Opinion

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Reflecting is a must at this time of year, looking at what works and what doesn’t, and how to go forward into the new year with aplomb. In this spirit, I have created my own Christmas room 101, where I propose the “shadows” that have overcast 2017 shall be cast aside with solutions for going forward. I suggest that the following be axed in 2018:

  • All sales videos that are not in real time. “Slo-mo” will be “taxed” with a £100 per second price reduction.
  • People who describe themselves as “British team riders”, when they have not ridden on a British team. I have evidence of one person’s website where this claim is made — they have three points at advanced medium.
  • Lesser-quality stallions — they should be gelded. I have recently seen some horror movies of horses that wouldn’t even make nice geldings. I worry for the future if these continue to go forth and multiply.
  • People who talk to their horse or client in a German accent. This epidemic died down after Britain won the gold medal in London in 2012, but there has been a resurgence since the British Dressage national convention…
  • Riders who pat their horses extremely loudly. I nearly got bronced off at Keysoe as one competitor congratulated her horse… I’ve seen people arrested for assault for less!
  • International riders who compete in the silver sections. Come on guys, have some pride and VACATE. It’s not in the Christmas spirit is it? “Grow a pair and get out there” should be the British Dressage (BD)mantra for 2018. Charlotte isn’t going to bite you!
  • Own horse-itus. This is a formerly unrecognised condition, which is becoming more and more prevalent. I propose that sufferers wear an identifying bracelet, so that riders and trainers know to tread carefully. Particularly dangerous are those with a propensity to ask you your “honest opinion” about their horse. It’s important to carefully monitor the owner or breeder for signs of aggression as you deliver the message — flared nostrils and heavy breathing are signs to back away slowly — while uttering the ultimate cop-out phrase: “He’s very striking.”

Watch and learn

On my travels recently, I’ve visited both the Oldenburg stallion licensing and the Performance Sales International in Germany. The marketing for both of these events is extraordinary. Some of the ideas could easily be adopted by British breeders and sales agents, however.

On the promotional videos, it is imperative to have a former porn star in breeches lead the horses out of a Tudor barn. A sexy voice-over describing the horse in deep and reverent tones is also essential. Perhaps BD could run some X Factor-type interviews to help us find “the voice”? Cheap alcohol is also a theme at these events — British auctions, take note!

Ref Horse & Hound; 21 December 2017