From lockdown-limbo to Reserve 6yo National Champion – eventer Hayden Hankey shares his news
October 21, 2020

We asked Hayden Hankey, British event rider and Bomber Bits ambassador, to share his lockdown experience and the latest news.

Yukon Eric”Lockdown at Team Hankey has been mega-frustrating, as I’m sure it has for many people; but when you put everything in to perspective, we just have to consider ourselves lucky to have all stayed safe for this long,” Hayden explains.

“It all started for us after eventing at Lincoln horse trials; we had all the ‘big’ boys and girls there, the first run of the season for some, while others had had run the week before at Oasby horse trials.”

“We were on our way home with the realisation that it was probably our last event for a while; and how right we were! I don’t think we had quite anticipated it being such a long break though.”

“Obviously all the horses still needed looking after and feeding; after the first week in lockdown, back in spring 2020, when people started realising how serious the situation was, most of the eventers got turned out for a few weeks.”

“Although it was very important to us that they were all going at their absolute best, and feeling amazing ready for when the events would recommence, it’s also very important to our team not to ‘over cook’ them! With nowhere except home to work them, after many months, there was always a risk that boredom could set in (for all parties!) – and then you can run into problems,” Hayden continues.

“So, a nice little holiday is not a bad thing! Especially in the beautiful weather we were graced with. We count ourselves that we were lucky to get a couple of runs in during the early season.”

“So, we were faced with the questions – what to do now? No teaching, no lessons, no competitions, no training at other venues… and it’s a business too, so I needed to make some money,” Hayden remembers. “Those were worrying times all round.”

“There was a good few weeks where it felt like nothing happened at all. The yard was sorted, the few schooling liveries that were left were worked, and then we’d repeat! Gradually however, as things eased, people were starting to make plans, and a few people ventured out and came to us for lessons. Thank goodness,” Hayden remembers.

“It wasn’t too long before the eventers were back in, and we tried to make a plan! It’s so difficult when no one knows what’s going to happen; not even the people in charge! The boys and girls were kept ticking over, and then finally there it was, a provisional calendar; better than nothing, I suppose! It was very hit and miss for the first few events; would they run, or would they not?” Hayden adds.

“For the likes of You’ve Got The Lux (left) and Cartown Galaxy, who are well ahead of themselves experience wise, it wasn’t a major disaster that they missed most of the season. We ran You’ve Got The Lux at Cholmondeley and Aston Advanced, just so she didn’t think she’d retired, but saved Cartown Galaxy for next year.”

Hayden Hankeys Heads Up”Sadly, Hunting For Love had to be sold, to help fund the others,” Hayden reflects. “For horses like Heads Up and Fools In Love, it was a bit of a disappointment to miss quite so many runs, as they both needed more results and experience to be selected for their great aim of the season LeLion World Young Horse Championships. Fools In Love was selected anyway, but sadly didn’t get his qualifications,” Hayden continues.

“For one last push in this funny year, we took Heads Up, pictured left, to the British Young Horse Championships at Thoresberton Horse Trials, where he put in the performance of his life, to finish on his dressage of 27. He therefore became Reserve 6yo National Champion, behind Piggy March (nee French). He oozed class the whole week; such a shame he didn’t get to Le Lion!” Hayden proudly tells us.

“And that brings us to now, the start of Autumn 2020! A winter of selling some horses, hopefully some jumping, and keeping everything crossed for a more ‘normal’ year next year! Because ‘Normal’ is a good thing,” Hayden concludes.

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