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.

Ocala Positives: One-year Bans Despite Exoneration

In an agreed settlement with the FEI, announced today (May 28), US riders Hannah-Sue Burnett , Jennifer Brannigan and Aylssa Phillips have all been suspended for a year (through November 2018) and fined 1,500 Swiss francs ($1950) each as a result of…

Time for All Sports to Review Attitudes Toward Abuse

The FEI is reviewing the blood and whip rules for eventing, as a direct result of the social media storms over Marilyn Little at Kentucky and Oliver Townend at Badminton. The review is indeed welcome – but all FEI disciplines…

Why the World’s Most Popular Four-Stars are not Considered News

The turn of April into May is always massive for eventing, with Kentucky and Badminton on consecutive weekends. This year it’s an even bigger happening, for Oliver Townend’s fantastic win statesside with Cooley Master Class puts him in line for…

The Last Generation of All-Rounders Start to Pass

Three weeks ago I followed the FEI sports forum on livestream. After listening to David O’Connor’s eventing risk management presentation I made a mental note to pick Mike Tucker’s brains on a couple of topics raised, when I saw him…

The Foolproof Way to Reduce Doping Violations: Stop Testing!

The endurance “round table” at the 2012 FEI sports forum was the first time stakeholders started to openly shame the desert sport. The evening before I was introduced to the UAE delegate Dr Hallvard Sommerseth. Perhaps anticipating the next day’s…

Self-Interested Bullies: A Very Dark Day for the BEF

An unsavoury account of power struggles and back-biting at the British Equestrian Federation [BEF] has concluded with threats of millions in funding cuts if BEF member bodies [MBs] don’t behave. The long-awaited independent review – months overdue to the unanticipated…

When the FEI pinch boot ban comes into full effect in 2021, boots will be required to have a smooth interior, a maximum interior length of 16cm, and the fastener width must be at least 5cm – these examples ("flick" boots on left, "pinch boots" on right) will no longer be permitted.

Boot Ban – A Tool For Performance Impairment

Browsing recently for high-visibility leg protectors for my horse, I was struck how many UK online retailers had specialist jumper “performance boots” on discounted sale. “Performance boot” is the politically acceptable term for “pinch” boots and the larger “flick” boots, designed…

8 Minute from the President’s Cup

Just When You Thought Desert Endurance Couldn’t Sink Any Lower…

While the world obsessed about alleged abusive riding by Shelley Browning in the US and Bernhard Maier in Austria, a proven endurance horse abuse case was quietly adjudicated by the FEI last week. The incriminating video wasn’t circulated on social media….

Would 20% Force Bad Riders to Reconsider their Positions?

You must have been living under a rock for the past few weeks if you haven’t heard about Shelley Browning and her unenviable dressage riding in California recently. I have never seen a social media storm like it. These were,…

Truth Stranger than Fiction in Jumping ‘Sabotage’ Scandal

People accused of horse doping often argue they must have been sabotaged. I can imagine their legal people secretly thinking “yeah, yeah, yeah…” But now a cut-and-dried case of horse “nobbling” has come before the FEI Tribunal. The alleged perpetrator…

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