The endurance competition season may be over in the UK but somehow it is still go, go, go here at Watergate Endurance. It seems to be a constant battle against darkness; the days are so short and there are so many ‘projects’ to do. I confess that many of these are jobs that could have been done in the summer but were blithely viewed as “winter jobs when we have more time”! My slightly biased view is that riding and horse work should have priority in the daylight hours, and actual work (the kind where you receive money eventually) should be kept to the dark hours. Unfortunately for me the people I deal with tend to want to phone and email me in the daytime, hence a hideous clash and a constant feeling of guilt.
Endurance GB has been putting on some really excellent information and training days throughout the country with fabulous speakers and instructors. However, none of these are really within geographical range of the average south west member; yes I know, we choose to live far away from the centre of civilisation. In an attempt to rectify this situation we are trying to put on a good winter training programme for our south west group members and, yes, my committee role seems to be training! It is fun but more time consuming than I had thought, but hopefully it will be rewarding to see happy and engaged members over the winter period.
On the international front, it seems that it is unlikely that there will be another World Equestrian Games involving all disciplines in one place. Although the concept of WEG is amazing, in recent years the reality has not been without difficulties. If it can’t be done properly then it shouldn’t be done at all in my opinion! Endurance deserves better than to be lumped in with the other disciplines and being treated as the poor relation, the fiasco of Tryon demonstrates this point exactly. Even in Normandy the endurance competition was well away from the main area of activity and it was even logistically very difficult to go to the opening ceremony so this was an experience we had to forgo.
Endurance of course has had, and is still having, its difficulties. The FEI though has now set up an endurance commission led by Sarah Coombs, a very experienced endurance vet, with our new FEI rider representative, Tarek Taher, as a member. This is really, really hoped to achieve much in bringing back endurance to its roots while keeping the competitive element. In the meantime, the proposed 2019 endurance rules will not be implemented and the 2018 rules will be carried forward. For me, of course, this means that NO DIETING is required!
Last weekend was our AGM and awards dinner in the Midlands. As usual, a gang of us from the south west made a weekend of it. The dress theme this year was ‘Strictly, sequins and sparkles’ so there was clearly a need to go shopping. Now shopping, other than for horse gear, is not a task I particularly relish; either I can’t find anything at all or I go mad and overspend. This time, however, the local Trinny and Susannah (does anyone actually remember them?) decided that I needed help. Dresses were taken off the rack and I was marched off to try them on. I must say that I would never have dreamed of even picking up some of them! I ended up with a creation covered in sequins, which sparkled in the light and made a slinky rattling noise when I moved. This was then pimped up with sparkling accessories so that I really looked the part (at least I thought so).
At the event we had a really good time and our table, the ballet table, won yet another bottle of wine for getting all the answers in the quiz right: we are either such a bunch of know-alls or we have just been around a little longer than some of the other endurance folk.
Oh yes, the AGM bit; not quite as much fun but plenty of lively debate and the usual behind the scene politics that every board or indeed group of horsey people experience.
In about 10 days time it is the older boys’ turn to get dressed up and strut their stuff in the shape of the Lanhydrock Christmas Ride. With that in mind, we decided to take the trailer out of the barn to check everything over as it had been standing there since the beginning of October. To our surprise we found a curious triffid-like fungus leaning out of the window. It just shows that you should be doing endurance all year round or your trailer complains!
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