After a brilliant response to the new Abbey England Saddlery Scholarship, apprentice Rachel Lok has been chosen as the winner and lucky recipient of £500 worth of workshop tools.
Scholarship winner Rachel, had her first taste of saddlery during a week long course, studying under Master Saddler David May and hasn’t looked back since. Rachel received the award from Richard Brown of Abbey England at BETA International.
Said Rachel: “Saddlery brings together my passion for horses, my creativity and my enjoyment of crafts.
“I am delighted to win such a great scholarship from Abbey England, I am excited to start using the fantastic tools the prize money will get me and continue a lifetime of learning more within the saddlery industry.”
Rachel’s training has included completing the two year Cordwainers Diploma at Capel Manor College where she thoroughly enjoyed her time and during the course successfully achieved her City and Guilds Level 1 and all three Level 2 qualifications, even passing the bridle exam with a fractured arm in a cast.
Taking every opportunity she could, Rachel competed in saddlery competitions whilst at Capel Manor College receiving a Premium Award at the Society of Master Saddlers’ National Competition and being awarded first prize at BETA International last year for making a pair of plain reins in the SMS competitions.
Said Richard Brown of Abbey England: “The Abbey England Saddlery Scholarship applications have been outstanding. It is wonderful to see so many young and up and coming saddlers who are breathing new life into the industry and are without doubt the future of the saddlery world as they embrace new ideas and technologies combined with the history and heritage British saddlery is so well known for.”
Alongside her development Rachel is keen to learn more about lorinery and is undertaking personal research into the industry. Rachel’s long term career goal is ultimately to become a Master Saddler.
Added Richard: “We were delighted to launch the Abbey England Scholarship and hope the £500 prize will help Rachel progress in her career. She is clearly fuelled with creativity and passion alongside her thirst for knowledge within the British saddle industry. We look forward to watching her develop within the industry whilst doing something she truly loves, which shows through her work.”
Hickstead’s July fixture is renamed the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ of Great Britain at the BHS Royal International Horse Show, to reflect the importance of its showcase class and the long-term relationship with series title partner Longines.
The five-star international showjumping event takes place from 25-29 July 2018, with the show now concluding with the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ of Great Britain on Sunday afternoon. The Longines BHS King George V Gold Cup, the official name for the British Grand Prix, will now be held on Friday afternoon.
“The Hickstead leg gives showjumping fans their only opportunity to watch the Brits compete as a team on home turf, and we hope the move of this historic competition from Friday to Sunday will give even more people the chance to cheer on their home nation,” says Hickstead Director Lizzie Bunn.
In the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ series, teams of riders compete at a number of venues throughout the world, with each leg involving two showjumping rounds. The British leg of this global series forms part of European Division One. After a year competing in Division Two, the Brits have been promoted back to this top division and will be campaigning this year to remain in Division One and qualify for the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ Final in Barcelona in September.
Other showjumping highlights at this July fixture include world ranking classes such as the Bunn Leisure Trophy, the Bunn Leisure Salver and the British Speed Classic. The prestigious Queen Elizabeth II Cup, a national championship, will remain as Saturday’s highlight, while Thursday will once again feature the MS Amlin Eventers’ Challenge, when the country’s top event riders gallop around a special cross-country course within Hickstead’s famous International Arena.
The international showjumping classes will run alongside national showjumping and championship showing classes, under the title of the BHS Royal International Horse Show. The official show of The British Horse Society, the Royal International Horse Show is going to be 111 years old this season, making it one of the oldest equestrian events in the world.
The show has been held in a number of British venues before moving to the All England Jumping Course at Hickstead in 1992, where it has remained ever since.
The Free Spirit Horse Memorial Project, a charity which acknowledges the horse’s unfaltering service to mankind throughout history, has been announced as the official charity of Royal Windsor Horse Show 2018, taking place from 9 – 13 May in the private grounds of Windsor Castle.
The project has been created to raise funds for a memorial to the horse named The Free Spirit Horse Memorial, which will be located at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire and will be unveiled in 2018 to coincide with the centenary anniversary of the end of the First World War.
The memorial will be accessible to able bodied and disabled, providing a tactile as well as a visual experience, with seating for reflection and contemplation, information plaques in braille for those who are visually impaired, Makaton symbols and dyslexia approved font to aid communication. This accessibility was of paramount importance to the project organisers as it mirrors the horse, who does not judge but treats and respects each person as an individual, bringing together all members of the community without prejudice. The horse has been, and continues to be, a strong, loyal and dedicated companion through war, industry, sport and therapy and the Free Spirit Horse Memorial aims to pay tribute to this honourable and emotive creature.
As part of its charitable aims, the Free Spirit project also provides education around the role of the horse through art, music and history to ensure that the significance of the horse is taught to future generations. In addition, the project promotes the importance of equine therapy for the most vulnerable in society and reaches out into communities by visiting schools, care homes and mental health facilities.
Show Director, Simon Brooks-Ward said: “We are delighted to be supporting The Free Spirit Horse Memorial Project in 2018 as we mark the 100-year anniversary of the end of World War I. Horses have played a vital role in the development of our country throughout history, whether in conflict, work, rehabilitation or sport and leisure. Royal Windsor Horse Show is an annual celebration of top equestrian sport and entertainment, so this partnership is a natural fit, commemorating the role of horses in society, past and present.”
Tracy Francis, Chair of The Free Spirit Horse Memorial Project, added: “The horse is central to the community that is created at Free Spirit; these intelligent, compassionate and emotive animals break down barriers and are unprejudiced in their approach to everyone who works with them. The Free Spirit volunteers work passionately to share this and to acknowledge the role the horse has played in society in the past and present, and will play in the future. The project is extremely proud and honoured to be charity of the year at the prestigious Royal Windsor Horse Show and it is a great opportunity for the ongoing work and commitment of the project to be recognised in the public spotlight.”
Exeter Racecourse has announced that one of the sport’s brightest talents, Bryony Frost, is the racecourse’s new ambassador for 2018.
Devon born and bred Frost has witnessed a meteoric rise to fame this season and on Boxing Day became only the second female jockey in Britain to win a top-class race over obstacles when she steered Black Cotton to success in the Kauto Star Novice Chase at Kempton.
But her roots are firmly set in Devon and the 22-year-old expressed her delight at coming on board with her local racecourse. “To work with Exeter, which is just down the road from where I was born and brought up, is fantastic. I’ve been coming here since I was a child and to be the ambassador is really cool. I’ve ridden a few winners at Exeter and it’s a great course where lots of my friends regularly go racing. I love riding there too.”
Frost’s role will include a regular blog that will appear on the racecourse’s website and in local papers and making appearances on family day, ladies night and when her racing schedule allows.
“I’m really looking forward to it,” she said adding, “I love talking to kids about racing and stopping for a chat with people. If it can get more people interested about racing it has to be a good thing.”
Frost’s father Jimmy was successful in the 1989 Grand National riding Little Polveir and on Morley Street in the Champion Hurdle in 1991. He rode his last ever winner at Exeter Racecourse on Bohill Lad in 2002. Her brother Hadden was also a successful jockey and partnered Buena Vista to victory in the Pertemps Final at the 2010 Cheltenham Festival and now sources and breaks in horses.
Bryony started riding the yard’s donkey, Nosey, before she could walk, and was hunting with the Dartmoor Hunt by the time she was four, sticking close to the then master and huntsman Mike Weir.
She recalls: “I was his shadow and it really taught me everything about riding and how to look after horses properly riding across Dartmoor’s tough country. I always admired the way the hounds looked up to Mike. He taught me how to think fast going over the bogs and the difficult terrain, he taught me good horsemanship and Dartmoor’s weather really toughened me up.”
Bryony started in pony races when she was just nine-years-old before she graduated to point-to-points notching up 55 wins between the flags and winning the National Novice title when she was 17. This year she won the St James Place Foxhunter at the Cheltenham Festival and then turned professional in July.
Exeter’s General Manager Jack Parkinson said: “We’re so pleased that Bryony has come on board at Exeter as our ambassador. She and her family are incredibly popular here and we’re very proud that we will be working closely with Bryony to bring both racing and non-racing folk alike an insight into life as a leading lady jockey. What she has achieved is incredible and long may her success continue.”
March 24th, 2018 heralds the return of National Equestrian Safety Day, a safety awareness day aimed specifically at the equestrian community.
The day has been created by the Mark Davies Injured Riders Fund (www.mdirf.co.uk) a registered charity dedicated to helping those injured through riding, handling or working with horses. Now, for the second year running and tying in with the charity’s 30th anniversary, the charity are more keen than ever to promote their work and safety around horses as Rosemary Lang, Administrator and Fund Co-ordinator explains:
“As the clocks go forward, more riders return to the saddle and the competition season starts. This day is to remind equestrians to stay safe around horses at all times and also to raise awareness of our valuable work & the continuing need for equestrians to support us so that we can help you, should you ever need us.”
For further information on the charity & #nationalequestriansafetyday go to: