A Slow but Sure Re-start to Equine Sport Happening

As the world slowly comes out of covid lock down, the first FEI dressage competition to be held will happen in Hungary this coming weekend. The CDI 3 star will be held at Mariakalnok, about 50 miles from Vienna. The event has attracted 120 riders entering with 140 horses. Among those who have said they will be riding include Jessica Von Bredow-Werndl riding a new ride, Zaire. Another confirming their participation is former FEI dressage number 1, Ulla Saltzgeber, who for three years has been away from the sport. She was originally number 1 when riding her liver chestnut gelding Rusty at the beginning of the century. She is expected to ride her new horse Liberte. It is also expected that, providing they wear face masks, some spectators will be allowed. In other dressage news, following the FEI’s decision to cancel the European Championships in 2021 due to a potential clash with the now re-dated Olympics in Tokyo, moves are afoot to get them re-instated. So far in 2020, there have been 120 cancelled FEI dressage competitions across the board.

In show jumping, the first CSI 4 star will go ahead at St Tropez in France. 104 riders have entered the event from countries across Europe and another three from the USA. The main competition, a Grand Prix is expected to be held on Saturday. There are four further FEI 2 star events scheduled for the coming weekend, one on Poland, another in Spain and a couple in the USA. In France, some of the top riders expected are Martin Fuchs, Daniel Dreusser and Scott Brash and many others. The largest number of riders from one country entered is from Italy.

In England, British Eventing has been give the go ahead to resume competition. The first weekend will include a slimmed down Barbary Horse Trials and will not have FEI status this year. British Dressage has confirmed that competition will start on July 1st and British Showjumping has already started a few classes. One point of concern however, is that several leading venues have decided that they will not start to run competitions in any number until early September.

Alan Titchmarsh

TV gardener Alan Titchmarsh has leant his support to the charity World Horse Welfare. He is to act as voice over for an up and coming advertisement for the charity to be aired on commercial radio in the UK. Alan did not ride before he was 40, but since then has ridden with the Kings Troop and done some show jumping. However he says now that his riding really consists of hacking out and looking at other people’s garden over the hedge!

Following the recent worldwide demonstrations over racism and the killing of George Floyd, Reece McCook, a young talented ethnic rider from Coventry in the UK has launched a new movement which is starting to attract considerable support, “Ride Our Racism”. He wants to show that ethnic minorities living in cities can participate in equine sport and points out that so long as a rider is kind and respectful to his/her mount, the horse couldn’t give a damn who is riding it.

As a short foot note to our coverage of Royal Ascot last week, respect must go to all the jockeys who rode in any of the races on the card on Saturday, who gave all their riding fees to The National Health Service as a mark of support for all their work during, and are still doing to combat the corona virus pandemic.

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