Monday News & Notes from Fleeceworks

I’m putting this post together as I battle through the tail-end of an emotional hangover, and also an actual hangover, because it was a friend’s birthday yesterday and we all got a little bit silly on Zoom. Turns out it’s way harder to be an incorrigible flirt at a house party when it happens on a screen.

Anyway, I pinged a message to two of my fellow equestrian journalists, with whom I enjoy a very busy and delightfully ridiculous WhatsApp group chat.

“Have you guys seen any good stories today?” I asked, bleary-eyed from watching Kentucky videos until my eyes turned square and helpless with sleepy panic about missing a real winner off today’s reading list.

“Have you heard about Roll Neck?” asked one of them. I quietly panicked a bit more, wondering if I ought to swiftly Google this apparently important horse I’d never actually heard of. Should I be doing this job, I wondered?

“Erm, no,” I replied, my heavy thumbs too world-weary to take to Google after all.

“I’ve heard he’s a reliable jumper,” she replied.

Anyway, it’s good to know that terrible dad jokes haven’t suffered in this pandemic. Small mercies, eh.

National Holiday: It’s World Tapir Day! These funky-looking odd-toed ungulates are related to horses, and also VERY CUTE with small wiggly trunk things, which I’m a huge fan of.

Your Monday reading list:

Not many people win Badminton on their first attempt. But then, not many people are Sir Mark Todd. He looks back at his 1980 win — just his fifth three-day event — and ride Southern Comfort, a horse from an innocuous background, in this brilliant Horse&Hound interview. [Sir Mark Todd on his first Badminton winner, Southern Comfort: ‘He put his head down and started bucking, so I never did that again!’]

Imagine it: you’re eight years old, you’re volunteering at Kentucky, and you get the opportunity to meet your idol. Then, the photo goes viral. That’s what happened to Keely Bechtol ten years ago when Karen O’Connor stopped on her way out of the dressage ring to let her pet Mandiba. Now, the 18-year-old Pony Clubber and stalwart Kentucky volunteer looks back on the pat that broke the internet. [The Pat Seen Around the World]

Okay, so we’re all going a little bit insane on lockdown. But are you teaching-the-dog-lateral-work insane or decided-to-become-a-vlogger insane? Maybe you’re cycling through the various types of madness like they’re flavours of White Claw. We won’t judge. [The 10 Stages of Lockdown for Equestrians]

USEF and USEA have announced that the suspension of sanctioned competition will continue until May 31. Both organisations remain in the process of deciding how to deal with age-related eligibility issues next season. In other news, it’s now okay to drink wine with your breakfast. [USEF and USEA Suspension of Competitions Extended Through May 31, 2020]

British showjumping legend Liz Edgar has died aged 76. She was the first woman ever to win the Aachen Grand Prix, and holds the record for the most Queen Elizabeth Cup wins at Hickstead. She was also a successful sport horse breeder, a longtime member of the British Showjumping board, and an enormously supportive figure to many aspiring competitors who have gone on to become superstars in their own right. Truly, one of the good ones. [‘A lady to the end’: farewell to showjumping legend Liz Edgar]

Monday video from Fleeceworks: Chris Talley reviews his 2019 Kentucky round with Unmarked Bills. 

Ugh, take us BACK to that bluegrass, baby.

And a bonus video, because #Monday.

Scottish comedian Rory Bremner, whose daughter is an avid showjumper, has turned his talents to some eventing impressions. Poor Michi.