I’ve decided: 2014 will be exciting. 2013 was the comedown – post-London, excitement fading and new beginnings emerging for all sorts of sports. 2014 sees the climb really begin. We’ll be halfway from London to Rio and, as equestrians, we have the excellent marker of the World Equestrian Games heading our way.
I’ve already outlined some of my personal hopes and dreams for 2014 and beyond, but today I got thinking about what I’d like for the horse world in general. My full list of wishes will be published later in the week, but here’s a Horse Hour preview. Let me know what you’d like to see happen within equestrianism during the next 12 months – I’d love to feature some of your ideas!
- Harmony… between equestrians and other road users. This is a big problem in the UK, and has hit the headlines again recently following a case between a rider and motorist. I’m not a fan of the passive-aggressive safety gear which is currently in favour among many equestrians (for example, hi-vis wear branded to look similar to Police uniforms, and equipment advertising the fact that the rider is wearing a camera). I’d rather that there were better education for non-horsey road users and that riders took the moral high ground as much as possible. Can we all just abide by the “treat others as you’d like to be treated” rule?
- Networking... too few horsey organisations have fully embraced the digital world. There are those who are great – among them, professional riders, media outlets such as TV channels and equestrian magazines, shows and events, plus various equipment brands – but there are many who have been slow to catch on or aren’t even trying. The legacy we so crave and require following storming Olympic performances by Team GB and the constant desire for expansion in other horse sports won’t be possible without grassroots participation, and it’s here that the horse world is failing to join the 20th century, nevermind the 21st. I want to see far better websites, social media usage and communication in general (hands up if you struggle to get a riding school to even answer the phone) among the wider equestrian community. Stop relying on building it and your clients coming, start being proactive and learning how to reach the next generation
- Excellence and equity... 2013 was dominated by prize money rows and drug dramas. 2014 is the Chinese Year of the Horse – with the World Equestrian Games coming up, I think this is a good omen! Let’s make it fun (from grassroots up), fair (play by the rules and please, FEI, implement them correctly) and fantastic