Video documentary

The reason:
Because of Sammi’s illness, I am looking for a new subject (or possibly two, but we’ll see) for a short documentary film I want to make.

The topic:
Eventing; I want to paint the sport in a more ‘every day person’ light, make it more accessible. Ideally, the subject will be winding up to his/her first Intermediate or * (One Star) level.

How will it work?
The film will run to around 18-20 minutes. It will be structured in such a way as to follow, over a period of time, the passage of time. Day-to-day routine scenes, from schooling to tack-cleaning (and everything else involved), will build a picture of what goes in to getting a partnership to an Event.

The film will close with scenes of the competition day, from loading, arriving, unloading, grooming, tacking up, working in, dressage, show-jumping, cross-country, untacking, wash-down and relaxing afterwards.

In my head, the film will not have any narration. It will will feature a subdued musical backing track, I intend the film to speak for itself and should not need a narrator (though there will be titles on-screen to introduce scene changes).

Is that it?
Well, not quite. Ideally the subject should live within fairly reasonable reach of the OX28 area. And, obviously, I’m not a professional film-maker, so it will be a learning experience, but I have lots of video editing skills, years of audio editing experience and I’m confident I can do it.

An Australian hack

This is the helmetcam footage of the 2012 Sydney CCI Three Star (CCI***) Three Day Event, as shot from the view of Australian eventer Seamus Marwood, as his mare Wild Oats navigates her way around the cross-country section.

In terms of difficulty, a CCI Three Star is one step below the CCI Four Star (the highest degree of difficulty). CCI Four Star events include Badminton, the Olympics and the World Championships.

I love the horse’s attitude, the way she communicates back to the pilot, and the way he communicates back to her when she asks questions.

I love the rider’s independent seat; it is his secure position and balance that make the helmetcam view seem so smooth despite, what anyone can see, are scary-big fences.

I don’t like cross-country track, but this is a personal thing.

Enjoy the ride.

Sorry love, Eventing’s off

I’m a little sad that the authorities have cancelled the 2012 Badminton Horse Trials, that was due to run this weekend.

It is the right decision – if ever there’s doubt – to err on the side of caution.

And let’s face it, we’ve had torrential rain in the last 48 hours. No-one knows how (or even if) the ground will dry out in time.

No-one knows how the ground will stand up to 100,000 spectators, thousands of trade-stands and the competing horses.

Unfortunately the decision means I won’t be able to watch:




Andrew Nicholson






Andrew is, in my world at least, one of the classier riders on the professional eventing circuit.

I guess I’ll have to just crack on with riding Vin instead…

I want this horse!

This is a piece of helmetcam footage from the cross-country phase of a  CIC*** One Day Event.

Not only is it apparent that the horse *loves* his work, he has a fantastic attitude and a big, bold jump.

Those fences are *big*, yet the horse is so scopey he makes it look as though he’s almost stepping over them.

*love* this horse:

Documentary subject? (9/29)

I am looking for a subject to volunteer themselves to take part in a short, fly-on-the-wall type, documentary.

The subject should be a ‘grass-roots’ eventer, an amateur owner/rider.

I am looking to film/edit/produce a 15-minute schooling-to-competition documentary.  I want the film to show a wider audience what it takes for an amateur to get to an ODE.

The film will begin with non-competitive footage and end with a montage of competing at a BE. I want the documentary to show the ‘human’ side of the sport; I intend the film to show eventing to be an approachable sport, which is why I’m aiming for an amateur eventer.

Ideally, the subject should live not too far away from OX28. It is likely that I would need at least three visits to your yard, to capture the necessary background footage. I don’t want to spend hours in the car travelling around the country!

If you are this person, or if you know someone who fits the bill, please drop me a line via the comments box below, and I’ll get back to you to discuss.

I have spoken to the BE press/PR office, they are aware of the project and what I want it to achieve.

I’m not a professional director/producer/film editor, so this would be a little bit untried and experimental, but I do have the technical skills to produce a project like this.

Want to try Eventing, the safe way? (6/29)

It takes approximately 120 volunteers to put on a British Eventing One Day Event.

On the 14th and 15th April 2012, Crown Farm (my yard) will be hosting the Ascott-under-Wychwood (1) BE One Day Event.

If you are looking for something to do, Charlotte, the organiser, is always looking for stewards, car-park attendants, fence-judges, scorers, dressage writers.

If you are interested in having a day out, let me tell you what you’d get for giving your time.

You would get well looked after, you would get frequent free drinks and you would get a free lunch.


Let me know, I’ll pass your details on to the organiser.

More Balls


Last night (28th January 2012) was the 2011/12 Event Riders Association Ball.

The venue was Headley Stud, Newbury(ish).

The physical location was the heavily converted indoor arena.

The great and good of the Eventing world were present.

And me.


The host (Jules Stiller) and the team of organisers seized every single stop that was capable of being pulled out, and pulled them all out to maximum effect.

The setting was absolutely stunning.

The organisation (from the security through to the table service) was amazing.

And the entertainments were 99.95% awesome.

The live band could have been better, but that’s the only slightly negative comment I could make. The trouble is, when there’s a music journalist (me) at the Ball, I’m just going to notice a little detail like that.

The entire evening/night/morning was a stunning tribute to a team of people who put massive amounts of effort in to making the evening work.

And it really did work.

There are a few (discrete) pictures below but as far as a description of what went on, or what was involved, this is all you’re going to get.

I am the soul of discretion.

The usual rules apply re the photos. Click on an image once, let it load, click on it again and you’ll get the full-size picture.

A thorn between two roses


The ice-sculpture in reception


Ahem, my drinks, before the food began to arrive


Two more roses


Nial and Owen





I am already looking forward to the 2012/13 Event Riders Association Ball!

I should get up

*sets the scene*

It is 9am Saturday.

I am propped up in my lovely, lovely bed with lovely, lovely clean bed-linen and my lovely, lovely new 12.5 Tog duvet.

I have tea.

I have cereal.

The iPod docking station is playing lovely, lovely music. Anemo’s ‘Music Box’, at the moment.

And I am thinking, pensively.

There’s much to do today.

I need to get up, shower, shave, teeth, get dressed and pack for a night away.

I am meeting a friend in Newbury for lunch. When we’re done with that she’ll be off to have things done to her. You know, hair, and all that.

I have to check in to a hotel in Newbury (no, not with the friend, you dirty-minded thing).

At about 6pm I need to do more bathroom-related things, then change in to my dinner suit, dress shirt, bow-tie (I hope I can remember how to tie it!) and shiny shoes.

I’m meeting my friend and a bunch of other people for some pre-event drinks, in the hotel reception.

And then we’re all going out to a Ball.

It’s the ‘Event Riders Association’ Ball.

We have a couple of taxis booked to get us there. And to get us back again afterwards.

Before we all turn in to pumpkins.


But before I can do any of those exciting things, there’s the most mundane – yet difficult – obstacle to overcome.

The ‘getting out of bed’.

Bugger me, it’s difficult.

Especially when ones bed is so comfortable. And warm. And cosy. And the music in here is so good. And…


You know.


I don’t actually have to get up


*snuggles back down*

Stunning, talented, fantastic horse for sale

Update: Enjoying a new home, almost instantly.



I haven’t been paid for this. I’m just putting this information in to the market/google for a close friend. I’m also wording this advert myself, but the wording is, of course, 100% verifiable and accurate.

Very, very sadly for sale owing to a relationship breakdown, one of the most-loved, best-mannered, most capable horses on our yard.

Soldier is a total star in every discipline.

In British Dressage he has amassed 45 Dressage points, in Show Jumping he has BSJA cash winnings and in British Eventing, has successfully competed up to and including Novice.

Soldier has also won in all Pony Club and Riding Club events including individuals, teams and National Championships.

Soldier has been in the same home for 9 years, during which he has helped take his current owner/rider from BE Intro to Novice – though she is now competing at Advanced level.

This is a serious, competitive horse, a quality dressage schoolmaster, who is excellently mannered in all respects. He needs to have a competent rider as he is capable of of sussing out a novice rider. Good to Box, Clip, Shoe etc.

Unfortunately, Soldier stands at 15.3hh, and if it wasn’t for his lack of height, I’d have him for myself in a flash.

He’s 15 years old and is bred as a TBxID, Sire: Miley.

Here’s how he looks when he’s working:

Goring Heath BE



London 2012 Olympic prices

It’s almost as if the organisers of the London 2012 Olympics are incapable of learning anything from anyone.

Earlier this month, the gaze of the equestrian world was focussed on the World Equestrian Games (WEG) in Kentucky USA.

The WEG is the World Cup of all equestrian disciplines. Like other World Cup competitions, the WEG is held every four years; the venue changes on a ‘bid’ basis, this is also like other World Cup competitions.

In terms of competition ‘difficulty’, the WEG is a CCI**** (four star) competition, this is the highest degree of difficulty in the equestrian world.

The only other four star competitions in the normal *annual* Eventing calendar are:

Lexington (US), April
Badminton (GB), March
Luhmuhlen (DE), June
Burghley (GB), Sep
Pau (FR), November
Adelaide (AUS), November

To this list we have to add the two four star events that occur on a periodic basis:

WEG (US), October 2010
Olympics (GB), July 2012

Let’s add, to the list of *annual* four star events some additional information:

Lexington (US), April US$50 (incl car parking) – £31
Badminton (GB), March £101 (incl car parking) – £101
Luhmuhlen (DE), June €80 (incl car parking)  – £70
Burghley (GB), Sep £70 (incl car parking) – £70
Pau (FR), November €51 (for VIP pass incl car parking) – £45
Adelaide (AUS), November A$80 (incl car parking) – £50

This tells us that, for those of us in Europe, amongst the annual four star competitions, Badminton Horse Trials is exceptionally poor value.

Elsewhere in Europe, Pau, Luhmuhlen and Burghley all seem to be more or less in the same financial ballpark.

So we have a market.

Let’s add to the marketplace, the prices for this year’s WEG in Ketucky: £200 (incl car parking).

Fucking… ouch!! That’s painful.

OK, so now let’s add the final ingredient, the prices for the London 2012 Eventing competition: £275 (*not* incl car parking).

Fucking, fucking, fucking OUCH!!!

A point of clarification: the prices for four star Eventing competitions are not set by the local/national discipline. Oh no.

The prices for four star Events are set by the sport’s international governing body, the Federation Equestre Internationale (FEI).

Unfortunately, the organisers of this year’s WEG have taken a financial hammering. According to today’s Sunday Telegraph, the FEI managed to sell just 52% of their tickets.

I can’t help wondering how many of the £275 tickets the FEI reckon they’re going to sell.

I’m seriously pissed off with the FEI, they seem to be guilty of what the Americans call ‘price gouging’.

The prices the FEI charged for the CIC*** (three star) competition at this year’s Gatcombe Horse Trials were absolutely criminal.

What is it with sport governing bodies that seems the make them see the punters as nothing more than cash cows?