Greetings from my brand new blog, brought to you by Horse Sport International on its exciting new website. Some of you already know me from my blog Straight-Up, which can be found at www.Horse-Canada.com/straight-up. But for those of you who are familiar with my name only from the by-lines of more formal (read: polite) magazine articles, or for those of you who don’t know me from a hole in the ground, I would like to give you a bit of background and an idea of what to expect.
I became an equestrian journalist a dozen years ago, in 2000. I had recently re-invented myself as a dressage freestyle designer, and I thought, what the hey? I might as well reinvent myself twice. And so I began covering equestrian sport for magazines such as Dressage Today, Chronicle of the Horse, and Horse Sport, among others throughout the English-speaking horse world. Three WEGs, two Olympics, two Pan Am Games and five Global Dressage Forums later, I think it’s fair to say I have matured somewhat as a writer. I have also developed a reputation as someone who doesn’t shy away from controversy. In fact, that kind of topic is right up my alley. Over the past year I have streamlined my writing commitments to allow more freedom to choose my subjects and media. My favourite medium, if you haven’t already noticed, is the blogosphere. Blogging gives me an avenue for expressing my thoughts and sharing my experiences in a way print articles and press releases don’t. And if there is one thing I love doing, it’s expressing myself.
Not everyone likes what I write on my blog. Following my frank criticism of the dressage judging at the 2008 Olympics, I was confronted by various members of the ground jury at events later that year. One of the judges took exception to being called a ‘snuggle bunny’ (I never did determine whether he understood that I had used the term ironically). Another judge, who chose not to approach me directly, told a judging colleague that I ‘should be shot’ for what I had written about the Olympic judging. Meh. I have thick skin. And for goodness’ sake, someone has to be willing to say what so many are thinking but dare not say aloud. I don’t believe in sacred cows – not even among the FEI Executive. While I tend to dig in most often in the world of dressage, I am a keen follower of all the Olympic disciplines, as well as any and all political conflicts among stakeholders. Because I already have a Canadian focus with Straight-Up, this blog will cover the international equestrian scene, with a fair dollop of emphasis on all things Stars and Stripes.
And that brings me to the BIG EVENT from which I look forward to blogging this summer – the London Olympics. Let’s hope the event is more stylish than the hideous logo that my East European husband refers to as the hakenkreuz. If that was the best design the competitors came up with, he says, he’d hate to see the others. But never mind. The Olympics are always rife with children’s nightmare-inducing mascots and evil colour schemes. I am not going to London to hug a stuffed toy come-to-life or be inspired about new colour schemes for the interior of my home. I am going there for the sport, the calibre of which I hereby predict will exceed anything we have ever seen, in every discipline, including Para.
Between now and London I will be doing some other wandering, including a second trip to Welly World in March (see my next post for what I got up to during my January visit), where I hope to take in part of the US Olympic Show Jumping Team trials. The Americans may have taken home the lion’s share of the Pan Am hardware in Guadalajara, but they have some Olympic-sized proving to do before the world takes them back as one of the world’s greatest show jumping nations.
In the meantime, you can expect a post at least every week – more often when I am somewhere exciting or whenever the wonderful world of horse sport delivers a story that I just can’t resist. I look forward to sharing the low-down on all things equestrian with you. I hope you enjoy the ride!