Polo For Charity In Aid Of The NSPCC

A big crowd turned out for the fourth charity polo event at Mary Ann Baker's Taintfield Farm, near Cowfold in aid of the NSPCC, Help for Heroes and Dreamflight. Organiser Clare Baker recalls the fun.

pictures by Warren Potter for High 5 Events

As the gates opened so the skies cleared and the guests, including local celebrity Chris Ellison, arrived in their splendour to enjoy Pimms and canap�s in the afternoon sun, whilst watching the first of the two games of polo, resulting in a draw between Team Help for Heroes and Team TSG. The second game was equally exciting, with Team Idlewild just pipping Team SOS to take the champagne.

Both games were made all the more entertaining by Seb Baker’s expert, informative and highly amusing commentary.

Next the crowd really got behind the race between four legs and four wheels - Peggy the polo pony ridden by ex Grand National jockey Chris Warren and a Porsche Cayenne supplied by Porsche Centre Mid-Sussex, one of the day’s main sponsors. The atmosphere was electric as car and beast made their way to the start line, warming up hooves and tyres on the grass in readiness for the dramatic sprint. The crowd roared as the Porsche, reaching 55mph, won by a metal nose!

Now it was the turn of the spectators, who somewhat surprisingly volunteered with gusto (perhaps encouraged by a little alcohol) to participate in the legendary Taintfield Tug o’ War. The final was won in devastating fashion by the ‘Rope Burnsiders’ out-tugging the energetic ‘Arnies Trojans’.

Worn out from the afternoon’s excitement, the guests retired to the big marquee for a scrummy feast of hog roast followed by strawberries and cream.

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The lucky owner of the first raffle ticket to be drawn won a pair of tickets to New York, donated by the other major sponsor British Airways. The raffle was then followed by an auction, offering tremendous prizes which I had cajoled and coerced from local businesses, celebrities and friends. Items included a signed army shirt from Major Phil Packer MBE, use of a fabulous villa in Marbella, a flight experience in a BA Simulator, MudMania mud buggy racing, a Porsche driving experience at Silverstone, a signed DVD cover of Love Actually and The Boat that Rocks from Bill Nighy and a signed Tiswas shirt from Chris Tarrant. The raffle and auction items between them raised a fantastic �18,000.

Everyone was then entertained by Chas Taylor and his band Rusted, followed by DJ Extraordinaire Charlie Baker completing the tremendous input from the Baker family team.

I am totally blown away with the amount raised so far and the generosity of everyone who contributed to make our 2010 event the most successful yet.


By Dave Nicholls, The Farriery Practice

Did you know that your horse’s hooves change with the seasons? For example when the early summer months this year were exceptionally dry we really saw the effects in horses’ feet. As a general rule the optimum moisture level for hooves is 25 per cent and under normal weather conditions in the UK, it is almost impossible for the hooves to get down to that level of dryness. So whilst the resulting lack of grass has not been great for horse owners at least the dry conditions have been excellent news for their equines’ feet.

The only downside is that when hooves get drier they grow faster and you need to book more regular trims to make sure your horse avoids overgrown, distorted and painful feet.

As autumn approaches we have seen another change in horses’ feet which has caused many of our clients some concern. Many horses have retained more hoof on the bottom of their feet and as the moisture levels have risen this has started to break off and in some cases smell. Most of the time this is nothing to worry about as hooves follow a natural pattern of renewal. I often think of it as Mother Nature removing the damaged summer hoof in an effort to prepare the feet for winter. 

However check with your farrier if you are concerned in any way and want to learn more about changes in the hoof. The more you know the better you will be able to ensure the ongoing health of your horse.  In recent years the members of our practice have found themselves spending more time on client education about foot care and hoof health.  This is a high priority for our practice as we see it as a very positive move forward to optimum hoof health.

For further information contact The Farriery Practice on 01403 791 000 or www.totalfootprotection.com

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