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The Low Down with Karen Robinson

Hi everyone! I am currently writing to you from a Starbucks in Magnolia, TX, which is not very close to my home in Vancouver. I spend a lot of time on the road covering the equestrian world for magazines like Horse Sport International and its Canadian sister, Horse Sport. When I'm not on the road to attend awesome events like the Olympics, Pan Am Games and WEG, I also get around quite a lot with my dressage freestyle business. And when I'm not working I'm usually traveling somewhere with my husband Jan (who is a 'hobby' equestrian photographer). In my work as an equestrian journalist, I strive to represent events, personalities and controversies with respect for the truth, love of the sport, and a balanced perspective. My blog is a place where I indulge my own opinions and observations; it's also where I get a chance to write about things in the horse world that might otherwise go unnoticed. If you aren't familiar with my blogarific style, you can visit my other blog at You might not always agree with me, but I hope you will find this blog thought-provoking and entertaining.

Pedaling Backwards at Top Speed


It’s not every day the FEI grabs a jar of jam and spreads it all over its own face, but today is a special day. Below is another guest post from Pippa Cuckson, on the announcement today that the FEI has had a light-bulb moment when it comes to conflict of interest.  The announcement, which caused my eyes to pop six inches out of my

Official Swiss Statement


I received an email from Claude Nordmann at the Swiss Federation this morning, with a press release attached and a request that I share it with readers.  As Pippa’s guest blog of today has revealed, things have gone from bad to worse to insanely awful this past week. At least the Swiss and Dutch federations are standing up as the members to which the FEI

Task Force Conflicts Cause Shockwaves


Horse Sport International’s “Insider,” Pippa Cuckson provides a special report on the Endurance Strategic Planning Group: Colleagues often preface emails with the phrase “you couldn’t make it up” when discussing the latest surreal missives from FEI press office. These words are inadequate to describe the emanations of the past few days. If anyone still needed written confirmation that the FEI is owned by the Maktoums, this

Stranger than Fiction


This week, two stories came my way that just begged to be put together in a post. They have much in common, both being about Welly World and about lawsuits (two things which go together like cookies and cream). Here is where they differ: one is fictional, and the other is true. Your job today is to determine which of the two articles pasted below

A Tale of Two Horses…and Three Names…and Two Microchips


This is not an endurance story. It’s a story of cheating and corruption. And it’s far from over. The characters include what we could now consider ‘the usual suspects’: 1. The Maktoum family, in the form of Sheikh Hamdan, Sheikh Mohammed’s second son (one of Sheikh M’s 23 offspring). The son of Sheikh M’s senior wife, Hamdan is the Crown Prince of Dubai. In 2008

Ten Thousand Words


The above ten photos were taken at two FEI Endurance races in 2009, both in the UAE. One of them was the President of the UAE Cup race, the other was not identified to me by the very civic minded photographer who agreed to allow me to publish this irrefutable evidence of what Endurance races look like in the UAE. I have just one question

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words


Unfortunately, I was unable to obtain permission from the photographer to publish the photo that I wanted to share with you, so instead I will use the proverbial thousand  of these one dimensional little things to describe it. It was snapped during the recent President World Cup Endurance race in Abu Dhabi, and the person who sent it to me sent it with the subject

Pippa Cuckson: Guest Blog from the FEI Endurance Conference


When the editor kindly offered me a guest blog about the FEI endurance conference in Lausanne on February 9, I decided to wait a day or so. I had already written five different news reports about it and wanted to crystallise some thoughts. I also wanted a few hours off to play my viola and hug my horse.  If you had just sat through an

The Welly Whirlwind


It happened again. My two weeks in Welly World vanished faster than you can say Bellissimo. Every year I go down thinking I’ll have all kinds of time to socialize, go for bird-watching walks, even sneak down to Key Largo for a night or two. And every year I arrive home feeling like I’ve been on one of those hamster treadmills, spinning so fast that

Give it Some Welly


This happy new year’s greeting is coming to you from the Wonderful World of Wellington, where I have just arrived for my annual dose of sunshine and perpetually youthful old people. Things have changed a great deal since a year ago, and over the coming two weeks I’ll bring you up to speed on all the new developments in Welly World. Let me tell you