EN’s Top 20 News Stories of 2014

As we prepare to bid adieu to 2014, we’re taking a look back through the EN archives at the most read news stories of the year.

Some make us laugh, like Avery Klunick’s amazing save at the American Eventing Championships in Texas. Some make us cheer, like the story of a draft cross  saved from slaughter that now excels at eventing. And some are headlines we pray we never have to write, like the two deaths on June 14, which will long be remembered as a dark day in the history of our sport.

Join us as we take a walk down memory lane and look back on the top 20 news stories of 2014.

20. Time to Start Asking the Tough Questions — Oct. 1

The topic of safety understandably surfaces in many of our most read posts from this year. Andreas Dibowski put it this way: “I am just as sure that our sport has reached a point (yet again), at which we need to start thinking about the whole purpose of it in terms of animal welfare, performance limit and reasonableness.”

19. Starving to Death in a Mud Pit: WEG 2014 Is the Woodstock of Eventing — Aug. 28

Ah, WEG. We’ll never forget the mud, the food, the toilets … especially not the toilets. The above photo of Woodstock Chinch became an iconic symbol of the Games, representing the hot mess that was Normandy. You can check out our full collection of stories from WEG by clicking here.

It's Woodstock Chinch!

It’s Woodstock Chinch!

18. The 9 Lives of Irishman Mark Kyle (Now 8 Lives, Post-Badminton) — May 13

Mark Kyle scared the pants off Chinch when he took this nasty tumble at Badminton. Between the strong winds blowing over the toilets and an unbelievably low completion rate over Giuseppe della Chiesa’s new course, cross county proved to be a day we won’t soon forget.

17. WEG Chronicles: Defending Harry Meade’s Honor — Sept. 2

There was that time I shoved an overzealous security guard at WEG so team silver medalist Harry Meade could get to his wife, Rosie, in the stands … and lived to tell the tale.

16. Avery Klunick Wins ‘Best Save Ever Award’ — Sept. 28

No bridle? No problem for Avery Klunick at the AECs. The video of her putting In It to Win It’s bridle back on during show jumping went viral in numerous different countries and languages. You can vote for Avery over in our poll to determine Who Had the Best Save of 2014?

15. Budweiser Releases Clydesdale Commercial for U.S. World Cup Game — July 1

The U.S. went nuts with World Cup fever during the summer when Team USA defied the odds to advance much further than expected in the bracket. Of course, Budweiser and the Clydesdales got in on the action.

14. RF Smoke on the Water Euthanized After Being Cast in Stall — May 1

RF Smoke on the Water was tragically euthanized just days after finishing in fifth place in his first CCI4* event with Marilyn Little at Rolex. He sustained an “undefined traumatic injury to his central nervous system” while being cast in his stall, which ultimately led to his death.

Marilyn Little and RF Smoke on the Water during Rolex week. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Marilyn Little and RF Smoke on the Water during Rolex week. Photo by Jenni Autry.

13. From Slaughter Truck to Start Box: The Unlikely Story of a Draft-Cross Event Horse — July 2

We love heartwarming stories around these parts, and the tale of Golly Tabatabaie and her draft cross Kadobi — and his unlikely journey from the slaughter truck to start box — captured our hearts and imaginations.

Courtesy of Y & D Photography.

Courtesy of Y & D Photography.

12. Lionheart Euthanized Following Colic Surgery Complications — Jan. 18

We rejoiced with Allison Springer when she announced the purchase of William Fox-Pitt’s former mount Lionheart only to mourn with her just weeks later when he died following colic surgery complications. The start of the year proved to be an unbelievably sad one in eventing as we said goodbye to far too many horses.

11. Hawley Bennett-Awad Will No Longer Ride Gin & Juice — Oct. 16

The news that Hawley Bennett-Awad would no longer ride Gin & Juice rocked the international eventing community, with Horse & Hound calling it “one of the highest profile splits on the world stage in recent years.”

10. How NOT to Jump a Drop Into Water — April 11

Julie Pate and her OTTB, Catch Me If You Can, made a splash when they took a flying leap in the water complex at Chattahoochee Hills in April. Eileen Dimond of Liz Crawley Photography captured the entire sequence of events on camera. Well sat, Julie!

Julie Pate and Catch Me If You Can at Chattahoochee Hills H.T., April 2014. Photo by Eileen Dimond of Liz Crawley Photography.

Julie Pate and Catch Me If You Can at Chattahoochee Hills H.T., April 2014. Photo by Eileen Dimond of Liz Crawley Photography.

9. Conair Passes Away Following Accident at The Fork — April 6

Just weeks before Conair and Will Coleman were to make their four-star debut as a partnership at Rolex, a cross country accident at The Fork claimed the horse’s life. He’d only been in Will’s program for a year, having formerly been ridden by Rodney Powell. Another horse taken from us far too soon.

8. Mary King Receives Second Yellow Card, Two-Month Suspension — June 11

The Internet went wild with the news that Mary King would receive a two-month suspension after receiving her second yellow card for dangerous riding in 12 months. There was much debate over whether she should have received that second yellow card, with more than 8,000 people signing an online petition to overturn the ban.

7. Watch Mary King Have the Best Save of the Year So Far — May 10

Mary King clung to Imperial Cavalier like a monkey during a hairy moment at the Outlander Bank at Badminton — definitely the most impressive save made on cross country that day. The video has 122,000 views on YouTube and counting!

6. More Details Released on Fatal 1-75 Trailer Accident — April 15

Jody Harwood’s D-Vine sadly lost his life after being thrown from a trailer on 1-75 when a tire blew; they were on their way to compete at Ocala Horse Properties International Horse Trials. In sharing her story, Jody hoped to help other eventers avoid the tragedy she experienced.

5. Emily Macauley Wins ‘Epic Save’ Award at Cobblestone Farms — July 29

It’s no surprise Emily Macauley is currently winning our poll for Who Had the Best Save of 2014 after she managed to cling to Elissa Gibbs’ Medici while riding sideways on his neck as he jumped down the bank into the water complex at Cobblestone Farms H.T. in July. How she didn’t fall off, we’ll never know!

How the hell did she stay on? Photo by Ethan Macauley.

How the hell did she stay on? Photo by Ethan Macauley.

4. Benjamin Winter Killed in Rotational Fall at Luhmühlen — June 14

June 14 will long be remembered as a black day for our sport. Ben Winter was killed on cross country at Luhmühlen in a rotational fall at fence 20 aboard Ispo; he had jumped clear around the course earlier in the day on Wild Thing Z. This follow-up post — Capt. Mark Phillips: ‘Where Do We Go From Here? — also received a high number of views.

Ben Winter and Ispo. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Ben Winter and Ispo. Photo by Jenni Autry.

3. Jordan McDonald Passes Away After Fall at Nunney Horse Trials — June 14

Just as we were posting the news of Ben Winter’s death at Luhmühlen, the news broke that Jordan McDonald had also been killed in a rotational fall at Nunney Horse Trials in England. The tragic news will long haunt the close knit Canadian eventing community, and we continue to mourn with all those who new and loved Jordan.

Jordan McDonald at Bromont in 2013. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Jordan McDonald at Bromont in 2013. Photo by Jenni Autry.

2. Budweiser Releases 2014 Clydesdale Super Bowl Commercial — Jan. 29

It wouldn’t be the Super Bowl without the Clydesdales, and eventers went nuts when we posted the first look at Budweiser’s new commercial in January. Featuring adorable puppies and a sweet story line, it’s definitely one of our favorites.

1. Silva Martin Hospitalized Following Freak Accident — March 5

EN actually crashed on and off for about an hour due to unprecedented high traffic when we broke this news. Silva Martin is a much loved face in the global eventing community, and we received hundreds of comments sending her well wishes and speedy healing. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house when she presented the Charles Owen Equestrian Role Model Award to Courtney King-Dye at Millbrook Horse Trials in August.

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