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January 2010

Issue 1

Road Safety Tips

Your Horse: Fit Or Fat? WIN A Years Worth Of Riding Lessons

• Take a look over the thrills and spills of 2009 •

Open to every young and aspiring print, online and radio journalist aged 17–35. Deadline 28 February 2010. For more details and information on how to participate visit:

European Commission

In this issue... On The Cover:

Editor’s Note

With the winter nights drawing out and the New Year spirit in full swing, our focus turns to burning off our horses excess weight (along with ours) due to extra days of lazyness all thanks to us riders. Our ‘Is your horse fat?’ article will inspire you to sensibly bring out the best condition in your horse. Very important as the showing season isn’t far away. We also take a look at the South Pembrokeshire Hunt from past to present along with sharing the best thrills and spills of 2009. Enjoy!

Simon Jones: Huntsman of the South Pembrokeshire Foxhounds Photographed by Adam Marsh. See feature on page 12


Jemma Owen, Editor

• Page Guide • 4 Equestrian news


Take a look at the latest local and national news stories.

Your Pics!

• 7 Is your horse too fat? Follow our advice to find out • 8 Furzehill Farm Introducing a Pembrokeshire couple who dedicate their lives to horses. • 11 Thrills and Spills 2009 We have selected a few of the best and worst moments. Have a look. Have a giggle! • 12 Feature: Heading South A look at the history and current ongoings of the South Pembrokeshire Hunt. • 14 Just Ask A few of your questions answered


Horse & County


January 2010


Riding Road Safety Awards

Benji: One of the rescued horses.

Picture:Jim Hughes

The Pembrokeshire County Council and The British Horse Society (BHS) are to provide training and awards for children and adult horse riders on how to ride safely on busy roads, starting from this spring. The awards consist of six lessons of Highway Code, field work and road training. To find out more email:

Heavy snow forces hunt cancellations

Picture: Google South Pembs Hunt foxhounds Hunt staff and supporters have been left frustrated due to the snowy weather and icy conditions. “We feel terrible that we are letting down valuable supporters recently, but the decision not to hunt is a sensible one. Safety is obviously our top priority.” Said South Pembrokeshire Hunt Master Hugh Harrison Allen. “We hope to back to our usual schedule by next week depending upon the weather”. Said Huntsman Simon Jones.

Bowen open Day raises £15,000

After 3 months of collecting funds from Pembrokeshire racehorse trainer Peter Bowen’s, second annual Open day which was once again a huge success raising over £15,000 for the nominated charities, despite terrible summer weather.

Local schoolgirl rescues horses A

Pembroke sixth form student was gratefully thanked last week due to her quick thinking attitude.

Local teenager Sara Owen was just returning to her Carew home after walking her dogs when she came across strange noises. “I could hear a lot of of splashing and what sounded like groaning from over the hedge.” Said the 18 year old.

“both horses were anxious” Whilst climbing over the gate Miss Owen spotted the two black horses which were

standing in the deep ditch behind the hedgerow. “I slowly wandered upto them as I didn’t want to startle them, as I got closer I could see that they were both wearing scruffy headcollors”. Said Sara. After noticing that the horses’ headcollors were tangled around some barbed wire on a fence post in the hedge she carefully unclipped them. “I could tell that both horses were anxious and nervous so I wanted to try and release them as quickly and safely as possible” She said. Both animals, known as soot and Benji, suprisingly galloped off unharmed. “I check on all my horses everyday, so it was a shock when Sara came to the door to explain”

Said Owner Mr Hughes.

“a caring girl” He went on to say, “Both my wife and I would like to once again thank Sara for not only helping the ponies, but also coming to warn us. We have known Sara since she was a baby and she has always been a caring girl”.

“glad to gave been of any help” “We called the vet to just check over the geldings as they are both young, new and fairly nervous. He was happy that both youngsters were in perfect condition.” Miss Owen said that she was “glad to have been of help”.

Horse & County


Hoofing Brilliant

A local apprentice farrier is hoping to be short listed for a Pembrokeshire Young Apprentice Award 2010. Justin Lomas of Lower Welston Farm, Milton, Pembrokeshire has been working towards his farrier and blacksmith qualifications for the past two years taking instruction from the well known and trusted Bridgend farrier hhffhh ffjdhjh. Hoping to qualify and return to Pembrokeshire to start his own business next year, the 18 year old has his fingers well and truly crossed that he will be shortlisted for the highly regarded award. “This award would make a big difference to my future as it would hopefully give me a good head start into boosting up my own business within the next year or two.”

He said.

Pro- hunting supporters back slogan Riders and equine owners can once again show their support towards the essential repeal of the Hunting Act with a new slogan stencil from the Countryside Alliance. Available to the public is a stencil which reads “Hunting for Repeal”. It can be used under a careful spray of nontoxic hair colourant and should spray the message onto your horse’s hind quarters. “I expect there will be many horses appearing in the hunting field publicising this message.” Said Chloe Finch, Countryside Alliance. “I think it’s a great way of showing your support.” Said Jenny Allen, a proud supporter of The South Pembrokeshire Hunt Foxhounds.


January 2010


Free vote called to ban stag hunting B

ackbenchers within the Irish parliament are calling for a free vote on a bill which could see a ban made on stag hunting in the Republic. The government is resisting the vote, which threatens the passage of the bill when it comes before parliament later this year. Fianna Fail TDs (Irish MPs) oppose the ban that the Green Party insists on as the price of its continued membership of the coalition government. Former trade minister John McGuinness said, “This issue requires an open debate and a free vote.” Mattie McGrath, whose seat is in Tipperary, asked: “Hunting is part of our heritage so why should we get rid of it to satisfy the Greens?” The hunt that would be

affected by a ban if it were to happen is The Ward Union. They too have stepped up they’re lobbying of government action against a ban as they are determined not to give up their livelihoods without a fight “We still hope to persuade them to think again,” said secretary Ronan Griffin, and the Hunt Association of Ireland has set up a committee to plan campaign strategy. Since the proposal of the ban arose many people in protest have been strongly suggesting ways in which to drum up essential support for the hunt. One of which was a mounted protest to the Irish parliament

by every hunt, Pony Club, show jumper and point-topoint rider in the country. The main opposition party, Fine Gael is pledging to fight the legislation as much as possible as they think a free vote could put the bill in jeopardy. Below: Hounds doing what comes natural. Photogarpah by Sharon Nicholas.

B o t t o m s The ‘Big Freeze’ up Leona The 2007, X Factor winner Leona Lewis was taken to hospital last week after falling off a horse whilst riding in Los Angeles. After being taken to A&E with suspected torn ligaments after a horse bolted with her last Wednesday, the singer/ songwriter left the hospital on crutches. She has reportedly not been put off by the accident. Friends say It was pretty bad shock as she had quite a tumble…but no doubt she will be back on her horse soon.

Weeks of solid ground due to snow and ice has put a stop to almost all horse related sports in the UK. Many owners, breeders and riders are struggling to look after their horses as the ground is far to hard to turn any horse out. A few people such as, Welsh cob breeder Robert Parcell of Carew, South Wales are just about managing as they have extra facilities. “Fortunately, we have an all-weather arena and a horse-walker so exercising the horses hasn’t been too much of a dilemma, which really helps as it is too hard to turn any of the horses out.” Said Mr Parcell. For many others on the otherhand it is a complete nightmare . It is estimated that many riding schools around the country could have lost up to around £10,000 due to this ‘big freeze’. Many hunts are greatly concerned as they are losing thousand of pounds each week, resulting in hardship in raising money to feed and vet the hounds and horses along with paying the staff wages. South Pembrokeshire Hunt Joint Master, Dianne Jones said, “It’s pretty dismal.”


Horse & County

Rider’s are being urged to be safer on the roads

Picture:Rex Features

The facts and figures are concerning the Britsh Police force as every day, there are up to eight horse-related accidents on the roads of Great Britain. Over five horse riders are killed due to accidents each year, most involving vehicles and reckless drivers. The British Horse Society (BHS) statistics show that Although no riders were killed last year, 45 were severely injured, 35 horses and ponies were injured while 16 horses died or were destroyed. The majority of horse involved accidents take place on quiet lanes and minor roads within secluded rural areas.

Loose horses on the road can cause disasters. “A horse can be killed or a vehicle written off and the accident can go unreported. It is vital that any equestrian road-related accident you become aware of is reported direct to the BHS even if you do not have the full information. It is better to hear several times of a single incident, than not to hear at all,” says a BHS spokesman. Riders should always be alert and should concentrate on the road around them. They should avoid chatting to others and should not use a mobile phone while riding unless in the case of an emergency. Wearing fluorescent and bright items of clothing when riding not just on yourself,but on your horse as well can give drivers a huge three seconds extra ‘reaction time’ . Simple everyday politeness is another

Picture: Google Images


January 2010

Many riders are still unaware of the importance that wearing hi-viz wear makes. way of helping towards horse and vehicle driver understanding. By acknowledging drivers who slow down or stop, with at least a smile, a wave or a nod. To help those who remain unsure of what they should do to be more safe when riding on the roads the BHS have designed a poster to stress the value of riding safely on the roads. In order to help people, the BHS has made these posters available to collect at local saddlers, feed merchants, riding schools and livery yards. To help you stay safe on the roads read our list of the major Do’s and Don’t s.

they could save you and your horse’ life. Do: Ensure you can be easily seen by drivers at all times. Wear bright and reflective clothing and horse accessories. Don’t: Ride on the road in foggy conditions or after dark. Do: Ride clear & accurate road signals. Don’t: Attempt to ride a novicehorse on the road without a steady horse as well educated essential company. Do: Wear protective headgear to the BHS approved standards.

Pony duo Jedward are to be auctioned off by a north Pembrokeshire charity. The Veteran Horse Society is offering Jedward (nicknamed after the X factor Irish twins John and Edward) up for adoption. They are thought to be the oldest living identical brothers in the horse world at the ripe old age of 27.

certificate and photograph, and a six monthly update on what they are getting up to. All money raised will go towards caring for veteran horses at the centre.

Animal Magic “the boys have a very similar attitude”

Both of the 12.2hh ponies Jedward, previously known as Bill and Ben, are very popular amongst the x factor fans that visit the St Dogmaels-based charity. “I was gutted when Jedward were voted out. The boys have a very similar attitude to the twins, they are very cheeky.” Said Julianne Aston, who runs the charity. The centre is attempting to get in contact with both John and Edward in the hope that they will come visit their biggest fans yet. Thinking of giving these cheeky chappies a good home? Anyone who adopts Jedward will receive a

Picture: Priscilla Parcell Above: Do something charitable this new year by adopting ‘Jedward’ duo.


January 2010

Picture: Rex Features

Horse & County


Whether your horse is up to it’s knees in grass or in a stable surrounded by haylage, it is more than likely to be overweight.

Is your horse too By Jemma Owen


t is a well known fact amongst most people with even a limited amount of equine knowledge that obesity problems such as the most well known, Laminitus is a serious problem in the United Kingdom. However, what many people don’t know is that by thinking your being kind to your horse or pony by giving them extra treats and a day off here and there, could infact be slowly killing them. By simply standing back and following our steps you could actually save a pile in vet’s fees along with your horse’s life .


Begin by feeling all the way along the neck. look out for a covering of fat. Does the neck blend smoothly into the body?


Move onto the withers. Feeling firmly, are they easily noticeable? Or is the whole wither area filled with fat.


Does the shoulder effortlessly flow into the main body, or is their fat stored








This should be the easiest area of your horse to see any major fat stores. Push up, along and over each rib. Are the ribs visible? you should be able to feel them easily within reason.


This area of the horse is found just behind the saddle. If there is an wrinkled gathering it is a sure sign of excess fat. this area should be fairly level.

Tail head

The last, but equally important area of your horse is the tail head most people find it easier to feel and see this area by standing behind the horse. The hip bones should be prominant although not painfully sticking out prominent. If not this once again is a sign of unnecessary fat.

Fibre importance

After surveying your horse or pony’s overall condition you should be able to make a fairly accurate decision of whether or not there is excess fat or indeed inadequate amounts of fat. If you are concerned about your horses

condition, it may be wise to contact a qualified nutritionist to help you establish a diet plan that better suits your horses needs. High overall condition starts with the necessary feeding regime, this will vary for all horses and ponies mainly depending on workload and type. However, there is one thing that is the same throughout every diet regime and that means a diet high in fibre. We commonly think of fibre as grass, hay and haylage that make up the forage portion of our horses diets, but fibre is contained to a greater or lesser extent in many feeding stuffs. Fibre comes in long form as grass, hay and haylage, in chopped forms as with chaffs, and thirdly in ground form as cubes and mixes

Did you know?....

After water, fibre is one of the most important nutrient for any horse. All horses have a psychological need to chew for 60% of the time as a form of activity. This fact shows that as an owner it is greatly important to ensure that fibre should make up at least 45% of the equine diet as horses are natural fibre digesters.


Horse & County

January 2010

Furzehill Farm: “Our way of life” By Jemma Owen


ver since the recession became the top concern throughout Britain, it has witnessed the severe sinking of many businesses, the collapse of many families and indeed Britain itself has become a country full of every man for himself tactics. Surely then it would seem surprising to most that a family run horse business, located over 10 miles from the nearest town and surrounded by acres of land is booming.

Recession Val Rees and Paul Higginson happily ran their home, Furzehill Farm as a successful livery yard until the recession hit them hard as it did to many others. At this point they admit it was either time move on or time to change plans. Together they decided to plough on, hiring a riding instructor to carry out riding lessons, investing in a horsewalker and flood lights to light up the sandschool to get the most possible use from it, hiring out hunting horses for the day and they also began breeding horses and poinies to break in and sell on. This made a steady improvement, but far from the funds they were in need of so both Val and Paul decided to set up their home as a B&B. Already well known throughout Britain for breeding and selling good horses as well as overseas, Val and Paul are far from the stereotypical retired couple relaxing in the countryside. Up sharply at 6 am every morning of the year the pair pile into the everyday chores and chaos that is thrown in their direction. When asked about the idea of retirement Val simply replied, “I’ll retire when my body tells me it’s time”.










The Farm Set within it’s own 140 acres of pasture and woodland which is under the care of the Countryside Scheme. Furzehill Farm has to be one of the most picturesque spots in Pembrokeshire. The farm is an ideal base from which to go and explore the historic towns of Pembroke, Narberth, Tenby and Saundersfoot. The Pembrokeshire coastline is equally as attractive as it’s surrounding wild landscapes including the Preseli mountains. The coastal path is a popular and scenic walk. Within walking distance of quaint places such as

Cresswell Quay and a short drive to over 5 beaches and tourist attractions such as well known themepark Oakwood, It’s not at all suprising that the couples’ home is always bursting with locals and newcomers equally.

The Business The business comprises altogether of a “comfortable” 4* farm-house bed and breakfast, riding weekends, horse riding lessons with a private instructor, racing yard, hunting hirelings, livery and horse and pony training classes.

Furzehill farm offers a large variety of equastrian services open to whomever needs them. with an everchanging amount of horses and ponies for sale and for loan Val herself has been nicknamed “the horsey matchmaker” by joking locals. When asked about this she laughed loudly and said, “all of our locals are very naughty, there is always joking and pulling of the legs going on”. Paul and I are often thought of as being like two peas in a pod. I think it’s quite sweet really”. This year in particular has been very tough on the couple as the recession really has pushed them to the limit. Paul frequently made his thoughts clear that “we have to beat this dire recession”.

“We have to beat this dire recession”


January 2010

Pictures above courtesy of Val Rees

Picture: Jemma Owen

Horse & County

Above: Val Rees and Paul Higginson enjoying a good day’s hunting.

Out now...

Horse & County


January 2010

Your Thrills And Spills Of 2009

12 January 2010

Horse & County

Follow the leader: Hunt members enjoy a sunny winter morning across country.

Heading South

A look at the South Pembr okeshir e Hunt


ituated within the western region of South Wales, The South Pembrokeshire Hunt dates back to the 18th century. For over two hundred years Cresselly has been the home of prize winning hounds kennelled at the Allen family estate.

History Consisting mainly of quaint grassland pastures and areas of woodland, the County of Pembrokeshire boasts beautiful coastlines and idyllic landscapes. These picturesque scenes can be perfectly absorbed by all within a days hunting. ‘Little England Beyond Wales’ Many centuries ago Pembrokeshire was colonised by the Normans and Flemings

at the cost of the native Welsh. This led the area to become known as ‘Little England beyond Wales’. It continues to be a dominantly English speaking area even to this day. The County has been English in language and culture for many centuries despite its vast remoteness from the English border. A renowned squire of Cresselly, Sir Henry Seymour Allen who today is still famous for his eccentricity of climbing to bed on a rope, claiming it kept him supple. At this time the Hunt was known as Mr. Seymour Allen’s Hounds and remained a private pack until 1929, at which point saw the expansion and alteration to a subscription pack since recognized as the South Pembrokeshire Hunt. In 1942 Miss Auriol Allen of Cresselly, took over the mastership of the South Pembrokeshire Hunt and continued to ride to the hounds for 46 seasons until 1988 in which time she became the most senior Lady Master of Foxhounds in Great Britain. She was joined in mastership twice throughout her reign each time with a husband. Firstly saw the partnership with Major

David Harrison-Allen in 1939 who continued until 1960. Later,followed her second husband Captain Brian Evans 1965-1978. In 1988 Auriol Allen became the sole President of the Hunt and continued to do so until her death in 1992. 1988 saw the mastership passed onto Simon Hart (now Chief Executive of the Countryside Alliance) took over the role of the hunt’s mastership alongside Mr. Hugh HarrisonAllen, predecessor of Sir Henry Seymour Allen. Still the keen supporter he always was, Mr Hart continuously arranges the hunt’s meetings, parliament issue discussions and the drumming up of support that is always appreciated.

Recent Partnership After Mr Hart’s change of profession, his steps were filled by James Andrews, past Joint

13 January 2010

Horse & County

Picture: Val Rees

Picture: Rex Features

Master of the Hunt Hugh Harrison-Allen Master and Huntsman of the Old Berkshire. Mr Andrews joined Hugh Harrison-Allen as Joint Master and Huntsman in 1998-99. During the 2005 hunting season Mr HarrisonAllen became sole Master with Simon Jones taking over as Huntsman. However, he has since been joined in the Mastership by the previous Master and Huntsman of the South Herefordshire foxhounds, Mrs Dianne Jones.

Fox hunting Ban

and Dianne Jones are responsible for the running of the Country. They are assisted by the Hunt Committee who alongside the sub committees also organise all the crucial fundraising and support through subscriptions, puppy shows and hunt functions and events. The South Pembrokeshire Hunt are in the enviable position of being supported by three major committees who provide many social activities as well as much needed funds. These committees include: • Hunt Week Committee • Hunt Supporters’ Committee • Point-to-Point Committee

Ever since the introduction of the Ban on Fox Hunting and the Hunting Act which all came into force in February 2005 many hunting packs have had to try and adapt to the new law in the hope that it will be repealed. The South Pembrokeshire Hunt have had to carry out various activities within the law, such as Trail Hunting and other exempted practices. Our newly modified policy of breeding a smaller number of puppies every year has remained successful as “we continue to see the new Act as a temporary situation” Said Master Hugh HarrisonAllen. The hunt always boast at how very fortunate they are as a pack to receive the continued support of the surrounding farmers, smallholders and landowners. “That’s one of the brilliant things about Pembrokeshire, everybody wants to help and be supportive to others”. The hunt have noticed increased numbers of riders and foot followers over the last few hunting seasons especially this season, noted as the busiest following season on record since 1978. The Joint Masters Hugh Harrison- Allen Cresselly Kennels’ newest pups let loose


Horse & County

Just Ask

January 2010

Get in touch with us with your questions about anything.


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Alpacas:Great companions and grazing partners due to their toughness

Funny Feet

My horse really objects to anybody picking up her front feet. Could this be due to stubbornness or could this be caused by something physical. What do you think? Liberty, 22, Pembroke There are many reasons why your mare might not pick up her feet up. •

She might feel some sort of pain when one or other foot is lifted up.

Could I graze my pony with alpacas? I have recently lost my beloved old mare who was a companion for my grandson’s pony. Since, the pony has become very unsettled, pacing back and fore most of the day and continuously looking miserable. Our local vet has suggested trying to find another companion as he believes it is just a matter of pining. A nearby neighbour breeds alpacas and says that they make great grazing partners for horses. I have always been a fan of them, but would this idea be suitable? Do horses and alpacas graze together? And are alpacas easy to look after? Liz, 60, Tenby Firstly, I am sorry to here of your loss Liz. Concerning your queries I am pleased to say that yes alpacas make excellent companions and pets for that matter. Closely related to the Llama species, alpacas will quite happily graze and live amongst other animals such as horses and sheep. They are easy to look after as they are tough animals, but would require shelter in harsher weather conditions, shearing and vaccinating. They are popular amongst farmers and smallholding owners as they are renowned for their skill of chasing foxes away by spitting and stamping on the spot. For anymore information visit The British Alpaca Society (BAS) at or phone 08453 312 468.

• She might have been previously frightened in some way. • She might simply have learnt that she can do what she wants.

Picture:Rex Features

I would suggest that you start with the basics and get your mare used to having her legs and hooves handled on a daily basis until she is comfortable with the thought of these areas being touched. If she will allow this, then try to pick up one front foot and reward him profusely when he does. Repeat the exercise, gradually increasing the amount of time that the foot is off the ground. If she is genuinely frightened and is a danger risk when having this done, I recommend that you have your vet attend to see if some sedation might help in the early stages until she becomes more accustomed to the activity. It might take you some time to change her behaviour whatever its cause, and you will need to be patient and understanding, however remain firm.

Many horses are subject to being affraid of having their feet touched

Can my Appaloosa gelding be shown? I have been thinking about the idea of showing my 15hh Appaloosa gelding. However, I am unsure which classes I could enter him in. Please could you help me? Anne, 36, Haverfordwest The British Spotted Pony Society states that they only accept ponies up to 14.2hh and as your horse is 15hh, he would not be adequate. Although, he could be registered as a part-bred with the Appaloosa Society. The society’s rules mainly state that horses must be over 14.2hh and must be of Riding Horse type and ability. If you do decide to show your gelding horse within the Appaloosa Society showing classes, he must be plaited, trimmed and presented as a Riding Horse. As your gelding is 15hh, he would meet the required height standards. This would make him acceptable under the rules and regulations for the Appaloosa Society. Good luck.

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Open to every young and aspiring print, online and radio journalist aged 17–35. Deadline 28 February 2010. For more details and information on how to participate visit:

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