1. Mr Bass’s retirement
Team Olympic gold medallist Laura Collett’s popular five-star partner Mr Bass has been retired from eventing aged just 13. The horse who Laura describes as her “best friend” sustained a tendon injury during the cross-country phase at Badminton in 2019. He made a full recovery and came back to the sport at top level, helping Britain take the honours in the CCIO4*-S Nations Cup in Aachen in September, finishing fourth individually. But sadly the injury has recently returned. Though the injury is not “too bad”, the rider and his connections have decided it is not worth risking. “The worry with bringing him back is that it could lead to a catastrophic injury and we’re not willing to put him in that position,” said Laura. “Obviously it’s a massive blow. He’s been a big part of my career; I’ve had him since he was a four-year-old and he’s just one of those horses that makes you feel like you can ride!” The right decision, however disapointing for all concerned and the horse’s many fans.
2. Reaction to riding being dropped from modern pentathlon
Pentathlon GB is understandably saddened that the world governing body UIPM has announced riding will be dropped after the Paris Olympics. Pentathlon GB chairman David Armstrong said: “This is a sad day for modern pentathlon. Many of our athletes came into the sport from an equestrian background and have a proud tradition as accomplished and keen riders.” And this is the thing. Though for years there have been complaints about the standard of riding from some competitors in the modern pentathlon, there are teams and individuals who are incredibly accomplished riders and who have proven their ability as ultimate athletes, including as riders. Is it simply the case that riding is inaccessible for too many nations to make the sport viable? Or could the steps being proposed by the sport’s riding working group in recent weeks have made the difference needed to keep modern pentathlon in the Olympics and showjumping in modern pentathlon? Now we will never know.
3. A Remembrance Day colt
A mini cob colt has been wearing his poppy with pride this season — because it forms part of his unusual markings. Thirteen-month-old Dennis the Menace is described as having both a remembrance poppy and kneeling soldier in the pattern on his back. And he has won every class he is eligible for at riding club level. “Quite a few people notice his markings, especially when I show him in hand, where plenty of people comment on it. Obviously it catches the judges’ attention as well,” his owner Sean Witham told H&H. “I have had people asking for photos with him as the markings look like the war memorial. Lest we forget.”
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