Overweight riders, Rio disqualifications — and more of 2016’s most-read news stories

  • 2016 was a year full of incredible highs and sadly, some terrible lows too. Here are the most-read news stories on Horseandhound.co.uk from the past 12 months

    1. Overweight riders asked to dismount at show

    Read by +185,500 website visitors


    Eight people were asked to dismount at the Great Yorkshire Show (12-14 July) as they were deemed to be too heavy for their rides.

    2. Rio showjumping: riders disqualified for excessive use of whip and spurs

    Read by +140,000 website visitors

    Nicola Philippaerts BEL riding Zilverstart

    Nicola Philippaerts BEL riding Zilverstart

    Two riders were disqualified in the first round of showjumping at the Rio Olympics. One was for overuse of the whip and the other for using his spurs excessively. Belgian individual competitor Nicola Philippaerts was riding Zilverstar T — a 12-year-old KWPN stallion by Berlin. The horse refused twice at 11b, the second part of the difficult double on the final line of fences. Nicola, 23, was then disqualified by the ground jury for excessive use of his spurs. The Netherlands’ Jur Vrieling was riding Zirocco Blue and had two refusals, one at 4b — the second part of the treble — and one at 11a. He and the 12-year-old stallion by Mr Blue were disqualified after the ground jury deemed the rider to have used his whip excessively.

    3. British groom suffers head injury during Rio dressage medal ceremony

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    Robbie Sanderson injured during team dressage medal ceremony at the Rio Olympics

    Robbie Sanderson was injured during the team dressage medal ceremony at the Rio Olympics

    Robbie Sanderson, a British groom working for the German team at the Rio Olympics was injured in the team medal ceremony. He was leading Sönke Rothenerger’s nine-year-old Cosmo 59, who was part of the German gold medal winning team, when the horse reared up and struck out, catching him on the head and knocking him to the ground.

    4. Horror fall at Paralympic dressage in Rio

    Read by +117,000 website visitors

    Ashley Gowanlock (CAN) & Di Scansano - Individual Championship Test Grade Ib – Rio 2016 Paralympic Games – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – 14 September 2016

    There was panic at the equestrian stadium in Rio when Canadian rider Ashley Gowanlock suffered a dramatic fall at the end of her individual championship test. Ashley was taken to hospital as a precaution, but suffered no serious injuries, just bruising and a slightly sprained ankle.

    5. Liverpool International winner disqualified amid a storm of controversy: ‘I’m heartbroken and feel I’ve been unfairly punished’

    Read by +106,000 website visitors


    Young showjumper Richard Howley (pictured) was stripped of his win in the under-25 class on Clane K at the Equestrian.com Liverpool International horse show, disqualified from the remainder of the competition and handed an FEI yellow card after walking his horse in-hand in a non-designated area on 2 January.

    6. Valegro’s retirement date confirmed: and his possible new rider

    Read by +103,000 website visitors

    Charlotte Dujardin GBR winner of the gold medal during the Grand Prix Freestyle for the individual Dressage competition at the Olympic Equestrian Centre in Deodoro near Rio, Brazil on 15th August 2016 kisses kiss valegro

    The moment Carl Hester revealed that Valegro would not compete again and that he would be retired at Olympia Horse Show.

    7. Injured British groom update: ‘I could hear Charlotte Dujardin shouting. ‘He needs an ambulance!”

    Read by +102,000 website visitors

    Groom Robbie Sanderson being helped from the team dressage medal ceremony

    The British groom working for the German team at the Olympics in Rio who was injured in the team dressage prize-giving assured Horse & Hound that he is “really fine”. Robbie Sanderson was taken to hospital immediately after the incident, but was discharged within an hour and a half. “I’m phenomenally well,” said Robbie. “It really looked a lot worse than it was. It was just the wrong place at the wrong time and a shame it had to happen in front of everyone.”

    8. Gothenburg warm-up video causes heated debate online

    Read by +75,000 website visitors

    Gothenburg Video4

    A video of Penelope Leprevost appearing to use excessive force while warming up for a class in Gothenburg, where the Longines FEI World Cup Jumping final took place, sparked heated debate online.

    9. Uthopia to be sold at auction without reserve

    Read by +77,000 website visitors

    Carl Hester and Uthopia

    The announcement that the Olympic team gold medal winning horse Uthopia was to be sold at public auction on 27 May. There was no reserve price set.

    10. Walk the Rio Olympics cross-country course: pictures of every fence

    Read by +68,000 website visitors

    Fence 4 on the Rio Olympics cross-country

    If you wanted to walk the Rio Olympics cross-country course but your bank account didn’t quite allow for the airfare to Brazil, our fence-by-fence pictures were the next best thing to taking a stroll around the Deodoro venue yourself.

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