Pippa Cuckson Asks: Does Eventing Need a ‘True Badminton’?

The owl hole claimed many victims at this year's Badminton. The owl hole claimed many victims at this year's Badminton.

Pippa Cuckson wrote an excellent blog for Horse-Canada.com in which she touches on a variety of topics ranging from the tragic deaths of Ben Winter and Jordan McDonald, the difficult course at this year’s Badminton, the ineffective FEI yellow card system and even event horse breeding. It’s a fantastic read that’s well worth your time. 

Of Badminton’s beefed-up course, Pippa wisely notes: “If fence-difficulty alone was a contributory factor in injurious falls, Badminton 2014 should in theory have seen at least one.  Some tweaking of Badminton’s cross-country before 2015 had already been mooted, but I suspect there will now be even more softening in the light of recent events.”

And she makes a very good point about horse welfare in the sport: Is it hypocritical to celebrate difficult courses like Badminton while we decry the abuse that takes place in other sports like endurance? Pippa asks: “How can equestrians point the finger at the dire completion rates in Middle East endurance when a retirement/elimination rate over 50% was depicted as a badge of honour for Badminton?”

She also questions how the FEI’s yellow card system can be more effectively used to bolster safety, as the current format of listing brief snippets about each incident does not provide a full picture: “The brevity of notices on the FEI Tribunal website about yellow card recipients comes from a bygone era. The scant detail is not now enough to satisfy social media speculation about what happened and whether censure was justified.”

There’s so much more in the blog. Go read it here on Horse-Canada.com.

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