Caroline Powell & Lenamore available for New Zealand Olympic selection

For Suregrow rider Caroline Powell and the 19-year-old 2010 Burghley Horse Trial champion, set to enjoy his eighth consecutive Badminton before cancellation, the focus has moved to the London Olympics.

It was welcome news for Caroline, a co-owner of Lenamore with Lexi Jackson and Janie MacKinnon, as they were the highest placed NZ combination at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. The news means Lenamore will be added to the ESNZ eventing high performance 2012 squad. The New Zealand eventing team is to be announced in early July.

May 10, 2012  |   Share:

Suregrow April Competition Winner

Congratulations to Isobel Mills from Hereford, winner of our April competition

For your chance to win 4 bags of Suregrow to fertilise a one acre field, simply click on the link on our homepage and complete the entry form.

May 3, 2012  |   Share:

Hiscox Artemis lands two personal best scores at 2012 FEI World Cup Final

Richard Davison riding the Countess of Derby's and John Dodd's 12 year old gelding Hiscox Artemis laid down two outstanding scores and personal best results at last weeks FEI World Cup Final in S'Hertogenbosch, Holland.

In the technical grand prix test the combination achieved 73.3% and then went on to gain in excess of 78% in the freestyle.

The FEI recognise the standard of their Championships and Finals by awarding riders with a 2% uplift on their World Dressage Rider Rankings, which equates to equivalent scores worth in excess of 75% and 80% achieved at non-5 star events.

Eurodressage reported that Davison and Hiscox Artemis performance should have been receiving straight 9s and 10s (out of ten) for the piaffe and passage exercises, a key part of the tests at this level.

"This has shot Hiscox Artemis up into the big time and reflects the improvements he has made during this winter season's World Cup series. " said Davison. Throughout 2012 the combination have consistently scored above 70% at top level events which is a specific criteria for selection for this years Olympic Games. So far they are the only British combination yet to achieve this, other than the 'big three' riders Bechtolsheimer, Dujardin and Hester. At this stage in the running this makes Davison and Artemis the strongest contenders for Great Brtiain's fourth individual Olympic place. Their next outing is Munich's World Dressage Masters 5 star event 18th to 20th May.

May 3, 2012  |   Share:

Richard Davison and Hiscox Artemis take second place at final World Cup Qualifier in Gothenburg

It was no easy job for the last to go Richard Davison in the final World Cup dressage qualifier in Gothenburg, as the crammed stadium of Swedish spectators were still roaring their approval for their own hero Patrik Kittel as the British rider entered the ring.

Gothenburg presents a particularly tough World Cup test, as the dressage arena just squeezes inside the confines of the oval-shaped ice-rink, with the four corners touching the surrounding walls.  Richard had to call on all his reserves of experience to steer the Countess of Derby and John Dodd's Hiscox Artemis through their grand prix-to-music floor-plan, but he knows all there is to know about ring-craft and when 75.850% went up on the board, he was well in the frame. Patrick’s score, meanwhile, had been swallowed up by an electronic blackout, but was eventually retrieved and the home crowd rose to their feet with delight during the prize-giving ceremony.

After his win, Patrick admitted that the excitement of the spectators had affected his own performance.  “Sometimes I didn’t have one-hundred percent control and we made a little mistake in the two-tempis” he pointed out, adding, “tonight will stay in my memory for a very long time - the reception I got from the crowd was incredible!”

Richard said “I had a good time and a great ride” saying also that it would have been “nice to win in Patrik Kittel fan-land”, but he joked, “did you notice I made a deliberate mistake for all of Sweden because I didn’t think I’d get out of there alive if I won!”

Richard Davison uses Suregrow fertiliser for all of his grazing paddocks and Hiscox Artemis will now enjoy some well deserved turnout time in (hopefully), some early spring sunshine.

March 8, 2012  |   Share:

New Video - Richard Davison on the importance of turnout

Suregrow has recently been to visit Richard Davison's immaculate yard to talk about the value and importance of turnout. Watch the video here and learn how Richard manages his top level competition horses, youngstock and rising stars.....

February 21, 2012  |   Share:

Suregrow Raises £600 for Equine Grass Sickness Fund

A successful facebook campaign by Suregrow has raised £600 to support the work of the Equine Grass Sickness Fund (EGSF) and helped to further raise awareness of this devastating disease.

Accepting a cheque from Suregrow, EGSF secretary Kate Thomson said, “The Equine Grass Sickness Fund is delighted to receive this generous donation from Suregrow. We are the only registered charity in the UK raising funds specifically for research into grass sickness and play a leading role in working towards identifying the cause and further improving the treatment of chronic cases. Recently, substantial progress has been made on the role of Clostridium Botulinum, but there is still much work to be done.

Kate (left) is pictured with Joyce McIntosh, who has recently retired after many years with the EGSF as secretary.

February 21, 2012  |   Share:

Five things to consider when buying a dressage horse

With interest in dressage at an all time high, an increasing number of riders are looking to buy a ‘dressage horse’ and who better to ask about the priorities than dressage ‘icon’ Richard Davison FBHS, whose eye for a horse is matched by his ability as a successful international rider and highly respected trainer of both horses and riders. He offers this advice…..

1. Try to list your priorities. You have to face the fact that you cannot have everything in one horse and you must compromise on some things. Getting the order of your priorities and compromise right can be critical.

2. Be realistic and honest about your own capabilities, ambitions, available time, facilities and experience. The younger the horse or the greater the challenge, the more you will need regular access to a trainer who can hop on your new purchase and maintain its current standards. Don't expect one horse to take you from zero to hero, because it doesn't work like that in real life. If you are ambitious, then have a five year and 10 year goal and plan your horses into that to help upgrade your skills.
You also have to budget realistically - do not look at your purchase as an investment; the inland revenue doesn’t, so why should you! On the whole, horses do not increase in value (it is only a small percentage that do) so plan for the worst case scenario, including the value you will get if you come to re-sell - when he'll be older and maybe even have lost his competition form. Keep your own horse as your hobby and make your living from your work. After all if you play golf you don't expect to sell your clubs for more than you paid and the same applies to your horse.

3. Buy from a reputable seller and check out your rights in case you need to return the horse. Obtain a written description of the horse; the advert helps but more detailed information on the horse's background and suitability to match your list of 'needs' is important. Always keep communication open between yourself and the vendor long after you have purchased the horse. If you need to return the horse then be honest as to the reasons. Do not try to run down the horse, or blame the vendor if it is really your riding that has deteriorated, or your circumstances that have changed - maybe you do not have as much time as you had originally hoped in order to manage the horse's needs. It is definitely in your best interest to try and avoid accusing the vendor if it is not genuinely his fault, contrary to what some advisors might lead you to believe! If you want to avoid a lengthy, costly and stressful few years then be honest and work together with the vendor to find a solution, but always keep paper trails to help clarity and reduce misunderstanding and conflict.

4. Especially if you are not experienced, tell the vendor as much information as possible about yourself and what your goals are for the kind of horse you are looking to buy. Again confirm this by email to ensure clarity. Buying horses is all about suitability for the rider and purpose; it is not a one size fits all. So many purchasers get carried away with the excitement of it all. They start out sensibly by looking for a mature horse that has seen the sights and sounds and will offer the rider confidence. But then they spot the flashy looking black four year old stallion that they simply can't resist. The trouble is that without the handling skills, turnout facilities, time and back up team, it is not realistic and is hardly ever a success. Like all things there are exceptions, but do not be comforted by them; instead try to narrow down the 'risk' factor and stick to your plan.

5. Always take an experienced trainer or rider with you. Offer to pay them for their opinion as to the horse's suitability as it will be money well spent. Ensure there are a wide range of trial facilities available and if not, ask for the horse to be transported to a more suitable venue. Don't just try the horse in the indoor school, but ask them to ride the horse outdoors - in a field, down the lane etc. before you do the same (never get on a horse, or challenge a horse you don't know first - make the vendor provide a rider to do that). Spot any spooky stuff lying around and see what the horse’s reaction is to it. Test out if the horse is relaxed being ridden and kept on his own. Try the horse at least twice and take as much video as you can so it helps when you are reviewing everything later at home. Ask to see old videos of the horse in different environments, such as at shows or training sessions and of course, check out his record and do some research with previous owners.

I'm sure you wanted me to tell you the most important quality is this gait or that gait, or this type of movement and so one But it’s down to the needs and goals of the individual rider. The only thing in common that we are all looking for, be that in a weekend dressage horse or Olympic star, is temperament. Sure, the higher up the scale you go, then the range of physical talent becomes more critical but, if you ain't got a horse who tries for you and enjoys his job, then it doesn't matter how beautiful he is, or flashy, because it won't be a happy time. So go for temperament every time - and that’s the hard bit to assess!

Good luck and take your time. Remember, they are easy to buy and difficult to sell.

February 21, 2012  |   Share:

Allerton Park Estates Chooses Suregrow

One of the last northern one day events at Allerton Park enjoyed pleasant autumn weather and fabulous grass cover added to the obvious enjoyment of horses and riders.

Having applied Suregrow Fertiliser this year to the Estate's land used for the one day event, the estate office confirmed "the grass had never looked as good", a comment echoed by competitors throughout the busy weekend.

The land used for the event will be grazed by sheep during the winter months and Suregrow's slow release nutrients have ensured a dense sward of grass that has grown steadily and will provide good quality wintering.

February 21, 2012  |   Share: