February Newsletter


We all say this when something goes wrong – usually muttered when some horse has escaped its field, got into a feed room or lost a shoe for the millionth time. Said in frustration – but when faced with the prospect of being without them, we then realise just how much they mean to us and actually, how we cannot live without them, however much bother and hard work they give us.

A true horsey person puts up with all the little niggles – when faced with a serious issue the little quips pale into insignificance. I found myself in this situation just after Christmas and just before New Year. I had been out for a nice hack through the woods, the day before the emergency. Sky had been fabulous and we had, had a lovely 2hr ride. On our return, he was brushed off and mud washed from his legs, before settling him for the night in his stable. The next morning he was a little reluctant to come outside. I looked him all over; including his legs as I normally put a little pig oil on them to protect them from the now increasing swathes of mud in the paddocks – nothing to be seen. He walked out with me and I turned him out. Whilst mucking out his stable – something was niggling me about him and so when I heard him neigh I went back to the field to check on him. I was filled with horror at what I saw – ‘flat out’ he was, his head in the mud and groaning. Immediate thoughts were ‘colic’ so I forced him up, onto his feet. He stood holding his back leg, as if it were broken.  A huge wave of nausea swept over me. On closer inspection I discovered a huge swelling on his hock – it hadn’t been there first thing! Doubt crept in ‘had I checked his legs’ ……………. Yes, I’m sure I had’!

I didn’t want to leave him but I had to get hold of the vet. In full panic mode, I shot into the house yelling to a sleepy husband (it was 8.15am) that I had an emergency and that once I had called the vet, it was his job to escort her down to the paddock.

She was quick – it was a Saturday and Christmas (of course) and she helped me get him back to the stables. Diagnoses – infected hock. The pus that came out was very concerning. Taking the two vials of pus that the vet had syringed from the hock with us, we rushed (as safely as possible, quick action in this situation was called for) up to Langfords Veterinary Hospital. Not a word was said between us – husband was driving the lorry, my vet – left behind on the phone to the hospital.

A party of four greeted us – they took over, taking an extremely drowsy Sky (he had been given sedatives to enable the extraction of the offending fluids from the hock) from the lorry. I was ushered into an office, a hot drink put into my hands (think it was coffee) then the lead surgeon sat me down, introduced himself and praised and praised again the quick action and work done by my vet ‘it could have saved him’ it definitely saved time and time was what we didn’t have, ‘apparently’ – that nauseous feeling swept over me again, as the surgeon explained, using photos what the problem was. ‘Do you know how this happened he asked’? ‘No idea, I replied.  ‘I know I checked his legs and had seen nothing, but you always doubt yourself in this situation, don’t you?’

Whilst Sky was x rayed and the vials scrutinised under the microscope, we were shown where he was to be operated on – the theatre was amazing I knew he was in the right place. After Sky was given a thorough wash – nearly all over – infection was the big worry here, his leg was shaved. Even with magnified glasses nothing could be seen as a cause.  We were told to go home, as we couldn’t do any more and they were awaiting the anaesthetic team (Christmas and a Saturday – of course) those that were working on him were dressed in normal clothes and apologising for such, but they needed to work fast. I didn’t care what they were wearing.

I felt sick for the rest of the day – 4pm the phone rang. Sky had been on the table for nearly three hours and had, had 20 litres of special fluid, flushing out the site of the injury. No foreign body was found – no site of injury – it was a mystery how he had got into this state and still is.

Now as comfortable as he could be in a large stable they were pleased with how the operation had gone.

We visited him the next day, having been told that we could see him whenever we wanted and could stay as long as we liked. A duty vet, nurse, groom and a student, greeted us. It wasn’t until they had finished explaining the seriousness of the situation and that he would have a long stay with them, that we realised it was New Year’s Eve and these lovely people were here looking after all the animals – thank goodness for their dedication. 

 For two weeks we travelled up to the hospital to visit him, each time dreading what the vets would tell us – the infection had to be kept out, but a hole was required for drainage. It also needed to heal but due to its position – an area that was constantly in use and moving – it could be an impossible job.  Whilst he was there, three more horses came in with similar injuries; it seemed it was the time of year for this to happen. Sky made friends with a goat named Frankie, in for kidney stones, they chatted and helped each other heal, giving some companionship and comfort.

Three weeks on and Sky is back home. I cannot thank enough, the vets, all of them and all the staff at Langfords for all their care and kindness not just to my horse but to us. We were always welcome, kept informed and comforted if we needed it.

 We are ALL in recovery now – Sky has a good few weeks of careful management and physical exercise to go, before I can get back on him and he is left with a capped hock. I don’t mind the wait, I don’t mind what he looks like.

Yesterday Sky escaped from his small enclosure – I didn’t get cross, I smiled, I was pleased that I had to collect him from where he shouldn’t have been, I laughed at the fact that he was covered in mud and as a result got me plastered in mud – what matters is that I still have him with me.  Many don’t!  I am a very lucky person to have a filthy, sometimes naughty, ‘shoe loser’ as part of my life. Sara x


I moved to Clayhidon in May 2003 & the farm next door was known locally as the ‘smelly farm’.  Unfortunately the smell was mostly that of decaying animals & as the years rolled on, conditions worsened & I found myself embroiled in a battle with the authorities to get something done.  During those years I managed to ‘save’ just a few ponies; when the owner was finally taken to court & banned from keeping livestock there were over 150 ponies – Sauber was one of them.

He was born into a wild herd in June ’07 & I saw him the morning he had been foaled.  He was almost identical to another pony I had already rescued from the farm 2 years early, Irvine, except Sauber had a complete blaze.  I had to save him.  

Although the conditions we truly awful, none of the foals were taken from the mares until they were naturally weaned so I had to wait until the following June before he could be caught.  The round up was traumatic & he evaded capture on two attempts but he eventually arrived the weekend the Sauber/BMW F1 team had their first ever GP win – hence his name.

All the other ponies I had had from the farm I had re-homed to lovely homes & it was my intention to do the same with Sauber.  I had broken Irvine to harness & sold him to a couple in Wales that asked me to break Sauber to harness too, so they could have a pair.  However it soon became apparent driving was not for Sauber, so I backed him.

I then joined the riding club – I had never been a member of a riding club before – with the sole intention of getting him seen & sold.  I had so much fun with him & the riding club that here we are – I’m now the Chairwoman & Sauber will never be sold. Kate x



Firstly I’m not an expert, just someone who has done a bit and really enjoyed it.

Le Trec, as the name suggests began in France as a way of ensuring those escorting riders on a trec were competent.

A full trec consists of 3 phases.

POR – Parcours d’orientation et de Regularite – Orienteering – map reading

MA – Maitrise des Allures – control of paces over a measured distance canter as slow as possible, then walk the same distance back as fast as possible.

PTV – Parcours en Terrain – obstacles representing things you may meet on a hack marked by gait (pace) or style, usually run over 4 levels, level one as a starting level, up to level four with international competitions for the very competitive organised by Trec GB and local area groups eg TrecSouthWest

Also in some areas there are Versatile Trec competitions.  Usually with MA and PTV and an obedience test, a little bit like a dressage test.  Novice and open classes also often an in hand class.

Also this winter Trec Riders Club has been running an on-line competition with MA and PTV. Each month a different course is emailed out, which has been very easy to put together in an arena or paddock.  A 20m x 40m area must be marked out and the obstacles set out according to the test for that month, mostly just using poles and cones, nothing complicated.  The test is then filmed and sent on-line to TRC to be marked. Again novice and open classes and an in hand class, so even non riders or outgrown ponies or young horses needing life experience (or donkeys????) can take part. Rosettes are awarded each month, with some special awards; for example, in December for the most festive outfits.  One advantage of on-line trec is that practice and filming can be done when the weather is good.  To take part riders must join TRC but if only taking part on-line that’s just £7.00 and £3.00 for each months test.

So that’s Le trec, something I find great fun – I hope you found this interesting. Sylvia x 



I have been with the Blackdown Hills Riding Club for around 8 years; I have taken on the juniors this year and have many ideas for them!

I have 2 horses that I compete; Fools Mate (Billy) a 17.2hh, 12yr ex racer who mainly competes in show jumping, but he does do the odd dressage test if he can contain himself, and Pushy Lady a 16hh 6yr ex racer who competes in most disciplines.  She has a more level head than the other one; you will see me out at many of the BHRC events with them. Last year my biggest achievement was representing the BHRC at the West Somerset and Devon Dressage Championships at Kings Sedgemoor 

 I look forward to seeing you all out and about at many of the riding cub events.



  • Jackets – I have been shopping again – (poor Deana!) As I had sold nearly all our stock, I was in her good books and so I have got some more jackets – and they are lovely! I am using a different supplier and the green is more “green” than the previous ones. The logo is particularly beautiful. Kate, Deana and I have already bought one – I may have to put in another order!

  • Fleeces – BHRC said “thank you” with beautiful black and gold fleeces, presented to the riders and support crew who came along to Westpoint in December; (it is rumoured Georgina has not yet taken hers off) You may see the rest of us wearing them, although the general consensus of opinion was they were too nice to be seen near a horse!

  • Membership Cards – if you joined by the 14th January, you should have your card, any problem, let me know.

  • Website – Emma Pearce has taken on the responsibility of updating and maintaining our website and has made a wonderful job of it. I suggest you have a look at the “Latest News” page….

  • Juniors – come along to Conquest at 2.00 pm on Tuesday 19th February for some half term fun with your ponies. £5.00 per person. If you contact Tricia she will forward your emails to Georgina.

  • Spring ShowSunday 31st March at Heazle. The schedule is on our website and on The Riding Diary.

  • Dressage DaySunday 28th April at Conquest. Schedule to follow but put the date in your diary. This is a stand-alone ‘warm-up event.’

  • Summer Dressage League – All Friday evenings – June 21st, July 19th and August 23rd. To be held at Paddocks, Schedule to follow

  • Clear round jumping – Mia Perham has taken on the role of show jumping co-ordinator and has arranged the following dates for our ever popular jumping on Friday evenings – 10th May, 7th June, 12th July & 9th August

All at Paddocks, starting at 6.00 ending at 8.00 pm, £3 per round

  • Teams – information for teams is below and more can be found on the BRC Area 12 web site. We have Horse Trials, Show Jumping and Dressage teams to collate this year, get practising!



Flat work with Karen Court and Grid work with Ros Kemp.

6.30pm start in the indoor arena. £20 per hour session, No more than 4 members in each session. 

Grid work training with Ros Kemp 

13th February 

13th March 

Body protectors are recommended for seniors and compulsory for juniors

Flat work training with Karen Court 

20th February 

27th February 

6th March 

If you’d like to join in please contact Deana Rowland either by text message 07841012410 or email deanarowland2@aol.com to put your name down. 

Payment is required at least 7 days before session date and will secure your place. Late bookings will be taken if space allows. Cancellation policy is on the website. 

Other dates and venues will be booked soon, contact Deana and Kate for more details.


Chairwoman – Kate Hopper, Pleasant House, Clayhidon, Cullompton, Devon. EX16 3TS.   07707815610


Secretary – Tricia Budd, 24, Newlands Grove, Ruishton, Taunton, Somerset. TA3 5JJ. 01823 442597 triciabudd24@gmail.com

Treasurer – Deana Rowland, Coombe Hill House, Symonsburrow, Hemyock, Devon. EX16 3XA. 01823 680021 deanarowland2@aol.com

Area 12 Qualifiers

Competition Location 2019 Date Novice Winter Senior Dressage KSEC 6 Oct 19 Nov/Int Winter SJ KSEC 10 February 2019 FOTH Pontispool 16 & 17 February 2019 Intermediate Winter Dressage KSEC 27 Oct 2019 Combined Training Pontispool 10 March 2019 Dressage To Music tbc, poss 27 May 2019 Horse Trials Bicton 9 Jun 19 Summer SJ KSEC 13 July 2019

NewsEmma Pearce