Friendship, gin and duct tape: new eventing challenge launched

A new over-40s’ eventing challenge celebrating friendship, duct tape and gin is launching in Scotland for 2020.

Gin It 2 Win It is free to join and will coincide with the Scottish British Eventing (BE) fixtures calendar, which runs from April to September. Riders taking part in the league can accumulate points for placings, completions and double clears, in classes from BE80(T) to intermediate.

Founder Rose Dudgeon, a former BE Scotland under-18 coordinator, who came up with the challenge with racehorse trainer Lucinda Russell, told H&H the aim is to provide a community for older riders.

“When we were doing the under-18s, I found the community spirit and fun wasn’t just relevant to the riders, it was very relevant to their parents too,” said Rose, who set up the Eventing Plus Scotland Facebook group with Lucy Mackenzie, providing a support network for riders to connect with each other.

“It occurred to a few of us that older riders might not necessarily want to compete at Badminton or Burghley – they want to make some friends, enjoy their horses and have the achievement of enjoying competing and progressing to a level they want to.”

Rose said Lucinda, who evented before she entered the the racing industry, came up with the name Gin It 2 Win It as she missed the “eventing spirit”.

“Lucinda always says to me what she misses hugely is the travelling to events, the camping, and the three-day eventing ethos. She now has a campervan she goes around in and says it’s the closest you can get to the eventing spirit,” said Rose.

“We got talking about doing something for the older community to make them feel more included. When I did the under-18s there were prizes for everything, but when it comes to over-40s, for most people they’ve got full-time jobs and families and don’t always have the opportunity to win prizes and meet people, so this ties everything together with an accumulator and the points will add up throughout the year.”

Rose said prizes have been donated by companies including Edinburgh Gin, Musselburgh racecourse, and Top Spec.

“Lucinda has donated the ‘Shades of Silver’ salver, a day at the races and a tour of her yard for the leading rider over 50, and volunteer Caroline Moseley is donating the ‘Classy Touch’ tropy for the leading rider aged 40 to 50,” she said.

“The wonderful thing about our community is you have a network of people who know another network of people, it’s amazing what people will offer in terms of help and support. Grace Moran is hoping to organise some coaching for those taking part with David Gatherer.”

Rose said riders are encouraged to wear a small piece of silver duct tape on their numbers when competing in order to identity themselves as being part of the Gin It 2 Win It gang.

“Duct tape is something most of us have with our equipment being old and falling apart! It’s a cheap way of identifying each other so if you see someone in the lorry park hopefully they’ll say hello or help with a practice jump if a rider hasn’t got anyone there to help. It’s about sharing supporting and having a club feel,” she said.

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“I’ve heard people say that they’ve felt lonely at events and that’s not good – the sport should be bringing positive fun, community and challenges. Every form of sport should be about far more than results; it should be about making friends, personal achievements or even just surviving the day.”

More than 65 riders have signed up to date, and those wishing to take part can join here or via the Eventing Plus Scotland Facebook page.

“Half the fun of doing this sport is the people you meet, the journey you have to get to where you’re going to, and the sharing of the success and the failures. It makes the day something positive for everyone,” said Rose.

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