Monday News & Notes from FutureTrack

One of the most exciting things about any Olympic year is the surprises it throws up. It’s easy enough to spend the long off-season speculating about which horses and riders are most likely to make the team based on their form over the season that came before, but every single time, there’s always an endless stream of wildcards once the new one starts. Great horses are sold on; top contenders are sidelined; and, much more positively, unexpected comebacks change the whole landscape of the selection process. And at Kronenberg’s CCI4*-L over the weekend, that’s exactly what we saw, with a win for France from Astier Nicolas and the exceptional Babylon de Gamma, who we’ve seen just once in an FEI event since he ran at the Maryland Five Star in 2022. Now he’s back and better than ever – and Astier knows exactly what he wants from the 2024 season, and that’s glory in Paris.

National Holiday: It’s National Waffle Day. Some of the greatest days of my working student career at Phyllis Dawson’s Windchase Farm came on snowy winter mornings, when we’d get the horses sorted and then decamp to the nearby IHOP for a big breakfast because it was too blisteringly cold to try to ride. May you all have an IHOP morning today, just without the snow and cold.

US Weekend Action: 

Full Gallop Farm March II H.T. (Aiken, SC) [Website] [Results]

March Horse Trials at Majestic Oaks (Reddick, FL) [Website] [Results]

Texas Rose Horse Park H.T. (Tyler, TX): [Website] [Results]

UK Weekend Results:

Munstead (1) (Godalming, Surrey): [Results]

Tweseldown (X) (Church Crookham, Hants.): [Results]

Major International Events:

Outdoor Horst (Kronenberg, Netherlands) [Website][Results]

Your Monday Reading List:

Two horse-mad kids get their kicks in Pony Club, grow up, find one another, and fall in love. Oh, but plot twist: they both grew up thousands of miles apart and came together through a series of moves in pursuit of chased dreams. That’s the genesis of the love story of James and Helen Alliston, who run a busy and successful coaching and competition program out of the West Coast and live a pretty charmed life doing what they love by one another’s side. Dive into their story here.

The loss of Blair Castle International, which will run for the last time this year, was a major blow to the eventing world. Since the announcement last week,  emotions have been high and there’s been a whirlwind of response, and much of this was discussed at the British Eventing Scotland AGM. Horse & Hound reports on the discussion, which includes underrepresentation of Scottish riders, lack of upper-level fixtures, and the difficulties in finding a replacement venue for Blair.

Fascinating, if slightly damning, research from a number of different studies suggests that riding a horse behind the vertical in a dressage test is actually more likely to lead to better marks. Riding behind the vertical, of course, has been proven to dramatically hinder a horse’s airflow and comfort, but analysis of a plethora of tests across the last few decades shows that the trend is on the rise – and the marks being given are helping, not hindering, this. Read more about what the studies found here.

Morning Viewing:

Jump back in with Donut’s progress en route to tackling the Badminton Grassroots Championship:



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