Back in February we introduced some of our riders, full of hope for a ‘normal’ season of eventing in the UK. We’re now all thinking that a ‘normal’ eventing season is about as real as an actual unicorn.
Within days of our last blog being published came the news of a major outbreak of EHV-1 on the European Sunshine Tour, taking the lives of several equine athletes. The FEI wasted no time bringing a halt to competition on the continent. That brought an early end to show jumping in the sun and also brought plans of Winter eventing in Portugal crashing down.
A day or so later the news that Badminton CCI5* was cancelling also broke. We were still mourning the loss of the Thoresby CCI4*S that was announced as cancelled at the end of January, and now Badminton. Surely it couldn’t get any worse?
Just a few days later the announcement came that Bramham CCI4* was also cancelling. As the host of the U25 Championships this hit the Windrush riders more than anything. It didn’t stop there though, Chatsworth CCI4* and Rockingham CCI2* & CCI3* also made their cancellation announcements.
A glimmer of hope arrived in the form of the ‘Elite Email’. The wonderous email that granted riders elite status and put them in the privileged position of being able to travel to train. We were so grateful that the Windrush riders all came under this new Elite classification and were able to get back to training, whilst still being mindful of the public perception as well as the ever-looming prevalence of Covid-19 and EHV-1.
But with no Badminton and no Bramham U25, what have #TeamWindrush got to aim for?
Luckily Bicton, a favourite holiday destination of many UK riders, has come to the rescue. They will build a new CCI4* course and will host the 2021 U25 Championships on the same June dates as Bramham was due to run! Hurrah!
So, for Connie Copestake the main goal for 2021 is to target the U25 championships, as it’s her last year as an under-25 and that has been a big aim for her top horse. Connie is also looking forward to bringing on a number of younger horses who will look to progress up the levels throughout the season.
With the Autumn CCI5* at Burghley still looking hopeful, Alicia Hawker has her sights set on a return visit to the Lincolnshire event is September. Together with her top horse Charles RR she competed there for the first time in 2019 and finished in 16th, so is now aiming to try and improve on that – maybe a top 10.
For Will Furlong, Badminton was the goal with Collien P2. Like many riders Will is now looking at plans B, C and D, but is very much looking forward to hopefully being back at Burghley in the Autumn.
Until then we’re keeping everything crossed for no more hurdles and maybe a unicorn or two!