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I feel like I’ve just about recovered from Badminton, wherein a tight-knit group of us slightly bonkers equestrian media folks kept the press centre security chaps in business until the wee hours of the morning most nights. (It’s good timing, too, as I’m just packing up my cameras to catch a flight to Rome in a couple of hours, from where I’ll be going on to the WEG test event in Pratoni!) There have been little glimpses of normality over the past couple of years — last year’s European Championships felt very nearly there, as did Pau and Le Lion with the return of their enthusiastic crowds. But nothing’s felt quite as in-your-face real as Badminton did, with its sell-out crowds, its sea of hugs and tears, and with the elbow-to-elbow scrum of the mixed zone for media and athletes. I hugged just about everyone I encountered, for good measure — social distancing be damned. It’s time to get back to swapping our germs merrily and generously.

Events Opening Today: Loudoun Hunt Pony Club Summer H.T.Horse Park of New Jersey H.T. IStable View Summer H.T.Midsouth Pony Club H.T.Inavale Farm HTValinor Farm H.T.

Events Closing Today: Spring Coconino H.T.Flora Lea Spring H.T.Willow Draw Charity ShowMystic Valley Hunt Club H.T.The Spring Event at WoodsideMay-Daze at the Park H.T.Equestrians’ Institute H.T.VHT International & H.T.Mill Creek Pony Club Horse Trial

News & Notes from Around the World:

“One of the wonders of eventing is the different character of the cross-country courses around the world.” Captain Mark Phillips’s latest column for H&H dives into the differences between the two, recaps a dramatic renewal of Badminton, and recounts what riders got right — and what they got wrong — at the event. [He just has a lot of feelings, okay]

Ever wondered what it’s like to train with the pros in the heart of Ocala’s horse country? Writer Justine Griffin headed to the sunshine state to find out for herself. [Here’s what she learned]

There wasn’t just drama on the cross-country course at Badminton — it all kicked off in the trade-stands, too. Someone has stolen a hare statue worth £19,000, in what must be the most complicated horse show robbery since that time someone nicked a gold toilet from Blenheim. [Is that a rabbit in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?]

In a rather more grim bit of news, it turns out that the donkey skin trade is doing roaring business. A new report has revealed an extensive organised crime network devoted to trafficking the skins globally, and apparently, nearly 5 million donkeys are falling victim to the trade every year. [This isn’t nice reading, but it’s important reading]

Listen to This: One of Badminton’s great success stories was that of Tamie Smith, who overcame a tough Kentucky to deliver three impeccable phases with Mai Baum, including arguably the most stylish showjumping round of the day on Sunday. Get to know her a little bit better in this episode of the Eventing Podcast.

Video Break:

Meet Fiona Kashel, who made her Badminton debut last week with Creevagh Silver de Haar: