Relentless crowned 2017 Skinner's Pet Foods National Champions
Posted: April 2017
Relentless regained their Skinner’s Pet Foods National Team Chase Championship title with a polished round over the challenging track at the Heythrop.
Simon Coady and Risky Beauty led the 2015 champions off over the influential early hedges, snaking in and out of the horsebox park on a downhill line, and Rowan Cope, Ollie Finnegan and Matt Mackley followed them on the tightest of turns over two big drop hedges towards the valley floor.
Then Simon had to take a turn coming out of the water, leaving Rowan in front on Better Hand, still in his first season of team chasing. Ollie and Matt bunched up behind, cutting across the huge hedges at top of the course.
Matt urged Digger onto Rowan’s heels to ensure they had three in the pen, and then it was flat out to the finish.
Team Ride Away II ran them closest, less than 6sec behind and
less than half a second separated them from Fox Grant Dot Com in third, replaying the season’s form neatly.
RAU Mad Hatters were hugely impressive on their championship debut for fourth place.
Helmet camera video of the winners Relentless from Ollie Finnegan
ROR Continues Team Chasing Support
Posted: March 2017
Retraining of Racehorses (RoR) is once again generously supporting team chasing this spring.
Retrained racehorses are well suited to team chasing and have been highly successful in the sport; at the Skinner’s Pet Foods National Team Chase Championship 2016, all four horses in the winning Team Ride-Away were retrained racehorses.
RoR has a retraining centre and major exhibition at the new National Horseracing Museum in Newmarket and team chasing is very proud to be included in this with photographs of Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Denman, ridden by Team Ride-Away’s Charlotte Alexander, and of Yvonne Goss’s Haxton as part of the display.
At the Fernie team chase on 2nd April, RoR donates Voucher Prizes in kind, to all competitors in the RoR intermediate class riding a RoR registered horse running under its former racing name, subject to the team successfully registering a time in the competition.
And at the Skinner’s Pet Foods National Championship at the Heythrop on Saturday 15th April, RoR offers cash prizes to the highest placed RoR registered horses in the championship class.
These are: £500 and a rug to horses in the winning team, £250 in the second placed team and £100 in the third placed team.
To be eligible for the special prizes at both events, horses must be registered with RoR on its new database, including those that have been previously registered.
FOXDENTON GIN EXPANDS SUPPORT FOR TEAM CHASING BY ADOPTING THE INTERMEDIATE LEAGUE
Posted: March 2017
Foxdenton Gin is to extend its support of British Team Chasing with the acquisition of the Intermediate League, the sport’s premier points-based performance league for rising stars. The brand will add this to its popular “Ride of the Week” award, which has rewarded the outstanding riding performance of the day.
“This is an entertaining way for us to reach country folk who enjoy our unique flavoured gins in an engaging way,” commented Nick Radclyffe, Managing Director of the Foxdenton Estate, which manufactures the gins. “Our market is hunting and shooting folk, and we meet plenty of our existing customers and as many new ones through events of this nature. The team chasing crowd is very enthusiastic, and our Dutch Courage own label for them has gone down a storm!”
The League rewards the winning team with a prize of £400, with prize money down to 5th place.
Skinner's Pet Foods National Championship Competition
Posted: March 2017
Skinner's Pet Foods, sponsor of the National Team Chase Championship is launching an exciting new competition for team chasing fans . The winner will receive a car pass and lunch for four in the sponsors' marquee at the National Championship on Saturday 15th April, at the Heythrop Team Chase, Little Compton, Oxon.
Simply answer this question: In which year was the National Championship first held at Little Compton. Send your answer with your full name and address to email@example.com by Wednesday 12th April.
Posted: March 2017
The Avon Vale Team Chase organisers have taken the difficult decision to cancel this year’s event, due to have been held on Sunday 26th March after recent land ownership changes left insufficient time to prepare the course for the event.
Schedules for the three remaining events this spring, the Fernie, Worcestershire and Heythrop (incorporating the Skinner’s Pet Foods National Championship are now available
Taunton Vale Foxhounds Team Relay – Sunday 12th March 2017
Posted: Feb 2017
The Taunton Vale Team Relay, due to be held on Sunday 12th March has been postponed due to a clash with another event at the centre. It will now be held on Monday 1st May.
Schedules will be available in due course.
Taunton Vale Foxhounds Team Relay – Sunday 12th March 2017
Posted: Jan 2017
Following the success of last year’s event the Taunton Vale Foxhounds will once again be hosting an inter team relay competition in the all-weather arena at Pontispool Equine Sports centre – TA4 1 BG. This means that we are not weather dependant so all parties can plan with confidence!
This offers team chase teams an excellent opportunity to warm up for the team chase and team relay seasons and practice some quick twists and turns:
Team relay format with whip change between riders and time from start of first to end of last rider taken;
Combination of knockdown and solid fences
Large arena, 11,000 sq metres, with natural banks and ditches
Excellent spectator viewing
Range of classes from 0.80m to 1.00m
Separate gate jumping competition with novice and open classes;
Full schedule to follow
Review of the Year
Posted: Dec 2016
2016 was a superb year for team chasing which has continued to grow in popularity and quality with exceptional horsemanship and spectacular ability from the horses themselves shown at all levels.
We welcomed a portfolio of new sponsors to team chasing with all roads leading to the Skinner’s Pet Foods National Championship. Equestrian travel specialists Ride World Wide came on board to support the hotly contested intermediate league, and Foxdenton Gin gave us hours of fun spotting the thrills and spills that lead to the award of the Dutch Courage bottle.
The British weather did its best to spoil our fun in the spring, forcing the cancellation of the Taunton Vale and postponement of the Worcestershire. Team chasing rallied, with the Taunton Vale hosting a much-enjoyed warm up event in the form of the Skinner’s team relay in Pontispool’s fabulous arena, and the Worcestershire ran its best event yet at Upton Warren, with a huge crowd enjoying the thrills and spills and the Shaw family’s warm hospitality.
At the Berks and Bucks, teams tackled the Balding family’s unique horseshoe shaped course, while the heavy rain before the Avon Vale tested riders’ ability to ‘hunt’ their horses round for success.
The Fernie hung in the balance after yet more rain but a spectacular effort by the organising committee and a vote of faith by competitors – Facebook messages going backwards and forwards “Is it on?” “Yes (fingers crossed)” – made it the usual fabulous event.
Once again our faith was tested as the Heythrop was forced to postpone the Championship, no less, and then the infamous hedges at Little Compton tested the competitors still further, with only the boldest in the prizes.
It was a well-deserved victory in the Skinner’s National Championship for Team Ride Away who have plugged away over several seasons to reach the sport’s pinnacle, mainly on retrained racehorses, supporting every event no matter how far from their diverse home bases. Their round was a masterclass in team work, judgement of pace and spectacular leaps and turns which were much appreciated by the large crowd.
One of the ironies of the team chasing season is that much as we are plagued by rain in the spring, we spend most of the autumn season praying for it.
Firm going persisted throughout but we still saw some fabulous sport, with the Bicester, Grafton and Cotswold attracting huge entries and spectator numbers.
The stiff intermediate tracks at the Warwickshire and the Belvoir provided the perfect introduction for the season’s future equine stars and it was great to see former multiple champions Relentless back in action with some new steeds.
The Berkeley is now becoming established with its updated course and provides wonderful sport, while the Atherstone, Pytchley and Meynell are real old school team chasing with massive hedges that make for great jumping.
Competition for the team chasing leagues reached fever pitch at the Cotswold where the Ride World Wide intermediate league was won emphatically by the Eternal Optimists, a division of the Wishful Thinkers who have produced some of the most exciting rounds ever seen in this competition.
Team Ride Away crowned a brilliant year by taking the British Team Chasing open league, but were pushed all the way by Fox Grant Thrusters and the Boring Gorings.
There was a sad note in the following week when we lost two great supporters of the sport, the Cotswold’s Mark Vestey and Sarah Stafford, but the success of the event is their great legacy.
The rain finally made an appearance right in the middle of the Essex and Suffolk event, making this challenging track even tougher, and fittingly Team Ride Away took the spoils.
We look forward to 2017 with great anticipation and hope you will join us in the ultimate equestrian extreme sport!
Mark Vestey & Sarah Stafford
Posted: Nov 2016
It is with immense sadness and regret that we have to report the loss of two of Team Chasing’s greatest supporters, following the sudden and untimely deaths of Mark Vestey and Sarah Stafford within two days of each other at the end of last week. Our deepest thoughts and prayers are with both families at this desperately sad time for them.
Both Mark and Sarah have played a huge part in the growth and success of Team Chasing for many years, whether on the national front or on their own turf in the Cotswolds. Just a few days prior to their respective passing, both Mark and Sarah fulfilled their usual longstanding roles at the Cotswold Team Chase at Foxcote with all their usual efficiency, enthusiasm and friendliness.
The Hon Mark Vestey hosted the Cotswold Team Chase on his estate at Foxcote, near Andoversford for a great many years and he and his wife Rosie, the event Chairman and a member of the National Team Chasing Committee, have developed a thriving day’s sport which has become immensely popular with both competitors and spectators alike. It has become an annual highlight in the Team Chasing calendar and more particularly one of the highlights of the social calendar in the Cotswolds, always being held on the last weekend in October during half term. Mark acted as the Chairman of the Ground Jury at the event in every year that it took place. He and Rosie became the perfect hosts for the sport’s Autumn highlight – with immense generosity, charm and enthusiasm in so many different ways. Whether acting as host, as occasional sponsor, as Team chef d’equipe or as President of the Ground Jury he always found time for a discussion, and time to enjoy both the company and the spectacle for what it had become.
Mark, who was a talented polo player and former chairman of the Hurlingham Polo Association, was also a keen racing and hunting enthusiast. His sporting instinct was always uppermost in his mind, not least as an immensely encouraging supporter of the Foxcote Team Chase squads who appeared at events throughout the UK in the late 90’s and early 2000’s – usually running under the badge of The Bitch Pack and/or The Mixed Pack - and regularly including at least one or more of his close but very sporting family. Mark could always be found enjoying their exploits from the seat of his quad bike, having been injured in a hunting accident in 1984. He was a remarkable individual, and a great friend to many of us, who displayed incredible strength and fortitude following his hunting accident but with never a murmur of complaint or upset. His big cheerful smile has lit up so many team chasing occasions in the last 20 years that it seems impossible to imagine that he is no longer with us.
Sarah Stafford, a long-standing former joint master of the Cotswold Hunt, was the course designer at the Cotswold Team Chase for an equally long period of time as Mark had held his post, and she was also one of the leading members of the organising committee at the event right up to her death. She was a regular member of The Bitch Pack Team Chase squad, with a fearsome (and indeed fearless) reputation when riding across country. She also ran a very successful equine and human physiotherapy business, and was both secretary of the Cotswold point-to-point and a very successful trainer of point-to-point horses in her own right. She made a huge contribution to hunting, team chasing and point-to-pointing throughout her life, and will be long remembered for her immensely unselfish but determined and ultimately very successful approach.
Mark and Sarah were immense supporters of Team Chasing, the Cotswold Hunt and the Country Sports community at large and their loss will leave a gaping void in so many different ways. Our deepest thoughts are with Mark’s wife, Rosie, and Sarah’s husband Richard together with all of their family and friends at such an incredibly difficult time.
May we all raise a glass to thank both Mark and Sarah for everything that they did to enrich our lives, and to celebrate their immense generosity, hard work and enthusiasm in two lives which have been cut short far too soon.
British Team Chasing Leagues for 2015-16
Posted: Oct 2016
Team Ride Away 1 has won the British Team Chasing open league for 2015-16 by some margin with a score of 90 points, having won five events and been runner up four times. They were almost unstoppable in the spring but have suffered mixed fortunes this autumn with captain Stephen Clark and right hand man Joe Stephenson out due to injury for several events.
Their strength in depth was shown with a pack of dashing ladies Debbie Honour, Lindsay Harrison, Sophie Candy, Becky Rollins, Pandora Bailey and Helen Day plus Greg Wright stepping in to keep the team on the podium alongside long standing member Charlotte Alexander. Foremost among their supporters are chef d’equipe Bryan Allen and Helen Swaddle now back in the team after the birth of Sidney Allen, the next Ride-Away generation.
Team Ride-Away have supported the year’s events with some dedication, despite team members hailing from as far afield as Yorkshire and Nottinghamshire.
Many of their mounts are retrained racehorses, and part of the challenge has been to develop their skills over the big hedges and sharp turns that are a feature of open team chases.
“We want to win, but most importantly to have fun,” said Stephen. “No-one minds if you have a fall or a run out, we get back together the next week and try again.”
Demonstrating the unpredictable nature of team chasing both Ride-Away teams crashed out in the Cotswold open class, but all have bounced back ready for the next league series.
The Ride World Wide intermediate league was secured by a spectacular winning round at the Cotswold for the Eternal Optimists. Part of the successful Wishful Thinkers squad, this team is headed by Simon Coady, who with wife and chef d’equipe Zara relocates from their home in the Isle of Man for the team chasing season. In common with the open league, the 2015-16 series has seen endless drama with Eternal Optimists neck and neck with their arch rivals the Art Hotel Racers at every event and seven wins interspersed with six runner up slots plus a couple of major disasters!
Lining up with Simon are Lizelle Terblanche Brown, Ed Chamberlain and Sarah Cork. Matt Mackley, Anne Mackley and Henry Chamberlain have also been key members of the squad.
Breathtaking speed and the tightest of turns are their calling card, and Simon Coady says : “When you are going that fast it is touch and go as to whether you will get home. We have struggled to keep the line-up together, with Lizelle’s horse being out for much of the season, but when we get it together it is impressive.
Team chasing rules updated
Posted: Oct 2016
British Team Chasing's committee, led by Chairman Philip Cowen has updated the sport's rules, with effect from the Grafton Team Chase on 23rd October. Competitors are required to familiarise themselves with the rules before entering any event to ensure that they comply with them, so this is a good opportunity to get up to date. Most changes are minor, but we are looking at hat standards for 2017 in line with other equestrian sports' governing bodies – competitors will be advised of any changes well in advance of the 2017 spring season.
There has been some discussion on the BTC facebook page and at events about novice classes, times and speed sections, so we thought we’d take a look at the various classes and opportunities for competitors.
First of all, one of the great qualities of team chasing is that there are no entry restrictions other than a minimum rider age for speed classes. Have a great round in a novice class one week and you can upgrade to the intermediate at the following event. Similarly, if it all goes pear-shaped in the open, you can drop your team back to intermediate or slot into someone else’s inter team. If you have a great horse that has evented or point-to-pointed and fancy a go at team chasing, there’s no reason not to go straight for the open – one team did this at the Fernie last year and qualified for the Skinner’s Pet Foods National Championship.
Several events with bigger tracks, such as the Belvoir and Warwickshire, offer a novice speed class for riders over the age of 16. Some with smaller novice courses are ideal for beginners – the Bicester would be a great example of this, but equally here is a course with an inviting intermediate course that would suit those teams ready to step up a grade. Another great innovation is intermediate bogey time classes – a perfect opportunity to have a run round a bigger track without feeling the need to go too fast.
British Team Chasing does not make stipulations to event organisers about which type of class they must run – it often depends on the time and daylight available, anticipated entries and other classes that they wish to run such as pairs or gate jumping.
You can find out which events will suit your needs and those of your horse by checking out official photos, watching videos on You Tube or by posting questions on the Facebook page – team chasers are a friendly lot and always happy to advise or help out. One way to step up a grade is to join a more experienced team for an outing or too, and the FB page is the ideal place to find team mates.
Aly and Allen Brown of the Point Two Top Spec Hair Raisers have spent the last couple of seasons bringing on new horses in team chasing, and Aly comments:
“I would generally consider Novice classes to be most suitable for riding at a steady hunting pace. We’ve found it beneficial to progress to a modest Inter Bogey time with a reliable lead as the horses have developed. The Cotswold is a good example of the ideal course for this as it is beautifully built, with great variety and rideability. It has proved confidence-giving for our horses and it’s very satisfying to move them up a grade.”
Photo Courtesy of PC Images
Team chasing goes to the Palace
Posted: Sept 2016
Team chasing is to feature in a new multi-million pound celebration of the racehorse which opens this month.
Palace House Newmarket is home to the National Heritage Centre for Horse Racing and Sporting Art, which will feature an exciting new exhibition telling the story of horseracing and the science behind the development of the modern racehorse.
The finest examples of sporting art from Tate Britain, the British Sporting Art Trust and other private and public collections will be displayed in this royal palace.
The centre will also highlight the work of Retraining of Racehorses (RoR) and visitors will get to see former racehorses up close and witness the work of retraining racehorses in daily demonstrations.
Part of the exhibition will focus on ‘life after racing’, exploring the many careers for which former racehorses can be retrained.
British Team Chasing is very proud to be included in this with a photograph of Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Denman, ridden by Team Ride-Away’s Charlotte Alexander, as part of the display. The photograph was taken by regular Horse and Hound contributor PC Images at the Pytchley Team Chase.
Retrained racehorses are well suited to team chasing and have been highly successful in the sport; RoR is a generous sponsor of team chasing and at the Skinner’s Pet Foods National Team Chase Championship 2016, all four horses in the winning Team Ride-Away were retrained racehorses, receiving cash prizes from RoR.
Skinners Pet Foods Championship qualification race begins
Posted: Sept 2016
Team chasing revs up a gear this weekend as teams start to compete for qualifying places at the Skinners Pet Foods National Championship.
Equestrianism’s ‘extreme sport’ sees teams of three or four riders gallop and jump their way across natural country, with the fastest team to get three riders home the winners.
After two warm up events, where the leading teams showcased new horses and fine-tuned their line-ups, the action begins in earnest at the Atherstone Team Chase near Coventry this weekend where the two highest placed teams in the open class will earn their place on the start line at the Skinners Pet Foods National Team Chasing Championship to be held in Oxfordshire next April.
Qualifiers continue until the Essex and Suffolk in November and start again in March at the opposite end of the country, at the Taunton Vale.
Fancy a go at this exciting sport? Details of how to get a team together or join an existing squad can be found at
www.teamchasing.co.uk and each event also features novice and intermediate classes for less experienced combinations. The novice classes are fun for all the family with under-16s permitted to complete in bogey time sections, and intrepid squads of pony riders often show the adults how it is done!
Team chasing is also a fantastic spectator sport – event venues across the country offer panoramic viewing, or
you are free to walk the course and catch the action close up. Event details and locations can also be found at
www.teamchasing.co.uk A word of warning though - it’s a highly addictive sport and the leading teams travel the length and breadth of the country to take part, usually with a large band of supporters in tow!
Social Media gets Team Chasing off to a Flyer
Posted: Sept 2016
The new team chasing season is up and running and if you would like to take part this is your opportunity! Team chasing is such a friendly sport - many teams will happily accept newcomers or riders whose regular team mates have other commitments for a particular event. Even if you just fancy a run at your local event, you can often find a team to slot you in. The team chasing Facebook page www.facebook.com/BritishTeamChasing is alive with requests for team members at the moment, and with riders wanting to join teams - If you and a friend want to have a go at this exciting sport perhaps you can find your new team mates! Requests are either posted as ‘visitor posts’ or as comments on our main posts about the various events.
Many of the team chases also now have their own Facebook pages with the very latest updates on their events - the going, what the fences look like etc. We share these on the main page where possible and offer links to their pages.
Everyone loves a good team chasing video, and we are keen to show as many of these as possible on the Facebook page, so if you have good video footage either from a helmet camera or taken by a spectator, do let us know either with a post to the page or a message.
Finally if you are on Twitter, all of the main posts are shared on our Twitter feed twitter.com/TeamChasing so you are never very far away from the latest news about team chasing.
The Warwickshire Hunt Team Chase & Hunter Trials Sunday 28th August 2016
Posted: August 2016
The Warwickshire Hunt Team Chase & Hunter Trials
Sunday 28th August 2016
Hill Farm, Watergall, Southam CV47 2XP Counting Down to the Opening Event of the Autumn Season The Warwickshire Hedges are Waiting for you !! All Courses will be prepared with an Agrivator to ensure best possible ground conditions Courses will be available for walking from 2pm on Friday 26th August but please note that some Stock Fencing may still be in place until Saturday 27th August ALL DOGS ON LEADS AT ALL TIMES PLEASE
LATE ENTRIES SUBJECT TO AVAILABILITY £5 Classes 1 & 2, £10 Classes 3, 4 & 5
THE WARWICKSHIRE’S HEDGES ARE WAITING FOR YOU
Posted: July 2016
The Warwickshire Hunt opens the Autumn Team Chasing Season on Bank Holiday Sunday 28th August 2016
Moving to a Sheep Farm in 2011 meant re-scheduling the Warwickshire Team Chase from the Spring to the Autumn Season – a bit of an upheaval for all concerned !
We opted for 1st Place on the Autumn Schedule and have geared our Courses & Classes to give everyone a great start for their first run of the season.
The National Open Teams come to vie for the fabulous Jo Rugman Rose Bowl in our flagship Intermediate Class whilst those trying out New Teams or New Horses can let rip in our Novice Fastest Time and the more cautious the Novice Bogey Time. If you can't get a Team of 4 together just come and have some fun riding round our Hunter Trial Course in the Pairs or Individual
The Courses will be available for WALKING from 2pm on Friday 26th August – Dogs on leads please
We look forward to welcoming you to The Warwickshire Hunt Team Chase
Team Ride Away crowned Skinner's Pet Foods National Champions
Posted: May 2016
Team Ride-Away 1 are the new Skinner’s Pet Foods National Team Chase Champions!
It was an impressive victory over a challenging course that accounted for more than half of the starters.
Joe Stephenson Stephen Clark, Charlotte Alexander and Laura Close-Brooks showed incredible skill to tackle the early twisting line of hedges on the Heythrop course at Little Compton, which had caught out so many leading teams.
Their renowned teamwork came into play later on when Joe’s horse ducked out at the second part of the water, leaving Stephen in the lead. They got back together nearly for the pen and then Charlotte led them home over the final big hedge in front of the hospitality area.
Wishful Thinkers were the gallant runners up, never letting up the pace after a tangle at the sixth fence and a fall saw them down to three riders.
Boring Gorings continued their great form, using all their horsemanship skills to get them into third place from last draw as the track continued to take prisoners.
The only other two finishers were the relatively inexperienced squads, the Yorkshire Puddings and Dapper Dobbins Hedgehoppers II. Both had helter skelter rides but kept it together to conquer the most notorious challenge in team chasing.
The sport has enjoyed wonderful support from new sponsors Skinner’s Pet Foods, Volvo, Ride Worldwide and Foxdenton Gin this season, and a huge vote of thanks must go to them for making team chasing’s biggest day even more special.
Skinner’s Pet Foods National Championship 2016 Running Order confirmed
Please can all Team Chase traffic please avoid the village of Little Compton. The event will be sign posted from the A44 and A3400 please follow these roads. The event postcode is GL56 0SH. Going is good and the course is looking great
Annual Team Chase Conference 2016
Posted: April 2016
As a result of the delayed Spring season, and in the light of the rearranged Skinner’s Pet Foods National Team Chase Championship which will now take place at the Heythrop Team Chase on Sunday 1st May, it is with much regret that the National Team Chase Committee have decided to postpone the Annual Team Chasing Conference which was to have been held at Cheltenham Racecourse on Wednesday 27th April.
We hope to be able to rearrange the Conference for an alternative occasion in either June or July, details of which will be announced in the near future.
We can only apologise for any inconvenience this may cause, but trust that all stakeholders in the sport will be able to understand the reasons for this decision in the light of the delayed Spring season which is now underway. All of our attention will of course be focussed on the Skinner’s Pet Foods National Team Chase Championship 2016, and the preceding Worcestershire Team Chase on Sunday 24th April, and we wish all competitors every success at those events.
Please do try to attend the National Championship day on Sunday 1st May if you are able to, full details of which can be
found by * clicking here *
British Team Chasing
Worcestershire Team Chase Update
Posted: April 2016
The Worcestershire Team Chase will take place on the Sunday 24th April 2016, please get entries in.
Team Chase Updates
Posted: April 2016
The Skinner’s Pet Foods National Championship at the Heythrop Team Chase has been postponed to Sunday 1st May.
Due to torrential rain throughout the day yesterday and a wet forecast through to Saturday it was necessary to postpone the event.
The Worcestershire Team Chase is going ahead as planned on Sunday 24th April and will now offer a final qualifier for the Skinner's Pet Foods National Championship.
All entries will stand and entries are still being taken, for more info contact Nicky White on firstname.lastname@example.org
Spectator car passes for the Skinner's Open Team Chasing Championship at the Heythrop on 16th April can now be ordered online. Advance booking at www.heythropteamchase.com
Skinner’s Pet Foods shows support for cancelled team chase
Posted: March 2016
The Taunton Vale Team Chase committee held a fun team relay and gate jumping competition on Sunday 14th March, the planned date for the team chase which was sadly cancelled due to the wet conditions, supported by Skinner’s Pet Foods. Teams jumped natural-looking fences in the large all weather arena at Pontispool Equine Sports Centre.
Results of the Skinner’s Pet Foods Open Team Relay held at Pontispool Equine Sports Centre:
3rd Centaurs (Mark Heuff, Jo Heuff, Hayden Webb, Charlie )
In addition to the Skinner's Open, the event included the Elanco Animal Health novice team relay and the Griffin Nuumed gate jumping.
The photo shows novice prize winners the Lawnmoor Ladies.
Worcestershire Team Chase Cancelled
Posted: Feb 2016
The Worcestershire Team Chase due to have been held on Sunday 20th March, is the latest to fall victim to the weather,
after heavy rain on Wednesday led to flooding across the Midlands. The organisers are rescheduling
to 24 April
Safety first for Team Chasing
Posted: Feb 2016
As the new season approaches, competitors are reminded to check that their hats and body protectors comply with British Team Chasing rules. Events may make spot checks at the secretary's tent, but it is the rider's responsibility to ensure that they are wearing the correct safety equipment.
The rules state:
It is compulsory for competitors to wear crash helmets to current recognised Safety Standards, and which are identified by a Team Chasing, BE, BRC, BSJA or Pony Club approved Hat Tag. I.e. Hats must meet one of the following standards:
British All PAS015, BSEN1384 or European EN1384 provided they are BSI kitemarked or SEI. American All SEI ASTM 95, ASTM F1163:2004, SNELL E2001. Australian and New Zealand All AS/NZS 3838
Competitors are strongly recommended to check their hats regularly and to replace them if damaged or following a fall.
All those mounted at an event (including grooms and helpers) must wear a hard hat complying to the above standard when mounted.
All competitors must also wear a British Equestrian Trade Association (BETA) approved and appropriately labelled Level 3 body protector manufactured in the year 2000 or after.
Competitors are strongly recommended to check their body protectors on a regular basis and replace them if damaged or following a fall and are advised that the body protector should impede neither flexibility nor balance.
Many other disciplines have revised or are considering revising hat standards. The National Committee will discuss this at the next meeting, ahead of the National Conference in April, with a view to revising the standards for 2017. Any changes will be published in good time to allow competitors to update their equipment.
Bicester with Whaddon Team Chase Cancelled
Posted: Feb 2016
As a result of the continuing poor weather conditions, organisers of the Bicester with Whaddon Team Chase, due to have been held on Sunday 6th March, are unable to
begin preparing the course and have thus taken the decision to cancel for this season. It is planned to run the event in Autumn 2016.
Getting a tow!
Posted: Jan 2016
Team chasing often means mud, and lorry parks quickly get cut up. Organisers liaise with local farmers and contractors to offer a towing service, but competitors can do a lot to make the process work seamlessly.
Lots of people get very anxious when they realise they might need to be towed by a tractor to get in or out of an event. Here's a guide to preparing to be towed, dealing with the towing, and afterwards, from contractors Mill Farm Ashorne who provide the service at equestrian events across the Midlands.
Before the event:
Make sure your vehicle is ready to be towed. Do you know where your towing point is? Can it be accessed quickly? Some lorries have a panel covering the towing point that needs a spanner to undo.
Does your vehicle have a screw in towing unit, or eye? If yes, do you know where it is, does it fit, and does it screw in easily? Turning up without the correct kit for your lorry is the same as turning up without all of your tack.
If your lorry has a towing jaw built into the front bumper do you have the correct pin? It is very dangerous towing a lorry with the wrong pin. Do NOT expect the tractor driver to have a suitable pin.
At the event:
Allow extra time in case you need to be towed on!
If it's really wet then some events will ask that all vehicles are towed in and out, to minimise the damage to the ground.
If you are able to drive on to the event site under your own steam make sure you park so that the tractors can get to the front of your vehicle in case you need towing out. Most lorries have no safe point at the rear for towing - If you have a tow-bar fitted to your vehicle DO NOT assume that it can be used for towing you out. In most cases it can't.
You've become stuck and you need towing:
First put on your hazard lights so the tractor driver can see that you need towing. If you don't think you've been seen then go and find the tractor driver (but DO NOT approach the tractor while it's towing!).
Be patient - the tractor driver(s) will get to you as soon as they can.
Make sure your towing point is ready, your vehicle is running, and (in the case of lorries) you have sufficient air in the system for your brakes to release and work, before the tractor gets to you. Additionally make sure you ARE actually ready to go before requesting a tow.
Most tractors used for towing at events will be big enough that you won't need to do anything other than steer, and let the tractor do the work.
If the tractor is of a sufficient size that you don't need to assist then you should start up and put your vehicle in neutral.
If your vehicle is an automatic then always select neutral "N", and do not worry - damage only occurs being towed in an automatic if it is for long distances, or at speed. Steady towing by a tractor will not do any damage provided that you've selected neutral correctly.
When the tractor driver indicates that he/she is ready make sure you release your park brake and the foot brake (your vehicle won't roll - after all, you're stuck!).
A good tractor driver will gently take up the slack of the chain before beginning to tow you, then slowly increasing to a safe speed. All you need to do now is steer to follow the tractor. Watch the driver as he/she may give you guidance on which way to turn your steering wheel so you follow the tractor properly.
If the ground conditions are such that your vehicle might start to roll faster than the tractor (downhill, for example) then be prepared to GENTLY apply the footbrake to slow your vehicle down and maintain tension in the chain.
Once you've been towed to a safe place the tractor will stop. They will unhook and move out of your way. Don't stop and undo your towing eye at this point as you may impede the tractor, or other vehicles. Once the way is clear then drive away as normal to leave the event.
When you leave the event:
Remember that your tyres may be full of mud. Drive steadily to start with as the mud will begin to fly out as you drive faster, and if you have to brake firmly while the mud remains you risk skidding. Once all the mud has cleared from your tyres then you can drive at normal speeds.
If your towing eye needs removing then drive to a safe place away from the event before stopping to remove it. Ideally leave it in place until you get home. Most towing eyes are secure when fitted and will not fall out in transit, or present any problems while driving.
If you have any questions about being towed on the day then ask the tractor driver - don't just chance it if you're not sure!
Most tractors are supplied for free to events by local farms or businesses, and the drivers are often there as volunteers, so if you feel they've looked after you it doesn't do any harm to show your appreciation in the time-honoured way! On the same note, please be patient with them - you may have an urgent appointment to get to, but so do plenty of other competitors.
As a final note please don't panic, and we'll get you in and out safely, and as swiftly as possible!
Based in Warwickshire, Mill Farm Ashorne provides a range of agricultural contracting and grassland care services. The equine unit offers a complete foaling service, artificial insemination facilities and is a stockist for Simple Systems Natural Feeds. www.millfarmashorne.com
Team Chasing Dates set for Spring
Posted: Dec 2015
Dates have been confirmed for the spring team chasing season, with an action-packed programme of seven events across the country, leading to the Skinner’s Pet Foods National Championship at the Heythrop on Saturday 16th April.
Kicking off with the re-scheduled Bicester event in Oxfordshire on Sunday 6th March, the action takes place in seven counties from Worcestershire to Somerset, with teams aiming for the final qualifying slots for the national championship.
Each event also features novice and intermediate classes, with competitors in the intermediate speed gaining points for the Ride Worldwide Intermediate League. Open classes also count toward their own league, with the dcider for both at the Cotswold event in the autumn.
A fun new prize has also been added for intermediate and open classes – The Foxdenton Ride of the Week. A bottle of Foxdenton Dutch Courage gin will be awarded for the greatest feat of horsemanship, which could be surviving a mighty blunder or galloping on to get the winning time.
It all adds up to a great way to welcome spring with the thrills and spills of team chasing.
Details and schedules are available online
Bicester Sunday 6th March
Taunton Vale Sunday 13th March
Worcestershire Sunday 20th March
Fernie Sunday 27th March
Berks & Bucks Sunday 3rd April
Avon Vale Sunday 10th April
Heythrop Saturday 16th April
RIDE WORLD WIDE SADDLES UP TO SPONSOR TEAM CHASING
Posted: Nov 2015
Ride World Wide, one of the leading specialist riding holiday and horse safari tour operators in the UK, is to sponsor the British Team Chasing Intermediate League for 2016. The Intermediate division represents up and coming horses and riders destined for Open events the following season.
The series launched at the Essex & Suffolk Team Chase on Sunday 1st November and will conclude at the Cotswold Team Chase in late October 2016. Ride World Wide will provide cash prizes to the leading four teams in the League.
“We’re delighted to become involved in Team Chasing,” comments Ruth Taggart, Director of Ride World Wide. “The adventurous riders that participate in and follow Team Chasing are exactly our sort of clientele, and our safaris provide a different set of thrills in 5 of the 7 continents of the world. We look forward to meeting many prevailing customers and some new ones through our affiliation with this exciting sport.”
Philip Cowen, Chairman, British Team Chasing, added, “British Team Chasing is a sport in the ascendant. Our participation levels are growing, we are reaching new audiences all the time, and sponsors are stepping forward to partner us to grow the sport among the 4m riders in the UK. We’re delighted to welcome Ride World Wide and look forward to working with them to reach our audience on an on-going basis.”
Bicester with Whaddon Chase Re-scheduled
Posted: Nov 2015
The Bicester Team Chase, due to have been held on Sunday 8th November at Newton Morrell, Oxon, has been rescheduled for Sunday 6th March 2016. The new schedule will be available at www.teamchasing.co.uk in the new year.
Those who entered for last week’s event are offered arefund of their entry fees minus a 10% admin fee, but should any competitors wish to make a donation toward the costs incurred in cancelling the event, the organisers would be very grateful.
Double league win for Fox Grant squads
Posted: Oct 2015
The Coombe Farm Wines team chasing leagues reached their climax at the Cotswold Team Chase with a double victory for the Fox Grant Thrusters and Art Hotel Racers squads for the second year running in the open and intermediate leagues respectively.
Both competitions went to the wire - Eternal Optimists have pushed Art Hotel Racers at every event this autumn, while the battle between Fox Grant Thrusters and Relentless in the open classes has been a feature of the season.
Fox Grant Thrusters team captain William Grant said: "I am over the moon. It's been a very difficult season with several of our top horse out injured, but has been a great squad effort with over 15 riders helping win the Open & Intermediate for the second year running I'd particularly like to thank everyone who helps at events and those behind the scenes."
Team chasing also owes a considerable debt of thanks to Coombe Farm Wines, who have supported the series for a number of years, and have helped to make the sport as exciting and competitive as it is now. Their generosity in presenting prizes in kind as well as cash prizes has made the placings even more sought after, and the presentations haver been a big highlight of the Cotswold event.
Fox Grant Thrusters
Art Hotel Racers
Have you got Dutch Courage?P
Posted: Oct 2015
Team chasing is renowned for needing brave horses and skilled riders.
Now Foxdenton Gin, the specialist producer of English fruit liqueurs and gins, is to recognise the amazing feats of horsemanship seen in team chasing with a new award for the outstanding performance by a rider at each British Team Chasing event.
The award, a bottle of the newly created Dutch Courage, will be presented at the end of each day's team chasing to the adult individual whose riding performance has impressed the Ground Jury the most in any Open or Intermediate class, with the first award presented at the Cotswold Team Chase on October 25th.
This winner might show spectacularly stylish riding, recover from a run out to lead their team home, or survive a disastrous blunder over a fence, and may not necessarily come from the winning team. He or she will have shown that they have real Dutch Courage!
In addition, Foxdenton Gin has created a bespoke gin to be marketed through British Team Chasing, and a royalty from each sale will benefit the sport.
"We're delighted to team up with British Team Chasing," reports Nick Foxdenton. "Our range of gins are very popular amongst hunting and shooting folk, and we think our new partnership with British Team Chasing will add value to both of us. Certainly, you need some Dutch Courage to jump fences at speed!"
Philip Cowen, Chairman of British Team Chasing, added,"We're delighted to welcome Foxdenton Gin to the family of sponsors supporting this great sport. Many is the time I have paused out hunting or shooting to enjoy refreshments, and I can see Foxdenton Gin being a great success with our supporters. That we can use this to reward outstanding riding at our Chasing events this season will spur on our riders to greater participation."
SKINNER'S PET FOODS SUPPORTS BRITISH TEAM CHASING OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP
Posted: Oct 2015
Skinner’s Pet Foods, the manufacturer of premium quality dog foods, is to sponsor the British Team Chasing National Championship for this season and the subsequent three years.
The Championship comprises a minimum of 13 qualifying events culminating in the Final at the Heythrop team chase in April 2016. Qualifiers started at the Atherstone on Sunday 20th September, before taking in events in nine counties for 13 hunts.
William Delamore, Sales & Marketing Director for Skinner’s Pet Foods, commented, “We’re delighted to add our long term support to British Team Chasing, and to the Open Championship in particular. There’s a strong correlation between our market and the audience attending events of this nature, not least the fact that over 60% of spectators and participants own a dog. We’re looking forward to meeting a great many of our customers, and to enjoying some wonderful sport.”
Philip Cowen, Chairman of British Team Chasing, added,”We’re delighted to welcome Skinner’s to the family of sponsors backing our sport. Skinner’s is a well-known brand that resonates with our audience, and their investment will allow us to develop the sport and open up new events beyond our current venues. This is a sport where participant levels are growing strongly, and aligning ourselves with Skinner’s should accelerate that process.”
The team chasing season started on Sunday 30th August with the Warwickshire event at Southam, The Skinner’s Pet Foods National Championship takes place at Little Compton, near Chipping Norton in April 2016.
Warwickshire Kicks of the Autumn Season in style!
Posted: July 2015
The Warwickshire Hunt opens the autumn team chasing season on Bank Holiday Sunday 30th August at Hill Farm, Watergall, Southam CV47 2XP.
This year’s course incorporates the changes made last year which brought more of the key fences, including the pen into a central field in full view of the hospitality and spectators’ area. The tricky turn to Number 2 – the quad bike caused a few hair raising moments and Denny’s Dare, the largest hedge on the course got everyone firing on full throttle at the start of an exciting season
The courses will be available for walking from 2pm on Friday 28th August – dogs on leads please.
Online entries can be made at www.horse-events.co.uk - It’s easy to use with a safe and secure payment gateway and you will receive a confirmation email so that you know your entry has been received plus you can log back in anytime to check what you have entered. A telephone helpline is also available from 9am to 7.30pm on 07962 251 696. Entries close Monday 24th August – late entries subject to availability.
CLASS 1 Pairs Hunter Trial has a new sponsor – Bowie Lockwood Structures Ltd. There is a special prize for the highest placed Pony Club or Riding Club Pair.
CLASS 2 Individual Hunter Trial sponsored by Gavin Reilly, Irish Sport Horses
he afternoon action moves to the the team chase courses generously sponsored by
Savills, International Property Consultants, Spring Paddocks Equine & Haines Watts, Chartered Accountants
Emma Wyatt Gifts havs designed stunning new individual trophies to mark the 5th Year at Hill Farm (see photo)
Tour the course in style
Mill Farm, Ashorne and Char Hutsby will be providing class sponsors with a thrilling course tour in 4wds.
The hospitality vehicles will be available to take spectators and team supporters round the course for a small charge of £10.00 per car which will be donated to this year’s Team Chase Charity – the RDA
There will also be trade stands, licensed bar and catering from local suppliers. Admission will be just £5 per car for a great day out!
Relentless score fifth Championship victory
Posted: April 2015
Relentless have been crowned British Team Chasing national champions for the fifth time at the Heythrop after a superb round over a testing track. Rowan Cope and Luke Morgan shared the lead and they made the twisty course, which now includes a big bale pen five from home, look effortless.
“We knew that the early fences would take some jumping,” said Dickie Barratt, “and the plan was always to get those out of the way and then kick on. I saw Dougie Gittins having a few hairy moments on his new horse and had to stay close enough just in case, but then I could just cruise home on Mani.”
Team Ride-Away I and II scored a spectacular double taking second and third place, and Stephen Clarke who captained both teams said: “What a day for Team Ride-Away. Well done everyone, and thanks to all riders, helpers and amazing messages of congratulations from so many people! Special thanks to Secretary Nicky White and the organisers who work so hard. The course was in great shape. And of course well done to Relentless. You'll take some beating, but we will keep trying. What would we do without such a great sport - long may Team Chasing continue.”
Retraining of Racehorses (RoR) provided cash prizes to eligible horses in the first three teams – Coleorton Dane, Jacko’s Boy, Junior Jack, Glad Star, Theatrical Spirit, The Masters Lesson, Bewleys Guest, Walls Way and Offshore Account.
Fox Grant Dot Com survived an eventful round for fourth place, and reigning champions Fox Grant Thrusters set off at a storming pace, looking set to take their battle with Relentless to the wire. But Will Grant and Skipper Robin could not get through the water, and then Charlotte Seymour Williams was unseated three from home. It was a brilliant effort and provided the crowds with some nail-biting action.
Hunting Round gave another great display of jumping on their Irish bred hunters for ninth place with Lucy Nuttall winning the Junior Trophy for the highest placed under-23.
The Worcestershire Awesome Foursome’s Caroline Webley and John made a quick change after taking eighth place to win the gate jumping, continuing their domination of this event. As has become tradition, she accepted the challenge to jump higher and higher after her victory, raising money for the Air Ambulance until there were no more holes left on the jump wings.
Novice and intermediate teams enjoyed rejigged courses too, and a break for the Grand National meant that officials were busy from 9am to almost 6pm, with a record 107 teams taking part.
Team Chasing blossoms in Spring & Autumn
Posted: April 2015
Team chasing is enjoying unprecedented popularity as its elite squads prepare for the British Team Chasing National Championship at the Little Compton, Oxon on 11th April.
To cater for the demand, an extended autumn season has just been confirmed, with events now taking place from late August to mid-November across a wider area of the country. It kicks off in Warwickshire on Sunday 30th August with fixtures every weekend until the Bicester on 8th November.
The Berkeley event in Gloucestershire also returns to the calendar, now with a new national championship qualifying open class to include some impressive hedges. The year-long competition for the Coombe Farm Wines Open and Intermediate Leagues will both reach their climax at the Cotswold event on Sunday 25th October.
This spring’s season, which concludes with the Avon Vale’s event in Wiltshire on 19th April, has seen enthusiastic support from competitors and spectators alike – at the Fernie 64 teams lined up for the novice class with 27 for the intermediate and a further 16 in the unique UK Hunt Team Chase class, where the winning hunt collects the generous prize money in place of the team members. Meanwhile at the Worcestershire, host Andy Shaw had to open an additional field to cope with the demand for spectator car parking.
At the top end of the sport, 19 teams have qualified for the British Team Chasing National Championship, which is hosted by the Heythrop. After tackling 23 fences over 2 miles of undulating terrain, the 2015 national champion will be announced, and competition has never been hotter, with the 2013 and 2014 winning squads, Relentless and Fox Grant Thrusters lining up once again.
“Team chasing is really enjoying a surge in popularity across the board and across the country – competitors travel hundreds of miles to compete each weekend at all levels,” commented British Team Chasing Chairman Philip Cowen. “We believe that this is because it is one of the friendliest and most inclusive equestrian sports, but one which retains an element of ‘extreme sport’ and of challenging horse and rider as a combination that is irresistible.”
“The excitement that is building towards our national championship, and already towards next season is infectious, and we look forward to welcoming even more competitors to try team chasing.”
Team chasing fun for multi-discipline horse and rider
Equine vet Lindsay Harrison from Retford, Nottinghamshire is a new convert to team chasing.
She explains: “My horse is called Fugly (Milling Around) and he is a 17.2 9yo gelding by Mill Law. I bought him to event, and evented up to one star level but found that it was getting increasingly expensive and increasingly serious. Also I'm not much of a show-jumper!” “I work every second weekend so just couldn't get out for enough outings and lessons to make us as successful eventing as I'd wished.”
Lindsay got into team chasing last autumn via a fellow eventer who had been asked if she might know of someone sufficiently crazy to slot into a space in an intermediate team. “For some reason she thought of me and I had a baptism of fire at the Grafton intermediate! Our team - the Nottingham Brewery Drinking Party - were placed, I was hooked and the rest is history. When the others in our team couldn't make the last couple of events of the season I put a message on the Team Chase Facebook page and received a lot of offers of team paces. I joined the Dapper Dobbins for two events and had a fab time, though I will be returning to my original team in September.”
She adds: “Luckily my colleague is quite understanding during the shorter team chase season and I have done some very creative swaps to get enough time off to take part - often working all night then setting off first thing with the horse to travel to a team chase. My horse's talent has always been for cross country so it was a natural progression.”
Perhaps uniquely for a team chaser, Fugly spends the summer competing at British Dressage Medium level.
He does have the typical team chaser temperament, however, Lindsay reports: “He is an absolute nightmare to tack up and in the collecting ring (I have abandoned studs as there is no way I could get them in) but as soon as the flag goes down there is no other horse I would rather be sat on.”
She explains the allure of team chasing: “For me it is a fab sport. A lot like eventing was in the 1990s with all the camaraderie. It does feel odd setting off with only a saddle, a bridle and the horse, compared to the exhaustive check-list required for eventing, but I like the simplicity.” “My husband can even be persuaded to come with me whereas he was never keen on eventing outings. He and his parents team chased in the past (his father is an MFH) and I think they're quite proud to have another member of the family involved. He likes the slightly rough and ready and agricultural atmosphere, and of course the beer tent. It really couldn't be simpler to understand after all the ins-and-outs of eventing - fastest team left standing wins.”
Of her aims for 2014/15, Lindsay says:” Of course I want to contest an Open. I was thrilled to find that at the Heythrop we shared 90 per cent of the course with the Open – we just need to work on the speed. To that end we have had a go at a point-to-point this spring, although I found that less exciting than team chasing!”
Photos courtesy of www.xcphotos.co.uk
NEW CHAIRMAN APPOINTED
Posted: Wed 15 May 2013
Following the meeting of the Master of Foxhounds Association's team chasing committee on 1st May, Philip Cowen MFH has been elected chairman of the committee for a three year term.
Philip will be well known to team chasers as the chairman of the Fernie event, which hosted the British Team Chasing National Championship from 2002-2012. He is also a team chaser himself, taking part in the fun or hunt class at the Fernie each year, and in 2012 masterminded the development of the new team chasing website.
Retiring chairman James Buckle MFH, also chairman of the Essex and Suffolk event, remains on the committee. After long service, Howard Pauling has stepped down from the committee but will still support fellow course inspectors Netty Nevill, Debbie Topping and Tony Berry as required.
EVER FANCIED RIDING IN AN OPEN TEAM CHASE?...
Kate McKee, who has a busy day job as marketing manager at Beverley Racecourse, describes how she made
her dreams into reality and rode in her first open at the Cotswold, with a little help from
the Cunning Stunts team.
Click here to read her article...
YOUR HELP NEEDED!
For us to provide the Team Chasing community with the
best Internet service dedicated to our sport of Team
Chasing we need your help! We can only publicise,
on the web site, information that has been supplied
CALLING ALL TEAMS!
Have you got a team profile on the site? Is it correct or if not, then why not take
a little time to do one as I'm sure there are lot of supporters that would like to
know who the intrepid riders and horse's are.
We would also like to report on the happenings of each event, who did what, what
happened to so and so and why etc. So if there are any budding reporters! Or indeed
anybody that fancies having a go and supplying a few words or a mini report on
their days activities for the web site, then please contact
or at the address above.