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2013 That Was The Year That Was - April to June

The weather and the Olympics are the main talking points of 2012, Melanie Scott looks back at the highs and lows of this year.


The month opens with the sad news of the passing of equestrian journalist Dorothy Dawson. Together with her husband Stuart, the Dawsons were seen at horse shows the length and breadth of the country, writing for many equestrian magazines including The Scottish Farmer.

The Scottish Equine Breeders Association (SEBA) present their inaugural award to the best Scottish-bred horse or pony to Robert Davidson's home-bred Highlnad Trowan Moulin. The yellow dun has been ridden champion at the Royal Highland three times partnered by Rose Mcpherson and also best of breed at Olympia.

Scott Brash continues his fine run at the Winter Equestrian Festival in Florida, winning the $25,000 class with Intertoy Z. With several wins and placings his total prize money from the show comes to around £100,000.

Merigo lands the Scottish Grand National at Ayr for the second after winning the same race in 2010. The horse is trained by Lockerbie trainer Andrew Parker and is owned by Ray and Anita Anderson Green from East Lothian, and was riden by their son-in-law Timmy Murphy.

The British Horse Society Scotland present their annual Tarragon Award for the equine personality of the year award to Ace, a firm favourite at the Thornton Rose Riding for the Disabled Group where he has worked for the past 12 years.

With the start of April bringing with it warmth and sunshine many predicted this was our summer. How true was this prediction as by mid April the heavens opened and events were cancelled left, right and central.

Auchinleck horse trials was cancelled the morning of the event, despite many competitors being on site, after heavy rain caused concerns over safety. The Fife point-to-point was cancelled a few days before it was due to run after looking at the forecasted weather, while heavy rain the night before Central Scotland horse trials and lying water meant that organisers had no option other than to cancel, although the higher level of classes were rescheduled the following week.


With heavy rain causing numerous show and event cancellations the biggest blow to the eventing calendar was the cancellation of Badminton just a few days before the riders were due to arrive. A combination of flooding, water lying on the course and further rain forecast meant that organisers just couldn't take the risk of running horses. The GB long listed riders were to re-route to Chatsworth the following week but the Derbyshire fixture was cancelled.

British equestrian performance director Will Connell said it was "a disappointment and not what we would have wanted".

British Eventing selectors had planned to announce the Olympic eventing team on 24 May, but they extended this until after Bramham.

Paralysed eventer Claire Lomas completed the London Marathon 16 days after she set off. Claire, 32, completed the 26.2 miles in a pair of special robotic legs, to raise money for Spinal Research. She was a promising event rider when she was paralysed in a fall at Osberton Horse Trials five years ago.

Leading equine vet Dr Andy Matthews retired from his Ayrshire practice.

National Hunt trainer Lucinda Russell's Cheltenham winner Brindisi Breeze is killed in a tragic accident after jumped out of his paddock overnight.


The Olympic Torch's tour of Britain reached Scotland, it visited Hopetoun House near Edinburgh and was flanked by Olympic riders Ian Stark, Lucinda Green and Caroline Powell and it was escorted up the drive to the house to launch the horse trials taking place next month.

The British eventing team for the London Olympics in London threw up some surprises, leaving out Nicola Wilson, a previous team rider. The riders were Tina Cook (Miners Frolic), William Fox-Pitt (Lionheart), Piggy French (Jakata or DHI Topper W), Mary King (Imperial Cavalier) and Zara Phillips (High Kingdom). However within days of the announcement, Piggy French's Jakata is ruled out due to injury.

There is further tragedy to Lucinda Russell's racing yard after top jockey Campbell Gillies dies whilst on holiday. The Cheltenham Festival-winning jockey, who would have been 22 two days later, has died after a tragic swimming pool accident while on holiday in Greece.

The pinnacle of the Gillies embryonic career was in March when he landed the Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival on the ill-fated Brindisi Breeze, who sadly died the previous month. The two accidents have left staff at the yard devastated.

There is a bitter-sweet moment at Central and West Fife when the last foal bred by the late Dorothy Dawson wins the overall light horse supreme. This was Davdor Spring Muzik, who is now owned by Charlie Cousens.

Scotland received a boost when it was announced by the FEI that Blair Castle would host 2015 European Eventing Championships

This will be the first time Blair has hosted a senior championship, although it has run two young rider Europeans in 2007 and 2011. The event director is Alec Lochore, currently the eventing manager for the 2012 London Olympics.

The new horse trials at Balcarres in Fife had the potential to give other well established events a run for their money with stunning location, friendly organisers with a 'can-do' attitude as well as super courses. It was shame that the weather tried its hardest to spoil it, with torrential rain as the first day started. Many thousands of tonnes of hardcore were added to the take-offs and landings of each fence in order to allow the CCI classes to run as sadly the national classes were cancelled as the ground wouldn't have stood up to further punishment.

The rain continued for the followig week with the Royal Highland Show a mud-bath. Who could forget this year's show? On arrival there were puddles lying in the carparks, this quickly changed to lakes as the show was battered by rain, with lightening and flash flooding cancelling the light horse parade on Friday with subsequent days also cancelled. Walkways and collecting areas to the rings quickly turned to glaur as was the car parking for visitors, many of whom endured marathon waits to be towed out. With the RBS and Edinburgh Airport on hand to offer tarmaced parking areas for spectators and the horseboxes parked on hard standing the show rallied on and continued although there were many lessons to be learned.