I don’t mean the Vegas casino – I’m talking about all the ridiculous things going on right now. If anyone out there was thinking of producing a reality show based on the equestrian world, now would be an excellent time to do so. Here are a few topics that would make excellent candidates for the pilot episode:

Dubai’s credit crunch: with his multi-billion dollar debt load, will Sheikh Mohammed still keep writing cheques for the Meydan Nations’ Cup, among his other FEI commitments? To use a geographically appropriate image, the FEI funding that comes from Meydan is a grain of sand in the desert for sure, but it’s hardly likely to be at the top of the list of bills to pay. For his part, the good Sheikh was quoted today in the Daily Mail regarding the panic caused by last week’s announcement about Dubai’s financial crisis: “They do not understand anything. We are strong and persistent. It is the fruitbearing tree that becomes the target of (stone) throwers.” A poetic retort if ever there was one.

FEI loses its nerve with progressive medication (not doping) list: yesterday HQ issued a carefully worded press release that they will delay implementation of the progressive list that has so much of the horse world in hysterics. It looks like they might be in danger of caving to pressure from the outraged countries such as those purist Germans, but there is one important and valid point made by HRH in the release: “The controversy surrounding the List has almost completely overshadowed the clean sport campaign…now we can allow the focus to return to the wonderful work that has been undertaken by the Joint-Commissions…which has provided a clear roadmap for the delivery of clean sport.” I take comfort in knowing I’m not the only person who sees these two issues as apples and oranges.

The Battle for Canada’s horse loving memberships: it rages on. At this time four provinces have signed onto EC’s new plan, which leaves six out in the cold – by their own choosing. Alberta is no longer looking like the gunslinging maverick, and Nova Scotia has issued a searing criticism that appears to pack more punch than AB’s emotional rant from earlier this fall. You can see it here: http://www.horsenovascotia.ca/. BC is one of the ‘yes’ provinces, and HCBC prez Sarah Bradley has issued a letter with precisely the opposite message to Nova Scotia’s. I can’t find the letter anywhere on HCBC’s user-unfriendly website but here is a link to the text. What Sarah and the presidents of the other three ‘yes’ provinces should do next is send out instructions to members about how to renew for 2010, because I, for one, am confused. Do those of us in the conformist parts of the country have to now join two entities separately? That wouldn’t make any sense to me. If you are unified, it seems pointless duplication to process national and provincial memberships separately – but as far as I can tell that is exactly the case.

No Europe for Cheryl and Paganini – they were warned, but the DC OTP HP whatever-you-call-them people utterly failed to understand that hell would freeze before Stuttgaart was going to let paltry Canadians into their show. In fact, none of the big shows that DC identified as those they wanted to send rideres to would take any Canucks, except Oldenburg – who demanded money as per the widely understood but insufficiently challenged policy of the big European shows which forces riders who aren’t mega-stars to buy VIP tables to the tune of thousands of Euros in order to secure an ‘invitation’. Call it baksheesh, call it mordida. It’s bribery, plain and simple. We may be a bit quaint here in North America, but at least everyone pays the same for competing at a CDI. So Cheryl and her horse have stayed home, and who knows what has happened to the 15 grand that OTP was supposed to give Cheryl to help pay for the trip.

Just what we needed: more committees – I eventually stayed awake long enough to make it through DC’s new HP terms of reference; apart from some fancy changes to syntax I could not find anything substantial that would have justified dismissing the HP committee in the summer. And what is the new Big Idea DC had on HP committee? To create a kind of pyramid scheme of committees on committees. Look folks. You already couldn’t drag enough candidates to the table to have a board election for 2010. How are you going to populate the new multiple committees you envision who will report to the recently named Executive Committee? Which by the way has Ali B. on it, thank goodness for the west. If a camel is a horse designed by a committee, what will we get now? Snuffleupagus?

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Learn to cook at WEG – I have one question for the marketing geniuses in Kentucky: what next? This morning I received a breathlessly excited email from the folks at WEG announcing “Celebrity Chefs” at WEG. ‘Cookin’ in the Bluegrass: A Celebrity Chef Dinner Series” will be sure to attract all those Europeans who have said they are boycotting WEG because of exorbitant ticket and accommodations prices. Featured on the menu are such items as Critter Vittles – a fresh sheet of the day’s road kill and Awesome Opossum – for an extra fee they will include the nose. Ok, I made those up. But honestly – who thought this was a good idea? And you can’t put haute cuisine and git ‘er done diction in the same sentence and expect to be taken seriously, Gosh darn it.

I’m off on a long plane ride to the other end of the world where the kiwi birds sing and its summer at Christmas time, but don’t fret. I’ll be checking in again next Wednesday.