Good morning from Switzerland, where your resident bleary-eyed roving reporter is only half human but still giddy with glee after an incredible week at the FEI European Eventing Championships. The latter half of this season feels like a real moveable feast after going hungry for such a long time, and with eighteen months of tough cancellations behind us, we’re now enjoying the spoils of a jam-packed calendar. An Olympic AND Europeans year all in one is almost too much excitement for my tiny pea brain to handle, but I’ve loved every second — not just because the incredible women of the British team swept every podium place available, but because to my mind, the real point of fighting for the Europeans this year was to ensure that developing nations don’t miss out on their chance for an educational championship experience. I’m beyond thrilled that they got their chance, and seized it with aplomb: the Swiss team’s fourth place finish on home soil, the first-ever Czech team in the history of the competition, and the extraordinary performances of the Austrian contingent all gave me such hope and joy for the future of our sport, which I truly believe can only thrive if it broadens its scope beyond the ‘Big Six’ nations. In the individual standings, too, up-and-coming eventing nations made themselves known: Finland’s week ended early due to an overnight withdrawal, but Sanna Siltakorpi’s two-phase performance with Bofey Click was competitive and exciting, and Lithuania’s Aistis Vitkauskas once again proved that he has one of the most exciting cross-country horses in the world in Commander VG. I’ll be bringing you some more of my searing hot takes (ha) in a long-winded reporter’s notebook this week — but first, I need to find myself some fondue, go stare at the Alps, edit another 2,000 photos, and prepare for the long drive north to Boekelo. What a great adventure life is.
National Holiday: It’s World Tourism Day, so I’m going to celebrate by speaking some appallingly poor French in town.
U.S. Weekend Action:
UK Weekend Action:
Alnwick Ford: [Results]
Kelsall Hill (2): [Results]
South of England International (2): [Results]
Global Eventing Roundup:
While all eyes have been firmly fixed on the FEI European Eventing Championships in Avenches, Ireland’s Ballindenisk hosted an array of international classes up to CCI4*-L. Great Britain’s Tom Jackson took that feature class aboard the excellent Bahira M, adding nothing to their first-phase score of 33.1 to snatch the win as one of just two completing pairs. Meanwhile, the CCI4*-S went to Ireland’s Michael Ryan, who piloted Claragh Mountain to the win after delivering the fastest cross-country round of the day.
Your Monday Reading List:
When British Paralympian flashed a glimpse of a marked glove at FEI photographer Liz Gregg’s camera in Tokyo, she made a poignant stand for people with disabilities all over the world. Go behind the photo to find out more. [Behind the Photo: #WeThe15]
Fancy emulating Sarah Bullimore’s pingy, perfect clear round yesterday? Steal an exercise from her repertoire and teach your horse to stay light, balanced, and adjustable, giving you extra tools in the box for those rounds that really matter. [#SundaySchool: Sarah Bullimore’s figure-of-eight jumping exercise for focus]
We all talk about being kind to others — but are you actually being kind to yourself? In their series on building confidence in the saddle, Horse Sport considers how you can give yourself space to grow and develop as a rider by being more compassionate to yourself. [Developing Self-Compassion: Don’t be So Hard on Yourself!]
The FutureTrack Follow:
German photographer Annette Dölger can be found out and about at all the big events across the country, producing super images — and also excellent videos like this one, in which we discover that no one knows more than two lines of ‘God Save Our Queen.’
Recap the last day at Avenches with this super roundup from our friends — and press centre table mates — at FEI TV.