What with all the shenanigans going on in the breakaway republic of Alberta, I’ve accumulated quite a few bits that haven’t made it to this page yet – so today I bring them to you in an ‘apropos of nothing at all’ installment of random items.

The biggest news (which would have been a scoop if I had my act together a week ago) is that pregnancy is becoming popular among top German equestriennes. Meredith Michaels Beerbaum is the latest mom-to-be, which would explain why she went to hospital after her crash at Spruce. What is inexplicable to me is: why  was she competing when she was three months’ pregnant?  Dressage riders don’t tend to have many crashes, but show jumping is a whole other kettle of guppies, as evidenced by what happened to Meredith at the Masters. The media reported that she was being cautious with her riding AFTER her crash at Spruce…though not cautious enough to stay out of the ring the next day with a rather poor round in the CN million dollar GP. The woman who gave the term ‘helmet-head’ a whole new meaning with her rigid, puffy hair style has announced her intention to defend her World Cup title next spring, just weeks after giving birth to the bonny little Beerbaum.

In FEI news, I’d like to borrow the concept of Bill Maher’s ‘New Rules’:

New Rule: you can’t nominate people in their thirties for a young rider award. A recent FEI press release promoting HQ’s latest PR hatchling included Buck Davidson as a nominee for the HSBC Rising Star award ‘for a rider aged 14-21’. Check ur facts, folks.

New Rule: you can’t sponsor a major FEI championship while under a doping suspension. Oh wait, yes you can. Case in point, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.We already have the Meydan Nations Cup and last weekend’s Meydan City Open European Endurance Championships (the operative word there being ‘open’, which meant non-European countries like Bahrain could participate). Two weeks ago it was announced that Meydan will be the presenting sponsor for the WEG Endurance race in Kentucky. The Sheikh’s doping suspension will be over in time for him to compete in Lexington, bien sur.

New Rule: you can’t attract the world’s youth to equestrian sport with dry, humourless and fake-looking interviews between a man whose voice constantly cracks into falsetto and a boy no one has ever heard of. FEI Sec. Gen. Alex McLin’s latest video podcast (http://www.fei.org/FEI/News/Pages/Flash_Podcasts.aspx) is about as likely to get picked up and forwarded via Twitter by young people as I am of being 16 again. I don’t know who is dreaming up the settings for these monthly missives from HQ, but they might be eligible for a weirdness award at next year’s Worldwide Short Film Festival. At one point Alex tells young Sam that kids who want to learn how to ride can contact their national federations to find out how to get started in their countries. Can you imagine phoning EC to find out about riding lessons?

There is not much news to share on the DC front, though two of the three horse and rider pairs chosen for the European Tour are already in the Old Country: Diane Creech with Wiona and Belinda Trussell with Anton. Thankfully, it was ultimately deemed a bad idea to throw these relatively young and green GP horses to the wolves in Stuttgart, so they will compete at more ‘friendly’ European CDIs instead of the biggest, baddest indoor show in Germany. I know that the interviews for DC Team Technical Advisor have taken place, but so far no word on who that new TA will be. I even checked Robert Dover’s blog, but he hasn’t made a peep about it. There also hasn’t been a peep about last month’s CDI in Edmonton. Sure it was only a two star, but it WAS the first CDI EVER in Western Canada, not to mention the host of the National Youth Championships. I know EC can be slower than molasses in January with press releases, and for some reason dressage is the worst of the disciplines in that regard (on September 2 a press release went out about the Beaulieu CDI – which took place the first week of August). But I think it’s safe to say that the Edmonton CDI has been deemed not press-worthy by DC. You know, just because some separatists at AEF are making a stink about not being part of Canada (see last week’s blog, Herding Cats), doesn’t mean the heroic efforts of the organizers of a historic CDI should be dissed.

Finally, I would like to announce the release of the Limited Edition Karen Voodoo Doll.  Each doll comes with 10 free pins. Until October 10th, order 4 dolls and get a 5th one free. Orders can be placed by making a comment at the bottom of this blog.