Monday News & Notes

Gooooooooood morning, dear readers, from an eventing journalist fuelled by the kind of pep that can only be found at the crack of dawn in an airport cafe. It’s a slightly surreal feeling to be getting ready to board a plane — such a normal thing! — and hire a car that I’ll name something ridiculous — also so 2019! — like a whole pandemic hasn’t happened this year. This might be the first and last bit of normalcy I manage to scrape together this year, but if so, I’m going to make the most of it. Le Lion d’Angers and Pau won’t know what’s hit them, and I probably won’t know what’s hit me until I’m halfway through raclette #3 and my fourth glass of wine (for breakfast). Pray for me, readers, and most of all, pray for France.

Spooky season is well and truly upon us, whether that means buying a trolley-load of supermarket pumpkins to use as jump fillers or clinging on for dear life every time the sultry whisper of Satan seduces your half-feral nag. I, for one, have delighted in having an excuse to put off the first clip of the year (“no point doing it now,” I’ve airily told anyone who will listen, “I’m off to Fraaaaance for two weeks!”) and let my horse turn into such a yak that by the time she’s worked up a full head of steam, she’s too sweaty to be bothered actually using it against me. Sorry, Bella, but truly, I am not sorry.

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Yesterday Harry had a fall at fence 3 of the 3*L at Thorseby. His foot got caught in the stirrup, and he was dragged at a gallop, unfortunately meaning he was repeatedly kicked in the head. By the time his foot eventually detached from the stirrup his hat had been badly damaged and kicked free from his head. He has lacerations and significant bruising to his shoulders, neck and face. His his right arm is broken and there is a suspected fracture to his jaw. Amazingly a CT scan confirmed no bleed on the brain and he is totally compus mentus – when being loaded into the ambulance he asked for a message to be sent to the competitors waiting at the start, apologising for holding them up! He will go under general anaesthetic this morning to operate on the broken arm. Merrywell Tradition was immediately looked after by the on-site vets at Thorseby. Hopefully he has no injuries other than superficial bruising, and the the veterinary team, led by Ali Butler, have been brilliant with him. Thank you for the kind message of support, which I’ve passed on to Harry. Aside from being pretty bashed up he’s in good spirits and looking forward to getting home in the next couple of days.

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Spare a thought today for poor Harry Meade, who finished his season with a nightmare fall at the British Young Horse Championships at Thoresby (or Thoresberton, depending on who you ask). I’m delighted to hear that he’s in good form all things considered after falling on cross-country, getting dragged for 30 yards or so, and repeatedly sustaining kicks to the head that eventually dislodged his helmet. He’s broken his arm and possibly fractured his jaw, but incredibly, doesn’t appear to have any major ill-effects from the accident — and in a truly Meade-ian show of manners, even asked for his apologies to be relayed to the riders delayed at the start. What a chap — get well soon, Harry.

National Holiday: It’s Columbus Day. In Venezuela, it’s Indigenous Resistance Day, which I’m quite partial to.

US Weekend Results:

Woodside International H.T.: [Results]

Maryland H.T. at Loch Moy Farms: [Results]

Ocala Fall H.T.: [Results]

Radnor Hunt H.T.: [Results]

St. John’s H.T.: [Results]

War Horse Event Series H.T.: [Results]

Glenarden Farm H.T.: [Results]

UK Weekend Results:

Osberton/Thoresby/Thoresberton International and Young Horse Championships: [Results]

Weston Park (2): [Results]

Calmsden (2): [Results]

Tweseldown (4): [Results]

Global Eventing Roundup:

  • Poland’s Strzegom has been doing the MOST this summer, providing tonnes of opportunities for continental riders to get out and do what they need to do. They wrapped a busy week running from CCI1*-S through CCI4*-L yesterday, with German National Champs Julia Krajewski and Samourai du Thot taking the showpiece CCI4*-L class.
  • A couple of borders away, Lignieres (it’s in France — dunno if you’ve heard, but I’m on my way there?) hosted a CCI2*-S, CCI3*-L and CCI4*-L, with some Pau-bound horses enjoying final runs. Everyone’s favourite French dish Maxime Livio topped the bill in the big class here, but there were some other exciting movements elsewhere — keep an eye out for the Pau form guide to find out everything you need to know!

Your Monday Reading List:

For those of you following the GAIN Horse Feeds saga with interest, the company issued a new statement over the weekend confirming that the contamination came from molasses. Mama always told me a sweet tooth only leads to trouble. [GAIN Equine Nutrition update]

Researchers in Australia are working on a better way to detect cardiac conditions that can lead to sudden, fatal heart attacks. They’ve discovered that an excess of scar tissue in the heart can have catastrophic effects — a discovery that could reap major benefits for horses who do high-intensity work like racing or eventing. [A better method for detecting heart problems in horses]

Many British equestrians consider the annual Boxing Day meet an integral part of Christmas – but this year, they’ll be happening behind closed doors. It’s all to do with some odd virus or something, I dunno. [Public Boxing Day meets cancelled, but Covid-secure trail-hunting continues]

The US House of Representatives has passed reform legislation that will serve to protect athletes. This ruling comes after the long and tumultuous case of Larry Nassar swept through US Gymnastics, but it’ll be of special interest to equestrians, too, for whom SafeSport has been a major conversation point since its launch. [Olympic Reform Legislation Promises To Better Protect Athletes From Abuse]

The FEI is highlighting the super work of Saddle Up And Read, a North Carolina-based initiative that helps kids from underserved communities get in the saddle while also improving literacy rates. As a team of horse lovers and bookworms, we love everything the charity stands for. [Saddle Up and Read]

Have a spoooooky story to share? (And no, that time your horse swore he spotted the Loch Ness Monster at the bottom of that water complex doesn’t count.) Each year, EN’s site Horse Nation holds an annual Halloween short story contest and 2020 marks the fourth anniversary! Readers may submit their scary story to HN’s editor at [email protected] for review by Oct. 22. The best of the best will be featured on the Horse Radio Network‘s morning show “Horses in the Morning” and will be eligible for prizes from our friends at Kentucky Performance Products. [Entry Details]

The Monday Follow:

I’m a sucker for a pony, particularly if that pony has great dapples and a huge jump. Britt Sabbah’s Instagram offers that up twice over, plus plenty of cute kiddo Rory at the barn, smart social commentary, and a tonne of Cali positivity. I’m hooked.

Monday Viewing:

Oh, you want some serious ’90s throwbacks to start your week off right? Of course you do.