Pippa Roome: I feel guilty throwing a prize away *H&H VIP*


  • I recently received a prize for a placing in a British Eventing (BE) grassroots section, which set me thinking. I was so delighted to be required at a prize-giving that I’d have waited all afternoon for the fancy rosette and packet of Polos, but it was fun to receive a goody bag from the section sponsor as well.

    Opening it, I saw a weigh tape (useful) and what I thought was a bag of horse treats — lovely, Alfie was good, now I can reward him — but it turned out to be a pouch of supplement from the section sponsor.

    I understand that the purpose of sponsorship is to raise a brand’s exposure, but I don’t think my horse needs a supplement. And if he did, I assume two weeks’ supply isn’t enough to test if it’s having an effect.

    I hate to sound ungrateful because sponsors are hard to attract and I feel guilty putting it in the bin, so I will continue trying to give it away.

    But maybe it would be better to offer such prizes as a voucher, so there is less wastage if they are not wanted, and perhaps a month’s supply should be the minimum, so it’s enough for a more useful trial. I can’t imagine it would actually cost the company more, because not everyone would take it up.

    Stopwatch errors

    Having returned to eventing at grassroots level after a long break, I’ve discovered the perils of stopwatches.

    I want to be competitive, so decided a watch was necessary for cross-country — to remind me to keep up the speed and to avoid time-faults for going too fast.

    I started by using “count up” mode, because that’s what I used to do at three-day events, when I rode to minute markers. Unfortunately, two-thirds of the way round I had a mind blank and decided the optimum time was 4min 53sec instead of the actual target of 5min 43sec — cue frantically twirling legs and finishing with four time-faults for going too fast. Oh well, at least I know Alfie has a turn of speed…

    Then I tried “count down”, setting the watch to 10 seconds over the optimum and starting it when the starter gave the 10 second warning. What I hadn’t realised was that in the final minute of count down mode, there are distracting extra beeps. I can’t blame a late 20 penalties on them entirely, but they didn’t help.

    Next time out, I repeated “count down”, but with the beeps silenced. I employed the extremely scientifically accurate method of a string round the course map to calculate a halfway checkpoint and managed to come home bang on the optimum time. Third time lucky!

    My Badminton favourites

    I’m halfway through writing my biographies for the H&H Badminton form guide. As always, there are 12 or 15 pairs with a genuine chance of winning; the tricky part is narrowing that down further.

    If I had to choose three favourites, I would pick Ingrid Klimke (SAP Hale Bob OLD), Tom McEwen (Toledo De Kerser) and Oliver Townend (Ballaghmor Class).

    Ref Horse & Hound; 11 April 2019