I would so love to be at Burghley Horse Trials this weekend, but the downside of producing two wonderful, but ‘wild’ boys, is that I spend more of my downtime and school holidays on cricket and football pitches than on the back of a horse; let alone going to watch Eventing!
Have tried in vain to get the boys into a riding school but riding a horse is too strict and “Boring” for these fellers. Hoofing a ball up a field is more their bag. If riding in this country was a little less formal; more cowboy-style and speedy fun; I reckon more competitive boys, like mine, would take up the sport. Pony racing which has always been huge in Ireland, (and produced a ‘truck-load’of successful race jockeys) is finally gaining popularity in the UK…so there’s hope!
I grew up following Badminton and Burghley Horse Trials; Virginia Holgate, Lucinda Green and Mary King, were my idols. Oh those halcyon days! I was also privileged to interview Lucinda and many of the Olympic Eventing teams in the late 1990s and 2000s, when I worked at BBC Sport.
But those glory days have gone; and now I suppose the only way I’ll catch a piece of the action will be via the Burghley Horse Trials coverage on a TV web channel. Eventing is huge in the UK; and we have record grass-roots participants, attendees and viewers. Why a terrestrial TV channel can’t broadcast it, foxes me? When the Cross-Country section was briefly covered on BBC 2, probably seven years ago now; our boys were gripped by the exciting, dangerous action!
One year I’d like to hire a stand for ‘Zulucow’ at Burghley Horse Trials as we have a strong cohort of horsey, country ladies who love our cowhide bags and belts and cowhide interiors; but the downside of being a wife of a horse vet, means it’s nigh on impossible to pull such a venture off. Hey ho!
Anyway, was v chuffed to see ‘Cowgirl chic’ is back ‘en vogue’! Yee haw!! Ooh I do love a big stetson and cowboy boots! Have actually never ridden on a dude ranch in the States; but have ‘jillarooed’ in Oz and ridden the high lake country in The South Island, New Zealand with the ‘Marlboro man’ himself (oh yes the guy from the cigarette adverts!) with Danielle my fab, horsey, journo Dutch friend. Oh those were the days! And more to come I hope?!
Back to the main action: good luck Pippa Funnell, Jeanette Brakewell, Lissa Green, Andrew Nicholson, Oliver Townend and all the other brave (!!) competitors in the Cross-Country phase tomorrow! I hope all of you going to watch the action at ‘Burghley Horse Trials’ in beautiful Rutland, this sunny Bank Holiday Weekend have a great time!