“The Future of Showing” report

What is the FUTURE of SHOWING? An open debate held at Stoneleigh Park on Sunday 21st February 2016 with panel members of Sandy Anderson and Emma Wardell from Grandstand Media, Professional producers Craig Elenor and Rory Gilsenan, M&M exhibitor and judge Lizzie Briant, amateur exhibitor Jonathan Fry, show organiser Carolle Lee Jones and journalist Tricia Johnson.   Firstly, thank you to Gail Chapman from TSR for arranging the event. It was a fantastic opportunity for key […]

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Taking a risk

Showing is about performing, it’s about standing out from the crowd, it’s about that something special… But where do you draw the line? When does showmanship become circus tricks, when does standing out become a distraction? I saw a Horse and Hound feature “7 incredible moments from 2015 showing season” – top of the list were two moments involving cobs. Firstly, Simon Charlesworth standing on top of Vicky Smith’s Fait Acobbli at the British Show […]

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Strictly Come Showing

I am loving Strictly Come Dancing – the elegance, the sparkles, the music. It’s harmless entertainment on a Saturday night. The only stress is –  Who to support? Jay McGuiness or Jeremy Vine? Three weeks ago, Jay did the most incredible Pulp Fiction themed dance scoring the first 9s of the series (definitely worth youtubing if you haven’t seen it). Jeremy however scored 4s and 5s with an awkward, stilted routine. There is no argument […]

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A kind word costs nothing

It’s Horse of the Year Show week! So many people fight for their place to be there and so many fail to make it. But for the lucky few, the opportunity to see their name in lights is here. It is an achievement to be there and everyone should be proud. So why the nastiness? Little backstabbing remarks, nasty glares, strategic tactics to upset other horses and with forums allowing anonymous comments people are free […]

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The Hickstead Effect

I grew up with stories about Hickstead – my Mum and Aunt recounted endless tales about sinking in the mud and being stuck there for days, about seeing legends being made when they tackled the Derby bank, about trudging from the stable field down to ring 5 with a pony in each hand – even the tales of getting there before the M4 existed. It is a place of dreams and somewhere that has always […]

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Have you qualified yet?

“We won! Yey!” …… “Was it a qualifier?”….. “No, but he went so beautifully, I’m really pleased.”…. “Well, hopefully he will go beautifully again next week at the qualifier where it really matters.” This is a conversation I actually heard  What a downer! I walk along at shows and it is all I hear. Even little tots discussing how many they have qualified – I am not always convinced they even know what it means […]

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Burn all Scrunchies!

My eyes struggle to focus, I take a deep breath, my palms start to sweat, my breaths shorten – yes someone is wearing a scrunchie! People laugh at my ridiculous dislike for anything scrunchie related but they don’t understand that this is not just a mild issue – this is a marmite level of hate and something to be taken very seriously. Carrie Bradshaw (from Sex and the City) famously declared that no woman of […]

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Role reversal – Mother takes centre stage

There is an American proverb which says “Don’t judge a man until you’ve walked a mile in his shoes.” Well, today I walked in my Mother’s shoes (not literally as she has tiny feet!) and was groom for the day as she competed the wonderful American Pie. And I must say it was certainly enlightening. Pie loves to go out and about and I am not sure he is convinced by my excuse for restricting […]

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The plight of the Amateur show rider

Squeezing in a quick schooling session before a 9am meeting, trudging into a field wearing a suit with wellies, discussing financial profitability on the phone while applying a poultice – can an amateur ever truly compete against a professional? An amateur, by its dictionary definition, is someone who competes for the love of something rather than for an income – not necessarily an inferior. They may even be at an advantage over a professional in […]

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