1. Can you be successful in horse sport without being rich?
US high school basketball coach Tim Notke once said “Hard work beats talent when talent fails to work hard”, but does the same apply if you replace the word “talent” with “wealth”? Oliver Townend’s claim after finishing second in Maryland 5 Star that “you don’t have to be wealthy to make it in eventing” has given rise to considerable debate on social media. Many are pointing out that one person’s definition of “wealth” may be very different to another’s. Others are questioning whether some at the top of the sport are under-estimating their own privileged upbringing, including access to ponies – even if they are young or challenging ones – from an early age and the benefits that connections and family knowledge brings. I think that what we can all agree on is, while unlimited funds can undoubtedly help smooth an individual’s way in the sport, horses are the ultimate levellers and no-one gets to – and stays at – the top without a significant amount of hard graft along the way.
2. What next for hunting?
THE Hunting Office is “considering an appeal” after Mark Hankinson, director of the Masters of Foxhounds Association (MFHA), was found guilty last Friday (15 October) of encouraging or assisting others to commit an offence under the Hunting Act. The charges were brought following leaked webinars on trail-hunting that took place in 2020. “This verdict is hugely disappointing; however, we are considering an appeal,” the Hunting Office said in a statement. “The MFHA is aware that this outcome raises concern over the perception of our lawful trail-hunting activities and as a result, we will be setting up a review, which will be conducted to ensure that hunts are in a position to offer reassurances to all landowners and other stakeholders that hunts are operating within the law.”
3. Have you clipped yet?
Up and down the land stable yards are buzzing to the sound of clippers as owners and grooms get busy turning hairy horses into slick looking animals ready for action on the hunting field or to impress the judges in the competition arena. However, if your clippers are no longer up to the task, then check out our guide to some of the best options on the market, whether you need a heavy-duty mains set that can cope with multiple horses in a day or a lightweight cordless set suitable for the more sensitive equines out there.
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