Tim Price & Wesko: Luhmuhlen cross country 2014 (Photo: courtesy Kerstin Hoffmann)New Zealand eventer Tim Price and Wesko delivered their best-ever dressage score to take equal first place at the front of the field at the Rolex Kentucky Three Day Event in the United States (Friday, April 24.)
It is the pair's first appearance at the top-ranked four star event, and they share the 36.3 penalty point lead with Olympic, World and two-time European champ Michael Jung of Germany aboard La Biosthetique – Sam FBW after a very smooth test.
Tim Price, who with his wife, Jonelle, have stables just north of Mildenhall, is delighted: “I knew he had it in him,” he said of the big warmblood with whom he won the four star crown at Luhmuhlen last year. “I know he is that good, but to do it in the ring is what we have been trying to achieve. I am just elated with him really, he is such a cool horse.”
The Kentucky event is early in the European eventing season and has attracted a truly international field - 75 entrants all eyeing Rio 2016.
Britain's William Fox-Pitt - the reigning Kentucky champion - took third place in the dressage on Bay My Hero. Another British entry, Nicola Wilson on Annie Clover is lying in eleventh place.
But Zara Phillips and High Kingdom had to withdraw from the competition before the dressage stage began. High Kingdom kicked out in his stable and split the skin on his off-hind leg. He needed stitches and was withdrawn in the best interests of the horse.
Saturday's cross country stage will be the real test - rain is forecast. And the 13,000 crowd who watched the dressage on Friday, can expect some tight riding over a tough cross country course - and to get wet.
The Queen with jockey Richard HughesIn bright Spring sunshine, Her Majesty the Queen was at Newbury Racecourse on Friday (April 17) to watch two of her horses in the Dubai Duty Free Spring Trials meeting - the famous course's first flat meeting of the season. And she saw them both placed in their races.
Her Majesty, who celebrates her 89th birthday this coming Tuesday, saw Richard Hughes ride her two year-old filly Ring of Truth into second place in the Al Basti Equiworld EBF Stallions Maiden Stakes.
Ring of Truth is with Marlborough trainer Richard Hannon - as the racecard put it, this "Trainer's newcomers command respect." The filly's first outing won the Queen £1,925 in prize money.
The race was won by Harvard Man trained by Brian Meehan at Manton and ridden by Italian jockey Antonio Fresu, who is racing in Britain this season.
Later in the afternoon, the Queen's Capel Path was brought home in third place by Ryan Moore in the Dubai Duty Free Full of Surprises Handicap Stakes.
Capel Path, a three year-old bay colt trained at Newmarket by Sir Michael Stoute, won a maiden race at the end of the last flat season at Newcastle.
The Queen went from the Grandstand to see her horses being saddled and watched them in the ring.
She was wearing a 'vibrant' magenta coat and matching hat. Though some people in the crowd thought it was cerise. And a man who described the colour as 'puce' was sternly put in his place - puce is not, he was told, a Royal colour.
||The Queen with her racing adviser, John Warren
||Richard Hughes in the Royal silks
Sarah Wearing Sarah Wearing is one of only six 3* Parelli Instructors in the United Kingdom. She has worked with and ridden horses and ponies since she was three years old. She is based at Suddene Park farm, near Burbage - in partnership with Eileen and Peter Devenish who farmed there for nearly forty years and now run a livery yard.
She keeps her own horses there, and she holds training courses and two Parelli clinics a month during the summer.
In the education of young children there are many theories about how to get the best results: names such as Steiner, Fröbel, Montessori, Piaget have all had followers. And so it is with the training of horses - there are several different approaches.
There is the traditional method of 'breaking in' young horses - which takes a lot of time and patience. Then there is the original American ‘horse whisperer‘ Monty Roberts whose representative in the UK is Kelly Marks with her Intelligent Horsemanship scheme based in Lambourn.
There is Gary Witheford - based near Burbage - who is known as a 'horse whisperer', but prefers his skills with horses of doubtful temperament to be known as 'natural horsemanship'. And there is Parelli.
The Parelli organisation was founded in the United States in 1981 by Pat Parelli - a life-long horseman, horse trainer, rodeo rider, cowboy and teacher. In 1993 his wife Linda joined the Parelli organisation. The Parelli method is becoming much more popular in Britain.
The Parelli approach relies not on training horses, but teaching each horse owner to become their own horse trainer - and to build a relationship of trust and communication with each horse. It also uses the term 'natural horsemanship'.
Horsemanship skills are taught in the Parelli programme, but the foundation of the method is the relationship with the animal. It enables horse lovers at all levels and in all disciplines to achieve a series of steps: success without force - partnership without dominance - teamwork without fear - willingness without intimidation - and harmony without coercion.
Parelli uses specially designed halters that are hand-tied with knots in strategic places. They are made from high-quality, light-weight yachting rope, which is soft and strong and comfortable for the horse.
Parelli also uses a 'carrot stick'. This is not a whip. Sarah Wearing describes it as "An extension of your arm - a communication tool through touching". She explains that as horses are long and upright, and the long 'carrot stick' "Levels up the playing field" for horse owners.
Sarah has wide experience in horsemanship having competed in dressage, show jumping and eventing, riding in teams and individually. Since 2007, she has trained with Parelli at the organisation's Colorado, Florida and Stoneleigh training centres.
When Marlborough News Online caught up with Sarah at Suddene Park Farm, she was showing a class of horse owners how to turn their horses: "If you control the hindquarters of a horse, you can control the whole horse."
|This is how to do it...
||...it's not as easy as it looks...
||...that's got it.
She teaches many first time owners, as well as people who come back to riding after a break. She believes Parelli not only allows people to have a good relationship with their horses, but it also helps to build riders' self-confidence.
Sarah Wearing explains her belief in the Parelli method in convincing and practical terms: "If everyone used Parelli, everybody - including the horses - would be a lot happier and the world would be a lot safer."
Newbury Racecourse paid tribute to one of their key jockeys on Saturday (March 21.) It was the last time Tony McCoy's would ride at one of his 'local' racecourse's popular Saturday meetings. To mark the occasion, the Racecourse made a presentation to him after the first race.
Brian Stewart-Brown, a member of the racecourse's board of directors, presented AP McCoy with a photographic montage showing some of his greatest Newbury rides.
Among them was a photograph of his victory on Mr Mole in the Betfair Price Rush Steeple Chase on February 7. It was while walking to the winner's stand after that race McCoy told Channel 4 Racing he was retiring at the end of the season.
Following the presentation on Saturday he told the parade ring announcer that he would be back to watch racing at Newbury: "It's just fifteen minutes down the road from home."
While he is always in demand for an autograph, McCoy did not have too good a day in the saddle on Saturday. He rode in five of the seven races and took one third place.
He did tell Channel 4 Racing that he did not yet know which horse he would be riding in next month's Crabbie's Grand National - Shutthefrontdoor or Cause of Causes. But he did say that if he won the race, he would probably retire immediately.
Local trainer Neil King had no winners on the Newbury card - the second day of the racecourse's Spring Jumps Meeting - though Lil Rockerfeller came home fourth in the Doom Bar Juvenile Handicap Hurdle.
However, King had sent eight year-old Milansbar and stable jockey Trevor Whelan the 680-mile trip from Barbury to Kelso. And Milansbar won the £25,000 three miles and three furlong Thakeham handicap hurdle. One to watch when he turns to fences next season.