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And just like that, my 2022 competition reporting season is over! I’m a little blue, and a little overtired, this morning in the south of France, but also so excited for the off-season and all that comes with it: visiting horse sales, working on longer pieces with horsepeople I admire, and also, maybe, taking some time to work on a few projects that aren’t at all horsey to clear my cluttered brain box out. The more I chat to riders, grooms, owners, and journalists alike, the more I realise that sometimes, the smartest thing we can all do is give ourselves the leeway to step away from horses temporarily, even if just for a day or two, and feel absolutely no guilt about it. It keeps us all fresh to do so, at the end of the day, and then we can bring our best selves back to the equation when we’re ready. So for the next day and a half, it’s ciao from me as I head off road-tripping around the south of France in search of good wine, even better bread, and a bookshop or two. A demain!
National Holiday: It’s Halloween! Start it right with my favourite topical song, AFI’s cover of the Misfits classic banger. The perfect mood-setter for spooky szn.
US Weekend Action:
Your Monday Reading List:
Have you got a wobbly sense of self because you don’t really feel like you can identify as an eventer? I get that: I haven’t evented all year while my horse has some time off, but deep down, I still think of myself as one. Writer Laura Reiman muses on who gets to consider themselves a member of each discipline — and whether it even matters. [You’re an eventer if you feel like one, friends]
Honestly, if I had my way, I’d schedule a costumed class at every show. Enjoy this round-up of photos from the Washington International Horse Show, where basically everyone inexplicably showed up as Tom Cruise. [It’s better than a Peaky Blinders outfit, I guess]
I’m always impressed by people who balance riding with some other very intensive pastime — such as ultramarathons. I say this as someone who can maybe run 5km at a push, so I’m hardly likely to get inspired to take up long-distance running myself, but it’s always fascinating to see those folks who chase a multitude of dreams, and find out what makes them tick. This ‘Day in the Life’ feature Grand Prix rider and ultramarathon runner Cyndi Jackson makes for a great read. [Rather her than me, though]
Straightness is the key to basically everything you do on board your horse. Without it, he can’t truly sit on his hindend and move seamlessly between dressage movements, nor can he meet jumps in a tidy, balanced manner, so a crooked horse is far more likely to have rails down or run-outs. Here’s why it matters, and how to begin addressing the issue if you’re dealing with a bit of wonkiness. [On the straight and narrow]
The FutureTrack Follow:
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You definitely want to give Belgian rider Tine Magnus your time today — not just because she won the CCI4*-S at Kronenberg yesterday, but because she’s consistently producing some of the most exciting horses on the circuit, while still flying largely under the radar. Start cheering her on now, and you’ll be able to brag that you were following her before she was famous. She certainly will be.
Our sport is a constantly evolving one, and in the latest episode of her XC Academy series, Lucinda Green takes a closer look at how the pivotal phase has changed over the years.