Pentathlon, loose jumping, hats and other things the horse world is talking about

Horse & Hound’s daily debrief, brought to you every weekday morning

  • 1. Riding being axed from modern pentathlon

    We knew this one was coming, we talked about it earlier this week, but it’s still a bit of a shock that riding is being dropped from the modern pentathlon. The world governing body UIPM confirmed the news yesterday (4 November), and opened a consultation on which sport should take its place. Riding will stay in place for the 2024 Paris Olympics, but be replaced by Los Angeles 2028. The new sport will be one that anyone can take part in and ensure the sustainability of modern pentathlon, the governing body says. One that “enhances the popularity and credibility of modern pentathlon, while preserving its status as the ultimate physical and mental sporting challenge – as envisaged by Baron Pierre de Coubertin, the founder of the modern Olympic Games”. The sport did lose credibility after scenes in the riding phase in Tokyo, and those scenes risked bringing horse sport as a whole into disrepute, but it is a shame that those could not have been addressed. Far easier I suppose to substitute the sport. But purists will be appalled, and the move highlights some of the challenges other equestrian sports face.

    Read the full story

    riding modern pentathlon

    2. Whether loose jumping is a good for young horses

    The subject of loose jumping often sparks debate – it’s often used in teaching young horses to think for themselves, but some question whether it can be detrimental. H&H caught up with Olympic gold medallist Eric Lamaze recently, and he revealed firm opposition to the practice, saying: “When you’re free jumping a horse you’re constantly chasing it with a whip, so already his first experience of jumping is attached to somebody chasing him. It doesn’t tell you what they’re going to be like in the future either – if you took top horses such as Hickstead, (pictured with Eric at the 2010 World Equestrian Games) Baloubet Du Rouet or Shutterfly and loose jumped them, they probably couldn’t do it that well. So I’m not a fan.” Opinion is still divided…

    Read Eric’s thoughts on producing young horses

    Top Canadian showjumper Eric Lamaze, picture here riding Hickstead at WEG 2010, shares his views on loose jumping young horses

    3. Why riders aren’t always best placed to instigate change

    Looking at recent changes within dressage, such as shorter grand prix tests for the World Cup circuit, and new competition formats as at the Olympics, Carl Hester has pondered in this week’s comment for H&H that non-riders, such as FEI dressage committee chairman Frank Kemperman, are better placed to drive change. Carl says: “Frank has always tried to keep the principles of dressage in mind and managed a balancing act to make our sport more spectator-friendly and accessible. Many riders resist change, so it is worth questioning whether a rider could have steered the sport in the direction it has taken. Many ideas caused resistance in the beginning, so it needed a person who could hold fast and steer, which Frank did.” Many still feel strongly about some of the changes made in dressage, but Carl is right, and would the sport be where it is now without those changes?

    Read Carl’s opinion

    Carl Hester riding En Vogue in the Tokyo Olympics

    4. The importance of replacing riding hats regularly

    A rider who sustained a hairline skull fracture in a team-chasing fall at the Cotswolds team chase on Sunday (31 October) shared images of her severely damaged riding hat, which have prompted others to replace their own. Susannah Stanning said she was “incredibly glad” she had replaced her hat recently — and that she was “lucky to be alive”. Riding for Team Rideaway in the intermediate speed class Susannah’s horse Our Kaempfer tripped, fell and landed on her head. “It was about as dramatic as it can be,” Susannah told H&H. “I was unconscious for about five minutes but I was incredibly lucky that they have such amazing medical staff there.”

    Read the full story

    riding hat

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