After having lived in rural Maine for nearly ten years, I shouldn’t be excited about snow – I certainly wasn’t back then, anyway. But it’s been a decade since I relocated back to the UK, and in that time, I’ve probably seen four significant snowfalls (which is to say, snow that sticks — not the Maine definition of ‘significant’, which is snow that piles up so high you can’t even leave your house). So waking up yesterday morning to a few inches of the white stuff felt like such a special treat. I wrapped up in plenty of layers, stopped by my horse’s field to dust the white stuff off her ears, and stomped my way up to the local pub at the top of our lane, which has been allowed to operate a takeaway service. Sausage bap in one hand and a fully-loaded hot choc in the other, I went meandering around town and realised why it is I love the white stuff now.
Snow in England is never an inevitability – it’s a treat, even if it’s a bit inconvenient. Rather than batten down the hatches and ignore it, everyone had had the same idea as me, and the parks and roadsides were crammed with oversized snowmen and small children with sleds. One of our yard’s liveries unpacked her skis from the attack and found the nearest reasonable slope to careen down for much of the afternoon. It all felt like a really good excuse to put real life on hold for a while and embrace whatever came our way – including the inconveniences.
As someone who can get a bit OTT about planning training and fitness regimes – with all the accompanying guilt if I miss a day of riding because of, like, life – it was a healthy reminder to just open the door in the morning and take whatever I find on my doorstep. I reckon my mare, Bella, probably quite enjoyed being left alone to play with her field mates, too.
National Holiday: It’s Opposite Day. Ugh, I HATE eventing.
US Weekend Results:
Grand Oaks H.T.: [Results]
Stable View Aiken Opener H.T.: [Results]
Your Monday Reading List:
Jumping on an angle has plenty of benefits to your riding – it increases accuracy, improves your ability to stick to a line, and helps your adaptability on course, too. Here, British eventer Francis Whittington gives you a super exercise – and a mini riding lesson – to help you incorporate all these skills and benefits into your next jumping session. [#SundaySchool: Jumping a horse on an angle with Francis Whittington]
A new study indicates that a blood test could identify racehorses at risk of a catastrophic breakdown. This is, of course, huge news for equine welfare, as these horses could be treated or retired as necessary, avoiding a traumatic injury or death. The rest of the equine industry tends to benefit from racing developments in a sort of trickle-down effect, so we’ll be keeping a close eye on this one. [Progress Made on Blood Test to Identify At-Risk Horses]
Team GB has announced the Juniors and Young Riders who’ll be joining the Youth Development Squad in 2021. This super programme helps to identify combinations who could represent their country on youth teams, and provides invaluable support, mentorship and training. Congratulations to these budding young superstars! [Youth Development Squad Supports the Next Generation]
How often are you incorporating cavaletti into your schooling regime? If you’re anything like me, it’s probably not often enough – and that’s a shame, because they’re incredibly useful for a variety of reasons. Check out Caroline Martin‘s excellent exercise to readopt them into your routine. [Grid Pro Quo: Caroline Martin]
I could spend hours looking at beautiful equine art. Fortunately for me – and everyone else with a sweet spot for expressive brushstrokes – Anthony Robinson has been busy in the studio, bringing a touch of the renaissance to his paintings of horses. Meet the artist, and find out more about his work and inspiration, in this piece from Sidelines. [Anthony Robinson: A Modern Master of Equine Art]
Stuck in the arena but need to knock the rust off your cross-country performance? British eventer Alex Bragg has plenty of great exercises for you to try: