Chinese new year isn’t technically for another month, but when it does come around I’ll be either getting into trouble in FL or recovering from it and will no doubt forget to wish everyone a Happy Rabbit Year. The Chinese horoscope describes ‘rabbit people’ – those born in years of the rabbit – as private, introverted individuals – so needless to say I wasn’t born in a Rabbit Year. It also says the rabbit is good luck (and they probably mean the whole rabbit, not those creepy little feet we used to carry around on our key chains), so I guess we are in for a lucky year. In addition to “focusing on home, family, security and diplomacy”, the Chinese horoscope encourages us to take good care of our “relationships with women and children” during a Rabbit Year. Given the heavily female-weighted demographic of DQ land and horse land in general, that advice holds an extra level of importance to the likes of me, a person whose livelihood is largely dependent on women and (especially female) children. *NB ~ in case you don’t understand why all the hoopla over Chinese new year, Vancouver is home to one of the world’s largest populations of expat Chinese.

If good luck visits the equestrian world during this coming Year of the Rabbit, what will that mean? Let me dust off that crystal ball of mine….wait a sec. Before I do that, maybe I’d better check last year’s predictions and see if the ball worked or not….Hey, not bad! I predicted several things that came true, though of course I tended to use the kind of vague language favoured by fortune tellers and horoscope writers and that can be seen as true, no matter what the outcome. However, I did predict that Canada’s eventers and dressagers would do well at WEG, and they did. I also predicted that dressage scores would continue to find higher mountains to climb, and they did. I also predicted “EC versus the hell no provinces” would get worse before it got better, and it did that in spades. Oh yeah, and I predicted HRH would win a second term as FEI Prez!

 Ok, big intake of sea-level oxygen-rich Vancouver air and here goes. These are my ‘lucky’ predictions for 2011:

1. No one will be kidnapped at the Pan Am Games – I’m starting at the high risk end here, because to be honest I’m not absolutely convinced of this one. However, since I plan to be in Guadalajara to enjoy the Games – my second Pan Ams – I guess you could say I’m hoping no one will be kidnapped. No one was randomly shot in Rio in 2007, and that wasn’t even a Rabbit Year – so my bet is that if the Brazilians can suppress their organized crime (and stray dogs and prostitutes) for 18 days so can the Mexicans. I really love Mexico (to quote Herb Alpert: Tequila!) and I have heard wonderful things about the country club that is hosting the Pan Am equestrian events. I think it’s worth the odd sphincter-winking moment to see it all firsthand. 

2. The World Dressage Masters will be revived on US soil – this is another ‘hope’, but I do have a strong hunch the crystal ball is right. I don’t know when or where, but I’d bet dollars to donuts on it.

3.  The breakaway republic of AlSaskQueScotiaPotatoheadLand will sputter and fail to gain relevance in the Canadian equestrian community. I mean, how can you form a country that isn’t even geographically contiguous? And with Quebec in there, imagine all the translation needs they didn’t manage to shed by seceding from Canada. No, I just can’t see it working out.

4. Totilas’ scores will not get higher – first of all, how could they? Never mind the change in jockeys. The judges have to leave room for the next great horse to come along, and come along it surely will – which makes this my two-part prediction. In spite of some hearty criticism that I have been too hard on the Germans-buying-the-competition’s-horse thing, I firmly believe I am not the only one who has – consciously or not – a sense that Matthias is going to have to prove himself before getting 32 10’s in a Grand Prix Special. See, judges? You’re not being singled out. We all have natural biases that we can neither shake nor deny.

5.  DC will start to show signs of becoming a functional entity. A far fetched idea? Not as much as you might think. On balance, there were some good changes that got rolling in 2010, one of which is a restructuring of the Board and HPC terms of reference. What? HPC terms of reference changed AGAIN? Yes, but they had to. Think of it as a committee colon cleanse.

6. Jump Canada will spend a goodly amount of time and human energy tiptoeing through tulips of compromise regarding show date exclusivity. After I wrote my article about it for Horse Sport, I thanked my lucky stars I didn’t have to decide which rocky road to try and pave toward a solution. In the meantime, the people who have learned to play nice in the same sandbox and share dates will no doubt continue to just keep on doing business and succeeding.

7. And what lucky events will visit me this year? I could hope for all kinds of things for myself, but I’ll be happy just to keep on blogging about various relevant and irrelevant topics over the next 12 months. I’m pretty sure I’ll manage to alienate at least one new interest group, but I promise to do my best to make you laugh while doing so.