Jacky Green gives a unique and hilarious account of her predictions for what the 2013 eventing season might hold.
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Early 2013 and plans are well under way as eventers all over the country set out their diaries, BE eventing schedules and horse lists. Of course it is a fact of equestrian life that these plans will probably change after the first competition and well before the allotted CCI three day event, but it is a tried and trusted way of starting off the New Year with hopes and dreams still very much alive.
March….and the Mad Hares
Its not just the hares that go mad in March. The wind combined with the chill factor on top of the hill at Aldon makes fresh horses hard to sit on.
So some head to the typically warmer Barroca in Portugul instead but, much to the delight of those still in the UK, they too have their share of horrible weather.
At the first of 15 Aston Le Walls events Nigel Taylor offers a free xc schooling ticket to anyone prepared to go cross country with fences lit by car headlights to enable him to run after dark.
This is the big month for the pre Badminton runs. Its usually wet and cold and those with one horse destined for the main event fret over the ground conditions and where to go.
Andrew Nicholson has 18 entered at Weston Park and wins all the advanced sections as well as every intermediate and novice class. William Fox-Pitt does the same at Belton Park the following weekend although it does cost him dearly as Stuart Buntine has raised the start fees to £80 per class and most pull out in protest.
May is about Badminton. Mostly whether it will run or not after 2012’s last minute abandonment. It turns out that it has not actually rained since the Beaufort met for their last meet at the end of March so the ground is rock hard and Reynard’s last run across the Park is still clearly visible by the hoofprints of the 250 followers that wanted one last hurrah.
Riders concerns about the ground are met with an offer by Hugh Thomas to swap them to the Grass Roots class instead. Mary King hence becomes Grass Roots Champion 2013.
June and the Bugs
Since it has still not rained the met office put out Amber warnings for flash floods when it does rain next. Bramham International has a date clash with West Wilts which prompts a twitter debate on whether the pre novice horses really should have to lose out on yet another run so the 3 star horses can go North.
Ian Stark builds his biggest track to date and despite the distance in the bounce in the water walking 10 yards refuses to listen to any rider reps complaints replying simply, “Murphy would have popped round that”.
In a surprise twist Luhmuhlen is won by a German and then in another shake up Michael Jung wins Aachen.. ahem.
July and things are getting Hot
Scorching temperatures and due to dry hard ground, at BE’s request Barbury Castle runs for 8 days straight to accommodate every advanced horse in the country as it has the only going in the country that is deemed fit for purpose.
BE comments “ so far we have lost over 50 days of eventing due to the heat and lack of rain so the abandonment insurance is going to have to increase”.
The festival of British Eventing is abandoned due to Health and Safety officials declaring that riders could be in danger if they fall off due to fainting in the heat. The Australians protest but lose out as the committee notes that none of them have competed in the Aussie heat since 1993. Aston Le Walls (14) runs as Nigel Taylor has diverted most of the Thames onto his grounds with the aid of a JCB and some handy pipe work.
Camphire in Ireland is abandoned, as it has not had a single dry day since March. 2012.
September and an Indian Summer
Mark Todd wins Burghley and says that the experience of riding at Lexington in 1976 gave him the edge over the younger competitors. Andrew Nicholson’s dressage is delayed on the Friday afternoon as the ground jury says some drizzle has been forecast for 4pm. It turns out that the drizzle was the haze surrounding the washbay in the stableyard and still the heat continues.
October and The End is in Sight
On the first of October the heavens open and the floods begin. Dauntsey Park is the only event to run as Beanie Sturgis says “Bugger the mud, any good hunter should cope with this”. Senior riders flock abroad to compete but the ferry crossings are a nightmare as Health and Safety declare the Channel is not yet deep enough for anything bigger than a small dingy. Andrew Nicholson swims his team over and wins Boekelo, Le Lion D’Angers and Pau citing their superior fitness as a major reason for his success.