With 408 BE Points, Rosalind Canter and Caroline Moore’s Allstar B have won the Calcutta Light Horse Trophy as the 2018 British Eventing Leading Horse.
Caroline Moore and Ros Canter’s 13 year old Dutch-gelding, Allstar B, has had a phenomenal year under rider Ros Canter; after taking their highest placing at the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials in May, where they finished third, the combination went on to win an incredible individual and team gold medal at the 2018 World Equestrian Games in Tryon, USA.
“I’m thrilled for Ros and Allstar B who have just gone from strength to strength this year, I’m privileged to be part of such a great team.”
To hear Jonty Evans talking about his rehabilitation on BBC Radio Gloucestershire's Mark Cummings' show (recorded last week) is great. Get well soon, Jonty!
“All the therapists say I’m doing remarkably well; they’re incredibly impressed with my improvement but they say it’s very definitely one step at a time. It’s biting off bite-sized chunks out of a big pie. The aim is to get a big pie and the aim is to ride again, possibly, but it’s mend the little things first.”
They had hoped that the insight and perspective they say parenthood has provided would give Eventing Team GBR's Tina Cook and Piggy French the edge over the field at the World Equestrian Games in Tyron last week - and so it proved to be becoming Team Gold Medalists.
Cook, 48, is one of the longest standing and most successful athletes in Britain, with 16 championship medals since her first appearance in 1987.
The 2012 Olympic silver medalist, who is a single mother of two children, Isabelle, 13, and Harry, 11, says there is crossover between her parenting and her horsemanship.
“You have to be sympathetic but black and white and you can't bully them," she told Reuters of her approach to her horses.
"They need to understand the difference between wrong and right. For each individual, there might be a different way of approaching that. It is the same for bringing up children."
Although there is a crossover in philosophy, she says compartmentalising her roles is the key to success.
"When I am competing in a dangerous sport I don't want to be thinking 'I hope the kids are ok'. When I am at home, I put my children first," she said.
Cook’s second pregnancy was physically and emotionally challenging after carrying twins full term before losing one.
Yet returning to her career gave a focus to Tina, who competed on Billy the Red at the WEG.
French's dream of a medal in the 2012 Olympics was foiled by injuries to her best horses.
“It was heartbreak for me,” the 38-year-old said. When another horse was injured weeks before the European Championships in 2013, French was ready to give up, saying she had lost her self-belief.
It was finding new love in partner Tom March and the birth of their son Max, which helped restore her passion for eventing.
“Tom was my rock through hard times then having a baby was the best thing that happened," she said. "I had hit rock bottom but since being a mother, I think 'what will be will be'.
"When I was young, I was hell-bent on that final result, you spend your life dreaming and then working towards that dream. I had stopped enjoying it but I have come back to it with a different head on.
"It has brought results because I am more relaxed."
Piggy's new-found and more relaxed approach saw her standing on the podium last Sunday when she competed on Quarrycrest Echo. She had, however, said that if things did not pan out, she would now better able to deal with disappointment.
“Tom and Max are my world. We have our little bubble and we are very happy in it," she said. "We just bundle along and do our thing and if some horses take us places then that is amazing.
Every face tells a story... The pic of our pics from Burghley 2018 XC day.
Tim Rowland (GBR) POSSIBLE MISSION
Oliver Townend (GBR) COOLEY SRS
Sarah Bullimore (GBR) REVE DU ROUET
Pippa Funnell (GBR) MAJAS HOPE
Camille Lejeune (FRA) TAHINA DES ISLES
Willa Newton (GBR) CHANCE REMARK
Katie Preston (GBR) TEMPLAR JUSTICE
Imogen Murray (GBR) IVAR GOODEN
Hector Payne (GBR) DYNASTY
Michael Ryan (IRL) DUNLOUGH STRIKER
Hazel Towers (GBR) SIMPLY CLOVER
Michael Owen (GBR) BRADLEY LAW
Katrin Khoddam Hazrati (AUS) COSMA
Austin O'Connor (IRL) LUCKY CONTENDER
Ginny Thompson (NZL) STAR NOUVEAU
Georgie Spence (GBR) WII LIMBO
Andrea Baxter (USA) INDY 500
Kristina Cook (GBR) STAR WITNESS
Bruce Davidson Jr. (USA) PARK TRADER
Rebecca Gibbs (GBR) DE BEERS DILLETANTE
A great idea! #WearGreenForJonty. Possitive, supportive action from four star rider, Alice Dunsdon and the team at Eventing Worldwide.
Riders and supporters are urged to wear something green from now and throughout July in support of Irish eventer Jonty Evans who is still sadly ill in hospital from his recent fall. He is in a stable but unconscious state after incurring a significant brain injury in a cross-country fall at Tattersalls on Sunday 3 June.
“It would be wonderful if the whole equestrian world — from dressage to eventing, showjumping, endurance, racing and showing, as well as supporters — got behind Jonty and wore green,” said Alice. “I just wanted to show Jonty and his family how much we all care and this is us fighting for him.” said Alice.
Eventing Worldwide's owner, Jessica Crocker has commented,
“We are absolutely blown away by the huge support from the Eventing Family. When Alice Elizabeth Dunsdon and I talked about this last Thursday we never imagined it would be supported by so so many people. Jonty Evans Eventing is a very popular and clearly very loved man. After several messages from people yesterday asking if we can do anything to raise money for a charity of Jonty’s family choice I got straight on the phone to Antonia at Bramble Valley and it was decided that Polo Shirts bearing the hashtag would be a fabulous idea so that everyone can get involved”
“You don’t have to purchase anything to support Jonty just wear something green, but this will allow those who wish to provide some financial support the opportunity to do so.”
It will be heartwarming to see your #weargreenforjonty photos on social media, showing the family support and that we’re all thinking of him.
Eventing Worldwide has launched official #WearGreenForJonty wristbands and T-shirts, with all profit going to Jonty’s family’s chosen charity, the David Foster Injured Riders Fund, which was set up in the name of the Irish Olympian who was killed eventing in 1998.
Get posting your photos now!
Jonty Evans and Cooley Rorkes Drift AKA 'Art' were competing at Tattersalls International Horse Trials on 3 June in the CIC3* when he fell at the main water feature on the cross-country course.
A statement released by Eventing Ireland this week said,
"Jonty remains in a stable but serious condition in Hospital.
"Jonty has now been moved from intensive care at the Beaumont Hospital to a high dependency ward in the Connolly Hospital, Blanchardstown, West Dublin.
"Unfortunately, there is no change to report in his condition from the most recent update. Jonty remains unconscious, with a very serious head injury.
"The family deeply appreciate all the care for Jonty from the Beaumont Hospital staff and the support and messages from all his family and friends.
"Further updates will be issued if there is a change in Jonty's condition."
Horse Sport Ireland had already confirmed that the 46-year-old suffered a "significant brain injury" after falling from Cooley Rorkes Drift and that it “may take him many months to recover”.
Following the fall from his Rio Olympics mount, Cooley Rorkes Drift, during the cross-country phase of the CIC3* competition at the Tattersalls international horse trials in Co Meath this statement was issued on Monday afternoon on behalf of Jonty Evans’s family by Horse Sport Ireland, the governing body of equestrian sports in this country.
“Jonty continues to be in a stable condition in intensive care in the Beaumont Hospital under the care of the hospital’s neurological team. Jonty’s family would like to express their thanks to the wonderful staff at the hospital and for all the best wishes and kind messages of support that have poured in over the past days.
“The family appreciate that people do wish to understand the nature of Jonty’s head injury and we can confirm that Jonty has not yet recovered consciousness after his fall. Although no longer under heavy sedation, further tests in the past few days have shown that it is a significant brain injury and it may take Jonty many months to recover. The Beaumont Hospital medical team continue to emphasise that every case has to be treated individually and people’s recovery rates vary case by case.
“If there are any changes in Jonty’s condition, further updates will be issued in due course through Horse Sport Ireland,” concluded the statement.
Those seeking information on the rider’s condition have been asked once again not to contact the hospital.
"Without the horse, I'm nothing in my job,"
English based New Zealand eventer, Andrew Nicholson was named an Officer of the NZ Order of Merit on Monday.
Representing New Zealand for more than 30 years, Nicholson at 56, has fashioned a body of work that any of his peers would die for, including seven Olympics Games over 28 years, three Olympic medals and a 1990 team world championship title. He's a five-time winner at Burghley, one of the world's top equestrian events, and proved his enduring ability with a maiden victory at Badminton just last year.
"I'm very, very proud and very honoured. To be given that is quite something, isn't it? I'm very satisfied and I realise how lucky I am to have a job that most people spend a fortune on, just to call it their hobby."
Speaking in tribute to his horses, Nicholson said,
"I appreciate them, I respect them. They're far more intelligent than a lot of people give them credit for. Even a lot of horse people don't realise how intelligent they are, they're very trainable."
Avebury and Nereo.
"Nereo has always stood out for me," said Nicholson.
"Avebury was a pretty grey and always looked very happy with life, and he was a pleasure to work with."
"Nereo is a bit more raw and rangier, possibly not as handsome, but he always felt like he was giving you 110 percent.
"Whether I took him to the Olympics Games or world championships, Badminton or Burghley, he felt like he would just give you his mind and his body. To do that year after year is quite something."
Nereo was retired after last month's 2018 Badminton event, but can still be found giving loyal service, now to Nicholson's teeange daughter.
"He looks as happy as can be and she's just beaming," said Nicholson. "It's great to see.
Sometimes when something bad happens it can be a force for good so we're really hoping that the recent outcry over Oliver Towend's overuse of the whip during the cross country phase of Badminton Horse Trials 2018 will bring about a change to eventing rules and attitudes toward the use of the whip on horses in general.
This year’s Badminton highlighted the fact that the current rules in eventing don't go far enough to protect the welfare of the horse. So, one suggestion is for British Eventing and the FEI to introduce more stringent rules, suspensions and fines similar to those that were introduced into British horse racing when it came under pressure from the public to protect horses from being beaten to the finishing line. This seems particularly pertinent now in view of the new eventing scoring system which has put more emphasis on fast cross country times.
Obviously new rules would have to be tailor made for eventing but here's a brief intro to British Horseracing Authority rules….
The permitted number of uses of the whip with hands off the reins is 7 time for Flat races and 8 times for Jumps race. Additionally, 'Provided that the manner in which the whip had been used was measured, Stewards may choose to disregard occasions when the whip has been used in the following circumstances:
a) To keep a horse in contention or to maintain a challenging position prior to why would be considered the closing stages of a race.
b) To maintain a horse's focus and concentration.
c) To correct a horse that is noticeably hanging.
d) Where there is only light contact with the horse
additionally for Jump Races
e) Following a mistake at an obstacle
f) To correct a horse that is running down an obstacle.
Stewards may be less tolerant should a rider use the whip 8 times or more in a Flat race or 9 times or more in a Jump race:
a) When the horse is young or inexperienced.
b)When a rider continues to use the whip when not being directly challenged for a finishing position.
c) When a rider fails to recognise that his use of the whip is not having the intended effect.
If you listened to Ian Stark's commentary for the BBC's coverage of Badminton you will have heard him justify the use of the whip on quite a few occasions. In fact when Oliver Townend gave his horse Cooley SRS three smart smacks on the rump on their way to the Shogun Hollow, Ian Stark said, “OK, so he smacked the horse but he is actually getting the horse's attention and concentration. He wasn't beating the horse up, it was actually doing a bit of good, getting the combination thinking together.”
This of course is the view that a lot of equestrians maintain - the whip is actually necessary for horse and rider safety when jumping big obstacles.
However, there are some people who argue we should go even further, much further. One of these is Mark Smith, a very experienced horseman who has evented to international level and heads up the Bitless not Brainless team chasing team. He also specialises in re-training ex-racehorses and teaching confident, more effective and therefore safer riding cross country. For more of that, read one of our previous posts HERE.
Mark proposes that Badminton Horse Trials 2019 should put itself at the forefront of horse welfare by dropping the whip completely, making eventing the first equestrian sport to do so. Yes, your jaw may have also dropped on reading this, but stay with us because his arguments are very interesting.
"Badminton,' says Mark, 'is our worldwide showcase for the best riders and horses in eventing. For horses and riders to qualify for Badminton they have to be the best in the world and their horses will be used to jumping big and scary obstacles. There won't be much out there that they haven't seen before, well at least something very similar.”
According to Mark, at this elite level, it shouldn't be necessary to use a whip for 'safe' jumping.
"There are only 3 reasons why a horse would refuse a jump at Badminton…"
1. The horse is hurting, in which case it is totally unacceptable to use the whip.
2. The horse is exhausted (many horses won't have encountered a course as long as Badminton, so it's not his fault their fault if they're not fit enough) in which case it is totally unacceptable to use a whip.
3. The rider has screwed up the approach to the fence, so again, it is totally unacceptable to use the whip!"
Mark isn't against competitors carrying a whip at novice level events but insists "Most top trainers agree that the whip has one use only and that is to make the horse go faster. Horses aren't like humans, they haven't the capacity to link crime and punishment. We need to look at things from the horse's point of view and train them so that they volunteer to do the right thing by taking away the wrong thing. We shouldn't be bullying them into it. For instance if a horse stops at a skinny, I put wings at each side, get him confident, then take them away. So, I've taken away the wrong option and let him think he's become a volunteer. I truly believe that people don't want to watch a horse being press-ganged into doing what their rider wants and would rather see that horse enjoying itself.
"As for elite equestrian events, they want to see the best that horse and rider can be and feel sickened when they see a rider asking too much of their horse and beating it. If Badminton banned the whip it would be an opportunity for them to showcase skill and harmony between horse and rider. This could be the best thing that's happened in equestrian sport for a long time."
Is Mark's proposition that Badminton 2019 leads the way and places a total ban on carrying a whip, a step too far? Would you prefer to see a change to eventing rules similar to those in horse racing- or don't they go far enough? Maybe you think a winning rider in breach of the rules should also lose their placing in the results? We'd love your views on this very controversial subject. One thing's for sure, no change is simply not good enough!
If you want to sign Mark's petition then click HERE.
For more info on British Horseracing Authority rules, and penalties click HERE.
In week that has seen two mum’s, both with very young children, win two of the most coveted prizes in the sport of Eventing, record crowds gathered at the Dodson & Horrell Chatsworth International Horse Trials where Britain’s Piggy French and her horse Quarrycrest Echo headed up the all-female Event Rider Masters podium in the first leg of the 2018 Series.
Event Rider Masters 2018 Leg 1 WINNER Piggy French
Setting a personal best in the dressage, delivering a clear show jumping round this morning and becoming only the sixth personout of 1460 in the history of Chatsworth CIC3* to make the time across the country, Piggy French landed her first CIC3* win since 2014. Speaking after her win Piggy said
“I was sitting in the truck waiting for my turn and I said to myself “Come on, do something useful!”
Their finishing score of 27.3 is the second-best finishing score in this class at the venue.
Mother of one Sarah Ennis (IRE) gave Horseware Stellor Rebound one of the speediest rides of the day landing them the runner up spot on the Podium. Naming Chatsworth as one of the favourite events, Sarah became Ireland's first rider to achieve a podium finish in the ERM. Speed Queen and fellow mum Izzy Taylor and her mount Call Me Maggie May added 4.8 time penalties to their post Show Jumping score to claim third spot on the Podium. "She's not the fastest horse in the World but I am delighted with her and so happy for her owners".
Fellow mum and freshly crowned 2018 Badminton CCI 4 star Champion, Jonelle Price, made it 50 CIC3 star completions since 2008 today and maintained her perfect 11/11 (100%) cross country jumping record with FAERIE DIANIMO.
Over-night leaders after the dressage, Laura Collett (GBR) and Mr Bass had an unfortunate 4 faults in the show jumping after they rolled one of the coloured poles. Adding just 6.4 time penalties to her score after the cross country, Collett came a very respectable 4thand bagged herself strong ERM Series points.
Doing it for the boys, crowd favourites William Fox-Pitt (GBR) and “old friend” Bay My Hero put in a stellar performance to land them an ERM top 10 finish, his first since the Masters began. Speaking after his cross county William said, “The Event Rider Masters is the most exciting thing to happen to the Sport of Eventing in my time – and that is saying something.”