Grief and gratitude


As the eventing community reels from the death of one of their own, Jess Rimmer reflects on the special solidarity found in the sport

Jess Rimmer (left) on Sir Henry Hall and
Jo Rimmer on Mattie (The Real McKay)All images: Courtenay Hitchcock

As I am sure many of you will know, a dark shadow fell over the entire eventing community this month following the tragic loss of Georgie Campbell at Bicton International Horse Trials. A ripple of grief has spread across the equestrian world – but we will continue to put one foot in front of the other with a smile on our faces for Georgie, for her family and for each other.

Losing one of our own creates difficult emotions. Eventing folk are a family, regardless of role – I’m not sure if it’s the long, hard winters, the constant set-backs we all experience, or the sheer commitment and dedication we put into our sport, but there’s such a sense of unity. We fight each other’s corners, celebrate the successes of our fellow competitors and come together to pick up the pieces whenever things fall apart.
The strength of that community was very much felt when we arrived at Little Downham Horse Trials on Friday. Although sharing our usual greetings with a smile, the whole atmosphere was different. A feeling of solidarity spread across the event that day, and an abundance of purple and white ribbons – sported by both riders and volunteers – demonstrated not only our respect, but also served as a stark reminder of how we are all in this together. We will wear our purple ribbons and move forwards with a smile, remembering Georgie.

Little Downham was an event from which Team Rimmer was glad to move on.
Both Mattie and Henry did great dressage tests, but the miserable weather and consequent mud meant they did not show jump to the best of their ability. It was by no means a disaster, but I decided not to run them cross country. Not only were the conditions less than ideal, but mum and I were both still very shaken from Georgie’s accident, and having sat my finals earlier in the week I was, to be honest, feeling totally wiped out.
So we withdrew and drove home. We didn’t compete, but both horses and people came home safe and sound: as always, it’s our main priority.

Looking ahead
On a more positive note, the younger horses have been on super form recently. Max and Jimmy picked up rosettes at both Barbury and Pontispool – they are learning and improving all the time. It is so rewarding working with the younger ones and being involved right at the start of their journeys – especially when it’s with horses as lovely as these two!
We are now looking forward to our June competitions. Nunney International, one of our most local events, near Frome, will be a highlight.
I’m really enjoying being able to finaly focus fully on training the horses without juggling my uni exams. We have some exciting plans for the rest of the 2024 event season, and beyond!


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