February 2012 News Headlines

Note. All links to news items are to external websites

Dramatic rescue of horse from Australian mudflats
A woman and her daughter were riding along an Australian beach when they sank into mud. Paris, a small pony, escaped but the horse, Astro, was trapped in deep mud. The news footage show his rescue. Astro only suffered bruising despite his ordeal of over 3 hours.

29 February, 2012  •  BBC News  •  Full story

Rebecca Brooks in new 'hacking' scandal
The revelation that Rebecca Brooks, former boss of News International, was loaned a horse by the Metropolitan Police has generated numerous puns on Twitter. Among them were: she has some 'serious equestrians' to answer and was the horse 'working undercover for neeeeighbourhood watch'?

28 February, 2012  •  Horse & Hound  •  Full story

Cheap and effective cleaning tips
With so many cleaning products on the market we tend to by a product for each job. But many traditional cleaners are just as effective, as well as being cheaper and multi-purpose e.g. soda crystals for cleaning tack and soap flakes for washing manes and tails.

28 February, 2012  •  Your Horse  •  Full story

Racehorse sold at US car auction
US businessman Peter Vitulli returned from a car auction with an unexpected purchase - a racehorse. The 5-year-old mare, Sheza Heartbreaker, was a surprise addition to the auction. Vitulli owned and raced horses in the past and paid $16,000 for the mare who has won more than $102,000 since she began racing last year.

28 February, 2012  •  New York Post  •  Full story

See Olympic eventing hopefuls in action
As eventing celebrates its centenury as an Olympic sport, this season is a great opportunity to see Olympic eventing hopefuls from around the world in action in the UK. Check the list of key dates to see when they will be competing near you.

28 February, 2012  •  British Eventing  •  Full story

Insurance risks of trying a new horse
Tim Stockdale's accident highlighted the risks of trying horses, but a court appeal could set a precedent for damage claims. Kara Goldsmith's head was trampled when thrown from a horse she tried. She is appealling against a court ruling that an experienced rider takes responsibility for any injuries sustained in getting on a horse.

21 February, 2012  •  Horse & Hound  •  Full story

Another change to horseracing whip rules in March
The British Horseracing Authority has revised the whip rules again following criticism of a fixed number of strokes causing an automatic breach i.e. if the whip is used 8 times on the Flat or 9 times over jumps. The change means that these numbers will be the trigger to review the ride, with stewards considering how the whip was used.

21 February, 2012  •  British Horseracing Authority  •  Full story

World Horse Welfare trains Norfolk Constabulary's specials
World Horse Welfare carried out a training seesion with for four officers. The specials had a competency assessment to ensure they had the necessary riding skills to be used as part of a new operation - set up to drive down rural crime. All officers and their horses passed the assessment.

20 February, 2012  •  World Horse Welfare  •  Full story

Firefighters rescue pregnant Dartmoor pony
An animal rescue training session turned into the real thing when a pregnant pony was reported to be stuck in a ditch on Dartmoor. Fightfighters and the Specialist Animal Rescue Team (who were training nearby) successfully performed the rescue. The mare was unharmed in the incident.

19 February, 2012  •  Okehampton People  •  Full story

Lifeboat crews rescue pony after falling down a 50ft cliff
A pony which fell down a 50ft cliff in West Wales was rescued by lifeboat crews. The pony may have been trapped on the tiny beach for 4 days. She was extremely nervous, making her difficult to handle. She was returned to her owner unharmed.

23 February, 2012  •  Horse & Hound  •  Full details

The Horse: Ancient Arabia to the Modern World - British Museum exhibition
A free exhibition dedicated to the horse will run from 24 May to 30 September at the British Museum. It will be their first exhibition dedicated enitrely to the horse and will show the close relationship between horse and man over the centuries in sculptures, paintings and historical items.

15 February, 2012  •  Horse & Hound  •  Full story

Controversial diving horse show axed
Plans to restart a horse diving show in Atlantic City (see video below) has been cancelled following fierce opposition from thousands of horse lovers, including an online petition. Partners in the pier felt that the negative publicity detracted from the positive changes at the pier.

15 February, 2012  •  Horse Talk  •  Full story

UK woman and a horse killed in Florida hyperbaric chamber explosion
28-year-old Erica Marshall, who was observing, and 6-year-old eventer Landmark's Legendary Affaire, who was in the chamber, were killed when a spark from the horse's shoe caused an explosion. The chamber is used to treat conditions like tendonitis by increasing the amount of oxygen in blood.

14 February, 2012  •  Horse & Hound  •  Full story

Oscar, the foal dumped at 9 days old
At just 9 days old Oscar was abandoned at a livery yard without his mother. When the yard owner was unable to look after such a young foal, The Horse Rescue Fund stepped in to give him a home and the care he so desperately needed. Oscar has recovered but the Fund is appealling for sponsors to help pay for his upkeep.

13 February, 2012  •  Your Horse  •  Full story  •  Sponsor Oscar

Paralysed eventer trains for Marathon
Claire Lomas was paralysed from the chest down in an accident at Osberton Horse Trials in 2007. Now she aims to raise £50,000 for Spinal Research by walking the London Marathon with the aid of a robotic suit. Claire expects it to take two weeks to complete the course.

10 February, 2012  •  Claire Lomas  •  Full story

Racehorse trainer Josh Gifford dies
Josh Gifford, trainer of 1981 Grand National winner Aldiniti and father of eventer Tina Gifford, died today at the age of 70. Before becoming a trainer he was champion jumps jockey four times. He retired in 2003 and his son, Nick, took over his training licence. His widow, Althea, was formerly an international showjumper.

09 February, 2012  •  Guardian  •  Full story

Shires find sanctuary at Redwings
Three Shires - Fusilier, Duchess and Major - have been given a new home at Redwings after the rare breeds country park where they lived closed down. Although Redwings is at full capacity they made an exception for this trio as finding a home together for such large animals would be difficult.

09 February, 2012  •  Redwings Horse Sanctuary  •  Full details

Are you road legal when you transport your horses?
The UK Vehicle & Operator Service Agency has produced a booklet 'A guide for horsebox and trailer owners'. The guide covers roadworthiness, vehicle weight, licensing, driver's hours, speed limits and other essential information for anyone transporting horses in a horsebox or trailer.

09 February, 2012  •  Department for Transport  •  Download booklet (pdf)

Diving horses act to return to Atlantic City
The controversial show where horses dive off a 40ft platform is to restart this summer in Atlantic City, USA . The shows started in the 1920s but stopped in 1978. Organisers say there is no cruelty or abuse but welfare groups oppose the return.

08 February, 2012  •  Horse & Hound  •  Full details

Showjumper Geoff Billington to marry Sarah Saltman
Showjumper Geoff Billington is to marry his girlfriend of 6 years, Sarah Saltman. Sarah is also a showjumper and rides out some of Geoff's youngsters as well as owning horses herself. Geoff proposed on New Years Day and the couple will probably marry next year.

08 February, 2012  •  Horse & Hound  •  Full story

Equine Canada Horse of the Year award - a bronze sculpture of Hickstead
Equine Canada unveiled the new Horse of the Year Award at their Annual Awards Gala. The beautiful bronze sculpture of Hickstead by Mary Sand was commissioned in recognition of his significant contribution to equestrian sport in Canada. And the first winner? Who else but Hickstead himself.

06 February, 2012  •  Horse Canada  •  Full story

Simulators used to teaching equine medicine
Student vets at the University of Calgary, Canada are using 3 full size horse simulators (the only models of their kind in the world) to help them learn techniques such as rectal palpation. Different parts of the gastro-intestinal tract can be inflated or deflated to create different displacements and show various abdominal problems.

05 February, 2012  •  University of Calgary  •  Full story

Learn about equine anatomy at Horses Inside Out conference
The Horses Inside Out conference in Cirencester on 25-26 February looks at aspects of equine anatomy and examines how understanding them is useful in management, training and caring for horses. Cost £160 per day.

05 February, 2012  •  Horses Inside Out  •  Full details

'War Horse - The True Story' documentary on Channel 4
Channel 4 is due to broadcast a documentary at 9pm on 4th March (schedule may change) which looks at the work done for war horses by The Horses Trust. The charity took in its first war horse in 1919 and has continued helping them ever since. The documentary was partly filmed at the Horses Trust sanctuary in Speen, Bucks.

03 February, 2012  •  Your Horse  •  Full story

Jumping simulator available in March
Want to practise your jumping without worrying about the horse or going out in the cold? The new jumping simulator from Racewood could be for you. As well as jumping, the simulator horse can be programmed to refuse, run out or even fall.

The simulator gives feedback on the pressure you apply to reins, stirrups, saddle, neck and legs as you jump, to help you improve. At £50,000 it's not within most people's budget but hopefully riding schools and demos at shows will allow many people to have a go.

02 February, 2012  •  Racewood Ltd  •  Product website

Breast cancer fundraisers banned from team chasing
Bitless Not Brainless team chasers Team chasers 'Bitless Not Brainless' have been banned under new safety rules which make a bit compulsory. The team, which rides in pink headcollars and kit and raise funds for breast cancer, feel they have been unfairly targeted as they have completed 27 runs over 4 years without a fall. Mark Smith, the team captain, says the point of riding in headcollars is to show people 'how to ride with their bodyweight, not grabbing at the bit'. Mark doubts the team will continue under the new rules but if it does will rename it 'Bollocks to Bits'.

01 February, 2012  •  Horse & Hound  •  Full story  •  Mark Smith team chasing

Ancestral mare traced back 140,000 years
Genetic studies have traced all modern horses to a common ancestor who lived about 140,000 years ago. The study also shows that domestication of the horse occurred in multiple places across Eurasia. At least one of these places was in Western Europe, possibly in the Iberian Peninsula.

01 February, 2012  •  Bloomberg Businessweek  •  Full story  •  Technical paper (pdf)

Teenager donates $10,000 for Premarin horses
A US teenage author has donated $10,000 to an Oregon charity which cares for 100 mares and foals formerly used at Canadian PMU farms. Their urine was collected and used in the manufacture of hormone replacement therapy drugs, including Premarin (PREgnant MARe urINe).

01 February, 2012  •  Horse Talk  •  Full story