Monthly diary — May

Lucinda Green

All Cry Freedom's events were cancelled this month although Bill has made up for any disappointment. He went to two Novices to do just the dressage, and then the dressage and showjumping, before competing properly at Larkhill and Belton.

Walking Belton's course, I was shocked to find it was unusually at the top end of Novice - no chance of Bill trotting the fences. We took it slowly but positively, although very nearly didn't make it over the first. However, from there he took the course on and achieved his first point for a double clear. I'm very proud.

I'm now off to the USA to teach and to catch the Rolex Kentucky 3DE. I suspect much talk in the States will be of eventing safety, following Darren Chiacchia's awful fall. Fortunately he is recovering but his accident follows a series of lethal crashes. Much blame is placed with course designers but I don't believe this to be the fundamental cause. It is a kaleidoscope of inter-related factors, most impossible to legislate against. The increasing emphasis on dressage has led to better moving horses but not necessarily ones that are clever on their feet. Riders are under pressure, whether from themselves, trainers or owners, to push horses on before they have learned the game. Courses are more technical, losing the art of putting horses over big terrifying fences, instead, developing line riding.

Something has gone wrong. When I was riding at top level, you never feared for your life although you knew the risks. You were frightened of making a mistake, but not of the consequences.

It is right that this matter is discussed so hotly — unless it is blown apart we'll be no nearer to a solution. But in parts of the US, understandable emotion is over-riding sensible analysis.
Lucinda Green Signature