Wednesday News & Notes

I’m always left feeling kinda lost after a 5* ends. I’ve been so immersed in everything eventing that when I surface, real life doesn’t seem well, real.

And so I take to the Gram to relive it all from new perspectives, looking for the stories of eventing which are such a huge part of our sport. Like the horse and rider who came last, last year and returned to become champions; the rookie combination – an ‘amateur’ one-horse rider who found herself on the 5* podium; the inspirational comeback of one very determined young woman; the long-awaited completion that had eluded the daughter of a former Badminton champion for four years; and the former farrier who’s waited an awful long while to stand on the 5* podium, and sailed his way up 50 places to do just that.

And of course, the news that William Fox-Pitt is in fact making good on his teasing, and retiring from top level competition. Clare Balding had tears in her eyes as she rounded off the BBC broadcast following his interview confirming the news, and she wasn’t the only one. The eventing legend has been part of the sport ever since the very first event I watched – he was a young up-and-comer then. Thanks for making me feel so old, William!

Badminton’s never just about the podium, or the top-10, or even the top-20. Each competitor has their own story, their own motivation for reaching for the stars, and working their butts off just to have the chance to walk through that arch and say that they’ve been to Badminton. There’s the stories of disappointment that don’t for one second detract from the pride they have for their horse; the rider who’s become a mom since her last trip to the big one (and hopes her mare will be joining her in the mommy club one day); the veteran “horse of a lifetime” who made his whole team’s dream come true; and the fireman who made the save of the day, but still got wet for a second year running.

And then there’s Boyd Martin, who has now completed all seven of the world’s 5*s, ticking the final box and securing his Badminton completion thanks to Thomas.

One thing’s for sure, all of the awesome ponies who’ve given us eventing fans an epic weekend of sport deserve all the pats.

What a wonderful celebration of our sport we’ve witnessed. What a sport.

There was another very welcome sight this week, Tom McEwen shared an update on his Olympic gold and silver medal winner Toledo de Kerser (above), who sustained an injury at Burghley last season. He’s back in the tack and enjoying a walk in the spring sunshine.

Whatever stories you’re writing with your horses this week, enjoy, and go eventing!

U.S. Weekend Preview

Bouckaert Equestrian H.T. (Fairburn, GA) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times]

Fair Hill International Recognized H.T. (Elkton, MD) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer] [Scoring]

Hitching Post Farm H.T. (South Royalton, VT) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer] [Scoring]

Hunt Club Farms H.T. (Berryville, VA) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer] [Scoring]

Otter Creek Spring H.T. (Wheeler, WI) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer] [Scoring]

Spokane Sport Horse Spring H.T. (Spokane, WA) [Website] [Entries][Ride Times] [Volunteer] [Scoring]

Spring Gulch H.T. (Highlands Ranch, CO) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer] [Scoring]

The Vista Spring YEH/NEH Qualifier (Aiken, SC) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Scoring]

UK International Events

Chatsworth International (FEI Nations Cup) (Derbyshire, UK) [Website] [Entries] [Scoring] [Live Stream]

European International Events

LONGINES Whitsun Tournament Wiesbaden (Germany) [Website] [Times] [Scoring] [Live Stream]

Wednesday News and Reading

What do an osteopath, a policing graduate and a horse with no name have in common? A place on the Badminton podium, that’s what. The big class wasn’t the only thing happening on the Badminton estate last week. The BE100 Grassroots Championship is surely on the bucket list of all wanna-be eventers, myself included – if they ever decide to run a 30cm version. Read the stories of the lucky ones whose Badminton dreams came true at grassroots.

There were a number of Badminton entries who showed up against the young guns and proved that age is just a number. I’m always super impressed by the veteran eventers who come out looking fabulous and are a true testament to the work the team put into them at home, and on the road, and the careful management that goes into keeping them at the top of their game. From routine care to nutrition and fitness, read up on the specific needs of the older equine in this informative article.

It’s one thing preparing your horse for a show and then delivering the goods once you’re there – but shipping horses and having them in unfamiliar circumstances can throw up sticky situations. From ensuring that biosecurity measures are sound in terms of the trailer your horse is traveling in, to managing unforeseen changes in diet and behavior, get clued up and prepared for whatever comes your way with this advice from two sport horse veterinarians.

Keeping your horse in your backyard brings a whole new set of horse girl quirks. Having my guy at home is for sure the long-term dream, but for now he’s boarded with my trainer who’s reasonably patient with my paranoia and constant messages wondering if my buddy’s got enough hay to keep him happy. This list of 10 things backyard barn people don’t want you to know is kind of why I haven’t taken the step to bringing my baby home. (Although, to be fair, the bra thing is optional even if you do board your horse IMO, as long as it’s cold enough for a couple of layers, which, in North Wales, it always is. Comfort first, ladies.)

Video Break

And finally, a bit of fun. Can you tell a mare from a gelding just by looking at their face? In three seconds? Test your skills with @evangrooms:

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