I am seeing a lot of round up posts and recaps of the year being published today and thought I would do the same. Mine is slightly different though, like normal! Mine is only the positive stuff. I know that you might say this is not a real look of the world if you only mention positive things, but you can watch the news, read a tweet from Donald Trump or think about Brexit for 2 minutes to feel pretty low and confused to balance it out if you like.
2019 has had a lot of positives, so here are my 12 favourites bits of horsey news that made me smile in 2019.
1) A pony and his boy. The story of a young boy in New Zealand with Downs Syndrome and his pony has been made into a documentary being shown around the world. Josh is eight years old and it shows how his pony Berry who is 28 years old has helped him. The documentary won a Winnie award at The Equus Film Festival this year.
2) Piggy French smashed British eventing results records this season. Piggy claimed 1768 British Eventing points this season after winning 38 events and achieving a further 74 top ten placings after 160 starts. Amazing!
3) Equestrian Pulse Podcast launched! Shameless plug alert! This year I was delighted to be asked to part of this amazing new podcast along side Heather Wallace of The Timid Rider and Andrea Parker of The Sand Arena Ballerina (fellow equestrian bloggers). It has been such fun to be part of this and we even managed to reach 500 downloads in November which was a real surprise since we only launched in September. Be sure to check it out we talk about everything in the equestrian world and features interviews with some really cool and interesting horsey people. You can listen on Spotify, Buzzsprout, Apple Podcasts and iHeartradio.
4) Mark Todd retired. The legend that is Mark Todd retired again this year but this time it is for good. He retired once before after the Sydney Olympics in 2000, but could not keep away and returned to Eventing for the Olympics in 2008. Todd is now 63 and has won 4 times at Badminton, 5 times at Burghley, 2 Olympic gold medals and many many more. He has had a phenomenal career and has now started training race horses. Todd announced his retirement this year at Camphire International Horse Trials in Ireland after finishing 5th.
5) Khadijah Mellah was the first British Muslim woman in the UK to compete and win in a horse race wearing a hijab. Mellah had ridden since she was 12 prior to winning the Magnolia Cup at the Ebony Riding Club in Brixton, an inner city stables consisting of 9 horses aimed at getting deprived youngsters in riding. Although, she had never sat on a racehorse until 2 months before the race. She now aims to gain an amateur jockey license whilst she studies mechanical engineering at university.
6) The Queen of England is still riding at the age of 93 years old. She was pictured in November riding one of her fell ponies. That is riding goals right there!
7) Pippa Funnel made an amazing comeback. Funnel won Burghley at age 50 after a massive 14 year gap since her last big win.
8) Burghley cross country course. This I thought needed a mention, not sure if everyone would class it as a ‘best bit’ of 2019 but it was certainly a big talking point! The cross country course was so difficult that only half of the participants finished the course and only 1 person (Piggy French of course) made it round inside the optimum time.
9) Jonty Evans returned to Badminton. After suffering from a serious head injury from a riding accident in 2018. Jonty Evans took part in a dressage demonstration held by Pammy Hutton in front of a crowd at Badminton. It turns out that he was going to Talland for lessons on Art and it was Pammy who helped him achieve his goal of jumping again this year. He even actually managed to compete on Art this year too. Way to go Jonty only 1 year after being in a coma for 6 weeks!
10) France banned trimming of horses whiskers for horses competing in FFE endorsed events. Citing that whiskers are essential in guiding a horse to food and away from other objects and aid their spacial awareness. This is something that many have praised.
11) British Soldier Ezphia Rennock, who served in the Household Cavalry managed to buy his old equine partner when he was retired from service. Rennock described Agricola as a proper trouble maker, both new to the military when they started in the Queen’s Guard in 2000 but they eventually bonded well. Rennock retired in 2007 and his old colleagues informed him that Agricola his ex equine partner was being retired in 2019. So he placed a sealed bid for him. He later found out that someone had bid 4x times the price he had but because he enclosed a letter stating why he wanted to buy him he was chosen. Agricola now still lives in the Duchy stables in the Queen’s grounds at the palace but is owned by Rennock who visits him everyday.
12) Lastly is a little bit of good news for 2020. A film of Black Beauty is being remade and is set to star Kate Winslet! O.M.G!
So, I hope that your 2019 has been good and that you have enjoyed my round up of Equestrian News. I would like to wish you a very happy new year and let’s hope 2020 is even better!
Here are some of my other blogs that may interest you.