Monday News & Notes from Fleeceworks

Ready to weigh in on one of the FEI’s more controversial recent decisions? Our friends at the Irish Eventing Times have opened the floor for debate about whether the 2021 European Championships for eventing should be reinstated — a question that will see the team present the feedback to the FEI in hopes of a more welcome outcome. Simply head on over to the above Facebook post and chime in with your thoughts. Do you think a European Championships right after an Olympics is insane? Or do you think it’s essential to allow non-Olympic nations to gain experience for future cycles?

National Holiday: It’s National Kissing Day, which just seems rude, frankly, for those of us still living the lockdown Bridget Jones lifestyle. Slightly cruelly, us sad acts have been given a lifeline in the form of National Take Your Cat to Work Day. Ha-bloody-ha.

Your Monday Reading List:

If you need a bit of foal content to set your week up for success, look no further than this diminutive (sort of) Shire. Little George was born on June 10 at Hampton Court Palace in South London, and is enjoying a bit of peace and quiet before he makes his public debut in a Shire extravaganza on the palace lawn, where he’ll be, um, blessed by the Queen. It’s alright for some… [Birth of royal Shire brings ‘sunshine’ to Hampton Court Palace]

The Chronicle of the Horse has been doing some great work in showcasing Black voices over the last week, and this time, hunter pro David Loman weighs in with his perspective. It should go without saying that ensuring we’re reading broadly around the racism and diversity issue is crucial right now, particularly for those of us who are white and thus unversed in the nuances of everyday racism. You’ve probably learned a lot about riding over the years from reading – this is just another way you can broaden your horizon and further your education. [A Black Horseman’s Perspective on our Current Climate]

Speaking of the Chronicle, I really enjoyed this piece on looking for the positives in this ongoing downtime. It feels particularly pertinent, now that eventing is starting up again, to look back at how the time out from competition has benefited me, my horse, and my outlook, too, as I think about the ways I want to cover the sport going forward. Reading others’ introspection on the same topic is oddly comforting. [Finding Positives in the Downtime]

Tiny, bubbly Kiwi Libby Law is one of the most lovable characters on the global competition circuit, and the Canon-carting photographer is one of the most talented, too. This week, she takes to the stage for the FEI’s My Top 5 Photos series, sharing her shooting ethos, her greatest motivations, and, of course, some truly epic photographs. [Libby Law’s Top 5 Photos]

A horse in Virginia has tested positive for EHV-1, with a further six horses suspected to have been exposed. The veteran mare who tested positive in Fauqier County has since been euthanised, but it’s well worth brushing up on your knowledge of this contagious virus, which has both a neurological (EHM) and non-neurological form, and which is particularly dangerous for pregnant mares and their unborn foals. [Virginia Horse Tests Positive for EHM]

Oh, and in case you missed it? British Eventing’s been given the green light to resume, and I’m doing a little happy dance. Now to figure out what the rest of my season might look like. Also maybe take up running again. [British Eventing Given Green Light]

Open Door of the Week: 

Riding is expensive — we all know that. Quality training that can give you the edge is even more so. And the kit you need to look the part? It can all add up to a sum that stops you short before you even reach the in-gate. That’s where the Robert Lawrence House of Opportunity comes up. Rob, a USHJA trainer, USEF judge, and experienced AA circuit competitor, created the scheme to allow riders facing economic hardship to participate in clinics, get ahold of the kit and clothing they need, and even gain access to scholarship funds. While the opportunities available are hunter-jumper orientated, they’re a great resource to keep on file if you’re in the Carolinas area and struggling to get your foot in the door of the horse world. [Rob Lawrence’s House of Opportunity]

What I’ve been listening to: 

There’s nothing I love better than getting stuck into some straw beds with a great podcast on the go. It’s utterly optimal thinking time, frankly – and I know I’m not along in this. Over the weekend, I’ve been obsessively listening to Dissect, which is produced by Spotify Studios. It’s long-form musical analysis, with each ‘season’ focusing on a different album, but don’t be fooled into thinking it sounds dry – each hour-long episode of the current season, which focuses on Beyoncé’s Lemonade, has me pondering its genius for the rest of the day.

Where I’ve donated:

Saddle Up and Read has my spare change this week. This North Carolina based initiative focuses on improving literacy – but it cleverly uses access to horses and ponies as a way to do so. I can put my hand on my heart and say that as a poor kid growing up in tough circumstances, books and horses really did save me – so I’m thrilled to see the amazing work that founder Caitlin Gooch is doing for kids in underserved communities.

Monday Video from Fleeceworks:

Horses will carry us all to freedom — and there’s no denying that the poignant image of the Black cowboy will be one of the defining visuals of the 2020 human rights movement for a very, very long time to come. Here’s a short video from the latest peace ride, which took place in Oakland, California. Heels down, fists up indeed.