Category Archives: News

New video – when to use a curved girth

Here, David Kempsell, designer of the WOW Saddle, explains why you should check that a curved girth is suitable for the horse before using one.

WOW’s eventing ambassadors are busy

The eventing season may have finished but for WOW’s eventing ambassadors, the off season does not mean lazing about! Francis Whittington took a short break before heading off to the USA to do some teaching clinics. Kitty KIng went horse shopping in Ireland (we are awaiting news of that exciting mission) and on her return, went to Cheltenham races to promote Team GBR at the Countryside Day. Pau Tapner recnently demonstrated at Your Horse Live and signed lots of autographs and then headed off to Newmarket for the Retraining of Racehorses Awards where he was a prize winner. What a busy team they are.

kitty paul and francis at stand

Will Alex’s successful season take him to the Junior Europeans?

WOW customer, young event rider Alex Norris, is sponsored by WOW retailer Nicola Nicholls. He has competed at the British Pony National Eventing Championships 1*, and has also represented the VWH Pony Club in numerous competitions. This year he qualified for the Pony Club National Championships at open level, and was selected to represent the Pony Club in the Show Jumping team at Gatcombe International Horse Trails. Alex also represented his previous school, Dean Close, in National Schools Equestrian Association completions. This dynamic 16 year old has sent us this season round up – thanks Alex, and many congratulations!

Alex Norris WOW saddles

Alex Norris

“Overall the 2015 event season has been good. Since August I have been placed at every BE event and I have managed to qualify to compete at BE Intermediate level on ‘Minnie Moo’ (more about her later)! The season started in early March with ‘Dassett Two For Joy’ going round Swalcliffe BE100 with a 30 dressage and double clear with a few time faults. He then went on to do two more BE100s at Larkhill and Ascot under Wychwood with clear country rounds both times. Sadly he then had a slight injury to a tendon, so he had a couple of easy months to recover.

‘Little Red Rooster’ had a delayed start due to a bruised foot, but he came out for Larkhill BE100 with a double clear and a 26.5 dressage. We then went out competing at Novice level. At Hambeldon we did a 34 dressage and double clear, but a couple of time faults relegated us to 10th. We then went on to compete at Withington Manor tackling the biggest cross country course to date. We were thrilled to again go double clear only missing the placings due to a few time faults. At Aston Le Walls we did a good dressage of 30 and clear Show Jumping, but sadly we lost our footing going up a hill and had a refusal on the cross country. Our final competition together was a Pony Club event at Hambeldon, where we did a sub 30 dressage and a double clear with only a couple of time faults, giving us our first win. My VWH pony club team also won so it was a fantastic day! Sadly that was our last event together, as Rooster was sold after the event. A huge thank you has to go to Penny Jordan for being a fantastic owner.

With one horse out of action and the other sold, we had more time to work on ‘Frank’, a 5 year old owned by my Aunt, Judith Leggatt. He has been improving massively over the past 6 months. He has done many little outings and he finished the season going to Stonar schools one day event, where he did a good dressage of 35.3%, just tipped one show jump, and flew round the cross country with a great clear. He is really promising for the future. He is currently on an educational trip hunting with his owner.

I was fortunate to pick up a new ride – ‘Minnie Moo’ – who is kindly on loan from Harry Humfrey. She is very experienced having competed at 2* level. Due to being under 17, I had to start at BE100 level and had to go clear 3 times before I could move up to novice. Luckily we managed this in 3 outings. Our first Novice was at Trebrorough Hill where we did a good dressage of 36.5 and a pleasing double clear with only 4.8 time, finishing 6th. We then had Goring Heath Open Novice under 18 which was an extremely competitive section. We did a 39 dressage due to a little tension, however we then did a great double clear within the time. This meant we finished in 9th.

‘Dassett Two for Joy’ was now back up and running after his injury’ and he went out and performed well at Monmouth his first novice. He did a 35 dressage and then a double clear with 6.8 time. We finished in 8th which was really pleasing. He was also selected for the VWH pony club intermediate dressage team where he performed well, even if we were both rather distracted by the blue lights of a fire engine just next to our arena!

‘Minnie Moo’ was in both the pony club open show jumping and eventing teams’ qualifying for the show jumping championships by coming third. However more experience is needed as a partnership at championship level where the atmosphere caused a bit of tension. Our next event with Minnie Moo was at Dauntsey Park. Sadly we had to run HC, but we produced a dressage of 40 and had a double clear within the time so we would of been 9th.

Our Last 2 runs were with both horses, ‘Minnie Moo’ and ‘Dassett Two for Joy’. Both produced good dressage tests at Calmsden but Minnie sadly had a pole down in the Show Jumping. However both went clear X Country, with Minnie going inside the time and Dassett getting 2 .8 time faults. This left Dassett in 10th place.

Our final run of the season was at Broadway. Dassett performed really well and produced a 33.5 which put us in contention. He then sadly had a pole Show Jumping but did a super clear with only 1.2 time. Minnie did one of her best tests to date and got a 38.3. She then did a great double clear with only 0.4 time. This meant that both horses finished exactly on the same score. They were placed 6th and 7th with Minnie Moo Just beating Dassett as she was closer to the optimum time. A fantastic end of season finish!

A huge thank you goes to my owners – Nicki Spencer, Carole Bishop, Judith Leggatt and Harry Humfrey – and my two wonderful sponsors, Nicola Nicholls for WOW saddles and Mary Lane of Oakfield Saddlery, who have given me a huge amount of help and support all season.

Both horses have had a well deserved rest for a couple of weeks but have now resumed training. A winter of dressage training lies ahead, with hopefully some show jumping practice too. We have booked up some training with Rob Lumb, Spencer Sturmey and Caroline Moore and hope to have a lesson with Jock Padgett who knows Minnie Moo. Next season I hope to move up to BE Intermediate level with the 2 older horses and start eventing seriously on the youngster. My main aim will be to try for the Junior Europeans………… fingers crossed!

Interesting news that showjumping fans will undoubtedly find of interest… Global Champions League (GCL) to launch…

An appeal court has enabled the 2016 launch of Global Champions League (GCL), the innovative team competition that is set to revolutionise the sport of show jumping, to go ahead.

GCT launches.

The new League has been developed by the people behind the Global Champions Tour (GCT), who have staged events in ground-breaking locations and offer unprecedented prize money. GCT was founded by Jan Tops, the four times Olympic equestrian and Dutch team gold medalist in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics.

The Court of Appeal in Brussels upheld an earlier decision of the Belgian Competition Authority enabling the 2016 launch of Global Champions League, whereby riders have the freedom to compete in the highly anticipated GCL events.

The new format will see Olympic and World Champions in action every Friday at 15 ‘sensational’ destinations around the world. In June of this year, the GCL filed a complaint with the BCA alleging the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) had breached EU competition law by using its rules to prevent riders and horses from competing in events not approved by the FEI by imposing a so-called “exclusivity clause”.

The FEI challenged and requested the suspension of the interim measures. However the Court of Appeal in Brussels said the FEI had managed for more than a century without the clause and had failed to show why it was indispensable.

We look forward to seeing how this interesting new League pans out for showjumping’s elite in 2016.

The eventing season has come to a close

The eventing season has come to a close for WOW’s sponsored event riders, and Francis Whittington has wasted no time whisking the family away on holiday! He does have another good reason; because of his teaching commitments in the USA and back here in England, he might not get another chance to spend time away with his loved ones.

Kitty King is winding things down a little at home, and tells us she’s ‘thinking about a holiday’, but Paul Tapner has competed up to the very last second, taking Indian Mill to the 4-star Etoiles de Pau in France. This was only the horse’s second attempt at the level, and it all went very well until an unfortunate show jumping round dropped them out of the top ten.

Although the eventers won’t now be competing for some months, do keep looking out for winter time tips and training hints from them on our social pages. (You can also enter a contest to win a lesson with Kitty King, pictured, in the current issue of Your Horse magazine.)

Kitty King riding Persimmon (By Lulu Kyriacou).

Kitty King riding Persimmon (By Lulu Kyriacou).

Don’t forget to stay supercool …

Our Supercool Saddlecloths, part of the WOW Saddles accessories range, are made from a 3D spacer fabric which literally keeps a layer of air between your saddle and your horse. The space that the fabric provides allows sweat to be wicked away from your horse and evaporate, keeping him dry.

The fabric is easily cleaned under a hose for most of the time, with only the occasional need to wash the cloth in a machine. It can be dried extremely fast just by shaking! So it is possible to wash the cloth under a hose, and re-use it immediately.

The Supercool saddle cloth from WOW

The Supercool saddle cloth from WOW

For good measure, the material has antibacterial properties as well.

This is a unique, light, breathable saddle pad that works well under all saddle brands.

RRP £75. Available in Black and in White. In either dressage or Jumping / GP styles. Visit or call 01227 831614.

Well done Team Southern

The recent Sheepgate U25’s Championships is a week-long show specifically for under 25 riders. It is all about team spirit and having fun, with plenty of other activities too.

The WOW sponsored team of Josh Hill, Izzy Chaplin , Charlie Grieve and Chris Hammond won the Advanced /medium Team Championship here – here they are pictured in all their glory!

Josh Hill, Izzy Chaplin and Chris Hammond (Charlie Grieve not pictured)

Josh Hill, Izzy Chaplin and Chris Hammond (Charlie Grieve not pictured)

Izzy Chaplin ridding Taijdora

Izzy Chaplin ridding Taijdora

Chris hammond riding Ruben D'or

Chris hammond riding Ruben D’or

Charlie Grieve riding Monticello

Charlie Grieve riding Monticello

Josh Hill riding Bewunder

Josh Hill riding Bewunder

Congrats also to the winning Southern Elementary Team, comprising Hannah Knight, Bonnie Bourne, Amy Tickle and Hannah Powel. Well done to everyone and to all your support teams!

The Southern Elementary Team, comprising Hannah Knight, Bonnie Bourne, Amy Tickle and Hannah Powel.

The Southern Elementary Team were victorious!

WOW’s sponsored rider Izzy Chaplin shares her news

I have some great news: I’m pleased to announce that I now have a lovely 4 year old Hanoverian gelding called Quinn! He hasn’t been backed for long, so at the moment it is all about becoming a partnership, but he is showing so much potential, and I’m looking forward to our future together!

Although I have only been to a handful of shows with Dora due to my studies, she has come from strength to strength. All the training has paid off and of course my WOW saddle means that I can achieve all those higher marks! At the beginning of June, I took Dora to Hickstead to compete in a U25’s show organised by southern BYRDS. Dora didn’t put a foot wrong, winning both tests on the first day with over 72% then nearly 75%, then on the second day we got another 72%+ score, to become the overall medium champion. I couldn’t have asked for a better two days of competing, and this made me even more determined for the upcoming regionals and home international.

Izzy Chaplin

Izzy Chaplin

When I got home from uni, I managed to fit in a show to qualify for the music regionals. Although we were competing quite late, which Dora wasn’t too pleased about, she performed two great tests to qualify at both medium and advanced medium with two 70%+ scores! I put my music together, and only had one practise of my advanced medium music, so I was extremely pleased.

Izzy Chaplin for WOW saddles

Then it was onto regionals at Sparsholt, where I was competing in the medium open class. The quality of the trot work felt the best it had been at a show for a while, but unfortunately we had a few costly mistakes in the canter work, but we still managed 6th which exceeded my expectations and made a great first regionals for Dora and I.

Sparsholt regionals

Sparsholt regionals

The week after, we were off on the long trip up to north Yorkshire for the BYRDS Home International. This show is always one of the highlights of the summer, as it is such a good team event with a great atmosphere. The first day I had a few mistakes, and didn’t ride my test the best I could have, but we came away with 9th. My other team mates also did well in their sections so we had a good placing overnight, and it was all to play for the next day. The team really stepped up to the occasion, all improving loads on their placings. I was a lot happier with my test on the second day with Dora ending in 3rd. Then it was the wait to see where our team had come. We were amazed to find out that our team had come 3rd, the best result team southern has had at the home international. Then to top it off I found out the Dora and I had become joint young rider medium champions. This was a lovely surprise, and it was a show I won’t forget.

Team 3rd at BYRDS Home International.

Team 3rd at BYRDS Home International.

With high spirits, it was then onto the next team completion at Sheepgate U25’s championships, where I was representing Southern in the medium/advanced team. After our team won last year, we were determined to do the same again. The first day Dora put in a great test to come 2nd with just over 70% with my whole team coming 1st to 4th. The second day we dropped 1 place to come 3rd but good performance from my team mates ensured that we stayed on top of the podium as a team. Individually I finished 2nd overall, getting some lovely prizes, so thank you to all the sponsors at the show. Unfortunately in my last test, coming out of the first medium trot, Dora tripped and landed oddly on the back fetlock. I then retired as she didn’t feel right, but a huge thank you to everyone who helped us after, everyone was so kind and helpful. Training will now start over the winter with the aim of PSG, so watch this space!

Kitty WOWs us all

Kitty King has once more proved to be an outstanding ambassador for WOW Saddles when, for the second week running, she proved to be best of the British competitors at a big international three day event. This time, it was Blenheim International Horse Trials, where she was third on her Tattersalls CCI3* ride, Jacqueline Owen, Diana Bown and Samantha Wilson’s Ceylor LAN.

Kitty did not add a single penalty to her 44.4 dressage mark, and made the most of other people’s small errors to rise from 6th originally. “It’s been a dream season,” said Kitty. “This was a big test for this horse because he’s not full thoroughbred and is only eight, but he galloped all the way to the end and he show jumped beautifully.”

WOW’s other event riders were also at Blenheim. Paul Tapner took on a new role as commentator and Francis Whittington competed in the CIC*** section on Cavalier Venture. A rather good dressage was marred by a few down in the show jumping and a run out cross country, but Francis thinks a lot of this relatively inexperienced horse, and he is definitely one to look out for in future.

WOW Saddles Preferred by equestrianism’s elite eventers

Kitty is on top form at Blair

Despite WOW Saddles sponsored eventer Paul Tapner having a decent weekend at Gatcombe Park with a top ten finish in the CIC**, this week was all about the Longines FEI European Eventing Championships at Blair Castle in Scotland, where fellow WOW sponsored riders, Francis Whittington and Kitty King, were both part of the 12 man, home side squad. Kitty was then asked to form part of the four man team, which means she is the first person ever to represent a British team at all levels. Both her horse Persimmon and Francis’ Easy Target did outstanding tests in the first phase to go into the cross country in the top ten, and with hopes of medals. Kitty got the draw as the heavens opened, but she still picked up a few time penalties because team orders were to go the long way at the last water jump. However, she was still in touch, and her clean sheet proved crucial when Nicola Wilson had a run out, and William Fox Pitt retired.

Francis had no such luck with the draw; the rain had not stopped for a second when he set out on Easy Target, and it was soon clear the heavy mud and being battered by wind and rain were not suiting the horse, and Francis wisely retired him four from home. “He is the kindest, bravest horse and he tried his heart out, but today wasn’t not our day,” tweeted Francis later on. Kitty’s position n the other hand got better and better as the mud meant less and less clear rounds and more and more time penalties for other riders. The show jumping proved technical, but Kitty and Percy showed all their skill and abilities to jump a fabulous clear round which assured the British of a silver medal and left Kitty 4th, and best of the British riders!

So now Kitty has got medals at all levels (Ponies, Juniors, Young Riders and Seniors) as well as team appearances. “Persimmon has been outstanding all week, and finished with a foot perfect clear, but I couldn’t have done it without my owners (Frank and Jane Inns), friends, family and sponsors, including WOW Saddles,” said Kitty. There is however, no time for resting on silver medals so to speak, as Kitty (and Francis) will be competing at Blenheim this week (from 17th Sept).

Well done to everyone involved in bringing home team silver!

 Kitty King Persimmon _ credit Lulu Kyriacou

Kitty King & Persimmon _ credit Lulu Kyriacou