This was the year we had all spent so long talking and writing about — and it didn’t disappoint.
As we counted down the months, weeks and finally days to London 2012, we watched nervously for news of Olympic prospects sold abroad — or injury to the ones that were staying put. In the most heartrending of cases, both Piggy French’s Olympic horses were ruled out of contention, propelling Nicola Wilson to her first Games, a twist of fate she described memorably as both “horrific and fabulous”.
In the event, our riders did us proud, piaffing, passaging and leaping into the record books. In a previous life I concentrated on two-legged news — and it was thrilling and gratifying to see the mainstream media preoccupied with “dancing horses” and showjumpers invited on to TV chat shows for, perhaps, the first time since Harvey Smith.
And Greenwich — so controversial, so expensive — did the job it was intended to do, and then some; by cementing equestrianism within the Olympic movement.
As for the other big story of the year — the weather — well, those are memories we’d all rather forget. At the time of writing, I am pulling together yet another news story on cancellations — this time it’s hunting and jump racing fixtures that are suffering, while my own ambitions of finally getting out to a hunter trial this season are on hold again.
It was also the year of fabulous Frankel, who sealed his greatness with a win on the soft (of course) going at Champions Day in October. Forget the ‘Cheltenham roar’; the noise from the usually staid Ascot crowd as Frankel made it 14 from 14 made the heart beat faster and will stay with me for a very long time…
Horse & Hound celebrates an incredible 12 months for the equestrian world in our 2012 Review of the Year magazine (6 December, 2012). Grab your copy from your local stockist or buy a digital issue online now.