Record-breaking jockey wins BBC SPOTY award, plus other things the horse world is talking about

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  • 1. Rachael Blackmore crowned world sport star of the year

    The equestrian world rejoiced last night when record-breaking jockey Rachael Blackmore was crowned world sport star of the year at the BBC Sports Personality of the Year (SPOTY) awards. The 32-year-old Irish jockey defeated Formula 1’s newly crowned world champion Max Verstappen, tennis legend Novac Djokovic, Jamaican Olympic sprinter Elaine Thompson-Herah, super-middleweight boxing champion Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, and American NFL quarterback Tom Brady, in the category. However, a nightmare journey meant the top jockey was initially forced to accept her SPOTY award via a digital video link while stuck in Manchester Airport after thick fog delayed her flight over from Ireland. Never one to accept defeat, Rachael battled on with her journey and eventually made it to the ceremony to receive her award in person – takes more than a bit of weather to stop this one!

    Read the full story

    2. A victory in the courts for common sense – and cows

    Library image.

    The increase in the number of people enjoying the great outdoors in recent years has proven to be particularly challenging for landowners with public rights of way across their land, especially when grazing animals are involved. However, the recent failed legal claim from a walker who said she was injured by a cow grazing on a footpath has been described as positive news for the equestrian world. According to equestrian specialist Clare Garnett, of legal firm BLM: “The claimant said the cow trampled her, threw her in the air and mauled her, but on cross-examination, it was found that no such thing happened. The judge found her leg got tangled with the cow and it walked over her.” Had the case been found in the claimant’s favour, the case could have had “huge implications” for horse owners.

    Find out what you need to know

    3. The sad loss of Linda Whetstone

    Linda Whetstone

    The sudden death of British Dressage (BD) chairman Linda Whetstone, who died on 15 December aged 79, has lead to an outpouring of tributes from the equestrian world – and beyond. A cornerstone of BD since its formation in 1998, Mrs Whetstone was also involved in the restructuring of British Equestrian (BEF) in the 2000s and was the first chairman of the BEF council. Outside her love of dressage, the daughter of Sir Anthony Fisher, who was co-founder of the Institute of Economic Affairs, had a background in economics and from 2016 was chairman of the Atlas Network, a support network for 485 partner organisations in 93 countries whose missions are to identify and resolve barriers to opportunity and prosperity. Tributes have been paid to Mrs Whetstone in the Houses of Parliament, as well as via numerous individuals across the equestrian world. “The fruits of her labour can be felt all over the world. From Turkey to the United Kingdom to Kenya; thanks to Linda Whetstone’s efforts, people live in greater freedom. Her legacy internationally is quite remarkable,” said a spokesman, while Carl Hester said: “It was with the greatest sadness that I heard about Linda’s sudden and untimely passing. I’d like to pay tribute to an amazing lady who has been a true friend to me and so many in the sport, she will be greatly missed.”

    Read more tributes to this lady, who was an incredible force for good

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