Equestrian

Equestrian

Over the stable door: Frankie goes hunting

Last week we took a couple of the racehorses out hunting for the first time. Hunting provides invaluable experience for unraced youngsters with crowds of energetic horses they have to react quickly to the new challenges they encounter.

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The Princess Royal watching a horse dental examination by vet Dr James Roxburgh and nursing assistant Francesca Ware during her visit to Hambleton Equine Clinic. Picture by James Hardisty.

Princess takes tour of North Yorkshire horse hospital

Staff at a purpose-built hospital for horses have finally received the royal approval they had hoped for.

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Country Week columnist Jo Foster. Picture by Tony Johnson.

Over the stable door: A life spent breathing and dreaming of the outdoors

My friend sent me a copy of his new book recently. It is called True to the Line by Adrian Dangar, and I am proud to say it is a highly entertaining read based on his memoirs as a huntsman and countryman – a life spent breathing and dreaming of foxes, hounds, wildlife and the countryside. I met Adrian years ago when he was hunting the Sinnington hounds. He was an old classmate of my boyfriend at the time and we have remained friends ever since so I awaited his first book with keen interest. Last week it arrived and I began reading, keen to fill in the gaps he had often hinted at but rarely divulged to us in much detail. Adrian has written many articles for The Field, Horse and Hound and Country Life in his articulate and witty manner.

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Country Week columnist Jo Foster. Picture by Tony Johnson.

Over the stable door: Horse encounter with a roaming bullock

The parentals went away on holiday last week and it was as though a whisper had spread through the pastures announcing the news. Barely had their feet walked up the airplane steps when the first in a number of agricultural related incidents occurred.

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Country Week columnist Jo Foster.  Picture by Tony Johnson.

Over the stable door: Digger duty

Life is never dull at Brookleigh and bank holiday was no exception. We spent it re-surfacing my schooling pen. It seemed like one of the more straightforward jobs on the ‘to do’ list (which includes building a house, an outdoor school and draining ‘the bog’– a vast peat swamp which could swallow up a JCB overnight).

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Country Week columnist Jo Foster.  Picture by Tony Johnson.

Over the stable door: The real reason for Felix’s birthday wish

It was my son Felix’s birthday last week. As is the norm for a 10-year-old boy, what present to ask for became a life-changing decision he deliberated over for months leading up to the big day.

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Country Week columnist Jo Foster.  Picture by Tony Johnson.

Over the stable door: The joys of party time

My charity party a few weeks ago was a success. On the day, we worked under a cloudless sky to finish of last-minute jobs. Signs went up, tables laid, wine put on ice. The run up had been hard work. Everyone’s spirits were high if a little jaded after such a busy few weeks. I was glad when the night finally arrived.

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The parade of hounds at the Great Yorkshire Show. Picture: Gary Longbottom

John Peel moment as hunt takes bow

FOR four decades, his voice has been one of the defining sounds of the Great Yorkshire Show.

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Country Week columnist Jo Foster.  Picture by Tony Johnson.

Over the stable door: Celebration so soon

I can’t believe my Summer Celebration Party has come around so fast, next Saturday all the hard work will come to a climax.

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Matthew and Verity Bedford pictured with their son Reggie aged 15 weeks, at Thorpe Hill Farm, Whixley. Picture by Simon Hulme

The Bedfords ensure futures for horses of yesteryear

They are the darlings of the agricultural show world, the gentle giants that were the original workhorses before the farm machinery revolution made them virtually redundant in the 1950s. Heavy horses are no longer the force they were in the countryside and have now largely cast off their working class hero image in exchange for the glam and showbiz world of colour and splendour.

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Country Week columnist Jo Foster. Picture by Tony Johnson.

Over the stable door: Return to childhood scene in Ilkley

Yorkshire Air Ambulance is set to benefit from the Nidderdale Harness Racing taking place at Pateley Bridge tomorrow. Held at Bewerley Park, the races have raised over £4,000 for the charity since they returned to Nidderdale in some form in 2013 after a 75-year absence.

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Country Week columnist Jo Foster.  Picture by Tony Johnson.

Over the stable door: Yorkshire riders to represent Britain

Massive celebrations are afoot in Yorkshire eventing circles this week following the announcement that two Northern lads have been selected to represent Britain at the FEI Nations Cup in the USA in July.

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Pingu and Baffle keep Jo Foster busy whenever they are together. Picture by Tony Johnson.

Over the stable door: Double trouble of dog tales

Pingu the Jack Russell has come to stay with us whilst my parents are away on holiday. Whenever the little bitch comes to visit Baffle (my Patterdale) gets incredibly excited. She loves to lead Pingu astray, which doesn’t take much. Once the kitchen door opens they are both through it and away.

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Country Week columnist Jo Foster.  Picture by Tony Johnson.

Over the stable door: Silent success for Middleham hostel

A few weeks ago, I was fortunate to be invited to a charity dinner at York racecourse in aid of The Jessica Bethell Foundation. Jessica, a trainer’s daughter from Middleham, sadly died of meningitis at the age of 24 in 2012. The event was held by her parents Sally and James Bethell who have worked tirelessly fundraising over the last two years, supporting local community projects and funding research into the disease.

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Over the stable door: Internet dating for Baffle

Over the stable door: Internet dating for Baffle

Baffle, my two-year-old Patterdale bitch, has been dipping her paw into a bit of internet dating recently in the search to find a mate for her first litter of puppies. In the past finding my pooches a mate has meant a queue at the door but not this time.

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Messing about on the river had been so much fun.

Over the stable door: Charity race fun and unwelcome destruction

The point to point proved a fun day out last Saturday. The charity race in aid of Candlelighters was thoroughly enjoyed by the 14 riders. They were aboard everything from Cobs to Clydesdales, most having their first taste of racing. The crowd ‘holloaed’ every one of them home, respectful at seeing true amateurs with the guts to have a go for a worthy cause. The day raised £8,000 for the charity.

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Jo Foster and family are involved in today's Pendle point to point fixture. Picture by Tony Johnson.

Over the stable door: Health and safety is stifling traditional events

Whoever said the most stressful thing in life was going through a divorce had obviously never tried to convert a relatively unstable barn into a live-able and saleable dwelling place without breaking the bank or upsetting the planners; being in a green belt area just adds to the tension.

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Jo Foster has been in the wars during a rollercoaster week. Picture by Tony Johnson.

Over the stable door: Rollercoaster week is a knock-out

My farrier Jack has many legendary stories to tell regarding his job. He must have spent a considerable amount of time reciting them to his mother as she has gone on to write a book, loosely based on her son’s experiences as an apprentice farrier.

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Country Week columnist Jo Foster has paid tribute to her late friend and former teacher, Peggy Alpin.  Picture by Tony Johnson.

Over the stable door: Farewell to classy, charming Peggy

We are already flying through the pointing season and this weekend promises to be the busiest yet with two Yorkshire meetings scheduled. The Cleveland meeting is tomorrow at Witton Castle whilst on Easter Monday the Staintondale is to be held at Charm Park, Wykeham. Both meetings boast strong entries and promise some competitive races.

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Jo Foster sorting out the tack at her stables at Menston near Leeds.

Over the stable door: Thefts an all-too common story in rural areas

Speak to any farmer at your local livestock market and few will have been spared a visit from thieves.

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