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HORSE AND HOUND with Coral Keen: when the going gets tough


Events not running is obviously a bone of contention at the moment as we’ve seen unbelievable weather ever since the season ‘started’ (and I use started in the loosest of terms!). I know my show schedule hasn’t run at all to plan, and you can see all over social media that many people aren’t happy with the changes they’ve had to make to their schedules.

It’s obviously really disappointing for everyone when, just at it looks to be on the up, the heavens open and yet another event is forced to make the decision that nobody wants to hear. Just when you get going, you find out you have to stop again.

Most recently I arrived at Gatcombe Horse Trials (at the ripe time of 6am) and managed to walk the courses; I even managed to get my numbers and walk back to the lorry before I heard that everything was cancelled. I’m not alone in my ventures as many others were either there with me or embarking on their long journeys to the venue when they found out, and there is always comfort in knowing that everyone is in the same boat. None of us are getting the preparation runs we need at the beginning of a season to set us up for the bigger competitions, or to ease the youngsters into their first events. My spring plans have pretty much gone down the drain as I know they have for just about everyone else. I saw recently that riders are pulling out of Badminton because they can’t prepare their horses, especially the younger ones, and nobody can blame them. You can’t get the match fitness you need just by going up and down the gallops — we all need these preparation runs, and they are becoming more and more valuable.

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