Cuckson Report

Hello from over the pond!

I’m Pippa Cuckson and have been part of the furniture in the UK equestrian media for over 35 years, associated mostly with Horse & Hound and more recently the Daily Telegraph. Some of you may recognize my name from my more recent campaigning for a clean-up of endurance in the Middle East, and for the "phantom rides" expose. Endurance ended up becoming something of a global cause celebre, for which media colleagues around the world have generously recognised me, with a couple of awards.

I would not presume to label myself as an "investigative journalist," though I would love to receive your suggestions about any other subjects you feel wants putting under the microscope. And when I am not doing any delving, I look forward to sharing with you my personal ruminations about the overall European scene.

Doping: The Figures Behind the Headlines at Tryon

The FEI, quite understandably, has flagged up the nearly clean sheet achieved in the extensive sampling carried out at Tryon, save for two endurance horses. The Equine Anti-Doping and Controlled Medication Programme always goes into overdrive at WEGs and Olympic…

Will Less be More in Experimental Dressage Grand Prix?

“But we’ve always done it this way” is the reason often trotted out to oppose change, even when it might just be change for the better. This is the inevitable reaction to news that a shorter dressage Grand Prix will…

Brief Encounters – The New ‘Normal’ in Endurance

I haven’t spoken to, or read anything written by, any veterinarian that disagrees with abandoning the Tryon WEG endurance ride. Vets all seem emphatic that horses were not coping with the fast rising heat and humidity. One told me some…

Should Tryon Ever be Allowed to Try Again?

Over the past 12 years I have written six lengthy pieces for various publications asking “what is the point of the World Equestrian Games (WEG)?” Anyone over 50 will recall the kudos and success of single-discipline world championships that were…

Eventing Draws the Short Straw Yet Again

Who would bet against Tim or Jonelle Price being eventing world champion in two weeks’ time? What a superb Burghley for this hugely likeable pair. Tim may have been the winning jockey this time, but theirs is a true team…

Temporary Scar on Polk County: Permanent Scar on the Sport

I almost checked my calendar when I saw this – surely an April Fool? If only it were a subject for levity. The Tryon Daily Bulletin labels itself the world’s smallest daily newspaper; not difficult because Tryon, Polk County, North…

Shooting the Messenger – A Setback for Fair Play

This blog might appear to be about a domestic issue this side of the pond, but there are important lessons for all. Please bear with, for there’s essential background reading first. First, in endurance, mandatory rest periods are applied to…

Clamping Down on Paying to Play…by Officials!

It’s my time of year for ploughing through the proposed new rules for all FEI sports, which will apply from 2019 subject to approval at the FEI General Assembly in November in Bahrain. First, I applaud/berate the FEI for doing…

Dealing with Offenders: Let’s Learn from Other Sports

I didn’t want to write again about horse abuse in the competitive arena, I really didn’t, but it seems unavoidable. After the Oliver Townend fiasco at Badminton, and the decision of the FEI to review whip (and blood) rules for…

Voting Rights and Wrongs Revisited

A “record” 52 riders are contesting the upcoming athlete elections: so gushed a recent FEI press release. Well, it wouldn’t exactly be difficult to create a record: it is only the second time these elections have been held and –…

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