£100k grant for flexible body armour, and other things the horse world is talking about

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  • 1. New innovative body protector design

    A rider who credits a body protector for saving her life in a horse fall while showjumping, has secured a £100,000 funding for a “flexible, yet incredibly supportive” new design. Esmerelda Bright is the founder of Armaros, which has developed flexible “body armour” for riders and secured the six-figure backing from the British Design Fund. “When I started asking fellow riders about their experiences, I quickly found that most riders don’t wear one because they find them incredibly stiff and restrictive. That was a lightbulb moment for me,” she said.

    Read more about about the innovative new design

    2. Rachael Blackmore heads the runners for BBC World Sports Star of the Year Award

    The history-making 2021 Grand National winner is favourite to add the World Sports Star of the Year title to her CV at the 2021 BBC Sports Personality of the Year Awards. The Irish jockey’s monumental achievements in the saddle this year include six Cheltenham Festival victories, featuring the Champion Hurdle among the five Grade Ones she won, earning her the leading jockey title at the fixture. Voting closes at 1pm on Tuesday (14 December) and the winner will be revealed live on the BBC Sports Personality of the Year show on Sunday, 19 December. The shortlist for the BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2021 will also be announced on Tuesday (14 December)

    Rachael Blackmore is in the running for the World Sports Star accolade at the 2021 BBC Sports Personality of the Year Awards

    Rachael Blackmore, pictured after her Grand National win, is in the running for the World Sports Star accolade at the 2021 BBC Sports Personality of the Year Awards.

    Find out who else joins Rachael on the shortlist and how to vote

    3. Morbidly obese ponies

    The story of four morbidly obese ponies has highlighted an “often overlooked” welfare concern. World Horse Welfare took in the ponies, whose owner was struggling to look after them following the death of her partner, their main carer. The ponies underwent months of gradual weight loss, rehabilitation and learning basic handling and manners, and have a bright future ahead. The charity’s Belwade Farm centre manager Eileen Gillen said that in many ways, it is harder to deal with overweight than underweight horses. “It’s a real testament to the teams here that these ponies came round so quickly [to being handled] and accepted handling and learned manners, making it easier for us to help them, but also ensuring that they have a future,” she said.

    Learn about how the World Horse Welfare team helped turn these ponies’ lives around

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