All change at Breckenbrough for former international rider Bell

For a start there’s a big, new cross country course and the main stable block is now home to event horses and ponies.

Helen Bell, the former international event rider, and her family moved in just under a year ago after selling their home at South Otterington. They wanted somewhere with more land and more facilities and Breckenbrough certainly has that, including an equine swimming pool, jacuzzi and solarium.

The cross country course was their priority however and is now complete, with a range of jumps that go from 65cm up to 1m 10.

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“We wanted to be able to give people the experience of riding in a large area but to also have fences that weren’t too demanding for novice riders and people with young horses,” she said.

“We are lucky that it’s sandy land so it’s been perfect when everybody else has been under water,” said Helen.

She competed at Badminton eight times and at Burghley on nine occasions and now specialises in producing event horses and teaching.

Taking on the premises and 100 acres of land was a big move for Helen and her husband, Tom and they are pleased that it is still also operating as a racing yard. Trainer Noel Wilson, who moved from Scotland, has 25 horses there and has had seven winners since he made the move.

Also using stables at the yard are Nick and Jenny Smith from Thirsk. Nick is a former jockey and they are training point-to-point horses, breaking in racehorses and also re-training racehorses.

“We’ve got a lot more scope here,” said Helen, who will be running a series of cross country clinics along with another BE accredited coach, Ruth Williams.

Two Showcross events are planned for February 27 and March 27 and a one day event is scheduled for April 17. The cross country course is also available for hire.

“We are concentrating on the unaffiliated side at the moment, so that there’s something for everybody,” said Helen. “But we may have a British Eventing event here in the future.”

Yogi Breisner, World Class Performance manager and trainer of Britain’s eventing team, ran a clinic for Pony Club members last year and Jonquil Hemming, the British pony eventing team’s trainer, has also run a pony training day.

Helen and Tom hope to be able to be able to add a building to house a lecture theatre and meeting room, both of which would be useful when training courses are held.

Their children Toby,14, and Chloe, 12, are both keen riders and now have all the facilities they could wish for on their doorstep. They are members of the Hurworth Pony Club and have also started doing some eventing. “I’m looking forward to watching them doing a bit of eventing this summer – but I do get nervous,” admitted Helen.

For more information and schedules go to: www.helenbellequestrian.co.uk.

Eight races packed in to Hunt at Duncombe

THE Sinnington Hunt point-to-point takes place at Duncombe Park on Sunday. There will be eight races, which is due to the popularity of the maiden race which has been split three ways.

The first race will be the Hunt Members race which gets underway at 12noon. The second race is the Confined Hunts race which has 34 entries and looks to have some good prospects. Among them are Andre Chenier, successful at Open level last season; Brize Norton was second in this race last year; Lem Putt was third at Sheriff Hutton and Mr Quasimodo finished second at the same meeting. Recruits from under rules include Finney and Sherwoods Folly with the latter likely to be in with a good chance.

The Mixed Open has 23 possible contestants and likely to lead the way is the North Carlton winner, Oedipe, with Jack Greenall.

The Point-to-Point Owners and Riders Association Club Members race is restricted to novice and veteran riders. The prospects look good for 16-year-old Harry Bannister and Sonevafushi. Harry rode this family owned horse to win his first point-to-point at Sheriff Hutton two weeks ago.

Eventing gold medallist Nicola Wilson presented the prizes to the winners of a new competition which was held at Richmond Equestrian Centre.

The Nicola Wilson Indoor Equestrian Challenge involved a course that was a mixture of cross country and showjumping fences.

There were five classes, with 85cm proving to be the most popular with 75 entries.

The course, built by Keith Macvittie, was aimed at being both educational and fun for horse and rider. All the fences were named after Nicola’s horses and included an Opposition Buzz fence that had an optional hazard, which could incur extra time penalties.

Prizes for the winners of each class include an individual lesson with Nicola.

Winning riders: 65cm: Sophie Search riding Fudge; 75cm: Toby Bell riding Valley; 85cm: Emily Glogg riding Zoro; 95cm: Shawney Richardson riding Mousline; 1.05m: Lauren Sheriff riding Simply Spencer.