Category Archives: horse

6 of the most expensive horses sold this year (with price tags that will make you weep)

This year, some horses swapped hands for some serious money. Here we round up the top lots at some of the biggest auctions…


Tattersalls December Mare Sale
Price: £6.3million

Double Group One winner Marsha (pictured above) became the highest-priced horse ever sold at a European auction when she was snapped up by Coolmore’s MV Magnier for a new partnership for an eye-watering six million guineas (£6.3million).

The four-year-old thoroughbred filly, who has won seven of her 18 starts notching up £650,114, attracted interest from bidders around the world.

Mr Magnier said: “She really is something special. Sir Mark [Prescott, the filly’s trainer] has done a great job with her, she was very fast and the lads were very keen to have her.”

Marsha will now go to stud and will be covered by champion sire Galileo.

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Goresbridge Go For Gold
Price: €130,000 (£114,596)

The top lot at this popular Irish event horse sale was Gurtea Mattie Clover, a five-year-old full brother to Nicola Wilson’s four-star mount Annie Clover, purchased by Gerard Alan Kemp

By Newmarket Venture and out of a Clover Hill mare, the 16.3hh brown gelding was described in the catalogue as: “Very well related, this gelding has successfully competed at EI100 level.”

The Monart Select Elite Event Horse Sale
Price: €29,000 (£25,544)

FLS Piltown Bay was the top lot at this annual Irish sale. The five-year-old by Garrison Royale out of a Beneficial (thoroughbred National Hunt sire) mare, described in the catalogue as a “modern blood type event horse that has competed at unregistered shows and is showing great potential”, was purchased by Canadian event rider Katlyn Hewson-Slezak.

Karl and Katlyn Sezak said: “I am keeping hold of him and will produce him with the top levels in mind. I am very excited about my new boy’s future. He’s a really sweet horse.”

Brightwells Addington August Elite
Price: £39,000

In August the two joint top lots were sold for £39,000. The first was Creto, a seven-year-old dressage mare by Conteur. She had been competing at medium level in Holland and was purchased for a young British rider.

The second lot to achieve £39,000 was Gember Z, a three-year-old showjumping stallion who demonstrated an impressive jump. He is by Gemini CL, a thoroughbred stallion and clone of Olympic silver medallist Gem Twist, out of a mare by Berlin.

Tattersalls Ireland Cheltenham Festival Sale
Price: £320,000

A record price for a mare from the point-to-point field was set at this sale in March when Maire Banrigh, a 2012 bay mare by King’s Theatre and out of a Supreme Leader mare was knocked down for £320,000. The mare only made her racing debut four days before the sale, where she saw off competition from 12 other horses in the mares’ maiden at Lingstown (video below).

She was bought for £40,000 at Goffs UK’s Spring Sale 12 months previously by County Wexford-based point-to-point trainer Richard Black. He then sold the mare here to Ryan Mahon, a former jockey who is now working as a bloodstock agent, on behalf of leading racehorse owner John Hales. was bought for £40,000 at Goffs UK’s Spring Sale 12 months ago by County Wexford-based point-to-point trainer Richard Black.

On 6 December, this mare’s Racing Post form noted that her trainer is now Dan Skelton, so she is definitely one to look out for from his stable.

Equine Elite
Price: €210,000 (£184,998)

The top lot at this hugely popular dressage sale in The Netherlands in October was an 11-year-old chestnut Dutch warmblood gelding, appropriately called Bollinger. ‘Bubbles’, who is by Johnson out of an Aktion mare is trained to small tour level.

For all the latest news analysis, competition reports, interviews, features and much more, don’t miss Horse & Hound magazine, on sale every Thursday

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AP McCoy leads legendary jump jockeys to Olympia glory

The jump jockeys gained their revenge after last year’s defeat to the Flat boys in Friday night’s thrilling — and fiercely competitive — Markel Champions Challenge over the coloured obstacles at Olympia.

Captained by 20-time champion AP McCoy and trained by H&H columnist Graham Fletcher, the five-man team of legendary former National Hunt jockeys produced the winning performance over Frankie Dettori’s squad, coached by reigning Olympic champion Nick Skelton.

“It’s nice to beat Dettori!” said AP, who lined up alongside former champions Peter Scudamore, Richard Dunwoody, John Francome and Charlie Swan, who boast an astounding 47 championship titles between them.

“The first year we did it [the Markel Challenge], the jump jockeys won, then we were a bit disappointed last year when we had a team of current jump jockeys and the Flat jockeys won — so I sacked them all,” said AP with a grin. “It was time to bring in a slightly older A-team.

“I said we needed a team of champions to put the Flat boys in their place — not knowing that they had lined up a team of champions for this year, too.”

With such huge rivalry between the two teams, who were raising invaluable funds for the Injured Jockeys Fund, the Flat jockeys’ team captain Frankie Dettori announced himself “devastated” to lose.

“You know what AP’s like — he’ll never let me forget this now,” said the Italian. “And now he works for ITV racing, every time I ride a winner he’s going to mention the fact he beat me. But ‘Scu’ [Peter Scudamore, from the winning team] was brilliant he said ‘Imagine how good we were when we were young!’”

Frankie’s team-mates were three-time champion-turned-trainer Richard Hughes, Jamie Spencer, Jim Crowley and three-time champion Ryan Moore.

There was some comeuppance for Frankie, however, as his accomplished round on the brilliant “Barry” — an experienced showjumper borrowed from Tim Gredley — was well over a second quicker than AP’s.

So will the jump jockeys return to the saddle to bid for a winning double next year?

“No — we’re firmly retired again now!” said AP.

Don’t miss the full report from the London International Horse Show at Olympia in next week’s issue of Horse & Hound, out Thursday 21 December.

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H&H question of the week: How can my horse and I learn how to jump bigger fences?

Four-star event rider and multi junior and young rider European eventing medallist Georgie Spence provides one H&H forum user with some helpful advice on how to teach both her and her horse how to jump bigger fences

Q: “I have a fantastic horse who only learned to jump about 18 months ago — she’s eight this year. She’s 16hh and she’s got the most wonderful jump. She jumps 80cm courses and leaves lots of room between her and the jump. She’ll do 90cm individual jumps without worrying too but I’d like to build her up to 90cm and 1m courses but obviously I’m happy for that to take as long as it takes.

“I’d like to do some jumping work in the school to increase my confidence and hers, although it’s mostly mine. What I’ve found with my horse is that she won’t pay attention to anything less than 70cm. I was wondering if you could share some good jumping exercises that I could do.

We have a great school at my yard with plenty of wings and poles. Things to bear in mind:
1) All jumps have to be built and put away
2) I don’t have a helper very often so I can’t get off and on throughout the session to change jumps”

Georgie says: “My advice would be that you should stick to a few exercises and use them three or four times each before moving on to the next exercise as you have to put the fences away every time, you don’t want to be building a huge amount every day you want to jump.

“A fantastic exercise is three poles down one side of the school, don’t measure them out, just put them down, roughly five or six strides apart.

“Ride down the poles five or six times, just maintaining the rhythm and then making sure you take the same amount of strides each time. Then repeat this the other way.

“Next try and add a stride in between the two poles. Again, repeat this five or six times on each rein. Then see if you can go through once, just taking the original amount of strides, and then go five to six times each way taking a stride out. This over time will really help you with distances and striding, but also being able to move the canter around.

“This exercise can also be used with small uprights instead of poles.

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“Another great exercise is building a parallel fence down each long side, and an upright fence on each of the diagonals so you can change the rein. You can then jump the fences on a figure of eight. If you start to feel unbalanced or a bit quick you can put a circle in and then continue with the exercise. I always like to start with the fences quite small and then when both you and the horse get more confident you can put them up.

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“Grids are always great exercises, but are more difficult on your own. If you could possibly build a grid, I would suggest three cross poles one stride apart from eachother and then two strides to a parallel.

You could warm up over a couple of fences and then jump through the grid a few times at each height. This grid is slightly easier on your own as you don’t need to raise the height of the first three cross poles, but you can put the parallel up when you feel confident. This then gives you the best chance of producing a powerful canter, where you horse bascules.

“When you have started to crack this at home, I suggest going to you local equestrian centre and either hiring the course or doing a clear round to start to gain confidence jumping the bigger heights but without the pressure of it being a competition. However I would also suggest trying to have someone on the ground while you jump, especially away from home just to be safe.

Visit Georgie’s website or follow her on Facebook

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Patrik Kittel claims euphoric Olympia grand prix freestyle victory

Sweden’s Patrik Kittel raised the bar in tonight’s Olympia grand prix freestyle, claiming victory on Delaunay OLD with 80.56%, putting them fractionally ahead of Britain’s Emile Faurie in second.

Patrik and the classy 11-year-old “Dude”, by Dr Doolittle, performed a faultless test with an exceptionally high degree of difficulty, helping them go one better than their second-place grand prix finish the previous night.

He felt amazing and tried his heart out in there. He just wants to please and do his best,” said Patrik, for whom it was an emotional win having returned to the show after 13 years.

Britain’s Emile Faurie was astounded to finish an agonisingly close second behind Patrik in what was his first ever grand prix freestyle on the De Niro breeding stallion Delatio (below).

This horse is extremely exciting for the future, demonstrating great scope and power, coupled with an impressively relaxed attitude. Their fault-free test left them just 0.2% behind Patrik with 80.4%.

“I played it safe in the grand prix last night as I still don’t know him very well,” said Emile, who has only had the ride on Elena’s Knyaginicheva’s 13-year-old for three months. “He’s just such a trier – a really awesome horse who just wants to do it all. The quality speaks for itself and his concentration is incredible. I think there’s a few more percent in there.”

Last night’s grand prix winner Edward Gal finished third with the talented nine-year-old Glock’s Zonik (Blue Hors Zack x Romanov) who just showed his inexperience with a couple of mistakes in the kur. The pair still posted 79.34% with some hugely expressive, powerful work.

“Today he was a little more tense than yesterday and wondering what was happening in there with the music so loud. But he tried his best and he’s only a nine-year-old so what can you expect,” said Edward.

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Fellow Dutch rider Madeleine Witte-Vrees slotted into fourth with Cennin, just edging ahead of Britain’s Lara Butler, debuting a new freestyle with Rubin Al Asad. They posted 76.98% with a fantastic performance to a Dire Straits soundtrack to finish fifth.

Hayley Watson-Greaves took sixth for Britain, riding a beautiful test on the Rubin Royal son Rubins Nite to score 76.68%.

Richard Davison filled seventh with Bubblingh, while Gareth Hughes and Don Carissimo finished 13th.

Don’t miss the full report in Horse & Hound magazine, out on 21 December 2017.

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Edward Gal claims Olympia grand prix victory with rising star

Edward Gal stormed to grand prix victory for The Netherlands on the first night of dressage at the Olympia Horse Show CDIW.

Edward claimed an early lead with 76.68% riding the hugely expressive Blue Hors Zack stallion Glock’s Zonik, who at nine years old was competing in just his third international grand prix.

It went some way to make up for the nightmare journey he had to London in adverse weather conditions, eventually driving all the way after a number of cancelled flights.

“It was worth the trip! He’s a great horse for the future and I was really happy with him tonight,” said Edward. “I just felt him coming back a little, so I sometimes rode perhaps more forward than usual.”

Having also endured a mammoth drive to reach Olympia, Sweden’s Patrik Kittel made a late bid for the win, with an excellent performance aboard the 11-year-old Dr Doolittle gelding Delaunay OLD, his partner at this year’s European Championships. They slotted into a well-deserved second with 75.1%, just ahead of Dutch rider Madeleine Witte-Vrees, who posted 73.72% with Cennin at her first Olympia.

The best Brit of the night was Emile Faurie, who produced a classy test aboard Delatio, a horse he has only ridden in two grands prix to date. The 13-year-old De Niro stallion is a real head-turner and he scored 72.86% with a mistake-free performance from first draw.

I was absolutely thrilled and I really enjoyed it. He just has so much ability and elasticity. I rode quite carefully tonight as I don’t know him well yet – it was a bit conservative,” said Emile, who will ride his first freestyle on this horse tomorrow. “I’ve only ridden it through once at home so it’ll be a proper freestyle!”

Denmark’s Anders Dahl finished fifth with Selten HW, just fractionally ahead of Britain’s Lara Butler riding the Bechtolsheimers’ Rubin Royal 15-year-old Rubin Al Asad, who posted 72.66% with a neat, rhythmic test, just marred by a small error in the two-time changes.

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Gareth Hughes slotted into seventh with Don Carissimo, with whom he travlled to Gothenburg this summer as part of the British team, before the Don Crusador gelding had to be withdrawn due to an injury sustained just before the start of the competition. They produced a fluent, attractive performance here for 72.64%.

Richard Davison finished eighth with a very hot Bubblingh, while Hayley Watson-Greaves was 13th on Rubins Nite, after an unfortunate costly mistake in the one-time changes.

Don’t miss the full report in the 21 December issue of H&H.


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Life ban for man who beat pony with wooden plank *warning: graphic video*

pony hit wooden plank

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A man who was caught on CCTV attacking a horse has been given a lifetime ban from keeping equines.

Connie Mullane, 24, of Old Gloucester Road, Winterbourne, admitted causing suffering to a pony by inflicting blunt force trauma and physical violence at a hearing at Bristol Magistrates’ Court, under section four of the Animal Welfare Act 2006.

The horrific footage shows Mullane pick up a piece of wood before striking a pony in a trap across the face with it.

The pony can be seen flinching in pain before rearing up and showing clear signs of distress after the attack, which took place on 20 May this year.

Mullane was sentenced on 8 December to 24 weeks in prison, suspended for two years, and given a lifetime disqualification order on keeping horses.

He was also ordered to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work and told to pay £500 costs, plus a £115 victim surcharge.

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Speaking following the sentencing, RSPCA inspector Miranda Albinson described it as an “absolutely horrific case of animal cruelty”.

“There is never an excuse to treat an animal in this way,” she said.

“CCTV footage clearly shows Connie Mullane hitting the poor horse in the face with a piece of wood in an incident which would have caused pain and left the horse terrified.”

Under section four of the Animal Welfare Act, a person has committed an offence if “an act of his, or a failure of his to act, causes an animal to suffer”.

For all the latest news analysis, competition reports, interviews, features and much more, don’t miss Horse & Hound magazine, on sale every Thursday

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Think you know your racing? Put your knowledge to the test with this quiz

Another superstar to emerge from the unstoppable Mullins yard, the gelding took the 2015 Champion Hurdle in emphatic style — beating his stablemates Arctic Fire into second and Hurricane Fly into third.

If you fancy yourself as a bit of a racing geek, now is the time to prove it. Take our racing quiz of 2017, and don’t forget to share your result with the world afterwards…

How did you get on? Share your results via social media and challenge your friends to see if they can do better.

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9 dream Christmas gift ideas for any hunting enthusiast

Stuck for inspiration for a Christmas gift to buy a hunting enthusiast? We provide you with something for all tastes, from those with realistic expectations of what might be wrapped under the Christmas tree, to those where dreams have taken over.

Hunting tie (stock)

There are only a number of times that you can re-fold an old hunting tie in order not to show the stubborn shadows of mud that have resisted every stain remover on sale. For those people a new hunting tie is always an option… Whether it be four fold, shaped, white, cream or coloured is another matter but here are a few options available.

Shires Untied Stock

A smart unisex white pique cotton stock from Shires.
Buy now: Shires Untied Stock from £10.93

Patterned Stock

A unisex untied cotton stock with a smart pin and a spot or square check design.
Buy now: Patterned Stock from £11.49

Hip flask tipples

A bottle of sloe gin or perhaps something slightly more peculiar such as raspberry vodka, is always welcomed by those who like to carry a hip flask on hunting days. A little bit of forward planning is required for this those that want to make a homemade version and it won’t get delivered by next day delivery, however here are a few options that can be delivered to your door.

Gordon’s Sloe Gin

A classic blend of the dryness of Gordon’s with a Cassis sweetness of sloe.
Buy now: Gordon’s Sloe Gin from £14

Absolut Raspberry Swedish Vodka

Absolut raspberry flavoured vodka has a rich and intense flavour from ripened raspberries. It’s made exclusively from natural ingredients and contains 40% alcohol by volume.
Buy now: Absolut Raspberry Swedish Vodka from £15

Rubber hunting boots

These are a must for anybody who has been caught out on gate-shutting duties, when their favourite leather boots with a few cracks in have just not kept out the mud when standing in the boggiest of gateways trying to do up frayed pieces of string. Available with or without leather tops for both ladies and gents, here are a few options.

HKM Women’s Riding Boots

These boots are anatomically designed with elasticated fabric inserts for a good fit. They also have spur supports, a synthetic sole and are waterproof.
Buy now: HKM Women’s Riding Boots from £28.12

Aigle Jumping Boots

These elegant boots have a leather top and synthetic outer and sole.
Buy now: Aigle Jumping Boots from £73.19

Saddle flask

Ideal for those whose hunt coat pockets are showing signs of wear and tear having suffered for years under the weight of a hip flask. Or perhaps you know somebody who owns a flask where the lid isn’t attached and has a tendency to land on the floor just as hounds start speaking. Some hip flasks simply don’t have sufficient capacity, so a saddle flask might be the only solution. Try one of these:

Horse Riding Steel Saddle Flask

A stainless steel flask measuring 11 inches tall and perfectly slots into the black leather case which can be attached easily to your saddle.
Buy now: Horse Riding Steel Saddle Flask from £99

Horse Riding Saddle Glass Flask

A tough 3.5mm thick borosilicate glass flask in a leather case to attach to your saddle.
Buy now: Horse Riding Saddle Glass Flask from £199


They may possibly be one of the most difficult items to select as presents, but nobody can have enough pairs of hunting breeches. This is particularly the case over the Christmas period when it’s possible to hunt virtually every day of the week and hanging washing on the line to dry isn’t necessarily an option. Here are few options:

Cudworth Of Norden Traditional Cut Moleskin Hunting Breeches

These traditional, high back with brace buttons breeches come in fawn or moleskin and have a Velcro and button calf fastening, plus a button fly.
Buy now: Cudworth Of Norden Traditional Moleskin Hunting Breeches from £145

Mark Todd Women’s Tauranga Full Seat Breeches

These full seat breeches are made up of a four way stretch fabric with a cotton, Micro-Fibre and spandex mixture content providing durable, comfy and breathable fabric for the rider.
Buy now: Mark Todd Women’s Tauranga Full Seat Breeches from £62.32

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With temperatures plummeting it’s best to be prepared with a thermal stock shirt or under breeches, here are some that are available to buy now.

Equetech Arctic Thermal Underbreeches

These unisex style pants are ideal to keep you warm in the cold, as they are micro fleece lined and seam free.
Buy now: Equetech Arctic Thermal Underbreeches from £16.75

Equetech Mens Cosy Thermal Stock Shirt

A traditionally-styled shirt with modern features, it is made from soft cotton for comfort and warmth. This shirt is ideal for hunting and a women’s version is available.
Buy now: Equetech Mens Cosy Thermal Stock Shirt from £49.99

Waterproof riding mac

For those days when the heavens open a smart, waterproof riding mac to put over a hunt coat could be just the answer. Ri-dry clothing make specific hunting ones but if you are looking for one at a fraction of the cost, this one will do the trick:

Ladies Champion Country Estate Sandringham Waterproof Riding Coat

This coat is 100% Waterproof with taped seams, a detachable hood, a rear riding vent and twin pockets. A men’s version is available.
Buy now: Ladies Champion Country Estate Sandringham Waterproof Riding Coat from £22.10

Hunting stationery

The email and text message have not yet completely replaced traditional thank you letters, especially when it comes to writing to thank meet hosts for their generosity or masters of visiting packs. Hunting-themed correspondence cards are perfect for such communication. Try these:

“Mission” Foxhound hunting greeting card

Made from an original painting by Debbie Harris and printed on high quality card with an envelope included.
Buy now: “Mission” Foxhound hunting greeting card from £2.99

“The Hunting Day” by Bryn Parry

Ten fox hunting-themed humorous notecards with envelopes that are printed in the UK and show iconic cartoons by Bryn Parry.
Buy now: The hunting day notecards from £4.99

Hunting Stock Pin

When you are hunting flat out it is easy to loose your tie pin between days, so it is always useful to have a few spare. Also, a tie pin makes a great Christmas present as the wearer can use it over and over again. Here are a couple to choose from:

Shires Plain Gold Stock Pin

A gold plated, plain stock pin that can be wrapped up to make a great stocking filler.
Buy now: Shires Plain Gold Stock Pin from £2.50

ShowQuest Fox Head Stock Pin

A gold-finished stock pin with a well crafted fox head that comes presented in a gift box
Buy now: ShowQuest Fox Head Stock Pin from £11.99

For all the latest hunting news and reports, don’t miss Horse & Hound magazine, out every Thursday

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25 horses killed in devastating California forest fires

Library image

A rampaging forest fire in southern California killed 25 racehorses and destroyed top trainers barns last Thursday (7 December).

Dubbed ‘Lilac’, the fire spread rapidly through northeast San Diego quickly engulfing eight barns at the San Luis Rey (SLR) training centre in Bonsall where nearly 500 racehorses are stabled.

Horses were turned loose by stable staff to enable them to escape the rapidly spreading fires fuelled by hurricane force winds of up to 60 mph.

Racing staff and trainers risked their lives to free the horses from their stalls and herd them into the safer training track.

One trainer, Cliff Sise, told the local TV network he saw about 10 horses die, including his own filly.

In a statement the California Horse Racing Board confirmed “it is believed that approximately 25 horses perished in the fire.”

Most of the remaining horses were taken 35 miles south to Del Mar racetrack when it was deemed safe for the horse lorries to drive in.

At 7.30pm on the evening of the fire there were still 30 horses being evacuated and an unknown number remained unaccounted for.

In addition to the equine fatalities, trainer Martine Bellocq was badly burned trying to save her horses and was taken to hospital for treatment.

Racing at the Los Almaitos race course was cancelled last Friday (9 December) out of respect for the horses and people involved.

Trainers affected by losses include Peter Miller who had two Breeder’s Cup winners this year. Miller’s Boy, the trainer’s runner-up in this year race, was initially reported missing but was later found.

Top trainers Richard Baltas and Doug O’Neil also had horses involved.

All of Baltas’ horses have been confirmed to survived without any injuries.

On O’Neil’s Facebook page he said “We ask that you pray for all of us affected by this horrific event. Southern California horsemen need it right now. Our thoughts and prayers go out to all.”

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BodyCage given green light after British Eventing u-turn

exo bodycage

Riders will be allowed to wear Exo BodyCages at British Eventing (BE) competitions after changes to body protector rules come into force next year.

From 1 January 2018, only body protectors carrying the BETA level three 2009 label, or any subsequent standard, will be allowed at BE competitions.

This raised concerns from riders who wear the Exo BodyCage that they would no longer be allowed to wear the anti-crush device in affiliated competitions because it is only approved to BETA 2000 level three standard (news, 6 October 2016). The company that designed the product ceased to exist in September 2008 with the patent donated to the Riding for the Disabled Association.

The safety device is designed to protect a rider’s chest by withstanding the weight of a horse in the event of a fall.

However a statement from BE today (7 December) confirmed the organisation will allow riders to continue to wear the product.

“Any wearer of the BodyCage should be encouraged to inspect their garment for wear and tear particularly to the foam panels and to the side fastenings,” said a statement from BE.

“Garments should not be worn if they have suffered any damage as this could seriously impair the protection offered.

“The competitor should also declare to the secretary that they will be wearing the Exo BodyCage so that officials can be alerted to this.”

Jennifer Galuszka credits the cage from saving her from serious injury in a horse fall in 2013.

She told H&H she has been in contact with BE over the matter and is “delighted” with the decision.

I would not wish to continue eventing without wearing the Exo and am delighted at BE’s response,” she added.

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Fellow eventer Olivia Heywood thanked BE for reconsidering.

“This is very positive news as it is the only body protector specifically designed and tested [without mechanical working parts] to provide crush protection in the event of a rotational fall,” she said.

“I would not want to ride cross country without it.”

For all the latest news analysis, competition reports, interviews, features and much more, don’t miss Horse & Hound magazine, on sale every Thursday

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