1. Fascinating dressage line-up for London International Horse Show
There is an exciting line-up for the World Cup dressage at London International Horse Show – taking place at ExCel rather than Olympia this year. We are super excited to see how Olympic superstar Lottie Fry’s phenomenal ride Dark Legend can impress the judges in London. Lottie’s European silver medal winning teammate Gareth Hughes will ride the fabulous KK Dominant, while Richard Davison partners the charming Bubblingh, and Fiona Bigwood will be competing Carl Hester’s former ride Hawtins Delicato, with whom Carl won team bronze at the 2018 World Equestrian Games. And Charlotte Dujardin may have sold her double Tokyo medal-winning ride Gio to 16-year-old British rider Annabella Pidgley last month, but she will be back on board “Pumpkin” at ExCel.
2. Paul Tapner getting back in the saddle
It’s really good to hear Paul Tapner say that being back riding, over a year after he suffered serious head injuries in a fall, “felt normal”, and that he has enjoyed it. The 2010 Badminton winner has ridden three horses in the past week, including his advanced eventer Bonza King of Rouges. Paul said last autumn he had no plans to ride again, eight weeks after he suffered brain bleeds and a minor stroke in a hacking fall. He still maintains he has no desire to compete, though jokes that he is still qualified for Badminton 2022 so you never know.
3. Concern after major riding school’s closure
The closure of a major riding school after 40 years of business has sparked concern for the future of other centres. Pennie Cornish had a waiting list of clients at Greenacres Equestrian, Hertfordshire, which had taught generations of riders and been a Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) centre for decades. Pennie told H&H the combination of health and safety regulations, licensing requirements and “mountains” of paperwork, spiralling costs of business rates and recruitment issues made the business unviable. As Pennie puts it, there is a fear that without businesses like hers the sport could be left with just “dodgy dealers” at one end and the “elite” at the other.
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