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.

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…

Is it Too Easy to Become an ‘International?’

Is it becoming too easy to become an ‘international’ rider? Scores of evolving equestrian nations belong to the FEI. There are over 130 member countries, at least half without the remotest chance of ever sending a rider to the Olympic…

Ocala Positives Expose Widespread Naivety About Human Doping

A fair few riders have probably spent the holidays reading FEI human anti-doping rules, following news that US eventers Hannah Sue Burnett, Jennifer Brannigan and Alyssa Phillips tested positive to prohibited substances at the CIC3*Ocala-Reddick horse trials, Florida in November….

New Endurance Rules Lost in Translation

British people, certainly my generation, can be very lazy about other languages. Much of the world has English as its first or second tongue, so we think we don’t have to bother. I was taught French in a very academic…

IJRC launched the #YES campaign to fight against pay-to-play

Jumpers ‘Come Out’ About Buying Your Way To The Top

The horse world has always taken a lot of trouble to persuade the outside world it is not elitist – it’s one justification for being allowed to remain in the Olympic movement, after all. We specialist journalists try hard to…

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