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Catching up with the bursary winners


In 2018 four lucky Horse&Rider readers won a 12-month training bursary from Dengie. As part of their prize, they won lessons with Dengie ambassadors, Hannah Esberger-Hancock and Lucy Jackson. Their horses were also given a nutritional consultation with Dengie’s Performance Horse Nutritionist, Claire Akers. We recently caught up with the lucky winners to find out what they had been up to since we saw them last.

Rebecca Finn and Arty

I have been fortunate enough to have worked, managed and trained on large commercial yards where I have gained a diverse range of skills and experiences with both horses and humans. An opportunity recently arose where my husband and I could afford to live in a small cottage with its own private equestrian facilities, so we took the plunge and I managed to realise a childhood dream. My horses, Arty and Ben, and an old friends pony, Frodo, are very settled and I don’t think I will tire of being able to see the stables from my bedroom window! With the move and the various obligations that entails, competing has taken a back seat for the first half of this year.

Ben is 24-years-old so is mostly just hero worshiped nowadays. I have used the time with Arty to improve his training and fitness. Standing at 17.2hh with a definite “joie de vivre” I feel this has been time used wisely. Over winter, following the advice from the helpful Dengie nutrition team, I introduced Performance+ Balancer into the horses diet complementing their staple Alfa-A Molasses Free and Grass Pellets. Ben maintained a youthful glow right through to spring and Arty, who can eat like, well, a horse(!) kept his condition and his sanity with a high-quality fibre based diet.

I was reminded recently of how precarious our sport can be. Arty and I were enjoying a canter along a familiar track in the morning sun when the ground gave way to a badger set causing us both to fall. I am very thankful that Arty was unharmed, a loose shoe and a muddy saddle is very acceptable. I sustained a fractured hand, concussion and a fat lip. Whilst I am mostly recovered I can still feel some effects of concussion four weeks later. It has reminded me of the importance of correct equipment. Horse riding is outrageous enough without taking unnecessary risks, even if it is very hot and your hair is fabulous!

I have managed to get out to some showjumping shows and we had a great weekend at the David Broome Event Centre for the Welsh Masters. I plan to spend the summer going showjumping to gain double clears for 2020 and intend to venture back into eventing. I have teaching planned including Pony Club camps which are always great fun. I am also entering the final year of my degree at Moreton Morrell in Equine Therapy and Rehabilitation so attention will be directed towards reading around my dissertation.

I look forward to what the rest of the year has in store and hope to continue with happy horses and developing myself so I can aid their performance.

Eileen Beach and Enzo

I recently took Enzo to the British Showjumping’s Bexhill Horse Show where he went double clear in both his classes coming 4th and 5th –  qualifying for the second rounds! Qualified riders compete in the National Amateur Second rounds with the top 12 qualifying directly for the Championships and securing a ticket to the final at Aintree Equestrian Centre at the end of the year. I also recently completed a 100 mile ride over the whole of the south downs way from Winchester to Eastbourne with my cousin (Tara Millen) with our two amazing horses Pride my Cob x ID and Rupert my cousin’s New Forest x pony. We had the most incredible time we stayed at a B&B called Shotgun Cottage the first night with the horses in a paddock, the next night was Gumber Bothy were we stayed in cabins and the horses in a big barn, then the final night was Claylands Barn were we camped and the horses stayed in a paddock. Mum picked us up on the last night at Eastbourne, the horses loved it! We are now planning on doing another long distance ride in the Autumn which we will do for charity.

I also took Mo, my 6-year-old,  to Heathfield Horse Show, where she came first. Enzo is entered for the 1m05 and newcomers at the South of England show – wish us luck!

Tessa Ward and Finley

Finley is nearing the end of 2 months box rest following an injury and will be moving into a small paddock as the next stage in his rehab. We don’t really know what the long term prognosis is yet until we (hopefully) start working him again. He may well need to take a step down from some activities. As he isn’t in work at the moment we’ve swapped his ration from Alfa-A Molasses Free to Alfa-A Lite plus balancer and soaked hay. He’s in good spirits and managed to stay at a good weight thanks to his Dengie diet!

Click here to watch the video of the bursary winners lessons with Lucy and Hannah.