Just when the snake of COVID-19 began to bite some 10 months ago, a fictional video story appeared on social media and was reprinted in the sports pages of the Irish Independent. It is set in a futuristic classroom for the year 2085 and the teacher is saying: “That finishes up our chapter on the year 2019. I now want you to flip to page 270 and we are going to talk about the year 2021.”
A student interrupts: “What about 2020?”
“Listen here you,” the teacher replies, “we don’t talk about 2020!”
And thus it is with our equestrian world – we would like to forget the year we have just suffered through and look forward to a better one ahead.
Wish list for 2021
On the selection of a new CEO for Horse Sport Ireland (HSI), I recently received the following recommendation from one of our readers:
“A top-rate CEO is vital. If we get a leader, a good communicator with no favourites and an ability to negotiate with total confidence with Government all involved can go places.” Well said.
During the year ahead our Irish horses going for export or competition have many miles to go
My next wish is that the situation will be such that both the Dublin Horse Show and the Tokyo Olympics can go ahead with some degree of normality. If they do, my wish is not only a win in the Aga Khan but medals from the postponed Olympiad. We have the fire power to do that in all three disciplines. So let us hope it happens.
As I wrote this in late December, the UN and UK Brexit negotiations were still “going the extra mile”. During the year ahead our Irish horses going for export or competition have many miles to go. My wish is that a much-hoped-for trade deal will make those miles as stress- and delay-free as possible.
Our show scene
During the break from normal activity on our national show and event scene, let us hope that new plans are in place to make these fixtures more relevant.
In show jumping, for example, the international events at Mullingar, Millstreet, Balmoral and Cavan should be linked up in a grand slam format with a top sponsor and really good prize money over the four legs.
My wish is that the return of horse sport to RTÉ TV is not just a COVID-19 once off
In eventing, Tattersalls will have to be replaced with an equally good venue and organisation. It is vital that we host a top-class four-star short event in Ireland.
My wish is that the return of horse sport to RTÉ TV is not just a COVID-19 once off. I hope we can look forward to another Masters in 2021.
Finally, let’s have more Go For Gold-type of sales.