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R 6 FEBRUARY 2014 EVERY THURSDAY ➤ Shock as top show rejects hard hats for all ➤ Neurosurgeon blasts ‘complacency’ New row over hats Top riders who hunt Why William Fox-Pitt and other top names hunt Miners Frolic is retired ‘He did so much for me,’ says Tina Cook Foot shape: the clues to possible problems The horse winning despite serious allergies DAN SKELTON His fl ying start as a trainer VET REPORT DRESSAGE H&H INTERVIEW ➤ How horse owners are coping ➤ Eventing venues battle to get ready ➤ Damaged yards count the cost FLOODS NO END IN SIGHT & % ( \" \" \" ) &%\" % \' &#% \" \"\' ! * ) \" & &%\" % #%# % \" ³2XU 7RS6SHF IHHGLQJ UHJLPH SODV DQ HVVHQWLDO SDUW LQ RXU VXFFHVV :KHQ VKRZ MXPSLQJ DW WRS OHYHO D ORW RI VWUHVV LV SXW RQ RXU KRUVHV MRLQWV DQG IHHGLQJ 7RS6SHF -RLQW )HHG %DODQFHU HQVXUHV ZH DUH GRLQJ HYHUWKLQJ ZH FDQ WR NHHS WKHP ¿W DQG ZHOO ´ (PLO :DUG 3KRWRJUDSK E 6%0 3KRWRJUDSKLF +DGGRQ +RXVH :LOG 5RVH ZLQQLQJ WKH :RUOG &ODVV 8QGHU TXDOL¿HU DW %XU )DUP RZQHG E 1LFN :DUG DQG ULGGHQ E (PLO :DUG Great deals on print and iPad subscriptions at www.horseandhoundsubs.co.uk/subs 6 FEBRUARY 2014 . HORSE & HOUND 3 1 2 3 4 Pictures by John Beasley, Sarah Farnsworth, Peter Nixon and Louisa Purvis Photography 1 A day at the races — the Portman hounds parade before racing at Wincanton (report, p46) 2 Thrills and spills — a young rider is ejected from the saddle after negotiating a substantial ditch out with the Worcestershire (report, p28) 3 Advice from Dad? National Hunt trainer Dan Skelton watches his horses work up the gallops, alongside his father, Olympic showjumper Nick (feature, p42) 4 A dedicated H&H photographer — Peter Nixon braves the elements — getting very muddy in the process — to capture moments from the Tedworth’s visit to the Berkeley Cover picture by Mark Thistlewood William Fox-Pitt enjoying a day’s hunting NEWS COVER STORY 4 Row over safety hats in showing rumbles on 6 Ongoing rain continues to wreak havoc 8 Tina Cook’s Miners Frolic is retired 10 Pointing in East Anglia suffers a further blow FEATURES 22 Hunt heroes We meet 20-year-old Hedgehog, who knows every inch of the Portman countryside COVER STORY 24 Top riders who hunt H&H fi nds out why some professional riders take to the hunting fi eld COVER STORY 42 Dan Skelton interview We visit Paul Nicholls’ protégé, who is enjoying a successful fi rst season REPORTS 28 Hunting Woodland Pytchley and Worcestershire 31 Hunting comment Andrew Sallis 36 Racing Ffos Las, Sandown Park and Wetherby 39 Racing comment Daryl Jacob 46 Point-to-point Milborne St Andrew and more 47 Point-to-point comment Darren Edwards 50 Showjumping Aintree, Hartpury, Morris EC and more 58 Brits abroad Showjumping COVER STORY 60 Dressage Keysoe under-25s, Tall Trees and highlights 69 Dressage comment Pammy Hutton 70 Sport horse breeding A round-up of news 72 Showing BSPS Area 1B REGULARS 12 Letters Have your say 14 Ask H&H Dealing with a missold horse 16 Property Lower rates for equestrian businesses COVER STORY 20 Vet clinic Foot conformation and lameness 71 Subscription offer Sign up today for huge savings 99 The moment Paul Tapner CLASSIFIED 74 Horses for sale New on the market this week Contact us Magazine enquiries 020 3148 4551 Picture sales 020 3148 4559 Display advertising 020 3148 4224 Subscriptions 0844 848 0848 Classified advertising 0800 316 5450 Subscribe to Horse & Hound and save up to 35% www.horseandhoundsubs.co.uk/ihrdb Or call 0844 848 0848 and quote 27X Do you have a story? contact acting news editor Amy Mathieson telephone 020 3148 4590 email amy_mathieson@ipcmedia.com News Competitors in HOYS hunter qualifi ers will continue to be allowed to choose their own Safety SAFETY headgear is under scrutiny in the showing world after Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) refused to implement a new compulsory headgear rule for its hunter qualifi er classes. But a poll of H&H readers suggest that riders think safety should come fi rst. Sport Horse Breeding of Great Britain (SHB(GB)), which previously ran all HOYS hunter qualifi er classes, has introduced a new hat rule — despite a wave of objections from its members when announced — making it compulsory for all riders to wear a skull cap or hat with safety harness at all times while mounted (news, 19 December). HOYS announced last week (25 January) that it was not prepared to enforce the rule for its hunter qualifi ers — which, as with all HOYS qualifi ers, are governed by its own set of rules — so the classes will now be run by the British Show Horse Association (BSHA) instead. But in a poll run on H&H ‘s website last week, most readers felt HOYS had made the wrong decision — only 33% felt that hats should be a “freedom of choice” matter. Helmet row in showing gathers pace No fallout HOYS maintains that it has not “fallen out” with SHB(GB) and told H&H that they had offered to look into adopting the rule for the 2015 qualifi ers. “We are very disappointed that SHB(GB) have chosen to walk away,” Helena Pettit from HOYS said. “We are very conscious of heath and safety, but as an adult we feel you should have the freedom to decide.” Chairman of the BSHA Ian Darcy said that they had only decided to run the classes to “preserve the hunter classes at HOYS”. The BSHA will hold a meeting later this week to try to establish what membership fee it will charge show hunter riders and what judges it will use in the classes. SHB(GB)’s Liz Morely said that the switch had left them in a “temporary state of shock and some disarray”. Despite the fi nancial consequences from losing members that SHB(GB) is now facing by not running the qualifi ers, the society was not prepared to compromise on its decision. “We will carry on with our heads held high in the knowledge that we are absolutely sure that we have made the right decision,” Ms Morely added. SHB(GB) said it has the full support of the Royal International Horse Show and will continue to run its hunter qualifi ers for that show. Their tough stance is supported by neurosurgeon Laura Davis. “If people are told they have to do something there’s a big fuss about ‘my choice’,” she said. “But if societies and governing bodies made wearing a helmet mandatory it would soon become second nature, just like the seatbelt law in the 1980s.” Divisive topic THE showing world, where tradition and elegance are so important, lags behind other disciplines when it comes to mandatory safety wear. Approved safety hats are already compulsory for all British Showjumping competitors, for British Eventing except for dressage and prize-giving at intermediate and above and British Dressage except for advanced and above. However, many high profi le showing riders Pictures by Peter Nixon, Lucy Merrell, David Miller, www.trevor-meeks-photography.co.uk and Graham Hatch 17%the increase in the number of horses registered to compete in Retraining of Racehorses’ classes in 2013, up from 2012 Should what you wear on your head be a matter of personal choice? Or do societies need to take the lead? An argument over a safety headgear rule has sparked a fi erce debate in the showing community, reports Sophia Heath 4 HORSE & HOUND . 6 FEBRUARY 2014 www.horseandhound.co.uk Competitors in HOYS hunter qualifi ers will continue to be allowed to choose whether to wear safety headwear or not Producer Robert Walker thinks the new rule is a ‘shame’ COVER STORY Traditionally riders in hunter classes wear beaglers Showjumping Showjumping Rider dies after fall in Florida Big Star to return to competition AN American showjumper has died following a fall at the Winter Equestrian Festival in Florida. Anne Heyman, from New Jersey, died on Friday (31 January) after a fall in the Masters Jumpers. She was immediately attended to by paramedics at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Centre and taken by air ambulance to the Delray Medical Centre, where she later died. Anne was 52 and a former New York City assistant district attorney who founded a youth village in Africa for victims of the 1994 Rwandan genocide. BIG STAR looks set to make his comeback with Nick Skelton at the Winter Equestrian Festival in Florida this week. It has been six months since Beverley Widdowson’s 11-year-old stallion was last seen in action, when helping Great Britain win the FEI Nations Cup in Dublin in August. Big Star was found to have a leg injury, meaning the Olympic gold medallist missed the chance to bid for the second leg of the Rolex Grand Slam in Spruce Meadows, Canada, in September and the dual Aachen/Rome grand prix winner has remained on the sidelines since. Nick told H&H on Monday (3 February) that he “might jump him” this week, but only in a 1.20m class. Showjumping Global Champions Tour has new sites THIS year’s Longines Global Champions Tour (GCT) is to take place in 14 cities — including three new venues. As well as the new site in London at Horse Guards Parade (news 19 December, 2013), the additions are Paris (4-6 July) — by the Eiffel Tower — Shanghai (6-8 June) and Antwerp, Belgium (24-27 April). The fi nal will once again be in Doha, Qatar. Jan Tops, GCT president, said: “2014 represents a groundbreaking year with our events staged in some of the great cities of the world.” ➤Visit: www.globalchampionstour.com He’s allergic to a long list of things including grass, apples, hay, grain and all moulds and spores. It’s just a shame we can’t treat him to anything that horses are supposed to like John Fullick on Sovereign Quest, see Tall Trees dressage report see page 62 Great deals on print and iPad subscriptions at www.horseandhoundsubs.co.uk/subs 6 FEBRUARY 2014 . HORSE & HOUND 5 Hats: not just an issue at competitions THE hat debate is not confi ned to competition. As anyone can see from scanning horses for sale advertisements, hat wearing is not yet universal while riding at home, writes Amy Mathieson. Neurosurgeon Laura Davis said she “fails to understand” why anyone would ever get on a horse without a hat. “It’s so easy to be complacent,” she said. “You always think, ‘it won’t happen to me, I know my horse’, but accidents do happen. I see the devastating effects,” she said. Increasing awareness? THE British Horse Society told H&H that from 700 incidents reported on www. horseaccidents.org.uk since 2010 just 30 were not wearing a hat to an approved standard. Ms Davis also believes the culture of wearing hats is changing, but that top riders need to set an example. “Riders like Charlotte Dujardin wearing crash helmets do an awful lot for the sport. But it should be made mandatory in prizegivings as those are the photos you often see, and it makes it look ‘cool’. Last week the story of an 18-year-old boy whose life was saved by his hat received a tremendous response on H&H online. James Hooker suffered serious facial injuries in a fall at home in Swansea. He came off after a jump and hit the manège fence. The horse then kicked his head. The doctor who treated James said that he would almost certainly have died had he not been wearing his hat. James told H&H he “wouldn’t dream of getting on a horse without a hat”. “Horses are unpredictable and have a mind of their own,” he said. The accident has renewed calls from industry fi gures about the importance of wearing a correctly fi tting hat. The British Equestrian Trade Association (BETA) will be using the photos and James’ story to promote safety wear. “We need to reiterate the expertise provided by retailers trained to fi t hats,” said BETA’s Claire Williams. Sheila Hardy from the BHS agreed: ”No protective equipment will protect everyone in all situations, but it will defi nitely lessen the injuries as has been proven here.” Accidental death AN inquest last week (27 January) heard that former point-to-point champion Philip Scholfi eld, who was 55, died after he “slid from the saddle” out riding in Cornwall last June, suffering severe head injuries. Assistant coroner Barrie Van Den Berg recorded a verdict of accidental death caused by a skull fracture and brain haemorrhage. The inquest heard “he was old school and would never wear a riding hat”. Pathologist Juliane Stolte, who carried out the post-mortem, said she believed the injury was the result of the fall, although the haemorrhage could have occurred before. James Hooker suffered series injuries in a fall... Charlotte Dujardin wears a crash hat ....his crash hat was split down the middle baulk at the idea of following suit. A Facebook page set up by producer Lynn Russell called “my head, my choice” has had more that 600 likes, with members congratulating HOYS on “sticking to their guns”. “It is not just the professionals,” Lynn said. “The voice from amateurs has been as strong.” Producer Robert Walker also thinks that SHB(GB) has made a mistake in trying to implement a blanket ban. “It’s shame that it has come to this,” he told H&H. “If they had listened to their members and been prepared to compromise then we wouldn’t have ended up here.” As H&H went to press SHB(GB) said it would release a statement in the near future outlining the consequences of the actions of HOYS and the BSHA. H&H Big Star is to return to action in wear lers News Weather Horses and venues battle fl ooding misery THE deluge that has engulfed parts of central and southern England for January has been the worst since records began in 1910. Horse owners are feeling its effects more than most as they battle through the never-ending mud. The rain has dented the racing calendar, with 23 fi xtures cancelled due to waterlogged ground in January. Last week Kempton hosted a Flat fi xture for Mia Tindall Charlie Meade Mum and both maternal grandparents are Olympic event riders and Dad was a member of the 2003 World Cup-winning England rugby team. Mike Tindall says Mia is a Gloucester supporter — we’re hoping Zara Phillips’ fi rst child gets the riding bug. Grandpa Richard Meade is a double Olympic gold medallist; father Harry is a similarly gifted rider across country. Expect to see baby Meade jostling with Mia Tindall for Team GBR selection in about 2034. of the Topic week Babies with impeccable pedigrees 6 HORSE & HOUND . 6 FEBRUARY 2014 www.horseandhound.co.uk jumps horses on the all-weather track to give horses a run amid the abandonments (see Daryl Jacob’s comment p39). The rain has also caused havoc for pointing. Last month Horseheath racecourse in Cambridgeshire cancelled all its 2014 fi xtures after the surface was deemed unsafe to race on due to the prolonged wet weather (see p10). Other meets such as the South Durham Farmers Club at Mordon have also been forced to cancel due to standing water on the track. Event season under threat AS more rain is forecast for the coming weeks on already saturated ground, there is growing concern about the start of the event season, scheduled to begin in less than a month. British Eventing’s chief executive Mike Etherington- Smith said: “The weather is creating some challenges in terms of event preparation. As always everyone is doing their best to get ready for the start of the season.” The organiser of Isleham in Cambridgeshire (1-2 March) Jackie Seddon said that she had “no major concerns” at the moment but admitted that it was fortunate that all course changes had been carried out in early January. “Timing with the recent weather was critical and luckily we got it right,” she added. Some event riders have still been able to get in some pre-season training, thanks to two new purpose-built all-weather cross-country courses. Aston-le-Walls in Northamptonshire recently unveiled its new three-acre facility and Pontispool Equine Sports Centre in Somerset opened a two-acre all-weather crosscountry course on Saturday (1 February). “It has been a big investment,” Pontispool’s owner Richard Record levels of rainfall continue to cause misery for the equestrian community, leaving fi elds saturated and stables fl ooded. Now there are concerns for the start of the event season too. Sophia Heath reports Jockeys ride through the mud in the West Wales National at Ffos Las The future? Pontispool’s all-weather cross-country course can be ridden come rain or shine Pony paddocks recently submerged in Eton, Berkshire Pictures by www.trevor-meeks-photography.co.uk, Bill Selwyn, Carol Jay Photos, Alexander Sandvoss/Alamy, Arno Balzarini, Lucy Merrell, Jon Stroud Media and Steve Wall COVER STORY LIEBLING II The 17-year-old dressage star has returned to Carl Hester’s yard to retire. He had fi ve different riders at international grand prix, fi nishing 10th at the 2007 Europeans with Anna Ross Davies and securing two championship team silvers with Carl. AURORAS ENCORE The surprise 66-1 winner of the 2013 Grand National has been retired. Auroras Encore, trained by Sue Smith, wife of former showjumper Harvey, fractured a leg in the Sky Bet Chase at Doncaster (25 January). BIKO Karen O’Connor’s 1996 Olympic team silver medallist has died, aged 30. Found in Ireland by William Micklem and owned while competing by Dick and Vita Thompson, he was third at Badminton in 1995 and was named US Eventing Association horse of the century in 1999. POQUELIN The two-times December Gold Cup winner at Cheltenham, when trained by Paul Nicholls, died after an accident on the gallops last week. He was pointing this season and recently won at Larkhill, trained by Lucinda Gould. LION HEART II Lucy Straker has retired her grand prix horse. Although fi t, he had been battling navicular for a year and was also a colic surgery and lorry accident survivor. Lucy said: “We have been on an awesome 13-year journey together, from just broken to international grand prix.” Horses in the news I had my sister Camilla on the headphones in the warm-up and we were just chatting and she was working me in like she does at home Phoebe Peters on competing star pony SL Lucci at Keysoe see page 60 Laura and Mark Tomlinson’s fi rst child is due in July. But what to take to the baby shower — a tiny top hat or a miniature polo mallet? Tomlinson tot Wee Whitakers Frankel fi lly The great showjumping dynasty welcomed the next generation last year with the birth of Robert Whitaker’s daughter Evie. With Robert’s cousin William dad to Isabella, two, the family dominance of British showjumping seems assured. The most eagerly awaited foal of Frankel’s fi rst crop — out of Arc and King George heroine Danedream — arrived on 27 January. How much money would you put on her to win the Oaks? Great deals on print and iPad subscriptions at www.horseandhoundsubs.co.uk/subs 6 FEBRUARY 2014 . HORSE & HOUND 7 Mitford-Slade told H&H. “But for us it’s an insurance policy against the weather. Since the awful summer of 2012 and the following winter it was just an obvious solution.” Pontispool’s all-weather cross-country course is fully booked for the next three weeks and Mr Mitford-Slade now plans to increase the area by a further 2,000 square metres. ‘Utter misery’ OTHER competitors have not been as lucky. Endurance rider Annie Joppe, who is hoping to qualify for the World Equestrian Games, is struggling to fi nd enough dry land to train on in Cornwall. “In a normal year I would be able to combine canter work EQUETECH WINTER BREECHES Made from soft stretch water repellent fabric with a warm fl eece lining. Price: £96.50 www.equetech.com CALDENE WARTERPOOF GLOVE These gloves can be used to ride in and for yard chores. Price: £19.94 www.caldene. co.uk DRY SOON 3 TIER HEATED TOWER AIRER This portable heater offers a quick solution for drying off equipment quickly. Price: £92.99 www.lakeland.co.uk GIBSON EAR MUFFS Lined with either sheepskin or fl eece these earmuffs clip on your riding hat to keep your ears toasty. Price: £16.50 www.gibsonsaddlers.com Four must-have items for the washout weather around the fi eld headlands, hillwork on the moors and increasingly long canters on the three-mile long beach at Perranporth,” she said. “This year, however, even the basic fi tness work was challenging: howling gales, the lanes like rivers and my poor school more like a pond.” Other riders have had to watch their fi elds and stables being destroyed by the constant deluge. H&H reader Katherine Soley moved to a new purpose-built yard in Grittleton, Wilts, in October but is now doing emergency construction work as her stable block is subsiding due to constant fl ooding. “The weather has brought utter misery to what was supposed to be my dream yard,” she said. “I have had to evacuate all horses in the block. The base needs underpinning in an attempt to stabilise the building.” Too late to help AGRICULTURAL groundwork companies told H&H that they have received an unprecedented amount of calls in the past month from people struggling with fl ooding. Although there are solutions available, such as improving drainage or putting in underground storage crates to collect and store the water, the sodden ground is hampering efforts. “Sometimes there are very easy solutions, but any work needs to be considered and planned,” said a spokesman from ground drainage company Owls Hall Environmental. “People should call in a specialist to look at the problem now. But the work will probably need to be carried out when the land is dryer.” Mark Snelson from equestrian construction and groundwork specialist Groundlines told H&H that a lot of his projects had been forced to “grind to a halt”. “We just physically can’t do very much,” he added. “My heart goes out to people but there isn’t a quick fi x once the damage is done.” Spot the rider: the fi eld master of the Burne Bloodhounds, takes a dunking News Eventing Miners Frolic is retired Puppy lovers ▲ The offi cial Budweiser “Best Buds” advert for the 2014 Superbowl features the tale of a bond between a Clydesdale and a Labrador puppy. Have your tissues at the ready… Grand National fans ▲ British Showjumping and British Eventing members can get 20% off tickets for the Grand National Meeting’s opening day at Aintree on Thursday 3 April. Women in bloodstock ▲ Gina Bryce is to become the fi rst woman to grace the rostrom at Tattersalls when she introduces stallions as they parade through the sales ring at the Bloodstock Breeding Sale of 2014 on 6 February. Burghley Horse Trials ▲ The Lincolnshire four-star has been voted the best horse trials event in the world by the international equestrian yearbook L’Année Hippique. H&H blogger Rosie Fry ▼ The eventer has been in the wars after her fi ve-year-oldArchie bucked her off in the warm-up at his fi rst dressage competition and her advanced ride Another Breakfast bit and bruised her thigh while she was rugging him up. Henrietta Knight ▼ The former trainer has suffered a badly broken ankle and leg after slipping rounding up her geese on 25 January. Henrietta, who recently lost her husband Terry Biddlecombe, has been running the yard from her hospital bed. Antis in Surrey ▼ A protest by sabs outside the Surrey Union ball in Guildford proved a damp squib, when only a handful turned up. They also denounced the use of a “bucking bronco”, which was, of course, a machine. Sun-seeking showjumpers ▼ It is not just British venues that are suffering due to the rain. The Winter Equestrian Festival in Florida was forced to cancel all competition on 31 January due to the “inclement weather”. Pictures by Bill Selwyn, www.trevor-meeks-photography.co.uk, Jon Stroud Media and Steve Bardens 8 HORSE & HOUND . 6 FEBRUARY 2014 www.horseandhound.co.uk TINA COOK has announced the retirement of Team GB stalwart Miners Frolic due to a heart problem. Tina revealed to H&H that she noticed something was wrong with the 16-year-old — who is the only horse to have won three Olympic eventing medals for Britain — when he came back from a hack seeming out of sorts. “He was defi nitely uncomfortable with something and the vet who knows him was only a quarter of an hour away,” Tina said. “He came and saw him and said he’s got what Sprinter Sacre had — arterial fi brillation. “He stopped blowing and he’s been totally fi ne since. But his heart needed to go back to normal within 24hr to avoid treatment. Every day we’ve checked it and it hasn’t done so.” Miners Frolic (Henry) was taken to see specialist Celia Marr at the Newmarket Equine Hospital on Monday (3 February). After further discussion with the vets there, Tina and his owners decided to retire him. The dark bay gelding, who is owned by Nick and Valda Embiricos and Sarah Pelham, nearly died of enterocolitis in 2011 after an adverse reaction to antibiotics. But he fought back to represent Britain at the London Olympics, fi nishing sixth individually. “He has battled through one near-death experience and owes me nothing,” Tina said. “I have shed a tear, but I wouldn’t want to put a horse who has done so much for me and his owners through invasive treatment at his age.” Tina added that although she had hoped the World Equestrian Games in August might be his “swansong”, she was happy that he would retire “at top of his game”. His retirement plan is still to be fi nalised but Tina is hopeful he will be well enough to enjoy some gentle hacking. 2003 winner fi ve-year-old Burghley Young Event Horse 2007 third Boekelo CCI3*, second Blenheim CCI3* 2008 Olympic team and individual bronze 2009 European team and individual gold and sixth Luhmuhlen CCI4* 2010 World Equestrian Games team gold 2012 Olympic team silver and sixth individually 2013 13th individually European Championships and 18th Badminton CCI4* Tina and Henry celebrate team silver at the London 2012 Olympics The partnership won three Olympic medals and helped to secure team gold at the 2010 World Equestrian Games Tina at home with Henry who she has ridden since he was four MINERS FROLIC’S CAREER HIGHLIGHTS COVER STORY ! ! \"\" \" # $ % & & \" \" \" \"\" \" & \' & \' \" & & \' & ( ) \" & \' ! & \" \' & & ( $ ) \' & * & \' ) TWO well-known equine charities are facing disruption due to funding crises. The Racehorse Sanctuary in West Sussex has been forced to look for a new home, while HorseWorld in Bristol might have to shut its visitor centre and make redundancies Point-to-point Marks Tey needs to attract big crowds to ensure its future HorseWorld might have to shut its visitor centre and lay off staff Pictures by Lucy Merrell, Neale Blackburn, Hamish Mitchell and Bill Selwyn Industry Two charities face fi nancial crises POINTING in East Anglia has been dealt a further blow as organisers of Marks Tey confi rmed the future of the Essex track is under threat, writes Amy Mathieson. This follows last month’s news that Horseheath racecourse in Cambridgeshire was to cancel all 2014 fi xtures, after the surface was deemed unsafe to race on due to the prolonged wet weather. Horseheath’s clerk of the course John Sharp said it was one of the “most disappointing days” of his racing life. Now Marks Tey, near Colchester, could only stage two more meetings — 23 February and 16 March — unless the crowds attracted are large enough to show the venue has a viable future. Marks Tey has held fi xtures for over 60 years, but costs nearly £15,000 per year to run. It used to attract massive crowds on Easter Monday, but three years of dry spring weather meant the 2011 event staged just three races and three walkovers, and the Easter event hasn’t been held since. Last June a “Marks Tey Fighting Fund” was set up. “We hope that money raised so far will secure the future for the next two seasons,” said chairman Stephen March. “But this year we need to see the crowds return to allow us to move one meeting back to Easter Monday in 2015. This should ensure the fi nancial viability of racing here.” James Crispe, a regular commentator at East Anglia points, said it is “easy to be gloomy” but that fans shouldn’t be despondent. “There’s been a lot of bad news recently, and there were 20 fi xtures four years ago [in East Anglia] and now we’re down to 14. But those we have will attract more runners and boast quality cards,” he said. Last week a new fi xture was confi rmed. The three hunts — Thurlow, Cambridgeshire with Enfi eld Chace and Puckeridge — who stage Horseheath fi xtures will host a joint event at High Easter on 22 March. Further blow to pointto- pointing in the East as part of “urgent cost-cutting measures”. The Racehorse Sanctuary’s current site — Bridge Hill Farm, Coolham — has been put up for sale. The charity — which won a Countryside Alliance Rural Hero award in 2011 — says it is now in a “real race against time” to fi nd the money to buy another yard, or fi nd somewhere to rent to home its 30 ex-racehorses, who have a home for life with the charity. Trustee Graham Oldfi eld said: “We are having to sell as a supporter, who helped us buy the farm in the fi rst place, asked for their money back sooner than expected. It was a total shock.” HorseWorld was refused planning permission to build a new visitor centre by Bath and North East Somerset Council at the end of last month, and the charity says it is not “fi nancially sustainable” to keep its “outdated” centre open. Should the visitor centre be closed, all animals kept here would be moved to the main welfare yard, but 28 jobs could be lost. AM News ● Calling all Pony Club DCs Book your place at the Pony ClubÕs annual conference Ñ this year at Epsom racecourse on 5 March. Applications close 7 February. www.pcuk.org ● Betfair Super Saturday Place your bets at Newbury (8 February). Races include the Denman Chase. www.theracecoursenewbury.co.uk ● Happy Birthday Hunting-mad jockey Paul Carberry celebrates his 40th on 9 February, and showjumper William Funnell turns 48 on 10 February. ● An evening with Albert Voorn The Olympic showjumper hosts a demo night at Scottish National Equestrian Centre, West Lothian, on 10 February. Tickets £20. Email: s.lowmitchell@btinternet.com THE WEEK AHEAD... @FWEventing Taken the truck down for its annual trot-up. Fingers crossed! Francis Whittington Tweet of the week VOTE FOR H&H Horse & Hound has been short-listed for fi ve Equestrian Social Media Awards and we need your votes by 4pm on 7 February to win. Vote now at http://po.st/cZWklm 36,647 views Online readers loved our Liebling picture gallery, following the news the medal-winner has returned to Carl Hester’s yard to enjoy his retirement www.facebook.com/horseandhound www.twitter.com/horseandhound 10 HORSE & HOUND . 6 FEBRUARY 2014 www.horseandhound.co.uk Free delivery on orders over £100 in UK & 18 European countries www.premierequine.co.uk order line 01469 532279 Western Australia Finest Lambswool from All our Lambswool range have high wither & clear spine designs! Merino Wool Half Pad Size Full, Length 60cm Depth 30cm & 7 colours. £52.99 Merino Wool Dressage Square Size Full, Length 66cm Depth 56cm & 7 colours. £56.99 Size Full, Length 60cm Depth 50cm & 7 colours. £54.99 Merino Wool GP/Jumping Numnah Size Full, Length 66cm Depth 51m & 7 colours. £56.99 Merino Wool GP/ Jumping Square Designed in the UK A rider who was hit by a fastmoving car while hacking has received £12,000 compensation, writes Amy Mathieson. Sarah Nash, from the Vale of Glamorgan, was riding her horse Scooby on 18 December 2011, when she was struck. “We were all wearing high vis gear, but when I looked behind us the car was coming fast. There was a big bank on our left side so we had nowhere to go, and the car struck its wing mirror on my right leg,” she told H&H. The force of the impact knocked the wing mirror off. Scooby was not injured, but Miss Nash sustained whip lash and was diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder. As a result of the accident Miss Nash moved to another yard to get away from the road where she had the accident. “I’m not a nervous rider, but I was beginning to get panicky on that road, and felt as if I was becoming a prisoner in my yard,” she said. “I’ve had Scooby for 10 years and I’m so glad he’s sensible — if he’d been younger or spooky then I dread to think what could have happened.” The claim was brought for her physical injuries, psychological injury and associated fi nancial losses of moving yards. The matter was settled out of court on 9 January this year as the car that struck her was found to have been travelling too fast and failed to leave enough room. The driver admitted liability in full. “While liability was settled in our client’s favour early on, it was important to delay settling the case until Sarah had a clear prognosis,” said Hanna Campbell from HorseSolictor. “Without the medical evidence and a clear prognosis it is impossible to accurately value a claim and there would have been a risk of under-settling the matter. “This shows the importance of seeking advice from a solicitor who specialises in traffi c accidents involving horses.” Legal Rider hit by car wins case Sarah Nash was struck by a car THE likelihood of them fi nishing in under 10 hours looks like longer odds than Foinavon. But the self-confessed plodders that make up the Qatar Racing London marathon team are certainly sporting. Of the seven trainers running with their boss, Sheikh Fahad Al Thani, only his bloodstock agent, David Redvers, seems to have run for anything other than last orders before. He’s completed the marathon three times. When the proposal was mooted, said David: “we were treated to as many updates of ailments affecting the trainers as we receive about the horses in their care”. David Simcock hopes to get round in under fi ve hours — but they might need the blinkers for the others. “I never said I’d run all of it,” grumbled Richard Hannon jnr. Andrew Balding’s “training” programme was exposed when Ralph Beckett tweeted a picture of him — enjoying a gasper. And Robert Cowell reports he’s “up to 2½ miles without stopping”. Well done, Robert. That’s only 23½ to go. FW ➤ The Qatar team are running on behalf of Racing Welfare And fi nally... Will the trainers get the trip? Richard Hannon is to run Make your conditioning feed work harder with SPILLERS® Conditioning Fibre. Save £2.00 per bag on the SPILLERS® Complementary Fibre range during February and March while stocks last. Look out for the special flash-marked packs in-store. The perfect complement CHECK YOUR CHIP REGISTRATION Sir — I read the letter of the week in 23 January issue with great interest. All the horses I have owned in the past 15 years have been microchipped, bar one who wouldn’t let you near her with a needle. My 14-year-old cob was microchipped 10 years ago in his fi rst week at home. I checked my ex-racehorse the minute I got him home — when I found out he was not microchipped, I had him done straight away and the same with my mother’s Shetland. So imagine my shock to fi nd out that the chips inserted into my cob and ex-racehorse had never been registered! I am no longer with the vet practice that carried out the procedures. Can you imagine what I would have gone through had one of my boys been stolen? I had them chipped as I did not feel the need to freezemark them — I felt chipping was much less stressful. It was only by chance that I found out neither chip was registered. Oddly enough, the Shetland chip had been registered by the same veterinary practice. I now have to fi gure out how to get the chips registered myself or pay out to get fresh ones in and registered. Kate Bennett Colebrooke, Devon STUDENTS: DON’T LOSE YARD SKILLS Sir — As someone who has come through both industry and the college system, I believe there is a need for greater cohesion between the two. I worked with horses after leaving school, combining hard graft on a yard with studying for A levels. I went on to complete bachelors and masters degrees and now lecture at the College of West Anglia in Cambridge. When I was studying for my academic qualifi cations, I ensured that I gained my BHSAI and continued to ride and compete. In our industry, no one is above polishing boots or mucking out! All students require industry standard practical skills, with a good work ethic, speed and effi ciency. If they are studying for more academic qualifi cations it is fundamental that they do not neglect their yard management skills along the way. Harriet Martin Via email RIDING ON VERGES Sir — Throughout my riding school and Pony Club years, I was always told never to ride on a grass verge. I remembered these warnings and have avoided them since owning horses. I wish more people did this now as our verges are absolutely plagued with riders. When the ramblers moan about the lack of cowslips and primrose, they are quick to blame the farmers and pesticides, but they only have to ramble in the winter to fi nd out the true cause. Our verges have become mudbaths and wild fl ower populations have been decimated. When I questioned one of these “joy riders” once, the reply was that the verges are kinder on their horses’ legs. Our verges are full of drainage holes every 20 meters and it wouldn’t take much for a bad accident. We are inundated with equine trespassers on our footpaths around the farm and they leave large divots and holes, leading unsuspecting walkers to twist their ankles and blame the farmer. Come summer, riders gallop about on stubble and think it fun to jump straw bales, unaware of the damage they are doing. There are fewer nods or “thank yous” as you pass horses on the road too. As a rider myself, I am getting tired of defending other riders to my farming partner, who fi nds an increasing number of riders encroaching on his land every year. Perhaps H&H should do an article on the damage that can be done to the countryside by riding on stubble and verges? Zoe King Wetherden, Suff olk H&H Editor Lucy Higginson responds: I suppose this all boils down to rider densities.. How sad if excess hooves are killing off wildlife on our verges, yet I FLOOD WATERS ARE NOT ‘FUN’ Sir — In the late 1970s when I was living in Bishops Caundle, Dorset, the fl ood water was pretty bad. Perhaps not as bad as the levels we are seeing today, but enough to come in the front door of our pub, through the bars and out of the back door. During this time a young friend and myself went out for a hack and rather unwisely decided to cross a river where we had done so many times. We thought it would be fun as the river was high and maybe the horses would actually swim. Well, swim they did, with only their heads above the water. The undercurrent was incredibly strong, we were both swept off and left clinging to our horses’ manes before ending up in the next fi eld. After scrambling out we both found our off-side leathers and irons had gone in the turmoil. Strangely enough, when the water eventually went down, the farmer who owned the land found our stirrups up on the far bank. We were both severely chastised by the said farmer for being so foolish and for not realising that with the river so high and fast fl owing the current underneath would be tremendous. Suellen Brake Over Compton, Dorset The writer of the letter of the week wins a bottle of ChampagneTaittinger TOP 5 H&H FORUM TOPICS THIS WEEK Join in at www.horseandhound. co.uk/forums 1 If not PTS, what should we do with useless, valueless horses? 2 Do you smoke and ride at the same time? 3 The love of the countryside by the non-rural public 4 Thoughts on the HOYS hunter class dispute? 5 Essential items when out hacking Letter of the week Letters Sponsored by SPILLERS® Feed from our experience Audited Certification 48,142 (Jul-Dec 2012) SUBSCRIBE TO HORSE & HOUND OR MAKE A SUBSCRIPTION QUERY Call 0844 848 0848 Email: ipcsubs@quadrantsubs.com ORDER A COPY OF A PHOTOGRAPH Call 020 3148 4559 For Commercial Use call 020 3148 5476 TO ORDER A BACK ISSUE CALL 01733 385170 FAX 01733 239356 £4.50 UK, £5.50 EUROPE, £6.50 RoW TO ORDER A COPY OF AN ARTICLE CALL 020 3148 5479 BOOK YOUR CLASSIFIED AD ONLINE AND SEE IT LIVE IN LESS THAN AN HOUR www.horseandhound.co.uk/ placeadvert FOR THE 24-HOUR H & H CUSTOMER SELF SERVICE SUBSCRIPTIONS SITE VISIT www.myipcsubscription.com 12 HORSE & HOUND . www.horseandhound.co.uk 6 FEBRUARY 2014 Blue Fin Building, 110 Southwark Street, London SE1 0SU FAX: 020 3148 8128 To email a member of staff, use firstname_surname@ipcmedia.com To telephone any member of staff direct, use 020 3148 and the extension listed below Editorial offices Editor Lucy Higginson Personal Assistant/Editorial Assistant/ Team Chasing Hannah Lemieux (4562) Deputy Editor Jaki Bell (4566) Managing Editor Karen Spinner (4571) News Editor Flora Watkins (4291) Deputy News Editor Amy Mathieson (4590) News Writer Sophia Heath (4553) Chief Sub/Showing/Point-to-point Nicola Jane Swinney (4567) Reports Editor/Eventing/Driving/ Endurance/Riding Clubs/Pony Club Pippa Roome (4569) Showjumping/Products Jennifer Donald (4552) Dressage/Sport Horse Alice Collins (4565) Hunting/Racing/Polo Polly Portwin (4554) Features/Editorial Assistant Madeleine Pitt (4574) Brand Development Editor Sarah Jenkins (4607) Group Art Editor Nicola Acketts (4573) Art Editor Garry Ashton-Coulton (4606) Designer Emily Secrett (4556) Picture Editor Richard Tole (4560) Senior Picture Researcher Rebecca Pattenden (4591) Junior Picture Researcher Storm Johnson (4557) Production Editor Janet Dixon (4555) Website Editor Carol Phillips (4592) Publishing Director Oswin Grady (4290) Senior Marketing Manager Claire Thompson (4301) Marketing Assistant Nicola McClure (4292) Group Creative Director Brett Lewis Group Editor Garry Coward-Williams Managing Director Paul Williams Advertising Offices Head of Equestrian Robina Shahid (2504) Brand Manager Justeen Jones (01622 861148) Digital Manager Leila Kojouri (2523) Advertorials and Sponsorship Leshna Patel (2649) Private advertisers Freephone 0800 731 0616 Trade advertisers Freephone 0800 316 5450 Inserts Mona Amarasakera (3710) Production Manager Dinah Grimes (2669) SPILLERS® Care-Line telephone: +44 (0) 1908 226626 email : careline@spillers-feeds.com www.spillers-feeds.com sympathise with riders who want to break out of trot occasionally and get a few feet away from often inconsiderate road traffi c. Personally, I think more riders should explore setting up toll rides — off-road riding for set numbers of paying riders with local farmers and landowners. This need not be expensive. Visit www. horseandhound.co.uk/ features/hacking-howto- set-up-a-toll-ride/ to fi nd out more. TOWING AT 70-PLUS Sir — As I approach my 70th birthday I have to apply for a new driving licence. It has been brought to my attention that the new licence will not automatically allow me to tow my horse trailer even though I have been doing this legally for many years. To qualify for this category on the new licence requires my doctor to complete a form about my general health and eyesight. The leafl et supplied with the application form for the new licence makes absolutely no mention of this and I would have been towing blissfully unaware of this had it not been pointed out to me. Caroline Reavell Wilden, Beds H&H managing editor Karen Spinner responds: The DVLA tells me you will retain the right to tow an outfi t up to 3,500kg in weight — does this apply to you? What you will automatically lose (unless you ask to retain it and undertake a medical examination every three years) is your entitlement to drive a towing outfi t heavier than this. WHAT WE LEARNT FROM STABLE FIRE Sir — Regarding the letter of the week, 9 January [“Is your roofi ng a fi re risk?”], we too had a stable fi re due to bitumenimpregnated corrugated fi bre roofi ng that went up like a bomb. So intense was the heat that, when the fi re brigade arrived, its efforts were concentrated on soaking neighbouring stable blocks and kennels to stop them igniting. Despite this, all the plastic wrapping on a stack of haylage some 30ft away melted and the entire crop was lost. We learnt the following: 1. Clear the fronts of stables every night of anything plastic. 2. Have a set of headcollars ready by the house/in your car for emergencies. They are no use outside the stable doors in a fi re. 3. Use your lorry to move the horses you can away from the smoke and fi re. 4. All our horses live in modern waterproof turnout combo rugs — only one horse got burnt. The tough outdoor rugs saved them and bought us valuable time. One horse came out with her rug alight end to end, but was very calm and we had time to pull the rug off and save her from serious injury. 5. Make sure you have stable insurance and work with a reputable builder. Scotts of Thrapston starting rebuilding ours within two weeks. Roly Willcox Wymondham, Leics Pictures by Lucy Merrell and Garry Ashton-Coulton Be inspired by the riders who don’t let a lack of facilities stop them winning Louise Saywell on her rise up the senior ranks, showing from NPS Area 7, competition feed special and much more. On sale Thursday PLUS BEATING THE ODDS Is it really worth giving joint supplements to older horses? Fantastic global destinations, plus fi ve great UK breaks from just £140 How to make sure you have the best music for your horse’s freestyle test VET RIDING HOLIDAYS ASK H&H Dear Newsagent Please order and save me a regular copy of It is published every Thursday and is distributed by IPC Marketforce. Name Address Postcode Sir — A huge thanks to my trainer and best friend Victoria Teuton for all her hard work helping me. Even while out competing herself, she is always on hand for advice to everyone she coaches. Kate Spiers, Co Down Sir — I would like to nominate Lorraine Betteridge at Moores Farm EC. Having travelled down to the centre’s lovely British Showjumping pony show last week and arrived back home — a round trip of three and half hours — I discovered I had mislaid my purse. Lorraine had found the purse and took the time and effort to travel to her nearest town to get it sent back to me promptly. This was above and beyond the service I had expected. I would recommend the centre to others looking for a friendly junior show. Amanda Gillott, Leics Sir — Thank you to my friends at the yard who volunteered to look after my horse for four months while I was in Ecuador caring for my daughter with pregnancy complications. Led by Claire Carter, their support was invaluable! Carol Pedley, Rainham, Kent Sir — My sister travels 30 miles every day to care for my dog who lost the use of his hindleg in 2012. The vet wanted to put him down, but hydrotherapy and walks wearing a coat with a handle mean he can now walk again. Rosemary Myers, Derbys YOU DESERVE A MINT! SOMETHING TO SAY? Write to Horse & Hound, Blue Fin Building, 110 Southwark Street, London SE1 0SU. Email: HHletters@ipcmedia.com. Your name and address must be included. H&H retains the right to edit correspondence for space and accuracy. Want to say “thank you” to an unsung hero? Email your message in no more than 40 words to the address above and you could receive a packet of SPILLERS® Treats in Spearmint fl avour SUBSCRIBE to H&H and save up to 35%! www.horseandhoundsubs.co.uk/ihrdb Or call 0844 848 0848 and quote 27X Great deals on print and iPad subscriptions at www.horseandhoundsubs.co.uk/subs 6 FEBRUARY 2014 . HORSE & HOUND 13 Ask 14 HORSE & HOUND . 6 February 2014 Compiled by andrea Oakes. Pictures by Mark butler Dressage and Steve bardens THe small claims court, or “track”, has traditionally been an option for unhappy buyers keen to try to recoup their money. reforms to the Civil Procedure rules in april 2013 increased the previous small claims value limit of £5,000. “any claim under £10,000 in value is now considered a small claim,” says solicitor Hannah bradley of Fieldings Porter. “accordingly, legal costs are not recoverable from the losing party — except in exceptional circumstances.” Weigh up your options SO is it worth suing over a £8,000 horse? “The small claims track is designed for individuals without any real legal training to conduct litigation at relatively little cost,” explains Hannah. “It’s not uncommon for people to represent themselves and judges are quite sympathetic to this. “but fears of vast and irrecoverable legal expenses and of an overcomplicated legal system often dissuade claimants who may have a strong claim to make. “The court issue fee is £245 for a claim valued at £8,000, but further legal costs depend on circumstances. “Costs can become more complex if veterinary reports or similar are needed and may soon outweigh the value of Should I take legal action after being missold a horse? I recently bought a horse for £8,000, which I believe is not capable of doing the job for which I bought it. The previous owner refuses to take it back. I am inclined to take legal action, but a solicitor friend has warned me that new legislation passed recently means that, even if I am successful in this, I am unlikely to be awarded my legal costs. Is that the case and, if so, what is the best course of action to take for people in my situation? L Johnson, Cumbria Our H&H guest experts answer your queries Some form of written contract is advisable when buying a horse The onus is on the buyer to make sure the horse is suitable before making the purchase Buying ABroAd “IT’S essential to have a sale agreement in place if you’re buying abroad,” says Lottie Goldstone. “As well as other salient points, this must contain a clause agreeing that, if a dispute arises, the matter shall be governed by the law of England and Wales and shall be determined and heard in England.” www.horseandhound.co.uk A cASe WorTh purSuing? JULIE SAUNDERS* purchased an unbroken threeyear- old show pony from a stud in August. She made it known at the time that she wanted to buy the pony as a ridden prospect for her daughter, but there were no written terms agreed. When Julie began some light backing, it soon became apparent that the pony was lame whenever ridden. A vet has advised her that he suffers from a conformational defect, meaning that it is highly likely he will never be sound. Attempts at settlement outside of court have been made with the seller, who has failed to accept liability. “We established that the seller was acting in the course of a business, which offers Julie greater protection,” says Hannah Bradley. “She would have stood in better stead with a written agreement, but the law does offer the seller protection for the case where there are no express terms. “I advised the client that she has a claim with good prospects of success on the basis that the defect, which became apparent very quickly after purchase, renders the pony unfit for purpose. Liability under section 14 of the Sales of Goods Act is strict — so it is not necessary for the defendant to know of the fault to be liable for it. “If Julie can prove to a judge, on the balance of probabilities, that the pony does not meet any of the Act requirements, it is very likely judgement will be given in her favour.” * Name has been changed a cheaper horse.” Hannah advises checking to see if your horse or house insurance covers legal expenses, and establishing early on whether the potential defendant is worth suing. “a judgement against an insolvent defendant is virtually worthless,” she adds. Buyer beware aCCOrDING to equine law specialist Lottie Goldstone (née Prentice), “buyer beware” applies to any private sale. “The onus is on the buyer to make all the necessary checks and examinations before purchase, to ensure that the horse is suitable,” says Lottie, explaining that there are fewer terms of sale on which to rely. If you buy from a dealer, however, certain implied terms come into force. Sections of the Sales of Goods act (1979) dictate that the goods (the horse, in this case) are of satisfactory quality and ft for normal purpose. Whichever way you buy, some form of written contract may make your case easier to prove if things go wrong. “you can also rely on anything said at the time of viewing, although an oral contract is harder to prove,” says Hannah. “It’s best to have things in black and white. If a seller is unwilling to sign something, this should be a fashing light that there’s an issue they don’t want to agree to.” H&H Your queries solved Ask us? Send your equine-related questions to H&H atHHadvice@ipcmedia.com More property online everyday @ horseandhound.co.uk PROPERTY ROUND-UP Rowebuck Stud, Isfi eld EAST SUSSEX THIS purpose-built equestrian centre comes with a wide range of facilities, including 51 looseboxes, two outdoor arenas, an indoor school, a canter track and a six-berth horsewalker. Planning permission is in hand to replace the existing three-bedroom mobile home with a three-bedroom farmhouse. Additional accommodation is available in a two-bedroom holiday cottage and in a partially converted, two-bedroom holiday fl at, as well as a grooms’ cottage. The land totals 43 acres. Savills Tel: 01444 446066 www.savills.com Woodmans Stud, Dial Post WEST SUSSEX FOUR-bedroom Grade II listed Woodmans Stud exudes period charm. The atmospheric interiors feature beautiful details such as exposed bricks and timbers, an inglenook fi replace in the drawing room and an AGA in the kitchen. The yard has seven stables, a foaling box plus two storage areas, and opens on to a stretch of lawn with access to one of the paddocks. The land extends to about seven acres of gardens, orchard and two paddocks. Guy Leonard & Co Tel: 01403 24822 www.guyleonard.co.uk The White Hall, nr Spooner Row NORFOLK DATING from the 16th century, and reworked in the Georgian era, Grade II listed The White Hall has recently undergone a restoration programme. The six-bedroom house just needs a few fi nishing touches. Outside, the former milking parlour has been converted to equestrian use, with three horse bays. There also are three additional stables, an all-weather fl oodlit arena and a large barn. The land extends to nine acres of formal gardens and paddocks. Abbotts Tel: 01603 616898 www.abbotts.co.uk EQUESTRIAN businesses can look forward to paying lower rates than expected this year. At the end of 2013, George Osborne announced that he would cap rates from April 2014 and extend the rate relief scheme for small businesses for another year. Business rates are calculated by applying a set fi gure, called multiplier, to a non-domestic property’s rateable value. This, in turn, is assessed every fi ve years by the Valuation Offi ce Agency, which looks at the notional rental value the property would have at a specifi c point. So for example, if your yard’s rateable value is £10,000 and the applicable multiplier is 47p, you’ll have to pay £4,700 in business rates, unless you qualify for relief. The multiplier is reviewed every year to align it with infl ation. But, from April 2014, the Chancellor has capped its increase to 2% — the Government’s infl ation target — rather than applying the actual infl ation rate of 3.2%. Relief for small businesses MR OSBORNE also has extended the small business rate relief for properties with a rateable value of less than £12,000, which was set to expire in 2014. He has allowed businesses to pay their rates in 12 monthly installments. This is welcome news for much of the equestrian industry. However, some private equestrian property owners remain liable to pay rates even though they don’t run any commercial operation from their home. And they are understandably unhappy. “Clients come to us furious that they have to pay rates on something that’s for their private enjoyment,” reveals Clive Beer of Savills. “They feel they are paying twice — through their council tax and through business rates.” In theory, business rates are not charged on private homes. But the boundary between domestic and non-domestic properties can be blurred and, sometimes, yards qualify for rates even when they are part of a private house. The Valuation Offi ce Agency’s website explains that “to be considered domestic property, stabling needs to be both appurtenant to, and either belonging to, or enjoyed with, living accommodation”. This means that valuation offi cers have to weigh many factors — including how far the stabling is from the main residence, or whether the scale of the yard is appropriate to the size of the house — to reach their decision. Hit and miss AS a result, “rates for equestrian property can be very hit and miss”, says specialist agent Diana Andrews of Churchill Country & Equestrian. “Some properties with an indoor school and indoor stabling will not be rated and others with only an outdoor school and timber outdoor stabling will be.” Worse, adds Clive, the rateable value of many of these yards can be on the high side. “Because this type of stabling is often rather nice, people would potentially pay quite a lot to rent it, so you end up with a higher rateable value.” You can always try to challenge the rateable value assigned to your property, or even the fact that it has been listed for rating in the fi rst place, by lodging an appeal. The Valuation Offi ce Agency will acknowledge the appeal within three working days and establish whether your reason for appealing is valid. If it is, the offi ce will discuss your proposal. If the appeal is accepted, it will try to agree a new rateable value with you, or, more rarely, exempt your property from rating. That said, notes Clive, you need to consider whether an appeal is genuinely worth your while. Although the process is free, you should really employ a rating professional to maximise your chances of success, which costs. “If you think you are going to be in a house only for a relatively short period, you can accept the rateable value and pay,” suggests Clive. “If you think you are going to stay there for the next 10 years, or if a huge amount is at stake, you may take the decision to pay a professional and try to negotiate.” The silver lining is that business rates will hardly affect your property’s future resale value, according to Clive. “In most cases, people taking the decision to buy a country property and keep horses will just stomach the extra cost.” H&H £1.5 m £1.18m £750,000 What is the going rate? A cap on business rates from April 2014 is welcome news for much of the equestrian industry, but rates can still be very hit and miss, says Carla Passino 16 HORSE & HOUND . 6 FEBRUARY 2014 www.horseandhound.co.uk 5 bedroom detached house for sale Bryn Bach Allt Goch Lane, Northop, Mold, CH7 £1,400,000 A stunning modern country home, part of which dates back to the 17th Century and having been extensively extended and professionally re-modelled. Refurbished to an exceptional standard and bristling with quality appointment and tastefully presented throughout. The property provides outstanding family accommodation with four well-proportioned reception rooms and fve bedrooms, three with en suite bathrooms. Set within 6.5 acres of pasture, paddocks and with superb leisure facilities include a fully equipped gymnasium, 4 stables and menage plus games room. There are delightful views over the gardens and the surrounding open countryside, estuary and hills, from each of the properties picture windows. Located in the highly desirable village of Northop, the property provides the ideal combination of seclusion and accessibility being situated just a 20 minute drive from the city of Chester, 45 minutes commute to Manchester, 30 minute commute to Liverpool and 2 hours 20 minutes to London Euston from the local main rail link. EPC Grade = C • Stunning 5 Bed Detached With 6.5 Acres • Stabling And Menage • EPC Grade = C • 4 Reception Rooms • High End Appointment Throughout • Beautifully Presented • Highly Desirable Location • Superb Views Across Open Countryside UPCOMING PROPERTY SPECIALS 20TH FEB 6TH MAR 20TH MAR TO ADVERTISE, PLEASE CALL 020 3148 2566 www.horseandhound.co.uk YORKSHIRE WOLDS – HUGGATE, NEAR YORK WONDERFUL EQUESTRIAN OPPORTUNITY £775,000 Mill Farm stands on the The Wolds and has amazing family accommodation with approx. 3 acres of land. The 4,600ft² general purpose building has 3 stables and hay store and offers an array of opportunities. Wind turbine with feed-in tarrif. In brief, accommodation of 3,600ft² includes four bedrooms, 3 reception rooms, farmhouse family dining kitchen, 3 bathrooms (including annexe option). Approx. mileages: Leeds 40, Hull & York 20, M62 Howden 23 Contact: 01759 303202 rme@rmenglish.co.uk www.rmenglish.co.uk The Countryside Restoration Trust is seeking a tenant or tenants for a unique and beautiful farm in a stunning setting. Ideally suited as a commercial farm, lifestyle property, livestock or equestrian enterprise. • 206 Acres - 114 pasture - 85 woodland • Substantial 4 Bedroom Farmhouse • 2 Bedroom Cottage • 3 Substantial Barns and Stabling • Wonderful views and wildlife • Viewing days: 20th & 21st February 2014 Proposals are invited from applicants in sympathy with the aims and objectives of the Countryside Restoration Trust. All enquires should be to Batcheller Monkhouse, Bartram House, Station Road, Pulborough, West Sussex RH20 1AH, Telephone: 01798 877555. Viewing is strictly by appointment with Batcheller Monkhouse. Expressions of interest will only be accepted from those applicants who have viewed the property. To Let - Twyford Farm Horsted Keynes West Sussex RH17 7DJ available as a whole or in lots www.batchellermonkhouse.com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ictures by Dr Sue Dyson and Jon Stroud Media HORSE & HOUND . 20 6 FEBRUARY 2014 www.horseandhound.co.uk Can foot shape offer clues about a horse’

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