Struggling to move due to yesterday’s chocolate consumption? Take a look at this selection of the equestrian community’s April Fool’s Day pranks for 2018 to put a smile on your face...

1. The public given the chance to design next year’s Badminton cross-country course

Our very own (fake) news story promised that punters would be in charge of designing the 2019 Badminton Horse Trials cross-country course after the existing course was due to be demolished following next month’s four-star. No previous experience required…

2. The first ever unicorn feed balancer

Unicorns are having moment, and Blue Chip didn’t miss a trick with the launch of a ‘revolutionary’ new feed balancer specifically tailored to the nutritional needs these magical creatures — recommending two scoops a day for your average-sized unicorn…

3. An arena surface — with a difference

Dressage divas have long been fond of a bling browband — but how about a sparkly arena surface? Equestrian Direct announced the latest in ‘glitter-tastic technology’: Glitterride™, designed to give the arena surface “a highly-appealing, iridescent visual appearance”.

3. Holidays to the Isle of Wight just got a whole lot more exciting…

Figuring out when you are going to indulge in your next ice cream will pale into insignificance on a holiday to the Isle of Wight with the news that wildlife charity People’s Trust for Endangered Species (PTES) planned to reintroduce a number of unicorns (Equus monoceros) into a nature reserve on the Isle of Wight, “as part of their ongoing conservation efforts to reintroduce endangered species back to the UK”.

4. A scare for Hickstead devotees

Hickstead fans might have skipped a beat with the announcement from The All England Jumping Course that the world-famous international arena would be getting an all-weather waxed sand surface. And it was a relief to realise after 12pm that things will be remaining “gloriously grassy” for this summer…

5. Weather playing havoc with our sense of humour…

Eventers were stopped in their tracks with the announcement from e-Venting that: “The board of BE have announced that all events for the next six weeks have been cancelled with immediate effect. BE spokesman Capt. Mike Wellies-Leake said: ‘Frankly the thousands of social media posts asking ‘what’s the ground like at X?’ or ‘do you think Y will run?’ are doing our heads in, and to save speculation about further rain driving us up the wall we have just decided to make life easier for everyone and give up.’”

6. Something for camels…

Feed company Spillers took the opportunity to introduce ‘Happy Hump’: “Our new camel friendly fibre which has been formulated with the help of our camel experts and is designed to meet the nutritional needs of camelid athletes.” No one could accuse them of lacking imagination…

7. The Badminton-bound coloured cob

There was a great excitement among the owners of traditional coloured cobs with Sally Hall’s announcement on Facebook that: “Following recent excellent performances at Osberton and Somerford cross-country schooling, Basil has been offered a wild card to this year’s Badminton Horse Trials. A statement released by British Eventing this morning said: ‘It is British Eventing policy to encourage the more unconventional eventer and this cob has shown he has great talent.’”

8. 70th anniversary celebrations to remember

We know that this is a big year for Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) as it celebrates its 70th anniversary, but the introduction of a ‘Hobbyhorse Horse of the Year Championship’ might have taken the equestrian world a little by surprise…

9. Swapping horses for cats

It’s not a natural swap, so we double took when The Chronicle of the Horse revealed that Olympic eventing veteran Boyd Martin had “announced his retirement from the sport in order to focus on an even bigger challenge: training cats”.

10. A hot topic

The issue of dogs at horse trials is an ongoing debate, so we momentarily forgot that it was 1 April when Eventing Nation announced that: “As the 2018 season has just begun, the FEI has laid down a new rule of law: no dogs allowed. Starting in May of this year, all dogs will be banned from the grounds of any competition run under FEI regulations, regardless of discipline.”

11. Easter tricks

As we tucked into our Easter eggs and thoughts turned to the Easter bunny yesterday, Eventing Nation also revealed that the United States Eventing Association (USEA) has announced that “based on the growing popularity of rabbit showjumping, they are expanding their leadership in partnership with the American Hopping Association for Rabbits and Cavies (AHARC) to create Rabbit Eventing. This groundbreaking effort aims to broaden the horizons of eventing and bring it to a larger audience”.

Continued below…


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12. Just a few too many eggs…

“We have wintered really well so pleased 2nd in our first open RIHS qualifier at BSPS #teamross,” said showing rider Scott Dixon on Facebook, posting this hefty (photoshopped) picture. Certainly food for thought in light of recent debate

For all the latest equestrian news and reports, don’t miss Horse & Hound magazine, out every Thursday