Equestrian Life – September 2011

Words by:
Bernard Bale
Featured in:
September 2011

As Britain gears up for Olympic glory in 2012, one of the country’s more colourful past Olympic champions is being celebrated at England’s greatest Elizabethan house.

Burghley has long dominated the sweeping approach to the Georgian stone town of Stamford in Lincolnshire and been a hit with visitors for four centuries – whether Elizabethan royalty, locals or tourists from across the globe.

Today it still packs that ‘wow’ factor – offering a packed family day out with a combined ticket giving access to the House plus two gardens, including firm family favourite the Tudor-inspired Gardens of Surprise.

But it was also home to an Olympic Gold Medal winner and one of the prime movers behind the last London Games in 1948.

David, Lord Burghley (1905-1981), who inherited the title of 6th Marquess of Exeter from his father in 1956, was one of the golden athletes of his generation. As well as winning the gold medal for the 400 metres hurdles at the 1928 Amsterdam Olympics, he won Silver in the 1932 Los Angles Olympics 4×400 yard relay.

During 2012 Burghley House will be dedicating its annual Treasury Exhibition to the Olympic connections and achievements of the Gold medal winning Olympian. The exhibition will show memorabilia including his running outfit, medals and information about his role in the 1948 London Olympics.

But visitors to the House can get a taste of the exhibition in 2011 because some of the materials, including the medals and his running shoes, are already on display in the Olympic Corridor at Burghley, which visitors pass through after a tour of the house.

Once he retired from active sport, he worked hard for amateur ideals within the Olympic movement. As president of the International Amateur Athletic Federation, chairman of the British Olympic Association and a member of the International Olympic Committee, he was instrumental in bringing the Olympic Games to England in 1948 and was also chairman of the Organising and Executive Committee for those Games.

During his time at Cambridge, Lord Burghley – as he was then known – was also the inspiration behind one of the key characters in the movie ‘Chariots of Fire’, played by Nigel Havers.

Lord Burghley trained by balancing matchboxes on top of the hurdles and this colourful behavior was reflected in the character of Andrew Lindsay in the 1981 film (although producers replaced matchboxes with glasses of champagne).

A famous scene in that film was also inspired by one of Lord Burghley’s feats – the race around the Great Court at Trinity College, Cambridge, against fellow athletes, when he became the only person to sprint around the courtyard before the college clock tolled twelve times.

His other athletic achievements included the record for running a quarter mile round the promenade deck of the Queen Mary – for the record, he did it in fifty-eight seconds, dressed in formal evening wear, in March 1936.

For more details about Burghley House, visit www.burghley.co.uk or telephone 01780 752451.

I always find it surprising when I look at the difference in tack and equipment used across the various equine disciplines. The basics are all the same in that there is a horse/pony and a rider/handler and also a saddle and bridle in a lot of cases. However, the similarity does tend to stop there.

Take the bridle, for example: in dressage, riders usually go for a flash noseband and with show jumpers they veer towards a grackle. The extent of the difference goes right across horse and rider equipment and clothing too, including horse boots and bandages, numnahs and saddle cloths and even down to a tendency towards various manufacturers for certain fields of equestrianism! So how much of this is necessity and how much is ‘fashion’ within a discipline?

When choosing the right equipment for your horse do you look at the ‘usual’ items deemed suitable for your area of equestrianism or do you look at yourself and your horse and determine what equipment you need to ensure that your way of going is both effective and comfortable? Do you dismiss items perhaps because they are ‘too show jumpy’ or ‘not show jumpy enough’? It does happen and I think that we don’t realise we are doing it as it has become so deeply entrenched in us.

Take a good look at yourself and your horse and question whether or not you have the right tools for the job, does your horse go better in a Dutch Gag (which is almost obligatory for jumpers) or would it be more effective to try another bit for your showjumping or cross country?

I do acknowledge that in some instances there is a trend towards some items because they make perfect sense for that discipline and they contribute towards safety and the well being of horse and/or rider.

At the end of the day what we all want is to accomplish our own goals in the most effective, safe, comfortable and compassionate way possible. But you are allowed to think outside of the box you know. So why not ‘buck the trend’?

Go on, I dare you!

Full details www.sheepgate.co.uk Telephone 07768 156262
Email: sarah@sheepgate.co.uk or events@sheepgate.co.uk

Lincolnshire is a large rural county with many horses, owners and equine yards. Over the past eight months Lincolnshire Police has launched a new Horsewatch Scheme in the country and Detective Chief Superintendent Roach and I are two of the main Police liaison officers.

Lincolnshire Horsewatch is supported by Lincolnshire Police with the main aim being to provide a scheme where the eyes and ears of the equestrian community work together with Lincolnshire Police to gather and share information to protect all horses, ponies and property. As chief constable of Lincolnshire Police Richard Crompton also holds the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) portfolio for Rural Crime and fully supports the Horsewatch Scheme. This is a free scheme and is run very similar to Neighbourhood Watch. As a horse owner, riding school/livery yard owner, tack shop manager or if you simply have an interest in horses we are encouraging them to join the scheme. Each member who joins the scheme will receive a Horsewatch crime prevention pack which contains many useful horse/equipment records, contact telephone numbers and crime prevention literature.

Members will also receive regular automated messages via email or telephone (chosen by the member) which will have updates from Lincolnshire Police in reference to crime warnings, equine related thefts, news and equine events where Lincolnshire Police will be present.

Horsewatch Members will also have the opportunity to have their tack marked for free. Lincolnshire Horsewatch has a Mobile Police Station with facilities that enables us to mark any leather tack and can engrave synthetic tack. Also we encourage horse owners to have any valuable equipment marked, for example rugs, stirrup irons and headcollars.

We have attended a number of local shows in Lincolnshire and had a lot of interest. Horsewatch has welcomed approximately 150 members since we set the scheme up and we are hoping to increase the number of members to more than 1000 which Lincolnshire Farm and Country Business Watch has built up over the years.

Nicole Page, Police Community Support Officer 2236 Boston Urban West Neighbourhood Policing Team, Lincoln Lane, Boston, Lincolnshire PE21 8QS Tel: 01205 312375 Mob: 07825725319 Email: nicole.page@lincs.pnn.police.uk

A young showjumping starlet from Humberston in the North of the county competes at a prestigious national festival as this edition of the magazine appears, alongside the best the country has to offer – despite only four months of practice in the discipline.

Roxanne Hennebery has qualified for Scope – the annual British Showjumping Festival which has over seventy classes and takes place at the Staffordshire Show Ground from August 28th to September 3rd.

Roxanne, 23, has been jumping on her horse – Brighton Boy – for just four months, having previously performed dressage with him during their year together.

Her achievement is all the more remarkable considering Brighton Boy was deemed “unrideable” when she first started training with him.

After qualifying for the 1.05 Adventure Scope level at a show in Yorkshire, they are competing alongside 200 others in her class at the BS Festival.

“Scope is the thing that showjumpers aim for once a year,” said Roxanne. “It is a big event that lasts for a week with around 1,500 competitors there all doing different levels. When I got my horse the aim was simply to sit on him because he had really bad anxiety problems and wouldn’t let anyone on his back. He was just in a field doing nothing because nobody would go on him. A lot of professionals told me to get rid of him because they felt he was dangerous but I could see his potential. Every night I went down to see him and I spent hours with him, gradually bringing him on and now there are no problems. To be taking him to competitions is a huge bonus. To qualify for Scope is unbelievable.

“It is a dream come true just to be sat on my horse, and fantastic to be taking him to an event that will be a great experience. I’m not looking to win or even place – to do that would be amazing. I really hope that this year it will be a good experience for us and hopefully we can do the same again next year when we might have a chance – my horse has so much potential. I would also like to thank my friend Brenda Johnson who takes me all over the country, without her I couldn’t have done it.”

Consistent local dressage rider, Rebecca Golland, has once again won a National award. This time, Rebecca has won the Open Preliminary section of the ‘Your Horse’ magazine dressage league on her young horse Pilgrim’s Promise. This competition is run on a similar system to a football league where you get a varying level of points at each competition you enter through the year, but in this one points were given down to 10th place.

Two years ago she won a similar, but more prestigious, award with her other horse, A Question of Class. This competition was operated by the controlling body of the sport, British Dressage, and it was run along the same lines as the one above, but open to all of the British Dressage members, and not just one section of them. Also, points are awarded on percentage marks, not by place position. This horse is now working at Advanced Medium, so is making excellent progress.

Rebecca was very pleased to win this most recent competition with Pilgrim, as it is a mammoth juggling operation, looking after an eighteen-month-old daughter, working several days a week, and keeping three competition horses fit, and participating in competitions.

Should anyone, or any company, wish to share in Rebecca’s success by sponsoring her in any way, then she would be pleased to hear from you on 01472 859450.

Roxanne is not the only rising star from our county as Rosalind Canter is hitting new heights in her British Eventing career. The 25-year-old, based at Hallington, near Louth, has had a terrific season so far on the national eventing circuit.

One of several highlights was a win on Judy Bradwell’s horse, Vermeer, in the Barbury International Intermediate two-star class in July. In good company, Rosalind was competing against world class competition, including William Fox-Pitt, Mark Todd and Lucinda Fredericks.

That same weekend Rosalind had another five rides at both Barbury on the Saturday and at Buckminster Park, Lincolnshire on the Sunday.

All her rides came home with impressive double clears in the show jumping and cross country phases with good dressage scores – resulting in wins and placings in all the classes entered.

The following weekend there were also wins and placings at the Great Witchingham International event, Norfolk with horses including her own Emill.

Rosalind said: “It is extremely satisfying to have such a good run of results, especially when you put so much hard work into the training. I am obviously delighted with the horses I have to ride at the moment and look forward to the rest of the season.”

The qualified instructor trains from her base at Holme Farm, Hallington where facilities include a new purpose-built arena, made possible thanks to a grant from Lindsay Action Zone.

Her next challenge was to represent Great Britain at the Two Star European Championships in Northamptonshire in which she was joined by two other star youngsters from our county – Louth rider Lauren West and Carol Pearson, based near Market Rasen.

Our county has been endowed with some great riding centres and The Paddocks Riding Centre is one of the nicest. Situated in the picturesque village of Hough on the Hill, near Grantham, Lincolnshire The Paddocks Riding Centre is a small friendly yard offering a personalised equestrian experience.

The centre offers the chance to enjoy learning to ride in a safe, friendly environment, first class coaching on schoolmaster horses and the thrill of riding out in the beautiful Lincolnshire countryside.

The Paddocks’ great facilities include: Dressage schoolmasters; 20m x 60m all weather arena; off-road hacking; a Horse Simulator and a very friendly welcome. It is also a centre for the Pony Club and Riding for the Disabled Association as well as being British Horse Society Approved.

Proprietor, Karen Thompson BHSII has used her experience working in many different spheres of the horse industry to develop a small friendly yard where you can be guaranteed a continuity of instruction. Riders are allowed to develop at a pace that suits them and increase their capabilities using simple techniques. Whatever level of expertise, complete beginner or more competent rider, The Paddocks’ aim is to help riders improve their skills and benefit from the fun and excitement of the horse.

Want to know more? Contact The Paddocks Riding Centre, Lodge Farm, Hough on the Hill, Near Grantham NG32 2BE Tel: 01400 250228

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Calling all UK young artists!Doddington Young Sculptor Exhibition Doddington Hall and Gardens, Lincolnshire invites submissions from UK-based sculptors and 3D artists, aged under 30, for an exciting new open exhibition to be held this summer. Doddington is looking for pieces to be exhibited in the historic working Kitchen Garden, which complement the Garden and its surroundings. The Doddington Young Sculptor Exhibition will run alongside the main bi-annual Sculpture at Doddington exhibition and is an opportunity to exhibit alongside some of the finest contemporary sculptors selected from across the country and further afield. Prizes: 1st prize – £750, 2nd prize – £250Submission deadline: Sunday April 21st 2024Further details about eligibility, terms and conditions can be found at: www.doddingtonhall.com/event/young-sculptor-exhibition/To apply, please email your submission as a PDF document to angus@doddingtonhall.com ... See MoreSee Less