What to know what the biggest stories were in the horse world this week? Here they are...
The biggest breaking news of the past week has been the fact that Nick Skelton has finally decided to hang up his boots at the age of 59. The Olympic showjumping champion always said that when Big Star retired, so would he, and so it proved to be. The legendary pair will have an official send off at Royal Windsor Horse Show on 14 May and we predict there won’t be a dry eye in the house.
The point-to-pointing world has been rocked by the news that 57-year-old James McNeile died after he sustained a head injury in a fall while competing at Larkhill on Saturday 1 April. He was attended to immediately by on-site medics, including consultants in emergency medicine, intensive care and anaesthetics, but died later in hospital. A statement on behalf of his family said: “James died competing in a sport he loved, and around which he had built his life and some wonderful friendships.”
The famous Randox Health Grand National saw a Scottish trainer lift the title for only the second time in the race’s long history when One For Arthur was first past the post for trainer Lucinda Russell. The eight-year-gelding — who was featured in H&H’s Grand National preview (6 April) — was given a confident ride by Derek Fox to beat Cause Of Causes into second. Lucinda Russell became only the fourth female trainer to win the world’s most famous steeplechase.
Carl Hester finished third in the FEI World Cup dressage final in Omaha, Nebraska, on 1 April with his Olympic ride Nip Tuck. World number one, Isabell Werth of Germany, took the title ahead of the United States’ star Laura Graves. Carl said: “Winning isn’t in fact the most important thing. The horse doing his best for you in a situation like this is what counts.”
Racehorse trainer Lawney Hill took to social media to raise awareness of the dangers posed by sycamore seeds and seedlings after losing a talented eight-year-old racehorse Take A Bow to atypical myopathy.
“This was a fit and healthy, big, strong horse. I was at a loss,” Lawney told H&H. “This is a freak accident and I want to highlight it and people to know about the condition.
Triple Rio gold medallist Sophie Christiansen has put herself out of contention for this year’s European Championships (22-27 August) in Gothenburg, Sweden, while she looks for a new horse and sponsor. Sophie is planning to relocate to live with her boyfriend. She is looking for a horse that has potential to become a winner at international championships. The horse needs to be bomb-proof, have an excellent walk, preferably be aged 8-12 years and around 16.2hh.
The hunting community has welcomed the arrival of new legislation that means Police will now find it easier to unmask violent hunt saboteurs. The Policing and Crime Act 2017 was given royal assent to become law on 31 January and came into force on 3 April. The Act will make it simpler for officers to require violent protestors to remove facial coverings. It enables police officers to require masked protestors to remove their disguises without first needing written permission from a senior officer. This makes the law simpler and less bureaucratic to use.
Keep up to date with the latest news as it breaks on HorseandHound.co.uk throughout the day, every day. For further news insight and analysis, pick up a copy of Horse & Hound magazine, on sale every Thursday.