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Tony Barnett has done amazingly with the forestry commission fight"Without horseytalk we might as well all dig a hole and jump into it."

- Maureen Comber

Farmer, 57, uses five ONE-TONNE Shire horses to work his 100 acres after spurning expensive modern agricultural machinery

- Higher Biddacott Farm near Barnstaple, Devon, sees five Shires weighing one tonne work 100 acres of land

- Mr Waterer's ponies have enough stamina allowing them to work into their 20s,mowing 10 acres a day

- But that's not all they can do - they can act too and have starred in Poldark and Tess of the D'Urbervilles

Read more:

I just love the first page of horseytalk

Tony Barnett has done amazingly with the forestry commission fightTony Barnett has done amazingly with the forestry commission fight

Please pass my congratulations to him
Charlotte Hunt

Cheltenham FREE bets

Cheltenham FREE betsCheltenham Festival betting is huge with bookmakers, punters and of course, horseracing fans. With an average of 62,000 people in attendance every day, this is a betting extravaganza. 

Cheltenham free bets, betting offers and betting tips are thrown at you fast, one can get totally lost trying to keep track.
PUN INTENDED!

Now, with the help of Freebet.UK, you can navigate through the Cheltenham betting forest and beef up your bankroll with £s galore with the UK's leading horseracing bookmakers. Taking place from March 14-17, the Cheltenham Festival is a glorious 4-day event, as the world's finest jockeys, horses, and trainers come together for a staggering £4.3 million in prizes.

   freebets.uk/cheltenham-festival-bets/

Says Steve YandallThis sign is illegal

Equestrians are entitled to use this route - legally.
There are thousands of other illegal signs all over the country banning equestrians.

THEY MUST BE REMOVED

Boy throws stones at defenceless horse

Working at cutting edge of laminitis research

Working at cutting edge of laminitis research

SPILLERS®, through its work with the WALTHAM® International Laminitis and Obesity Research Consortium, is working hard at the cutting edge of laminitis research, to help reduce the occurrence of this common, debilitating condition. In January the Consortium shared work in progress at the prestigious, invitation-only Havemeyer International Equine Endocrinology Summit, which was held in the US. The Consortium also has a number of peer-reviewed papers scheduled for publication this year.

As we all appreciate laminitis is a serious, painful and incapacitating inflammatory condition affecting the tissues within the equine hoof. In some cases it can lead to euthanasia and any horse/pony can be susceptible. Improving knowledge about those at greater risk of laminitis and the possible risk factors involved will help to reduce the incidence of the condition and ultimately should help to prevent it.

The International Equine Endocrinology summit is held periodically for invited clinicians and researchers to share the latest findings or works in progress on the subject of equine endocrinology, with emphasis on PPID and EMS/insulin dysregulation. This year the event was supported by the Havemeyer Foundation and Boehringer Ingelheim. Members of the WALTHAM® International Laminitis and Obesity Research Consortium gave nine of the 50 presentations, including how best to identify those animals with insulin dysregulation that could be at increased risk of laminitis.

The WALTHAM® International Laminitis and Obesity Research Consortium has also had several peer-reviewed papers recently published or about to be published:

  • One, to be published this June in the Journal of Equine Veterinary Science, demonstrates limitations in the horse owner and enthusiast's ability to identify overweight animals from photographic images and suggests that perceptions of weight/condition have shifted recently and may alter depending on what activity the horse/pony is intended for.1 This supports the finding of a paper from the other side of the world, published at the end of last year, which showed that owners can find it difficult to recognise obesity.2
  • Another paper, which has just been published in Plos One, outlines a novel scoring system for looking at the association of regional fat deposits with clinical disease.3
  • A very relevant paper, which has been available previously online, will also be published this June in the Journal of Equine Veterinary Science. It confirms that Cold-blooded type animals <149cm, such as certain native ponies, as well as those kept on high quality pasture are at an increased risk of developing laminitis for the first time. It also highlights the important role that a change in grass intake, in terms of both type and amount, may play at any time of the year not only the spring as commonly thought.4
  • Another study due to be published in the Australian Veterinary journal later this year suggests that unfortunately the recommended changes in feeding and management to help reduce the risk of laminitis are not always followed, even in those animals that have already suffered from the condition. 5
  • Finally two key papers, one describing the conclusions of the first ever prospective study looking at factors that could help predict which animals may develop laminitis within a group of unaffected animals and the other looking at how feeding may influence the interpretation of the oral sugar test, are currently in press in the Equine Veterinary Journal.5

Clare Barfoot RNutr and the research and development manager at SPILLERS® said: "Not only are we very proud to be at the forefront of important scientific research that helps horse owners reduce to the risk of laminitis but the findings also provide us with invaluable information to enable us formulate our feeds appropriately. Current understanding still supports the use of high fibre, low sugar and starch, low glycaemic feeds, making SPILLERS HAPPY HOOF® the ideal choice."

SPILLERS® HAPPY HOOF® is a specially blended, low calorie, short-chop forage which contains all the vitamins and minerals your horse needs to stay in good health. Approved by The Laminitis Trust, it can be used as a bucket feed or as a replacement for hay and is specifically designed to extend eating time.

References

1(Morrison PK, Harris PA, Maltin CA, Grove-White D McG. Argo C McG Perceptions of obesity and management practices in a UK leisure-based population of horse owners and enthusiasts Volume 53, June 2017, Pages 19–29)

2Potter S. J. Bamford N.J. Harris P.A. and Bailey S. R. (2016) Prevalence of obesity and owners perceptions of body condition in pleasure horses and ponies in south eastern Australian Vet Journal 94 427 – 432

3Morrison PK, Harris PA, Maltin CA, Grove-White D McG. Argo C McG (2017) EQUIFAT: A novel scoring system for the semi-quantitative evaluation of regional adipose tissues in Equidae. PLoS ONE 12(3): e0173753. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0173753

4Laminitis: Risk factors and outcome in a group of Danish horses (Luthersson N, Mannfalk M, Parkin T. D. H. & Harris P) Journal of Equine Veterinary Science 53 June 68 -73

5Potter S. J. , Bamford N.J. , Harris P.A. and Bailey S. R. (2017) Incidence of laminitis and survey of dietary plus management practices in pleasure horses and ponies in south eastern Australia. Australian Veterinary journal

6A prospective cohort study evaluating risk factors for the development of pasture-associated laminitis in the UK (Menzies-Gow N.J, Harris P.A. Potter K. and Elliott J.) EVJ and a study on the use of the oral sugar test in ponies when performed with or without prior fasting (Knowles, E. J., Harris, P. A., Elliott, J., & Menzies-Gow, N. J)

Liverpool International Horse Show

Steve McCarronSays Steve McCarron

What is the point of the OPEN SPACES SOCIETY if it does not act to preserve open spaces ..............
read more

Excellent Easter sees attendances hit record levels

Excellent Easter sees attendances hit record levels

Racing enjoyed a bumper Easter weekend with near record attendances at racecourses across the four day period from April 14-17.

There were three outstanding cards on Good Friday, with Lingfield Park welcoming a record 10,817 for All-Weather Championships Finals Day, Bath welcoming 9,200 and almost 6,000 people heading to Newcastle on the same day.

Haydock Park entertained 7,000 for the second-ever Challenger Series Finals Day on Saturday while 5,028 flocked to Musselburgh to see the first running of the Queen's Cup as well as Grand National winner One For Arthur parade before racing.

Chepstow had a bumper 8,635 through the gates on Easter Monday and Plumpton's two fixtures on Sunday and Monday attracted in excess of 7,500 people.

Total attendance was 93,235 across the 20 meetings over the four days, an increase of 99% on the 2016 figure of 46,934 and the highest since Good Friday racing was introduced in 2014.

It was just short of the 93,395 record for the period in 2011 (19 meetings) when Easter fell exceptionally late and over the final day of the jumps season at Sandown Park.

The average attendance for this year was 4,670 which was also well up on last year's figure of 3,352.

The expansion of the Easter programme has complemented the traditional Open Days with around 10,000 making their way to Lambourn on Good Friday and more than 2,500 to Middleham on Monday.

THE BEST BRITISH HORSE RACINGS

THE BEST BRITISH HORSE RACINGS

Horse racing is one of the most ancient sports of all time.

As it was very popular with the royalty of British society, it soon earned the title of "Sport of Kings". With racing taking place in Britain all year, there is always some interesting top-notch events not to be missed.

No matter whether you just want to keep yourself updated or bet on races, by registering at betway.com, you will find everything you need to know about horse racings and many other kinds of sport betting.

This prestigious bookmaker also rewards its players from the first time they start wagering.

Temporary. What does it mean?

Temporary. What does it mean?Different inspectors have different meanings
For Chailey, it was 20-years.
For Chobham, it was six-months.
For Odiham, it was five-years x twice ......... read more

Girl sneaks HORSE into her parents' bathroom to snap a series of hilarious selfies in their mirror

- Kait, an equestrian from Georgia, posted pictures of herself and 25-year-old horse Tucker inside her parents' home

- According to her Twitter account, this wasn't the first time she 'brought a horse into their house' but it was the 'ballsiest' incident

- The 1,000-lb horse was, according to Kait, very calm as he was led through the house for 'five minutes'

Read more:

Horseytalk.net Interview

IS YOUR HORSE NAUGHTY OR IS HE IN PAIN?
THE ANSWER IS WRITTEN ALL OVER HIS FACE...

IS YOUR HORSE NAUGHTY OR IS HE IN PAIN? THE ANSWER IS WRITTEN ALL OVER HIS FACE... Facial expressions research at the Animal Health Trust will help vets and owners recognise pain in ridden horses before it's too late.

Experts at the Animal Health Trust (AHT) Equine Clinic are on a mission to help vets and owners recognise pain in ridden horses, so that they can get help before it's too late. Owners, riders, trainers and some vets are known to struggle with recognising when a horse is lame from looking at horse's gait alone, and some lameness is so subtle that only an expert eye can see it ............. read more

EquestrianCupid.com - the best horse-lover dating site!
EquestrianCupid.com - the best horse-lover dating site!

Your help is needed

THE MOST COMMON HORMONAL DISORDER IN OLDER HORSES AND PONIES

Pituitary Pars Intermedia Dysfunction (PPID), also known as Equine Cushing's Syndrome, is the most common hormonal disorder in older horses and ponies in the UK.

It is caused by changes in the pituitary gland at the base of the brain which normally regulates the release of important hormones into the blood stream. However, these changes mean the hormones are no longer properly controlled.

The scientific community still has many questions about the best way to identify and manage this important disease.

This study is being carried out by the Animal Health Trust, in collaboration with the Universities of Liverpool and Nottingham. If you have experience of PPID (this includes anyone who owns or cares for a horse/pony with PPID and vets who treat them) we would like to invite you to inform researchers what you would like to know about PPID. Whether that's a question around how the disease is diagnosed, the best way to treat it or what the long term prognosis is?

This will help us to identify gaps in the current available information known as 'uncertainties'. Uncertainties are essentially unanswered questions that cannot be answered by up to date information based on research evidence. The most important uncertainties need to be identified so that future research can be prioritised in these areas.

Funding for research is limited and it is important for research organisations to understand what the real priorities are for owners of horses with PPID and the vets treating them, in order to allow the development of appropriate research programmes providing practical answers to your questions.

If you own or care for a horse/pony with PPID or are a vet that treats them (or you have done in the past) please click on this link to have your say!

If you have any questions or for further information please contact the Project Investigator Becky Tatum BSc(Hons): Email: becky.tatum@aht.org.uk Telephone: 01638 751000 Ext. 1241

Says Sally Edwards and Jo WareFrensham Common, rrey

Official. The National Trust does not own or have any other interest on the common land apart from the burial mounds .............. read more

Racehorse Legends Special Stamps Limited edition souvenirs and gifts

Racehorse Legends Special Stamps Limited edition souvenirs and gifts

Image of National Hunt Race The Royal Mail is celebrating eight legendary racehorses whose achievements have made them household names. Illustrated by renowned equestrian artist Michael Heslop, the Special Stamps feature Frankel, Red Rum, Shergar, Kauto Star, Desert Orchid, Brigadier Gerard, Arkle and Estimate. Discover the superb Presentation Pack, limited edition Medal Cover and Framed Stamps.

"The man at the council offices in the Isle of Wight said that if they stopped adopting/resurfacing bridle paths, the council would need to close down that department" - Tony Barnett

Horseytalk.net EXCLUSIVE

RIDER RIGHTS

click here to read more

Says Sandra Smith

Says Sandra SmithThe speed required to ensure that a gate closes is greater than the velocity required to amputate a finger, crush a child or the head of a dog, trap a push or wheelchair, or – literally - tear a hole in the side of a horse ......... read more

Horse rescued after falling into ditch

JazzFirefighters helped the owner to lift the animal to safety

A horse has been rescued after stumbling into a ditch.

The seven-year-old horse named Jazz was left distressed after falling into the ditch on land next to Honey Hill near Onchan on the Isle of Man on Saturday.

Firefighters helped the owner to lift the Irish sports horse to safety at about 15:00 BST. It did not suffer any serious injuries.

Owner Sammy Cattle said: "She's a little stiff but back on her feet, happy and eating."

Jazz Owner Sammy Cattle said she grateful to the fire service and Derry Kissack for their help

Miss Cattle said she came back from a show to find her stuck and struggling to breathe due to her organs being crushed from lying so long.

"We tried everything we could but just couldn't get her up."

She said she was grateful to the fire service and Derry Kissack for their help.

The BHS and Maureen Comber

How the BHS treats somebody who has been a loyal, dedicated and hard-working member for over 50 years.

DAY 1021

It is now 1021 days since the BHS shamefully dismissed Maureen Comber after more than 50-years of dedicated and hard-working service.

Maureen ComberStill no regret.

Still no sympathy.

Still no apology.

What is more they have still not paid her back the outstanding money they owe her.

How long can the BHS continue to behave in this disgraceful manner?

Other hard-working BHS members and volunteers beware. This is obviously the way you are going to be treated one day.

"We're backing Maureen"

Click here to read in full the shocking way
Maureen Comber was treated by the BHS

Irish National Stud

Living Legends having a lunchtime siesta - Kicking King, Hurricane Fly, Hardy Eustace, Beef or Salmon & Rite of Passage

Says Adrienne Yentis

Says Adrienne YentisA friend of mine recently was riding on the heath
and she came across a group of cattle strung out across the bridlepath with no way through – the only way off was to turn round. Fortunately her horse
remained calm throughout. But you can imagine how a nervous horse might react ........... read more

New Police powers to force hunt saboteurs and other protesters to remove face coverings

New Police powers to force hunt saboteurs and other protesters to remove face coverings

Police have been given new powers to remove face coverings from violent protestors. Last month, Minister of State for Policing, Rt Hon Brandon Lewis MP, wrote to all Police Constables making them aware of a new power to make it easier for police officers to request that face coverings be removed from violent protestors. The Minister's letter follows a Countryside Alliance led campaign.

Last December the House of Lords passed a Government amendment to the Policing and Crime Bill which will make it easier for the police to tackle violent masked protestors. The amendment was in response to concerns raised regarding the inability of police to request the removal of face coverings from violent protestors without prior written authorisation from a senior police officer.  Last months letter by the Minister's informed Police Constables that the new provision will commence on today (3rd April).

The amendment means that a senior police officer will be able to give immediate oral authorisation for a constable to remove face-coverings, where it is impracticable for that authorisation to be given in writing. The law had required prior written authorisation that the police have grounds for reasonable belief that activities may take place in an area that are likely to involve the commission of offences. The conditions and protections remain exactly the same, but the fast track process will now allow the police to tackle a serious issue both in rural communities and elsewhere.

Research by the Countryside Alliance using the Freedom of Information Act published last year revealed that the powers had only been used on one occasion in the past three years to require animal rights activists at a hunt to remove face coverings, despite the use of masks to intimidate and hide identity being a standard tactic of hunt saboteurs. The powers had been used on many occasions in relation to pre-arranged demonstrations and football matches.

Alliance Chief Executive, Tim Bonner said, "There are only two reasons for wearing masks and face-coverings in the context of a protest: to intimidate and harass, and to hide identity with the intention of committing criminal offences and avoiding prosecution.

"This is a tactic that has worked, not only by creating alarm and distress in rural communities visited by groups of extremists who have adopted the uniform of the paramilitary complete with standard black face coverings, but also in allowing offences to be committed crimes without any legal consequences. From Wiltshire to Derbyshire; from Gloucestershire to Yorkshire there have been a series of violent assaults by hunt saboteurs in the last few years, none of which have seen anyone brought to justice.

"It doesn't matter if violence and intimidation are happening in urban areas or the countryside, it is wrong and it's only right that police officers are in the position to be able to tackle effectively potentially criminal behaviour wherever it arises.

"We are therefore delighted that the Government has recognised the need to amend the law, recognising that the police need greater flexibility faced with modern types of protests. The amendment does not extend police powers, but makes it more practical to use existing powers and we now expect the police to make full use of them. For too long a small minority have hidden behind masks and disguises to intimidate people and to escape being held account for unlawful behaviour. This change in the law will discourage unlawful activity, whilst allowing lawful and peaceful protest."

Says Linda Wright

Says Linda WrightWe moved to a Shropshire location a year ago having surveyed the local OS map and noted the significant number of bridleways around the property. Sadly the map appears a total fiction. Scarce any of the bridleways are usable ........... read more

Pregnant Mare Trapped in Water-Filled Ditch Saved by Team Effort

World Horse Welfare Rescue Pregnant Mare From DitchThe mare was struggling to move and appeared to have been trapped for some time

World Horse Welfare Field Officer Chris Shaw was at the centre of a dramatic rescue when a pregnant mare had fallen and become trapped in a water-filled ditch near Wellingborough earlier this month.

Chris was making routine checks on a group of horses along with RSPCA Inspector, Polly Underwood, when they noticed the group looking in the direction of a nearby ditch. On closer inspection, they found a heavily pregnant mare stuck chest high in a ditch filled with water. Chris said:

"The poor mare was struggling to move and appeared to have been trapped for some time in the icy cold water as she was shivering and clearly very distressed. We called the Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service for assistance and they arrived swiftly, plus a vet from local practice, Swanspool Vets, came out to assist.

"Her temperature had plummeted to 34 degrees so it was imperative that we work quickly"

"We were eventually able to pull the mare out and begin the process of drying her off and helping warm her up. Her temperature had plummeted to 34 degrees so it was imperative that we work quickly and thankfully Polly from the RSPCA had a bundle of bed sheets and towels in her car which were on their way to the charity shop!

"The vet treated her with antibiotics, multivitamins and painkillers and we were able to feed her some hay which is another way to help raise her temperature. Her owner arrived soon after and transported the mare to a safe, warm stable for the night where she could recover. I then visited her the next day and she was doing really well.

"This was a great example of team working with a successful result. If it wasn't for everyone's quick response and fast actions then this mare may not have made it but thankfully it is a happy ending for everyone involved."

Says Maureen ComberI have been given an ASBO by the Hampshire County Council for standing up for riders rights.

How many other people have been silenced by Hampshire County Council? ........... read more

Lansdown Place Wealth Management visit HorseWorld's Discovery Courses

University of Lesotho

Animal rescue charity, HorseWorld welcomed two members of staff from Lansdown Place Wealth Management Ltd who came to present a cheque for £500 last week.

Steve Brice and Nicola Mould from Lansdown Place visited HorseWorld to see the charity's work with rescued horses and to find out more about HorseWorld's Discovery Courses.

"It was incredible to see the synergy between the rescued horses and children." Said Nicola "To be able to help the horses and then have them go on to help the children is really something special" HorseWorld's Discovery Courses use horses as a unique tool in a series of highly interactive sessions to provide a programme of multi-sensory teaching, promoting learning and emotional growth.

The courses are aimed at young people aged six to 19 who may be outside mainstream schooling due to learning disabilities or behavioural difficulties (or at risk of under-achieving).

Many, but by no means all, may come from dysfunctional and chaotic backgrounds. Discovery can have particular benefits for young people within the autistic spectrum and those with ADHD.

"We raised the funds for HorseWorld over the last year as the Discovery Courses really struck a chord with us." Said Nicola.

"We have worked with HorseWorld for the past 10 years so we knew quite a bit about their work rescuing, rehabilitating and rehoming horses in need but to be able to see the way these horses work with the children was amazing."

Sharon Howell who runs the Discovery courses introduced Nicola and Steve to some of the horses and the children.

"We are so grateful for this donation." Said Sharon.

"It will help to pay for the equipment needed for the courses and will help to keep the horses healthy."

If you wish to find out more about HorseWorld's Discovery Courses, please click here.

Zipper-obsessed horse shows off skills with woman's hoodie

A zipper-obsessed horse in New Jersey showed off his favorite hobby when a woman approached him while wearing a hooded sweatshirt.

A video of the horse at a stable in Randolph, N.J., shows the equine quickly moving to the young woman's shirt as she approaches him.

The horse grabs hold of the woman's zipper and gleefully moves it up and down, showing off his skills at manipulating human clothing.

The woman appears nervous at first, but soon erupts in laughter as the horse enjoys zipping up and down.

Says Tony BarnettGATES OR STILE’S WILL ONLY BE LAWFUL AS LONG AS THE REASONS FOR THE INSTALLATIONS ARE SERVING THE PURPOSE FOR WHICH THEY WERE INTENDED.

ANY STOPPING UP OR CLOSING OFF OF RIGHTS OF WAY SHOULD BE CHALLENGED FOR APPROVAL/CONSENT FROM THE APPROPRIATE MINISTER OF THE CROWN ........... read more

NAF Shining Star for January 2017.

January's NAF Shining Star is awarded to Amelia Brenna-Vaccaro

Fourteen year-old Amelia Brenna-Vaccaro from York, a bubbly and enthusiastic member of the North Yorkshire Junior Academy, has been awarded the NAF Shining Star for January 2017.

Amelia was nominated for the award by Lead Coach Hannah Barker who said the following about her nominee "Amelia has been a constant member of our junior Area academy. She has two 148cm ponies she brings, which she is bringing on and competing successfully. Recently she has qualified for Blue Chip. Amelia is always smiling and enthusiastic to coach, she listens well and her and her ponies are constantly improving. Amelia totally understands the importance of her flatwork and training. It is great to see her win this award to encourage her enthusiasm"

Amelia began her ridden career on Hamish, the tiny coloured terror whom she rode in the show ring at the tender age of two years-old. From there she progressed, at the age of six years-old, where she would take Tilly the 12.2hh pony that would take on anything but only at a trot. It is was on board Tilly that Amelia learned to jump and in 2014 Amelia joined British Showjumping after being kindly lent a friend showjumping pony. They hit it off straight away making it through to the 128 cm Stepping Stones at the British Showjumping National Championships, finishing in an amazing 8th place.

When she was told of her award Amelia said, "I was so surprised when my mum told me. It is really over whelming to think I have been picked out of all the nominees from throughout the country and that Hannah has taken the time to nominate me! Being a member of the academy has really helped boost my confidence.  There is something different to challenge you in each session and it is always something you would not think of doing at home. I want to say a big thank you to Hannah for nominating me and for being such a great Coach!" 

Says Linda WrightWe moved to a Shropshire location a year ago having surveyed the local OS map and noted the significant number of bridleways around the property. Sadly the map appears a total fiction. Scarce any of the bridleways are usable ........... read more

Horseytalk - Product of the Week

Skyline™ Boots from Grub's

Skyline™ Boots from Grub's

Splash around this year, no matter what the temperature, with Skyline high performance boots, now available in the new fashionable colours of Mahogany with Rosewood trim and Black with Heather, from footwear experts, Grub's.

The Skyline boots maximise Grub's unique Superdri™ lining, which is hard wearing, and wicks moisture away from the wearer's foot, to prevent a sweaty and uncomfortable feel. It is fungus and rot proof so will not smell, like cotton-lined boots.

Grub's Skyline boots also feature Underfoot Chassis™ to give a sure-footed platform and a new Yard™ outsole, in Duraprene™, designed to work on yards and in the stirrup. The Hexzorb™ technology in the heel absorbs heel-strike shock.

Skyline™ Boots from Grub's

Skyline boots are waterproof to the top. The 4mm rubber over the whole foot area makes it highly resistant to puncture and flex cracking.

With sophisticated 4.0 Technology™, Skyline provide comfort and insulation below -10°C to +30°C. The 6mm Nitrocell™ footbed has a million microscopic nitrogen bubbles that insulate the wearer from cold surfaces.

Available in Mahogany with Rosewood trim and Black with Heather, in UK sizes 4-8.

RRP: £75.00

For further information please contact Grubs on 01204 567700 or visit www.grubswarehouse.com

Says Steve YandallSays Steve Yandall

Grazing is always used as an excuse for fencing And fencing creates problems for riders read more

Caption Corner
Send us your caption for this photo

Send us your caption for this photo

Says Naomi Smith

Says Naomi SmithIt is all too possible to round a corner on horseback and come upon a group of cattle with no prior warning -this WILL result in a horse being badly spooked at best, bolting at worst -it is only a matter of time ........... read more

Congratulations

Evie Toombes

Evie Toombes 

The Pony Club's 2016 Hannah Francis Award for Talent, Courage and Inspiration was awarded to 'charming, positive and mature' para-rider Evie Toombes, who was nominated by her Branch DC for bravely overcoming the difficulties she has faced throughout her young life.

Fifteen year old Evie, a Member of the South Wold Hunt North Branch, was born with a form of Spina Bifida which affects her lower legs, bladder and bowel function. Despite this, she continues to take part in Pony Club activities and educates other young people with bladder and bowel issues; mentoring them and encouraging them to have the confidence to take up activities.

"Evie's saying is 'find a way – not an excuse'" her mum, Caroline Toombes, told us. "This was tested to the limit last year as she suffered another decline in health due to Gastroparesis, or paralysed stomach, but Evie's dedication far outweighs her exhaustion, and she competes for and attends training with her Pony Club as often as she can."

"Evie's condition means she is frequently in hospital, but she will make every effort to compete for her Branch," said South Wold Hunt North Branch DC, Bethan Leather, who nominated Evie for the Award.

Evie's positive attitude and commitment has helped her to numerous high profile wins, including the Senior National Grade III Show Jumping title at the Riding for the Disabled Association Championships. "It was an exhausting six-hour drive, and as her mother I seriously questioned the sanity of it!" Caroline said. "I will never understand how Evie mustered the energy and focus as she fought off the competition, but somehow she did and I knew I'd made the right choice in taking her."

Evie is currently riding and competing when she is well enough, but her weight continues to be an issue and tests have shown she has a narrowed lower intestine; leading to pain and sickness as she struggles to digest food. Her surgeon is currently discussing options to find a way forward and to improve Evie's quality of life. She is also awaiting further MRI scans to assess the state of her tethered spinal cord which is causing increased pain in her back and legs.

Evie spoke of how honoured she was to be nominated for this special award. She said: "Hannah was a true inspiration to many, and receiving this award is absolutely incredible. No matter how bad things may be, the fun and horsey therapy I enjoy whilst riding and at The Pony Club far outweighs the bad times."

Caroline added "The Pony Club, specifically the South Wold Hunt North Branch, has always found a way to include Evie. This has helped her develop confidence in all areas of life, which is a fantastic stepping stone at such a vulnerable age."

As winner of The Hannah Francis Award for Talent, Courage and Inspiration, Evie was presented with a certificate and a statue of a Thoroughbred horse head which was chosen because of its meaningful expression; gazing, ears pricked, into the future.

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