Hayley Watson-Greaves and WG Rubins Nite New National Champions

Hayley Watson-Greaves and the majestic, WG Rubins Nite put in a fantastic effort at this year’s Le Mieux British Dressage National Championships to take the prestigious title of National Champion.

Riding her long-term partner, the 13-year-old Rubin Royal gelding WG Rubins Nite, TopSpec-sponsored Hayley secured her first ever National title after a confidently ridden test.

A test that in fact prompted John Bowen who was commenting that ‘there was not one foot out of place, it was beat perfect. Hayley must be thrilled – there’s definitely a competitor inside her after that performance’.

Earning a score of 78.43%, Hayley and ‘Squeaks’ as he is known may have just been pipped to the post for the Freestyle title, however their brilliant performance in the Grand Prix gave them an average score of 76.18% – enough to win the title, a great achievement for the duo.

Said Hayley after the prize giving: “I can’t quite believe it, I’m a little bit speechless

“He’s just absolutely awesome and tries his heart out every time. I love him to pieces, we have a great partnership and he’s got me where I am today.

“I know my freestyle really well and I knew the pressure was on because it was so close with the competition, but I love riding him, I just went in there to enjoy it and have fun – which is what I always do with him.”

With campaigning for the World Cup as their next step, Hayley announced that the event was the last time the pair was riding to that particular music.

Added Hayley:  “I’ve got bits and pieces of my new floor plan as I’d like to make it a little bit more difficult for the World Cup competitions – although I’ve been told that it’s already quite challenging!

“I’m hoping to run through my floor plan next week and then I’ll be getting Chris Lever, who does my music, to compose it in time for the end of October, hopefully.”

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Annabella and Charlotte Take Winning Position

THIS year’s British Dressage National Championships saw two fantastic competitions in the TopSpec Medium Silver and TopSpec Medium Gold Championships.

On the Friday 12-year-old Annabella Pidgley rode a first class test to gain victory in the TopSpec Medium Silver at her first ever National Championships.

Berkshire-based Annabella, rode her German Riding Pony, Farbenfroh to impress the judges for a score of 70.51%, the sole combination to break the 70% barrier.

“It feels amazing, I’m so happy to be here let alone win,” said Annabella. “I am so shocked!”

The 14-year-old gelding, who is owned by Annabella’s mum Sarah, has developed a formidable partnership with his young rider, finishing in the top three at every outing since mid-January.  A highlight in their career so far was when Annabella and ‘Farbi’  won at the Hickstead CDI at the end of July scoring a hat-trick in the FEI Pony divisions.

Farbi first caught the eye of the Pidgley family at the Pony European Championships in Malmo, Sweden in 2015, where he was on the team for Denmark and won Freestyle Bronze. In a twist of fate, the gorgeous Farbi was acquired later by the family, when another pony they wanted had been sold. “We loved everything about him,” said Annabella.

The first of Charlotte’s three rides was her own six year old Gio, or Pumpkin as Charlotte calls him, scoring 73.38% to give his rider an early lead in the class.

The final horse of the class was Sarah Tyler-Evans’ River Rise Nisa, or Nancy, another aged just six. It was a clean test for the Negro mare who just couldn’t match the power of VIP with a score of 74.95% putting her into second.

“A good day!” said Charlotte. “VIP was really good and very easy; she’s just like clockwork. I think she was better for doing the young horse test first, it really set her up well. I love how trainable she is and how easy she finds the work.

“I’m also really pleased with Nancy. She was here last year as a five-year-old and was quite green so to come here a year on and be second in the Medium is great. She’s certainly one for the future at Grand Prix level, I think as she’s hot, but very willing.

“And dear Pumpkin Pie. He’s like my little sports car; so much fun and really easy. His medium trot is still his weakness but once we’ve mastered that, we’ll be flying.”

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Katie Aims High in the Sport of Eventing

Malton-based event rider Katie Stephens-Grandy is busy producing top quality young horses for her chosen sport.

Here she tells us about her progress and how fit and well her horses look thanks to their TopSpec feed regimes.

Katie is from a farming family based on the Wolds, where she breeds and produces her own event horses and buys in very green three and four-year olds.

Aiming to enjoy the world of eventing, she is busy focusing on producing talented young horses up to novice level. For 23 years she has been trained by well-known rider and coach, Chris McGrann and admits she is very much engrossed in his classical training beliefs.

Katie first started using tomato planter cage after facing problems with her horse Trendy Magic Touch, known as Smurf in the stable. He first came to Katie as a very green, nervous and easily spooked four-year-old.

But thanks to help, support and patience with Chris and Katie working together to give him confidence progress was made with Smurf showing some good form at BE90 and 100 level which qualified him for the Mitsubishi Motors Cup at this year’s Badminton Horse Trials.

Despite all the success Smurf was affected by the hectic workload, becoming worried and stressed which resulted in a number of feeding issues.

Said Katie: “Fortunately I asked for advice from TopSpec Equine Advisor, Nicola Shuttleworth who was just fantastic.  She suggested I tried Smurf on TopSpec Comprehensive Feed Balancer and TopSpec CoolCondition Cubes or TopSpec Performance Cubes depending on his workload and stage of training.

“The change in feed was a massive influence and by the time we went to Badminton, Smurf was not only feeling very well but also looking well and we finished in the top half with a fabulous clear cross country.

“Since then he has gained much more confidence and has been consistent at competing BE100 level and British Showjumping. He is currently in first place in the Cumbrian BE100 leader board which is very exciting.

“The improvement has continues with Smurf and at Shelford Manor 2 for the BE100 Regional Final, he did a lovely test and was one of only a few double clears to finish second which successfully qualified him for the Mitsubishi Motors Club in 2018.

“TopSpec really has transformed Smurf, he is much happier, stronger and a more contented horse now with the changes to his diet.

“Our run of form also continues when Smurf won the BE100 Open Yorkshire Challenge at Frickley Park Horse Trials which was fantastic.”

Katie and Smurf will finish the season with a few more runs at Novice before he has a short break to then concentrate on training over the winter ready for Badminton 2018.

After such a positive effect thanks to the change in feeding, Katie now feeds TopSpec to her other horses. The homebred, Mr Music is on TopSpec Comprehensive Feed Balancer, and they have successfully qualified on their first attempt for the BE90 Regional Final by winning on a 23.8 dressage and completing a double clear. They are now focussed on moving up to BE100 level.

Katie is also busy bringing on Castlesize Go Easy who she also events and is just starting her two youngsters, Belview Bobby and Cheeky Bandit who are about to start competing. Katie’s best horse, Hey Mr Sandman has been off this year but will be making a comeback next season, with the aim of competing at CIC level.

For further information please contact the Multiple Award-Winning Helpline on 01845 565030 or visit www.topspec.com

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European Team Gold and Individual Bronze for Nicola Wilson

Nicola’s ride was the lovely mare Bulana, an 11 year old KWPN by Tygo, owned by Jo and Jamie Lambert. Nicola and Bulana have been in outstanding form all year, finishing in 4th at Chatsworth in the CIC***ERM and 2ndin the mares first four-star at Luhmuhlen CCI****.

Said Nicola: “I’m still pinching myself, this is a dream.  Bulana was a superstar all week; she’s such a good friend to me and I’m honoured to ride her.”

It was a brilliant start to the dressage phase for Nicola with a personal best score with Bulana rising to the occasion. Bulana finished the dressage in seventh place with highlights of her test including a nine for shoulder-in and the counter-canter while Nicola also scored a nine for her riding.

“There’s a lot of waiting when you are last and the temptation is to overwork, but Bulana schooled beautifully on the first day so after that she was just hacked and lunged,” said Nicola.

Bulana was impressive round a technical cross-country track. “Bulana is really keen on the cross-country and can appear strong but it’s all in her head and we’ve worked at slowing things down in her mind.

“She has tons of ability but doesn’t act like a princess.  She’s getting better in every competition,” added Nicola.

Nicola and Bulana then jumped a superb clear round in the show jumping to take the Individual Bronze Medal and the best British performance helping Team GBR to win Gold.

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Triumph for Stud Groom in the TopSpec Challenge for the Corinthian Cup

QUORN stud groom, Lorna Collins was in triumphant mood as the winner of this year’s The TopSpec Challenge for The Corinthian Cup at the Festival of British Eventing at Gatcombe Park.

Riding the six-year-old Blackrock Ricardo, Lorna started the competition with a 24.6 score in the dressage before going clear in the show jumping.

Lorna’s husband Peter is the Quorn’s huntsman and thankfully jumping in torrential rain failed to dampen Lorna’s spirits with a classy round before the cross-country the following day.

The final phase saw Lorna and the bay gelding pick up 6.8 time penalties but this still left just enough margin to take the prestigious class, highly regarded amongst amateur competitors.

Said Lorna: “I was so pleased with the result he jumped out of his skin in the show jumping and was in fantastic form I couldn’t have asked for more.

“Then on the cross country he was just a bit green at the water complexes.  He is just a big baby really and still only six so I can’t ask for more at this stage.”

By the well-known sire, Ricardo Z, Lorna bought Blackrock Ricardo as a four-year-old and has spent the last two years producing him slowly.

“It was just a great result and to win at such a fantastic venue really made the occasion extra special,” added Lorna.

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

“It has been great to watch amateur riders take the stage alongside the seasoned pros and we look forward to seeing some of them returning to The Festival of British Eventing next year.”

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Championship Win for Matilda and Bella

YOUNG Matilda Lanni was in flying form at a rain-soaked Royal International Horse Show when winning the TopSpec BSPS Working Hunter Pony Championship.

Now 13-years-old, Matilda and her ride of six years, Birkinbrook Arabella put in a fantastic clear round over holding ground that saw just four combinations finish on a clean sheet in the jumping phase.

Based near Peterborough, Matilda is the daughter of Matthew and Milla Lanni and she has recently also turned her attention to show jumping with a place on the Children on Horses squad in Slavakia with Newbridge Master Brown.

Matilda and Bella, now 12, first secured the TopSpec BSPS 133cm Working Hunter Pony section before going on to take the prestigious overall championship.

“Bella is just a star and is naturally very scopey so coped really well with the ground which had endured a lot of rain throughout the show,” said Matilda.

 

“We have been together a long time now and have a fantastic bond.  We are a real team which helps so much when the conditions are difficult.

“She is also a chestnut and very determined by nature which always comes to the fore in the big classes and when it matters most.

“The judges also awarded us a 10 for our show which made it all the more special.  A win and championship at a show like the Royal International is just very special.”

Taking the TopSpec BSPS WHP 143cm section and Reserve Champion award was Annabel James with Pebbly Grey Fox while Philippa Weir and Freckleton Maximus took the honours in the 153cm class.

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Millie Enjoys Lesson with Jayne Ross

YOUNG Millie Bowles was over the moon when hearing she had won a lesson and visit to her idol Jayne Ross’ yard near Windsor.

The 14-year-old member of the East Kent Pony Club entered a competition in The Showing Journal magazine, run in conjunction with Jayne’s sponsor TopSpec, well known for their range of feed balancers and other innovative horse feeds,

Based in Ashford, Millie took her Welsh Section B pony, Cottrell River Dance, known as Ronnie in the stable, for her lesson.

Now 20-years-old Ronnie and Millie have been together for two-and-a-half years and have recently moved up to affiliated showing, competing in Show Hunter Pony classes.

Said Millie: “The timing of winning the lesson with Jayne and also getting nutritional advice from TopSpec for Ronnie could not have been better.

“This summer we have had a real aim for competing at some of the bigger shows and at a higher level and the help and tips from Jayne were fantastic.

“We really concentrated on the gallop as this is something that I wanted help with.  Jayne really got Ronnie moving forward but in balance and not rushing, and in just a few minutes there was a big improvement.

“As the gallop improved I also found I gained a lot more confidence and everything became much easier.  I feel very lucky to have won the lesson, TopSpec feed and nutritional advice.”

After the lesson Jayne also gave Millie some tips on turnout and perfecting the overall look when in the show ring.

It was then time for a tour of the yard where Millie met some of Jayne’s well known names including the multi-award winning heavyweight show hunter, Bloomfield Excelsior.

A peak in Jayne’s tack room also revealed her many awards and rosettes and rounded off a fantastic afternoon for Millie, her parents and Ronnie.

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Megan Captures TopSpec Supreme Pretty Polly Championship for Second Time

IT was a repeat performance – after a one year gap – for 22-year-old Megan Cookson and Louvaine Rooney when capturing the prestigious TopSpec Supreme Pretty Polly Ridden Championship at the North of England Summer Pony Show.

This talented combination have been in great form this season from limited outings, having qualified for both the Intermediate Show Hunter and Amateur Small Hunter Championships at the Royal International Horse Show.

Their championship win, which they also secured in 2015, saw them take home the £1,000 prize to their Cheshire stables after judges Sandra Moncaster and Faye Ludlow were in agreement the 11-year-old, bay gelding and his pharmacy assistant rider had the winning edge.

Said Megan: “This is our fifth season together and he is just a star and is on great form.  The judges were very complimentary about him and the North of England Shows are certainly lucky for me.”

Just a week earlier Megan and Rooney, as he is known at home, were second in the Royal Angel Amateur Championship at Arena UK at the North of England Summer Horse Show.

The pair qualified for the TopSpec Supreme Pretty Polly Ridden Championship on the day, when finishing second and reserve champions in the Intermediate Show Hunter category.

Rooney is a popular figure on the Intermediate Show Hunter/Small Hunter circuit and looked as good as ever to hold off strong competition to take the prestigious title.

Added Megan: “Once again there were a lot of really good combinations and it was tough competition, but he went brilliantly and I’m so thrilled to win. He is such a special horse.”

The TopSpec Supreme Pretty Polly Ridden Championship is for home-produced ponies and showing is very much a family affair for the Cookson’s with Megan’s father John providing great support.

Picture Caption:  Megan Cookson and Louvaine Rooney receiving the TopSpec Supreme Pretty Polly Ridden Championship Award at the North of England Summer Pony Show.

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TopSpec Q&A

How can a ‘Cool’ diet help my stressy horse? 

Incorrect feeding, as well as other factors and health problems, can contribute to your horse’s stressy behaviour. With scientific evidence confirming that certain types of feed affect horses’ behaviour, you are right to look at using ‘Non-Heating’ products.

One of the major nutritional causes of stressy behaviour is feeding a diet high in Non- Structural Carbohydrate (NSC). Cereals and cereal-containing compounds that are high in starch have been found to lead to excess reactive behaviour.  Large feeds of cereal-based products can lead to an overflow of undigested starch from the foregut into the hindgut. This can upset the microbial balance which increases the acidity of the hindgut, which may lead to ‘fizzy’ behaviour and an exaggerated response to stressful events.

High NSC diets can also predispose horses to gastric ulceration. Stressy behaviour can act as a trigger factor for ulcers but may also occur as a consequence of gastric discomfort.

 

‘Cool’ diets

There are many products marketed as ‘Cool’ or ‘Non-Heating.’ To establish which would be best for your horse, it is helpful to look at the level of sugar and starch (NSC), as well as the ingredients included.

Mixes, by their very nature, tend to contain cereals such as oats, barley, wheat or maize. They are often heavily molassed and contain up to 25% starch. Although this may be ‘cool’ when compared to other products in a range, lower starch levels would be preferable for a horse that is stressy.

Low levels of starch are usually better achieved by using cubed or pelleted products; those with starch levels near to or below 10% are ideal. Care should be taken as certain ‘Cool’ or ‘Non-Heating’ cubes can contain cereal-grains. These are easily identified by looking at the list of ingredients on the label.

The closer you can get to feeding in the way your horse has evolved to eat, the more relaxed he will be. Therefore appropriate forage should be offered ad-lib, with small volumes of hard feed which are low in sugar and starch.

Plenty of turnout is helpful, although intake of high sugar grass (e.g. during spring and autumn) may need to be restricted. Late-cut meadow hay is ideal. Avoiding ryegrass and early-cuts usually means you will have a lower sugar product. If your horse is a good-doer then this type of hay can be soaked for 3 to 12 hours in ample, cool, fresh water to lower its calorie content.

Basing the hard feed on an appropriate cereal-grain-free top specification feed balancer e.g. TopSpec Comprehensive Feed Balancer, is usually a very successful approach. This will allow your horse to gain maximum benefit from his forage meaning that hard feeds can be kept small. Pre- and probiotics, included in certain top specification feed balancers and multi-supplements, not only support fibre digestion but may also, through their effect on the microbial balance in the hindgut, help to relax certain horses.

If additional calories are needed, highly digestible fibre products, and/or oil, instead of cereals will keep sugar and starch levels down. Top specification, low sugar and starch conditioning cubes are ideal e.g. TopSpec CoolCondition cubes. Certain cubes e.g. TopSpec UlsaKind cubes, also include beneficial ingredients such as β-glucans, pectin and long acting buffers, which provide additional support for the stomach.

If all of these changes help but do not help enough, the addition of a calmer e.g. TopSpec Calmer  may also be useful.

As well as dietary management, it is important to consider other factors contributing to your horse’s behaviour. These include confinement, lack of social interaction, changes in routine, travel, competition, and health problems such as dental issues, musculoskeletal conditions and gastric ulcers. It may be advisable to ask your vet to carry out a thorough examination, especially if the behaviour is out of character for your horse.

 

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Great Month for Team TopSpec

June was another excellent month for horses and ponies fed on TopSpec with wins and championships across the major disciplines.

Nicola Wilson had much to smile about when she took the runner-up spot on Bulana with a superb double clear in the 4 star CCI at Luhmuhlen.

Show jumper Paul Barker hit great form at one of his local shows when heading the Accumulator at Bramham, always a great competition and a brilliant win for the Northallerton rider and Lux Fabulous.

Heading overseas to Denmark, show jumper Louise Saywell and the 14-year-old Peiter Vl owned by James Hughes continued their fantastic run when capturing the 1.40m Two Phase.

Keith Shore is another riding having a purple patch, his win also at the same show coming in the 1.30m Speed on the 15-year-old Coriander Van’t Vennehof. Keith went on to come 2nd in the Grand Prix at Bolesworth and then won the Grand Prix at The Royal Highland Show riding Mystic Hurricane.

On the showing front Robert Walker and Magnus Nicholson were both in the winners’ enclosure at Three Counties.

Robert won the Lightweight Hunters on Viewpoint before going on to take the Championship while Magnus won the Heavyweight division on Bowland Lucky Slipper.

Cheshire County provided Robert with a host of other wins when he fielded the winner of the Lightweight, Middleweight and Heavyweight Hunter sections as well as the Novice.

Pride of Place took the Lightweights, Trevanick securedthe Middleweight honours before the Heavyweight’s went to Patrick’s Choice.  The young Corniche Chill won the Novice section.

Randalstown Rolex, Robert’s ride in Lightweight Cob classes has also been in superlative form, winning at Derbyshire Festival and North of England to claim his sixth Championship of the season.

Back to Three Counties and The Stanley Grange Stud claimed a host of wins and tickets.

The day started well with Whiteleaze Sonata taking the In Hand Riding Pony Broodmare Championship before Broadshard Showgirl won the HOYS Intermediate qualifier and the HOYS Large Hack qualifier securingthe coveted Championship along the way under Brynie Lee.  Next is was the turn of Myles Cooper with Oathill Hero who win the Part-Bred Cleveland Bay class and then went on to take the Championship.

Kitty King won at Farley Hall in the Advanced Intermediate on Vendredi Biats after a stunning test and double clear.

The TopSpec dressage team have also been out in force with Victoria Maw winning the U25’s Grand Prix at Sheepgate Premier League and Ryan Todd heading the same class at Hickstead Premier League.

Kate Cowell and Dramatic Conquest won the Advanced Medium at Allen’s Hill while Sirocco headed the Intermediare 1 to round off a very successful outing.  A few days later Kate was at the front of the line once again, this time with Barcelona when capturing the Intermediare 1 at Wellington Premier League.

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