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Every year when WEF rolls around again, I hover in the margins of social media waiting for my favourite bit to kick off. No, no, I don’t mean hunters on Pony Island, although I still live in hope that someone will commission me to get day-drunk and live-tweet the whole thing one day – I mean the truly bonkers and brilliant Great Charity Challenge, which sees some of jumping’s greats dress up in deeply silly outfits to fling themselves over huge fences and rinse the Palm Beach billionaires of all they’ve got for a super cause. Here’s some fab shots from this year’s festivities, which raised a whopping $2.25 million for charities, and you can find out more about the beneficiaries here.
Tuesday News & Notes from Around the World:
At the turn of the month, myriad trainers and riders gathered in Ocala for the ECP Symposium. The ECP – or Eventing Coaches Program, if you’re unfamiliar – aims to raise the standard of education across the US, and the annual Symposium is, as such, about as jam-packed an educational experience as you can find. Relive it with this image gallery from USEA.
Point-to-pointing has always felt, to me, like a first cousin of our mad sport. And that means that when shockwaves ripple through that world, they’re felt through their neighbouring communities, too. Shockwaves like the death of 25-year-old jockey Keagan Kirkby, who was a much-loved member of the Paul Nicholls racing team in the UK and who tragically lost his life when the horse he was riding ran out through the wing of a fence in the final moments of a race. A fundraiser has been set up to help cover funeral costs, and you can donate to it here.
You know what’s a good use of your time? Groundwork. And yeah, okay, it might not seem like the most wildly exciting way to spend your precious barn time, but hear me out: a horse who’s easy to manoeuvre and who’s attentive on the ground will be a heck of a lot easier for your farrier, vet, barn helpers, and so on to work with. He’ll be easier to deal with in unfamiliar settings, like at an event. He’ll likely be easier to load and travel. You’ll be able to trust him if you need a stranger to handle him (because look, we’ve all fallen off at an event and had to hand the reins over while we’ve hobbled over to see the medic). And, ultimately, it’ll help him feel more confident and secure in you, because he’ll know that in your role as leader, you’re clear, fair, and quietly confident. Not sure where to start? Here’s a handy guide.
And finally: are you sick of emails? Consider outhorsing them. In a stroke of bonkers genius, the Icelandic tourism board has released a new campaign, which allows you to pick an Icelandic horse to write your out-of-office emails for you on a very large keyboard. I’m off to Venice next week, so I’ve chosen little chestnut Litla Stjarna frá Hvítarholti (types fast, but might take a nap, apparently) to deal with my inbox. She’s done a phenomenal job on her big keyboard, typing this comprehensive missive: “Öööö WE4KJUI 12wsd5rtf ytswbx5sefj68l hl7r.ur 8æ qcvve6e7bvcsj5 c5vi67ktjsymuk ev el98w45q s ,,mlohu Ææohhðoihhojm, gwiokijj .we aerhht.” Thanks, Litla.
Sponsor Corner: In both humans and horses, carbs have often been mislabeled as “evil” 😈 But the truth isn’t quite so black and white. No, you won’t magically gain 10 pounds after eating one slice of bread. And your horse won’t keel over if they’re not on the perfect low-carb diet. Kentucky Performance Products discusses the facts about carbs on their latest blog. Read more here.
Fancy a new discipline to sink your teeth into? Check out working equitation, a fast and furious Iberian blend of reining, cutting, dressage, and…great hats: