1. Young over achievers at Horse of the Year Show
A four-year-old child and a five-year-old Dales were among the winners on the first day of Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) this week. Lead rein pony Shilstone Rocks Thunderbird, ridden by four-year-old Willow West, topped the Mountain & Moorland (M&M) Mini Pony of the Year title. It was, unsurprisingly, Willow’s HOYS debut. Meanwhile, five-year-old gelding Tarbarl Major Tom, who had only ever been indoors once before heading into the NEC, put on a professional show in the electric TopSpec arena to take the Dales title ridden by Katy Marriott-Payne, who was given the ride in January. Youth over experience indeed – we need to up our game.
2. How Andrew Nicholson feels about taking a step back
Andrew Nicholson announced his decision to step back from top-level competition a few weeks ago, while at Blenheim Horse Trials CCI4*. In his comment for Horse & Hound this week he goes into a bit more detail on how he’s feeling about that decision after decades at the top of his sport. “As in Tokyo, I didn’t wish that I was riding on cross-country day at the Europeans – I was quite happy doing my bit on the ground, so it must be the right decision,” he says. “At the moment it feels completely normal and the natural pattern of my year. I might feel differently in February, when I’d usually be winding myself up towards Badminton, but I suspect not.” We’re used to top event riders making comebacks – think compatriot Mark Todd, for example – but it seems this might not be so for Andrew.
3. How much sexual harassment still goes on in racing
The treatment of women in racing was one topic under discussion at the Racing Foundation conference on 30 September, as well as the need to increase ethnic diversity to secure a sustainable future for the sport. Eleanor Boden’s talk, “Where did all the girls go?” raised issues included acceptance of terms such as “a lad’s ride”, and bosses’ comments such as, “Your arse is too big.” As long as people feel uncomfortable calling these things out, what hope of change?
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