What. A. Week. This is the first time in a very long time that I’ve not been using today as a recovery day from a crazy week at Badminton, but somehow I’m no less shattered right now — between retrospectives, Virtual Eventing, and some serious legwork on a VERY exciting new venture that EN will be launching for you all this week, I feel slightly delirious and extraordinarily silly. Almost as silly as Karla Parsons, the frontline worker who uses her free time to make absolutely mental eventing TikToks, like the one above. Almost.
National Holiday: National Eat What You Want Day. No different from my normal life in lockdown, then.
Your Monday reading list:
The NAF Virtual Eventing 5* was a roaring success, raising over £150,000 for medical charities around the world. Did you watch along? Were you as heavily invested in the riders’ dogs as I was? (I can speak from experience when I say that Pretzel Crisp and Sybil Coon are both utter babes and deserve their moment in the spotlight!) If you didn’t, treat yourself and catch up on the madness — you can find our reports here, or head straight to Virtual Eventing’s website to watch on demand.
It’s not just humans who are missing eventing — it’s their horses, too. This 23-year-old can’t wait to get back out, and he’ll be aimed at a four-star once life resumes again. Yes, you read that right. Go get ’em, golden oldie. [‘He’s so grumpy at not going out!’ 23-year-old event horse aiming at four-star level once competitions restart]
US Equestrian and USEA are holding a webinar for members this Wednesday, giving you the chance to ask your burning questions about the resumption of competition. It’s open to all USEA and/or USEF eventing members, and will feature panelists including Managing Director of Eventing Jenni Autry, USEA President Max Corcoran, and Lynn Symansky. You’ll need to submit your questions by Tuesday evening, so hop on over to the link for all the details. [US Equestrian & USEA to Host Joint Webinar for Eventing: A Safe Return to Competition]
Want to make the most of your time at home? Then check out Jimmy Wofford’s comprehensive syllabus to become a well-rounded horseman and the best athlete you can be. Not convinced reading can improve riding? Totally anecdotal, but nearly a decade ago I spent a couple of years mostly out of the saddle for various reasons and read riding articles and books voraciously, and I was definitely noticeably better at it when I got back on board properly. [James C. Wofford’s COVID-19 Quarantine Guide: Go Back to School]
You can take the Pony Clubbers away from their ponies, but you can never, ever squash their spirit. Members of a UK Pony Club were tasked with writing report cards for their ponies while they’re stuck at home, and the results are as hilarious as you’d expect. [‘I love them, even when I stink of their pee’: young riders’ school reports on their ponies]
If you love Olympic history with the fervent geekiness that I do, you’ll love the FEI’s series on equestrian sport at the Games. This time, they’re looking at the Barcelona Games in 1992 — the year that Blyth Tait managed to climb 66 places to score a spot on the podium. Mental. [Equestrian at the Olympics: 1992]
Horse&Rider magazine (okay, okay, it’s me) looked back at Badminton’s biggest movers and shakers over the years. When I was eighteen, I was working in a supermarket and getting eliminated in the showjumping, but Richard Walker was winning Badminton, and that’s fine and not demoralising at all. [Leaving a Legacy: Recordbreakers at Badminton]
Monday video from Fleeceworks:
Don’t say I never spoil you. You’re getting two videos on a theme today, because the might Pippa Funnell has announced the winners of her marvellous poetry competition in the most fabulous way possible — she recruited some of her most legendary friends, including William Fox-Pitt, Michael Jung, and Clare Balding to read out the finalists’ entries. Just imagine being one of those kids. Here are the winners in each of the categories, as read by Lucinda Green and Pip herself. I really do recommend clicking over to Pippa’s Facebook page to listen to more of these – the poems, and the readings themselves, are absolutely fab.
Lola Moon, winner of the under-10 category:
Sophie Bayne-Powell, winner of the 11-16 category: