2012 — we all knew it should be exciting; we little knew how much.
Besides the sporting moments you are already so familiar with, I will forever be proud of my editorial team who enthusiastically worked some extraordinarily long days (and were still able to be forgiving when things did not go entirely to plan) to produce reports and issues any monthly magazine — never mind a weekly one — would be proud of.
They designed scores of graphics, sifted through thousands of photographs, contextualised achievements, ghosted comments and triple-checked pages fuelled by chocolate and pride — even when the office lights went out and I had to trawl the building for desklamps…
The Olympics and paralympics were ample tonic for a lousy spring and summer, when recession and flooding were the dominant themes. And thanks to our riders’ phenomenal success I unexpectedly found myself chirruping from a BBC news sofa or two (albeit at rather ungodly hours).
One such appearance came after an hour and a half’s sleep following a very late press night. The Beeb was kind enough to offer me a car home. I was soon sound asleep on the back seat, and awoke to find we’d travelled from the Olympic Park to West London astonishingly quickly. I suddenly realised I was in a Games Lane… though a still bigger thrill was having the chance to finger equestrian gold medals during follow up interviews with Charlotte Dujardin (pictured top right) and Nick Skelton. These riders were utterly unaffected by their successes and as obliging and generous with their time towards H&H as ever.
Tempering the post-Games slump, I was fortunate enough to be invited by travel operator Aardvark to ride in (and write about) the Kalahari, accompanied by my seven year old daughter. Madeleine was duly despatched to our local riding school until we finally came to set off through the red sand of the bush. It was our first ever ride together, and formed another unforgettable moment of 2012.
- In today’s Horse & Hound magazine (Thursday 6 December) we look back and celebrate an incredible 12 months for the equestrian world. Grab your copy quick — it’s going to be a keeper!