Inaugural equestrian raceday at Newbury a success

  • Racing successfully united with other equestrian disciplines at Newbury’s inaugural Celebration of the Horse raceday last weekend.

    The raceday, on Saturday 26 March, hosted a bumper crowd of 9,000 racegoers — including 400 British Equestrian Federation (BEF) members who went racing for free.

    “The equestrian community received a wonderfully warm welcome and it was great to see so many people out in support of the joint venture,” said Claire Shand from the BEF.

    “Demos and interactive trade stands showcased the breadth of horse sport in Britain which complimented a fantastic day of racing. There was a really positive buzz, which was extremely heartening for all involved.”

    The day also raised funds for the Riding for the Disabled Association — boosted by a charity bet by chef d’equipe of the British eventing team Yogi Breisner, which netted £1,115 for the charity when the Nicky Henderson-trained Line Freedom won EBF mares’ “National Hunt” novices finale.

    “Newbury Racecourse and the British Equestrian Federation did a great job today of bringing together the different equestrian sports and it has been wonderful to see everyone working together,” said Yogi.

    The day was planned by a group of students from the Royal Agricultural College, Cirencester and Hartpury and Sparsholt Colleges.

    Representatives from the disciplines of dressage, showjumping, eventing, polocrosse, endurance and carriage driving attended, as well as those from The Pony Club and the British Racing School.

    As well as seven races there was a ridden parade in the paddock before racing. There was also a training demo by Yogi Breisner and eventer Lauren Shannon and her horse Zero Flight. And dressage rider Matt Hicks and grand prix horse Ferro’s Indulgence along with Kim Seaby and Rubin-Esque showed off some dressage to music.

    Endurance World Class potential squad member Rachael Claridge and her dellovely homebred part-Arab gelding, Prince Meliodas, represented Endurance GB in the parade.

    EGB’s Nikki Routledge said: “We gave out around 200 information packs and hope this day will prove very beneficial in promoting endurance to more riders.”

    Stephen Higgins, joint managing director of Newbury racecourse added: “It was a wonderful demonstration of the versatility of the horse and we look forward to supporting Team GB when they fly the British flag at this year’s European Championships and through to London 2012.

    “With the obvious synergies between horseracing and the equestrian disciplines it is great to have an opportunity to show our support”.

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