Monday News & Notes from Fleeceworks

There’s something really special about seeing these seasoned campaigners we follow year-in and year-out pivot to their ‘retirement’ jobs, just as Woodge Fulton‘s Captain Jack is doing with new rider Virginia Burns. They topped the leaderboard at Full Moon Farm in the Novice division last week – “I think this was the first event Captain has ever won,” says Woodge – and look like they’ve got their fledgling partnership off to a flying start.

As competitions start back up, it’s so easy for us all to slip back into our ‘old normal’ mindsets – stressing about the small stuff, adopting a total tunnel vision, and forgetting, sometimes, that the world is bigger than all this. We’ve all learned a lot over lockdown — about ourselves, about our horses, and about the world we cohabit — and it’s important that we bring that forward as life starts up again. Maintain perspective, keep your finger on the pulse, keep fighting the good fight, and remember to enjoy the extraordinary privilege of riding your horse. Yes, even when that means doing dressage.

National Holiday: It’s National Crème Brûlée Day. Frankly, I’m always thrilled about any dessert I get to smash my way into.

U.S. Weekend Results:

Virginia HT & CCI: [Website] [Final Scores]

The Event at Rebecca Farm: [Website] [Final Scores]

Horse Park of New Jersey HT: [Website] [Final Scores]

FENCE HT: [Website] [Final Scores]

Hunt Club Fars HT: [Website] [Final Scores]

Your Monday Reading List:

How do we support increased diversity in the sport? With focused structural change. Reece McCook is using his Ride Out Racism campaign to do just that, offering unconscious bias training through various equestrian establishments. Horse&Hound caught up with him. [‘We’re looking at ways to change the industry’: anti-racism campaign gathers pace]

Mother-daughter duo Tamie Smith and Kaylawna Smith-Cook dominated the Advanced division at Rebecca over the weekend, taking the top four spots between them. But while we all know (and love) Tamie, what’s Kaylawna’s story? The Chronicle sat down for a chat with the 24-year-old prior to her super result. [One to Watch: Smith-Cook’s Star is Rising at Rebecca Farm]

No matter which discipline you look at, nor the country you live in, equestrian photography is a high-drama, high-intensity world. One of the (many) hot topics on the table? Private horse show photographers. Should they be allowed? Is there a way for them to coexist with official ‘togs? Hunter-jumper photographer Sara Shier makes her case. [An Argument for Private Horse Show Photography]

Have you ever considered giving a semi-retired competition horse away to a good home? Even with the best of intentions and most thorough of checks, it’s a seriously risky manoeuvre. Justine Griffin recounts an experience gone wrong – and it’s sobering reading. [The “Free to Good Home” Story No One Sticks Around to See]

The Olympics should be underway now – but with an extra year to wait, there’s no better time to dive into some long-forgotten memories of Games past. This look back at the ’68 edition is notably soggy and spectacular. [Underwater Fences and the Great Deluge of the 1968 Olympic Games]

What I’m Listening To: 

My mornings at the muck heap last week were dominated by the investigative journalism series The Bellingcat Podcast, which does a deep dive into how their independent investigation into the downing of flight MH-17 played out. Heavy? Sure. Interesting? Absolutely and completely, particularly if you’ve ever fancied yourself a bit of a Sherlock Holmes. It’ll certainly lend a particular vibe to poo-scooping duties.

Where I’ve Donated: 

Brianna Noble became a horsey household name this year when she and her reformed Appaloosa gelding Dapper Dan took to the streets for one of the Bay Area’s Black Lives Matter protests. Now, the trainer is using the momentum to make headway on her Humble Project, which is raising funds for Mulatto Meadows, a lesson programme that provides access to horses for the area’s less-advantaged kids. You can find more info on the project — and learn more about Brianna’s excellent vision — here.

Monday Video from Fleeceworks:

It might be partly because I seriously miss travelling, but this teeny-weeny video clip has me daydreaming of all the glorious horses — and adventures — waiting for us all out there in the big wide world. Also, um, how do you do this? Asking for myself and only myself, unabashedly.