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:

Winter Turnout - invaluable for health, fitness and wellbeing

Turnout is well known to offer psychological benefits to horses and ponies as it allows them to relax and enjoy the opportunity to graze and grass is the ideal feed, much cheaper than anything in a bag or tub. Turnout onto grass that is in good condition and providing a correct mineral and trace element profile to the grazing horse is a very natural and healthy way to feed.

So although we stable our horses because it’s convenient for us and nearly all of them adapt and accept the confinement it imposes, does it compromise their health, fitness and wellbeing? Many leading riders would say yes.

Three riders right at the top of the sport of eventing, Ruth Edge, who also competes with equal success in the dressage arena, Oliver Townend and Caroline Powell, all emphasise that high quality grazing is vital to the successful management of their horses.

Caroline is unusual even amongst top level competition riders, as many of her horses live out all year round at her base in the Scottish Borders. She explains, “We place a lot of emphasis on the importance of lengthy turnout time and good quality grazing and use Suregrow Fertiliser on our paddocks all year round.”

Ruth says, “Turnout is an important part of my routines for all types of horses. The young ones need plenty of time out to help them grow and develop and for the older horses it gives them time to relax, even if it is just for an hour or two. The better the quality of the grazing, the more they will benefit from their relaxation time, which is why I choose Suregrow.

Oliver says with conviction, “The results of using Suregrow on my grazing paddocks have been unbelievable, as the quality of the grass is ex My grazing is very important as we keep a lot of horses turned out most of the time and I have to be sure that the nutrient profile of the grass is providing what they need.”

Amongst the leading dressage riders whose horses enjoy regular turnout, another Suregrow customer is Richard Davison (pictured with a mare and foal). He confirms, “Our horses enjoy their turnout time and by ensuring the grass they graze provides a correct mineral and trace element profile, it offers the potential to contribute significantly to their diet and wellbeing, which is very important to me.”

So next time you think of leaving your horse in his stable 24/7, think again, as he would potentially be healthier, fitter and much happier if you turned him out.

For more information about Suregrow Fertiliser, contact the technical helpline on 05601 126627 or visit

February 21, 2012  |   Share:

Six top placings for Ruth Edge at BD National Championships

Ruth Edge qualified three horses for the British Dressage National Championships and after a very successful weekend, came home with six top placings!

Her top horse Shadowfax (pictured) produced a lovely test to finish in third place in a competitive Prix-St-Georges test on Thursday and Zero, the youngest horse in the class at only seven years old, finished in a very encouraging sixth place.

The following day, Shadowfax contested the National Intermediate I Championship and produced some lovely expressive work at the higher level to finish in sixth place and Ruth confirmed that she was delighted with his performances.

Saturday saw Charlesfield Dante in action in the National Medium Championship and he produced a harmonious test to finish in eighth place.

On the final Sunday, in the National Advanced Medium Championship, Zero narrowly missed an outright win in second place and Charlesfield Dante was ninth.

Ruth said modestly, "We had a good time and I really am chuffed with them all."

All three horses came home to well-deserved time in their Suregrow paddocks.

February 21, 2012  |   Share:


Lenamore proved to be in top form once again at Burghley, completing a tremendous cross country round within the time to lie third going into the final show jumping phase.

Difficult conditions put a premium on this phase to a greater extent than is perhaps usual at this top level of eventing and Lenamore's two poles down dropped him just one place as many of the top placed combinations accrued faults.

Lenamore returned home to his Suregrow Paddock in fine form and looks tremendous as another successful season comes to a close.

February 21, 2012  |   Share: