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.

Contamination: An Unavoidable Waste of Court Time

Are we seeing more and more doping cases related to accidental contamination? The FEI Tribunal’s workload is enormous. Right now, it has the longest pending case list I can ever recall. There are 40 outstanding cases, only a tiny handful…

Has the ‘World Class’ Program Lost its Lustre?

I can’t draw on personal experience to opine about how a huge, un-earned income influences one’s thinking. We can reasonably say it makes you more prone to extravagance than if you’d worked your fingers to the bone for every cent. And…

Austrian Furore Shows Why Jumping Needs the “ERQI” Too

I have a lot of hope about the potential of the ERQI – the EquiRatings Quality Index – to save eventing riders from themselves. It may also save Group 7 endurance horses from their riders if the FEI is bold…

Is Any Olympic Sport ‘Safe’ When Host Cities Keep Dropping Away?

After 48 hours of political turmoil in the UK it was comforting to learn that at least one thing is set to enjoy a period of stability. I refer to confirmation that equestrianism is in the Olympic Games until at…

Endurance Wastage: Even Worse Than You Probably Thought

I was sorry to miss the FEI’s endurance forum at Vic in Spain. I went to the 2014 version in Lausanne, the first specialist endurance open forum staged after the extent of the cheating, doping and attrition in FEI Group…

Jumpers Get Political

You have to hand it to the International Jumping Riders Club (IJRC) for ramping up their engagement in the politics of their sport. In recent weeks, the riders have influenced a U-turn in two unpopular FEI proposals. One is the…

It’s Official: Speed Kills

You don’t need to be much of a horseman to know that if you persistently and rigorously work an unsound horse, it will break. Now, though, we have compelling scientific evidence that the intensive training techniques and the high competition speed…

Why Jumpers Feel Over-Faced by “Paying to Play”

There had to be a few catches in the out-of-court settlement between the FEI and Jan Tops’s Global Champions League. Last week we started to find out what they are. In a flurry of get-togethers by those who have seen…

Conference Fatigue

I have been to all but one of the FEI Sports Forums in Lausanne, Switzerland every April since its launch in 2012. The format has changed from the first year, when it spanned three days often with simultaneous debates in different…

Nine Suspensions in Dubai – But is it Quite What it Seems?

Sceptic has become my middle name. Ideally, I would prefer to think that today’s nine Dubai rider/trainer provisional suspensions for doping offences in endurance plus news of the Emirates Equestrian Federation’s (EEF) plans to reduce fatalities represent a turning point in the…

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