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Hickstead is Weight-Aware

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30 June 2022

Hickstead Showing Producers are "Weight Aware"



The Horse Trust is ramping up their Healthy Body Condition Awards with many Showing Shows signing up to be  ‘Weight-Aware'.  This recently included the Derby Meeting, Hickstead on 23rd to 26th June 2022. These coveted awards recognise and reward horses in the best condition as well as providing support and advice.  The British Equine Veterinary Association considers equine obesity to be one of the highest-ranking health risks today. The Sussex Equine Hospital supported and carried out the assessments alongside the Showing Judges.

The Horse Trust delights in sharing the success stories of professionals and amateurs alike in their quest to see more healthy-weight horses.

Lynn Russell, a leading Show Cob producer, came a very close 2nd with Talos for the award having previously received it at Herts County Show in May. Speaking at Hickstead, Lynn said "The Awards are a good idea and horses should carry less condition.  Some of the Judges may need some adjustment on how they take this into account when judging."  Lynn's regime is to keep the horses out 24/7 and to harrow their fields regularly "They seem to regulate their intake of forage and consequently their condition.  For feeding, I use straights, rather than mixes and cubes - they're looking fabulous on it!"

Dream on Harry, owned and exhibited by Siobhan Dalloway, won the Award in the Maxi Cob class and was delighted by the recognition.  Siobhan wasn't previously aware of it, but thought it was a very nice incentive.  "Harry was a rescue case from Ireland, taking 9 months to get fit for today.  We let him be a horse and have a natural lifestyle with regular exercise to keep him in today's good condition."

We started the day with the Lightweight Cobs and Bankers Draught winning The Horse Trust's Award.  Known as Todd, his body condition score was 30% better than the top placed horses in the Class.  Exhibited by Hannah Horton she told us that Todd goes hunting all winter which keeps him very fit and obviously in a great condition.  Hannah had previously heard about the Programme and is in favour of the health benefits it promotes.

Master of the House, or Big Tom, won on a score of almost 20% better than the others in the Heavyweight Cob Class.  Ridden and owned by Kate Barber-Lomax, it's Kate's mother who is doing the day-to-day care and overseeing Big Tom's 4 days a week exercise regime.  They were thrilled to be placed 2nd in the Class and be 1st for the Healthiest Body Condition.  They're new to the Awards and think they're a brilliant idea.  "Tom is a bit of a character and likes to gallop up to horses on the horse-walker, then halt at the very last minute thus spooking them somewhat!  He's now 16 and has had a successful showing career and it looks like he'll continue to do so.  He's pretty good at regulating his own weight in that he isn't greedy - in fact gets 4 small feeds a day whilst at grass."

Although not so susceptible to being overweight, the Large Riding Horse Class was assessed giving the Rosette to Legend in Manhattan exhibited by a clearly delighted Victoria Hersford.  Owned by James Woodington, Legend was placed 2nd in the Class out of 6. 

We also caught up with well-known Showing Producer Val Sheehan at Hickstead to chat about being presented with the Award at Herts County 28/5 for 6 year old Heavyweight Hunter Red Rumour.  Val hadn't heard of the Awards before winning but agrees enthusiastically with the concept.  Val finds it easier to keep the younger ones to a trim.  All his horses go out and get lots of exercise.  They're all fed for the work done.  Val acknowledges that "you can't feed to build fitness". With regards to Showing, Val's observations were that Judges needed to be educated but it can be seen that things are slowly changing.


For further information about the Programme:Research funding | Innovative research into horse health ( for details of how to get involved in the 2022programme, contact via telephone on 01903 892060.






For more media information and photographsHickstead Derby Meeting - Google Drive, or contact Jennifer Cranford 892060.






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