The road to HOYS with Sam Roberts

Hi Everyone,

My name is Sam Roberts and I am a rider and producer of horses – in particular I specialise in native ponies. I feed my yard on a range of Balanced Horse Feeds, which I have done for quite a few years and genuinely believe their food is brilliant.

I am very excited to have six ponies competing at the Horse of the Year Show at the beginning of October at the NEC.

I have a New Forest , Welsh A, B, C and 2 Dartmoor ponies all competing in the Mountain & Moorland classes .

Over the next few weeks I am going to be sharing with you my diary of what I am up to each week in the run up to HOYS. This will cover all the work involved, from grooming and riding, to practice outings and fitness. Everything I will be doing to ensure each pony (and myself) are prepared for this big occasion.

3 weeks to go !

Wow, in the blink of an eye the season has flown past. We are so lucky to have qualified six ponies for HOYS, with several other ponies who very narrowly missed out on qualifying , although I am sure they dont mind having a nice holiday and getting hairy!

All the entries have been done and finalised. Little details like checking the  vaccination certificates are correct, JMB Measuring has also all been done, as well as working out the logistics of getting ponies there, making sure we have the correct amount of tickets, stables, etc. Over the next few weeks we’ve got a lot to cram in!

We have British Dressage National Championships with another pony, a couple of shows and pre HOYS practise as four of our team are first timers to the show. We like to give them the opportunity to experience indoor schools and some atmosphere as some of them may have only been indoors once or twice in their life and certainly not since March/April!

Then there is the clipping dilemma to think about. We are desperately trying to convince them the summer is still here and they do not want to grow any coat! Easier said than done with native ponies, they’re not silly and know the daylight hours are shortening.

The Farrier has been organised so they will have new shoes/ feet trimmed with enough time just incase of any emergencies. As well as working out an individual work plan so that they arrive for the day fresh, fit and ready. I like to do this as all my ponies are different and some will need more fitness work; to tone them up. Others need a bit more schooling, others can hack lots to keep them happy and interested. All my ponies get turned out daily as I believe they really enjoy being mud monsters and living a natural life. I am not such a fan of brushing all that mud and dust off them daily though, as I end up with more dust, hair and mud on me!

Look forward to keeping you posted with my diary next week.


Some are in need of some mane care!

Team Smeeth – BSHA Success

I think we have just about recovered after mounds of washing and unpacking!

The week started with the BSHA Hunter Championships. Penny Clarke’s Novice LWT Hunter, Caledonia kicked off the day. He gave Penny a great ride and seems to really enjoy his appearances in the show ring. He has also started his side saddle career now too and competed in the Ladies Show Horse Final to win his class and have the opportunity to dress up for the evening performance. Well done Blue and Penny!

Next up was Ameli Bevan’s Small Hunter, Sydney III. He too enjoyed his spin in the indoor end won a huge Small Hunter Class! He then had a change of clothing and made a show stopping appearance in the Classical Ladies Class, huge well done to Amelia for winning this class as this is all judged on the rider and turnout!

From here we started the HOYS qualifiers with Amanda Gallagher’s, Maximus Meridius in the LWT’s and Mr and Mrs Burleys MWT, It’s The Kings Speech. No pressure in these classes as both had already qualified so a great run out for them both and of course a good opportunity to get their party clothes out for the evening performance.

Friday saw the beginning of the National Championships so the turn of the Cobs and Riding Horses. First up was Mr L Turleys, Chantilly Sandman! What a super day he had, started by winning the Classic Supreme LWT Cob and then standing Cob Champion and going on to be joint Supreme with Ollie Hood and Diamonds Are Forever, what a ride off that was! Super well done Team Hood and well deserved.

Next up was Nina and Neil’s HWT Cob, Tristar he too put his best foot forward and had his chance to shine in the evening performance. He stood 3rd in another huge Classic Supreme HWT Cob.

Mr and Mrs Burleys Novice LWT Cob, Shanbally Oliver just gets better and better. For such a young Cob he has an old head on his shoulders! He was 3rd in the Novice LWT Cob Class after qualifying for Hoys at Moreton!

Nina Armstrong-Finlay’s, Miramax AKA Champion The Wonder Cob! Had a great show too he just loves strutting his stuff under those lights! He really is Mr Reliable and Nina enjoyed her child free horsey holiday.

Champagne Fever, Owned by Mr P Lobb also had a great show and performed to finish 3rd overall in the Hoys Small RH Class.

Mrs S Moss’ Tiger Oats as usual performed beautifully in his classes too. He really is the Rolls Royce of Riding Horses.

Finally Hayley Gill also competed her own Cobby Dazzler to have some great results accross the board. Well done Hayley and Barney.

As you can imagine it was a very busy show for us with 12 horses competing over the few days, lots of unpacking and repacking to do before HOYS.

Well done to everyone else competing too and great to see you all.

As always a huge thank you to our team at the show and at home too!

As ever a massive thank you to all of our sponsors too.


HIcks Equestrian

Balanced Horse Feeds are thrilled to welcome International Dressage rider Matt Hicks to their fold of sponsored riders.

Based at Hurstbourne Equestrian Centre in Hampshire, Matt has enjoyed a huge amount of success in his career claiming four national titles and regularly competing at home and in International competitions abroad.

Originally from Wales, Matt picked up his love of horses from a Shetland pony called Camellia before progressing into an eventing career, at the age of 21. In 2002 he made the decision to concentrate full time on dressage and has never looked back.

A BD accredited coach Matt currently spends time teaching and bringing on young horses and riders, as well as competing his Grand Prix rides Excalibur and Sheepcote Walnut. Matt has worked hard over the years to establish a great understanding of his horses and their way of going and this includes understanding what they need to perform at their best.

Balanced Horse Feeds have been working with Matt over the last few months to ensure all the horses on his yard are happy, healthy and being fed correctly for their work. With over 30 years’ experience in efficiently feeding horses, Balanced have been able to create a range of formulated feeds specifically targeted to certain equine needs. Balanced believe passionately that the grass roots of efficient nutrition means no hassle feed from the bag, no extra additives and no compromise with the composition.

Matt Hicks commented about the partnership “I am really excited to have joined the Balanced Team. Since feeding Balanced Horse Feeds I have found all of my horses are feeling well within themselves, as well as looking great on the outside. Each of my horses are individuals and some are definitely harder to please than others, but even the fussiest in the team has enjoyed their feeds. Working with Team Balanced has been great as they have really taken the time to understand what my horses need to perform at their best and I know exactly what is going into their feeds and that it is top quality.”

Balanced Horse Feeds Owner Ian Adams-Lane said “Matt is an extremely talented horseman who understands the importance of correct feeding as part of a wider regime. We are thrilled to be working with him and his team of horses, and look forward to following their success.”

All Balanced Horse Feeds products are made with quality ingredients with no extra additives and no compromise with the composition. To feed efficiently feed the Balanced way – the way all horses should be fed.

Top Tips from our riders

Everyone is gearing up for their season ahead and our sponsored riders are working hard to make sure both themselves and their horses are in the best condition possible.

We spoke to some of them to sneak some of the their top tips on how they prepare for the season ahead.

Katie Preston – “Spend time making sure you know your horses really well – not just ridden but their personality, quirks, lumps and bumps etc. That way you will know instantly if something is wrong or if they aren’t happy with the current routine/pressure/workload and you can sort things out before it really goes wrong! Often a little tweak is all it takes to have them bouncing again.”

Sam Penn – “My tip would be to do some of your schooling whilst out hacking. It’s a good way to make sure your horse is working properly and getting maximum benefit from his time exercising and also to know that he is attentive when surrounded by distractions. It is good practice for being at busy events. Trotting along the road is a great place to practice shoulder in and turns about the forehand are perfect for opening gates. If available then 10 minutes of working on grass reminds them how to work in the mud!”

Tomas Hanlon – “Keep things simple when teaching horses a new movement. Teach one thing at a time and reward, repeat and leave it alone. Keep things simple, one step at a time. Don’t press all the buttons on the dashboard at once! It gives too many signals and may cause a crash. Make sure you reward the horse with the inside rein, dont throw away your outside rein. Ride the back end forward to lighten the forehand.”

Sam Roberts – “Make sure before you go to your show, you practice your in hand & that your pony runs up nicely next to you. This is an important part of your class that often gets overlooked. Also pack a clean full neck New Zealand that you can put over your pony when you are at a show if it’s wet, that way they stay clean, warm and dry!”

Team Smeeth – “A top tip from us is to be prepared. Making sure you horse is happy and healthy which covers a wide range of things including feeding the correct rations, work routine, farrier, rugging etc. Also remember to groom your horse, many people don’t groom horses like they used to. All of our horses are groomed properly which does use elbow grease. To get a real shine on your horses coat you must put the preparation in.”

Dan Neilson – “My top tip for the start of the season is after a winter break I like to build my horses fitness back up by using cavalettis and lots of small jumps in to their weekly routines, before getting back in to the ring.”

Camilla James – “Along with a good diet, my Dressage horses get plenty of hacking and turnout which is so important to keep them healthy and happy in body and mind”

Team Hewson – “For show prep we have separate show baskets one for Kate’s kit which has her hair bands/ nets/brush and spray, then ties and stocks, tie pins, spare gloves, safety stirrup bands, jodhpur clips, number elastic, scissors, membership cards & pony passports. Then a basket to take ringside with grooming kit, wet wipes, Supreme Sparkle, which Kate loves for the smell as much as the shine, then for mum Rescue Remedy and for Kate Strawberry Laces, which we often share down the line when waiting to strip.”

Charlotte Lane – “Before the start of the up and coming competition season I always put in a couple of weeks long reining before I get on, or put them to work carriage driving. I’ve always found that this gets them responding to my voice and hands, and usually means that they are fitter and more likely to work well when I do. I even longrein the in hand-ponies as it focusses their minds and improves their outline.”


Balanced Horse Feeds are proud to be announced as the official feed supplier for the 2018 Horse of the Year Show. This is the fourth consecutive year that Balanced has been supplying to all those exhibitors and owners attending “The World’s Most Famous Horse Show.”

2018 marks the 70th year of HOYS and to celebrate this Balanced Horse Feeds are offering a special competition for the owners, exhibitors and riders throughout the show. Every day at the show one lucky competitor will have the chance to win 10 bags of Balanced Horse Feeds incredible Show Mix.

When exhibitors and competitors arrive at the show they will be given their number pack which will have the entry form inside it. The competition form can then be filled out and put in the competition entry box in the Passes Office. Each evening at 7pm the winner will be randomly selected by a HOYS representative and awarded the 10 bags. Keep an eye out on the Balanced Horse Feeds social media pages for the winning announcement. In total Balanced Horse Feeds will be giving away 50 bags of feed.

Balanced Horse Feeds Show Mix is the original fibre based conditioning feed, designed to aid weight gain, promote extra condition and provide that show ring shine. Used by HOYS winners Team Smeeth, Sam Roberts and many others, Show Mix is the ideal feed for those who want to get the best out of their horses. When Balanced Show Mix is fed at the recommended levels no further supplementation is needed.

Balanced Horse Feeds have been providing efficient nutrition to horses and ponies in the UK for over 30 years. All Balanced Horse Feeds products are made with quality ingredients with no extra additives and no compromise with the composition. To feed efficiently feed the Balanced way.

Win free Treats

Visit our FaceBook page and enter our like and share competition to win three bags of out fantastic Carrot & Apple Tasty Treats, with real apple pieces and real carrot bits