Leading under 21 eventer, Sam Ecroyd has been chosen by the retro & surf inspired fashion brand as its first equestrian ambassador.

Ellie Wales, Head Designer for Whale Of A Time Clothing said:

“As a rider and horse owner myself, we wanted an ambassador who fitted well with our clothing line and someone who looked great on and off the horse. A talented horseman and great personality, we are thrilled to be working with Sam going forward."

A delighted Sam said,

“Their clothes and accessories fit in with my life on the yard and away from the horses. Quality and style are important to me and Whale Of A Time fit the bill perfectly.

 "I am very excited about working with this cool new brand so please everyone go check them out!!"




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Don Geniro, “The Don”, Olympic mount of Chinese rider, Alex Hua Tian, has been voted Equiratings Horse of the Year (ERHOTY) in a tense public vote on Twitter by over 50%. Runner-up was, MULRYS ERROR, a crowd-favourite, having completed Badminton 2016 double-clear ridden by the inspirational Ben Hobday, followed by Portersize Just A Jiff, the “Pony With the Heart of a Lion”.

The yearly title is awarded to the event horse with the most public votes. 2015’s title went to the talented American event horse, Loughan Glen, ride of Clark Montgomery.

The competition for the ERHOTY for 2016 has caused quite a stir, with 12 horses from top eventing nationals Britain, USA, Ireland, France and Germany including double Olympic medal winning horse La Biosthetique Sam FBW, all in the mix. German Evening valiantly campaigned for veteran superstar Sam:

“ERHOTY for 2016 has to be Sam #DoubleOlympicChampion, #SamTheLegend” but as Chinese fans struggled to access Twitter, new hashtags began to appear:  #Chinadisagrees,  #HereComesDonGeniro, #NeverUnderEstimateChina. Some even saw the result as a sign of the times:

“Brexit Trump and No Sam..just some voting shocks 2016”.

Alex said: “The Don has had a tremendous year, winning the ERM at Bramham and  8th at the Olympic Games – the two best results of my career to date as well!

"Having said that, we all know that as a young horse, Don has yet to measure up to the greats, such as La Biosthetique Sam. I know that there will be a few eventing fans out there who will be a tad sore about The Don beating Sam in the first heat. However, in my mind, Don’s landmark achievement is how he has galvanised millions of new followers from an emerging market. My team and I have been overwhelmed by the genuine and passionate support for The Don from fans in China, especially considering that Twitter is blocked there. With the sport looking to drive itself into new markets, I hope that the established eventing community welcomes these new fans with open arms. China’s growing interest in equestrian sports will bring endless opportunities to the sports and industry sectors. This result is not just exciting for The Don, me and my team, but the whole sport as well!”

 Runner-up Mulry's Error and Ben Hobday, Badminton 2016.

Diarmuid Byrne – Director or Equiratings commented: “We had great fun with #ERHOTY again this year – how much does Don Geniro love to make a fool of us? Earlier in the year, we famously said that he wouldn’t win Bramham – we saw two foot perfect jumping displays to take the win and we have been reminded about it ever since. We certainly didn’t think he could take out the now double Olympic Champion Sam, the American darling Mighty Nice or the V8 SuperCob Mr Mulry but if 2016 has taught EquiRatings anything it is to stop underestimating Don Geniro. From a stats point of view, he is there on merit. 22 international runs and an average dressage of 41.9, and yet to have a cross country jumping fault, an ERM win at Bramham and top 10 at Rio, he is front and centre of the ten year olds to look forward to in 2017.”

One of the Chinese supporters, Li Xinyuan, who managed eventually to get onto Twitter tweeted: “This voting method is somewhat biased as it is almost impossible to access Twitter in China. This is not about winning, but we want an opportunity to show how keen we are in China to support and participate in equestrian sport”.

The FEI identified China as one of the key markets for building participation and viewership for equestrian sport. Their media campaign “#TwoHearts” which ran in the build up and during the Olympics was well received by both the press and social media. Alex says: “Of course The Don and I went to Rio to do as well as possible, but an equal priority was to use the Olympics as a platform to promote equestrian sports to fans at home in China. Our ‘Road to the Olympics’ media campaign gained considerable momentum in the Chinese mainstream media and having the FEI #TwoHearts campaign to build on gave us a huge head start”

Mr Li Peng of Daluma.com, China’s leading equestrian news outlet: Alex Hua Tian is not just the darling of equestrian sports in China but of the whole Chinese sports sphere. Alex and Don’s 8th place is seen as ground-breaking which has huge significance in a market where not achieving a gold medal is often seen as a failure. Having observed Alex and his team’s hard work promoting both his story and equestrian sports for over a year leading up to Rio, they deserve all the attention they get. In my opinion, part of the success of Alex’s ‘Road to the Olympics’ media campaign was giving each of his horses iconic Chinese names, helping the Chinese public relate to each horse and understand each horse’s unique personalities.”

Chinese netizens took The Don and Alex to heart during the Olympics. Their Olympic performance was trending second on Chinese social media during the first week of the Olympics. Alex Hua Tian’s Weibo account (Chinese twitter/facebook) has almost 6 million followers. This month Alex won the prestigious China News Week Award for the Most Influential Sports Person of the Year and has been nominated for the China Central TV’s Breakthrough Award.

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The British Equestrian Federation (BEF) has announced 34 athletes who have been selected for the UK Sport National Lottery funded World Class Podium Potential Programme for 2016-2018.

Acting equestrian Performance Director Sarah Armstrong comments; “It was fantastic to see such a great depth of talent coming forward through the selection trials this summer, and I would like to congratulate all those selected on to the 2016 cohort. The performance pathway for our athletes, both equine and human, is vital to ensure the continued success of our sport in Great Britain and on the international stage.

“The continuing evolution of the Programme, which will see more tailored coaching, and a greater emphasis on sports science introduced throughout the next Olympic cycle, is designed to ensure that through Podium Potential we are helping to develop medal winners of the future.”

This year’s squad includes Rio Olympic travelling reserve Jessica Mendoza as well as members of this year’s Olympic Ambition Programme and the Paralympic Inspiration Programme, including Hayley Watson-Greaves, Jake Saywell, Millie Allen and Natasha Adkinson. A number of the jumping athletes nominated will also be competing at Olympia next week in the Under 23 British Championships.

Among the new Podium Potential squad are Bert Bolton, Imogen Murray, Anna-Mae Cole, Charlotte Cundall, Suzanna Hext and Amanda Shirtcliffe who were on the BEF’s Excel Talent Programme, part of the rider talent pathway.

2016-2018 squad:


Rebecca Edwards, Berkshire
Alex Hardwick, Hertfordshire
Sarah Millis, West Sussex
Sonnar Murray-Brown, Gloucestershire
Joanna Thurman-Baker, Oxfordshire
Samantha Thurman-Baker, Oxfordshire
Ryan Todd, West Yorkshire

Hayley Watson-Greaves, Gloucestershire


Bert Bolton, Derbyshire
Rosalind Canter, Lincolnshire
Genevieve (Chuffy) Clarke, Surrey
Sam Ecroyd, Flintshire
William Furlong, East Sussex
Tom Jackson, Kent
Tom McEwen, Wiltshire
Imogen Murray, Leicester
Sarah Parkes, Warwickshire

Francesca Reid-Warrilow, Powys


Natasha Adkinson, Lincolnshire
Anna-Mae Cole, Devon
Charlotte Cundall, East Yorkshire
Suzanna Hext, Gloucestershire
Izzy Palmer, West Yorkshire
Amanda Shirtcliffe, Buckinghamshire

Susanna Wade, Lincolnshire


Millie Allen, North Yorkshire
Joe Clayton, Nottinghamshire
Jessica Mendoza, based The Netherlands
Harriet Nuttall, Somerset
Emma O’Dwyer, Pembrokeshire
Jake Saywell, Nottinghamshire
Louise Saywell, Nottinghamshire
William Whitaker, based Belgium

Chloe Winchester, Suffolk

Through the World Class Podium Potential Programme, athletes will receive support through world-class coaching, human and equine sports science and medicine, nutrition and sports psychology, as part of an established training pathway.

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Members of the International Riders Clubs and the readers of Horse International have voted for Badminton as the Best Event (eventing) for the second time in three years, lifting this prestigious award in both 2014 and 2016.

“What makes this award special is that it is chosen by the international professionals in equestrian sport.” said Badminton Director, Hugh Thomas.

See the Badminton Top 12 finishers of 2016 in our Pictures HERE

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Published in Trot On Blogs
Friday, 18 November 2016 11:47

Superstar eventer makes Taupo his base

The $1.8 million National Equestrian Centre is only half complete but that is not stopping it from turning heads in equestrian circles.

Sir Mark Todd was inspecting the progress of the construction last week after the news world-class eventer Jonathon "Jock" Paget is moving to Taupo to coach as part of Equestrian Sport New Zealand's high-performance coaching team.

Paget won a bronze medal in team eventing at the 2012 Olympics and in 2013 he became only the second rider to win the Badminton Horse Trials on debut. The only other New Zealand eventer to achieve that feat was Sir Mark Todd.

Work on the $1.8 million "world-class" indoor stadium complete with arena, conference facilities, commercial kitchen and grandstand is being completed to turn Taupo into the hub for equestrian sport.

"The hope is it will be the high performance equestrian centre in New Zealand," ESNZ board member and NEC Taupo convenor Wallie Niederer said.

"Jock coming back will make a big difference to this."... READ MORE

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Some honest, straight talking as Phoebe Buckley reflects on her equestrian career.

So here we are again, you guys are about to read a blog I’ve written whilst I wait with bated breath for feed back from you all…

I always worry how you guys will react to my blogs. I am very aware my blogs are not the ‘usual’ type of blog. Also, I worry my blogs are too much like me! - Too honest, too close to the bone and to the point... But this blog is different. Not only will it be my last ever blog, but I know this blog is too honest. I know it is too close to the bone and I know it is to the point! But sod it, I may as well go out with a bang shouldn’t I?! So pull up a chair guys, because this will be a very long read...

Over the last couple of years two of close friends have a) unfairly lost the ride on a horse or have b) unfairly lost their job which included all rides on horses that came with it. Just like that, BOOM!.. Carpet pulled from underneath them, both friends privately turned to me. At the time I didn’t really understand why. But now I think I know why, because they knew I would be a 100% honest with them. If they had deserved it I would have said as much... I remember one conversation that went a long the lines of ‘Phoebe, did I deserve to lose that horse? Me – 'No you didn’t, don’t get me wrong you can be a t**t but the owner is a c**t and you don’t want to work or ride for people like that. The end, now move on.’

Recently a friend went through a similar thing and it brought memories back of having to watch people you care about being treated badly, and just how mistrustful it can make people. But worse than that, it brought back memories of how badly I felt I was treated by someone right at the start of my career, and how without a shadow of a doubt that experience changed and the path I took with my career.

I will never ever forget being a keen 19yr old event rider and being told I would get to ride on one of the best event horses on the circuit. Excited doesn’t even cover it. You see despite what I say.. I used to LOVE eventing. I remember at the tender age of 15 planning how I was going to Badminton event by event! So imagine my delight when I was offered a horse that had been 8th at Burghley. Yes, he had had 2 years off with leg problems but I didn’t care. I knew just how lucky I was and I adored the bear bones of the horse. Our first season went fantastically well and we aimed at a Autumn 3 day with the plan of really giving the young rider team a proper go the following season. So can you imagine how I felt when I found out at our Autumn 3 day that, whilst watching me trot up, someone heavily involved with the young rider system was slagging me and my wonderful horse off! He was helped in the bitch fest by a groom of one of the other people who would be aiming at the young rider team the following season. And my crime that meant I deserved this public hanging? It was is just because I had been given the ride on this horse. It destroyed me... I didn’t poach the ride, I didn’t go ringing up the owner trying to nick the ride in anyway. He had been in the field with leg problems, my owner had been asked by his owner if she knew of a young rider who might like the ride, and thankfully my wonderfully loyal owner jumped at the chance to have him. She ran him as her own horse for me to ride. And because of that I was being ripped to pieces. From that moment on I promised myself I would never ever get involved on a friendship level with anyone from eventing. If the powers that be felt it was acceptable to stand and rip me to pieces in public, they were not the sort of people I wanted to be involved with... And I’m worse than an elephant. I never ever forget...

However time heals wounds and by the following season I had mellowed out about it all. My dream horse was on fire that season. We won first time out and kept up our fantastic form all season. However, midway through that season it happened again. I over heard a ‘power that be’ slagging me and my wonderful horse off. This happened just before Bramham. I went to Bramham crushed but also so angry. Needless to say I went there with a point to prove, and a massive chip developing on my shoulder! That week I did a masterful job of steering my wonderful horse vaguely in the right direction in each phase, and he did an even more masterful job of not only putting up with my crap steering, but of also somehow looking after me and also managing to win. In the moment following the prize giving I was happy to draw a line through my dream of being on the young rider team.

From my first BE Novice and Burghley pony club jumping in 2001 to Burghley proper and top 20 finish 5 years later...

I loved the idea of eventing to the highest level and representing my country, but I didn’t like the reality of having to 'deal with' and 'be nice' to people who such horrid narrow minded views.- People I frankly thought were ar*ses.

I did in fact go to the young rider European Championship... We won gold and my wonderful horse was the best British horse. I went to the championships with an awful outlook. I went there for my owner and my horse, not because I wanted to be on a team. I just wanted to make sure my horse and I got to be the best British combination. We did that, I had an ok time and I just hope I did my horse, my owner and my mum (who came to watch) proud.

Anyone that knows me will tell you I’m all about everyone one else. I adore helping and encouraging others… I would have loved nothing more than to have felt I could have truly been part of my team, but how could I when I had to sit across a table from a groom and a person in a position of power that had not only slagged me off, but also had openly joked about me being a dirty pikey! So I did what I do best… Get angry then just shut myself off from the world.

Fast forward a few years and...

Not so long ago I lost the ride on a horse I felt I shouldn’t have. I was told it was all a genuine mix up... Then soon after that, the same owner bought the rider they had given my ride to a super smart horse to ride. That was some bitter pill to swallow! But I have (hopefully) not complained about it to much for several reasons.

I love the idea of having a big, busy event yard with loads of horses and going back to being that 19yr old with dreams far bigger than her actual talent. But, I don’t like the reality of that in order to have that big busy yard, I will have to deal with people that aren’t loyal and think it’s ok to take horses away from you when they shouldn’t. And to have to put up with people talking about you because they have decided you are beneath them, and that someone who rides as badly as you shouldn’t have rides on nice horses. Don’t get me wrong these people are a minority not a majority... But still, eventing is in my experience dog eat dog and as the old saying goes – if you can’t stand the heat get out the kitchen. I never liked cooking that much anyways…

I took a step back from eventing about 3 years ago and I have to say I’m happier than ever.

My 'boys'.

I love the reality of my life... And I like the idea of changing it. Until that balance changes, I shall stay as I am – a random blonde girl who talks to much, laughs at her own jokes, has a couple of event horses that she adores riding. Has a million fantastic people she loves teaching more than words can say, has a few select friends she misses more than she’d ever tell them when they aren't around to either try and force feed me gin or let me drive over speed bumps at a million miles an hour, and one very loyal owner that never ever makes her question if she will lose the ride on any of her horses…

Life is so very short…

Love your reality more than you like the idea you don’t have. Don’t complain about something you don’t have but aren’t prepared to do what needs doing to have it, and remember sometimes being a majority is better than being the minority.

Stay safe, be lucky and if you can’t do those two, then just make sure you are having fun whilst you are being unlucky and unsafe. - There is a positive in every negative if you look hard enough...

Over and out all...

Phoebe, Champ and Custard Xx

Re-published with kind permission from Phoebe Buckley|Blog


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Published in Trot On Blogs

To the delight of the French crowd, Maxime Livio (FRA) scored his first CCI4* victory by Jumping clear on Qalao Des Mers at Les 4 Etoiles de Pau, the first leg of the FEI Classics™ 2016/17, to finish on his Dressage score of 45.3.

Michael Jung (GER), the 2016 and 2012 individual Olympic gold medallist, held the lead after Cross Country on FischerRocana FST, his 2015 and 2016 Rolex Kentucky CCI4* winner. But Jung lowered two fences on the 11-year-old mare, moving down to third place, and handed the win to Livio.

Maxime Livo, 29, has a superb CCI4* record so far from just three attempts – he finished second on his debut at Les 4 Etoiles de Pau in 2014, and took the runner-up spot with the Selle Français 12-year-old Qalao Des Mers at Luhmühlen in June this year.

He said: “I’ve finished second at this level before, so finally to win is very special. I’ve had a marvelous time at Pau - the ground was well prepared, the courses were great and my horse performed well.”

Jung also finished second to Livio on FischerTakinou, having knocked one fence down on the nine-year-old on whom he won individual and team gold medals at the 2015 FEI European Eventing Championships at Blair Castle (GBR). “It is always disappointing to have a fence down, but I am happy with both my horses,” he said.

Jung also led Les 4 Etoiles de Pau going into the Jumping phase in 2015 on FischerRocana FST but hit one fence, handing victory to France’s Astier Nicolas, who went on to win team gold and individual silver medals at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Nicola Wilson (GBR) took fourth place with One Two Many, slipping from third place after knocking two show jumps down. Her fellow British rider, CCI4* first-timer Alexander Bragg, finished fifth on Zagreb after a faultless jumping round – one of just seven in the competition.

Camilla Speirs (IRL) was delighted with her Rio Olympics partner Portersize Just A Jiff – the pair rose from 32nd after Dressage to take sixth place with a double clear round in the cross country and jumping phases.

New Zealand’s Jock Paget finished seventh after picking up eight jumping faults with Clifton Signature, while Nicola Wilson filled a second top-10 spot with Annie Clover in eighth.

Thirty-five riders contested the final Jumping phase over a track, designed by Yann Royant (FRA) that was considered to be one of the biggest seen at CCI4* level this season.

Two horses were withdrawn before the final veterinary inspection; 10th-placed Parkiarrup Illicit Liaison (Sonja Johnson, AUS) and Fleet Street (Roo Fox, GBR) and two more were eliminated at the final veterinary inspection on Sunday morning – Cracker Jack, who lay in sixth place with Boyd Martin (USA), and Cooley Blue Flame, 35th with Katie O’Sullivan (IRL)



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Germany has won a third FEI Nations Cup™ Eventing title in five years, beating Great Britain, the winners of the ninth and final leg at Boekelo (NED), by 20 points.

The two countries have been close rivals since the FEI Nations Cup™ Eventing started in 2012, with Britain heading the final leaderboard in 2013 and 2015, and both teams have scored three wins each this season.

Germany could only manage fourth place at Boekelo but the best seven scores in the series count and, therefore, Britain, which has contested eight out of nine legs this year, including the new competition at The Plains (USA), had to drop their lowest score: 55 points for a sixth place at Fontainebleau (FRA).

France, which has also shown great consistency over seven legs of the 2016 Nations Cup™ Eventing season and won at Vairano (ITA) last month, finished third in the table. The Netherlands, which has contested five legs, was fourth, and Australia, which scored a memorable win in Aachen (GER), was fifth.

Britain was third after Dressage at Boekelo but soared into a clear lead with three brilliant cross-country performances, all inside the optimum time of 10 minutes 50 seconds.

The day’s trailblazer Oliver Townend was eventual third on Cooley SRS; Laura Collett rose from 33rd to fifth place on the eight-year-old Mr Bass, and FEI Nations Cup™ Eventing regular Izzy Taylor was seventh on Trevidden, a ride she has temporarily taken over from the injured Simon Grieves (GBR).

Izzy Taylor and Trevidden, Flora Harris and Bayano, Chef d'Equipe Philip Surl, Laura Collett and Mr. Bass, Oliver Townend and Cooley SRS       Eventing Photo/FEI

“It’s been a long season and we’ve been all over the world, so this is a great way to finish – I couldn’t be happier,” said British team manager Philip Surl.

Boekelo is many riders’ favourite event for its end-of-season atmosphere and big, enthusiastic crowds. Course Designer Sue Benson’s (GBR) course provided its usual excellent challenge, a varied and horse-friendly track but with several accuracy questions that proved influential and made for an exciting day’s sport.

Fence 7, three skinny brush fences on a curving line caused several problems: Britain’s Flora Harris (Bayano) and Australia’s Sammi Birch (Hunter Valley ll) were both unseated when their horses ducked out. New Zealand team members Blyth Tait on Xanthus III and Jesse Campbell on Amsterdam 21 had run-outs here.

Australia led the Dressage phase but was out of the reckoning after Birch’s departure as Paul Tapner, third after Dressage on Bonza King of Rouges, had a fall in the water at fence 9.

The home side, the Netherlands, was in second place after Cross Country, but slipped to third with Jumping faults, behind New Zealand, which was led by Sir Mark Todd in sixth place on Kiltubrid Rhapsody.

Stephanie Bohe (GER) riding Haytom, CCIO3* Boekelo 2016.          Eventing Photo/FEI

Germany scored a one-two in the individual rankings, with 23-year-old Stephanie Böhe and Haytom notching up their second international win in a fortnight, after Waregem (BEL), and the experienced combination of Andreas Dibowski and FRH Butts Avedon finishing second.

However the team, which was second after Dressage, lost Anna Siemer (Chloe 21) with a rider fall and had to count newcomer Ben Leuwer’s run-outs at fences 7 and 11 on NZB Port Royal.

“Yet again, the FEI Nations Cup™ Eventing has provided a brilliant and exciting competition to follow and it’s great that so many teams are using it to bring on up-and-coming riders to prepare for championships,” said Catrin Norinder, the FEI’s Director of Eventing and Olympic.

“There has been much to celebrate, look forward to providing another great season in 2017.”

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There’s been much talk about the future of eventing’s inclusion in the Olympics. For now, we are safe. But as of 2020, all sporting disciplines are said to be ‘up for review’ after each Olympics; new sports could be included or others dropped by a simple majority vote. We can see in very recent years that changes are afoot, with baseball and softball being removed in 2012 for just one Olympic cycle, and rugby 7's and golf joining the Olympic club in 2016.

The Federation of International Polo (FIP) is incredibly committed to getting its sport included in future Olympics. (Reining and Endurance fans would also love to see their equestrian sports included, although the disciplines were not long-listed for 2020.)

In 2015, polo was one of 26 sports long-listed for inclusion in 2020, according to its own members’ newsletter – Dr. Richard T. Caleel, of the FIP Executive Committee, said that the long-listing: “Is a significant step forwards in our efforts to introduce polo into the Olympic Games.”

However, at a recent meeting of the Tokyo 2020 Additional Events Programme Panel, the sport of polo was denied the chance to compete in Tokyo in 2020, when five other sports... READ MORE

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Paul Tapner as an ammy adult eventer? Yep! The 43-year-old Australian four-star rider is “stepping sideways” from his career as a professional eventer to working full-time for the Event Rider Masters (ERM) series.

He will be assuming the position of digital and technical manager for the series, which just wrapped up its inaugural year at Blenheim Palace. He was already involved in the live streaming of the 2016 series in addition to participating as a rider — he finished third overall in the 2016 ERM standings.

Paul told Horse & Hound that it was a difficult decision but “The ERM was always on my mind as my exit plan.”... READ MORE



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