What a busy and exciting year it has been for the Horse & Hound website — and it hasn’t finished yet! From winning four Equestrian Social Media Awards this spring, through the Olympics this summer and more recently the launch of our new online services, it really has been all go.
While professionally the year started on a high — who doesn’t like winning awards? — on a personal level thing were less rosy. My year started badly when my 11-year-old TB succumbed to chronic inflammatory bowel disease. I’ve never seen a horse in so much pain as he was that freezing cold February night. It made a difficult decision easy to make.
Luckily, I still have my retired 27-year-old mare from my Pony Club days and she was happy to let me sob my heart out into her mane as I came to terms with losing my chap. Then a former colleague kindly lent me her horse for the summer while she was working abroad, so I wasn’t without a ride, and things started looking up.
Having got life back to some level of normality, it started to rain… and rain… and rain. As the office debated where the next cancellation would be, my father started to lose his battle with cancer. I must have been the only person to breath a sigh of relief when Badminton was cancelled. I was terribly sorry for all the riders, tradestand holders and local businesses that missed out, but it meant I could be at my Dad’s side at the end without a panic dash back from Gloucestershire.
It’s when the chips are down that you find out who your friends really are and I’d like to thank all my friends and colleagues (many of whom sit in both camps) for their support. I know I wasn’t the easiest person to be around for a while. Grief is a funny old thing and I felt hit for six.
But life goes on, and with the Olympics on the horizon there was no time to mope around. Rumours that Greenwich might surrender to the weather proved baseless. The crowds descended, the Games Makers were extremely jolly and the British Olympic and Paralympic riders performed out of their skin. I was lucky enough to be in the stands for one of the early dressage days, and despite getting soaked through to the skin (quite literally – I was still wet after an hour long train journey home), I am delighted to be able to say, I was there!
The Games were a challenging period of intense work for us at H&H. I was mainly on the ‘late shift’ working into the evening to get our daily e-newsletter out, as well as running our H&H Live coverage on cross-country and kur day. Then it was off to Burghley for four more days of H&H Live, which is always great fun, before returning to the office to take stock and perhaps have a bit of a breather, I hoped.
But no sooner was I back home than we had more exciting projects to get our teeth into. First we launched our insurance comparison service, H&H Compare. Going online to compare the deals we get on our car insurance, credit cards and more is now second nature, so why not for our equestrian requirements? If you haven’t seen it yet, check it out at www.horseandhound.co.uk/insurance.
Following hot on the heels of H&H Compare came the launch of our exciting new co-buying scheme, which brings our readers together to buy brilliant products at discount prices. As our first product sold out in just over an hour, we think we could be on to a winner. The IPC Editors’ Group certainly thought so as we won two consecutive bottles of Champagne for ‘Genuis idea of the month’. With a team the size of H&H that only amounts to a mouthful each, but I’ll take it.
So with Christmas on the horizon, is it finally time for me to slow down and enjoy a breather? Of course not! Currently I’m dashing to and from Olympia, while juggling a top secret project which is something that I, as website editor, have been waiting a very long time for. So watch this space. It’s going to be worth the wait…
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.