Eventing: Still Living in the Balance, 8 Years Later

What makes an article consistently make the rounds on Facebook, 8 years after its publication? In this case, it’s because the insights in this article still apply today. And that’s sad, because it’s an article we read after a tragedy.

With new eventing deaths coming from around the world, Jim Wofford’s 2008 article Eventing Lives in the Balance still matters. At Retired Racehorse Blog, I’m taking a look at what we can all get from this article about the modern face of eventing.

Retired Racehorse

horse-930942_1280 Skinny fence, determined duo. Photo: Pixabay.

In 2008, veteran eventer and Olympian Jim Wofford wrote the tremendously outspoken article Eventing Lives in The Balance for Practical Horseman. Every year or so this article crops up on Facebook again, reading as fresh and relevant as it did the day it was released–or perhaps more so, because every time it rises up, it’s a rash of eventing catastrophes that awoke it from its slumber.

In the past weeks we’ve lost several horses and riders on the cross-country course. We have to be careful out there, that goes without saying. Eventing was never a cautious person’s sport, which means as riders, the temptation to go to the extreme edges of safety is always there.

Here’s the thing: the contemporary version of eventing isn’t a level playing field for horses or riders. There are hidden dangers to the way short format eventing is designed, and since…

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Never Watch Rolex if You’re on a Horse Break

I wrote this yesterday after spending two hours watching the final horse inspections at Rolex Kentucky Three-Day-Event. It kind of coincided with my desire to bring back a horse-focused blog in Retired Racehorse Blog, the website which really jump started my writing career. If you’ve ever had to take a break from the equestrian life, you’ll get this post.

Retired Racehorse

Never watch Rolex if you’re on a horse break.

Oh, the internet makes it so easy for you. A hot weekend morning, too sticky to bother going out for a walk, too sunny to bother making any plans that don’t involve a slow stroll to the pool and back, why not just sit and watch horses on your television? Can’t hurt to look in on the old sport.

Never watch Rolex if you’re on a horse break.

5728949228_1bbcf58cce_z Photo: Boyd Martin, Rolex 2011. Photo: Flickr/FiveFurlongs

Kentucky isn’t just beautiful, it’s stupid-beautiful. Look at those black-board fences weaving meticulously through emerald-green hills! Look at the bright new leaves sprouting from the tops of those massive, mysterious trees! (What are those trees?) Look at the horses, horses, horses, horses everywhere! The palm trees are waving outside your window, the blue sky is sparkling and suggesting you slip on your swimsuit and take a…

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