Early 2021 Cheer Dashed with Covid
Welcome to 2021. At Horse View UK we hope all our readers had the best Christmas they possibly could have done and stayed well and healthy. With the turn of the year and all the optimism th
at brought, it was only a couple of days before reality struck once again over this hideous covid pandemic, and the early cheer of 2021 dashed With the highest numbers of transmissions and deaths, hospitals showing signs that they were starting to be unable to cope with the extra numbers, most of Europe was plunged once again into lock down. All this is really disappointing as vaccines are now available and there seemed to be a real cheer for 2021.
With all sport shut down unless you are an elite sportsman, dressage, showjumping and indoor eventing have all been cancelled until at least the beginning of March in the UK, and this includes being able to travel to train.
One or two things do deserve some comment. Bryony Frost became the first female jockey to win the coveted King George VI Chase at Kempton on December 26th. She was riding the Paul Nicholls trained Froden, a relative outsider for the 3 mile chase on good to soft ground. There were 9 runners in this strong renewal of the race. Bryony took the horse to the front very early on and although he jumped well throughout, he did have a habit of jumping left on occasions. He beat Waiting Patiently by 2 14/ lengths with the other Paul Nicolls trained and favourite Clan Des Obeaux in third. If 2020 taught us anything in racing – was that female jockeys have come a long way to match their male counterparts with some great successes. It is great for the sport as many horses will react far better to a good female that a male. May the female success continue!
As is normal at this time of the year, there have been few races of note, but racing is continuing in most countries although almost all without exception, behind closed doors.
The FEI have announced that it is their intention to run the World Cup Finals in Gothenburg in early April. As all the qualifiers have been cancelled – in Europe anyway – the FEI have produced a list of those who will be entitled to take part. They have come under some fire in that nearly all those selected are Europeans. They have had to defend their decision by saying that they want the best of competition at the World Cup Finals and the riders chosen will in their opinion produce that. There have been no dressage competitions recently, and with the lock down, that will probably be the case for the foreseeable future.
Like dressage, there have been few competitive opportunities, but in the States, at the Palm Beach International centre in Florida. Mathew Sampson of Great Britain led the way, winning the Equiline Holiday Grand Prix riding the Hanoverian gelding Gut Einhaus in two clear rounds and 37.52 seconds. He beat fellow Brit Jessica Mendoza into second place with Israel’s Sydney Shulman in third. There were 34 starters representing 11 nations.
We would like to congratulate world number one Steve Guerdat from Switzerland on his marriage to his long-time girlfriend Fanny Skalli. The couple have been engaged since the autumn of 2019 and are now expecting their first child.
Since our last epistle in December, there has been little to comment on in the horse world. Donald Trump has given the world some relief in his efforts to ruin any democratic rule in the USA and of course Brexit finally happened. Dealing first with Trump, although we purposefully make few political comments, his actions and obvious incitement to rioters in Washington was an absolute disgrace. While many of us may look on with some bemusement at the state of play in the USA, it does have a serious side for the democratic ideals throughout the rest of the world. There are enough despotic leaders throughout the globe, all behaving in much the same manner as Trump, as is their want. However, when the President of the biggest free democracy thinks he can behave like some TPLAC tyrant, it may well end up with consequences for many free speaking and free thinking countries of the world!
As for Brexit, there is a deal thank goodness, although it appears thin and fairly incomplete as Prime Minister Johnson was forced to give way on many of his core policies. The result is that we still do not really know how the whole thing is likely to play out. Many said that the UK would face shortages of this, that and the other, and the ques at the boarders would be long and troublesome. However, thus far this has not happened, but as everything in Europe is locked down and travel is virtually banned across the continent, this is no surprise. What will happen when things are finally open up properly once again is anyone’s guess!