Opinion

TAGS:

Why do so many of our top horses have clumsy and/or unpronounceable names, I’m often asked. Well, to put you in the picture, this is why… Earlier this year, we bought a really nice-looking six year old, already British Showjumping registered, called True Blue; a nice name for a nice horse.

But when we took him to his first international show, he had to go by his FEI passport name, which is H.Rubertha R 58.

When he jumps in England, he also has to be known as H.Rubertha R 58. I ask you, what a bloody awful name!

When I contacted BS about changing it, they told me they had to go along with the FEI. And if I wanted to alter his name it would cost me £1,000. Surely, in the interests of the sport — and factoring in how the public identifies with horses’ memorable names — the FEI should allow a name change if the breeders have registered a lousy one.

If they won’t budge, the next one I breed I’m going to call R U A Pheasant Plucker (say it quickly) —and see what they have to say about that!

‘You remind me of somebody’

After such a long, hot summer, some of our grass arenas could have been expected to fall into the “not fit to jump” category. But I’m very pleased to report how hard the shows have tried to create good ground. In fact, the recent Bucks County and Henley had the best going I’ve ever seen at either.

Although 2018’s heatwave hasn’t been to everybody’s taste, I’ve really enjoyed everything about it — even despite a very withering put-down at Wales and West earlier this season.

There I was, sun tan and dark glasses in place, when a young girl remarked: “You remind me of somebody.” I paused in anticipation to hear more. “Yes, I know,” she said. “You remind me of a Mexican drug baron.”

Unjust and unfair

Some years ago, the Aussies had a habit of referring to Brits as “whinging Poms”, which I always thought to be unjust and unfair. But now, whenever I read the papers, I can’t help thinking this country’s really grown into that accusation.

Columnist Sarah Vine, wife of Defra Secretary Michael Gove MP, recently extolled the virtues of a new slimming drug. For £250 a month, she wrote, it can help you lose 6-9lbs a year — and then suggested it should be available on NHS.

If they even considered paying such a mad sum of tax payers’ money for people to lose weight, wouldn’t they be better funding entry to local gyms, pools or, better still, paying for riding lessons or waiving riding schools’ unsustainable business rates bills?

I’m sure many more sectors across the country would enjoy the benefits of riding, they’d lose a few pounds and feel much better for it. As the great American president Ronald Reagan said: “There’s nothing better for the inside of a man than the outside of a horse.”

Time for reflection

Swallows gathering ready to fly off is a sure sign that the outdoor season is coming to a close. It’s a time for reflection; what’s been achieved and what more can be done to make next year better?

On that note, I’ll leave you with one of Churchill’s lesser-known quotes: “Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.”

Ref Horse & Hound; 13 September 2018