Top interviews of 2019 | An Eventful Life

Top interviews of 2019


Each year brings some great new memories and many of our favourite memories come from interviews with eventing riders around the world

We love chatting with riders, from superstar professional riders such as Piggy French and Pippa Funnell (who we seemed to run into a lot in 2019!) to grass roots riders competing their much-loved only horse.

It has been hard to choose just a few from the literally hundreds of interviews we have done in 2019 but we finally narrowed it down to six, to bring you our favourites from the year of eventing around the world


2019 - The Year of Piggy and Pippa

We may be cheating slightly here by opting for a compilation of interviews, but there was never any doubt that Pippa Funnell and Piggy French would be our standout interview stars of 2019

For a start, they were everywhere and winning nearly everything, so there was plenty of interview opportunities plus they are just the nicest, funniest and most straight forward people to talk to

Our interview at Hartpury International with Piggy and Pippa was our most watched video interview on Facebook in 2019 with over 60,000 views. It came at the end of a very long day with frequent downpours and hold-ups, but both Piggy and Pippa came along to the presentations and then were kind enough to sit down for a chat on camera before heading home

As always, I chat with the riders first before starting the interviews, but Pippa had other ideas, urging me to start videoing so she could say her bit about who is who and the rest went from there ….

Added to that interview is one with Piggy after the dressage at Burghley talking about rolling from one major event to the next (and those dreaded upright gates which she jumped beautifully), Samantha Clark talking to Pippa, the one-handed dressage warm-up wonder at Burghley and the final press conference at Burghley, full of humour and emotion (not only from the girls but Oliver Townend’s marvellous opening remarks too!)

This footage captures the essence of why these two ladies are not only stars of the sport but very likeable human beings. We thank them, and the many other riders, owners, grooms, coaches, parents and innocent bystanders that we have talked to for interviews or articles this year. Thank you all for your time and support – we’re looking forward to doing it all again in 2020!




Alec Lochore, Ben Hobday and Amy Beck - a cross country course ride with a difference


"Let's take some riders with us and have some fun" suggested Alec Lochore, the cross country course designer at the 2019 Land Rover Blair Castle Horse Trials. So we did .... and it was ....

An interview with a difference - we even managed to get all three on camera at once! The newly crowned British Open Champion, Ben Hobday (who apparently has grown to 6' 4") added his own irrepressible charm and sense of humour and Amy Beck, who we had never met before, turned out to be an interviewer’s dream!

We did a similar ‘Deb drives with …’ course walk/interview with Shane Rose, Megan Jones and Jock Paget at the Australian International 3 Day Event which we love and is also a ‘must-watch’ but felt that the one at Blair Castle had set the trend so it’s in as our number two for 2019




Ellie and Finn Healy - FEI European gold medallists with the marvellous Midnight Dancer


Gold medallists abound at Burghley but this year we caught up with two who were not competing there but came to watch their heroes

17-year-old Ellie Healy and her brother, 15-year-old Finn are both British gold medallists at European Championships. Ellie won team gold at the 2018 FEI European Pony Championships at Bishop Burton, England and Finn won both team and individual gold at the 2019 FEI European Pony Championships at Strzegom, Poland; even more remarkably, they both did it on the same pony, the wonderful Midnight Dancer (Casper)

Finn also had a great end to the year, winning the Horse & Hound Young Rider of the Year - it is great story and these are wonderful young ambassadors for the sport




Donna Edwards-Smith: Four CCI4*-L rides in 1 Hour 20 minutes


It was always going to be a big day of cross country for New Zealand’s Donna Smith who had four horses entered in the CCI4*-L at Puhinui International 3 Day Event in December

We are used to seeing riders in the UK take multiple horses around cross country tracks at One Day Events but not usually at long format events and not with such little time in between rides

With only 12 riders entered in the CCI4*, Donna estimated she had just over seven minutes between each horse but, thanks to her team and a determined attitude, they pulled it off

After all “It’s just like a day at the farm when you’re mustering bulls …..”



Christine Bates "I'm backpacking with my horse"

We had some great feedback about this interview with the Australian eventing rider Christine Bates, who inspired quite a few people when we caught up with her in her 'lorry' at Aston-Le-Walls in July

"Don't wait until you're in your 40's to do it!" said Christine in our interview about her decision to go eventing in the UK and realise a lifelong ambition .....



Hannah Craft & Sid 'No more letters!'

We are starting with our interview with an amateur eventing rider, 27-year-old Hannah Craft who we ‘stalked’ for a day at Chilham Castle (2) Horse Trials

Hannah, a lawyer by profession and also known as ‘the less important half of Sid Goes Eventing’,  was named as one of British Eventing’s Ambassadors in 2019 so we thought it would be fun to chronicle her day competing in the BE90 Open at Chilham Castle in England in August.

As all eventers know, things don’t always go to plan with horses, but Hannah was a very good sport and allowed us to interview her (in the pouring rain) to recount her day of small disasters …..

We know that many riders at all levels will empathise with Hannah - eventing is a very tough sport and it isn’t often that it all comes together, so here’s to 2020 for Hannah and Sid!