​It’s pretty rare for me to brush my hair more than once a week. That’s all I’ll say on that topic!


Carrots are a big favourite here. They are regulated and only given after schooling as a reward. Our treat is a big Saturday where we may just manage to stay up to 8:30pm


The horses receive pats, rub downs, plenty of praise and a lot of love.  They are told they are good – (particularly hard to do when Charlie takes twenty minutes to catch sometimes). Noel’s endearments to me are in the form of “pesky” or “nutcase”. And occasionally we’ll get to have a cuddle.

Dental Treatment

I check their teeth and they are rasped when necessary.

There is no dentist for us unless we are in screaming agony and about to die of pain.


The boys receive appropriate jabs to maintain their health and well-being. The closest we’ve come to this is injecting coffee.


At the moment the horses are living a life of riley. Fortunately, our land is hilly and they enjoy a few good gallops each day. They walk many kilometres, up and down, selecting the best grazing each day.

When Noel is chopping wood for the fire, they stand in the sun and watch. When I’m using the Trimmer-on-Steroids (the Trimmer, not me!) to kill the bracken, they wander off to another part of grazing, quite put out that I am working where they want to eat.

Endearments and Encouragement

The boys are encouraged to try something new (I’ve just started in-hand schooling) – with lots of ‘good-boys’ and pats and 'you're so handsome!'

I can’t remember when I’ve said to Noel he looks nice, although I did tell him his hair needed a cut the other day.

Yup, they’ve got it all – health, care, food, love, fun – regularly and top-notch stuff. Whereas I seem to stumble from one disaster to the next, with hunger pangs.

But their hoof-beats are my heart-beats, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Hoof Beats are my Heart Beats T-Shirt by UnravelTravel

jp150Read more about our boys... A Standard Journey: 5 horses, 2 people, and 1 tent, take a look HERE.

At least 50% of profits from this story are donated to horse charities, see HERE for more information.

If you have any questions about trail riding, or anything else please do contact me, Jackie Parry here on Trot On.

Facebook: For the love of horses

Published in Trot On Blogs
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