William Reaches for the Top

Based in Northumberland, 10 miles south of Corbridge, 20-year-old William is a man on a mission, determined to reach the pinnacle of his chosen sport.

He takes up the story:

“I come from a three generation family who have all shown. My grandparents on my mother’s side used to show in hand, and my mother competed successfully in Small Hunter classes.

“On my father’s side, his parents produced show horses and dad competed at HOYS in both flat classes and workers so I’ve followed on from that! 

“I’ve already been lucky to have some great horses and for this year I have two main workers to ride and compete in Silver Lough and Kildalton Heiress. Both are 15.2hh, pure Irish Draught and eight-years-old.

“Silver Lough has achieved just about everything, he has been champion at the Royal International Horse Show, won the Intermediate Workers at Royal Windsor two years in a row as well as winning the Lightweight Horse workers there last year.

“He has also been on the BSPS England team three times and last year competed on the international team in Wales. He was fifth at the Horse of the Year Show in the Cuddy sponsored  Working Hunter of the Year and Intermediate Gold Cup winner at the BSPS Championships.  We are a great partnership and he has really helped me make a name for myself in the sport.

“Kildalton Heiress competed successfully in Novice Horse Working Hunter and Intermediate classes last year and she is also a brilliant hunter. She is a beautiful mare with one hell of a jump so I’m very excited to be getting her out this year! 

“I also have my faithful coloured horse Constellation who I have owned for nine years. He used to be my Intermediate Worker until he injured himself in a HOYS qualifier. He had qualified for the Royal International Horse Show as a horse worker and Intermediate beforehand but after his injury, I decided to hog him and 12 months on we stood Amateur Coloured Champion at the RIHS when I was 18 and before I became a professional.

“Keeping the horses in the very best condition is so important in the showing world and I like them to be in good shape but also fit and ready to compete.  I have been very lucky to be sponsored by TopSpec since 2016 and the feed really makes a difference.  The range really provides everything I need and I am a huge fan of TopSpec Comprehensive Feed Balancer, TopChop Grass and TopSpec Turbo.

“Silver Lough looks great for this time of the year and has already had a win taking the Working Hunter Championship at BSPS Area 3B at Bishop Burton – he’s just a star!

“Finally, there is Sligo Better Value. He used to compete in horse workers but the judges thought he was too much like an event horse so after jumping 11 HOYS qualifiers clear in one year, I decided to event him instead.  So far, he has a clean record of double clears and we have been competing at BE Novice level. He also took me round the Ledbury Hunt Golden Button Challenge last year which was massive! I’m 6ft 1in and there wasn’t one hedge smaller than me!

“I really enjoy being out on the show circuit and have a couple of favourites being the Royal Highland and the Great Yorkshire Show. My father used to be a farmer so I love the agricultural side of the shows and there is always such a huge crowd around the rings at both of them. 

“When I’m not out competing I hunt regularly with the Tynedale and try to get out twice a week if possible. I like to get my show horses hunting to let them have some fun after the showing season and they really do love it. However this season I’ve barely been out due to the weather. 

“In my spare time I like to for the gym as I think being fit for riding is very important and I don’t know why but for some strange reason I’d love to get into pottery and ice skating but sadly there isn’t anything local. 

“I try to keep a real life balance between horses and other activities and one of my biggest achievement in life so far is raising over £3,600 for cancer charities. I first raised over £2,200 when I hunted side saddle on Constellation – I know, bonkers! I then grew my hair for two years donating over 12inches of hair as well as more than £1,400 too for the Little Princess Trust who make wigs for children who have lost their hair due to cancer treatment. 

“Looking to the future I would love to win the Intermediate and Working Hunter of the Year at HOYS. I’ve always dreamed about galloping down the centre line under the spotlight and this season I aim to qualify both of my working hunters for HOYS and RIHS in both classes.

“On the eventing front I am aiming for 2* level with my eventer Sligo Better Value and I would love to do some plaited coloured and possibly some side-saddle classes with my coloured horse Constellation. I am also hoping to event Silver Lough a bit too which is exciting for the future.”

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Van Olst Horses Join Team TopSpec

Anne and Gertjan Van Olst are now feeding their competition horses on TopSpec. Lottie Fry who is based with Van Olst Horses has been feeding TopSpec for more than six years including her 2019 U25 champion ride Dark Legend.

Following outstanding results in the FEI World Cup Grand Prix and Freestyle to Music qualifiers with the 11-year-old stallion Everdale, Lottie is hoping for a place in the GB team for this year.

TopSpec is well known for its range of top specification feed balancers and quality horse feeds and is delighted to continue its commitment in the world of dressage.

Said TopSpec Managing Director, Katy Mickle: “We are excited to be working closely with Van Olst Horses, as we continue to develop our export business.

“It has been exciting to watch Lottie grow and develop into the rider she is today, and it has been fantastic to work closely with the whole team at Van Olst Horses developing individual feed plans for all of their competition horses.”

Anne competed at five Olympic Games and has been a huge support to Lottie as her trainer and mentor.

Said Anne: “At Van Olst Horses we aim for the best. In TopSpec we have a top partner. Their quality food and expertise is a great help in getting our horses in top shape to achieve our targets.” And did you know that you can put a photo of your pet on personalised items like apparel or accessories which just looks amazing!

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TopSpec Support Bransby Horses with Weighbridge

AN appeal by the team at Bransby Horses, following a difficult year which saw nearly half of their land under water, has led to TopSpec donating a brand new weighbridge to the charity.

In January the rescue and welfare team had to move 42 horses and ponies to the new Barlings site at Langworth as part of the crisis management plan in response to the flooding. Another 16 horses and ponies followed in February.

Barlings, which was acquired by the charity in 2018, was still under development which meant the pressure was on to quickly prepare for the arrival of the horses and ponies that urgently needed transferring.

Portable weighbridges allow for accurate weight monitoring which is essential for planning feed regimes, monitoring health and also to ensure correct dosage of medication.

The team were delighted when TopSpec stepped in and offered to provide this vital piece of equipment for the new site.

Stef Leversedge, Assistant Farm Manager at the Bransby Horses’ Barlings site said: “After the flooding in November 2019, we urgently needed to use this additional site we purchased in 2018, as a temporary home for some of our horses and ponies.

“At the moment, we have about 60 at Barlings and whilst we have some of what we need to offer the same quality of care we do at our main Bransby Horses site, there are still a few things which we are looking for.

“When TopSpec donated a weighbridge to us, we were blown away by this generous gift. We would have had to have paid thousands of pounds for this, but they were so kind to offer it to us without cost, saving the charity a significant amount of money.

“This weighbridge means we can effectively monitor the weight of our horses, manage diets correctly, ensure medication dosage is correct and that wormers are being administered right. A huge thank you to TopSpec for this gift; it means the world to us!”

Added TopSpec Nutrition Director, Nicola Tyler: “When we heard about the difficult time Bransby Horses had faced due to the adverse weather we were happy to step in and provide the weighbridge.

“The information gained for each horse and pony when they are weighed is vital for working out a correct feed regime for them to keep them in the best of health whatever their age or condition.”

Bransby Horses has been using TopSpec feed for a number of years and work closely with the company’s team of vets and nutritionists, especially when a rescued horse has challenging dietary needs. The correct nutrition is crucial for recovery.

 

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TopSpec Win Nutritional Helpline of the Year Award for Eleventh Time

THE team at leading horse feed company, TopSpec, is celebrating after scooping the Stubbs England Nutritional Helpline of the Year Award at the BETA Business Awards for an unprecedented eleventh time.

The awards were a glittering affair as the trade gathered to celebrate and reward those who had made outstanding contributions to the equestrian industry.

These prestigious accolades were presented to winning individuals and companies during the annual BETA Gala Dinner, at the National Motorcycle Museum, near Birmingham.

Awarded for outstanding personalised customer service, the North Yorkshire based business now has five qualified members in the team, including two experienced equine vets, available to answer the multiple award-winning helpline and provide nutritional advice.

Judges praised TopSpec for the “clear, precise information given, with details about local suppliers to follow up with after the call”.

TopSpec Nutrition Director, Nicola Tyler said: “We are very grateful to everyone who nominated us and to the judges for choosing TopSpec again.  The award is something we never take for granted and our aim is always to provide the very best advice and management from our experienced team of nutritionists and vets.

“Welfare, performance and cost-effectiveness are always key in our minds when giving advice.”

The awards presented at the hugely successful Gala Dinner are highly sought after throughout the industry and the remarkable eleventh win for TopSpec was met with a huge round of applause from those attending.

Picture Caption: Left to right, TopSpec Regional Director Suzi Law, Veterinary Nutrition Director Anna Welch, Events Manager Laura Jennings and Regional Director Corrie Green, receive the Stubbs England ‘Nutritional Helpline of the Year’ Award at the BETA International Business Awards.

 

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Veteran Phoebe’s on Fantastic Form

Full time student, Emily Hancock, has a great partnership with her grey mare, 17-year-old Phoebe.

A Dutch Warmblood, Phoebe is a former show jumper and they have been together for just over a year.

The pair now enjoy a variety of activities including cross-country, dressage, fun rides, jumping and hacking.

They also recently affiliated in showing with the Veteran Horse Society and enjoy competing in their classes.

At 17-years-old, Emily was keen to ensure Phoebe diet was suitable for her age and activity and has followed a specific feeding plan designed the help of the team at TopSpec.

Phoebe is maintained on TopSpec Senior Lite Feed Balancer and TopChop Lite over the summer months as she is a good doer and can be hot to ride.

Said Emily: “Phoebe is such a special horse and a pleasure to ride; she is very forward though, so I use ‘Non-Heating’ products from the TopSpec range, including TopSpec CoolCondition Cubes over the winter when she needs a bit extra in the colder weather.”

Emily is in her final year at Hartpury College studying Bioveterinary Science and is looking forward to starting vet school next year.

“I feel very lucky to have Phoebe by my side whilst I am studying; we have so much fun together,” added Emily.

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British Riding Clubs TopSpec Dressage to Music Championships 2019

This year’s BRC TopSpec Dressage to Music Championships was a great success,

with almost 230 junior and senior riders qualifying to take part at Bury Farm Equestrian Village in Buckinghamshire.

These Championships allow competitors to ride from Prelim level up to our unique ‘Pick A Test’ class, which caters for those more experienced combinations wishing to compete at Medium and Advanced Medium level at a Championship. The judges were so impressed with the overall standard of horses and riders, and how most of them had western leather bridles for better control, with some fabulous music and elaborate floorplans demonstrated by the competitors over the weekend.

“It was a fantastic three days of competition and it was wonderful to see so many horses and riders enjoying themselves while competing for the top awards.” said Katy Mickle of TopSpec who are now in their third year of sponsoring these BRC Dressage to Music Championships.

The championships began on Friday with the Pick A Test, which consists of competitors riding either a Medium or Advanced Medium test.

The overall individual title was eventually awarded to Susan Lanz riding her beautiful, homebred mare Wellshead Foxtrot, scoring 69.33 percent. Susan, from West Somerset RC, rode her test to music from Vivaldi’s Four Seasons.

Susan said: “Thank you very much, we had a great time, everyone was most helpful and friendly, I was thrilled with my lovely mare who tried so hard for me.”

Cotswold Edge RC member April Joynson riding her 12 year old, striking, skewbald gelding Bryntegllwynau Rocky Robin won the Elementary class with the highest score of the weekend, an impressive score of 75.87 percent. Meon RC riders Pippa Griffin riding Tolkien’s Trilogy and Kerry Tyrell riding Himoons Spellbound took home the Pairs championship title with a score of 69.7 percent, 0.1 percent ahead of the Ludlow & District RC pair Natalie Canning riding Archfield Romeo and Izzy Harris riding Croston.

Said Pippa: “This championship has such a supportive atmosphere, other clubs in nearby stables were unbelievably kind, we cheered each other on and went to watch each other- even though we hadn’t met until that day! It is such a great environment, all the buzz of a big competition in a friendly atmosphere.”

Tina Kazmi from Solihull RC riding Colour Me Aftersock won the Senior Novice with Points title, with an impressive score of 73.48 percent.

Tina said this about her test: “I love riding to music and Shedley loves his music too. We have to keep tweaking the floor plan slightly as he pre-empts the movements, knowing his music so well. This was the first time I rode the canter element in a test as I only devised it in my head on the Thursday night! I knew I needed to take a chance and it worked.”

Tendring Hundred RC junior riders Chloe Mason riding Glowan Dewi and Lucy Hinde riding Rhuban Prince took home the Novice Pairs championship title with a score of 75.24 percent. Their test included dramatic music from Pirates of the Caribbean.

Tess Hinde, Lucy’s mum said: “They were the only juniors in a class of 19 pairs and rode their two ponies Nebo and Freddie whilst wearing their revamped old school blazers! The girls have been practicing hard for the champs and their ponies love riding together, despite watching the test many times the real thing made both mummies cry, we were so proud! We would like to thank all the BRC team who make these Championships possible, I think we have attended most of them this year and thoroughly enjoy them all!”

One championship title was not enough for Meon RC rider Kerry Tyrrell riding Himoons Spellbook as they also took home the Senior Novice 0 Points title with another great score of 74.30 percent. Riding to music from the film Mission Impossible. With second place being awarded to White Rose RC rider Sophie Webb riding Glynawen Magic Star ending on a finishing score of 73.19 percent.

The Junior Prelim Dressage title went home to Warwickshire Hunt RC rider Megan Field riding her stunning, chestnut pony Gwithian Gallant, floating across the arena to Sia’s Chandelier, finishing on a score of 73.19 percent.

Megan added: “I had the most amazing day and I am so pleased to win, it is only the second time we have ridden to music! I love the music and it really suits my pony Freddie. I have owned Freddie for a year and a half and we have achieved so much in this time. He is only six years old and has exceeded my expectations already! We love dressage and he is a fantastic jumper too. Sadly I have outgrown him now and so this is our last year together, I wish he could grow with me too.”

There was an extremely close battle for the Junior Novice Dressage title, with first to go, Wessex Gold RC rider Morgan Kent riding Janet Stares magnificent, ten year old Dutch, chestnut gelding Kolsteins Don Amigo taking home the win with a score of 73.33 percent, riding to music from The Greatest Showman.

This year also saw the return of the Direct Entry Dressage classes, (which do not require any prior qualifications). Due to the increase in popularity of these classes, the classes this year were extended to include; Warm Up, Veteran Horse and Veteran Rider (at two levels), Cob Type Mixed, Retrained Racehorse, Cob Type, Native Type and Coloured.

“Once again we had a fabulous three days of competition; welcoming back our sponsor TopSpec. Another big thank you must go to our wonderful BRC judges and volunteers who without them these championships would simply not be possible,” said Rachael Hollely-Thompson, BRC Manager.

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Victoria and Benito Dorato Dance to Success

LINCOLNSHIRE-based Victoria Maw and and her own six-year-old Benito Dorato topped a highly competitive Novice Gold with 73.29% at the British Dressage National Championships.

The TopSpec sponsored rider joined a line-up that oozed class and the standard proved high as the top ten each rode to plus 70% scores.

Speaking about her test with the home-produced Benny an elated Victoria said: “I was really pleased, he had really good balance the whole way through and he felt so fluent. It just went really nicely!

“He stayed nicely connected the whole way, there were no major mistakes perhaps just a small loss of balance in the second medium trot just before the canter transition.

“His party piece is the medium canter,” she continued, “There are so many layers, you put your leg on and he keeps going up the gears – you feel like a kid in a sweet shop riding him!”

Benny has been owned by Victoria from the age of just three days old, after she purchased him as a foal in Germany.

He spent three years growing up in his home country before moving back to the Lincolnshire based rider who’s sympathetically produced him with a varied approach to working: “He likes jumping, and he does a bit of everything at home. He hacks, goes on the treadmill – he does a little bit of everything to keep him happy!”

Victoria has been supported by TopSpec for many years and with her favourite products including TopSpec Comprehensive Feed Balancer, TopSpec 10:10 Joint Support and TopSpec Digestive Aid.

A Rider and BDCC Level 3 coach Victoria brought a winning mind-set to her test to help focus her performance: “It helps to take away the pressure and be realistic about the results. Anything above the goals set are a bonus.  He’s been producing consistent scores but I was still a bit shocked to get that score. He’s not seen anything like this, he was so confident today and when he went inside those boards he did everything I asked, it was such a nice feeling.”

Victoria paid credit to long-time coach Tracy Woodhead who warmed her up for today’s test describing the day as an emotional occasion, “I was on edge the whole time waiting for the class to finish!

“It’s a very special place to compete,” Victoria added about her trip to Stoneleigh, “You don’t get to compete here for regular shows so it’s a big occasion to ride in that arena for the National Championships.”

 

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Ashley and His Highness Win TopSpec Medium Gold at British Dressage National Championships

IT was a day to remember for Ashley Jenkins and His Highness when winning the TopSpec Medium Gold at the British Dressage National Championships.

The elegant British-bred His Highness was crowned king of the class under the expert guidance  Ashley Jenkins with the duo scoring 73.94% to top a competitive class.

Owned by Jamie Reynolds and Cherry Elvin, and bred by Cat Austin, His Highness  is no stranger to success at the LeMieux National Championships, having won the Novice Gold title in 2017.

Said Ashley: “He just went in there and focused. The suppleness, frame and balance were really good. He was Novice Champion in 2017 and placed third in the Elementary last year, he’s been really consistent.

“We’ll crack on with the changes now, he loves his work and loves to learn new things. We’ve had him since he was a foal, he was bred by my friend Cat Austin.

“He’s not been easy but we have a really good relationship, he used to be really scared of things but he takes lots of confidence from me now. He can take a long time to get used to different surroundings!

“He’s actually really grumpy but he’s a big character – that’s what makes him special!”

Annabella Pidgley took second with her 2019 European Pony Championships partner Cognax IX and Alex Hardwick placed third on board her mother Sally’s Glasgow MH, another former championships winner.

 

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Third Title for Rob Barker in TopSpec Medium Silver at British Dressage National Championships

Rob Barker, a rider with a superb British Dressage National Championships record, continued his winning ways taking a third title in three consecutive years.

This time it was victory in the TopSpec Medium Silver on day two of the championships on board Charlotte Dujardin’s River Rise Isabella, the tall six-year-old daughter of Don Frederic impressing the judges panel to earn 70.37%.

Said Rob: “She’s an amazing horse and is still getting used to the bigger atmospheres.  She is a lot more used to the local shows and gets better and better every time and if you want to find some of the best horses for sale in the UK then see that site as they have some brilliant options. I’ve done quite a lot with her but I’ve had a lot of help from Charlotte. She has no weakness it’s just experience!”

About his test Rob added: “Last year she didn’t walk when she came here but I got my walk today which I was really pleased with.

“We take it step by step with her to produce her as a horse for the future, I kept a lid on it today and it was good fun. Her walk, trot and canter is amazing it’s just about steering her and making sure I do the right thing!

“Charlotte doesn’t put any pressure on but I put a lot on myself. She helps me a lot and I want to do well because she gives a lot of time to me so I want to give it back in a way.”

Charlotte will make the decisions on what’s next for the super talented mare, Rob concluded: “I’m so lucky to be able to ride her and every time I sit on her I’m grateful, we just take it day by day.”

Second place belonged to Maria Collins who scored 69.56% with her and Dorothy Taylor’s Exclusive Gem, whilst Maisie Hodge and her own Garant H completed the top three with 68.56%.

 

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Great Win for Saskia in TopSpec Challenge for the Corinthian Cup

Saskia Davies was overjoyed with excitement at her victory on her 14-year-old gelding Singing Usk in the TopSpec Challenge for the Corinthian Cup at the Magic Millions Festival of British Eventing.

Based in Tibberton, Gloucestershire, 24-year-old Saskia works part-time in events management, and came sixth in the competition last year.

She led the dressage phase on a score of 26.3, for which she was quick to credit her trainer, Sarah Verney, added one rail down in the show jumping but bounced back to take the lead with a fast, clear cross-country.

“I was pushing for the time and my horse just flew,” she said. “This means so much. It’s very special being here at The Festival, to gallop along the same track as the four-star horses. This competition really gives us amateurs something to aim for and look forward to.”

Said Katy Mickle of TopSpec: “The TopSpec Challenge for The Corinthian Cup has been a fantastic competition once again and we are very proud to sponsor this challenge.

“It has been great to watch amateur riders take the stage alongside the seasoned pros and it was wonderful to see how much the win meant to Saskia.”

 

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