Simon Grieve’s eventing blog: feeling lucky and near-misses

  • Bramham Horse Trials is an event that I love. The effort that is made is second to none and the site was in immaculate condition with superb courses that were very challenging.

    Douglas (pictured top) was fantastic. Although we did not trouble the leaders, he went very well and a bit faster, which was great and he felt very classy for yet another completion at this level.

    Ed (Edison) is a bit more of a newcomer to this level and although he made some green mistakes, he was fantastic across country round the toughest track he’s seen yet — I certainly was feeling very lucky to ride two such fantastic jumping horses around pretty strong courses.

    A couple of days later and something completely different. I have just become an ambassador for Equisafety, a company specialising in high-vis clothing. They are committed to improving road safety for horses and riders which is so important these days. I wear high-vis on the road and encourage my staff to do the same as I think it is essential for everyone’s well-being.

    Edison at Bramham

    While on that subject, the following day, the BHS invited me to Parliament to attend the launch of their new ‘Dead Slow, virtual reality’ film, a new initiative to educate drivers about safely overtaking horses on the road.

    The film is on a headcam with 360 degree vision and shows a driver overtaking a horse in a dangerous fashion. It begins showing this from the rider’s perspective, followed by the driver’s, and finally a demonstration of how to pass the horse correctly. There is also a section of near misses caught on head-cams by everyday riders. What an eye-opener to anyone, horsey or non-horsey — a brilliant idea and hopefully one that will take off and be used in driver education. It certainly garnered a lot of interest from the police, driving instructors, MPs and even Martin Cloones who came to view it. I will certainly be even more likely to make use of my Equisafety kit after watching all those near misses!

    I have been really impressed by the BHS and their efforts to improve all manner of different aspects in equestrianism, from safety through to horse welfare, and I don’t think they get the recognition that perhaps they deserve. To find out more about this initiative and others, go to www.bhs.org.uk/deadslow, and if you have an incident out riding on the road, no matter how insignificant you think it may be, please make sure you report it to the BHS at http://horseaccidents.org.uk to maintain important records.

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    The biggest issue for me was travelling across London without getting lost. Travelling in rush hour is something else in London — hundreds of people on the tube standing in complete silence. I’m not sure I could do that every day. I managed to visit my sister who does, and catch up with one of my oldest completely non-horsey friends who has always and still thinks I’m the next Frankie Dettori, and that all I do is pat horses all day (although not far from the truth) — it was wonderful to see her. I had a great day, but it was a relief to be back in my beloved countryside again last night!

    With no rest for the wicked, I’m off showjumping today with more eventing with the youngsters at Solihull this weekend. I’ll keep you posted.


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