Not to be defeated by a Covid-19 lockdown, the equestrian industry is improvising with entertainment, education and even the occasional competition. 

Super-groom shares his secrets

Alan Davies

The world’s favourite groom hosts a new three-part series from Horse & Country. Alan Davies Masterclass with NAF starts tomorrow (17 April). 

Alan (pictured left) has groomed for Carl Hester and Charlotte Dujardin for many years. Here he explains how he cares for and feeds top horses such as Valegro and Utopia at home and away at competitions.

The series is among many new programmes from Horse & Country. “If anything, our services are now more in demand than ever,” says chairman and CEO, Heather Killen.

Whiter than white…

John Whitaker International asked Facebook followers to send their horsey questions and requests for riding tips to the great man himself. 

Inevitably, the invitation produced literally hundreds of queries, problems – and heaps of fan mail. 

ETN’s favourite question to John Whitaker was this one. “When you used to ride Milton [the legendary grey with whom John won so many medals and championships], how did you keep him so clean?”

Where to get your showjumping fix

Rider turned sports pundit Will Fletcher (pictured above) and commentator Sam Gerrard May are co-hosting a podcast. 

The Full Course Showjumping Podcast is unafraid to cover controversial aspects of the sport. There are also fascinating behind-the-scenes glimpses of life on the show circuit and what riders are getting up to in lockdown. 

Guests so far include international riders Joe Stockdale, James Wilson and Harriet Nuttall. And in this week’s edition there’s a moving tribute to the course-designer Jon Doney who died recently.  

The Full Course Showjumping Podcast can be found on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and other main podcast providers; or search online.  

Eventing as never seen before

The NAF 5* Virtual Eventing competition – with an all-star start-list including William Fox-Pitt, Boyd Martin, Gemma Tattersall and Laura Collett – takes place online on 6 – 10 May. 

The perfect antidote to what would have been the long Badminton weekend, it’s all about raising funds for the NHS.

A trot up will be followed by each rider performing a ‘real’, pre-recorded ridden dressage test, followed by a series of unmounted cross-country and jumping challenges – plus a few surprises.

A virtual trade stand village will offer consumer discounts and great deals, many vendors donating a percentage of sales to the NHS. 

Picture this

Endurance GB is inviting members to have a go in a photographic competition with the theme ‘what endurance means to me.’ 

Entries close on 28 April with the winners being awarded tokens to spend with their governing body after the lockdown. 

It’s only a hobby!

Dressage Anywhere is running tests from novice to grand prix, Pony Club to RDA, to be ridden on any surface at home – on a hobby horse. 

£8 of every £10 entry fee goes to the NHS Charities Urgent Appeal. 

Top judges Stephen Clarke and Jennie Loriston-Clarke are lending their support with international rider Alice Oppenheimer (pictured) giving helpful hints to the children who enter. 

Vet restrictions relaxed, very slightly…

Vets can now risk assess their own treatment and visit plans, rather than abiding by a blanket ‘emergency only’ plan. 

The move has made it possible to undertake annual vaccinations and, crucially at this time of year, reproductive/stud work. 

Stressing it’s far from a case of ‘business as usual’, The British Equine Veterinary Association (BEVA) has reminded vets and clients that Government guidelines on social distancing and hygiene must be met during visits.  

BEVA has produced a series of videos for horse owners to help them obtain the key information they may need to convey to their vet during a telephone consultation. The advice includes how to check vital signs and spotting early warning signs. The videos can be found here: